Through These Doors

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Through These Doors, a set on Flickr.

A photographic essay of the vanishing mud-brick houses in Doha, Qatar

The corner of Malik Bin Anas and Sheraouh in Doha’s al-Salata district is only about ten minutes drive from the soaring skyline of West Bay.  But it might as well be a century apart. Mud-brick houses line up the streets that are better designed for pedestrians and emaciated stray cats than cars. Fashioned in Halawa-inspired architecture, with narrow corridors leading to a central courtyard, these bungalows recall the fishing and pearl diving village that thrived around Doha Bay before Qatar became an oil and gas powerhouse.

Today, these houses are home to low-wage male migrants mostly from South Asia, some of whom are also fishermen. Time and the desert sun have prematurely aged the masonry of these buildings. Uneven doors and cracked walls reinforced with patches of cement and terra cotta also betray the less than standard construction techniques. The low-pitched roofs are stacked with assortments from used tires to rusty wheelbarrows and mattresses, while clotheslines compete with satellite discs — sight that may be an eyesore to many.

Continue reading “Through These Doors”

Bloomberg administers gay marriage; hundreds exchange vows

Text and photos by Ted Regencia
Published July 24, 2011

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NEW YORK — In a move that is likely to have far-reaching socio-political implications across the United States, the country’s most populous city of New York welcomed on Sunday hundreds of same-sex couples, who exchanged vows on the first day that gay marriage is legal here.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the top politicians supporting gay rights, presided over the wedding of his chief policy adviser John Feinblatt and his Commissioner of Consumer Affairs Jonathan Mintz at the Gracie Mansion, the official residence of the mayor.

“Today in the city and in the state, history takes an important step forward by allowing every person to participate,” Bloomberg said during the Sunday evening ceremony.

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Vandals hit 42nd Chicago Gay Pride parade

Xinhua English
June 26, 2011

By Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — Hundreds of thousands of people went on to celebrate significant progress in the gay rights movement at Chicago’s 42nd Gay Pride parade on Sunday, despite vandals’ slashing tires of at least 51 floats before the start of the annual festival.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan told Xinhua that the celebration “takes on an added significance this year because of the fact that Illinois has passed and signed the civil union bill into law.”

Madigan said that while the state’s civil union law is not considered as gay marriage law like that of New York, she is “very proud” of the legislation “recognizing people’s relationships and give them equal rights that they deserve.”

“Every state is going about providing equality to people,” Madigan added. “I think we will see a lot of changes to take place across the country over the next few years.”

To read the full story, please visit Xinhua English

Same-sex civil unions now in effect in Illinois
June 01, 2011

By Ted Regencia

(Photo Credit: Carla Shaw)

SKOKIE, Ill — Carla Shaw and Karen Behen have been together for 19 years. The couple have known each other since childhood. But it was not until years later that they decided to become partners.

In between, Shaw got married and had two children. She later divorced her now-deceased husband, who she said was supportive of her relationship with another woman. Her two grown sons have also welcomed Behen, she noted.

On June 2, Shaw and Behen of Decatur will make it official at a mass ceremony planned at Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.

To read the full story, please visit in Skokie

Largest U.S. film studio outside Hollywood opens in Chicago

Xinhua English
May 11, 2011

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO, May 10 (Xinhua) — What do “Batman: The Dark Night,” and the upcoming movies “Transformers 3” and “Superman: Man of Steel” have in common? They all have Chicago as a filming location.

On Tuesday, Chicago was touted anew as “a world class film destination” with the opening of a state-of-the-art film and television studio, said to be the largest facility in the United States outside Hollywood.

Joined by Emmy Award-winning actor Kelsey Grammer and the producers of the new Chicago-inspired TV series “Boss,” Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced that the state is investing five million U.S. dollars into the new privately-owned Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.

To read the full story, please visit Xinhua English

Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day 2011

March 12, 2011

Text and photos by Ted Regencia

CHICAGO — In a day full of pageantry and traditions, Chicago’s influential Irish-American community honored on Saturday, March 12, its heritage and Catholic roots with the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown.

Mayor Richard M. Daley, who is retiring in May after 22 years in office, led the festivities alongside his wife, Maggie, who was seen greeting the crowd from a convertible car in the traditional Irish color. Walking with them was U.S. Senator and Majority Whip Richard Durbin.

A sea of green dominated Chicago’s Columbus Drive, with parade participants and spectators, young and old, decked in various costumes, from funky to fashionable and bizarre. They greeted the mayor and first lady with cheers thanking them for their service to the city, and Daley acknowledged by raising a traditional Irish cane called shillelagh.

Continue reading “Chicago celebrates St. Patrick’s Day 2011”

NU professor apologizes over sex education controversy

March 05, 2011

Text and photos by Ted Regencia

EVANSTON, Ill — A long-time psychology at Chicago’s Northwestern University has issued an apology for allowing an after-school live sex demonstration, as part of his Human Sexuality class, expressing “regret” over the controversy that followed.

In a letter published online, Prof. John Michael Bailey said, “I regret the effect that this has had on Northwestern University’s reputation, and I regret upsetting so many people in this particular manner. I apologize.”

“In the 18 years I have taught the course, nothing like the demonstration at issue has occurred, and I will allow nothing like it to happen again,” Bailey added. Continue reading “NU professor apologizes over sex education controversy”

‘Schoolhouse Rock’ gets young feet moving
Jan. 19, 2011

Text and photos by Ted Regencia

SKOKIE, Ill — There’s more to a child’s life than sitting 0n a couch and playing Nintendo.

As a former schoolteacher, Jennie Meyer gives her seal of approval to the musical hit Schoolhouse Rock for its fun and effective way of teaching pre-school children basic math, science, grammar and even social studies.

So last Tuesday, Meyer and her 3-year-old daughter, Adelina, attended a packed performance at the Skokie Public Library’s Petty Auditorium.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Meyer said. “It was a flashback for me. I actually was a teacher and used some of these songs when I was teaching. So it was fun to hear and see them live.”

Continue reading “‘Schoolhouse Rock’ gets young feet moving”

Skokie officials praise cultural diversity festival
Jan. 15, 2011

Text and photo by Ted Regencia

SKOKIE, Ill — Underscoring the need to strengthen literacy and cultural understanding , Skokie first lady Susan Van Dusen joined community leaders Tuesday in launching the second Coming Together in Skokie festival.

This developed as Mayor George Van Dusen encouraged students to learn a foreign language or two “because the world is getting smaller.”

“By reading books we really learn other people, other worlds, other subjects,” said his wife. “And so, we created Coming Together in Skokie around a book.”

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Recession not scaring away Halloween bargain hunters
Nov. 01, 2010

Text and photos by Ted Regencia

SKOKIE, Ill — It’s late afternoon on Friday and the Magical Mystery Tour is buzzing with activities, as shoppers crowd the Morton Grove costume shop looking for good deals for the three-day Halloween weekend.

Owner Randy Israel and his crew are trying to keep up with the influx of people already lining up at the cashier and huddling around the fitting area at the back of the store.

A psychedelic mix of brand new merchandise ranging from the innocent Lady Bug for kids to the sexy Mardi Gras for couples and creepy clown masks hang wall-to-wall.

Amid the gloom of the recession that has been scaring away other businesses and the ominous atmosphere of Halloween, Israel’s cash register is ringing as if it’s already Christmas. Continue reading “Recession not scaring away Halloween bargain hunters”