Day: September 26, 2018

Hear the story of Chicago residents fighting against mountain of debris dumped near homes

Screen Shot 2018-09-16 at 9.17.33 AMIn the spring of 1990, Gladys Woodson and her neighbors in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood started to notice dump trucks rolling down their streets—some sporting mismatched license plates and arriving as late as two or three a.m.

Woodson had lived in a historic greystone since 1970. She was president of her street’s block club, a tight-knit community of neighbors who looked out for each other. So other residents would come to her with questions and concerns.

When the trucks were first brought to her attention, Woodson says she didn’t give them much thought.

“I just thought, ‘Well, somebody’s just parking their trucks in there,’” said Woodson, “’til a guy said, ‘Ms. Woodson, come down, look at this. Do you know that somebody’s over there dumping in that lot?’”

When the dump eventually reached its peak, it sprawled across a lot the size of 13 football fields — or, about half the size of the Pentagon. It towered six stories above the neighborhood, creating a habitat for rats and crime, and filling the air with noxious dust.

But it wasn’t just trucks going in and out of this lot. There was also a limo, and the guy inside it —a heavy-set man who liked to wear colorful sweaters.

“Any time you see anybody drive over in a vacant lot in a limo,” Woodson told USA TODAY, “you know it’s no good.”

A Chicago story

Before the dump trucks came, before the lawsuits and the secret FBI tapes, before the arrests and the president’s executive order, before “the mountain” appeared and then disappeared— along with the guy who put it there – there was then-Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Sworn into office April 24, 1989, Daley vowed to bring his city roaring back. In the 40 years leading up to his inauguration, Chicago lost nearly a million people and hundreds of thousands of jobs. The new mayor wanted to stem that tide.

He began a major push to revamp Chicago’s aging downtown, paying special attention to tourist-friendly destinations like Navy Pier and the now-iconic Millennium Park, with its big silver bean sculpture and Frank Gehry-designed amphitheater. He also set about rebuilding crucial parts of the city’s infrastructure, including roads and highways. READ THE FULL STORY:

Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gabrielle Union-Wade Sign on as Producers of Broadway’s ‘American Son’

The drama about systemic racism in America begins performances Oct. 6, starring Kerry Washington, Steven Pasquale, Eugene Lee and Jeremy Jordan.

RHIMESA handful of big names will bolster the ranks of Broadway producers for American Son, which marks Kerry Washington’s return to the New York stage. Shonda Rhimes, Jada Pinkett Smith, Gabrielle Union-Wade and her husband, NBA star Dwyane Wade, have joined an existing team that includes Washington’s Simpson Street, Jeffrey Richards, Rebecca Gold and Will Trice. Also newly on board is businessman Steve Stoute and NFL veteran-turned-actor and producer Nnamdi Asomugha, who is married to Washington.

The team of heavy hitters stands to draw added attention to Broadway newcomer Christopher Demos-Brown’s intense four-character drama set in a Florida police station, where an estranged married couple converge in the middle of the night in a desperate search for their missing 18-year-old biracial son.

The play examines how we deal with family relationships, love, loss and identity. It won the 2016 Laurents/Hatcher Award for best new work by an emerging playwright. READ MORE:

Lady Gaga’s ‘A Star Is Born’ Hits All the Right Notes: Movie Review

starAt their core, the four versions of A Star Is Born — the 1937 original drama and three musical iterations — mine the same territory: An aspiring actress or singer falls under the spell professionally and romantically of an older actor or singer and her career rises meteorically as his precipitously falls.

However, the contours differ in each film, and in the latest version, Bradley Cooper, who plays world-weary singer-songwriter Jackson Maine, and Lady Gaga, as straight-shooting Ally, give us immensely sympathetic characters, whose considerable musical talents are overshadowed only by their vulnerabilities.

Likely to draw favorable comparisons to the most recent remake — 1976’s version starring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson — A Star Is Born 4.0, which opens Oct. 5, is a thrilling and, ultimately, heartbreaking tale of music’s power to heal and the music business’s equally corrosive ability to destroy all but the strongest souls.

Cooper and Lady Gaga’s chemistry is off the charts. It’s a spark lit not only by their physical attraction, but by the crackling creative energy between their characters as songwriters and performers. After a ridiculously entertaining scene when Maine discovers Ally performing Edith Piaf’s “La Vie en Rose” in a noisy drag bar, his awe when Ally sings her own song a cappella for him alone in an empty parking lot is the stuff of movie gold.


Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter V is finally being released

Tha Carter V is coming out this week — but for real this time.

A week after rumors of Lil Wayne’s long-awaited album proved to be false, the rapper himself has announced that the hotly-anticipated project will finally see the light of day on Thursday, his 36th birthday.

In a video posted to YouTube (see above), the five-time Grammy winner shared the news, thanking those who have stuck with him over the years. “I always give y’all all of me, but with this album, I’m giving you more than me,” he said. “This is four, five, six years of work that you’ll be listening to.”

A date for Tha Carter V comes seven years after the Carter IV and four years after it was delayed days before the planned release date due to the dispute between Wayne and his mentor/Cash Money boss Birdman.

Earlier this year, Wayne and Cash Money settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit, and last month, Birdman appeared onstage with Wayne and publicly apologized to the rapper.