Archive for November, 2008

Historic New York Buildings in Peril

Some disturbing news for history buffs and music lovers: Tin Pan Alley, the half-dozen row houses on Manhattan’s West 28th Street that were home to publishers of some of the catchiest American tunes and lyrics — from ‘God Bless America’ and ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ to ‘Give My Regards to Broadway’ — has been put up for sale for $44 million, with plans to replace them with a high-rise (good bye, George Gershwin; hello, condos). However, in New Jersey, a glimmer of hope: Though Jersey has been nicknamed “No. 1 Teardown State” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, “[t]he overall economic situation and the sorry state of the housing market mean that fewer and fewer people are ‘throwing away perfectly good houses.'” For more on this topic, this post on our blog rounds up some fading historic Chicagoland landmarks.

| |

Other Election Week Losses

While millions of us pored over this week’s election results, little was reported about the passing of two prominent Americans: Michael Crichton, the Chicago-born author of such best-sellers as The Andromeda Strain and Jurassic Park, as well as the creator of the television series ER, died of cancer in Los Angeles at 66 (read the complete Los Angeles Times obit); and on Monday, Cecil Stoughton, “the chief photographer for the Kennedy White House, who documented its glittering public moments and its intimate private ones, and who captured its sudden end in one of the signal images of the 20th century — Lyndon B Johnson’s swearing-in as president aboard Air Force One on November 22, 1963 [pictured above, view the full image here] — died on Monday” at 88 (read the complete New York Times obit). RIP.

| |

Last Glance at the Smears of 2008

While we’ve all become painfully familiar with the advertising campaigns for the presidential candidates, it’s time for a final send-off to some of the more bizarre attack ads for Congressional races in 2008: The mother of all attacks, of course, is the Elizabeth Dole “There Is No God” ad, complete with an inserted Exorcist voice, which was soon followed by her opponent ‘s Lloyd Bentsian rebuttal; in Kentucky, challenger Bruce Lunsford went for a surreal lobotomy morph of Mitch McConnell in this spot; Virgil Goode of Virginia capitalized on the electorate’s fear of beards in this Law & Order spoof of his opponent; points for originality go to this now-infamous spot from Colorado that portrays “Boulder liberal” Mark Udall as the type who would hot-box a Volkswagen; and there’s always Jean Schmidt of Ohio, who claims in this fever dream that her opponent might just inject you with the AIDS virus. Alas, the airwaves will now be a fraction less polluted.

| |

Studs Terkel (1912-2008)

The author, activist and oral historian who provided a voice for the voiceless has passed away at his home in Chicago at 96. “It is hard to imagine a fuller life” (Chicago Tribune); view Terkel’s bibliography (“His bookshelf spans a century”); profiles and remembrances from In These Times, The Atlantic, the New York Times and The Nation; reactions from the campaign trail by Barack Obama; reflections from his longtime editor and friend Andre Schiffrin; a letter from Roger Ebert; and click here to read Terkel’s conversation with STOP SMILING, published in 2005 in our Chicago Issue. “Was he the greatest Chicagoan?” Ebert wrote in the Chicago Sun-Times. “I cannot think of another. For me, he represented the joyous, scrappy, liberal, generous, wise-cracking heart of this city.”

| |

« Previous Page « Previous Page Next entries »