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May , 2017
Thursday

  GTS culminates its seventh summer with a free, open-to-the-public showcase of students’ work, July 29 ...
Cabinet Room 12:01 P.M. EST "Neither the American, nor Cuban people are well served by a ...
Letters to Editors   From: The Twin Cities GDC  Victim still in Harborview Hospital Shooter is well-known right ...
Attorney General Distributes Funds from National Foreclosure Settlement Over Banks’ Illegal “Robo-signing,” Servicing Practices   CHICAGO, IL – ...
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois State Rep. La Shawn K. Ford (D-8th) Chicago, held a press ...
WASHINGTON, D. C. – More than a dozen rallies have been scheduled from coast to ...
Like DeVos and Sessions, Nominees Records are At Odds with Agency Missions The NAACP released ...
Edwardsville — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan visited with representatives of Southern Illinois University at ...
CHICAGO, IL - In response to reports of the scandal-fraught red light camera system, state ...
Bank's Lawyers at San Francisco Severson & Werson LLP Embrace Felon Convicted for Bid Rigging ...

Archive for the ‘Other News’ Category

Illinois Department on Aging recognizes Older Americans Month

Posted by Admin On May - 9 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Department considers this month’s theme as a call to action

Springfield, IL – What does it mean to blaze a trail? To the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA), blazing a trail means evolving to better meet the needs of our growing older adult population and creating a sustainable path for older adults in Illinois – today and for many more years to come. As we celebrate Older Americans Month, IDoA is embracing this year’s theme – Blaze a Trail – and using it as our call to action.

“Older Americans Month is an important month for us to celebrate the contributions of older adults and raise awareness about the issues facing our community,” remarked IDoA Director, Jean Bohnhoff. “We’re being challenged to keep pace with technology and a growing aging population; the Department is meeting that challenge head on and, working with the Rauner Administration, we believe we’ve found the right solution to avoiding premature institutionalization while maintaining the sustainability of critical programs,” she continued.

Director Bohnhoff is a trailblazer in her own right, coming from the provider community and joining IDoA earlier this year. She encourages IDoA staff to think outside the box and develop innovative and creative new ways to interact with providers and advocates across the network and improve service delivery for our clients.

IDoA recognizes the contributions of local trailblazers year-round through awards programs such as the Senior Hall of Fame and our Caregiver Awards.

“Blazing a trail means taking action, moving forward and paving a way for others to follow. We’re doing that at IDoA and we’re optimistic about what that means for our state and our older adult population,” said Bohnhoff.

As Puerto Rico Debt Crisis Worsens, Community Demands Federal Government Side With Families, Not Banks

Posted by Admin On January - 6 - 2016 ADD COMMENTS

Group Warns State of Illinois, Chicago Public Schools, and City of Chicago Headed Down Same Path Unless Legislators Stand Up to Wall Street Banks and Hedge Funds

CHICAGO, IL – On the eve of Three Kings Day (El Día De Los Reyes), a diverse coalition of groups held a press conference to call on the Federal Reserve to use its authority to offer debt relief to Puerto Rico to put an end to the painful austerity measures and harsh cuts that Puerto Ricans have been forced to live with for years.

At the start of this year, Puerto Rico failed to make a $174 million payment on the $72 billion in total debt owed by the island. Without bankruptcy protection and action by the Federal Reserve the island’s unsustainable debt load could trigger more disastrous austerity measures.

In an attempt to stave off its Wall Street and hedge fund creditors, Puerto Rico already has laid off 30,000 public sector workers, jumped the sales tax from 7 to 11.5%, closed 150 schools and says it may have to close another 600 (nearly half of the 1,387 that currently remain) over the next five years. Speaking to the current crisis on the island, State Senator Iris Martinez (D-20), who is also a member of national steering committee of the Puerto Rican Agenda, pointed out, “As the humanitarian crisis deepens, the poverty rate showed an even greater gap, with 45 percent of the island’s residents living under the federal poverty line, compared to 16 percent on the mainland.”

This crisis on the island was created by years of irresponsible policies pushed by Wall Street banks and stamped by the federal government, heaving unsustainable debt on the island.

“Wall Street banks pushed Puerto Rico deeper and deeper into debt even though they knew the island would not be able to pay it off,” said Saqib Bhatti, director of the ReFund America Project and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. “There’s a term for that: predatory lending.”

These predatory lending deals primarily included bad interest swap deals and have cost Puerto Rico nearly $640 million, and other complex financing schemes like capital appreciation bonds and the island’s “extraconstitutional” debt. These are the same types of bad deals that many governmental entities on the mainland have also found themselves locked into following the recession including the City of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, and State of Illinois.

“Illinois is in a very similar boat to Puerto Rico right now: we are also in an unprecedented budget crisis in which we the social safety net is being shredded so that banks can get their checks on the first and fifteenth of every month,” stated Amisha Patel, Executive Director of Grassroots Collaborative. “In both instances we see families getting cut and Wall Street banks being paid. We have member organizations that have had to lay off staff, implement furlough days, or cut programs and services because the state of Illinois is not paying it’s bills. Meanwhile Illinois is still on pace to pay out $588 million to Wall Street banks despite not having a state budget.”  

The City of Chicago and Chicago Public Schools are also on the hook from these predatory deals. Together they have either already paid or owe Wall Street firms like Bank of America $1.2 billion for toxic interest rate swaps. As a result of resources being drained by these bad bank deals Chicago Public Schools has closed schools, cut special education, and is now threatening to layoff 5,000 teachers.

“In Chicago and in San Juan, predatory deals profiting the big banks have been responsible for scores of school closings and cuts. In Illinois and on the island we’ve watched hedge fund billionaires spend their cash to buy political influence, influence they’ve used to protect profits, hand out tax breaks, and issue calls for students and teachers to sacrifice even more. We must stop Bank of America and the others from robbing our children’s futures and we stand with those demanding action to put the future of the Puerto Rican people ahead of profits,” stated Maria Cosme, member of the Chicago Teachers Union.

From Chicago to San Juan, our elected officials should be putting the needs of families ahead of wealthy Wall Street banks and hedge funds. Grassroots Collaborative remains committed to fighting back against financial institutions attempting to turn human suffering into profit.

Grassroots Collaborative is Action Now, American Friends Service Committee – Great Lakes Region, Brighton Park Neighborhood Council, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Chicago Teachers Union, Enlace Chicago, Illinois Hunger Coalition, Jane Addams Senior Caucus, ONE Northside, Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois Indiana

Bravo Media’s “Thicker Than Water” Season Two to Premiere on New Date Sunday, January 4 at 9 P.M/ ET/PT

Posted by Admin On December - 26 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS
New York, NY (BlackNews.com) — Bravo Media’s “Thicker Than Water” season two will premiere on Sunday, January 4 at 9 PM ET/PT. Season two features the unpredictable Tankard clan as they continue to live their lives as best as they can with their strong religious convictions at hand. Ben and Jewel Tankard are back, leading their self-proclaimed “Black Brady Bunch” family with children Brooklyn, Britney, Benji, and Cyrene. Joining the family in the “Tankard Palace” is Bens oldest son, Marcus, who returns to Tennessee with his wife, Tish, to a warm welcome from everyone – except Britney.Beginning Monday, January 5 through Friday, January 9, fans can join the Tankard Family throughout the week for a series of live Facebook Q&As on the Thicker Than Water Facebook Page. Viewers will get the inside scoop on the family, the drama and what to expect from the upcoming season.

Preacher and patriarch Ben celebrates a year of milestones this season as he turns 50 and his 25th anniversary in music is fast approaching. At the same time, he deals with the twists and turns that come with fatherhood. The real ruler of the household, Jewel, faces what the kids are calling a midlife crisis as she copes with her golden girl and youngest, Cyrene, leaving for college and a rift with her sister that threatens to divide the family. The eldest daughter of the Tankard clan, Brooklyn, finallycomes into her own as an entrepreneur, channeling big ideas into money-making opportunities and taking the hair industry by storm.

Healthier than ever, Britney embarks on a transformative fitness journey, and when the return of Marcus opens up old wounds, she stands ready to confront her traumatic past. Recently married Benji is motivated to follow in his fathers financially successful footsteps while itching to start a family of his own. An old soul and born leader, Marcus is more concerned with making a difference than with making millions, and when his family discovers the secret he brought home with him, it changes the Tankards forever. For a sneak peek at the series, visit: www.bravotv.com/thicker-than-water/season-2/videos/first-look-thicker-than-water-season-2

“Thicker Than Water” is produced by Sirens Media with Rebecca Toth Diefenbach, Valerie Haselton Drescher and Lucilla DAgostino serving as Executive Producers and John Doe Productions with Renard Young and Darren Toon serving as Executive Producers.

About Bravo TV
Bravo is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal, one of the worlds leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Bravo has been an NBCUniversal cable network since December 2002 and was the first television service dedicated to film and the performing arts when it launched in December 1980. For more information, visit www.BravoTV.com. Follow them on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BravoPR.

About Liquid Soul
Liquid Soul is a fullservice Marketing and Publicity agency that creates compelling 360 degree integrated marketing campaigns that reach consumers where they live, work, play, shop, socialize, meet, chill, flirt, dance, cheer, empower themselves and have fun! They are experts at insights-based integrated marketing communications campaigns. They build positive brand reputation, amplify brandtoconsumer engagement and connect consumers via core passion points of influence that deliver immediate and longterm brand value. For more info, visit www.goliquidsoul.com

 

Ronald W. Walters Election Day Command Center to Monitor Black Voter Turnout and Conditions at the Polls

Posted by Admin On November - 3 - 2014 1 COMMENT

Media Conference calls with state coordinators on the ground at

1:30 PM and 6:30 PM

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (NCBCP), Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University, Black Women’s Roundtable, Black Youth Vote, and Howard University Student Association (HUSA) will host the Ronald Walters Election Day Command Center (RWCC) on Tuesday Nov. 4, 2014, at Howard University. The command center team will monitor, track and communicate with on-the-ground field operations in selected states to ensure ‘real time’ reporting and trending, analyze voter turnout reports, and analyze election results. The RWCC will also track issues and problems at the polls.

The Command Center is linked with field operations in Georgia, Michigan, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Arkansas. The Center will also track and report on elections in Alabama, Maryland, Pennsylvania and other states. HUSA representatives will coordinate with student leaders at other HBCUs to report on college student engagement in the election.

WHO: The National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center, Howard University, Black Women’s Roundtable, Black Youth Vote, Howard University Student Association, A. Philip Randolph Institute, National African American Clergy Network
WHAT: Ronald Walters Election Day Command Center

WHERE: Howard University Campus – Carnegie Building Conference Room A,  Carnegie Building, 1st Floor, Howard University, 2395 6th Street, NW, DC
WHEN: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014

CONFERENCE CALLS WITH STATE COORDINATORS:
Press Call-In Conference Calls:
1:3O P.M., 6:30 P.M.
(for call in # and pass code RSVP in advance to Edrea edmedia@dogonvillage.com or (818) 613-9521)

COMMAND CENTER & WATCH PARTY: 9 A.M. – 11:30 PM
(Space is limited please RSVP in advance to Edrea edmedia@dogonvillage.com)
TIME: 10 A.M. – 11:30 P.M.

NOTE TO MEDIA: Coordinators and leaders are available for one-on-one interviews during the day. Contact edmedia@dogonvillage.com. You can also follow activity on twitter with the hashtag #vote4justice and #sistersvote

About NCBCP

Founded in 1976, NCBCP is a 501c3, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to increasing civic engagement and voter participation in Black and underserved communities. The women’s initiative, BWR stays at the forefront of championing just and equitable public policy on behalf of Black women and girls. Established in 1996 to address the chronic decline in Black youth voter participation, Black Youth Vote! has served as one of the leading youth-led movements focused on training the next generation of civic leaders and organizers, and increasing Black youth voter participation and engagement.

About Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center at Howard University
The Ronald W. Walters Leadership and Public Policy Center was established by Howard University to serve as a focal point for research, publications, service, policy discussions and leadership development activities in areas involving the engagement of African Americans in the U.S. political process and in U.S. national and foreign policy. The Center is an interdisciplinary center that will preserve the legacy of Dr. Ronald Walters, a scholar-activist who conducted research, served as a mentor to students and political leaders, provided strategic direction and thinking in the political and civic arenas, was a prolific writer and served as a political commentator. It is envisioned that the Walters Center will become the premier academic center for research and publications on policy issues that directly impact the global black community.

Madigan: New Charges Against Premier Bank Board Members in Criminal Fraud Scheme

Posted by Admin On November - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Attorney General Alleges Fraud by Former Board Members of Wilmette Bank against U.S. Treasury Fund, First Midwest Bank

CHICAGO, IL — Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan  joined with the Special Inspector General for the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to announce new charges against two former members of the board of directors of the Wilmette-based Premier Bank for defrauding First Midwest Bank and the Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

Madigan announced the new charges against Zulfikar Esmail and his wife Shamim Esmail, both of Evanston, following indictments last year for a scheme to defraud TARP of $6.8 million and which cost the FDIC $64.1 million when the bank failed on March 23, 2012. The new charges allege more fraud was committed during the pair’s time on the Premier Bank board – an $8.1 million loan from First Midwest Bank in 2009 and additionally, Shamim Esmail’s obtaining more than $1 million in TARP funds reserved for banks in distressed communities.

“As these new charges allege, the defendants fraudulently secured federal aid funds at a time when the country’s economy and its major financial institutions were on the brink of disaster,” Madigan said. “Their illegal scheme ultimately resulted in the failure of the bank at a great cost to the bank’s customers and American taxpayers.”

Zulfikar Esmail was indicted on Oct. 16 in DuPage County on two counts of financial institution fraud and one count of loan fraud for fraudulently obtaining a more than $8 million loan from First Midwest Bank in 2009, which was a recipient of TARP funds. The Esmails were charged together with defrauding First Midwest Bank in a workout agreement after they defaulted on the loan.

Shamim Esmail was also indicted on additional charges in Cook County of two counts each of theft and wire fraud for defrauding TARP’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Premier Bank fraudulently received more than $1 million in funds in 2010 and 2011 from two programs under the CDFI Fund which were designed to assist banks in providing banking services to economically distressed communities.

Madigan previously charged the Esmails and two co-defendants, who were also members of the bank’s board of directors, alleging that from 2006 until the bank’s failure, they hid the poor financial condition of the bank from state regulators. Madigan alleged Zulfikar Esmail engaged in a criminal shakedown scheme, soliciting and demanding bribes in connection with applications made for business loans and lines of credit.

Over a six-year period, the indictment alleged the bank officers submitted numerous fraudulent reports to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, misrepresenting the financial condition of the bank’s numerous loans and lines of credit. To cover up the true condition of the bank, the indictment alleged money from third parties was used to make payments on several loans that were past due, including payments from a limited liability corporation owned in part by Zulfikar Esmail’s children.

The public is reminded that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

This case was investigated by the Office of the Special Inspector General for TARP and the Office of the Inspector General of the FDIC. Bureau Chief Edward Carter and Assistant Attorneys General Edward Snow and Anshuman Vaidya are handling prosecution of the case for Madigan’s Special Prosecutions Bureau.

Prosecutors Secure 28-Year Sentence in Death of a Senior Citizen

Posted by Admin On November - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

A Chicago man who robbed and assaulted a 78-year-old senior citizen in his own back yard has been sentenced to 28 years in prison after pleading guilty to armed robbery charges in connection with the 2012 attack, according to the Office of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Dalvin Rayford, 20, of the 2500 block of east 72nd Pl., pled guilty to armed robbery for the December 2012 attack on the 78-year-old South Side man, who died weeks after the assault due to complications from a hip fracture he sustained after being pushed to the ground by the defendant.

According to prosecutors, Rayford was armed with a handgun when he entered the back yard and approached the 78-year-old victim in the 10200 block of East Bensley Avenue.  Rayford then demanded money from the victim and knocked the man to the ground.  Rayford proceeded to strike the victim while rummaging through his pockets and taking the victim’s keys and money.

A nearby neighbor witnessed the incident and called police and then yelled for help, at which time Rayford fled the scene.  Rayford was apprehended a short distance away after police observed him running through an alley, clutching something on his side.  The arresting officers recovered the handgun and some clothing worn by Rayford which had been discarded nearby.  Rayford was positively identified by both the victim and the witness.

Rayford pled guilty to armed robbery on Oct. 30th during a hearing before Cook County Judge Michael McHale, who handed down the 28-year sentence.

State’s Attorney Alvarez thanked Assistant State’s Attorney Sherie DeDore and the Chicago Police Department for their work on this case.

“They all lied” – 5 Cops Slammed by Judge Face Federal Suit

Posted by Admin On April - 18 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Patrol car video shows cops lied in testifying against Joseph Sperling, said judge

CHICAGO, IL – Five Glenview and Chicago veteran police officers who lied in sworn testimony, according to a judge, are themselves facing a federal lawsuit today by a motorist who says they violated his constitutional rights in unlawfully arresting him.

Sperling and his attorney, prominent civil rights lawyer Jon Loevy of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, will speak at 2:30 PM press conference today at Loevy & Loevy’s Near West Side office, 312 N. May Street, Suite 100.

Sperling was the subject of a June 2013 traffic stop a few blocks from his home in Glenview. According to today’s suit, all five of the officers lied about five specific facts of the case after having been sworn to tell the truth. One of the Chicago officers allegedly told the Glenview officers to turn off their dashboard cameras, but one of them failed to do so, thus recording the incident and showing that their later police reports and testimony were false.

“All their testimony [against Sperling] was a lie,” said Cook County Circuit Court Judge Catherine Haberkorn in a March 31 hearing. “So there’s strong evidence it was a conspiracy to lie in this case, for everyone to come up with the same lie. . . Many, many, many, many times they all lied.”

Loevy says all too often police officers lie in drug cases to secure convictions, but are rarely called to account for it. He is the author of a frequently-cited article on false testimony by police, or “testilying” in criminal justice slang, a practice that criminal defense attorneys say “has become so endemic in criminal cases that it has become the norm. The prosecutors know they are lying, the judges know they are lying, and yet the police lie anyway.”

Today’s suit charges that the officers engaged in a “conspiracy” to violate Sperling’s rights, and that “the videotape showed that each of the five Defendant Officers lied in precisely the same ways, proving that the five Defendants and the Assistant State’s Attorney had deliberately and maliciously concocted a false story to provide to the judge.”

Loevy & Loevy is the largest civil rights law firm in the Midwest and has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country over the past decade. Copies of today’s suit and Jon Loevy’s article on “testilying” are available by calling Andy Thayer at 773.209.1187 or emailing andy@loevy.com

Illinois Tollway Employment Officer Honored by Chicago Defender 2014 “Women of Excellence Awards” Program

Posted by Admin On April - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

DOWNERS GROVE, IL – The Illinois Tollway’s Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Officer (EEO/AA) Lisa G. Williams has been named an honoree of the 8th Annual Chicago Defender “Women of Excellence Awards” program for her dedication and exceptional contributions to her profession, as well as for her community and charitable involvement.

The awards program, established by the Chicago Defender newspaper and sponsored by State Farm, will honor Williams by recognizing her as one of 50 exemplary African-American women from various professional, civic and community organizations at a ceremony to be held on April 17 at the Fairmont Hotel in Chicago.

“On behalf of the Illinois Tollway, I congratulate Lisa for this well-deserved recognition,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Kristi Lafleur. “I’m very happy that Lisa’s achievements here, as well as her charitable efforts, are being recognized with such a prestigious award.”

Founded in 1905, the Chicago Defender is a weekly publication whose core mission is to empower the African-American community in the Chicago metropolitan area. According to the publication’s website, the “Women of Excellence Awards” were created in 2007 as a way to celebrate “local African-American women who inspire others through their vision and leadership, exceptional achievements and participation in community service.”

Williams was recognized for ensuring fair employment practices, increasing diversity and for her efforts in mentoring minorities and the disadvantaged through her many duties at the Tollway. In addition to being the agency’s EEO/AA Officer, she serves as the Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator and Ethics Officer. After six and half years working in Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s Civil Rights Bureau, Williams joined the Illinois Tollway in 2010 with the assignment by Executive Director Kristi Lafleur to improve the diversity of the agency’s workforce.

“This is a great honor for me, but none of the Illinois Tollway’s accomplishments would have been possible without the strong support of all of our employees, our senior leadership, our executive team and our Board of Directors,” said Williams. “I am especially fortunate to work with two strong role models for women today, Executive Director Kristi Lafleur and Board Chair Paula Wolff.”

Williams and her staff have worked to enhance the representation of people of color and women by increasing access to jobs through aggressively and proactively reaching out to communities of color, ensuring the hiring and selection process remains fair and accessible to everyone and promoting an inclusive internal culture. She is pleased to receive the award in recognition of her work from a respected publication and to join a group of influential honorees who are dedicated to community and professional advancement.

As an active member of the Hyde Park community where she resides, Williams often organizes fundraisers, food drives, fair trade festivals and events to promote diversity awareness.

About the Illinois Tollway

The Illinois Tollway is a user-fee system that receives no state or federal funds for maintenance and operations. The agency maintains and operates 286 miles of interstate tollways in 12 counties in Northern Illinois, including the Reagan Memorial Tollway (I-88), the Veterans Memorial Tollway (I-355), the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway (I-90) and the Tri-State Tollway (I-94/I-294/I-80).

G-7 Leaders condemn the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial of Ukraine

Posted by Admin On March - 3 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

G-7 Leaders Statement follows:

We, the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States and the President of the European Council and President of the European Commission, join together today to condemn the Russian Federation’s clear violation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in contravention of Russia’s obligations under the UN Charter and its 1997 basing agreement with Ukraine.  We call on Russia to address any ongoing security or human rights concerns that it has with Ukraine through direct negotiations, and/or via international observation or mediation under the auspices of the UN or the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.  We stand ready to assist with these efforts.

We also call on all parties concerned to behave with the greatest extent of self-restraint and responsibility, and to decrease the tensions.

We note that Russia’s actions in Ukraine also contravene the principles and values on which the G-7 and the G-8 operate.  As such, we have decided for the time being to suspend our participation in activities associated with the preparation of the scheduled G-8 Summit in Sochi in June, until the environment comes back where the G-8 is able to have meaningful discussion.

We are united in supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and its right to choose its own future.  We commit ourselves to support Ukraine in its efforts to restore unity, stability, and political and economic health to the country.  To that end, we will support Ukraine’s work with the International Monetary Fund to negotiate a new program and to implement needed reforms.  IMF support will be critical in unlocking additional assistance from the World Bank, other international financial institutions, the EU, and bilateral sources.

Sexy, Provocative, hilarious, Venus in Fur, David Ives’ Broadway Triumph, makes its Chicago debut, Directed by Joanie Schultz

Posted by Admin On February - 21 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Goodman Theatre’s March 8 – April 13 run includes special events: $10 College night (March 12), Fantasy Night (March 20), Women’s Night (March 27), and unique Workshop with Early to Bed (March 31)


CHICAGO, IL – “In love as in politics, one partner must rule. One of them must be the hammer, the other the anvil.” Venus in Fur, Chicago native playwright David Ives’ “smart, sexy, sinister comedy” (Vogue), is now in rehearsals for its March 8 premiere at Goodman Theatre, helmed by Joanie Schultz who “has emerged as one of the city’s strongest, most stylistically adaptable directors” (Chicago Sun-Times). As previously announced, Rufus Collins (Broadway’s To Be or Not To Be and The Royal Family) portrays playwright/director Thomas and Amanda Drinkall (Strawdog Theatre Company’s Great Expectations and Measure for Measure at the Goodman) portrays Vanda, the actor auditioning for him.  Venus in Fur runs March 8 – April 13 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Tuesday, March 18). Tickets ($25-$86; subject to change) are on sale now and can be purchased at GoodmanTheatre.org/Venus, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is the Major Corporate Sponsor and United Scrap Metal, Inc. is the Corporate Sponsor Partner for Venus in Fur.

A performance calendar and details about the special events in conjunction with the production follows.

“Laced with David Ives’ characteristically sharp humor and satiric insights, Venus in Fur is a true original: hilarious, challenging, at times unnerving and completely unpredictable,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “I am delighted to welcome back director Joanie Schultz, who began her relationship with the Goodman as our Michael Maggio Directing Fellow several seasons ago.  Since then she’s become one of the most highly sought after young directors in town, and I know that she will bring her distinctive gifts to this smart and funny play. And while you’re laughing, you may find yourself reassessing your own views of the eternal tensions that define romantic relations between men and women.”

Based on the 1869 novella by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch—for whom “Masochism” was named—Venus in Fur’s critically acclaimed Broadway run was hailed as a “suspense-packed” (New York Times), “electric” (Entertainment Weekly), “wildly intelligent and sometimes frightening” (New Yorker), “madly funny” (Wall Street Journal) and a “time-tripping game of cat and mouse” (Bloomberg). When Vanda (Drinkall) arrives hours late to an audition for a play based on a nineteenth century erotic novel, the director, Thomas (Collins), is less than impressed. But Vanda’s surprisingly masterful performance of the script flips Thomas’ expectations and initiates a tango for dominance between them. As the audition unfolds, both actress and director morph into Sacher-Masoch’s alternately tortured and bemused lovers, switching roles on a dime and exploring shifts in power and the blurring of identities.

“The novella crackles with the friction of two buttoned-up people in an erotic power play; that sure sounded dramatic to me,” said playwright David Ives, who has authored the one-act comedies All in the Timing and Time Flies, as well as adaptations of older plays including The School For Lies (a reworking of Molière’s The Misanthrope) and Georges Feydeau’s A Flea in Her Ear. “Chicago is my beloved home town, and I’m thrilled that Venus in Fur will be playing at the Goodman—where I went to the theater for the first time. I hope the Goodman’s audiences have as much fun watching the play as I had writing it.”

Director Joanie Schultz creates a new production for the Chicago premiere of Ives’ play. “We want to let the audience in on how much the imagination of theater really transforms everything in the room—not just the actors, but also the space, the sounds, and how real life and imaginary life start running together,” said Schultz. “The rehearsal room is not the most glamorous place—coffee gets spilled, everybody’s eating their salad, there’s sweat—and yet there’s this magical thing that happens there which makes it beautiful. We endow the objects that we use in the theater with power: a rehearsal room becomes a palace, a chair a throne, a paper cup becomes fine china. We’re using the design to help the audience see these things the way actors are seeing them.”

Schultz and her Tony Award-winning set designer Todd Rosenthal (Luna Gale, A Christmas Carol) based the world of the play on many rehearsal rooms, including the two at the Goodman. Jenny Mannis (Teddy Ferrara, Animal Crackers) designs costumes, Keith Parham (By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Sweet Bird of Youth) designs lighting and Mikhail Fiksel (Buzzer, New Stages festival) designs sound. Joseph Pindelski is the dramaturg and Alden Vasquez is the production stage manager.

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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