By Harold Henderson

What’s worse, they hold the roof up. From the Renaissance Society on South Ellis, describing a current installation by Austrian sculptor Heimo Zobernig: “His favorite medium are [sic] walls, literally those comprising a gallery space. In their role as architectural barriers, or as support for murals and easel paintings, walls are guilty of defining spaces both illusory and real.”

Things sprawl fighters don’t want to know. UIC architectural historian Robert Bruegmann, in his chapter of the new book Preparing for the Urban Future: “The history of cities in both Europe and the United States, since at least the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, has been marked by a process in which the amenities once possessed only by the rich have gradually been acquired by a broad middle class. Of these amenities, few have been as important as privacy, the ability to control one’s surroundings….

Critics paint a picture of a continuous and wasteful process of abandonment and deterioration as more affluent populations continue to move outward. The same process could be described in quite a different fashion. From the perspective of the African American or Latino moving from an inner-city neighborhood to a once middle-class white neighborhood, this is not deterioration but a marked improvement.”

I’m looking forward to the native Antarcticans in their traditional black-and-white garb. The Chicago Children’s Museum on Navy Pier expects that its tenth annual International Children’s Fest on Memorial Day weekend will include “over 25 performers representing countries from all seven continents.”

Does Illinois’ 1995 state budget have (A) a $101 million surplus, (B) a $341 million deficit, (C) an $81 million surplus, or (D) a $1.2 billion deficit? According to Tax Facts (April), it “depends on how one defines ‘balanced.'” Just for the record, though, if you use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) the correct answer is D.

Brave new world that has such moldy books in it. In a “preliminary version” (April 15) of a paper that was widely circulated on the Internet, Andrew Odlyzko laments that new London and Paris libraries cost at least twice as much to build as it would have cost to computerize all their books instead. “In a more rational world, the money going into bricks and mortar would have gone into scanning the books, which would have provided much more rapid and convenient access to the data for scholars. The physical volumes themselves could be housed in cheap warehouses, for the rare occasions when they might have to be consulted.”

Another reason to keep up with local politics. Shortly after Alderman Vilma Colom got “Polish Village” street signs up on Milwaukee Avenue, one was stolen. A few months later, according to the West Logan Square Newsletter (April), “Ald. Colom and Cheryl Wiesneth were heading to a ‘Pancake Day Breakfast.’ They stopped at the light on the corner of Kimball and Milwaukee. There was a man standing at the corner attempting to sell the same sign….The alderman asked for the sign and the guy wanted $20.00.”

Statements that do not surprise. “I don’t even really hear the music,” WRCX shock jock Mancow Muller tells R&R (March 8). “To me, all music is just a chance to go take a shit.” Strange–that’s how I feel when the DJ comes on.

“Every issue has more than two sides,” according to a recent press release from a local feminist book publishing company, Third Side Press. The company has 20 books in print and zero paid employees and observes its fifth anniversary next month.

That would be 800 out-of-staters driving to Chicago so they can bicycle in the dark. Friends of the Parks reports that about 8 percent of the riders in its L.A.T.E. (Long After Twilight Ends) ride last year came from Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, and other nearby states. This year the group expects a total of 10,000 riders to cycle 25 miles, starting on the stroke of midnight July 14 at Buckingham Fountain.

No comment. From Crain’s Chicago Business (April 29): “Formerly a maker of fish attractant and insect repellent, the company [Female Health Company]– which recently moved to Chicago from Wisconsin–now concentrates on a female condom.”

Things pacifists don’t want to know. Martha Manning reflects in the Chicago-based Salt of the Earth (May/June) on the time she was ready to fight for her movie seats: “Most of the time what I claim as mine is not disputed….Apart from the occasional tussle with my 17-year-old about who actually owns the lipstick, blouse, or shoes she’s wearing, what’s mine is unquestionably mine. It gives me the illusion of being a generous, peaceful being–so different from those millions of people all over the world who can’t settle their boundary disputes. But I am a pacifist not because of any internal enlightenment, but mainly just because I am rarely transgressed against.”

Thanks, Mom. Attorney and former judge Susan Getzendanner tells Today’s Chicago Woman (May) that her mother’s precollege advice was to “drink your whiskey neat, because if you mix it with anything bubbly, you’ll get sick.” “So I drank everything straight,” she recalls, “and at the end of the first year, I was on probation.”

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Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.