Re: Rogers Park Restaurants, February 5
This letter is in regards to your clearly biased and inaccurate review of Taami Restaurant at 2931 W. Touhy. You clearly were making a push for Taboun Restaurant as you mentioned it twice in your review, which is not appropriate approach. In addition there could not have been corn in the shape of a can served since there is no canned corned used. By the way this is a new restaurant which is quickly evolving and developing many fans that say that the food is superior and has more variety than to that of Taboun. In addition the kosher community is happy to have several places to go for changes and there is room for the both of them. It is not located on a sleepy stretch of Touhy, but rather is at the heart of the Chicago Jewish community with no less than 6 synagogues and the Jewish Community Center within a two-block radius.
Try and be more accurate and less biased next time.
The End of the Holography Museum?
Re: "Losing Her Museum," February 12
Thank you, Ling Ma, for writing such an in-depth and thoughtful piece. I have spent 28 of my 49 years in the field of marketing holography, and rarely seen any related story, self-interest or otherwise, given such attention in a single news piece. I visited the Billings museum only once in the mid 1980s, though had some dealings with both Loren and Robert in subsequent years. They surely were characters, and though I had no idea of their history outside holography, I am not surprised as they both seemed quite maverick to me. Really an amazing love story in the way it is told, and that alone is beautiful. Having lost a father to dementia, and with my now 89 y/o mom living with us, I am well aware of the difficulties associated with aging and families. Though from the outside no one can really know, it seems to me that this family was handling mom (Loren) in the most respectful way possible, which is to give her as much autonomy as they are comfortable with and try not to "meddle."... The Chicago MOH was one of the longest running (maybe is the longest running?) MOH in the U.S. If for no other reason (and I still have some very interesting color tuned 3D embossed holograms attributed by Loren to come from their very own lab), the Billingses are recognized by the holographic community for their contribution of the MOH.
It turns my stomach to think that a banker would allow a borrower to make such a loan. Even though the appropriate papers were signed one would think that the Giannoulias brothers would have made at least a courtesy call to an interested party. No one has been as devoted to Chicago nor the science of holography than Bob and Loren Billings. They deserve a much better ending than the one the bank and courts have written for them.
I'm glad Loren and I both lived long enough that I was able to share the museum with my children and friends. My youngest son has asked me to take him there this week. I hope this won't be our last visit.
I am the son of John Sciackitano who is quoted in the article. Back in the late 70s when I was only 12-14 years old, my father would loan me and Mike Royko's son Rob to the Billingses as cheap labor for the rehabbing of Gallery 1134, as it was known then. We would sleep in one of the upstairs galleries and Bob would wake us up early Saturday morning by blaring The William Tell 1812 Overture through giant JBL speakers. During those weekends we learned about everything from tuckpointing to philosophy, from bricklaying to art, from mixing concrete and breaking door openings through 3 ft thick walls, to holography and classical music. Our only compensation at the end of the weekend was Bob would let us take turns driving his old Volkswagen bug around the west side, which was known as "skid row" back then. I remember thinking that Lui and Bob must be the coolest most intelligent people on earth. That building was Lui's pride and joy, and it is just a shame that she could lose it in such a scandalous way as this. She would never knowingly put that building at risk. Along with holography and art, it was her whole life.
John V. Sciackitano
The Great Comics Die-Off of the Oughts
Re: "Comics Stripped," February 12
I love the Reader for so many things, but the first thing I look for is always Life in Hell. I am so sad that it is rarely here anymore. Heck, I actually wouldn't mind paying to see it back in its usual spot! The articles are newsworthy and timely, the listings are tremendously useful, but the comics add so much personality to the paper! Please find a way to keep them!
Before I had any use for the listings, being a broke teenager, and before the commentaries made any sense to me, I picked up the Reader for the comics. The problem is not the interwebs. The problem is that creative expression should not be completely subsumed by market forces. We can do this different. Why don't we try?
From now on all comics should be drawn by this Dirtfarm fellow, Benjamin Claassen. I find his style uplifting and his pathos mythic.
Will draw for food. Dirtfarm should put a Paypal tin can on his site.
Who is this "Market" and why does it look and act nothing like most breathing human beings we all are and the family, friends and people we all know? I suspect the "Market" is a media promoted fiction used to front for an ongoing nonfiction corporate agenda.
Look folks, you may quibble over whether you like Red Meat or not, but the bigger picture is that it's an unhealthy sign when the alt-weekly comic strips, along with the editorial cartoons in mainstream newspapers, are getting dumped. It's so important to preserve the independent voices provided by such cartoonists in a sea of bias. It's an important function. What don't you understand, Red Meat haters?
I enjoyed the article, I appreciate the difficulties the Reader has in finding the space and money to publish comics, but add me as a voice that sees comics as a reason to pick up the Reader every week.
In the age of localized content, the "great comic die-off" could be an opportunity for the Reader to find and develop artists willing to create Chicago-centric comics. Our neighborhood scenes and screwed political system would provide lots of material. Maybe they could team up with Ben Joravsky on a visual takedown of corruption and TIF waste.
Also, if there isn't room for comics in the print Reader anymore, maybe the blogs could help direct reader attention to standout comics. There's a lot going on in sequential art right now, and a guide to graphic novels, comics (print, published and online), etc. would be appreciated. At the very least, maybe the Reader could dedicate some Web page space to direct people to the comics they no longer publish.
As for creators of alternative comics, I hope these papers find a place for your work—it's valued. As print crumbles, though, make sure you at least have a Web site, RSS feed, and something to sell. It lets fans stay in touch and, hopefully, offer you some support.
Maybe Max Cannon doesn't make a living from his Web site, but many cartoonists that publish exclusively online do make a living from their Web site, usually through a combination of merchandise and advertising. If Red Meat is really something that a lot of people like enough, then the migration to a digital medium shouldn't be ruinous to Cannon. If it's not, well, the world doesn't owe Cannon a living. (I suspect that the abysmal Red Meat doesn't have what it takes to support someone financially as a Web comic, even with a built-in audience migrating from papers.)