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February 2013 Archives

The way we were (file pix)

The warmth of the printed word still burns at the City Newsstand, 4018 N. Cicero, the largest magazine stand in the midwest.
Associate manager Mike Oelrich estimates there are 3,500 magazines in the store along with a couple hundred books. This link ain't flimsy either.

One of my earliest journalism imprints were shaped as a teenager in suburban Chicago. I would take the Burlington-Northern train into the city to visit my father in his Swift & Company office, 115 W. Jackson. I would then jump on an El to head to Wrigley Field to watch Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins.

I passed several corner newsstands on my journey. I loved everything about them. They were my storefront windows into a magical world.
I loved the newshawks with cigars the size of naval submarines. I loved newspapers from far away places. Like St. Louis. I liked the soft porn. I loved the Chicago Daily News and the writing style of M.W. Newman.
Almost all of the Chicago corner newsstands went away, like doves in a deep blue sky. (There is still a modest newsstand at Division and Ashland).

But City Newsstand remained.
I thought it would be fun to do one of our weekly video-docs on the City Newsstand. The incongruity of digital and the printed word seemed interesting to me.

I hope you like the enjoy the work of award-winning Sun-Times videographer Jon Sall, who has a keen ability to absorb his subject while maintaining the patience to tell a story--- just like his print predecessors at the Daily News.

I learned that business is up at City News, especially after a 10-month expansion included a full espresso bar, cookies and chocolate truffles made by employee Donna Kosiba for the new City News Cafe. The cafe opened in August. The City Newsstand is owned by Joe Angelastri, who also owns the Chicago-Main Newsstand in Evanston......

Cleetie far left

Funeral services for songbird Cleotha Staples will be at 10 a.m. March 1 at Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St.

Cleotha, the eldest member of the Chicago-based Staple Singers singing group died Feb. 20 in her south side home. She was 78. She had suffered from Alzheimer's Disease for 12 years .

Visitation will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at Leak & Sons Funeral Home, 7838 S. Cottage Grove. [(773) 846-6567] Burial will be at Oak Woods Cemetery, 1035 E. 67th, the resting place of her father Roebuck "Pops" Staples, who died in 2000.

Although she had been inactive from touring for many years, Cleotha's imprint was always part of the group musically and spiritually. She sang on the group's first hit, 1957's "Uncloudy Day" recorded for Vee-Jay Records in Chicago as well as the family's best known hits for Stax: "Respect Yourself" and "I'll Take You There." One of her final recordings with Pops was the groups' edgy 1984 cover of the Talking Heads "Slippery People."

In an e-mail over the weekend Mavis Staples recalled one of the favorite stories of her beloved sister:
"Pops left Cleedie in a service station," she wrote. "We all got out of the car while she was sleeping. Meanwhile Cleedie awoke and went in (the station). We all thought she was still under the coats sleeping. Pops decided to put her favorite record on. In the car we had a little '45 record player. He wanted to wake her up. After she didn't wake up we noticed she was not with us."

Mavis figured the family had driven about 40 miles. Mavis hipped Pops to the fact they probably left Cleedie behind.
"He turned around and was speeding so fast, the police stopped him," Mavis wrote. "Right away he told the police he didn't have time, he had left his daughter at the service station. The policeman led us back to the service station. When we got back Cleedi was standing IN the door with a head full of pink rollers in her hair and wearing her house slippers. Pops told the story at the program that night. Big laugh from the audience. Of course, Yvonne (sister) and I cracked up all the way to wherever we were going."

Cleotha's favorite record?

The Williams Brothers 1969 gospel hit "Sweep Around Your Own Front Door."

DJ Baauer.

"The Harlem Shake" has finally made it to Chicago.

The dance track popularized by DJ Bauuer is moving and grooving through Chicago Public Schools. The kids tell me it hit town about a week ago. "The Harlem Shake" has become a YouTube sensation with the wacky videos that wind looking like a up like a blown out Pac Man machine. Okay, I'm showing my age.

Jones College Prep, 606 S. State wants to stay on top of these things. After school on Friday the students organized the shake in the school courtyard.
I was tipped to this Friday morning from my friend Angelo Varias whose daughter attends Jones.
Once I got to the school I saw Angelo hiding in a corner laughing at me.

Here is Jon Sall's steady video of the Jones students performing "The Harlem Shake."
Check out the girl in the tree.

The students had the blessing of principal Dr. Joseph Powers.
Wow. I got in trouble at Naperville Central High School for starting a fake Astronomy & Cosmos Club on yearbook photo day. Just like in the videos, Dr. Powers led off with a solo act. That's how the dance begins before the bass drops and all hell breaks loose. Dr. Powers wore a St. Louis Cardinals baseball jersey to honor the recently departed Cardinals great Stan Musial.

Stan played the harmonica.

This was the most fun I had this week. Jon says we should do "The Harlem Shake" in the Sun-Times newsroom.

Thank you Jones students.

Granny Basketball 2.jpg
Sun-Times photos by Jon Sall

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa---The women who play Granny Basketball rarely get called for traveling.
They keep one foot planted in a youthful past.

The ladies are between the ages of 50 and 87. The Grannies play by 1923 rules. There are only two dribbles per possession per player. They play six on six and if there are any issues with that, players refer to their 58-page "Joy of Six" handbook.
They trash talk about quilting.
A double dribble is something they see with their grandchildren.......

Cubs fan Buddy Guy knows the blues. Sun-Times photo by Tom Cruze

The Cubs are looking for a new modernized theme song.

I would worry more about my third baseman.

As a Cubs fan since 1966, here is my top ten list for some Wrigley Field anthems.
I will leave Kanye West's "Power" and other rap selections to other departments. And really, how many young black people do you see at Wrigley Field?

10. "Do You Believe in Magic," Lovin' Spoonful

9. "The Waiting," Tom Petty and the Heartbrearkers

8. "All Along the Watchtower," Jimi Hendrix (It would sound so cool. Especially that line about how "There much be some way out of here, said the Joker to the Theo.)

7. "Rum and Coca Cola," The Andrews Sisters 1945 hit---the last time the Cubs were in a World Series.

6. "Why Don't We Get Drunk and Screw," Jimmy Buffett (the point of going to Wrigleyville after a 101 loss season, bonus points for Buffett being the first major act to play Wrigley.)

5. "Pride & Joy," Stevie Ray Vaughan

4. "Hungry Heart," Bruce Springsteen (Lay down your money and you play your part--I've been a season ticket holder since '85.)

3 "Mannish Boy," Muddy Waters (and Buddy Guy is a Cubs fan. Or try his own "Look What All You Got" about that strange thing on his shoulder...hopefully not a torn ligament.)

2. "Forever in Blue Jeans," Neil Diamond (Tom Ricketts rips off everything else from Boston, might as well go Cubbie blue with Fenway's love of Neil)

1. "It's A Long Way To The Top," AC/DC

You find all sorts of surprises at the annual Chicago Auto Show.
Like what happened to my favorite Pontiac booth?

Pretty ironic there's not much on street parking near McCormick Place, where the auto show runs through Feb. 18.
What ever happened to yellow-lime green cars?

My excellent videographer Jon Sall and I wandered around the auto show last night asking this surprise question:

Of course this is a fine excuse to slip in this excellent road song:

Feel free to leave your car memories here......

Gary Busey is a Bully

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(L to R) Connie Valens, Carlos Santana, Erma Norton (Courtesy of Connie Valens)

My favorite Ritchie Valens song is "Come On, Let's Go."
And that's what I would have said to Gary Busey as he bullied Valens' sisters Connie Valens and Erma Norton after the annual Feb. 2 Winter Dance Party at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Ia.

Valens confirmed the brush-up in a Monday conversation from her home in Arnolds Park, Ia.

She needed time to decompress from the event but vowed (with a touch of irony) to get her "big brother" Carlos Santana after Busey........

Gary Busey Tommy Allsup.jpg
Gary and Tommy Allsup, Sun-Times photo by Jon Sall

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa---A moment of silence is offered at the end of the "Winter Dance Party" at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake. The annual concert commemorates the Feb. 3, 1959 airplane crash that killed rock n' roll stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson, along with their pilot. Their final show was at the Surf.

The moment of silence would have been better suited for this year's headliner Gary Busey.

Busey portrayed Holly in the acclaimed 1978 film "The Buddy Holly Story." On Saturday night (Feb.2) Busey fronted a four-piece band that included Holly's original guitarist Tommy Allsup. Wearing thick black rimmed Buddy Holly type glasses, Busey staggered through Holly hits like "Rave On" and "Peggy Sue."......

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.


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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

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March 2013 is the next archive.

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