Finally, a blog from Andrew Patner

Andrew Patner: The View from Here

Reflections, reviews, and reports from the Chicago-based author, broadcaster, and arts critic.

It’s got to be worth reading and listening to.

He begins by saluting three of his friends who happen to be more advanced in age, Pierre Boulez turning 83; Belton Calmese, a 91 year old retiring veteran waiter at The Cliff Dwellers club, who will now have more time to keep an eye on his mother who is 108; and progressive attorney and former anti-Richard J. Daley alderman Leon Despres, who this week turns 100!

A few years ago the New York Times wrote,

Though he is white, Mr. Despres was known for years as “the lone Negro on the City Council,” leading the push for housing desegregation…

He spearheaded the city’s landmarks preservation commission, helping save the Robie House, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; was the first to call attention to the danger of lead paint; fought to abolish the Police Department’s secret spying unit (which spied on him for years); and fiercely protected parkland. …

He spent five days with Leon Trotsky at a Mexican villa, and watched a film with Frida Kahlo while her husband, Diego Rivera, painted a portrait of Mr. Despres’s wife, Marian.

Happy Centennial Leon Despres!

-E

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