Category Archives: Ideas

Boss Second Season Filming Locations, Chicago

Socrata filter for Boss filmingsNote: this is a post about civic data and the promise of machine learning disguised as a post about a really good TV show. Here are some more unnaturally-detailed posts along the same lines as this one and a good primer on the overall concept here.

I like Boss, the Kelsey Grammer vehicle about a ruthless Chicago mayor. Good show, and season two begins this Friday night, August 17. I also like civic data, like Public Right-of-Way Use Permits published by the City of Chicago.

I was recently reviewing this new data set and saw that film permits are a subset of Public Right-of-Way Permits, so I made a Custom view using the Socrata data display system to filter for only permits related to the filming of Boss. I used the Permit Type Code of “Filming”, the Company of Boss Kane Productions (they even have a Yelp page), and a Date of after 3/1/12 (because otherwise I’d be catching Season 1 filmings as well).

Next I exported this data and imported it into a Google Fusion Table so I could make a quick map. Here it is:

Boss Season 2 Filmings

So let’s take a look at some of the locations to see what to look out for come Friday.

One chunk of filmings centers just east of Douglas Park, near 16th and Rockwell. There are 12 filmings up and down California, including down to the Cook County Jail and Courthouse at 26th and California. This set of filmings is at or near the Cinespace Chicago studio.

Boss Season 2 Filmings Near Doglas Park in Chicago

This is also the address listed for Boss Kane Productions, which (I think) is where the interior action is shot. My guess is when they need a generic outdoor location, they pull a film permit to go outside and shoot.

Boss Kane Productions Location

There’s another set of filmings (six) in the Pilsen area, scattered around Halsted, 18th, and Roosevelt.

Boss Season 2 Filmings in Pilsen

One of the locations is 1733 S. Halsted, which is the address for Kristoffer’s Cake and Bakery.

Kristoffer's Cafe & Bakery

There’s a set of eight filmings in the Kenwood neighborhood, most of them in a particularly green region bounded by Drexel, 47th, Lake Park, and 50th. This includes one permit at the Drexel Towers, 4825 South Drexel Boulevard.

Boss Season 2 Filmings in Kenwood

Satellite view of Boss Season 2 Filmings in Kenwood

There is a single shoot at 1035 E. 67th Street, which is the address for Oak Woods Cemetery. My assumption is that the scene at the end of this trailer was shot here.

Kitty O'Neil of Boss

There are two film permits in the Illinois Medical District, including one at 1750 West Harrison Street, the Rush University Medical Center Jelke Building. Here it is from 1960:

Rush University Medical Center Jelke Building

On July 10 of this year they worked on Northerly Island.

I would also expect to see a shot this year with Buckingham Fountain (500 S. Columbus Drive) in the background. Maybe it will be a Married With Children spoof.

There’s a permit for 125 E. Monroe, which is basically the Crown Fountain.

They’ve also got the obligatory City Hall shoot (121 N. LaSalle), a “beneath the train tracks” shot on Lake Street between Wabash and State, and two downtown shots at Monroe and Dearborn. You can also expect to see a shot of 225 N. Michigan, a nifty Mies Van der Rohe edifice. At some point there should be a riverwalk shot on or about 70 E. Wacker. Here’s Boss Kane in the City Hall Roof Garden from a new season trailer:

Boss Season 2 Filming: City Hall Roof Garden

Here’s the tracks:

Boss Season 2 Filming: Under the tracks

And looks like there’s a scuffle at Monroe and Dearborn:

Boss Season 2 Filming

Speaking of the river, there is a permit at 333 N. Canal, the Riverbend Condominiums, and one at 300 North Canal, Left Bank at Kinzie Station. I’ll be looking for those exteriors in upcoming episodes— let me know if I miss it (@juggernautco).

Since there is a permit for 702 W. Fulton Market, we can expect to see some dining going on at Carnivale at some point this season (careful– restaurant Web site sound explosion upon click).

There’s a clump of filmings around Franklin and Chicago:

Boss 2 Season Filmings Near Franklin and Chicago

If you see a set of row houses, that would be the Cabrini Row Houses north of Chicago Avenue– four filmings there, including 850 North Cleveland Avenue.

Boss Season 2 filming: 850 N. Cleveland

This looks like T.I. is out in front of that place:

Boss Season 2 Filming: Cabrini Row Houses

There are four Gold Coast filmings, including one outside of the Drake Hotel.

Boss Season 2 Filmings: Gold Coast

West of the Kennedy, there’s a single filming at 2214 W. Walton

Boss Season 2 Filming: 2214 W. Walton

…and one at 835 N. Wood.

Boss Season 2 Filming: 835 N. Wood

All of this info was made possible by civic data, Google search, and a connection to the Internet. What if there was a machine that could do this for me? God bless us all.

Data, Tools,  and Methods


Needed: A “Remove Recent Incident” Button on Google

Remember when weather radar reports used to reference “ground clutter” near the antennae— the clump of color that looked like it was rain, but wasn’t? We seem to have that same problem in search engine results for items that pop high in the news—  ground clutter focused on recent events that stop us from having a clear view of a subject.

Last night I read this story broken by the New York Times: Sergeant’s Wife Kept a Blog on the Travails of Army Life. My first inclination was to go find that blog and see the unselfconscious primary text. I started off with the direct approach— a search for “Karilyn Bales blog”. That returned a list of stories referencing the NYT account of her blog.

Next I moved to some more Google-ninja approaches, including a search for a unique phrase from the original text (“Quincy slept in our bed last night.”) and one that attempted to remove the phrase “New York Times” from that query. Nothing seems to be working.

I regularly ran into the same problem when I ran the blog GoogObits in the early-mid 2000s. When a person dies, search results for their name and/or accomplishments tend to focus on the fact of their passing rather than the accomplishments and stuffing of their life.

Google Advanced Search has a “last update” method for searching based on some time period stretching back to a certain time period (week/ month/ year/ etc.), but it does not allow you to exclude the most recent time period.

This may already exist, but I just don’t know about it. Any ideas?

Revisiting Trut in Light of Jason Russell, This American Life, and Mike Daisey

In 1997, long before Stephen Colbert ever had a show on cable, I wrote an essay for Emigre Magazine wherein I coined the term “trut”, which is the mutable concoction of facts employed for an ulterior purpose. Vote it up on Urban Dictionary, plz.

Editor Rudy Van der Lans was putting together Emgire 41, “The Magazine Issue” and he asked me to write something about my favorite magazine. At the time, I loved the tabloids. Now, of course, pretty much everything is the tabloids, and I’ve graduated to the best news aggregator (and LJ blog) in the world, Oh No They Didn’t.

In light of yesterday’s wackiness re: Jason Russell’s meltdown, Mike Daisey’s “lies”, and This American Life’s self-flogging,  and I went looking for a copy of this essay (which I also published in my 2003 book, Economics) and I couldn’t find it. Then I remembered I removed the complete text of most my poems from the Internet last year so as to stimulate massive book sales.

So, um, ya. Anyway.

I think that there are some thoughts here that are relevant to today. Namely:

  • People believe want they want to believe
  • You don’t have to be telling the truth in order to be right
  • Trut-makers don’t really care what anyone else thinks

And so it goes. Here’s the complete text:

TRUT: The Star, The Globe, and the Missing H in the New Veracity

My favorite magazines are Star and Globe and I’m not going to hide it anymore. With bright retail colors and big pictures of beautiful people doing marvelous things, the tabloids are where I go for pure graphic love. It’s good to revel in love like yellow flowers nestled in a red meadow.

But the real gold of the tabloids is trut. Trut is the mutable concoction of facts employed for an ulterior purpose. Trut consists of exactly 4/5 of the stuff of truth. Four out of five letters lined up as a reasonable facsimile of truth.

Here at the end of the millennium, consumers of communications are adept at trading in these fractional representations of the truth. Everyone prepares particular versions of the truth for different people. We all in turn take everyone else’s trut and calibrate it to our own understandings. The missing H doesn’t bother us a bit. With 4/5 of the truth and some sense, people manage to get along.

The Rise of Trut

Imperfect truth is not new. White lies and misinformation have been around as long as families and war. What is new is the widespread acceptance of customized falsehood.

In 1974 when Nixon lost his job, the country fell under what I call the tyranny of the smoking gun. After that, whenever there was a scandal, the question was “What did he know and when did he know it?” This red-handed attitude came with the rise of investigative journalism. The problem is that this system plays right into the hands of those in power. As long as they can hide the weapon, they can get away with whatever they want, no matter how much of the evidence points to them.

Take the example of a guy named Ronald Reagan. He managed to stay unimpeached by keeping one step removed from the smoking gun. He and his lackeys committed some of the most heinous acts of cunning ever performed against the United States Constitution. They cut a deal with the Ayatollah Khomeini to keep hold of the Tehran Embassy hostages until Reagan had beaten poor Jimmy Carter. They financed a sickening war in Nicaragua by selling crack cocaine to U.S. minorities. They took the traditional Washington sport of white-collar robbery to obscene heights with the Savings & Loan Scandal and the subsequent Resolution Trust Corporation bailout. And on and on. He got away with everything, and we all know it.

What Trut Hath Wrought

This is not just an American phenomenon. Governments all over the world are regularly shown to be run by corrupted phreaks who do everything from rob us blind to fondle our children to kill us outright. Each of these governments is invariably propped up by newspapers, TV, and other media that proclaim that the Government is full of a bunch of good guys looking out for us. Trut is the direct product of the chafing that occurs when popular perception of reality doesn’t jibe with the dominant version of reality. Instead of trying to prove the existence of an absent gun, trut looks at the plainly visible and encourages logical conclusions.

The media often tries to ameliorate lost credibility with the use of irony and satire. NBC gives us Saturday Night Live, where they make fun of the power but “never go too far”, as George Bush (#41) once said approvingly, standing next to Dana Carvey at a White House press conference. Irony and satire are lazy and defeatist. Trut-making is earnest and probing.

Trut can be a violent phenomenon. One of the most advanced cases of a society trying to bring the dominant trut closer to the facts was the Los Angeles Rebellion of 1992. The citizens of LA knew that the Rodney King verdict delivered in Simi Valley was severely flawed. There was an overpoweringly widespread feeling that no amount of op/ed page copy or letters to the editor could change. So they took to the streets and let the world in on their trut: cops shouldn’t get away with beating the shit out of people for no good reason.

The rebellion marked a turning point in the rise of trut. The Simi Valley jurors had a smoking gun (amateur videotape) and still refused to convict because they were holding on to their own trut. Their trut was that the cops are good. And that African-Americans—- even pummeled, prostate African-Americans surrounded by a dozen hyped up cops—- are a threat. And the tyranny of the smoking gun went down in flames.

Back To The Tabloids

I’m not saying that tabloids are radical revolutionaries leading the way to a government of the people, by the people, for the people. But they are trailblazers in the methodology of trut. Instead of making up constrictive rules for themselves that only impede their ability to discover reality, they accept official dishonesty and embrace it.

Tabloids like Star and Globe are leading practitioners in a new standard for honesty, and they don’t deserve to be held out with two fingers like a stinky rag. The tabloids diligently seek out the 80% of the facts that are discernible even when people like Reagan are doing their best to hide the H on them. They make up the rest through careful analysis of what they discovered. Then they present the result as if it were Gospel.

The point is that this isn’t thin air. The quotes are completely made up but they seem to represent something true. The quotes end up being what the person would have said had they been honest and if they had actually spoken to the reporter who wrote the story.

Trut is like people—- there are a lot of mean ones out there. Tabloids use the underhanded method of vague attribution. Of course whatever tabloids say a person said, only serves to buttress the trut laid out in the article. It also tends to expose the position from which a trut has sprung. A good example from the Globe article called “X-Files Gillian Anderson Red-Hot Lover—- at 15.” The article profiles Ralph Wallace, a former boyfriend of the actress. They wrap up the story this way: “but he says he’ll always have a warm spot for Gillian and loves watching her as Agent Dana Scully on the X-Files.”

He never said that. I know Ralph Wallace. Ralph Wallace is a friend of mine. Ralph Wallace has produced a number of my verse dramas here in Chicago. Ralph Wallace does not like the X-Files that much. Globe only said he said that because it serves the article’s trut, which is that Gillian Anderson has a nutty-goofy background, and she’s really-really a nutty wild girl, and that is just one more reason why everyone in the world should watch her show on Fox Network. This is the trut according to Gillian Anderson’s agent & Rupert Murdoch, and that warm spot is going to be in their jeans when they read the overnight Nielsens. Trut everywhere.


Probably the biggest news broken by the tabloids lately is a story the Star reported last August about presidential strategist Dick Morris. Here’s the lead from Richard Gooding’s article called Top Clinton Aide and the Sexy Call Girl: “President Clinton’s top political adviser has hired a call girl almost weekly for a year and after kinky sex has revealed the innermost secrets of the White House. While the illicit pair sprawl naked, the trusted aide takes frequent phone calls from the Oval Office and even holds the phone up to the call girl’s ear so she can eavesdrop on the president’s conversations—without Clinton ever knowing it.

“’He gets a kick out of me listening in’, Washington call girl Sherry Rowlands tells Star in an exclusive interview.”

So we’ve got a short married guy with a foot fetish next to a prostitute on one line and on the other line we’ve got the President of the United States next to the guy holding the freakin’ nuclear launch codes in a black suitcase. Now that’s a story.

First they lay out the bona fides of Ms. Rowlands: “She gave up a shot at modeling and acting to get married at 19, and had several children. But after 14 years the marriage broke up. Two years ago, she signed on with an escort service for the first time, aiming to make enough money to start a business cleaning homes and offices.”

So Star is broadcasting the fact up front that they are telling the story from the “trut” of Ms. Rowlands. After all, this is a popular magazine—- there are a lot more aspiring model/actresses, young mothers, divorcees, call girls, entrepreneurs, and cleaning ladies reading Star than there are Presidents of the United States. I think they hit a good part of their demographic right there.

Star also takes the time to lay out their own legitimacy. They run a profile on the “Star Reporter Who Investigated the Scandal.” He used to be a copy boy at the New York Times.

The amazing thing about this trut is how quickly its radical core of facts was absorbed into the dominant media. Network pundits and political strategists folded the story into the overwhelming tableau of hours and hours of uncut content provided by the President, his operatives, and the cozy TV execs whose hopes and dreams are all wrapped up in keeping the Executive Branch up and moving well, keeping the wars won.

The sad thing about trut is how it de-moralizes culture and boils down world visions to a cold calculus of individual loss and gain. It doesn’t really matter who plays footsie with whom or who’s carrying out genocide on whom or who stole the elections. As long as the Fed keeps interest rates low, or as long as the baby sleeps through the night, or as long as the stock market keeps rising, or as long as the cops don’t come for them, people will keep their mouths shut and go along with whatever’s handed down. And we can bundle up ourselves in tailor-fit coats of trut and steel ourselves against whatever comes next.