Things You Could (Have) Do(ne) Over Break #6: Chicago Studies Edition

So, if you’ve been a reader of this blog for awhile, you might recall that I sometimes throw up some stuff before or after breaks that you could do/could have done as here, here, here, here, and here. This is one of those.

~This piece in Wired describes the role of social media in exacerbating violence in Chicago, with the Chief Keef/Lil JoJo beef as the prime example. It’s fascinating and disturbing;

~Check out the work of documentary photographer Carlos Javier Ortiz;

~UIC faculty have authorized a strike. May 1st? More on the situation here;

~Isabel Wilkerson did a big chunk of her research for The Warmth of Other Suns at the Newberry Library;

~Chicago State administrators are trying to shut down a faculty blog. (Not that there’s anything to be critical of. Hardly a thing–remember when we used to have students who transferred there? It’s been forever since I’ve had a student who has taken classes there or intended to transfer there). They’re not alone, though. Apparently it is something of a trend as administrators at schools across the country have grown more and more concerned with “message” and their “brand.” Read it and weep for the future;

~This piece on temp agencies, raiteros, and immigrant workers was eye-opening;

~Reading about Nelson Algren’s life is almost as good as reading his work. If you are a fan of Chicago: City on the Make, or ever heard of it, you’ll enjoy this. If you aren’t, you should read one or the other and then decide;

~Columbia College got a new President last July. Speaking of Columbia, their philosopher, Steven Asma (who hired me for my very first real life classroom teaching gig back in January of 2000) wrote a book on fairness and favoritism. He writes a bit about it here;

~The Old Town Ale House is a great bar. So says Roger Ebert, and he knew some things about bars and drinking, and about other things, too–the most important things;

~College football at the University of Chicago;

~A Tribune editorial says that, “The City Colleges of Chicago may not be this area`s most prestigious institution of higher learning, but they have the potential to be one of the most important, offering education and training to vast numbers of people who don`t have the dollars, credentials or access to attend other schools. The system has seldom lived up to its potential…largely because no one outside the system cared much or paid much attention. Now, finally, there is an opportunity for real change…Chicago has a critical need to train residents for skilled work, both to help its citizens gain productive jobs and to keep and attract businesses that need competent workers. These needs can be merged and served in a revamped City Colleges of the `90s.” That’s right. The editorial is from 1991;

~Another Tribune article talks about how the City Colleges “should focus on remedial education for students who did not learn the basics in high school; instruction in English as a second language; and offerings that prepare students who plan to move on to four-year institutions.” That one was from 2000.

Chicago Studies: Chicago Historical Schools

Chicago Studies will be a semi-regular post to promote the theme in your classroom.

Wow, almost the end of the semester and I’ve not had time to provide as many posts as I wanted. My apologies. Here’s one that may interest you:

Chicago Historic Schools

As the intro to the site reads, “This website is devoted to the rich architectural and social history of Chicago’s public schools. It reflects several years of research but remains a work in progress.  Our goal has been to identify and document a range of historical schools representing various periods, architects, and neighborhoods.”

The schools I attended are not listed, but as the authors of the site stated, this is a work in progress. So far, they’re off to a great start.

Have a good and strong end to your semester everyone!

Chicago Studies: Open House Chicago

Chicago Studies will be a semi-regular post to promote the theme in your classroom.

If you are like me, you are putting your final touches (or initial touches!) on syllabi this weekend and getting ready to post to Blackboard. I’d like you to consider including Chicago Open House in your curriculum for the Fall. See the video below:

Open House Chicago takes place October 19th and 20th. (End of Week 8/Beginning of Week 9 in our semester.)

The event is sponsored by the Chicago Architectural Foundation. If you are interested, I believe they are still looking for volunteers to help out with the event.

This is the link to the official website: Open House Chicago

This is the link to Open House Chicago Sites

If you have any questions, let me know.

Chicago Studies: Mies

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the father of Modernism in Chicago Architecture.

Take a look at this quick video to see how influential he was, and continues to be, in our city and suburbs.

I spent 5 years on the campus of IIT. I took classes in several building and completed my Architecture degree in Crown Hall. I was impressed with the building from day one.
There is an affection for the details of his buildings, as the video clip demonstrates. For Mies, God was in the detail of the design, and it was all about how the materials came together to create simple forms. He was all about the reduction, or minimalism, of architecture to create elegant structures.

The First Chicago School of Architecture gave the city the steel cage and covered it with stone, or brick, or terra cotta. This had everything to do with the horrors of the Great Chicago Fire and the desire to avoid it again at all costs.
Mies, appropriately identified as the architect of the Second Chicago School of Architecture, removed these materials and glorified the steel cage; literally giving rise to the modern architecture movement in Chicago.

I write this so you have an opportunity to appreciate the video and don’t assume, like some critics, that he only built ugly black boxes. Look at it this way, what Burnham and his White City was to our past, is what Mies and his black beauties are to our present.

A New Blog and A New College

Hi all,

If you are interested in Architectural News in Chicago, Chicago Architecture Magazine, published by the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, just launched a companion blog, CHICAGOARCHITECT.

You may want to read their first post. It’s an article on the new MX College.

The photo below is from the blog.

Photo Credit: Alonzo Rhoden, Malcolm X College

Photo Credit: Alonzo Rhoden, Malcolm X College

This is my effort to try and provide a regular (if not weekly, then biweekly, or monthly) post on The Lounge related to Chicago Studies, or art/architectural news. The editors will know what I mean.

One Book, One Chicago: Augie March

This fall’s One Book, One Chicago choice is Saul Bellow’s The Adventures of Augie March, which is a semi-autobiographical bildungsroman of a young man growing up in Chicago back in the day, with one of Chicago literature’s most famous opening lines–“I am an American, Chicago born–Chicago, that somber city–and go at things as I have taught myself, free-style, and will make the record in my own way: first to knock, first admitted; sometimes an innocent knock, sometimes a not so innocent. But a man’s character is his fate, says Heraclitus, and in the end there isn’t any way to disguise the nature of the knocks by acoustical work on the door or gloving of the knuckles.”

When I read it, I didn’t think too much of the plot or the characters to be honest, though Augie was interestingly drawn–reminded me of a young Rabbit Angstrom years before there was a Rabbit Angstrom, but I loved seeing the picture of life in historic Chicago, and the language, my word, Saul Bellow could write a sentence…gorgeous passage after gorgeous passage. Stunners.

To celebrate, I’m going to post some of my favorite passages this week, leading up to Thursday’s panel discussion of the book featuring Professors Domenico Ferri and Stephen Burnett, hosted by Professor Judy Rivera-van Schagen.