This week's issue

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A quick tour of what's new:

* Shorter Ben Joravsky: Why is Chicago crazy? Because Da Mare's crazy, or at least proposes crazy things, and no one wants to upset him: "I know from conversations with many of these civic leaders that they didn't even want Chicago to end up with the games. And yet they went along, presumably in fear of upsetting Richie Daley."

* Michael Miner, with my favorite passage this week: "'Royko made that whole losing thing kind of hip,' observed McClellan.... The yuppies turned going to Cubs games into a lifestyle choice and elevated a dismal history of endless defeat into romantic karma. Wrigley Field would never be empty again. This is what can happen when a columnist fails to make it clear enough to a cohort of readers that he despises them. It's a case study that ought to be in textbooks."

* Former Reader staff writer John Conroy, who covered the Chicago police torture scandal for almost two decades, has a new play. I thought this was a bit depressing: "Unspeakable Acts is still out there, in hardcover and paperback, but the Belfast book sells better." Nothing against Belfast Diary, but Unspeakable Acts, Ordinary People, given the ongoing importance of torture in America, is a must-read.

* Lots of good stuff in movies this week: our critical guide to the first week of the Chicago International Film Festival (I'm looking forward to seeing Cropsey); Ed Koziarski looks at the making of one of the films screening, Chicago Overcoat, an indie drama by recent Columbia College grads; and if you need a break from the CIFF there's the Music Box Massacre.

* Mike Sula looks at locally sourced cookbooks; I'm most excited by Rogue Cocktails, featuring contributions from current and former Violet Hour employees, including lead mixologist Toby Maloney and Bar De Ville's Brad Bolt. Plus: a multicultural roundup of places to get curry dishes.

* Miles Raymer writes on political party-rap locals Bin Laden Blowin' Up; great picture by regular contributor Saverio Trugila. Plus: the most ambitious Riot Fest yet.

* Theater/Performance: we've got in-depth reviews of Richard III and an early David Harrower play, but the most highly recommended show is Winifred Haun & Dancers distilling Steinbeck's East of Eden.

* Mick Dumke has a must-read on city service cuts; the total workforce is the smallest it's been in 18 years.

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