Chicago

Press Release: Smith, The Plan of Chicago

September 25, 2006
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Press Release: Smith, The Plan of Chicago

The Plan of Chicago: Daniel Burnham and the Remaking of the American City is the first book to fully explore Burnham’s Plan, the defining document of American urban planning. As Smith relates, Burnham and his coauthor, Edward Bennett, were careful to leave no part of the city untouched. The Plan of Chicago called for an extensive greenbelt around Lake Michigan, recreational parks throughout the city’s limits, a streamlined transportation system, and cultural amenities like the Field Museum of Natural History. Streets were widened, bridges constructed, and even the Chicago River itself was straightened. Smith takes a closer look at Burnham as well as his contemporaries at the Commercial Club of Chicago, showing how their influence shaped the city itself. The Plan, Smith reveals, embodied their belief in the humanizing—or dehumanizing—effects of one’s environment. And at a time when everything essentially “American” was changing, The Plan suggested that human will could, in fact, change history. Read the press release. . . .

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Review: Ebert, Awake in the Dark

July 31, 2006
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Review: Ebert, Awake in the Dark

Roger Ebert’s forthcoming book Awake in the Dark: The Best of Roger Ebert; Forty years of Reviews, Essays, and Interviews, details almost a half century’s worth of cinematic expertise from a man the Library Journal calls one of American cinema’s “most respected and influential movie critics.” More from the LJ review: The book clearly summarizes Ebert’s pantheon of best films, or at least movies that have meant the most to him. Also included are appreciations and interviews with notable actors and filmmakers. Always alert to trends and defending film as an art form, Ebert never fails to connect with his readers. With Awake in the Dark, both fans and film buffs can finally bask in the best of Ebert’s work. No critic alive has reviewed more movies than Roger Ebert, and yet his essential writings have never been collected in a single volume—until now. The reviews, interviews, and essays collected here present a picture of this indispensable critic’s numerous contributions to the cinema and cinephilia. . . .

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How Chicago skewed northwest

July 25, 2006
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How Chicago skewed northwest

A recent article by John C. Hudson in the Chicago Sun-Times discusses how race and class “skewed the city’s grand symmetrical plans by, in essence, confining the growth of black residential neighborhoods to a single swath that expanded southward, east of State Street—commonly known as the black belt. … That growing imbalance between the North and South sides of Chicago was replicated in the city’s suburbs. … Since World War II, the expansion of Chicago’s suburbs and industry began to tilt northward, with growth reduced in any place likely to be in the expansion path of the black population.” Today “the residential patterns of African-American households, at least for those in the upper-income bracket, finally are beginning to look more like those of other racial and ethnic groups.” However the northwest skew of Chicagoland “is bound to affect life in Chicago for decades to come.” Hudson is the author of Chicago: A Geography of the City and Its Region, the first geography of the Windy City in more than fifty years. . . .

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Review: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

July 17, 2006
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Review: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

Yesterday’s Chicago Tribune carried a review by Lois Wille of Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark. Wille pronounces the book “fascinating and gorgeous,” but also makes clear that the book is more than just pretty pictures. Wille, who has made significant contributions of her own to the history of Chicago’s lakefront, pays particular attention to Gilfoyle’s account of the political and philanthropic machinations necessary to create Millennium Park. Gilfoyle, says Wille, “has wise things to say about Millennium Park’s lessons for the economic health of Chicago and other postindustrial cities with global aspirations.” We have a Millennium Park trivia quiz. . . .

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Press release: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

July 16, 2006
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Press release: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

In the extraordinary spirit of vision and ambition that characterized the Columbian Exposition of 1893, where new and exciting innovations in art, architecture, and urban design were so dramatically unveiled on a world stage, Millennium Park opened in downtown Chicago two years ago. Featuring now iconic works by Frank Gehry, Anish Kapoor, Jaume Plensa, and Kathryn Gustafson, the park was promptly hailed in newspapers and magazines across the country as an incomparable global tourist destination and a crowning achievement for the city of Chicago. With more than 500 images (and most in color), this beautifully illustrated book tells the story of how Millennium Park came to be. Read the press release. You may also take our trivia quiz. . . .

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Remembering the Chicago heat wave

July 14, 2006
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Remembering the Chicago heat wave

The weather forecast for the Chicago area for this weekend is hot and humid, with the Sunday afternoon heat index expected to approach 110°. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening, noting that the heat may extend into Wednesday and Thursday. All of which reminds us of this same period eleven years ago—July 13-20, 1995—when over seven hundred people died in Chicago over a week of intense temperatures—with an inadequate public response contributing to the high fatality rates. Eric Klinenberg wrote the definitive book on the event and its causes, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago. When the book was published we did an interview with Klinenberg, which still makes instructive reading. Keep cool this weekend. Go to the library. Go to the beach. See a movie. . . .

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Press release: Solzman, The Chicago River

July 7, 2006
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Press release: Solzman, The Chicago River

“In a strong sense, the river is Chicago,” David M. Solzman writes: running through the heart of downtown, it is a vehicle both for pleasure and for the industry that keeps Chicago humming. And with a brand new museum just opened in its honor, the river is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The time is ripe, then, for this significantly expanded and thoroughly updated new edition of Solzman’s The Chicago River: An Illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways—a guidebook and historical narrative which explores both the river’s physical character and natural history. Read the press release. . . .

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Louise Knight interview on Progressive Radio

June 21, 2006
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Louise Knight interview on Progressive Radio

Louise W. Knight, author of Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, recently discussed her new book with Matt Rothschild, host of Progressive Radio and editor of The Progressive. The interview is available as an audio file on The Progressive Web site. Jane Addams was the first American woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Now Citizen, Louise W. Knight’s masterful biography, reveals Addams’s early development as a political activist and social philosopher. In this book we observe a powerful mind grappling with the radical ideas of her age, most notably the ever-changing meanings of democracy. Read an excerpt. . . .

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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

June 21, 2006
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Gilfoyle is Chicago Reader‘s Critic’s Choice

Tonight at 6:00 p.m., Gilfoyle will discuss and sign Millennium Park at the Harold Washington Library. Items from the official archives of Millennium Park will be on view during the event. The event is free and open to the public. Timothy J. Gilfoyle’s reading was chosen by the Chicago Reader as its Critic’s Choice of the week. Harold Henderson wrote, "The story of Millennium Park, as told by Loyola historian Timothy J. Gilfoyle in Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, is three uplifting tales in one: the site, up from the lake and the post-Fire rubble; the politics, up from a landfill’s worth of failed plans; and the culture, up from a conservative vision of merely filling out the north end of Grant Park to a tightly packed series of walkways, sculptures, and theatrical spaces.… This impressively organized and lavishly illustrated book itself wouldn’t exist without financial support from the Minow Family Foundation. Those uncomfortable with the project’s delays, cost overruns, privatized process, or jangly outcome get their say, but the mayor has the last word." . . .

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Author events: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

June 14, 2006
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Author events: Gilfoyle, Millennium Park

Tonight, Timothy J. Gilfoyle, author of Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark, will appear on WTTW’s "Chicago Tonight" television program. The show airs at 7:00 p.m. (CST). Tomorrow morning, Gilfoyle will be interviewed by Gretchen Helfrich on WBEZ 91.5 FM radio’s "Eight Forty-Eight" program (9:00-10:00 a.m.). In addition to regular broadcast, the show will be accessible via an online audio stream on the WBEZ Web site. Next Wednesday, June 21 at 6:00 p.m., Gilfoyle will speak at the Harold Washington Library’s Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (400 South State Street). Gilfoyle will discuss and sign Millennium Park: Creating a Chicago Landmark. Items from the official archives of Millennium Park will be on view during the event. . . .

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