Category Archives: Leaders in the News

Billionaire Philanthropist James Pritzker Comes Out as Transgender

 Col. James Pritzker, a member of a prominent and wealthy Chicago
family and funder of a study on transgender people in the military, has
come out as transgender, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.

Crain’s quotes an email sent to employees of the Pritzker
Military Library and Pritzker’s company Tawani Enterprises, saying, “As
of Aug. 16, 2013, J.N. Pritzker will undergo an official legal name
change, will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker. This change will
reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately
and will now share publicly. Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman
for all business and personal undertakings.” The business journal adds
that “a spokeswoman declined to answer questions about Col. Pritzker’s
sexuality or possible hormone therapy.”

Pritzker has a net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes,
and has donated to many philanthropic efforts, including preservation
and restoration of historic buildings. Her family has a long history in
business. Pritzker’s father, the late Robert Pritzker, founded the
Marmon Group, a holding company for a variety of businesses, and her
uncles, the late Jay Pritzker and Donald Pritzker, founded Hyatt Hotels.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is her cousin.

Aaron Swartz…The Loss of a Genuis

 So sad… 

As an eighth-grader in Winnetka, Illinois, Aaron Swartz showed signs of
the computer wizardry that would lead to his Internet activism and
development of software used by websites worldwide.

But the
Highland Park native who had attended North Shore Country Day School in
Winnetka and as a 13-year-old had created an online public encyclopedia
for a school competition got into trouble as an adult.

He faced trial in April on federal charges that he had illegally
downloaded millions of journal articles from the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology with the intention of posting them to a file-sharing

The prospect of the trial was too much for him, his family
said. Swartz, 26, committed suicide inside his New York apartment,
authorities said Saturday.

In a statement sent through a
spokesman, his family said Swartz hanged himself the day before out of
worry that he faced more than 30 years in federal prison.

insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy
and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept
injustice as inevitable — these gifts made the world, and our lives, far
brighter,” the statement in part read.

Along with developing an
early version of rich site summary, or RSS, technology, Swartz is
credited with co-founding the popular Reddit website that allows users
to vote for their favorite news stories of the day.

In a talk in 2007, Mr. Swartz described having had suicidal thoughts
during a low period in his career. He also wrote about his struggle with
depression, distinguishing it from sadness.

“Go outside and get
some fresh air or cuddle with a loved one and you don’t feel any better,
only more upset at being unable to feel the joy that everyone else
seems to feel. Everything gets colored by the sadness.”

If you are someone you know is experiencing suicical ideation, call the
National Suicide Prevention hotline at  1-800-273-8255, the national
GLBT National Youth Talkline at 1-800-246-PRIDE (1-800-246-7743), or The Trevor Project, an organization specifically focused on LGBT people, at 866-488-7386.

4 Local Female Authors are SHY TOWN GIRLS

A  group of four women authors
in Chicago were looking to share their  best tips on
the collaborative publishing process with you! 

Four Shy Girls

Four Big Dreams

One Awesome City

Novel 1 in the Shy-Town Girls 4- Book Series


When beautiful, but shy 24-year-old, Bobbie Bertucci, arrives at her
new digs, an elegant brownstone in Chicago’s historic Gold Coast
neighborhood, she has no idea what her new life will be like. Between
balancing her job as a modeling agent and escaping a bad relationship,
she’s hit rock bottom.

But things change when she moves into the same building as her close
friend Meryl. Additionally, her two new twenty-something roommates, Ivy
and Ella, help bring Bobbie out of her shell. Barbara, landlady and
mother-hen of the house, watches out for the girls while sharing sage

Bobbie, Meryl, Ivy, and Ella, all variations of shy girls, brave the
city of Chicago together, forming a powerful bond of friendship. Their
nighttime roof deck conversations over glasses of wine instigate
laughter and even some tears.

Bobbie takes a bold step to redesign her life completely to ensure
she doesn’t fall into the romantic trap she fell into before. But
there’s a new suitor in the picture, and she will have to decide between
an old flame or a new one, taking a risk, something hard for any
girl–even harder for a shy girl.

We’re passionate about
writing and creating a technique that you can learn to use yourself or
with other writing partners.

Listen to a recent interview
with all four authors to learn how we got started on down this writing
path. We hope you’ll gain some valuable insights on writing, publishing
and marketing your own books and products. You’ll get to know each
author individually as we’ll write from our own perspectives and share
our own experiences.

Feel free to contact us for collaboration and speaking opportunities, to talk to your book club or just a drop us a line to say hello!

Sign up now to get free updates on that latest publishing techniques and best practices for writing!”

Jeanne Gang Talks her Art Institute Exhibtion and Northly Island with Time Out Chicago

The Aqua Tower is located on the 200 block of North Columbus Drive, and
is surrounded by high-rises. To capture views of nearby landmarks for
Aqua’s residents, the design firm  stretched its balconies outward by as much as 12
feet (3.7 meters). The result is a building composed of irregularly shaped concrete floor
slabs which lend the facade an undulating, sculptural quality.

When this building went up – I said, “Who the heck designed this?! It is stunning!”

Aqua is an 86-story mixed-use residential skyscraper in the Lakeshore East development in downtown Chicago.

 Designed by a team led by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang Architects, the building is the tallest in the world to have a woman as lead architect, at 859 ft . It includes one level of parking below ground. The building’s eight-story, 140,000 sq ft  base is topped by a 82,550 sq ft  terrace with gardens, gazebos, pools, hot tubs, a walking/running track and a fire pit. Each floor covers approximately 16,000 sq ft.

The Aqua was named the Emporis Skyscraper Award 2009 skyscraper of the year and was shortlisted in 2010 for the biannual International Highrise Award.

Founded by Jeanne Gang,
FAIA, in 1997, Studio Gang is an international practice whose work
confronts pressing contemporary issues. Conceived as a collective of
architects, designers, and thinkers, the studio acts as a lab for
testing ideas on varying scales: from cities to environments to
individual buildings’ unique material properties.

The firm’s provocative
and alluring architecture is exemplified by such recent projects as the
Aqua Tower (the 2009 Emporis Skyscraper of the Year), Columbia College Chicago’s Media Production Center (a cutting-edge film production and teaching facility), and the Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo (an educational pavilion and landscape that is quickly becoming a new Chicago landmark).

In advance of the Art Institute’s exhibition on the MacArthur
Fellowship-winning architect, TIME OUT CHICAGO  tours her studio—and try to figure out
what makes her tick.  By Lauren Viera.
  Northerly Island will be a HUGE commission and long term commitment for the firm. It will take 30 YEARS TO COMPLETE!!

Obama Moves G8 from Chicago to Avoid?

There has been so much talk the last year, about G8 coming to Chicago….now, it’s not!  President Obama feels Camp David will provide a more comfortable environment.  Hmmmmm.  Perhaps  they are just avoiding all the planned protests and countless security risks?

Protesters who’ve been planning for months to converge on Chicago for
a pair of important world meetings this spring say they have a message:
No G-8? No problem.

The decision by the White House to move the Group of 8 economic
summit to Camp David while the NATO summit remains in Chicago might have
split the reasons to protest. But it won’t diminish the number of
people – tens of thousands, by some estimates – who plan to come to
Chicago for a rally and march to protest everything from war to poverty,
said Andy Thayer, a leader of the Chicago Coalition Against War and
Racism and the Gay Liberation Network and one of the principle planners
of the Chicago protests.

White House national security spokesman Tommy Vietor said security
and the possibility of protests were not factors in the decision. He
said Camp David, the rustic retreat in the mountains of Maryland, was a
setting that would allow for more intimate discussions.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police officials have insisted they could
handle any trouble. Chicago has had fewer problems with the Occupy
protests than many other cities, and police officials had been
consulting with other departments about how to handle large protests.
Even so, many downtown businesses have been preparing for the
possibility of riots.

Hermene Hartmans The Barack Book

How cool is this?
 Fund this new book, The Barack Book, for a $25 pledge, and you get a copy of the book, when it comes in November!

It’s like putting your order in advance now – and helping bring this very awesome book to the marketplace.

2012 many books will be published on President Obama as he comes up for

Hartman, Bob Starks, and Derrick Baker have a unique perspective on the
man.  They were there from the beginning.  And Barack is their friend. 

the long-time publisher of N’DIGO, a weekly targeted at Chicago’s black
middle class, Hartman was the first to cover the young, black Chicagoan
rising in the political ranks.  First he was her friend, then he became
an Illinois senator, and then the President Obama we all know today.
 Hartman and colleagues Starks and Baker recognized the political
potential of Mr. Obama early on and since 2003 have covered him from a
unique black Chicago perspective.

you have supported Obama from the beginning, now is your chance to
remain involved in spreading the man’s worldwide significance via The Barack Book.

Getting books published or movies made is a tough business these days.  Artists and writers are taking it upon themselves, to get their own seed money, to bring their products to the marketplace.

This trio  of writers  are using Kickstarter to fund the creation of The Barack Book  and need your involvement to help cement President Obama’s legacy.  They have less than 3 weeks to raise the $15,000 needed to get this project off this ground. And if you pledge $25 – you will get a copy of the hardcover book, when it comes out this November. If you can pledge more, there are  even more incentives!

Please help fund this very important book from Chicago, on Barack Obama.

Restoring Earth at Abbott Hall of Conservation at Field Museum

Not since Indiana Jones has the scientist’s role as action hero come to life as vividly as in The Field Museum’s new exhibition that immerses visitors in adventures with Museum scientists as they promote conservation from Chicago to South America, to Pacific coral reefs and points in between.

Opening to the public November 4, 2011, Abbott Hall of Conservation Restoring Earth is The Field’s newest permanent exhibition. It uses large-scale photographs, videos, and fun, hands-on learning tools to focus on active science and those who make it happen.

“We want to change the perception of what a museum can be,” says Anna Huntley, the exhibition’s project manager. “Field Museum scientists work to preserve biodiversity all over the world. We want people to know that conservation can be discovery, beauty, adventure, and action.” 

Restoring Earth is a testament to The Field Museum’s emphasis on conservation and sustainability, but the exhibition doesn’t lecture, telling visitors what’s right and wrong. Instead, visitors hear scientists’ own words – describing the work they do and the passion and urgency that drives them.

The exhibition is also a treat for the senses. Huge, breathtaking visuals produced in vivid color and high resolution show portions of beetles, fish scales, and butterfly wings that illustrate the stunning beauty in the natural world all around us. Throughout the exhibition, visitors have the opportunity to select and view digital video shorts that explore concepts and processes used by Field Museum scientists. Music, animation, and humor are used to engage both kids and adults as they learn about subjects ranging from why coral reefs matter to how ancient peoples practiced conservation.

Field Museum

Occupy Chicago Continues October 22, 2011

Important Occupy Chicago

Protest Tonight! (Saturday)


6:30 PM – LaSalle Street & Jackson Blvd.


The Gay Liberation Network is a proud supporter of Occupy Chicago’s movement for economic justice and end to the wars which rob other nations of their right to self-determination while robbing us of resources that could be put to far better uses.


Here is a message from Occupy Chicago about why you should attend tonight’s protest:


Sisters and Brothers:


As many of you know, 175 people were arrested last Saturday night, during an attempt to set up a 24 hour protest in Grant Park. Many who were arrested were teachers, students, workers, union members, people with and without work, young and old.

At Occupy Chicago we understand this as a gross violation of our First Amendment right to peacefully assemble. Free speech and assembly is a 24 hour right. It does not magically disappear at the park’s Curfew. In a world that continues to have its public space privatized, indeed that continues to have all things public stolen from us, it is essential that we reclaim and build a public space to bulwark ourselves against the oncoming tide ofcorporate greed. We are trying erect a public space, one that is not owned or sponsored, where ideas, democracy, and the resistance against the ever increasing cuts that affect all us, can be fostered.


This is why, on Saturday, 10-22-2011, we will again march out and try to encamp at a yet undisclosed location. This time we march with the full support of the SEIU, CTU, National Nurses United, Stand Up Chicago, Jobs with Justice, the United Electrical Workers, and more. We are joining forces with the rank and file workers of this city who are caught in the same struggle and willing to engage in the same fight. Let us rally in the name of the workers; let us march against a system bent on stealing our futures; and let us end with the construction of a new public sphere: Occupy Chicago’s new permanent home.


Come help us rebuild the public sphere, take back our right to free speech, and demand that the charges against those arrested last week be dropped. Come march with us. Come stand against austerity with your brothers and sisters. Come help us rebuild and take back what has been stolen from us.


Where: Jackson and LaSalle        When: 6:30 pm,


Occupy Chicago
Follow  OC  on  Facebook.

May 2012 WIll Bring Nato/G8 to Chicago…Brace Yourselves!

The Group of Eight (G8)  
is a forum, created by France in 1975,for the governments of seven major economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1997, the group added Russia, thus becoming the G8.

Each calendar year, the responsibility of hosting the G8 rotates. In May 2012 they will be in Chicago. Both the NATO and the G8 summits will be held here, at the same time.

Can you imagine??

Hosting the G8 and NATO summits at the same time means bringing together leaders from the world’s most powerful countries in terms of wealth and militaries. Security is expected to unprecedented.

The feds will shovel out $55 million for “security”
against protesters of the G8 and NATO, according to a recent Tribune article.

Since July anti-war organizers in the Coalition Against NATO / G8 War and Poverty Agenda (“CANG8”) have delivered letters and attempted to meet with the city regarding respect for the 1st amendment rights of protesters during the NATO and G8 summits that will take place in Chicago in May 2012.  Their first communications were met with silence, and then repeated calls to city officials in charge of the permitting process were met with a run-around and then with continued silence.
For the G8 / NATO summits, the protesters are demanding that Mayor Emanuel publicly commit to giving march permits that allow protesters to get “within sight and sound” of the summits, and that Police Superintendent McCarthy cease making threatening statements against would-be G8/NATO protesters. 

Previous meetings of NATO and G8 in other cities have seen massive violations of civil rights by police, resulting in millions of dollars of successful lawsuits against the host city governments.  As such, the City should forthrightly commit to upholding the 1st amendment rights of protesters and rein in the verbal threats coming from police brass.

ROSIE O’DONNELL In Chicago at Harpo – Filming NOW

                                                                             I AM SURE YOU KNOW BY NOW,

Nearly a decade after she left her successful daily daytime show to take care of her children, O’Donnell’s “The Rosie Show” premieres Monday October 10th  on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Rosie  is  bringing her wisdom, talent and brilliant sense of humor (and don’t forget NICE!) to THE ROSIE SHOW. 

At the heart of the show is Rosie’s genuine desire to entertain, inspire and connect with America.  As a down-to-earth mother, passionate advocate for children and all-around inquisitive individual, Rosie will relate to her audience in meaningful ways-touching their hearts, sparking their minds and making them laugh.

The proud mom of four is ever funny, packed with high-energy and AUTHENTIC – a talk show with a heart – no two days of THE ROSIE SHOW will be alike. Rosie will cover current events, spotlight hometown heroes and newsmakers, showcase the arts, celebrate kids and families, as well as feature well-known and upcoming talent. All done here in Chicago at Harpo Studios.

We caught up Rosie today in between press meetings. Shows will be taped and aired the same day or within 24 hours to be relevant.

I am very excited to be here in Chicago. When we moved here in the summer, I had looked around for places and didn’t know anything about Chicago at all, although I had filmed “League of Their Own” here for a couple weeks, and I had done standup here throughout my career, mostly at the Improv, which is no longer open, in the heart of Chicago. I wasn’t really familiar with the city or where anything was or in relation to Harpo, so they put me up at a residential hotel, the Elysian, which is actually beautiful and gorgeous and lovely.

And when we figured out that my 14-year-old daughter would be living here with me and that my other children would be coming back and forth all the time, the two little ones, we realized it really wasn’t big enough and that we need outdoor space, because sitting in a hotel room with them for a four-day weekend was a little bit much.

So luckily one of the presidents of Harpo, Erik Logan, had a house for sale (in Lakeview) , and I went and looked at it, and I called him up and said “If you will leave it furnished, I mean, like down to the toilet paper and some of the nightshirts, I think we have a deal,” because it’s a beautiful place that he had just really finished renovating about two years ago, and it’s turn-key ready. And I actually move in tomorrow, so I’m thrilled about that, and I love being in a neighborhood and places that I can walk to the restaurants for dinner and not have to order room service and, you know, feel more like a home. I actually love it here and can imagine moving and living here for this next chapter of my life.”

Lucky for Chicago, Oprah grabbed Rosie when she did. Rosie had an offer on the table from NBC for a show.

“THE Oprah is sort of magical, and I was very overwhelmed at just being in her presence when she called me and said “Is it true?” And I was like “Is what true?” She’s like “That you would want to do this for me.” I’m like “Yes, ma’am.” So she flew to my house, and we had like a four-hour conversation. And at the end of the conversation, she said “Why is it that you’d rather do it for me than the network you’re about to sign with?” And I’m like “Because you’re you.” I think she doesn’t quite get the effect that she’s had on most of the country, if not the entire world.

And for me, I’m about to turn 50 in March. Half my life I’ve watched her on television, and I was one of those crazy super-fans who used to VCR it back in the old days and then put her on my Tivo, and I would watch it every night. So it was a huge thrill for me and a vote of confidence. You know, the truth is, when I was about to sign with NBC, I questioned whether or not I would be able to do it and to sort of withstand the network kind of pressure and the network mishigas that happens and happened. And right around that time the Jay Leno/Conan O’Brien fiasco had just finished, and I was not feeling very safe or secure in the network’s investment in their talent.

So when Oprah Winfrey said to me “Would you do it for me?” which had been my first desire as well– when people started calling me right after she said she was going to leave her program, I called my agent and said “Does she need someone? Because if she needs somebody for her network, I’d rather do it there.”

But agents never really care about your emotional desires. They care more about their financial bottom line. So you make a lot more money on network TV than you do on cable, but to me it wasn’t ever about the money. No part of my career was ever about money. It was always about trying to do the best job in the best place that would be most congruent with my life and my values.

And that’s definitely where I ended up, largely because I do believe in what she taught us all, that you can live your best life, and if you dream it, you can live it. And a large part of my career and my success is because of watching her and learning from her, so to be here now with her is beyond a dream come true. It’s like everybody’s– for me, it’s like winning the lottery, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. So I’m excited to get started, and I hope that I serve her and the network well.”

The Rosie Show is destined for greatness. This is just what OWN  needed. The network has gotten off to slow start but the Rosie Show is just the shot in the arm, the network needs.   O’Donnell isn’t worried about her new home on OWN. “I have tremendous faith in Oprah’s  ability to do almost anything,” she says. “When she puts her mind to anything, it gets down. People ask if I feel pressure. I feel nothing but privilege, really.” She lated added, “If you look at the launch of any cable channel, it takes three years. The people are just waiting for us to fill up the programming. Its going to be a huge hit like everything else Oprah touches.”

OPRAH  SAID, “In 25 years of doing my show, only one competitor ever seriously challenged me in the ratings: Rosie O’Donnell. From the day Rosie took her place among the crowded field of talk show hosts, I knew she had that “It” thing: She was as sharp as she was authentic, as forthright as she was funny. During six seasons of NBC’s The Rosie O’Donnell Show, she not only won 11 Emmys—she knew how to use her screen time to truly connect.”

One thing that sounds really great about the new show, is its not about quantity, but quality of guests. Rather than trying to cram in 3 guests a day for 5 minute spots,  the show will feature one guest on for several segments. 

Since I’ve been off the air, television has become saturated with celebrities. In America we’re addicted in a way that’s embarrassing. So it’s not going to be all about celebrity. It’ll be a celebration of humanity, of connection, of authenticity and love.

Because it’s on at 7, we’re going to do a hybrid between a late-night show and a daytime show. We’ll incorporate the audience. We’ll use Twitter. We’ll use Facebook. We’ve come up with a new kind of talk show that mixes the old single-topic format with fun and social media. So it will have a reality feel. We’ll have to get the kinks out, but the same way I knew the first one would work, I know this will work

Watch for a star studded opening week including a who’s who list of stars! Appearances by Salma Hyek, Lisa Kudrow, Gloria Estefan, Roseanne Barr, Sharon and Kelly Osborne, Ricky Lake, Gloria Steinem, Wanda Sykes, the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Kevin Bacon, Fran Drescher , but she still has a wish list of other stars. “Adele has throat issues but as soon as she’s up and healthy she’ll be on,” she says. “I want to have Melissa McCarthy on. Never seen anyone as funny their first time as host of ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Emma Stone… Ryan Gosling I think is an amazing actor. I have a huge wish list.”


I’m going to come out and do stand-up with a mic. I don’t really tell jokes and my stand-up was always more about stories, so I need a mic and a stand. I felt like Henny Youngman [without it]. I’ll do about ten minutes of stand up, then take questions from the audience like Carol Burnett did. So we’re gonna have a real lengthy sit down interview, not always a celebrity with something to promote. Then we have a human interest segment and we play a game at the end of every show…. This will be more fun than anyone imagined. I cheat, but it’s still fun.”

Whether it’s hilarious comedy and game segments, (Rosie LOVES The Price is Right) a live performance by a major recording artist, a celebrity visit, or a discussion of an issue important to Americans, THE ROSIE SHOW’s candid exploration of a wide variety of subjects will encourage all of us to laugh, love and live our best lives.

TICKETS  are hard to get at the moment but check the site often for updates!

* I have RCN and OWN is part of a news and information package I had to buy, for an additional $5.95 a month. But hey, it’ll be worth it!