Popular lakefront hangout expected to be closed until 2024, ‘Barbie’ mania grips Chicago and more in your Chicago news roundup

Today’s update is about an eight-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.

SHARE Popular lakefront hangout expected to be closed until 2024, ‘Barbie’ mania grips Chicago and more in your Chicago news roundup
Castaways Bar & Grill on North Avenue Beach.

Castaways Bar & Grill on North Avenue Beach has yet to open for the summer.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times file

Good afternoon, Chicago. ✶

“Barbie” movie mania is gripping fans across the country — including me.

In Chicago, the movie has spawned trivia games, drag brunches and more, Jacquelyne Germain reports for the Sun-Times. Elsewhere, the Barbie marketing team is behind a four-part Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge on HGTV and a Barbie Xbox console series.

I rarely watch summer blockbusters, and like to think I’m immune to Hollywood marketing. But I spent all day Sunday assembling my Barbie-watching outfit.

What’s the appeal? To me, the movie’s aesthetics are an unabashed celebration of femininity — not just womanhood, but a pink-hued aesthetic that’s often seen as frivolous and childish, just like a Barbie toy. Wear a suit, and you’re a serious woman. But wear a bright and colorful dress, and you’re just being silly, or worse, dressing for men’s attention.

I think about that balance a lot as a trans woman. But for one night, I’m excited to go out with my friends, wear something fun and enjoy a movie.

Add a splash of color to your afternoon with the latest news below.

⏱️: A 7-minute read

— Ellery Jones, audience engagement specialist (@elleryrjones)


Full reopening of Castaways, popular lakefront grill, not expected until next year

Reporting by Stefano Esposito

Nautical North Avenue news: If you had plans to make Castaways Bar & Grill on North Avenue Beach a regular summer hangout, you’ll have to wait until next year.The popular boat-shaped venue has been closed this summer while awaiting approval for renovation and expansion work. Now, it’s not set to “fully” reopen until summer 2024.

No permits issued: Signs outside the shuttered venue read: “Temporarily closed this summer for renovations. We’re excited to welcome everyone back aboard soon!” But neither the city nor the alderman in whose ward the venue sits has given the green light for those renovations. The Chicago Park District owns the building and surrounding land, with Castaways a tenant in the building.

It’ll be open for Air & Water Show: Even with the issues, Castaways has been selling tickets — starting at $130 — to a rooftop viewing event for next month’s Chicago Air and Water Show. “We plan to have the same setup for the Air and Water Show that we’ve had in previous years. So we’re preselling tickets for an all-inclusive package on the rooftop, and we’ll have some concessions available downstairs as well,” said Gina Stefani, managing partner of Phil Stefani Signature Restaurants.




Former 25th Ward Ald. Danny Solis.

  • Will former Ald. Danny Solis testify?: Federal prosecutors have agreed to tell lawyers for former 14th Ward Ald. Edward M. Burke by the end of August whether they will call to the witness stand one of the city’s most notorious government moles.
  • Cops investigate possible link between murders: Police found the body of a teenager in a refrigerator in the West Ridge apartment of Brandon Sanders after they charged him in a fatal stabbing.
  • Chicago rapper pleads guilty: G Herbo signed a plea agreement Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Boston, pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of lying to federal agents.
  • Man shoots at ambulance: The man got out of his car and yelled for an ambulance to move in Logan Square before firing at its back doors. No one was injured, authorities say.
  • Search warrant executed after boy thrown from ride: Antioch police and state investigators seized the carnival ride that a 10-year-old boy was thrown from Sunday as they probe the cause of the incident.
  • Beyoncé bites and drinks: Check out some local places to grab a bite and drinks if you are going to the Beyoncé concerts this weekend.



A graffiti art mural by artist Emte on the Orange Line retaining wall by the Western station along 49th Street between Oakley Avenue and Western Boulevard.

Robert Herguth/Sun-Times

Reporting by Sun-Times staff

Optimus Prime and Megatron from the “Transformers” movies are battling it out once again, only this time as robotic L cars lobbing trains at one another in a mural painted on a CTA Orange Line retaining wall near the Western station on the Southwest Side.

Above the portrayal of the epic battle are the words: “Never Rust Away or Fade Away.”

The mural was created in June by the graffiti artist who goes by Emte as part of an art contest called Battle of Midway, a nod to the nearby airport.

About 10 artists used the wall along 49th Street between Oakley Avenue and Western Boulevard to compete based on a theme celebrating the 50th anniversary of what some regard as the birth of hip-hop music.

Those artists focused on the east side of the wall. Others, not involved in the competition, put up murals on the west half.

Together, they transformed the concrete span, with their work taking the place of murals done last year featuring video game and comic book characters.




Sisters Meghan O’Rourke (left) and Christina O’Rourke have their sights set on someday winning the Race to Mackinac. This year marks 100 years since their great-grandfather won.

Justine Tobiasz/WBEZ

Sisters to sail the Race to Mackinac 100 years after their great-grandfather’s win was overturned

Reporting by Courtney Kueppers/WBEZ

Christina O’Rourke was perched on the bow of a 46-foot sailboat called Skye on a sunny July afternoon as the vessel glided past the breakwalls and into Lake Michigan’s open waters. The excursion was another opportunity for O’Rourke and her fellow crew members to sail before this year’s Race to Mackinac, an annual competition hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club that begins Saturday.

The journey from Chicago’s shoreline to Michigan’s Mackinac Island, sandwiched between the upper and lower peninsulas in Lake Huron, is long, and the competition is stiff. Among the other entrants is O’Rourke’s younger sister, Meghan, who will race on the boat Hot Lips.

But for the Glenview natives, this event is not just a friendly sibling rivalry: The race is an opportunity, 100 years in the making, to have a Mackinac trophy back in O’Rourke hands.

A century ago, their great-grandfather John P. O’Rourke and his brother James sailed the 1923 Race to Mackinac in their small Q boat — a once-fashionable model rarely seen today. The brothers fought their way to an improbable victory on behalf of the Jackson Park Yacht Club. But their glory was short-lived. Months later, the O’Rourkes were disqualified on a technicality.

The story of a great win — and subsequent dismissal — has become family lore.

“To me, the Race to Mackinac was always like this legend that I think we were aware of from a really young age,” Christina O’Rourke, 35, said.



What’s the best movie you’ve seen in a theater this year?

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