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Reader's Digest of Neighborhood News

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1 Organic Theater offers free admission to impoverished Uptown residents

The Organic Theater, thanks to a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, is giving away 144 free tickets to "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" every week, mostly to impoverished Uptown residents. Cordis Fejer says the idea was born during the Organic's production of "The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit," when they were disappointed by how few neighborhood residents came to see it. "We consider ourselves part and parcel of Uptown," she says, "But we realize that most people here have never seen a live theatrical production. Even now that we're giving the tickets away it's hard to get them to show up, because they're still convinced that only very rich and very sophisticated people go to the theater." Once they get there they seem to enjoy the show—"a group of senior citizens from Lawrence House loved it."

The free tickets are good for Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday nights; Ms. Fejer says they're available to anyone who can't afford the price of a ticket, not just Uptown residents. Call her at 271-2436 between 3 and 9 p.m., or show up fifteen or twenty minutes before the show begins. (She asks me to remind you that students tickets on the same nights cost only $2.00. Whether or not you really quality for a free ticket is left to you and your conscience.)

By the way, the Organic took a survey of 80 people who made reservations for "Sexual Perversity," and nearly half of them said they'd heard about the show in the READER. (the next biggest groups were TRIBUNE and SUN-TIMES readers, with 10 each). We always figured you were a sexually perverse bunch.

2 Condominium complaints aired at hearing

As everybody who has ever lived in a "hot" real estate area knows, the conversion of old apartment buildings into condominiums often forces tenants out, rips buyers off, changes the character of the neighborhood—and makes a great deal of money for developers. All of these things are possible because the sale of condominiums in Illinois is virtually unregulated.

Next Tuesday at Temple Shalom, 3480 N. Lake Shore, there will be a meeting of people who want to do something about it. An Illinois House committee has been created to look into proposed changes in the Illinois Condominium Property Act. Their first hearing begins at 7 p.m., and they're especially interested in abuses associated with converting older buildings. (Among the laws under consideration is one that would require approval from 50 percent of a building's tenants before conversion could take place.)

If you've had personal experiences with condominium conversions, the committee would like to hear about them. Call the executive director, Steve Yates 368-0077), to reserve speaking time. Or just show up at the hearing, and help convince our representatives that controlling condominiums would be a politically expedient move.

3 Back alley politics in 47th Ward

The 47th Ward, an old German neighborhood on the Northwest Side, is the home base of Ald. John J. Hoellen, the last Republican on City Council. Despite rumors that Hoellen will not be seeking re-election next year, in early July the alleys of the Ward were bedecked with yellow and black posters proclaiming "STOP - PROTECT OUR CHILDREN" and showing a silhouette of a boy and girl running. The bottom of the poster says "JOHN . HOELLEN, ALDERMAN."

Hoellen commands a grand total of two patronage jobs in the ward, so how he managed to get all those signs up so quickly is something of a mystery—especially since the deed was done under the nose of Ed Kelly, Democratic ward committeeman and general superintendent of the Chicago Park District. At any rate, it didn't last long. During the past weeks someone has been systematically removing Hoellen's name from the posters by cutting off the bottom half.

4 Gay rights bill in trouble

The gay rights bill was recommended for defeat by a City Council subcommittee last week, but its sponsor refuses to give up. Ald. Clifford P. Kelley (20th) claims he expected the subcommittee defeat all along, but thinks he has enough support on the Judiciary Committee to get the bill to the Council floor. "I'm still to a great extent optimistic," he says. The bill would ban discrimination against homosexuals in housing, jobs and public accommodations.

There's still no word on the fate of another bill introduced at the same time, which would have eliminated the city's ordinance against appearing in clothes of the opposite sex. Last Tuesday, Judge David Shields overturned an earlier ruling and ordered to men to stand trial for this "crime." The trail will begin on Sept. 9.

5 Sad week for Chicago jazz

Death hit the Chicago jazz scene twice last week. On Tuesday "Jug" Ammons, a tenor saxophonist who had played with Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Dizzy Gillespie, died of cancer in Michael Reese Medical Center … And late Friday night, a small plane carrying trumpeter Bill Chase and three members of his band crashed short of the runway at Jackson, Minn. All aboard were killed. They were flying from Chicago to a gig at the Jackson County Fair. Chase's band had its biggest hit in 1972 with "Get It On," which won a Grammy nomination; this spring they completed an Epic album called "Pure Music."

—NANCY BANKS

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