Hi from the tail end of a Wilco weekend in Chicago.
Wilco is about to play their third night at the Riviera Theatre in a run with no repeats (and Horsegirl opening!). Then they head to New York for three nights at the Capitol Theatre.
They sound amazing, yes, but/and they also have a new set design, made of zillions of draped fibers, on which projectors display video. They’re draped at different depths of the stage which gives a cool, multidimensional effect. Lights and sets aren’t the main attractions of these shows, of course, but a lot of work goes into them so it’s fun to highlight a new design.
In other Spoonnews, Casey and I canvassed for mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson yesterday. We didn’t end up interacting with very many people, but we got some literature on some doorsteps. One man opened his door and told us, basically, he wished he could vote for Mayor Daley again (that’s the 22-year mayor whose tenure is rivaled in corruption and length only by his dad’s 21-year mayoralty). Chicago!
I see this mayoral runoff as a dispute between two types of economic thinking.
One says that a city is doing well when corporations and startups are moving their offices there, taking advantage of well-resourced downtown areas, drawn in by tax breaks. The city hopes those high-income workers will grow the tax base enough to pay for the breaks and, charitably, buy coffee and tacos from neighborhoods other than the ones they live in. Call this what it is: trickle-down mayoring. It’s not just for Thatcherites!
The other school of thought says the true metric of the economic health of a city is whether people can afford to live in their homes while working all sorts of jobs, and afford to stay there when they deal with life’s crises. Call this bottom-up mayoring.
The city created by the former school of thought is unstable, hollow, subject to a slow bottoming out as the government inevitably raises property taxes on families and landlords in order to pay for those corporate incentives.
The city created by the latter school of thought is stable, full of long-term economic growth underwritten by actual economic exchange, rather than loans and incentives that have no profitability to back them up.
Neither Brandon Johnson nor Paul Vallas, the two candidates in this mayoral runoff, is all-trickle or all-bottom. Vallas’s campaign platform calls for investing in the neighborhoods, but his record as a public school superintendent saw him open the district to privatization and take out predatory loans to close budget gaps on paper (without regard for the pension crisis it would create, and putting Chicagoans on the hook for $1.5 billion of interest). Conversely, Johnson’s campaign platform is full of bottom-up policies like a new city council process for affordable housing development and reinstatement of the Big Business Head Tax which, along with a Jet Fuel Tax and Mansion Tax, would generate $800 million in revenue for city programs.
Maybe the most important thing you should know, if you live and vote in Chicago, is that Brandon Johnson has a robust public safety plan that does NOT include defunding the police, but rather calls for hiring more detectives, funding root-cause programs (with smart financing like that mentioned above), reopening the city’s 14 closed mental health centers, and building a new crisis response program so that cops don’t have to do social work, which currently makes up the majority of 911 calls. A plan based on the Treatment Not Trauma referendum that received 93% support (!) in the 2022 midterm.
I’ve lived in Chicago my entire life (yes, the city), attended public school, and witness daily the effects of the siphoning of wealth from the South, West, and even Northwest Sides. We need someone who knows how to take care of people, in our neighborhoods, if we want to be safe. Brandon Johnson is more likely to do that.
Lookit this vintage book my mom found at the thrift store. Atlas of Radical Pelvic Surgery.
I’d show you photos from the interior but they are really photos of the interior and you don’t want to see that. You’ll have to settle for the incredible mid-cench abstract-pelvis cover.
On Thursday I recorded saxophone by my friend Hunter Diamond for an upcoming song of mine. How quickly “upcoming” I’m not really sure. It could be the first song I share in this newsletter or I might wait until I have other finished ones in the pile, ready to go. Wait, that’s exactly what I professed I shouldn’t do in the first post of this newsletter? That I should stop letting this, that, whatever postpone the making and sharing of new stuff? Hmm 🧐
Also cute from this week: Chet, Henry, and Max sniffing a fancy Le Labo Santal 26 candle.
That’s it for this week. Thank you for being here.
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There’s some doubt whether Paul Vallas even actually lives in Chicago these days.
Great you are out supporting a candidate who is progressive.....we need young ins like you two sharing thoughtful information politics wise more and more. Weighing things up.....considering options....making choices based on investigation and thinking it through..... we need more of that world wide! Oh and just release the song......you know that’s what you set out to do.....not wait......unless your heart n gut tell you to wait....then wait!!😎
Thank you both for fully participating in our democracy!