Chicagosphere

June 2009 Archives

Jeff Ramone's Supersensibly Perceptive Gay Ten Commandments

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

3546850402_afc06a7ff2_m(Photo credit: Jeff Ramone.)

Even on Chicago's Gay Pride weekend, some queers don't run with the crowd. Such is the case with Jeff Ramone, a Lakeview blogger and licensed massage therapist (a real one, folks) with a sardonic style that doesn't take the status quo--gay or otherwise--for granted. For months, I've watched him lay out his complex life in unsentimental yet compelling detail on his memoir blog, Supersensible Perceptions (update 10/5/09: now  The Ungay Gay). It's his recent down-from-the-mountain take on the concept of gay pride that really caught my attention.

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Don't [Blank] Around with The Daily Blank

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

dailyblank[Update: Based on suggestions made here on Chicagosphere, the Daily Blank editors have made or are exploring improvements to their site. For more, see this comment.]

"F*** you, I'm from here!" Such was the reply from Justin Vestal, a staff writer at The Daily Blank, Chicago's new news satire site that yesterday launched into beta. Sitting down with their stable of comedy bloggers earlier this month, I had asked him what people should make of the fact that this Windy City-centric comedy blog got its start--and seed funding--from an Iowa newspaper. His response was instructive: don't [blank] around with the Daily Blank.

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How to Be a Healthy "Hottie" with ChronicBabe.com

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

chronicbabeJenni Prokopy is not to be underestimated. Founder and "editirix" of ChronicBabe.com, a Chicago-based blog about young women experiencing chronic health issues, since June 2005 she has chronicled her personal journey with persistent illness. Along the way, she's provided messages of hope for young women suffering in a similar way. Her mantra in the midst of it all? Never forget the babe that you are.

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Chicagosphere's Mike Doyle Calls for Community Blogger Strategy Day on Outside the Loop Radio

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

OTLradioToday, WLUW 88.7-FM's indie audio magazine, Outside the Loop RADIO, interviews Yours Truly sending out a call to action to local bloggers. As I wrote in these virtual pages, last week I participated in a major local media conference and attended another. Both were aimed at finding ways to make online news sustainable in the Windy City.

Trouble is, future sustainability didn't turn out to be much of a topic at either. Worse, even with the release of a major report (also covered on Chicagosphere) touting the growing importance of community-oriented websites for disseminating local news, the blogosphere was given short shrift at both events, as well.

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Scotty's Got an Awesome Blog

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

scottyiseriWhen mediabistro reported the firing of Scotty Iseri last week, it seemed like a golden era of Windy City videoblogging hijinks might be coming to a close. Last June after seven years as a freelance foley artist (that's sound designer to you and me), Iseri launched Scotty Got an Office Job (SGAOJ), a hysterically sneaky video blog lampooning the absurdity of corporate-cubicle culture recorded from inside his workplace (with lots of nifty post-production thrown in). 


This month, Iseri's bosses--collectively code-named "Brian Boquist"--got wind of the blog, accused him of corporate insurrection, and summarily canned him. Fools. Had they done their due diligence in the first place, they might have known the hard-to-bridle creative powerhouse they were dealing with.

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Bloggers Respond to Chicago Media Future Conference

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

cmfc[Ed. note--6/18/09: This post will be occasionally updated to link back to additional perspectives from the coference.]

On Saturday, the Windy City's media community convened for the second time in less than a week to discuss its collective chance for survival, this time at the Chicago Media Future Conference. Whether the effort achieved its aim has been the subject of much blogosphere debate since the last attendee staggered away from the post-conference happy hour at Wabash Tap.

Organized by Mike Fourcher, founder of Purely Political Consulting, Barbara Iverson, Columbia College journalism professor and publisher of ChicagoTalks.org, and Scott Smith, Senior Editor at Playboy.com, in the immediate wake of Community Media Workshop's Making Media Connections 2009, Saturday's conference stood the chance of launching a substantive debate about future sustainability for the increasingly web-centric local- and niche-news community. Whether that actually came to pass is unclear.

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Urbanophile Blog Blasts Nichols Bridgeway

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

monroestreet--aaron renn(Photo: Lifeless Monroe Street beyond Nichols Bridgeway.Credit: Aaron Renn.)

In May, I threw down the charge for local bloggers to set aside starchitect fandom in their reviews of Renzo Piano's new Art Institute of Chicago Modern Wing. This week, Aaron Renn, author of the widely noted urban-analysis blog, The Urbanophile, took up the challenge. A fan of the Modern Wing's exterior, in an epic post, Renn considers the elevated Nichols Bridgeway and Monroe streetscape, below, in the same copious detail for which his blog has become known in national planning circles. And much like the mood of one local critic after reading my original post, Renn does not come away happy.

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Flaying Daley Daily on the Windy Citizen

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

annatarkovA blogger with time on her hands is a dangerous thing, especially when that blogger is political wonk Anna Tarkov. Her Daily Daley column has determinedly dogged Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley's every move in the virtual pages of The Windy Citizen since October 2008. Given da mare's comically tortured turns-of-phrase and teeny degrees of separation from scandal, Tarkov's reason for shadowing his activities is surprising: before Daily Daley, no other blogger was doing it.

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Meet the Blogosphere

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

cmw_tnn_cover2We'll be back to our regularly scheduled blogosphere love-fest next week, as your pitches of nifty, interesting local website continue to roll in (keep 'em coming, folks!) But as I continue to come down from the high (and sleeplessness) of participating in Chicago's largest annual independent media conference, Making Media Connections 2009, I realize one key theme kept coming up at the conference that's worth considering.

Not the fact that community- and niche-focused websites are moving to the forefront of local news in the Windy City, though as research showed this week, that is happening. What surprised me much more was the incomplete understanding of the basic nature of the Internet expressed by more than a few conference participants.

So ladies and gentlemen of Chicago's traditional, bricks-and-mortar news media and public relations infrastructure, let me introduce you to the fundamental criteria that govern the most important element of the future of American news media. Folks, it's time to meet the blogosphere.

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Local Blogs Among Chicago's Top Niche News Sites According to New Report

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

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Congratulations to local blogs Gapers Block, Chicagoist, CTA Tattler, District 299, Urbanophile, Chicago Carless, 600 Words, and Marathon Pundit, who feature among Chicago's top-20 community-based news sites according to a report released today by grassroots media-relations training organization Community Media Workshop and commissioned by the Chicago Community Trust.

The report, The New News: Journalism We Want and Need (PDF link), examines the state of online community news in Chicago, in the face of declining local coverage by the city's traditional daily newspapers.

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News from the Flip Front: The World According to Jasmine Davila

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

im_delicious--jasminedavila(Photo credit: Jasmine Davila.)

Jasmine Davila is a frank blogger. Occasionally a frankfurter, depending on her mood. For the past nine years (you read that right), she's been scribing News from the Flip Front, her "multi-blogular" tale of life as a writer, tech geek, TV-obsessed, non-driving, all-around awesome Asian diva living on the North Side of Chicago. She'd like the fries to go, with a little aioli.

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Have Bike, Will Travel: Jennifer's General Carlessness

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

hydeparkjuniorbikerack--jennifergeneralcarlessness(Photo credit: Jennifer.)

Jennifer, scribe of the blog, General Carlessness, is one of those Chicagoans who rides her bike year round and lives to tell the tale. Irrespective of the autumnal weather Chicago's been under since Memorial Day, technically we're in the heart of cycling season. As always, with the coming of allegedly warm summer temperatures, out roll this town's less-stalwart cyclists who've spent the Windy City's chillier months taking transit to work. These seasonal pishers just crowd the beloved bike lanes Jennifer plys year-round.

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Amid the Ruins: Photoblogs of Yesterday's Chicago

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

Falling Down(Photo Credit: Devyn Caldwell.)

We live in a photogenic city here in the nation's architecture capital. But there's a subset of Chicago bloggers who prefer to snap shots of a seldom-seen Windy City. These photobloggers concentrate on the urban ruins, forgotten buildings, and unsung spaces well off of most people's radar screens. Here are six local photoblogs that take a look at things from a decidedly different perspective.

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Community Beat: A New Model for Neighborhood News?

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

lisccommunitybeatIn answer to the question posed in the headline, not necessarily, but a great effort nonetheless. Community Beat is the group blog put together by the citywide community development teams from the MacArthur Foundation-financed Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) New Communities Program (NCP). (Did you get all that?)

Since 1998, NCP has rolled out resident-centric planning initiatives in 16 challenged neighborhoods on the Northwest, West, and South Sides of Chicago. Community Beat is a forum for LISC staffers to share news and updates about those NCP neighborhoods, and it works wonderfully in that regard. But, as its organizers claim, is it really a better model than plain old "citizen journalism"?

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Drive-Thru: Chicago's Foodie Food Blog

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Mike Doyle

Since 2005 scribe of the local blog, Chicago Carless. I invite you to visit.

drivethru Gapers Block Drive-Thru is the food blog I'd like to have on a desert island. Even without the actual eateries to satisfy my palate on that humble, hidden isle, the honesty of the food and drink descriptions by this volunteer team of Windy City foodie bloggers is surely powerful enough to break anyone out of their gastronomic rut. No personified soccer ball required.

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