Press Statement: Intellectual Games, February 7, 2009

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For Immediate Release

February 7, CHICAGO—Around 50 people packed Quimby’s Saturday night for the Intellectual Games’ Adult Spelling Bee, the third day of events in the Winter 2009 Unlympiad. The crowd, diverse in spelling ability, united to demand that an open and participatory process be put in place in the decision to bid for the 2016 Olympic Games. Words such as “woebegoneness,” and “vestigial” proved popular with the spellers, while “diaphanous” and “auxiliary” shattered some attendees Unlympic Dreams.

In addition to playing around with the building blocks of democracy (here practicing both peacable assembly and communication) attendees voiced frustration over the Chicago Park District’s deal with Chicago 2016 to lease public land to the Olympic Games’ project without public comment. That the Chicago 2016 bid book was submitted six days early, despite public calls for prior review, also raised concerns.

“One thing that’s amazed me about these events,” Anne Elizabeth Moore, Secretary for the Unlympics Organizing Committee, tells the press, “is that each one has attracted a different crowd, but everyone has been excited to debate Chicago’s 2016 bid. Sure, most are against it, but the variety of reasons—from the displacement of low-income residents to the use of public funds to pay for it—are thrilling. The Unlympics Movement is really catching on!”

In addition to hearing details of next Saturday’s Emotional Games at No Coast, featuring the Karaoke Competition and the Solitary Isolation Game, spellers and gamblers alike took home prizes. None were as excited as Aay Preston-Mint, however, who relived his 2nd-grade Spelling Bee victory and took home the Gold.

Following the Intellectual Games, a Chicago Tribune poll acknowledged that only 64 percent of Chicagoans approve of hosting the Olympics—a number that drops to only 25% if public funds are spent on the project. The Chicago Tribune poll did not, however, acknowledge either the Bronzeville TIF or the CPD agreement, both of which use public resources (and therefore funds) without public approval to fund the Olympics in Chicago. In an effort to model financial transparency for sporty mega-events and their host cities, we’ve submitted our first ever Treasurer’s Report, and have posted Spelling Bee pictures and Winners online. Check in there to relive, or imagine, the Unlympic Glory.

For more information, pease visit the Official Unympics Everything site: https://unlympics.wordpress.com, or email artshowheckyeah@gmail.com or matt@incubate-chicago.org.

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