The Janes is a call to action

We Chicagoans are a proud bunch, and usually with good reason. For many, we’re especially appreciative of our city’s radical history, from the echoing impact of the storied Haymarket Affair to things happening now which will undoubtedly become part of our oppidan tapestry. The aptly named Windy City nevertheless endures as a weathered barometer of this country’s leftist politics.

It’s that past to which we look now, both for guidance and inspiration. “So many activist organizations were headquartered [in Chicago],” says documentary filmmaker Tia Lessin (who codirected Citizen Koch [2013] and the Oscar-nominated Trouble the Water [2008]), “between Students for a Democratic Society, the Young Lords, the Weather Underground, one of the largest Black Panther chapters was in Chicago . . . the Janes were really part of the fabric of that time.” 

She’s referring to the Jane Collective, an underground organization that helped women access abortions and even began providing the service themselves, performing over 11,000 between 1969 and 1973. The motley crew of unlikely outlaws are the subject of a new documentary, The Janes, which Lessin codirected with Emma Pildes. This timely ode opens the annual Doc10 Film Festival on Thursday with two sold-out screenings (it’ll premiere on HBO on Wednesday, June 8); both directors will appear in person, as well as the largest reunion of Janes since 1973.

“I felt particularly thrilled to make a film about Chicago, and a film about Chicago at that time,” says Pildes. “I’m sure there were a million interesting places on planet earth, and Chicago was certainly one of them.”

Pildes has a personal connection to the film, which was codeveloped and produced by her half-brother Daniel Arcana. Arcana’s mother, Judith, was a Jane, and their father was a lawyer who advised the group. Both appear in the film, along with other former members and several people who were associated with the collective either by giving assistance or by benefiting from their clandestine services.

The documentary features an inspired use of archival material threaded through the interviews. Per Lessin, these assets were sourced from a variety of places here in Chicago, including the Chicago Film Archives (she mentions the films of JoAnn Elam, an experimental filmmaker whose best work focused on labor and women’s rights), Kartemquin Films, and even Chicago’s favorite chronicler of the everyday. 

“We were able to use some of the beautiful 8-millimeter camera work of Vivian Maier,” she says, “whose really candid shots of people in the street were pretty extra special to us in painting a picture of what life was like in Chicago.”

The film’s crucial story is anchored by candid recollections charting the group’s origins on the University of Chicago campus—where, in 1965, Heather Booth began referring women to a known abortionist, civil rights leader and surgeon T.R.M. Howard, after learning of a friend’s sister’s unwanted pregnancy—to the “official” establishment of its unofficial and highly illegal enterprise (including details of the labyrinthine process the Janes undertook to evade authorities), to the 1972 police raid that resulted in several members being arrested. As luck would have it, their lawyer was able to delay the judicial process, biding time in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.

Diane Stevens was one of the Jane members arrested during the bust. She’d joined the group after getting her own abortion—a legal, “therapeutic” abortion she procured in California after pleading her case with two psychiatrists and a doctor. She says she was spurred by her desire to help women in the same situation she had been in.

“We were the women . . . there wasn’t a separation,” she says. “That was something we felt strongly about. In my group, ‘professionalism’ was like, where you think of yourself and the doctor, in a white coat, probably male, so apart from you. That wasn’t the case [with us]. These women, we were in it together. We explained everything to them, we provided them with the education, and they trusted us. They opened up their lives to us. We were together.”

Her experience with the Jane Collective inspired her to pursue a career in health care, specifically helping underserved communities. A likely career for an unlikely abortionist, in more ways than one.

“[The police] kept asking where the doctor was,” she recalls about the raid. “‘Where are the men? Where’s the doctor?’ And of course there weren’t any.”

Recently a draft opinion scribed by Justice Samuel Alito foretelling the potential ​abrogation of Roe v. Wade was leaked to the press, resulting in widespread panic over the future of reproductive (and potentially other) rights in the United States. The times they are a-changin’, no. Rather, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“On the 50th anniversary of the bust of the Janes . . . May 3,” points out Lessin, “that was the same day as the leak of the Alito opinion, 50 years later.”

Doc10 opening night screening of The Janes
May 19, 7 PM; Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln; sold out. Join the waitlist.
The Janes streaming on HBO June 8

The documentary is punctuated by harrowing stories of illegal abortions obtained outside the Jane network, whether self-induced or via the mob, veritable exclamation points that emphasize the importance of access to safe abortions. “We can talk a lot about it and watch things on the news and read things on social media and all that,” says Pildes, “but these are real women dying. And real women that are gonna die and be injured and afraid . . . it’s a visceral experience through these women’s testimony of what this country looks like when women don’t have the right to make this decision for themselves and what the repercussions of that really are.”

The film begins with a woman recounting the story of her mob-affiliated abortion, a decidedly impersonal experience that highlights the terrifying uncertainty around the procedure back when it was illegal. “We were searching for women who used the service, who were willing to go on camera,” says Pildes. “That was sort of the tough spot that we were having.”

How was that issue resolved? “Dory, who starts the film talking about her mob abortion and then later in the film speaks about her Jane abortion, came to us because . . . we had hit every wall, we had no idea what left to do . . . so we placed an ad in the Reader.” 

“We went old school,” she says, “and it worked.”

The old-school method of placing an ad worked, yes, but old-school methods of handling abortion won’t. The filmmakers hope their documentary will help people realize this.

“We’re hoping that this film can really reach people all around the country and around the world to help underscore what it looks like when abortion is criminalized,” says Lessin. “What we know for a fact is that making abortion illegal does not stop women from seeking abortions, it just keeps them from getting safe abortions.”

The Janes is not just a cautionary tale but a call to action for those willing and able to assist should Roe v. Wade be overturned. As Lessin points out, “Illinois looks like it’s going to continue to be a sanctuary state, where people will be able to access abortion care, but it’s pretty clear that the clinics in Chicago and elsewhere will be flooded with folks who are going across the border from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan . . . and swimming across the lake if they have to . . . to get abortion care.”

It’s a sobering thought with an even more discomfiting reality, which should galvanize those looking to help, the unassumingly heroic Janes an inspiration for what might be needed. “That is really going to drain the resources of the local providers,” Lessin continues. “Even as abortion probably will continue to be legal in the state of Illinois, there will be long lines, there will be waiting lists . . . and [it will be] potentially impossible to access care. There will also be people coming in from out of town who will need housing. They may need rides, they may need some help subsidizing and defraying the cost of their travel . . . the people of Chicago can continue in the tradition of the Janes to be of service.”

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The Devil Bell Hippies: Chicago’s greatest avant-garde band that only kind of existsSteve Krakowon May 18, 2022 at 4:54 pm

Since 2004 Plastic Crimewave (aka Steve Krakow) has used the Secret History of Chicago Music to shine a light on worthy artists with Chicago ties who’ve been forgotten, underrated, or never noticed in the first place.

When I finished college downstate and moved to the Windy City in 1995, the Chicago no-wave scene was breaking apart. While still in school, I’d often driven three hours to catch gigs here, and after my move I caught the last shows by local no-wave stars the Scissor Girls and Lake of Dracula

The original no-wave scene, born in New York in the late 70s, was a confrontational avant-garde movement whose bands used lots of clattery dissonance, and in a nod to that precedent, the Windy City scene was sometimes called “Chicago no wave,” “now wave,” or simply “new no wave.” When the CD compilation Chicken Bomb dropped in 1996, coreleased by the Lumpen Times, it put Chicago no wave in context by juxtaposing young locals (including lesser-known groups such as Xerobot and Monitor Radio) with influential New York no wavers James Chance & the Contortions and international skronkers Dog Faced Hermans. It also seemed like a headstone for the scene.

Scenes don’t just wink out of existence, of course, and the likes of Metalux, the Flying Luttenbachers, and Bride of No No continued to carry a torch for noisy, abrasive not-exactly-rock music. (The scuzzy freak-out bands I played in at the time shared bills with all of them.) With the possible exception of the groups led by Zeek Sheck (I once saw her with an insanely huge ensemble at 6Odum), none were more shambolic and confounding than the Devil Bell Hippies—though they’re barely even a band and have never been part of any real scene. They’ve existed for nearly 40 years without becoming any easier to define.

“There is no real lineup per se, never has been. Anyone can join. We’ve had countless members,” says cofounder Martin Billheimer. “Just say you’re in and you’re in. We might even play a show again someday. . . . Members are contacted by secret communiqué. The main obligation is spiritual.”

Billheimer was born in 1970 in Uptown, and when he was still a child his family moved to the industrial city of Bradford in Yorkshire, England. At age 11, they returned to the Windy City, and Billheimer soon found his musical calling. “The Devil Bell Hippies started when I was 13, in 1983, by me and my best friend at the time, Scott Brewer, in Albany Park,” he says. “The whole mess just grew on from there, attracting members like a Danish attracts flies.” 

While attending Lincoln Park High, Billheimer developed antifascist leanings and got deeply into punk. He also met fellow malcontents on the same path, including future Devil Bell Hippies member Eric Colin Reidelberger. “We were two of maybe seven kids that were into punk rock in our school,” Reidelberger recalls. Billheimer soon dropped out of high school and went to work, taking jobs as a dishwasher, house painter, construction worker, and furniture mover.

Billheimer’s band concept drew from a wide variety of subcultural sources: he mentions sword-and-sorcery movies and kung-fu matinees at the city’s long-gone downtown movie houses, as well as early-80s hardcore (MDC, Verbal Abuse, Earth A.D.-era Misfits). The Devil Bell Hippies also liked late-70s industrial music (SPK, Throbbing Gristle), though they saw it as unintentionally funny in its self-seriousness. 

“We were influenced by Bowie, Culturcide, old horror movies on Son of Svengoolie, Weekly World News, by anti-Nazi and pro-communist sentiments . . . but most of all, by the dreary landscape of north-side Chicago and its gang mythology,” Billheimer says. “The band was then a mishmash of obscure references to north-side lore, played on acoustic guitar and bongos and kitchen pots. We made Jad Fair look like King Crimson in comparison. A hideous thrift-store din . . . at least early on. Later, we got people who could (kinda) play.”

Reidelberger never played any shows with the band, but he recorded with them frequently in those larval years. “I was banging and howling away on some of the earlier cassettes,” he says. “My memories of DBH were basically making cassettes at Martin’s house with Scott, and peppering the recordings with our in-jokes and anything that we found funny, including bell-bottoms—hence the name. This would have been 1984 and ’85. I do remember being encouraged to not be musical. Our approach was very Throbbing Gristle-esque.”

The Hippies’ first proper gig was at a WZRD benefit in 1986, and they had some pretty impressive company: Ono, the Effigies, Naked Raygun. They played for just ten minutes, but part of their set made it onto the 1987 Panic Records compilation What Is Truth?, alongside material by weirdo luminaries Eugene Chadbourne and Phil Minton

Part of the Devil Bell Hippies’ first live set (at a WZRD benefit in 1986) appeared on the comp What Is Truth? in ’87.

“Panic Records was our pal Scott Marshall, who was at WZRD with our other friends,” Billheimer says. “He was the first person to play our first demo, Hellish Hot Bros, recorded in 1984, which had 247 ‘songs’ on it. He was deeply impressed with its barbaric simplicity. This was all mail-order.”

“Early on, we recruited members of the legendary punk band Silver Abuse. That changed things utterly,” Billheimer says. William Meehan would become a consistent member of the Devil Bell Hippies, and Dave Purdie got involved too. “We garbage-picked the percussion—old barrels and toilets, et cetera—which really helped the beat.” Meehan and Marshall, his bandmate in noise group Burden of Friendship, both played with the Hippies at that 1986 WZRD benefit; Marshall added what Billheimer calls “ridiculous synthy drums.”

The Devil Bell Hippies have issued the vast majority of their releases themselves, but Panic Records also put out a self-titled DBH cassette in 1987. “I think several of them even got ordered,” Billheimer jokes. “Most of our releases were live recordings. Weasel got us a few sessions at small studios, and those are the best-recorded ones (this was in the early and mid-1990s).”

The aforementioned Weasel is self-described “brutal prog” purveyor Weasel Walter, whose past and current bands include the Flying Luttenbachers, Lake of Dracula, Behold the Arctopus, Cellular Chaos, and Lydia Lunch Retrovirus. He encountered the Devil Bell Hippies in the early 90s and soon got involved. “Martin Billheimer is a genius—he’s the no-wave James Joyce,” Walter says. “I first saw them in 1993 and it blew my mind. I think the first gig I saw was at the Double Door, and it was utterly hilarious. There were about ten people onstage, all in stupid outfits, out of their minds. It was like Animal House meets early Half Japanese. The club wasn’t pleased. I doubt they played the straight venues twice—ever. I saw them play all the small dumps over the 90s.”

Despite the extreme flexibility of the DBH lineup, the collective has passed through distinct eras during its long history. William Meehan from Silver Abuse colored the band’s sound strongly in the 80s, and around 1990, several of Billheimer’s friends from Indiana joined—at about the same time as they came to Chicago and formed the grungy metal band Wicker Man. “For the next ten years or so, they played most of the gigs,” Billheimer says. “At that point, we started to have loads of guest musicians and really anyone could join. It got more and more chaotic. There were a few gigs that even I didn’t play. Weasel joined about 1993 and gave us a renaissance indeed. Very important, the Weasel Era. He is still in the band.”

Walter has helped organize the Devil Bell Hippies’ unwieldy discography for the beginnings of a proper Discogs page, cataloging their many DIY cassettes of bizarre noise, field recordings, spoken-word rants, sound collages, and overloaded instrumental attacks. He’s also made detailed notes of the dates, venues, and lineups of many of their shows. In his entry for a Lounge Ax gig in 1996, I notice Tye Coon, lead singer of underappreciated noise-rock band Hog Lady. 

“My shit is all in order—they were just into chaos,” Walter says. “I neither claim to be a member or expert, just a fan.” 

Walter’s notes for a show at Roby’s on April 4, 2000, read as follows: “Duc de Zima (vacuum cleaner), Bosco Necronomicon (electric mandolin), Sean Carney (keyboard), ‘Mike’ (vocal, poetry), E-ROL (drums, etc). Laundry Room Squelchers, Cock E.S.P., Stagecoach, and Metalux also appeared.” I was at this gig, but appropriately, I barely remember it.

A few months later, at the Fireside Bowl on July 30, 2000, the Devil Bell Hippies brought a different crowd: “Erazmus Khan the Kruel (TV), Bosco Necronomicon (mandolin), Bronco Asmodeus (beer), Duc de Zima (vo-kills, CD player), Martin of Billheimer (metal), Keith Poseurslaughter (metal), a guy (guitar), Johnny Sweet (synth). Songs included ‘Pile of Poseurs’ and ‘Soapy’s Revenge.’” 

Walter describes an especially absurd DBH set at the Congress Theater, which his band Vanilla (sort of a sarcastic throwback heavy-metal outfit) had rented for a Halloween show. “About 50 people showed up, and that place is BIG—it was ridiculous,” he says. “The Hippies were insane that night, big stage, big sound, total mayhem. Martin had gone out and rolled around in muddy water or something before he hit the stage. It was like a satanic southern preacher.” 

In the late 90s, as Walter remembers it, the band’s momentum faltered—it seemed like most of the folks involved were simply losing interest. “I actually did a Hippies gig where I was the only person who showed up!” he says. “It was just me dancing around with a blanket and some random guy playing trombone sometimes.”

Some relatively Devil Bell Hippies music, written in 2013 and updated in with anti-Trump sentiments in 2018

I could fill several articles this length with gonzo stories about DBH gigs, so I’ll stop with just one more. “DBH got into a brawl with these guys in a very silly band called the Electric Hellfire Club at a Whitehouse show at the Empty Bottle,” Billheimer says. “Can’t remember why it started . . . they were being assholes, we probably were too. It stopped the show, and I was pretty drunk and can’t remember much of it. Nobody got really hurt, aside from a couple bloody noses. 

“The next day, our bass player Phil (aka Bronco Asmodeus) brought Peter Sotos and William Bennett from Whitehouse into where I worked at the time (Rose Records downtown, a job I had for about two weeks), and we all laughed about it. Bennett managed to get his finger broken in the melee—I think someone fell on him onstage—and he had it in a splint. But they seemed really happy that their music was still able to provoke violence. A few weeks later, the Electric Hellfire Club sent word that we should all stop feuding and unite to worship Satan, which I thought was pretty funny.”

By now, you surely understand that the Devil Bell Hippies were more than a band, or less than a band, or something not quite a band. “Performance art” seems too lofty a term for their aggressively weird, off-the-hook underground happenings, but there isn’t really a better one. When I ask Billheimer what makes the group’s sound special, he says, “The appalling lack of cohesion and utter lack of the musical element in music.” 

That’s not to say that some of the folks joining the demented party weren’t respected musicians in other contexts. “We picked up musicians who later made other bands, people who could actually play or were good at faking it,” Billheimer says. “We had special guests: Ron Holzner from Trouble played a TV set once, and we recorded with a fabulous opera singer who called herself Madame Iron Butterfly.”

Billheimer’s high school friend Kevin Junior, later the leader of classy orchestral-pop band the Chamber Strings, even played gigs with the Hippies. “There were so many people,” Billheimer says. “Sometimes a couple of us would show up and recruit band members from whatever dopes were hanging around the club or bar.” 

“Bad Night at Mongos” appears on the 2019 Devil Bell Hippies album Inhuman Resources.

Last year Billheimer published the historical book Mother Chicago: Truant Dreams and Specters Over the Gilded Age, which he describes as “unearthing the crimes of capitalism via neighborhood legends, occult street lore, and the psychology of walking around this city in its new feudal psychological landscape.” Despite his new status as an author, he insists that the Hippies have never broken up. “Devil Bell Hippies is more than a legend, it is a name,” he says. “We return sporadically. No one notices either our appearances or absences—and this is the key to real integrity. Like in Zen, you know?”

Billheimer further claims that a new Devil Bell Hippies recording is in the works, to be titled Pig State Pigs. “It has me, Keith [Pastrick] from Wicker Man, Sally Smmit (the old Hangahar soundtrack nom de guerre of Sally Timms, which she doubtless wishes to retain), and is being finished very slowly,” he says. “I have about half kinda done, and it will be of epic length. Lockdown music. Wanna play on it?”

I just might.

The radio version of the Secret History of Chicago Music airs on Outside the Loop on WGN Radio 720 AM, Saturdays at 5 AM with host Mike Stephen. Past shows are archived here.

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The Janes is a call to actionKathleen Sachson May 18, 2022 at 5:05 pm

We Chicagoans are a proud bunch, and usually with good reason. For many, we’re especially appreciative of our city’s radical history, from the echoing impact of the storied Haymarket Affair to things happening now which will undoubtedly become part of our oppidan tapestry. The aptly named Windy City nevertheless endures as a weathered barometer of this country’s leftist politics.

It’s that past to which we look now, both for guidance and inspiration. “So many activist organizations were headquartered [in Chicago],” says documentary filmmaker Tia Lessin (who codirected Citizen Koch [2013] and the Oscar-nominated Trouble the Water [2008]), “between Students for a Democratic Society, the Young Lords, the Weather Underground, one of the largest Black Panther chapters was in Chicago . . . the Janes were really part of the fabric of that time.” 

She’s referring to the Jane Collective, an underground organization that helped women access abortions and even began providing the service themselves, performing over 11,000 between 1969 and 1973. The motley crew of unlikely outlaws are the subject of a new documentary, The Janes, which Lessin codirected with Emma Pildes. This timely ode opens the annual Doc10 Film Festival on Thursday with two sold-out screenings (it’ll premiere on HBO on Wednesday, June 8); both directors will appear in person, as well as the largest reunion of Janes since 1973.

“I felt particularly thrilled to make a film about Chicago, and a film about Chicago at that time,” says Pildes. “I’m sure there were a million interesting places on planet earth, and Chicago was certainly one of them.”

Pildes has a personal connection to the film, which was codeveloped and produced by her half-brother Daniel Arcana. Arcana’s mother, Judith, was a Jane, and their father was a lawyer who advised the group. Both appear in the film, along with other former members and several people who were associated with the collective either by giving assistance or by benefiting from their clandestine services.

The documentary features an inspired use of archival material threaded through the interviews. Per Lessin, these assets were sourced from a variety of places here in Chicago, including the Chicago Film Archives (she mentions the films of JoAnn Elam, an experimental filmmaker whose best work focused on labor and women’s rights), Kartemquin Films, and even Chicago’s favorite chronicler of the everyday. 

“We were able to use some of the beautiful 8-millimeter camera work of Vivian Maier,” she says, “whose really candid shots of people in the street were pretty extra special to us in painting a picture of what life was like in Chicago.”

The film’s crucial story is anchored by candid recollections charting the group’s origins on the University of Chicago campus—where, in 1965, Heather Booth began referring women to a known abortionist, civil rights leader and surgeon T.R.M. Howard, after learning of a friend’s sister’s unwanted pregnancy—to the “official” establishment of its unofficial and highly illegal enterprise (including details of the labyrinthine process the Janes undertook to evade authorities), to the 1972 police raid that resulted in several members being arrested. As luck would have it, their lawyer was able to delay the judicial process, biding time in anticipation of the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade.

Diane Stevens was one of the Jane members arrested during the bust. She’d joined the group after getting her own abortion—a legal, “therapeutic” abortion she procured in California after pleading her case with two psychiatrists and a doctor. She says she was spurred by her desire to help women in the same situation she had been in.

“We were the women . . . there wasn’t a separation,” she says. “That was something we felt strongly about. In my group, ‘professionalism’ was like, where you think of yourself and the doctor, in a white coat, probably male, so apart from you. That wasn’t the case [with us]. These women, we were in it together. We explained everything to them, we provided them with the education, and they trusted us. They opened up their lives to us. We were together.”

Her experience with the Jane Collective inspired her to pursue a career in health care, specifically helping underserved communities. A likely career for an unlikely abortionist, in more ways than one.

“[The police] kept asking where the doctor was,” she recalls about the raid. “‘Where are the men? Where’s the doctor?’ And of course there weren’t any.”

Recently a draft opinion scribed by Justice Samuel Alito foretelling the potential ​abrogation of Roe v. Wade was leaked to the press, resulting in widespread panic over the future of reproductive (and potentially other) rights in the United States. The times they are a-changin’, no. Rather, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

“On the 50th anniversary of the bust of the Janes . . . May 3,” points out Lessin, “that was the same day as the leak of the Alito opinion, 50 years later.”

Doc10 opening night screening of The Janes
May 19, 7 PM; Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln; sold out. Join the waitlist.
The Janes streaming on HBO June 8

The documentary is punctuated by harrowing stories of illegal abortions obtained outside the Jane network, whether self-induced or via the mob, veritable exclamation points that emphasize the importance of access to safe abortions. “We can talk a lot about it and watch things on the news and read things on social media and all that,” says Pildes, “but these are real women dying. And real women that are gonna die and be injured and afraid . . . it’s a visceral experience through these women’s testimony of what this country looks like when women don’t have the right to make this decision for themselves and what the repercussions of that really are.”

The film begins with a woman recounting the story of her mob-affiliated abortion, a decidedly impersonal experience that highlights the terrifying uncertainty around the procedure back when it was illegal. “We were searching for women who used the service, who were willing to go on camera,” says Pildes. “That was sort of the tough spot that we were having.”

How was that issue resolved? “Dory, who starts the film talking about her mob abortion and then later in the film speaks about her Jane abortion, came to us because . . . we had hit every wall, we had no idea what left to do . . . so we placed an ad in the Reader.” 

“We went old school,” she says, “and it worked.”

The old-school method of placing an ad worked, yes, but old-school methods of handling abortion won’t. The filmmakers hope their documentary will help people realize this.

“We’re hoping that this film can really reach people all around the country and around the world to help underscore what it looks like when abortion is criminalized,” says Lessin. “What we know for a fact is that making abortion illegal does not stop women from seeking abortions, it just keeps them from getting safe abortions.”

The Janes is not just a cautionary tale but a call to action for those willing and able to assist should Roe v. Wade be overturned. As Lessin points out, “Illinois looks like it’s going to continue to be a sanctuary state, where people will be able to access abortion care, but it’s pretty clear that the clinics in Chicago and elsewhere will be flooded with folks who are going across the border from Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan . . . and swimming across the lake if they have to . . . to get abortion care.”

It’s a sobering thought with an even more discomfiting reality, which should galvanize those looking to help, the unassumingly heroic Janes an inspiration for what might be needed. “That is really going to drain the resources of the local providers,” Lessin continues. “Even as abortion probably will continue to be legal in the state of Illinois, there will be long lines, there will be waiting lists . . . and [it will be] potentially impossible to access care. There will also be people coming in from out of town who will need housing. They may need rides, they may need some help subsidizing and defraying the cost of their travel . . . the people of Chicago can continue in the tradition of the Janes to be of service.”

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White Sox’ Lucas Giolito returns from COVID IL, will face Royals tonight

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — White Sox right-hander Lucas Giolito was reinstated from the COVID-19 related injured list, paving the way for him to start against the Royals Wednesday night.

Right-hander Davis Martin was returned to Triple-A Charlotte after he pitched five innings of one-run ball in a spot start Tuesday in a 2-1 loss to the Royals.

Right-hander Lance Lynn, who is recovering from knee surgery, was transferred to the 60-day injured list. Lynn landed on the IL April 4 following surgery to repair a torn tendon suffered during spring training. Lynn, who is eligible to be reinstated June 6, is slated to pitch to live hitters when the team is in New York Friday.

Giolito (2-1, 2.70) went on the IL May 13. His last start was May 10 against the Cleveland Guardians, when he gave up one run on six hits over seven innings.

“Excited to be back,” Giolito said Tuesday. “It was not fun, not fun being away from the team and having to watch all the games on TV.”

Giolito said he was able to throw while he was away from the team.

“Yep, I’ve been staying in shape as best as I can,” he said. “Routine was thrown off a little bit. But I was able to do some good work and I had some equipment at home, quarantined style stuff. Feeling good.”

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New face in Ohio Valley Conference leads to scheduling adjustment for Eastern Illinois, other league members

New face in Ohio Valley Conference leads to scheduling adjustment for Eastern Illinois, other league members

First-year Eastern Illinois head coach Chris Wilkerson’s Panthers host new Ohio Valley Conference member Lindenwood Oct. 15 in Charleston. (photo courtesy Sandy King, EIU Athletics)

Perhaps the only thing busier than the transfer portal these days in college football is tracking the ever-changing world of conference membership.

The Ohio Valley Conference certainly had seen its share of adjustments in recent seasons. That trend continues with this fall’s football schedule, which will directly affect Eastern Illinois.

How did the OVC get to its current state?

Charter member Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State, which joined in 2003, left the Ohio Valley last summer.

The defections of Eastern Kentucky and Jacksonville State left OVC teams playing a strange 2021 schedule in which schools played other league teams twice in the same fall with only one of the games counting in the conference standings.

Austin Peay football, which joined the Ohio Valley in 1963, departed the OVC following last fall’s schedule.

Murray State left the league to join the Missouri Valley Conference, however the Racers will remain in the OVC for football this fall.

In Oct. 2021, the OVC and the Southland Conference announced plans for a football scheduling alliance between the two FCS leagues for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Meanwhile, the Ohio Valley added Lindenwood, located in St. Charles, Mo., as a new football-playing member. The Lions are moving up from Division II after two straight playoff appearances.

What does all this shifting mean?

Entering this fall, the Ohio Valley Conference has seven football-playing members:  Eastern Illinois, Murray State, Southeast Missouri State, Tennessee State, Tennessee Tech, UT Martin along with newly added Lindenwood.

EIU will host Lindenwood Oct. 15 at O’Brien Field in Charleston. This game happens to be the Panthers’ homecoming game. However, it will not count in the OVC standings.

Kyle Schwartz,  OVC Assistant Commissioner for Strategic Communications, explained the complexities of the league scheduling to Prairie State Pigskin Wednesday.

“When Lindenwood joined, most OVC schools’ schedules were almost complete full, especially with the Southland Conference collaboration.  There was no way to make it a true round robin (six OVC games for every team),” Schwartz wrote in an e-mail.

Thus, the OVC determined that every team would play five conference games to work around their other scheduled games and make things even across the board, Schwartz explained.

“However, Lindenwood (who couldn’t play Tennessee State because its schedule was full) needed games, and EIU had an opening on its schedule, so we determined they would play, it just wouldn’t count in the standings.  If that counted in the OVC schedule, EIU would have had six games and everyone else would have had five (which we wanted to avoid),” Schwartz said.

While Lindenwood will only have four conference games on its schedule, Schwartz noted that the Lions are eligible to win the OVC championship. However, per NCAA rules, Lindenwood is not eligible for the the automatic qualifying berth into the playoffs since the Lions are reclassifying divisions.  

“We felt this was the best way to move forward this year,” Schwartz said.

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It’s not fair to compare David Montgomery to this NFL superstarVincent Pariseon May 18, 2022 at 4:00 pm

One of the few good decisions that Ryan Pace ever made in the NFL Draft came in the 2019 NFL Draft when he traded up to select David Montgomery out of Iowa State University. Since that point, the Chicago Bears have fired Pace but they still believe in Montgomery who is becoming a very good NFL running back.

In his rookie season, he wasn’t even the main running back and he still managed to have over 800 yards rushing. He broke 1000 in 2020 which was his first full season and that is impressive. In 2021, he was the full-time starter but missed four games which is why he had 849 yards total.

If he played in all 17 games (or even in at least one more game), he would have broken the 1000-yard plateau for a second straight season. That was also on a Bears team coached by Matt Nagy that didn’t utilize the run game nearly enough.

We can only hope that the new regime uses him right. With Justin Fields getting ready to take over all on his own with no Andy Dalton or Nick Foles breathing down his neck, it will be very important to have a solid running back and Montgomery is that.

#Bears running backs coach David Walker compared David Montgomery loosely to Jonathan Taylor when asked what was possible as a next level for Montgomery going into his 4th year in the league.

— Mark Carman (@thecarm) May 17, 2022

The Chicago Bears need David Montgomery to continue growing his game.

On Tuesday, running back coach David Walker made a somewhat bold claim that doesn’t seem fair to Montgomery. He loosely compared him to Jonathan Taylor who is now a true superstar back in the NFL. He led the NFL with 1811 yards in 2021.

The comparison was in reference to what level Montgomery can get to in year four of his NFL career. The difference is that Taylor got to that level in year two because he is probably just better. That doesn’t mean that Montgomery is bad by any means or can’t become a star. He just probably won’t ever lead the league in rushing.

Matt Eeberflus is someone that is more known for being a defensive-minded coach. However, in losing Matt Nagy, people expect the offense to take a step forward because it was so bad last year and the years prior to that.

Getting David Montgomery going is a big part of it but it doesn’t seem fair to be compared to the best in the league right now.

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Chicago City Council Chops Up Neighborhoods In New Ward Map

Chicago City Council Chops Up Neighborhoods In New Ward Map

The new Chicago ward map is an abomination

On Monday the Chicago city council finally approved a new Ward map as required in the wake of the latest census. If you’ve been following this story you’ll know that it was a knock down drag out fight in true Chicago fashion with lots of back room dealings and back stabbing – otherwise known as compromises. If you want to see the map and find out how different neighborhoods got divided up I found this Chicago Tribune page to be the most user friendly and authoritative source.

Before I go any further let me assure you that I understand that

There were many competing interests here and they had to compromise
The final map was less bad than some of the other proposals
The previous map had lots of problems also

The map proves that Republicans do not have a monopoly on gerrymandering. There are some pretty weird shapes here – especially my new ward 36. WTF!

The underlying problem is that the entire process focused on creating ethnically segregated wards. That’s right. The aldermen unapologetically wanted ethnic majority wards in order to preserve their own power and apparently this type of segregation is OK. Personally, I find it offensive. It assumes that people’s political interests should align more closely with their ethnicity than their neighbors.

At least in West Town this notion was firmly rejected by 4 community groups who signed onto a letter to the Rules Committee expressing support for an earlier proposal: “For the first time in many years, the map as proposed brings our neighborhoods together. We appreciate that you have taken our input and drawn boundaries for the 1st Ward that will significantly aid our neighborhoods in planning, public safety, and responsible development for the next ten years.” Clearly these community groups recognized that organizing along common, local interests makes a hell of a lot more sense than organizing along ethnic lines.

Unfortunately their plea was not honored and now I and my neighbors are lumped together with people in Montclare while our neighbors a few blocks east are in a totally different ward. And we’re not the only neighborhood that got carved up. Englewood is split into 5 wards – I think it was six previously. How does any of this make sense?

#ChicagoPolitics #ChicagoNeighborhoods

Gary Lucido is the President of Lucid Realty, the Chicago area’s full service real estate brokerage that offers home buyer rebates and discount commissions. If you want to keep up to date on the Chicago real estate market or get an insider’s view of the seamy underbelly of the real estate industry you can Subscribe to Getting Real by Email using the form below. Please be sure to verify your email address when you receive the verification notice.

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Royals star C Perez (thumb) out at least 2 weekson May 18, 2022 at 5:43 pm

Kansas City Royals star catcher Salvador Perez is expected to miss at least two weeks after suffering a sprained left thumb Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox.

The Royals placed Perez on the 10-day injured list after the opener of Tuesday’s doubleheader against the White Sox.

Perez told reporters he suffered the injury when he swung through a pitch during his first at-bat against Chicago’s Dylan Cease. The seven-time All-Star left the game in the seventh inning because he was having trouble gripping the bat but, according to Royals manager Mike Matheny, still wanted to play Game 2 of the doubleheader.

1 Related

“He knows he’s got a sprain, but he wanted to play,” Matheny told reporters, according to MLB.com. “He knew he could play through it, but the issue is: ‘What are we risking here?’ We don’t want to risk a season-ending injury if it gets worse.”

Perez, 32, hopes to spend the minimum 10 days on the IL but acknowledged a quick return to the Royals will be “hard” because the sprained thumb is on his glove hand, making it difficult for him to catch.

“It’s really sad to see Sal go down, but it’s encouraging to hear that he’s not going to be out long,” Royals center fielder Michael Taylor told the Kansas City Star. “Obviously, he’s a big part of our team.”

Perez was off to a slow start this season before the injury, batting just .206 with six home runs and 16 RBIs in 34 games. The 2015 World Series MVP led the majors with 48 homers and 121 RBIs last season.

The Royals recalled catcher Sebastian Rivero from Double-A Northwest Arkansas to replace Perez on the active roster, but rookie MJ Melendez is expected to serve as Kansas City’s primary catcher during the 12-year veteran’s absence. Melendez, who caught all 18 innings of Tuesday’s doubleheader, is batting .233 with one homer in 30 at-bats this season.

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Looking for a solicitor? Here are some aspects you should consider

Looking for a solicitor? Here are some aspects you should consider

Whether you’re filing for divorce or going through a lawsuit, such situations require the support of a solicitor. Getting help from an expert is critical to handling the legal aspects successfully. A reliable solicitor will put your mind at ease and make your life easier. 

However, choosing a solicitor can be slightly unsettling. After all, you’re looking for someone trustworthy who can empathise with your situation. You’ll most likely have to do some searching before finding the right legal expert. It’s vital to find someone you feel comfortable with since you have to share sensitive information. 

Thus, the solicitor you end up working with should have legal skills and interpersonal ones. Any legal process can get overwhelming, so you want to hire someone who can provide emotional support as well. 

When looking for a solicitor, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re making the right choice. 

Ask for recommendations 

You should do some research before hiring a legal professional to deal with your case. Consider asking your work colleagues, family members or friends for recommendations. There’s a high chance some of these people worked with a solicitor before, and they can provide suggestions. 

 The point is to get the names of law firms and solicitors who have an exceptional track record. Your friends and family members are a reliable source, as they aren’t likely to recommend a solicitor who didn’t provide high-quality services.  

Consider their level of expertise

Nowadays, thanks to Google, you can easily access any information you need, including legal ones. Let’s say you face some technical issues. In such a situation, you may wonder whether you really need advice from a legal professional or can find solutions online. 

But the truth is, no search engine compares with the experience of a qualified solicitor. Although the Internet can help you in many ways, the in-depth knowledge of a solicitor is invaluable when it comes to legal aspects. Additionally, you should look for a legal expert who can provide the services you’re looking for. Most solicitors choose a specific area of the law and specialise in it, so keep this in mind when making a decision – you don’t want to hire someone who doesn’t have the skills to deal with your specific case. 

 Look for client reviews

If you cannot get any recommendations from your friends or family, the Internet may help you make a choice. You can look for reviews on various law firms’ websites to see what other clients say about the quality of their services.

 Another idea is to check online resources like Review of Solicitors and learn about other people’s experiences with different solicitors. However, it’s critical to examine these reviews with caution, as they may be biassed. This may be the case for law firm websites, but it’s less common for consumer review websites. 

Check their credentials

Legal skills and knowledge are essential aspects to ensure your case will be successful. But credentials are another critical factor to consider when looking for a solicitor. You have to be aware of scams, as some people may pretend to be solicitors when they are not. 

Thus, make sure to check the solicitor’s qualifications before signing any agreement. The state bar website provides information regarding solicitors’ licences, as well as their track records. So, you can easily figure out if they are reliable and ensure their disciplinary history is clean. 

Ensure they have enough experience

Choosing a solicitor can be pretty stressful because you have to find someone who knows what they are doing. And trusting they can and will handle the case effectively is essential when hiring a solicitor. The legal profession is not a job where you can get by on charm – you need to have all the tools at hand to get the most successful outcome. 

Reputable law firms should have verifiable experience and be willing to provide all the information you need regarding the legal process. You shouldn’t hesitate to ask them questions – if they have experience, they will be able to clarify all your concerns. 

Think about their location

Due to the Internet, nowadays, it is easy to connect with professionals online. This can be convenient for some reasons, but it’s always better to discuss complicated and sensitive issues in person. If your solicitor lives in a different location, it will be more difficult to reach them. Plus, working with a solicitor online may also slow down the process. 

Emails could get lost, or you may not be able to exchange critical documents due to a glitch in programming. If you cannot deliver the necessary documentation, you may not find online resources reliable anymore. Therefore, choosing a local solicitor is a better choice, as you will be able to see them with ease whenever you need. 

Consider pricing

Legal proceedings are generally pretty costly. Thus, hiring a solicitor may also require a significant amount of money. If you can’t afford the services of a specific law firm, then by no means should you hire it. But you shouldn’t let cheap prices draw you in either. If it seems like the cost is quite unrealistic, that’s because it probably is! 

Thus, make sure to do your research before hiring a solicitor and figure out the average rate for the service you require. This will give you a clear idea of what to look for when choosing a legal expert to represent you. Also, there are several factors you should consider before making a choice, including the solicitor’s experience, the law firm’s reputation, and the particularities of your case. Considering your budget and needs will help you choose a solicitor that can meet your expectations and handle your case successfully.

Examine their interpersonal skills

Lastly, how your solicitor interacts with you is critical to determine whether they are the right choice. Keep in mind you should be able to communicate efficiently with them. If they seem dismissive, you should look for another solicitor. 

Legal issues can cause stress and anxiety, so it’s essential to work with someone who can also be there for you emotionally. You need someone who is patient and listens to you with empathy. Working with a solicitor requires close collaboration, and this is why you should hire someone who has excellent communication skills and makes you feel comfortable. 

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Emma Hospelhorn of Ensemble dal Niente releases a scintillating solo debut as Em Spel

Gossip Wolf always likes to hear about a new solo album from a member of Ensemble dal Niente—the long-running local contemporary-classical corps has built a spotless reputation for adventurous programming and technical excellence, and its members often pop up in far-flung musical contexts around town. Among the most prolific is multi-instrumentalist Emma Hospelhorn, who has played flutes, keyboards, and bass guitar on recordings by V.V. Lightbody, Mute Duo, and garage band Hollows, and also maintains duos with cellist Katinka Kleijn (acoustic instruments augmented with homemade circuits) and computer-music specialist Ben Sutherland (an electroacoustic collaboration called the Machine Is Neither, which has created music for a dancer triggering sounds with a motion-capture suit). On Friday, May 20, Hospelhorn releases her debut solo album, The Carillon Towers, under the name Em Spel; its pop-adjacent experimental folk features her lovely, elastic vocals, her flute, and her intricately programmed electronics, along with standout performances by guests such as Kleijn and Lightbody. On Thursday, May 26, Em Spel will celebrate with a record-release show at Constellation, with openers Health & Beauty and Elenna Sindler

Em Spel’s debut features guests V.V. Lightbody, Katinka Kleijn, Eric Ridder, Matt Oliphant, Caitlin Edwards, and Brian Deck.

On Friday, May 20, saxophonist Ernest Dawkins presents the local premiere of an ensemble piece commissioned by the Jazz Institute of Chicago in homage to civil rights activist, historian, and educator Timuel Black, who died in October at age 102. Tim Black: Blacker Than Black will be performed by a dozen artists who work in different genres and mediums: Dawkins’s comrades in this multidisciplinary group include dancer Dominique Atwood, trumpeter Corey Wilkes, pianist Alexis Lombre, saxophonist Isaiah Collier, and beat-scene producer and sound artist Brother El. The Live the Spirit Residency, Dawkins’s arts nonprofit, will host Friday’s performance at Hamilton Park Cultural Center (513 W. 72nd). The concert is free and begins at 6 PM.

Last time the Reader checked in on the Curls, they’d just released 2019’s Bounce House, an album of flamboyant, experimental indie pop. At the time they were a six-piece based here, but on their first full-length since then, they’re down to four members who are spread out across three time zones, living in Chicago, Georgia, and Wyoming. On Friday, May 20, Georgia-based label Truth Zone will drop Smothered & Covered, a busy romp whose shaggy, colorful, loose-limbed songs balance themes of dread with a communal sense of joy. The Curls will take a brief tour next month that includes a homecoming show at Cole’s Bar on Saturday, June 25.

As the band’s new bio puts it, “Curls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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