Former president Barack Obama delivers his farewell address at McCormick Place in January. Credit: Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Welcome to the Reader‘s morning briefing for Monday, April 24, 2017.

  • Obama ends post-presidency vacation with speech at University of Chicago

Former president Barack Obama will return to public life Monday with a speech at University of Chicago. After taking a three-month break following his departure from the White House, Obama will speak to local students and promote community organizing on the south side. “I think it reflects his emotional, as well as his intellectual, commitment to this city and seeing this city as his home,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. Anti-gun violence activist Father Michael Pfleger hopes that the former president’s presence in Chicago will help the city. “It’s his life, and he’s not in elected office right now, so he can do what he wants,” he said. “But I’d love to see him engage in his home of Chicago. He could make a huge difference.” [New York Times] [Reuters]

  • Sessions again threatens Chicago over sanctuary city status

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is threatening to pull $2.3 million in funding to fight crime in Chicago and Cook County by June 30 if the city and county continue protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that the city will continue to fight to remain a sanctuary city. “We’ve seen the letter from DOJ,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Neither the facts nor the law are on their side. Regardless, let me be clear: Chicago’s values and Chicago’s future are not for sale.” [DNAinfo Chicago]

  • South-side Michelle Obama mural sparks plagiarism controversy

Artist Chris Devins raised money through crowdfunding for his newly unveiled south-side mural of former first lady Michelle Obama as an Egyptian queen. But questions quickly arose about its similarity to a painting posted on Instagram by artist Gelila Lila Mesfin. “I have been in contact with Chris Devins in hopes of resolving this issue in an applicable and professional manner, and from my Instagram family, I only ask that everyone keep this positive towards him,” Mesfin posted on Instagram Saturday. “I preach love, not anger or hate of any kind.” [New York]

  • The Loop’s diamond-shaped skyscraper is reportedly up for sale

The Crain Communications building at the corner of Michigan and Randolph in the Loop is reportedly up for sale for $132 million. Toronto-based insurance company Manulife bought the building in 2012 for $102 million, spent more than $18 million on improvements, and has reportedly hired a broker to put the property on the market. [Curbed Chicago]

  • How local hotel concierges are keeping their jobs in the smartphone era

Concierges at downtown hotels from the Hyatt Regency to the Peninsula are keeping relevant in the era of smartphones, OpenTable, TripAdvisor, and Yelp. Requests vary from the traditional restaurant reservations to a Zamboni ride at a Blackhawks game to shipping a 1995 Chevy to Saudi Arabia, according to a Tribune profile. “You can log into OpenTable and make a reservation,” Shannon Boland, a concierge at the LondonHouse hotel, told the newspaper. “We can call the owners, and there’s a glass of bubbly waiting for you at your table. Your table’s by the window.” They’re also tasked with challenges like helping members of the Cleveland Symphony get to Symphony Center during protests. [Tribune]

  • Andy’s Jazz Club will transform into a La La Land-themed pop-up Tuesday

Andy’s Jazz Club in River North will transform Tuesday into Seb’s, the jazz club from La La Land, to promote the acclaimed movie’s digital and Blu-ray release. Admission to Seb’s (even a neon sign bearing the name will be put up temporarily) will cost $15, and there will be four shows during the evening. [Eater Chicago]