November 2019 best of chicago
TATIANA BILBAO UNRAVELING MODERN LIVING Fall Public Programs Family Programs Unraveling Modern Living is an experimental project by The Weaving Mill the Mexico City-based firm Tatiana Bilbao Estudio that Macro Weaving Workshop transforms the former domestic space of the Madlener Saturday, November 16, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. House to explore new forms of collectivity. Evoking the concept of the commons and rooted in storied examples Cultural ReProducers with Christa Donner of shared space, the existing architecture of the house Making It What We Need is reconfigured to create a garden, a space for knowl- edge, a space for dialogue, and a space for gathering. Cultural Reproducers with Hui-Min Tsen The installation is activated by collaborative projects Saturday, December 7, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and on-site programming through January 11, 2020. To learn more about upcoming events and register to Workshops participate, visit our website: grahamfoundation.org Talks Innovando la Tradición/Colectivo 1050°: Kythzia Barrera Innovando la Tradición/Colectivo 1050°: Kythzia Barrera Suárez, Diego Mier Y Terán, and María Bautista Leon Suárez, Diego Mier Y Terán, and María Bautista Leon Lessons from a Learning Community of Potters in Oaxaca Clay, maize and tools for life Wednesday, November 6, 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 5, 1–4 p.m. Tatiana Bilbao Archeworks Unraveling Modern Living—From Domesticity New Forms of Collectivity in the City to the Commons Wednesday, November 13, 12–2 p.m. Thursday, November 7, 6:30 p.m. Butler-VanderLinden Lecture on Architecture Fieldwork Collaborative Projects Presented in partnership with the Art Institute of Second Nature (Out of Order) Chicago and Chicago Architecture Biennial at Rubloff Saturday, December 7, 2–4 p.m. Auditorium, 230 S Columbus Drive, Chicago, IL Anna Martine Whitehead with Seth Parker Woods and Stefan Gruber Shawné Michaelain Holloway Commoning the City—Notes from assembling an Atlas Thursday, November 21, 6 p.m. Open Rehearsal / Jam Session Saturday, December 14, 1:30–3 p.m. Emily Frances Winter, The Weaving Mill This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Wool Work 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial. Thursday, December 5, 6 p.m. Emmanuel Pratt Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts Sweet Water Foundation 4 W Burton Place, Chicago Thursday, January 9, 2020, 6 p.m. Free Admission to the Exhibition Gallery and Bookshop Hours: Wednesday to Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. www.grahamfoundation.org
NOVEMBER 2019 art & culture TOURIST TRANSFORMED ART BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity The ideal between intuition In which we test the future of AI journalism and institution in Meleko 3 9 Mokgosi’s show at the Smart Museum of Art best of chicago 54 Bumbling Forward with Natural Building — 11 DANCE Lucky Plush and the joy How House was Built — 23 of skate culture 59 The Beauty and Mystery of Mild Sauce — 37 DESIGN The South Side Soap Box — 47 The Farnsworth House story 61 DINING & DRINKING All-American Chinese food in Chicago 63 FILM Seeing movies In the material world 65 LIT Avery R. Young mixes poetry and art with \"neckbone\" 67 MUSIC Earwig Records' new bolt from the blues 70 S TA G E The next generation of storefront theaters 72 LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL Teen Dream is up on the roof 74
Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation's Freight Handler… When Carl Sandburg penned his pioneering (if timeworn) poem \"Chicago,\" the city's identity as a place where things were made was clear to itself and to the world. Chicago rolled up its sleeves, got grimy and sweaty and did what it took so that the industry of America would chug forward. The city has shed much of its rugged reputation, sometimes for better, as it's a vastly cleaner, less-gritty place now, and sometimes for worse, as the big-shouldered jobs have disappeared to places afar or unto bytes unseen. If anything, Chicago rugged is now a body count of young men rather than cattle carcasses. We still make things. Though it may seem like we're more about \"maker cul- ture\" than manufacturing, we're still builders. Sometimes we make foods, re- sulting in the kind-of-annoying obsessions visitors have with \"Chicago-style pizza\" but also leading to the how-can-anyone-live-without-it likes of giardi- niera. Sometimes we export culture, whether in the form of music like gospel or house, or in the blueprints for the biggest skyscrapers in the world. Some- times we even make a model for the utopian ideal of the President of the Unit- ed States, only to see it replaced with a Queens-crafted caveman. For this twenty-seventh edition of Best of Chicago, we've focused on the made-in-Chicago idea, from feature stories about architecture, music, mild sauce and soapmaking, to dozens of smaller items that address the concept (sometimes with precision and other times with ample liberty). Visual artist David Heo was given the same made-in-Chicago mandate, and 4 you'll see his interpretation on our cover, as well as on our section splash pages. Special thanks to Fred Sasaki, the art director of Poetry magazine and a Chicago original in all the best ways, for introducing us to David. And thanks to everyone—writers, de- signers, editors, artists, salespeople, drivers— who rolled up their sleeves and got to work to make this issue something special.
Product Placement. By Warhol. This exhibition was organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Leadership support of Andy Warhol—From A to B Major support for the Chicago presentation has been made possible by Caryn and King Andy Warhol. 100 and Back Again is provided by Harris, The Harris Family Foundation. Campbell’s Soup Cans (detail), 1962. Museum KENNETH C. GRIFFIN The Auxiliary Board of the Art Institute of Chicago is the Lead Affiliate Sponsor. Additional funding is für moderne Kunst contributed by the Shure Charitable Trust, Maureen and Edward Byron Smith Jr. Family Endowment Fund, Frankfurt am Main. Bank of America is the National Tour Sponsor. Constance and David Coolidge, Robert J. Buford, Penelope and Robert Steiner, William and Robin Downe, © 2019 The Andy Cairy and Thomas Brown, Margot Levin Schiff and the Harold Schiff Foundation, Vicki and Bill Hood, and Warhol Foundation Lauren G. Robishaw. for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society Members of the Exhibitions Trust provide annual leadership support for the museum’s operations, including (ARS), New York. exhibition development, conservation and collection care, and educational programming. The Exhibitions Trust includes an anonymous donor; Neil Bluhm and the Bluhm Family Charitable Foundation; Jay Franke Photo: Axel Schneider and David Herro; Kenneth Griffin; Caryn and King Harris, The Harris Family Foundation; Karen Gray-Krehbiel and John Krehbiel, Jr.; Robert M. and Diane v.S. Levy; Ann and Samuel M. Mencoff; Sylvia Neil and Dan Fischel; Anne and Chris Reyes; Cari and Michael J. Sacks; and the Earl and Brenda Shapiro Foundation. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Official Airline of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Best of Chicago features by: ON THE COVER Brian Hieggelke, Rebecca Holland, Scoop Jackson, John Moss Illustration David Heo Art Direction Dan Streeting Best of Chicago was written by: Kerry Cardoza, Jenny Dally, Amanda Finn, Kevin Greene, Vol. 34, No. 1397 David Hammond, Scoop Jackson, Jake Krzecwoski, Bart Lazar, Ray Pride, Vasia Rigou, Robert Rodi, Kaycie Surrell, Tanner Woodford PUBLISHERS Brian & Jan Hieggelke With additional contributions by: Associate Publisher Mike Hartnett Don Evans, Isa Giallorenzo, Corey Hall, Sharon Hoyer, EDITORIAL Aaron Hunt, Hugh Iglarsh, Ben Kaye, Lauren Knight, Editor Brian Hieggelke John Moss, Noel Schecter, David Witter Managing Editor Jan Hieggelke Art Editor Kerry Cardoza Best of Chicago cover and illustrations: Dance Editor Sharon Hoyer David Heo Design Editor Vasia Rigou Dining and Drinking Editor Best of Chicago design: David Hammond Dan Streeting Film Editor Ray Pride Lit Editor Tara Betts Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 Hear award-winning JMeBwEoovinsoethnkht Music Editor Robert Rodi Chicago Tribune journalist Theater Editor Kevin Greene Howard Reich interviewed Sunday Editorial Intern Alexander Tannebaum about on his new book, December 15 ART & DESIGN The Art of Inventing Hope: at 2 pm Senior Designers Fletcher Martin, Intimate Conversations Dan Streeting , Billy Werch with Elie Wiesel Purchase tickets Designers Jim Maciukenas, online at spertus.edu Stephanie Plenner Howard Reich will be interviewed on Books will be for sale. MARKETING stage by Alison Pure-Slovin, Midwest A book signing will follow Marketing Manager Todd Hieggelke Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. the program. OPERATIONS General Manager Jan Hieggelke 6 A partner with the Jewish United Fund in serving our community. Distribution Nick Bachmann, Adam Desantis, Preston Klik, Quinn Nicholson One copy of current issue free at select locations. Additional copies, including back issues up to one year, may be ordered at Newcity.com/subscribe. Copyright 2019, New City Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Newcity assumes no responsibility to return unsolicited editorial or graphic material. All rights in letters and unsolicited editorial or graphic material will be treated as unconditionally assigned for publication and copyright purposes and subject to comment editorially. Nothing may be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Newcity is published by Newcity Communications, Inc. 47 West Polk, Suite 100-223, Chicago, IL 60605 Visit NewcityNetwork.com for advertising and editorial information.
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WOULD YOU TRUST SOME ONLINE AI, SUCH AS THE GP-2 MODEL, NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity A ROBOT can produce multiple paragraphs of seemingly co- herent material when prompted. Machine-learning TO PLAN YOUR engineer Adam King took that technology a step fur- VACATION? ther with Talk to Transformer, which answers user questions by pulling from the collected wisdom of the internet. Can the high-processing algorithms of a bot beat the enthusiasm of a college-age river tour guide? Or, more importantly to me, a freelancer looking for the next great hot dog truck or a tacky new speakeasy the old fashioned way, in real life? I tested “Talk to Transformer”’s knowledge of Chicago by feeding it questions that tourists and newcomers alike would have about the city. The results are an uncanny urban canyon. Could someone find Talk to Transformer’s words on Chicago truly neighborly? Who are humans even to judge? But I believe its deep, or deep dish, insight on Chicago has artistic value. BY AARON DORMAN SEE FOR YOURSELF ––––––––> ILLUSTRATION BY DAN STREETING 9
THE BEST HOTEL IN CHICAGO IS TALK TO TRANSFORMER Y O U R F I R S T V I S I T T O W R I G L E Y W I L L B E L I K E coming home when a big and elegant hotel in the you are fourteen years old and everything feels so natural…It is heart of downtown where every ON DOWNTOWN a great place to grab some great drinks, order a free pizza, a free night the sun comes up for a CHICAGO drink, take a walk, order some lunch, or even a free treat. long time. IF YOU WALK UNDERNEATH THE CLOUD GATE AKA “THE BEAN” YOU THE NORTH SIDE AND SOUTH SIDE TALK TO TRANSFORMER W I L L F I N D a huge maze with many enemies to kill. But don’t OF CHICAGO ARE DIVIDED BY M O R E T H A N five years of conflict, COMPARES THE worry. It’s a trap. including three recent “cold war” NORTH SIDE TO wars in China and North Korea. THE SOUTH SIDE D R I V I N G A R O U N D C H I C A G O I S L I K E going through an episode of The western side remains rela- “Top Gun.” All these people are so excited about where a new tively peaceful with most of the bridge is going to be, but they all have no idea what to expect, violence being localized but the and they’re so nervous, they’re terrified that they can’t pull over east side remained in a state of at all. anarchy and instability. THE SKYLINE OF CHICAGO RESEM- TALK TO TRANSFORMER BUT IF YOU’RE VISITING B L E S A giant ballerina—a giant THE SOUTH SIDE, bird with her head held high ON CHICAGO’S TALK TO TRANSFORMER above the city’s majestic skyline. ARCHITECTURE This is the bird, the Chicago sky- R E C O M M E N D S… O N CHIC A GO’S SO UTH SID E, V ISI- line, which was born from the T O R S W I L L D I S C O V E R its vibrant combined efforts of a number of people who wish to shape the nightlife in places such as the historic shape of a nation’s future. South Side Brewery, the famed Grand Central Art Museum and the renowned Midway Airport. F R O M T H E T O P O F T H E H A N C O C K Y O U C A N S E E T H E E N T I R E town, GANGSTERS IN CHICAGO LIKE TO TALK TO TRANSFORMER as well as a few buildings (mostly the police station). The build- H A N G O U T I N a bar and play ing in the center, where you can buy your equipment, is on the dice. The bar patrons often have ON CHICAGO’S right. In the middle, you see what appears to be the entrance to their own game of pool, table HISTORY the school district (it’s a prison!) Also, if you see a guard you tennis, football or basketball. might have to fight the guards. These games aren’t always fair. WITHOUT THE NEWSPAPER, THE TRIBUNE TOWER WILL TURN INTO IN APRIL, LORI LIGHTFOOT BECAME TALK TO TRANSFORMER The House of Whispers, a dark and scary mansion. There’s a the first person named after rumor that you can’t see inside the house. What the hell is this her son. WOULD LIKE TO mansion for? It’s the house of thieves. TELL YOU ALL (I wanted to know more, so I ABOUT LORI IF YOU LOVE THIN CRUST PIZZA, TALK TO TRANSFORMER adjusted the wording and gave LIGHTFOOT DEEP DISH PIZZA WILL SEEM TtoT progressively easier hints) L I K E the cake you made for ON DEEP DISH PIZZA your dad. THIS PAST APRIL, LORI LIGHTFOOT AT T H E B O T T O M O F T H E D E E P D I S H L I E S the finest and strongest, B E C A M E T H E F I R S T… US wo- the most ancient, the most perfect to begin with. The greatest and best, the richest and strongest, the youngest, the richest man to fly at an altitude above and the oldest. 12,700 feet. T H E B E S T D E E P D I S H P I Z Z A J O I N T I S P R O B A B LY Pizza Hut for its T H I S PA S T A P R I L, L O R I L I G H T F O O T B E C A M E T H E M AY O R O F… pizzatas. A great deep dish pizza is usually topped with some Boca Raton, Florida. She received two Democratic votes, but of the finest mozzarella cheese you ever tasted, for dipping ev- the Republican-dominated State Legislature blocked her bid erything from french fries to steak. and her race was thrown out. Since she lost, she has taken a hard line against the anti-Trump crowd, often criticizing them at events like the “Day of Action,” and trying to keep the media from seeing any pictures of her and her wife with Obama.’ Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 THE BEST CHICAGO SPORTS FRAN- TALK TO TRANSFORMER WHAT ONLINE BOTS LIKE MOST FINAL THOUGHTS: C H I S E I S not a New York A B O U T C H I C A G O I S the fact sports team or a Toronto sports CHICAGO SPORTS that it’s a city that’s so far from IS THIS TALK TO team or a San Diego sports C U LT U R E online—that’s why you won’t be TRANSFORMER team. It’s Chicago! able to find anything online ADVOCATING about your city very often. AGAINST ITSELF? IF YOU’RE A BASEBALL FAN, VIS- I T I N G C H I C A G O I S L I K E visiting any other city—you’re not Where would we be without technology? sure if you’ll see many Cubs. And while watching, you’re gener- Probably not at the Midway Airport. ally limited to familiar sights, like the historic Notre Dame build- ings…to see the game, you had to walk around a long brick wall. That’s not a joke. 10
BUMBLING FORWARD CONSIDER THE COB BEEHIVE by JOHN MOSS Peter Poli, of Wilmot, Wisconsin, orches- on Earth Day and espoused trated the beehive build back in 2014 sustainability. It has since through the Chicago Natural Building Meet- closed. The address given A bout 10 miles northwest up Group. Poli, who runs his own plumbing in its Internet afterlife of downtown Chicago the business, is deeply concerned about our doesn’t seem commercially way the crow flies, or here planet and loves doing “weird, challenging occupied, but bookended it’s the honeybee, a wood- shit.” He got the idea after watching the by the bars Clover and 2010 film “Queen of the Sun,” a documen- Rebel & Rye. It’s unlikely tary by former Chicagoan Taggart Siegel, the cob walls persist, al- about the disappearance of honeybees. though if they do that chip trail leads from the North Park “Out of this came building a beehive out of shouldn’t be an issue for Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO Village Nature Center to the best ex- mud. In a group setting. Where people current and future occu- ample of what is known as natural could access it,” he tells me. pants. Apparently there is a building that we have in the city. Just cob house that is more than He pursued the North Park Village Nature 10,000 years old. off the trail in the thick of straggly veg- Center as the beehive’s home for two rea- etation stands a Kenyan-style Top Bar sons: it’s publicly owned space, falling on In the city of Chicago, those Beehive, built of a dry stack limestone nearly sixty acres of Chicago Park District launching their own natural land and it’s also accessible by public trans- building projects face a foundation, a cob structure, and top portation. Angelic Organics, a communi- host of obstacles, from pro- bars made of pine. “[A] mutually ben- ty-supported agriculture farm, in Caledonia, hibitive building code re- eficial condo with a sweet rental plan,” Illinois, north of Rockford, expressed inter- strictions to the health of est and was a kindred spirit, but wasn’t se- our industrial land. That is an informational sign erected nearby lected because of its remote location. Poli’s why it’s helpful to set aside waggishly puts it. aim was to expose the public to a “non- your Burnham for a mo- threatening structure” that uses natural ment and think little. Chris building techniques. (The 53 or 84 buses McClellan, a natural build- will get you there.) ing advocate in Ohio better known in the community as 12 In the essay “The Case For Natural Build- “Uncle Mud,” writes me that, ing,” advocate and builder Michael G. Smith “Anywhere with strong reg- defines the practice of natural building as ulations will feel less em- “any building system that places the highest powering to [the] average value on social and environmental sustain- Joe to do for oneself when building. The way ability.” Natural building prizes human labor I have found to start to feel less helpless is and creativity, not capital and high technol- to take on small projects, most of which will ogy. You build with what’s nearby. And once not require permits. Projects like a cob the structure is no longer viable, it can be bench or pizza oven, or an earthen plaster ground down and absorbed naturally into on the wall or a backyard gazebo. These the earth and environment. Typical natural kinds of projects also tend to build a sense building techniques include cob, strawbale, of community and awareness of how much adobe and stone masonry. So those five- you can do before it gets complicated.” and six-hundred-feet LEED-certified office CBHEISCTAOGFO towers in the Loop? Not exactly. Even though any sort of initiative on Park District land by definition is complicated, Poli As I was researching this story, I learned had a contact there and anyway this wasn’t that more than ten years ago a nightclub, his first build. He has been involved with nat- The Butterfly Social Club, opened on Grand ural building since the mid-2000s, after dis- Avenue near the intersection of Halsted and covering “The Hand-Sculpted House: A /Milwaukee. Nightclubs go up all the time Practical and Philosophical Guide to Build- in Chicago, but what made the Butterfly So- ing a Cob Cottage.” It’s the natural building cial Club different is it had walls made of community’s gateway text—it’s “Breakfast of sand, clay and straw: that is, cob. It opened Champions” or “On the Road.”
Poli, like most I spoke to for this story, has store in Trevor, Wisconsin. His parents do- consistency and durability, with the straw traveled to rural western Oregon to gain nated limestone from their construction acting as rebar would in concrete. The cob experience with natural building projects company. And the pine for the top bars structure fit onto the limestone foundation, through the Cob Cottage Company, the or- came from a lumberyard in Antioch. with the top bars placed overhead. By the ganization founded by the coauthors of end of the build the group had assembled “The Hand-Sculpted House.” The Cob Cot- The day of the build twenty or so volunteers a beehive roughly five feet in height that is tage Company, in Coquille, Oregon, offers turned out. Heather Haskins, who leads the still in use today. guidance, instruction and workshops, with Chicago Natural Building Meetup Group, the opportunity to have a hand in actual one of the few resources for natural build- Poli believes at the time of the build there builds that the apprentice, or even more ers in the area and thus refers to herself as were no other examples of this type of cob seasoned builder can apply to their own “The Walmart greeter of natural building in beehive in the Midwest, possibly the United projects. While there, Poli worked on build- Chicago,” tells me labor in the city is never States. “At least in modern times,” he clar- ing a small home. a problem. “People will come. I think people ifies. And the Kenyan style in which it’s built are really hungry for these types of projects.” is meant to simulate what the bees would After securing the necessary city permits like to find in nature, providing a cavity as for the Nature Center build, in preparation The volunteers pitched in with the limestone in the hollow of a tree. “After that,” he says, Poli hauled in buckets of clay and sand from stacking and took part in something known “all the architecture is up to them.” construction sites out in Antioch, Illinois, lo- as cob dancing. This is a communal stamp- cated just across the border from his home ing of the clay, sand and straw elements to North Park Village Nature Center, in Wilmot. He bought the straw in a feed pack the cob mixture together for the right 5801 N. Pulaski, 312.744.5472
Made in BEST DANCING and his proximity to white Chicago BY A MAYOR OF nationalist and neo-Nazis. CHICAGO Since then, he’s pled pov- erty. “I spent years growing Lori Lightfoot doing and developing and invest- BEST EXAMPLE the robot with Sheila E. ing in my fan base, and OF STREET at Market Days they just took it away in a BUSINESS ACUMEN flash,” VICE reported the Former mayor Rahm Em- British citizen posting in Organized Street Gangs anuel majored in dance at September, “It’s nice to Not to be proud, but before the Sarah Lawrence College, have a little private chat turned down a scholarship with my gold star homies “Crips and Bloods” and all of these to Joffrey Ballet, is a huge but I can’t make a career other “sets” across America, the first Wilco fan, and sometimes out of a handful of people Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO organized street gangs (based off “got down” at events like like that. I can’t put food on of the framework set in place by Lolla and neighborhood the table this way.” The Cosa Nostra in Italy and the Five festivals. Incoming mayor hard-right extremist, who Families of New York) was in Lori Lightfoot may not has called himself a “cul- Chicago. Almighty Black P. Stone have an academic dance tural libertarian,” bragged Nation/El-Rukn (1959), Latin Kings background, and may not that he had adopted a “fur- (1954), Gangster Disciples (1964), “floss” as well as her daugh- sona” before paying for Black Disciples (1958), Vice Lords ter Vivian showed us tickets to attend Decem- during the campaign, but ber’s twentieth annual (1958), Four Corner Hustlers (1968). at Market Days in August she took center- Midwest FurFest in Rosemont, organized True, there were street gangs all stage at Sheila E.’s request and busted a by Midwest Furry Fandom. The group put over the country, but none more few moves, including the makings of a feet down straightway. \"Mr. Yiannopoulos’ organized than ours. What began pretty savvy robot. We hope she can also attendance at the convention may lead to with Capone and the Chicago ace the funky “budget dance.” (Bart Lazar) an inability to provide a safe and welcoming Outfit syndicate in 1910 took to experience for convention participants,\" the streets of Chicago and took BEST SIGN ON THE their press release says of the unwanted on a life—and death—of its own. KENNEDY EXPRESSWAY pest. “Self-registration for our event does (Scoop Jackson) not imply a given individual’s presence is condoned or appropriate… He will be “NO TEXTING. NO SPEEDING. barred from registering for this or future BEST CHICAGO NO KETCHUP.” Midwest FurFest events.” Could politics use CONTRIBUTION TO more furries? (Ray Pride) LGBTQ HISTORY Competing for your attention on the eve- ning commute is a collection of signs BEST PLACE TO HIDE Society for Human Rights brought to you by the Illinois Department TWENTY-THREE GUNS of Transportation. The best is the to-the- 14 Most activists aren’t aware point inside joke, “NO TEXTING. NO Alderman Ed Burke’s Offices of a tradition for gay rights SPEEDING. NO KETCHUP.” The run- organizations, from ACT UP ner-up, revealed during the World Cup, In January, longstanding Chicago Alderman and GLAAD to PFLAG and HRC, reads “BUCKLING UP IS ALWAYS A Ed Burke was charged with attempted ex- that extends even farther back GOOD GOOOOOOOOOOOO-OOOAL.” tortion in federal court. During raids in No- than the Mattachine Society, Enjoy the signs, but please, do not take founded in 1950. But the country’s selfies with them while you are driving. vember, it was revealed that federal agents first organization dedicated to (Tanner Woodford) removed twenty-three firearms from his of- homosexual equality was the fices. Burke’s aldermanic record, ironically, Society for Human Rights, BEST REBUKE OF A is ardent about gun control, from broaden- founded by Chicagoan Henry MERCER-NURTURED ing the gun offender registry to supporting Gerber; its nonprofit charter was RABBLE-ROUSER a ban on weapons in establishments that granted by the state of Illinois in serve alcohol. (Tanner Woodford) December 1924. Its history was Midwest FurFest refusing BEST CITIZEN DURING brief, but its influence enduring. Milo Yiannopoulos THE POLAR VORTEX (Robert Rodi) Milo Yiannopoulos, a key comrade of the Bannon-Breitbart combine in the days of Candice Payne Mercer family finance, was removed, or “de- platformed,” from corporate social media For a few days this winter, Chicago was for his gaudy, inflammatory provocations colder than Antarctica, Alaska and the
North Pole. With temperatures hovering at at a Chicago Cubs game and to turn on ruption, racism and unions collide daily in BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity twenty-five below, the city’s homeless Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. Who an ongoing struggle of will against capital. population was left cold and vulnerable. knew all we need to do to unite Chicago- The issues are complex, and seem to sin- 15 Candice Payne—a humble and successful ans is set a small alligator loose? (Tanner gle-handedly pay Ben Joravsky’s rent. And thirty-four-year-old Chicago realtor—found Woodford) while the view from this particular bridge a calling during the deep freeze, and rent- may not inspire the pathos that the poten- ed hotel rooms for eighty of the city's BEST CITY tial loss of The Hideout does, it feels like a homeless citizens. Her good deed landed WILDLIFE sign o’ the times: another brick in the moat her a guest spot on “The Ellen DeGeneres of local history. (Kevin Greene) Show.” (Tanner Woodford) The ducks at the Art Institute of Chicago BEST WARNING BEST BIRTH NORTH BRANCH JUSTICE ORGANIZATION Forget “Brancusi's Gold Bird,” the best IS DONE birds at the Art Institute are to be found in Chicago Volunteer Doulas the McKinlock Court. Visit in early summer The loss of Stanley’s and you’ll be treated to a parade of downy Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Doulas are professional birth workers who ducklings accompanied by mama duck. provide crucial physical, emotional and in- Making their home in Carl Milles’ “Triton Near the North Branch of the Chicago formational support to families before, Fountain,” the waterfowl family prome- River between Lincoln Park and Bucktown, during and after birth. Chicago Volunteer nades the courtyard and otherwise spend at the southwest corner of North and El- Doulas provided nearly a thousand hours their days wading in the fountain pool, with ston Avenues, Stanley’s Fresh Fruits & of labor, breastfeeding and Vegetables, family-owned since 1967, did postpartum assistance in wings and one leg tucked yeoman work on two fronts: each morning 2018. The organization fo- somewhere out of sight. buying up produce rejected by chain gro- cuses services on commu- When you need a break ceries for cosmetic and other reasons, then nities in the city that are from the encyclopedic col- bundling bulk quantities to be sold at low, most in need, and on fam- lection, make way for duck- low prices to eager customers in the vicin- ilies that make less than lings. (Jenny Dally) ity (or who came off the Kennedy from far- $50,000 per year. In line 111 S. Michigan, artic.edu/ ther afield). Modest amenities like Stan- with that goal, the group venue-rental/event-spac- ley’s disappear suddenly in twenty-first has started a peer doula century Chicago, especially when the and workforce develop- es/mckinlock-court property is cheek-by-jowl with developers ment doula program at with billions and billions in their banked Logan Correctional Facility. pockets like Sterling Bay and their corpo- (Kerry Cardoza) rate vision to wreak billions more via the BEST PLACE $5-billion plus Lincoln Yards mega-project, chicagovolunteer TO WITNESS its stadiums and its thousands and thou- doulas.org THE CRUSHED sands of upscale and luxury housing units. BONES OF Some small business could remain nearby: BEST WAY TO THE PAST AND the Hideout may be allowed to survive as UNITE CHICAGO THE TENUOUS a genteel nod to local ownership, and Exit SPECTERS may still bang unto the dawn, but there is Chance the Snapper OF THE FUTURE no place for modesty when a plot like Stan- ley’s 45,877-square-foot property is just Chicago is an alligator-free The Cortland sitting there. Stanley’s land will be auc- city. At least until this year, Street Bridge tioned on November 19, unless a buyer when a resident spotted emerges first. (Ray Pride) a four-foot-long creature Ground zero of Sterling swimming the Humboldt Bay’s massive (and still tax- BEST PLACE Park lagoon. Dubbed payer-subsidized) develop- TO FEEL PART “Chance the Snapper” in a ment project and highly OF THE CITYSCAPE Block Club Chicago online disputed future home of poll, the reptile became a Chicago’s most inanely The 606 national news story, draw- named neighborhood— ing thousands of curious Lincoln Yards (I suppose Things have evolved beautifully since the residents to the West Side, inspiring cus- “Live Nation Green” was 606—originally known as the Blooming- tom t-shirts and even a brew: Revolution deemed too on the nose)— dale Trail—was a 2.7-mile elevated railroad. Brewing’s Humboldt Gator. Chance was the Cortland Street Bridge Now it’s a destination for bikers, joggers, ultimately captured by Frank Robb of St. (built in 1902) sports one of the most spec- dog-walkers, artists, designers and the Augustine, Florida. After Robb’s success, tacularly destitute views on the city’s North neighborhood crowd place to read your he was invited to throw out the first pitch Side, a landscape of rubble awaiting con- dos, gringo mescal bars and riverfront lo- cations for fast casuals. The contest over this desecrated land is pure Chicago: cor-
copy of Newcity, eat a slice of pizza while midday T-boning involving an errant police one you’ve never noticed on a city street, people-watching, experience the greenery vehicle rushing the California and Chicago is veined through the compassion and lyr- and even stumble upon public art. But intersection and caving a truck into the icism of the Sun-Times’ longtime keeper walking across its twists, turns and breath- storefront, with the result that the interior of the dead Maureen O’Donnell. The pass- taking viewpoints you realize that most im- atmosphere of an exposed-brick 1930s sa- ing of Pilsen’s ninety-year-old “Churro portantly, the trail makes you feel like loon gaining an unlikely trim and spiffy Man” Taurino Brito is archetypal, survey- you’re a part of the city as much as the city façade. (Ray Pride) ing the neighborhood to learn about a is part of you. (Vasia Rigou) man who sold delicious pastries for over 2810 W. Chicago, twenty-five years. “Brimming with guava, the606.org 773.292.1200 cream cheese, chocolate, vanilla, straw- berry or dulce de leche filling, they’re in- BEST SQUARE BEST WAY TO WASTE fused with a cinnamon-dusted taste of GLIMPSE OF THE $130,106.15 Mexico… He’d been a courtly, kind pres- 1970S CHICAGO ence in the lives of many Pilsen customers SINGLES BAR Ask Jussie Smollett as they grew from childhood to adulthood. Some saw him as a surrogate abuelito, or Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO David Mamet’s “Sexual Perversity in Chi- You may remember Jussie Smollett from grandpa.” And of the recent passing of cago” holds acrid treasure as a tightening “Empire,” a locally shot Fox series on which Nancy Hughes, the widow of Illinois film- noose of a snapshot of sexual confound- he played a musician. Smollett was indict- maker John Hughes, “When they met at ment and consternation in the 1970s Rush ed in February for disorderly conduct. Glenbrook North High School in North- Street-Division Street singles scene, but Smollett allegedly paid two Nigerian- brook, she crossed chasms of teen Dennis McCarthy’s “The Great Chicago American men to stage a fake assault on cliques to be with him. And when they Bar & Saloon Guide” gives us a ground-lev- him, then filed a false police report for a were newlyweds with little money or con- el 1978 taste of the still-extant The Hang- hate crime. After much of the drama played nections, she supported his screenwriting ge-Uppe at 14 West Elm: “Representative out in public, the City of Chicago sent a dreams. And whether they were living on of the Rush Street young people’s dis- letter to his attorneys, requesting that he the North Shore or in the movie colonies co-madness movement. On weekends, pay $130,106.15 to offset the costs of police of California, Mrs. Hughes made their they pile into the two-level self-billed “dis- overtime needed to investigate the inci- homes a refuge, a place immune to shift- tinctive discotheque,” creating a wall-to- dent. (Tanner Woodford) ing Hollywood loyalties and box-office re- wall mob scene. Holding a drink can be an ceipts, filling them with good food, lively accomplishment… The design of the place BEST COLLECTIVE music and fun card games.” Honor the is pleasant enough, but if you go there in CARRYING THE TORCH recently passed via the @suntimesobits the peak hours it doesn't matter since the OF THE BLACK Twitter feed. (Ray Pride) scenery is young people dancing, dancing PANTHER PARTY away. Early in the evening, backgammon BEST WAY is popular.” (Ray Pride) #LetUsBreathe Collective TO FOLD A MAP BEST BAR TO CRASH Born out of a desire to support Ferguson Folded Map Project 16 A TRUCK INTO protesters, the #LetUsBreathe Collective Tonika Lewis Johnson started the Folded launched the protest occupation Freedom The Continental Lounge Square and held annual Juneteenth cele- Map Project as a visual investigation of brations, in addition to open mics and Chicago neighborhoods. She finds resi- Near West Side 4am retreat The Continen- teach-ins. The collective, which is com- dents living on North and South Side tal, which boasts multiple vulgar nicknames, posed of artists and organizers, opened blocks (like 6900 North Ashland in Rogers as well as “Mistakes,” has nested for thir- the #BreathingRoom in 2017, the first free- Park and 6900 South Ashland in West En- teen years in a nook of Humboldt Park di- standing Black-led liberation space since glewood), introduces them to one another, rectly before the twining instruction of Chi- the Black Panthers, in the Back of the then takes their photograph. Through this cago and Grand and the railway yards, far Yards neighborhood. (Kerry Cardoza) brilliantly simple concept, the project ex- from drink-‘em-up competition. There have poses urban segregation and its effects on been drive-by window shoot-ups by jealous BEST OBITUARIES Chicago residents. (Tanner Woodford) weapon owners in the past, but security’s tonijphotography.com/ good, and there are, of course, multiple se- projects/6836945 curity cameras. (Another form of crash was Maureen O’Donnell, the violent hailstorm that stripped the an- the Sun-Times BEST USE tique sign of its neon tubing for good.) Foot- The vivid vernacular and unexpected rev- OF EMPTY LOTS age of crashes from the first decade include the late-night flattening of a superb fami- eries and simple observation and distilla- ly-owned food truck that parked outside tion that is the knack of the obituary writ- NeighborSpace until after the 4am dispersal of leave-taking er puts much deadline newspaper writing libidinous and libated customers. Most re- to shame. The melody of a life well told in NeighborSpace is Chicago’s only nonprof- cently, social media got a gander at a bizarre a few hundred words, especially of some- it urban land trust that preserves and sus-
THIRD TUESDAY Corey Wilkes, Trumpet Tue, Nov 19 / First set 7:30–8:30pm; second set 9–10pm HOMEGROWN CHICAGO BLUES TALENT JOHN PRIMER MON, NOV 11, 2019 • 7PM EXHIBITION CHICAGO JAZZ AND BLUES: A PHOTOGRAPHER’S VIEW SEP 27–DEC 8, 2019 ARTIST CLOSING & AWARD CEREMONY FRI, DEC 6, 6PM logancenter.uchicago.edu Logan Center for the Arts 773.702.ARTS 915 E 60th St loganUChicago
Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGOBEST GIFT TO tains gardens. Community gardens require BEST SIGN OF PROGRESS THE GAME work and attention, from property owner- OF MAINTAINING ship to water, insurance, education, stew- CTA INFRASTRUCTURE The Killer Crossover ardship, planning, tool lending, fundraising and troubleshooting. When the details are The Chicago-Ogden Blue Line Entry He invented it while on the tended by NeighborSpace, community playground at Eckersall Park groups can focus on what they love—gar- The renovation continues, but the swift on Yates, put it to the test in the dening. (Tanner Woodford) fix of one of the ugliest, dampest, most Public League while at Carver, depressing subway entrances outside of perfected it once he got to college Neighbor-space.org the Loop, the southwest entry to the Chi- in El Paso, Texas, made it lethal cago and Ogden Blue Line stop, emerged and legendary once he got to BEST WARNING from decades of neglect in early October the NBA. The whole crossover WESTTOWN to unexpected spiffiness; two other en- phenom started when Timmy IS DONE trances are under reconstruction. A few Hardaway touched a basketball. paces from pre-mayoral Rahm Emanuel’s Many have remixed it (Allen The façade-i-fication night boîte of choice, the Matchbox, the Iverson, Philip Champion, Jamal of Leona’s on Augusta subterranean passage belied any im- Crawford, James Harden), but provement or gentrification aboveground none put their signature on it Leona’s was a warm, bustling clutch of with its 1940s-style design left to molder the way Timmy did the original. family-owned restaurants, popularized in under leaks and stalagmites of rot that It’s Chicago’s greatest gift to the the 1980s for cheap Italian food and lots offered a truer picture of the state of in- game—except, of course, for of it, and later known for not-as-cheap, frastructure than huge new platforms Jordan when he was in a Bulls not-as-good Italian food and lots of it. The with soaring roofs and admirable public uniform. (Scoop Jackson) business imploded a few years ago, leav- art. Now, a white mosaic wall is inlaid with ing in its wake its eccentric white terra a cool blue arrow that rounds the corners BEST PERSISTENT cotta Augusta Boulevard location, with a toward the descent into the depths. May NAME FOR FIZZY nineteenth-century Victorian two-flat, at the vanished filth never return; It’s always NECTAR least 120 years old, at its center. Until its infrastructure week when you neglect the Leona’s incarnation in 1985, the non-land- truism, “Things fall apart.” (Ray Pride) (Still) Calling Soda “Pop” marked location had housed Dairy. Before that, Pure Farm Products stood on the BEST PREDICTIVE English poet Robert Southey in site, billed in the 1920s as \"Chicago's only TEXT ON THE LIKELY 1812 wrote in a letter, “because Ukrainian Dairy.” The draws at the dairy FATE OF THE JAMES 'pop goes the cork' when it is included Sunday jazz champagne brunch- R. THOMPSON CENTER drawn, and pop you would go off es, dancing and a continental menu. too, if you drank too much of it.” When the demolition was announced, In his essential compendium “Why Archi- This was before “soda” was placed the Our Urban Times website reported tecture Matters,” Tribune architecture col- 18 in bottles and poured out of soda that Leona’s was “the only example of umnist Blair Kamin wrote, “As ever, the fountains. “Pop” was all about the local dairy left in the City of Chicago. quality of the built world depends on the the sound—and Chicago, if People would surround at least three choices we make… in the end, the market- nothing else, is a city rooted in sides of a two-flat, then put a roof over place and the marketplace of ideas are far and identified by sound, from the enclosure and it would become the more positive—and powerful—agents of music to gunshots, which is why local dairy.” Elaine Coorens, author of change… Every building is a new piece of we, more than most other major “Wicker Park: From 1673 Thru 1929 and the evolving metropolis, a new layer of the cities in the country, stay true to Walking Tour Guide” said to DNAInfo ever-changing urban collage. This collec- the word that defines the spirit. when the sale was announced, “This tive work of art forms an unflinching record (Scoop Jackson) concept of taking an existing building of who we are and what we do. It connects and building around it to make it a dairy, us in time and space to those who went be- that was the industry in this city. fore us even as it represents our legacy—for It is so significant, it's way more than better or for worse—to those who come just a snapshot; it's the only example after.” Those words resound after hearing left of an entire industry,” While the ditch-and-run plans floated for the James front story-high terra cotta façade has R. Thompson Center since the Pritzker in- been preserved, the rest of the plot is auguration, to, in the vulture capitalist coin- filled by a stack of sixteen condominiums age, “unlock value.” That “spaceship-like “starting at $750,000,” cleverly dubbed building, Helmut Jahn’s James R. Thompson “The Boulevard,” boasting “designer Center… still seems like a brash intruder kitchens, luxury finishes and private roof- butting up against the classical dignity of top decks.” No word on the fresh-baked Chicago’s City Hall,” Kamin wrote, but also loaves of bread that were brought with described it as a structure that explained menus to Leona’s once devoted follow- Chicago’s “timidity” in architecture. “Jahn’s ing. (Ray Pride)
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glassy glitter place,” he wrote, “spawned a Edgewater motel opened in 1959. But now, BEST SAFETY STANCE reaction against risk-taking that turned re- even more so. Avoid falling into the “pics BY A CHICAGO TEAM actionary, leading to such backward-look- or it didn't happen”—the mantra of the In- On July 22, the Chicago White Sox extend- ing buildings as the Washington library … stagram era—rabbithole by driving past and the United Center and Comiskey Park.” the motel after nightfall. The magic of the ed the netting to cover all seats in the sta- In the post-Rahm construction era of 1960s awaits in the form of a heart-shaped dium’s lower bowl, thus providing maxi- shiny-shiny and shinier, plus reckless dem- neon sign. Ponder the history behind as mum security to thousands of empty seats. olition left and right, Jahn’s remains a prov- well as the right angle to snap a picture. (Corey Hall) ocation that could well be obliterated in (Vasia Rigou) the service of further momentary profit and consistent with the accelerating anti-pres- 5990 N. Ridge, BEST ORGANIZATION ervationist mood. (Ray Pride) 773.271.9181 WORKING TO DECREASE PRETRIAL The James R. Thompson BEST PLACE TO GO I N C A RC E R AT I O N Center Historical Society, AND WATCH DOGS Chicago Community Bond Fund preservationfutures.org Puptown Puptown in Uptown. The punny name is CCBF organizers look at criminal justice BEST WAY TO holistically. Since their founding in 2015, LEAVE THE CITY enough to earn it a nod, but this massive the group has operated a revolving bond The North Branch Trail dog park is man’s-best-friend’s urban fund to free folks from Cook County Jail dream. More than 16,000 square feet of fun prior to trials as well as working on nation- Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO Hard to imagine, but so much of my sum- is more than you can shake a stick at. And al efforts to end cash bond and pretrial in- mer childhood was focused on leaving the this isn’t your average dog park: they have carceration. To put their work into larger city. Case in point would be the forested an annual dog costume contest, fittingly perspective, by February CCBF had paid North Branch Trail which, until recently, named Howl-O-Ween—the puns contin- bond for two hundred people, with more began at Elston and Milwaukee, across the ue!—with a community of dog parents than a million dollars moving through the street from Super Dawg. Bikers headed ready to clean up or raise funds for upkeep. bail fund. (Kerry Cardoza) north through the near-city (Morton Grove, Plus the entire place is fully gated and chicagobondfund.org Niles) toward a final destination which was fenced, so doggies are free to play to their urban only in name (Chicago Botanical heart's content. Go admire some puppers. Garden). (Noel Schecter) (Amanda Finn) BEST CITIZEN DEBT RELIEF UNDER BEST CAR MUSEUM 4921 N. Marine MAYOR LIGHTFOOT (TO DATE) Klaremont Collections BEST WAY TO TOUR THE CITY FOR THE Vehicle Sticker Ticket Amnesty CANINE CRAZY Klaremont features over 300 vintage cars Observers of the city and its political 20 in a 100,000-square-foot facility. Recently Dog spotting by breed machinations, including revenue sources, are perhaps unduly hopeful about the po- opened to the public on select days, you can see a Batmobile; gangster-era cars; a “You see a lot of small dogs and large dogs tential for evolution and progress under the Tucker 1950s “car of the future”; retired rac- in this city,” someone once told me, “but Lightfoot mayoralty—fare-free public ing cars; Rolls-Royces; Lincolns and rarer what about all the medium dogs?” I haven’t transportation, anyone?—but there are makes like a Czechoslovakian Tatra and a stopped thinking about that, and I’ve kept signs that the old way doesn't have to be Swiss-Spanish Hispano-Suiza. Brightly lit decent notes on hotspots for dedicated the old way. ProPublica and WBEZ report- and adorned with vintage neon signs for dogspotters. Buena Park is a floof-mecca ed that the amnesty announced on city SONOCO, PONTIAC and NASH, this fa- for Frenchies and pugs but there’s also a sticker arrears, which expired on October cility is tucked away behind Cicero Ave- handsome pair of American Eskimo dogs 31, could affect a half-million drivers, along- nue’s used-car row, but the cars are defi- that must be part of a secret neighbor- side a prorated city vehicle sticker plan nitely not cheap or used. (David Witter) hood-specific dog society. Downtown is under City Clerk Anna Valencia. We’re 3117 N. Knox, great for getting a peek at a chihuahua in talking about an aggregated total of a cold a baby stroller. Logan Square wins when half-billion dollars of debt held since 1990 klairmontkollections.com it comes to friendly faced larger breeds like over the heads of the least likely to be able Wheaten Terriers, and once in Wicker Park to pay. ProPublica analyzed records back BEST NEON TO MAKE YOUR I saw a Great Pyrenees mix that stopped to 2007 and found that the Rahm Emanu- INSTAGRAM FEED GLOW me dead in my tracks. Desperate for pup- el-sponsored penalty increase “coupled time? Weather permitting, you can always with a pattern of racial disparities in stick- Heart O' Chicago Motel head to Montrose Dog Beach and live vi- er ticketing has exacerbated a uniquely The Heart O' Chicago Motel neon sign has cariously through the other dog parents or Chicago phenomenon: Thousands of bring your best furry friend for a playdate. mostly black drivers filing for bankruptcy been iconic for a long time, likely since the (Kaycie Surrell) to cope with ticket debt.” (Ray Pride)
BEST TWITTER DIS OF shrieking hysteria of the moment and Lait BEST CHICAGO- BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity THE CITY COUNCIL and Mortimer always protesteth too much: MADE FEMALE “Such habituals always draw the distorted SKATE TEAM 21 “The Aldermaniacs” and the perverted and that mélange of middle-sex jobs which nature started but Fro Skate Twitter user @LuigiDNapla worked up a fine never finished. As a blind for allowing more froth of doggerel in May about city council serious toleration, the police swoop down A group of young Chicago eagerness to lay down for money: now and again on the pathological misfits, women of color are challenging but they soon return.” (Ray Pride) the hegemony of skateboarding It's time for Aldermaniacs. through their collective, We give Sterling Bay contracts. BEST HISTORIC PUNCH- Fro Skate. Since its founding So just listen to our flacks! DRUNK DESCRIPTION by close friends Karlie Thornton, Here’s a seven-cent bag tax. OF LATE-1960S Brianna Beckham and Maya CHICAGO GAMBLING Greene, the group has grown Come to the city council, exponentially; meet-ups that we will listen to your woes “Captive City: Chicago In Chains” once had ten to fifteen in About developers and cops attendance pull in upwards of and fears your businesses will close. Ovid Demaris’ 1969 screamer was sold by fifty members of the tight-knit And then we will do nothing - sensationalist Lyle Stuart Books as a his- crew. The women use social that’s why Troutman called us hos. tory of Chicago as “the killing ground, the media to schedule meet-ups, I know you’re miffed the city’s TIF-ed, training school, the pace setter” for crime hangouts and just network with but we don’t like casting no’s. poisoning “every level of American society.” fellow skateboarders around The ribald, even rabid verbiage teeters to the city. Follow @froskate on We’re Aldermaniacs! collapse: “A multibillion-dollar-a-year ex- Instagram and keep an eye out for We campaign on smear attacks. travaganza, gambling in Chicago makes Fro Skate at a skatepark near you. Some get caught in criminal acts Las Vegas look like a Saturday night crap (Jake Krzecwoski) Like Ed Vrdolyak’s. game in the rear of Schultz’s delicatessen.” Of course now, book and policy are a state BEST CHICAGO- We’re getting to the song’s climax of Illinois franchise, meant to benefit edu- MADE CHARITY Our oversight is lax cation, yet still prone to predation, such as Some were funded by Rahm’s PACs scratch-offs sold to 7-Eleven-level gam- Social Works We're Alderman-ee blers without informing them that the pot Will it always be this way-ee? of marquee prizes is done. (Ray Pride) Chicago's rap scene has grown (The new crop’s a maybe) with the idea of service to others ALDERMANIACS! Those are the facts! BEST CAUTION in the past ten years or so. Chance AGAINST WICKER PARK The Rapper coordinated millions (Ray Pride) NIGHTLIFE (CIRCA 1985) worth of donations to CPS through his Social Works foundation. Next BEST HISTORIC SHRIEKING The two editions of Dennis McCarthy’s up? Helping Chicagoans and the ABOUT CHICAGO “BOHEMIA” “The Great Chicago Bar & Saloon Guide” world help themselves as he (1978 and 1985) offer snippets and glimps- embarks on My State of Mind, a “Chicago Confidential,” 1950 es of wet, wet Chicago from the gaze of mental wellness initiative through one jumpy publican. Introducing the sec- a website and app that will provide “If Chicago has anything resembling a bo- ond edition, McCarthy warned, “the new- resources to patients and doctors hemian section,” wrote Jack Lait and Lee comer must realize the city has a fierce alike, streamlining the process Mortimer, whose other emissions included territoriality as its historical inheritance... of finding individualized care in “New York: Confidential!,” “it is the Near Do not wander into the neighborhoods if Chicago. (Jake Krzecwoski) North Side. Bughouse Square attracts the you do not know where you are going. nuts and the exhibitionists. The made-over Ask…Chicagoans may ask me why I have Socialworkschi.org flats and the remolded mansions harbor not listed the Artful Dodger or the Get Me all that is left of Chicago’s artistic and lit- High Lounge. These places are in a neigh- eracy coldly. What was once on the way to borhood called Wicker Park, at the begin- being the center of a new school of civi- ning of the West Side. The reason is that I lized culture has dwindled to a pocket edi- have eliminated the West Side completely tion of the remains of atmosphere in New in this edition. The punk gangsters of this York’s Greenwich Village, with candlelight- part of Chicago have shown a frenzied in- ed tea-shops, a few sawdust-strew saloons terest in shooting people with handguns. where the avante garde reads effusions of They do it at a rate which is not surpassed its confusions to other would-bes, and the anywhere in the nation. Sorry, West Side. pet drinks are grappo and vino rouge.” The You are not in this book.” (Ray Pride) pages rampage with melodrama and the
BEST CHICAGO- THE BEST WARNING billboards advertising shows. It got so MADE ACTIVIST THAT WICKER PARK posters showing women in negligee or IS DONE women’s silk-clad legs excited me unbear- Tuan Huynh ably. Many times I followed an attractive For most, a day job is plenty. The dimming of the Double Door woman for blocks, with no thought of ac- For Leo Burnett Lead Creative Liquors neon costing her, but to watch the movements Tuan Huynh, it's a vessel to do off her body… A girl in the next house used for others. The son of Vietnamese The sound of the roaring nineties of the to undress without pulling down her shade, immigrants, Huynh dedicates Milwaukee-Damen-North intersection has and I literally spent hours watching her. I every available minute to helping incrementally dulled to the peppiest, pop- had fantasies of sexual intercourse with others through endeavors of his piest shopping Muzak. (The Crotch has every attractive woman I saw on the street.” own and those in his periphery. been lopped.) Any denizen, current or for- What Zorbaugh saw as “the emotional ten- He supports, tutors and mentors mer, of the area since the 1990s has per- sions of thwarted wishes” often led to sui- over 800 students across the city, sonal touchstones of how grime turned cide, he claimed, finding the state of con- perfume and slack became slick. But the fusion out of the ordinary. (Ray Pride) inviting them into Leo Burnett epic gesture in 2019 didn’t even come from for first-hand career discovery. the buildout of the former 473-person-ca- BEST FRESH DESCRIPTION Outside the office, he helped pacity Double Door space to house a Texas OF THE CHICAGO FIRE develop a creative lab in Woodlawn premium cooler and camping and coozie Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO and established the Pencil Project brand that will showcase lifestyle-lifting Whet Moser’s “Chicago” to provide scholarships for live performances and other events to el- individuals who prove they are evate their brand beyond an Urban Outfit- “‘CHEER UP,’ the Chicago Tribune’s edito- \"the difference that makes a ters for those at middle age holding onto rial began the next day, even though its difference.\" (Jake Krzecwoski) a pocket full of surplus value. No, it’s not building, too, had burned to the ground,” all those shows there, like the Rolling Stones secret show, which in the twen- writes veteran Chicago observer Whet ty-two years since has grown in claims to Moser in his book-length history. “Chicago an attendance of thousands and counting. had been a muddy little town of a few thou- No, it’s the fact that city zoning bureaucra- sand in the lifetime of some of its greatest cy forced the dismantling of the stories-tall citizens. To become a city of 300,000 had 1950s-era Double Door Liquors neon, fi- already involved world-historical feats of nally dimmed as “non-conforming” sig- building (and braggadocio). It still had its nage and removed before the imperative land, lake, and river; it still had its railroads; of occupancy by the new lifestyle product it still had, to an astonishing degree, its cit- could happen. The sign was successfully izens. Chicago would simply have to build stored, but the nighthawk emblem no lon- itself up again and better still, and it began ger signs and singes the night. (Ray Pride) almost immediately. The first building to go up among the ruins was, reportedly, a BEST HISTORIC FEVER real estate office… The myth of a new, even DREAM FROM A 1928 22 greater Chicago rising out of the Great Fire began as the city was literally still smolder- CHICAGO ROOMING HOUSE ing. And it is not untrue.” A suspect text from “The University of Chi- BEST EXISTENTIAL cago Sociological Series,” Harvey W. Zor- ANNOYANCE ON THE CTA baugh’s “The Gold Coast and the Slum” is filled with suspect yet engrossing, lurid Farecard expiration warnings purported testimonies, such as the fever a man who left his wife discovered once re- The kindly Wisconsin voice reminds you moving to a North Side rooming house. “I day after day, ride after ride, your card found myself totally alone. There were eve- might be expiring soon, be ready! So when nings when I went out of my way to buy a your yellowed card with the old design is paper, or an article at a drug store—just for about to pop, you get that shiny new card the sake of talking a few minutes with with its understated geometric pattern. someone,” Zorbaugh reports the man con- And it says that it expires in March 2038, fessing. “Worse, if possible, than the lone- which is, oh, nineteen years from now? liness was the sex hunger. I had had a reg- There will be four, there will be five or more ular and satisfying sex experience with my announcements, even more than usual, on wife. I began to grow restless without it… your trip to work or home that day: YOUR The constant stimulation of the city began VENTRA CARD MAY BE EXPIRING… Or to tell, adding tremendously to this sexual you might first. (Ray Pride) restlessness, lights, well-dressed women,
NOVEMBER 2019 Newcityculture & nightlife 23
HOW HOUSE WAS BUILT by BRIAN HIEGGELKE E very summer, tens of thou- I was just as oblivious as a very young man football field. The turntables had to hang sands of mostly white sub- back in 1986, passionate about the likes of from chains because we had big seven-foot urban teenagers swarm Per- New Order, the Smiths and the Pet Shop subwoofers—two on each side which would Boys and confident that I was up on all the rumble the whole place and records would ry's Stage at Lollapalooza, new music, both popular and obscure— skip if you didn't. until I wandered into a strange-looking re- losing themselves in epic beats, often cord store in my then-new neighborhood It was painted all black on the walls and the of Printers Row. Importes, Etc. was a record ceiling and I installed a lighting system that Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO spun by visiting DJs from Europe, store in a loading dock, with a garage-style would pulsate to the beat of the music that roll-up metal door, situated on Plymouth I played. On the side, opposite the DJ booth, oblivious to the fact that they're danc- Court, a street tucked between Dearborn was a refreshment stand which had refresh- and State Streets that functioned like an ments painted in a comical way over it. ing but a mile or two away from the alley. Once inside, I lost my musical swag- ger, as I thumbed through the extensive As the Playground was on the second floor, birthplace of it all, from the unmarked racks of vinyl. I did not recognize a single you had to walk up this long flight of stairs artist. Not one. I struck up a conversation to get in where you would greet the door- shrines of house music. with a store worker and was told about man and a bouncer. We allowed high- house music, this new sound from Chicago school age kids as well as college students that was taking the UK by storm, even if I in. There wasn't an age restriction. As you had not heard of it. (And influencing, I would walked around the corner, you would come learn much later, the British acts from Man- to the coat room and then inside where chester that I adored.) there was bleacher-like seating. He pointed out a couple of good introduc- Outside you could feel those seven-foot tory records to buy, one of which was \"Love subwoofers booming and the crowd, which Can't Turn Around,\" a song credited to Far- would be all the way down the street and ley \"Jackmaster\" Funk and Jesse Saunders. around the corner, would anticipate entry. Before long, the store and its new sound from Chicago were on the cover of the Opening night of the Playground in 1982 we 24 paper we'd just started, Newcity. had Frankie Knuckles, Farley \"Jackmaster\" Funk and myself playing. Farley and I would Three decades later, Saunders is still very play together for the first year and the sec- much at it, with a record label, Broken Re- ond year, 1983, I took over completely. cords, where he just released a thirty-fifth anniversary version of \"On and On\" and a I was at the Playground from spring of 1982 new track, \"Higher.\" He is a leader of a huge until a few months after I released \"On and annual music festival each July, the Chosen On,\" the world's first house music record, Few Picnic, and he recently rolled out a \"live on January 20 of 1984. After I left, they documentary film,\" \"House Music—The Real changed the name to the Candy Store and Story,\" as part of the Southside Film Festival. that lasted another year or so. CHBIECSTAGOFO We corresponded over email about those I left the Playground to pursue my writing early clubs and records and his role in the and production and run my label Jes Say re- origins of house music. cords. Six months later I started the world-fa- mous label Trax Records and about another You were a DJ at The Playground in year later I started one of the most iconic the early days. What was that like? labels in Chicago, known as DanceMania. The Playground was on the second floor of The Playground allowed me to experiment this big industrial building on 14th and like never before. I've always had a diverse Michigan in the South Loop. It held 1,500- taste in music and I was able to fuse it all plus people and the DJ booth was in the together at the Playground. This is where I middle and center of the long way, like a got the idea for \"On and On.\" I would make
drum tracks that I would mix and segue var- As a matter of fact, Ronnie used the bonus record that had the Space Invaders bassline ious records in different tempos and BPMs beats from \"Funk U Up\" along with \"The which is what I loved so much. Unfortunate- together and this became the B-side of the Sensuous Black Woman,\" which was played ly that record was stolen from the Play- \"On and On\" release. over the top of it and created lots of sexual ground one day and I vowed to make my screaming and climaxing to the vibe and own version of it. As I said previously, the What were the other big house that in itself became a signature of the tracks that I used to segue between various clubs at the time? Music Box. tempos from new wave to reggae from disco to electronic Italian disco and more The other iconic clubs were the Music Box Whereas Frankie Knuckles was very picky were the foundation. and subsequently the Power Plant that about what he played in his style, future Frankie Knuckles built in 1983. The Music DJ-producers tended to gravitate toward So I asked Vince Lawrence, whose father Box was right around the corner on 14th Ronnie at the Music Box, because he would owned Mitchbal records and had previous- or 15th and Indiana. There Ron Hardy play anything and make it special! ly released a new wave record known reigned supreme and is probably the most as \"Fast Cars,\" how I could make a record. influential DJ in the birth of Chicago house Can you discuss the creation This was right after Frank Sells at Importes, music at the time because he played all of \"On and On,\" credited as the etc. record store told me that if I can get of the records that became the signature first house record? my hands on copies of my tracks that for the foundation of house music includ- they could sell a shitload of them. Then the ing \"On and On\" and my next release, The making of \"On and On\" was due to the light bulb went on over my head and the \"Funk U Up.\" fact that I had a bootleg sort of mash-up rest is history.
Made in BEST SAVED BEST ITINERANT MUSEUM Chicago CULTURAL ARCHIVE The Floating Museum The Johnson Publishing archive acquisition by Run by Chicago cultural workers Avery R. BEST ROCK ‘N’ ROLL the Smithsonian Young, Andrew Schachman, Faheem Ma- LEGACY OF A jeed and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, the NON-ROCK GENRE Institutions are often on the wrong side of Floating Museum brings art to neighbor- history. A recent ArtNews survey found hoods around the city. Their projects are Chicago Blues that in the past decade, only twenty-eight hard to miss. They docked a barge-turned- percent of solo exhibitions were devoted gallery along the Chicago River in 2017. The Rolling Stones have kept a to nonwhite artists, with Their recent “Founders” proj- firm grip on their rep as the black artists making up less ect, a twenty-five-foot-tall, greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all than eleven percent of thirty-five-foot-wide inflat- Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO time. But it wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll that that number. So it was a able sculpture, was installed first drove them into the studio. pleasant surprise this sum- at public parks near CTA Founders Mick Jagger and Keith mer when four foundations Green Line stops this sum- Richards were powerfully quickly came together to ac- mer. The museum’s ethos— influenced by the Chicago blues quire Chicago’s legendary that folks don’t have to travel artists who recorded for the city’s Johnson Publishing photo ar- to experience Chicago’s cre- Chess Records label. The band’s chive, in order to donate the ativity, that each neighbor- works to the Smithsonian's hood deserves to enjoy art name, in fact, is an homage to National Museum of African and be inspired, and that pub- Muddy Waters’ song “Rollin’ American History and Cul- lic space can be used com- Stone,” recorded in Chicago in ture and other institutions. munally and sustainably—is 1950. (Robert Rodi) Chicagoans can rest easy one wholly worth celebrating. knowing that this crucial doc- (Kerry Cardoza) BEST FERRIS WHEEL umentation of African-Amer- Floatingmuseum.org IN THE TOWN THAT ican life, which includes INVENTED FERRIS Ebony and Jet, will be pre- BEST CLASSIC WHEELS served. (Kerry Cardoza) DIVE BAR THAT’S NOT REALLY A Navy Pier BEST THEATER DIVE BAR George Ferris’ visionary feat FOR LEGROOM of engineering, designed to outdo Best Intentions the Eiffel Tower, made its debut The Royal George at the 1893 World's Columbian Best Intentions is your regular Exposition in Chicago, and It’s worth noting that I con- watering hole—at first glance. 26 featured thirty-six passenger sulted with long-legged But walking into a space that folks who agree with me on smells like gourmet pub eats cars that held between forty and this, because as a relatively and challenges patrons to sixty customers (depending on short person, my concept of make a choice between a di- whether they were sitting or space is a little off. The Royal verse beer list and craft cock- standing). Its Navy Pier successor, George Theatre may not be tails will prove otherwise. arguably the most iconic Ferris a looker, but oh boy, does it There’s always shots of An- wheel in the country, was inspired have the best legroom of any theater in gostura bitters or their famed minty Won- by the original—although it’s Chicago. Not only do you not have to dermint Malted shake that, weather permit- about a hundred feet smaller. move at all if folks are walking through the ting, you can imbibe on the patio. And it (Robert Rodi) aisle (unheard of!), but you can even calls itself \"a fancy cocktail bar,\" which may stretch your legs without kicking the per- or may not be ironic in intent. (Vasia Rigou) 600 E. Grand son in front of you. There is ample space 3281 W. Armitage, 312.818.1254, to move without disturbing your neigh- bestintentionschicago.com bors during a show and put your drink or water bottle or oversized backpack in BEST THEATER DEDICATED front of you without invading space. If TO MENTAL HEALTH theater seating were classified like air- line seats, The Royal George’s legroom would definitely be an upgrade charge. Erasing the Distance (Amanda Finn) 1641 N. Halsted, Erasing the Distance, founded in 2005, col- 312.988.9000 lects true stories from people affected by
mental health issues, and brings them to Events, the catalog lists public The Newberry Library is BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity life on stage. After every performance, a artwork, provides a search- a privately funded indepen- moderated dialogue between cast and au- able map, and most impor- dent research library fo- 27 dience explores themes in the play and, tantly, serves as a guide for cused on the humanities. when appropriate, identifies mental illness artwork that should be pro- Within its collection of more symptoms, signs, resources and recovery tected from destruction. It’s a than 1.5 million books, five options. (Tanner Woodford) start! (Tanner Woodford) million manuscript pages, and 500,000 historic maps erasingthedistance.org chicago.gov/city/en/ resides a fifteenth-century depts/dca/supp_info/ wooden box with metal fill- BEST TAPE LABEL ings. It was originally de- mural_registry.html signed to be carried on horse- Not Normal Tapes or mule-back to hold books BEST 1990S or religious objects. Under Now in its eleventh year, Not Normal boasts WICKER PARK the lid is a woodcut print more than sixty releases, and has become GHOST SIGN of Mary in her aspect as the de facto documenter of Midwest punk. Virgin of the Rosary. (Tanner It’s put out everything from the fiery hard- The unmolested carnie Woodford) core of Sin Orden to the raw proto-punk of paintings behind former CB Radio Gorgeous. The DIY hardcore punk Earwax Café 60 W. Walton, label deals primarily in tapes, although it Newberry.org has also ventured into vinyl and zines, and Wicker Park in the 1990s, their catalog can now be streamed on they had names right in the BEST Bandcamp. (Kerry Cardoza) middle of that place, right? G AT H E R I N G Urbus Orbis, the Quaker OF TYPOGRAPHY notnormaltapes.bandcamp.com Goes Deaf, Bombardier NERDS Café, Earwax Café… to half- BEST NEW remember a few. Are fragrant Typeforce at INDUSTRIAL LABEL traces left behind the bright Co-Prosperity Sphere Chicago Research store windows of Every winter for the past destination brands, decade, thousands of typog- Chicago Research is the latest in with surplus-value raphy nerds descend upon a long line of meaningful inde- products at nose- the Co-Prosperity Sphere pendent Chicago labels. (Think bleed prices to satis- in Bridgeport. Typeforce Wax Trax, Touch and Go.) Formed fy distant investors? is curated by Firebelly's earlier this year, the label focuses Not much. Take a Dawn Hancock and Ed Mars- on heavy, industrial sounds, from newish jackleg off North Av- zewski (Marz Community bands like Civic Center to local punk vet- enue directly south Brewing, Maria’s Packaged erans Bruised. And it isn’t wasting any of where Urbus Orbis once Goods and Community Bar, time: it’s already dropped fifteen releases sat, in the alley just east of the Lumpen) with a mission to and, in September, launched a biweekly Flatiron building, and you’ll showcase artists who make magic with let- online radio show. The simple, gothic get a teensy glimpse of some- ters in any medium. Admission is free. graphic design of the record covers and thing you absolutely must gander that’s (Tanner Woodford) the limited number of physical copies inexplicably still: in a vest-pocket parking make these releases hot to cop; many are lot behind what had been Earwax Café typeforce.com/8/ already sold out. (Kerry Cardoza) for the last of its twenty-one years, atop what had been the site of so, so many con- BEST TYRANNOSAURUS chicagoresearch.bandcamp.com spiracies, confusions, connivances and cu- REX ON TWITTER rious eavesdropping, the vegan mainstay’s BEST ATTEMPT TO leafy patio, faux carnival paintings rest, un- @SUEtheTrex SAVE STREET ART FROM molested after eight years, an entire “royal GRAFFITI BLASTERS family of strange people” including the Clocking in at sixty-seven-million years old mysterious “Tirko” and “Fee Jee” and the and with over 56,000 followers on Twitter, Chicago Mural Registry Monkey Boy. (Ray Pride) Sue the T. rex is a hilarious, pun-loving di- nosaur. What’s more impressive—having Chicago’s street art game is strong. After Alley behind 250 of approximately 380 bones, or get- multiple high-profile incidents in which 1561 N. Milwaukee ting into a random feud with Merri- city-sanctioned Graffiti Blasters unwitting- am-Webster? You can find out by visiting ly removed work by prominent artists, the BEST NON-BOOK AT Specimen FMNH PR 2081 at The Field Mu- mural registry was born. Maintained by the THE NEWBERRY LIBRARY seum and then following @SUEtheTrex on Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Twitter. (Tanner Woodford) Fifteenth-Century Wooden Box, Featuring Mary
BEST (AND OLDEST) was built, and hidden in plain sight in the BEST LINCOLN TELESCOPE IN AMERICA Lincoln Park neighborhood. But step in- PARK ZOO EXPERIENCE side and you find yourself in an atrium that FOR ADULTS Adler Planetarium rises thirty-seven feet high and features exposed brick walls, sleek concrete surfac- BrewLights Made in the final years of Galileo's life, es and a ton of natural light—and that’s just circa 1640, the oldest telescope in America the ground floor. (Vasia Rigou) Is there a better way to get into the holiday is located in the scientific instruments 659 W. Wrightwood, 773.437.6601, spirit than sipping beer while strolling collection at the Adler Planetarium. Made wrightwood659.org under Christmas lights during the night- from pasteboard, leather and glass, time? Lincoln Park Zoo’s fifth annual the first-generation object is one of only BEST POST-GALLERY BrewLights, presented by the Auxiliary twenty surviving telescopes known or DRINKS IN A Board of Lincoln Park Zoo and Louis Glunz presumed to be made before 1650. It har- NOT-SO-ARTSY Beer, Inc.—an over-21 only event during kens to a moment when the simple NEIGHBORHOOD ZooLights—sorts out the logistics. All optical instrument was only beginning to you have to do is dress warm and get revolutionize our view of the Universe. out of the house to taste local craft, sea- (Tanner Woodford) Burwood Tap sonal and international beers, take photos 1300 S. Lake Shore, with Santa for your Instagram feed and adlerplanetarium.org So you've just visited the spectacular new ride on the Endangered Species carousel. Wrightwood 659 art and architecture (Vasia Rigou) Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO BEST ANTIQUITIES space in the Lincoln Park neighborhood ZooLights, December 6, MUSEUM and you need time to take it all in? Just 2001 N. Clark, lpzoo.org across the street is Burwood Tap. The bar University of Chicago has seen monumental neighborhood evo- BEST ARCADE BAR lution in its eighty-six years, knows its Oriental Institute music, has walls dripping with Chicago memorabilia, a pool table and ice-cold Replay Lakeview The Field Museum’s Ancient Egypt exhib- beer. Who could ask for anything more? it is deservedly a crowd-pleaser; but for (Except maybe a popcorn maker that If you're looking for a classic boozer within hardcore antiquarians, the must-see mu- doesn’t stop popping.) (Vasia Rigou) an arcade room (or vice versa), this Lakev- seum is seven miles due south. The Orien- 724 W. Wrightwood, iew bar with vintage pinball and arcade tal Institute—established in 1919—displays 773.525.2593, machines is for you. Play the night away in some five-thousand artifacts (from a col- burwoodtap.com between beer on tap, bourbon and cock- lection seventy times that size) spanning tails, keep an eye out for their regularly ten-thousand years of bygone history, BEST REAL-LIFE scheduled themed pop-ups. The best comprising not only Egypt but Mesopota- STORY TO OFFER part? Play is free! (Vasia Rigou) mia, Sumeria, Persia and every other early I N S PI R AT I O N Middle Eastern mega-state. Highlights in- 3439 N. Halsted, replaylakeview.com clude a colossal bull’s head from an en- 28 trance hall in ancient Persepolis, a lamassu Virgil Abloh: “Figures BEST LIVE SOUND (a bearded Persian centaur) from the pal- of Speech,” Museum of ace of Sargon II and a towering Tut- Contemporary Art Chicago ankhamen, everybody’s favorite pharaoh. Lincoln Hall (Robert Rodi) The much-anticipated exhibition of the 1155 E. 58th, work of the Louis Vuitton Men’s artistic di- It may not have the well-trod, L-shaped al- oi100.uchicago.edu rector, whose influence and creativity rises lure of The Bottle or the cool factor of beyond media, merging visual arts, music, Thalia Hall or even the dank cultural cred- BEST HIDDEN fashion, graphic design and architecture, ibility of our city’s dizziest dive bars, but ARCHITECTURAL covered a lot of ground. Namely, the past what Lincoln Park’s Lincoln Hall has going GEM THAT’S ALSO twenty years of Virgil Abloh’s work—from for it is sound. Near silent when empty, A GALLERY his IIT days, to his Fendi internship, to his void of street noise or even the clank and collaboration with Kanye West, to founding clatter of glassware from the bar and Off-White, the first luxury fashion brand restaurant in the front half of the building, Wrightwood 659 designed and owned by an African Amer- Lincoln Hall is the place to go when you ican. But there’s one thing he’s more pas- really want to hear your favorite band. Or If you’re a first-time visitor you might just sionate about: inspiring creators from the that group you loved in high school. Or an walk past this space. World-renowned Jap- next generation. The vibe of this exhibition artist you’ve never heard before. Whether anese architect Tadao Ando designed the leaves you with the vision that if this kid they’re on their way up or on their way gallery space dedicated to exhibitions of from Rockford made it, so can you and you down, they won’t sound better anywhere architecture and socially engaged art with- better start working on it. (Vasia Rigou) else. (Kevin Greene) in a four-story 1929-1930 apartment build- 220 E. Chicago, 2424 N. Lincoln, ing that looks much the same as when it mcachicago.org 773.525.2501, lh-st.com
BEST STOREFRONT BEST IRONICALLY round facility at Broadway Armory Park in OPERA COMPANY SITUATED ART SHOW Edgewater. Follow the stairs (or the signs Third Eye Theatre Ensemble “Wesley Willis: City of Many Dreams” for Jackalope Theatre) to the balcony for a If you think you know opera because spectacular and gut-flipping view of acts that will make you feel every minute of your you clicked on a YouTube video of The The ironies resound and redound and con- age. (Kevin Greene) Three Tenors, you owe it to yourself to found seeing even a fraction of a decade 5200 N. Lake Shore and partake of the magic of Chicago’s vibrant of Wesley Willis’ early work in a newly 5917 N. Broadway, 773.484.8861 storefront opera scene. Critical acclaim forged gallery space in the general vicinity and audience worship has been lavished of where he wandered while he whupped BEST OUTDOOR on Third Eye Theatre Ensemble, a prime Batman’s ass but before death whupped A M P H I T H E AT E R example of these companies. Performing his. “Wesley Willis: City of Many Dreams,” THAT ISN’T contemporary opera in intimate spaces at Matthew Rachman Gallery in the west- THE PRITZKER PAVILION set to stories about today’s tribes, Third ern front of galleries on Chicago Avenue Eye has mounted eight productions, west of Ashland, displayed a collection of Huntington Bank Pavilion including an international premiere and drawings the late musician-artist-sce- nester-singular figure made from 1981-1991, Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO several national premieres, in five short when Willis grew from eighteen to twen- After working at this Live Nation-owned years, entertaining over four-hundred ty-eight. (He was forty years old when he venue for three years, I felt Twilight Zoned delighted fans, sitting so close to the passed.) Drawing on the collection and ar- every time I’d tell someone where I spent action they were ducking spittle. chives of architect Paul Young, one of Wil- my summer evenings and get blank stares (Aaron Hunt) lis’ earliest supporters and collectors, who in return. It’s as if when the city bulldozed met him by chance on the streets of Chi- Meigs Field, they also summoned some 847.430.4341, thirdeyete.com natown, the show captures the vitality of kind of incantation that affected the per- Willis’ intuition as a man with an obsessive ceptions of locals and weekenders alike, BEST MUSIC MOVEMENT eye for the collision of geometry of the shielding from their eyes the significant INVENTED IN CHICAGO man-made city; the giddy but non-ironic peninsula known as Northerly Island. absurdism in the lyrics he howled as a Granted, the programing at the venue House Music post-punk musician are another facet of doesn’t help much. The dwindling yet re- It can’t be defined by sound. It can’t be how the world would not settle in his mind. silient fandoms one-to-three-hit-wonder defined by instrument, singer, genre In his youth, Willis worked as a street artist, bands from the nineties compete with lim- or BPM. House music is defined by feel carrying a folding chair and sheets of ited calendar real estate with the occasion- and reaction. It’s defined when Alan board to capture his vistas or his subways: al hippie mega-act (the venue hosted three King plays Stevie Wonder’s “As” in taking his pens and staring down a skyline nights of Phish in 2017), ascendant hip- one of his sets at Chant or when John or platform or the Dan Ryan as far as you hop and pop crossovers passed over by Simmons drops Machine’s “There But can see. The tumult that prompted Willis’ Lolla and “I can’t believe these guys are For The Grace Of God Go I” in one creativity was stilled, of course, by death, even still alive” boomer throwback tours. but is damped, too, within genteel sur- The venue occasionally strikes gold as of his Vocalo mixes. And oh yeah, roundings. You can’t contain Wesley: Wil- when they secured a spot on Vampire 30 original house music is solely defined lis towered. (Ray Pride) Weekend’s most recent tour. In any case, by region. Chicago is its own region, Matthew Rachman Gallery, the bands are prelude to the awesome ain’t it? (Scoop Jackson) 1659 W. Chicago, 773.245.3182. view of the sun setting behind the down- Through November 17 town skyline while crickets and cicadas BEST HOMEMADE BEST LAKEFRONT play choir to the booms and ah’s of fire- CROSSOVER ACT TRANSPLANT works off Navy Pier. (Kevin Greene) TRAPEZE SCHOOL DJ King Marie 1300 S. Linn White, 708.614.0283 Trapeze School New York On her June EP, “The Prelude,” King BEST RESURFACED 1970S Marie proclaims \"I already know I'm CHICAGO-SHOT BLACK a queen, I'm gonna show ‘em why DETECTIVE TV MOVIE they call me king.\" Marie doesn't say It ain’t Cirque du Soleil but then when was anything she doesn't mean, and in true the last time you set up for a family barbe- “Cutter” fashion she spent the summer backing cue under the big top? Also: it’s free to up that statement. Already one of watch. Trapeze School New York sets up The streets of Chicago are almost without the most celebrated DJs working the just south of Foster Beach during the sum- profile in movies or television for certain Chicago scene, she stepped from mer on the recently renovated Lake Shore years under the gimlet eye of the elder behind the turntables at Complexcon Trail and provides insight into the day-to- Mayor Daley. The short list of artifacts grew this year, returning to her first love day realities of running away to join the by one in September, when a seven- of singing while releasing merch to circus. The school offers classes in flying ty-four-minute TV movie broadcast in Jan- match. If this year was any indication, and static trapeze work, silks and rope, lyra uary 1972 materialized on YouTube, starring we should experience her royalty for and trampoline. They also operate a year- actor-playwright-producer-director Peter years to come. (Jake Krzecwoski)
EMERSON & ELDER, P.C. ATTORNEYS FOR FILMMAKERS • Corporations • Contracts • Clearance • Production Counsel • Copyright Eric J. Emerson [email protected] 312-758-4301 Please call or email to learn more www.emersonelder.com
De Anda as “Cutter,” a black private detec- iday cheer to every Grinch—a double-bill BEST BAND THAT PLAYS tive. With lots of cocktails with a sprinkling screening of \"White Christmas\" and \"It's a ONLY A THIRTY-MINUTE SET of cocktail jazz, driving a compact white Wonderful Life\" every holiday season, now Mercedes, Cutter likes to hand over his card in its thirty-sixth incantation. The experi- Negative Scanner with a curt “Frank Cutter. Investigator. Pri- ence is even more magical with the pre- vate.” No office? “No office. Just the phone show Christmas sing-along, led by an ex- Some bands take thirty minutes to warm number. Keeps life simple… and safer.” A ceedingly merry crew of carolers, and it up. Negative Scanner goes from ze- gratifying amount of location work shows culminates with Santa Claus himself join- ro-to-sixty in thirty seconds or less, and up in Cutter’s pursuit of a missing quarter- ing the proceedings, Okay, maybe not ac- keeps the tension and energy taut for the back. The character who sets Cutter on his tually Santa Claus, but I can dream. It's a entire performance. Driving assertive and quest passes the Wrigley Building against tradition I look forward to every year, es- intersecting guitars and vocals just short the night sky in the first shots and then pecially the audience hisssssssing at Mean of howling (reference Siouxsie and the under the chaser lights of the Chicago The- Old Mr. Potter in \"Wonderful Life.\" Atta boy, Banshees and Sex Pistols) take you to the atre—ALL SEATS $1.00 TIL 12 NOON— Chicago. (Ben Kaye) edge of frenzy with changes of pace but where the movie “Kotch” sets the location 3733 N. Southport, December 12-24 no change-up pitch. Always left wanting work in September 1971. Rushing past more. (Bart Lazar) Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO branded storefronts, the man skips to Lake BEST CHICAGO FILM Negativescanner.bandcamp.com Street and up the stairs to the El to a safe PROFFERING A SWIFT payphone to call Cutter. Cutter’s with a FUCK-YOU TO TRUMP BEST PLACE TO woman. As he ends the call, a woman WATCH A LEGENDARY brings him a cocktail. “Problem?” “Maybe.” “Rendezvous in Chicago” CHICAGO BLUES She asks something about his reaction. “It’s MUSICIAN FOR FREE how I do business.” “Why don't you bring your business over here?” Two white men Local filmmaker Michael Smith’s modest- bust in; the one with the Gabe Kaplan mus- ly scaled, modest-length third feature de- Lagunitas Taproom tache is incensed. “Husband?” Cutter dead- buted at Siskel earlier this year, and ends pans. Shenanigans! Also: The Drake neon with a shot, a fragment, really, a few frames Walking into the Lagunitas Taproom on a by night; Marina City casually center-framed so brief it hardly earns status as a shot, that Sunday afternoon, you would not expect seen from a skyscraper window; the domed comprise a fourth episode in a Rohmer- to hear one of the world’s greatest blues pool at 400 East Wacker hosting a swimsuit style roundelay of romantic foolishness: musicians. Yet, there’s living legend Jimmy photoshoot, where the view from its balco- after brief credits, we glimpse the bland, Johnson, who has seen it all in his ninety- ny provides an almost unobstructed view blunt façade from across the Chicago River one-plus years, who headlines the Chicago of the John Hancock, making 1971 look like of Trump Tower and a hand blots the frame, Blues Festival and could sell out any blues a pretty cow town. A mansion at the north- rigid middle finger effacing its obscenity. club in the world, holding court on the east corner of Erie and Wabash is the site (Ray Pride) small side stage battling the conversation of a wealthy man warbling about “the ideals of beer tourists. Born in Mississippi, he of the free-enterprise system… The point moved to Chicago in 1950 and worked with here is not that one family has amassed BEST CHICAGO-AREA what some might call a fortune… no, the ROCK BAND THAT HAS or learned from everyone from Albert King BEEN AROUND FOR to Buddy Guy, and he’s a link to what made FIFTY-FIVE YEARS 32 point here is all the people of Chicago have Chicago the global capital of the blues— benefitted by Chicago’s vitality.” Two further, and you can see him for free. Just sit close almost vital setpieces: a clandestine meet- to the stage. (Bart Lazar) ing in a dusty industrial area that could be The Ides of March 2607 W. 17th, https://www.lagunitas. straight out of early Antonioni and a rack- com/taproom/chicago, eting lower Wacker Drive between chase “I’m a friendly stranger in the black sedan, 4:20pm most Sundays scenes with two boxy ambulances. “Cutter” won’t you hop inside my car” opens one of tickles, mostly because it doesn’t exist. Or rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest songs—”Vehicle,” by BEST GALLERY ON A didn't, until this purloined, splotchy 16mm Berwyn’s The Ides of March. Fronted by TELEPHONE POLE print was uploaded. (Ray Pride) the sort of horns that made Blood, Sweat youtube.com/watch?v=HxdS0lXdvM8 and Tears famous six years later—a big beat, soulful vocals and a legendary guitar Western Pole BEST HOLIDAY MOVIE solo—the song reached number two in the Artistic trickster Jesse Malmed launched REPERTORY TRADITION Billboard charts on May 23, 1970. Amaz- Western Pole in 2015, a “platformist space,” ingly, the critical four members who formed the band (as the Shon-Dels) in where he invites artists to create an Music Box Christmas Double Feature 1964—Mike Borch, Larry Millas, Bob Ber- 8.5-inch-by-eleven-inch work to display gland and Jim Peterik (who also wrote or on a telephone pole along Western Avenue. Ahh, the Music Box Theatre: the gem of co-wrote “Eye of the Tiger” and other hit Over a hundred artists have contributed, Southport Avenue. The only place where songs over the years)—are still rocking the most riffing off the format: mock (and you can find art-house films, midnight house and festivals with live performances mocking) advertisements, absurdist event screenings of \"The Room,\" classics in and a new album, “Play On.” (Bart Lazar) announcements, political declarations and 70mm, and—a surefire way of bringing hol- theidesofmarch.com bursts of poetry. The current pole is at 2201
South Western. The gallery’s always open which display a surprisingly intact mish- BEST DANCE BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity and it’s worth a walk-by. (Kerry Cardoza) mash of paintings by some of the city's MOVEMENT most notable graffiti artists, including INVENTED 33 BEST NEW QUEER-CENTRIC Blake Jones, Matthew Hoffman of You Are IN CHICAGO VARIETY SHOW Beautiful, Shawn Smith of Shawnimals and Keith Smith (aka Afrokilla). There's a large Steppin’ Enigma mural by Tara McPherson, a painter from New York. One has to wonder what hap- Rule No. 1: Know that steppin’ At a corner bar in Andersonville every other pens behind those walls, since the only vis- is not a dance, it’s a culture. Rule Sunday, the best new variety show in the ible sign displays random phrases, updat- No. 2: The tango, foxtrot and all city kicks up its heels. Enigma, a celebration ed every Monday. Recently, it was \"Got my other international bullshit they of performance art and creativity in all forms, 23 and Me test results. Turns out... I'm a do on “Dancing With the Stars,” is the brainchild of Javi Aya, Tinson Nhon hundred percent a sign.\" To make matters is just that, bullshit, when measured and Hedilio Martinez. They have cultivated worse, no one answers the intercom. Wel- against the greatest couple an inclusive space that uplifts Chicago’s come to the Cards Against Humanity The- dancing ever created. Rule creatives without competition. They under- ater. Created by a bunch of high school No. 3: Steppin’ was born, raised, stand that to be a safe space should offer friends from Highland Park via Kickstarter, groomed, perfected and gonna support, and a loving environment that fos- Cards Against Humanity became the maybe die somewhere on Halsted ters expression and honesty. “Competitions best-selling game on Amazon only a in Chicago. Rule No. 4: It’s what absolutely have their place, but we wanted month after its May 2011 release. Max Tem- James Brown invented his music for. our show to focus on community-building, kin—one of the original says that his team (Scoop Jackson) being a safe space for newer artists, and wanted to provide a free space for come- allowing more seasoned performers to do dians and artists to perform. \"We've host- BEST BAR performances they normally can’t do at ed public forums, an aldermanic debate MOVEMENT other events and venues,” says Aya. “We all and an attorney general debate, fundrais- INVENTED laugh, cry, and scream together at every ers for various groups and elected officials, IN CHICAGO show, so come spiral with us and celebrate comedy shows, lectures, classes and your inner Enigma!” (Kaycie Surrell) more,\" he says. As for the murals, they are Venture into an authentic— protected by law. After having a mural by not fake or boujee—lounge or Meeting House Tavern, 5025 N. Clark, French street artist Blek le Rat, aka \"the tavern on the West or South Sides, facebook.com/enigmasundays father of stencil graffiti,” erased from their where all of the liquor is above the building by the city of Chicago, Temkin and bar and at the same time sold in BEST \"FEEL GOOD\" his colleagues worked with alderman Brian brown paper bags, order a “mixed” BANGERS TO GET Hopkins to pass an ordinance protecting drink, notice the ratio of alcohol- YOU THROUGH THE street art. Murals can now be registered to-chaser is 80/20. That is because IMPENDING WINTER with DCASE and identified by a special “real” Chi imbibe establishments number and a QR code. So if that intercom (aka: neighborhood) don’t “I Only Leave My House isn’t answered, visitors are at least guar- employ people to tend bar, they to Dance With You” anteed to enjoy the art. (Isa Giallorenzo) employ “whiskey pourers.” In this new-aged -ism of alcohol, the It’s a safe bet we’ll all rely on Lizzo’s “Truth 1917 N. Elston, 773.252.3244, whiskey pourer is attempting Hurts” and its exuberant positivity to get public events listed at to make a comeback in cool, us through Chicago’s sweaty, crowded, ultra-hip establishments across miserable winter public transit commutes. Chicago.CardsAgainstHumanity.com the country. Just know, they But for a Lizzo break and to get the blood started in—and never left— pumping in your frosty heart, try “Holy Roll- BEST NEW MUSIC FESTIVAL Chicago. (Scoop Jackson) er” by CYN. Looking for a song by some- one who just gets it? “I Only Leave My Midwinter House to Dance With You” by Chica- go-based artist Sports Boyfriend: it’s right Our city is a prime destination for summer there in the name. (Kaycie Surrell) music festivals, but it took Pitchfork and the Art Institute to amplify Chicago out of BEST GRAFFITI its February doldrums by creating Midwin- ON A PLACE YOU HAVE ter in 2019. The Modern Wing’s Griffin NO IDEA WHAT IT IS Court revealed itself to be a bright, airy, multidimensional sounding hall suited for Cards Against Humanity Theater Deerhunter’s shimmering indie-pop, while Chicagoan Haley Fohr of Circuit des Yeux On the corner of Elston and Homer in turned a landing over the main staircase Bucktown stands a building the walls of into a dramatic forum for a sacred so- lo-chanting processional. The main audi- torium worked, of all things, as an audito- rium. Best of all, the AIC kept the galleries
BEST PLACE TO TAKE open, so you could catch the greatest hits lust—universes imagined and lost on a bar- AN OUT-OF-TOWN of art, too. (Bart Lazar) stool. Tom and Ronnie’s semi-monthly cab- GUEST aret-inspired performance is a Chicago midwinter.pitchfork.com/experience Thorne Miniature Rooms BEST MOST-UBIQUITOUS gem; Tom’s lyrics have the wit—we do not CHICAGO MUSICIANS exaggerate—of Cole Porter, his delivery the The out-of-towner to-do list can get rasp of Tom Waits and the exquisite pain so overdetermined (thanks a bunch, of Billie Holiday. All for the pass of a well- Ferris Bueller). Sure, you could take worn hat. (Sharon Hoyer) your guests on an architecture boat Ken Vandermark and Jon Langford 3659 W. Armitage, tour, or up to the observation deck of “Ubiquitous” is not a slight, but an honor to 773.384.0707 Willis Tower. Or, you could take them bestow upon avant-jazz reedist Ken Van- to the Thorne Miniature Rooms. dermark, and cowpunk guitarist and vocal- BEST ORGANIZATION Tucked in the basement of the Art ist Jon Langford. These musician-compos- FOSTERING THE NEXT Institute, the collection of tiny models ers are at the top of their multiple musical GENERATION OF ARTISTS of period rooms is a unique, wholly genres, and experiment widely with other unexpected find. Who could guess bands and combinations of their artistic Chicago Artists Coalition that waiting downstairs is a miniature prism. Vandermark plays improvisations world of built-to-scale furniture where and compositions ranging from hard bop CAC works tirelessly to assist local artists Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO no detail is overlooked? You and your to the edge of atonal, on his own, with DKV with professional development, from artist guests are bound to find yourself Trio, Marker, Cinghiale, and visiting jazz and curator residency programs to grants arguing over wall treatments and royalty from elsewhere. Langford, who es- and practical, real-world advice work- whether you would rather have lived caped from Wales for Chicago, convenes shops. The inclusion each year of multiple in sixteenth-century France or the Mekons from around the world every CAC alums in Newcity’s Breakout Artists England. Even if interior design isn’t other year or so for the punky-America side, issue is proof positive that the organiza- your thing, there’s something about the Waco Brothers for hard country, as well tion’s work pays off. (Kerry Cardoza) the minute details (keep an eye out as Four Lost Souls, Skull Orchard and many more iterations. Don’t go through 2130 W. Fulton, chicagoartistscoalition.org for extra-tiny models of children’s next year without watching them perform playthings) that you can’t help but more than once, or perhaps you will per- BEST WEEKLY be amazed by. (Jenny Dally) form with them? (Bart Lazar) FREE SHOW FOR ALMOST TWO DECADES 111 S. Michigan, artic.edu/ BEST SEMI-MONTHLY, departments/PC-15/ U N D E R-T H E- R A DA R , The Hoyle Brothers and the Honky CABARET-ESQUE Tonk Happy Hour at the Empty Bottle thorne-miniature-rooms PERFORMANCE YOU STUMBLED INTO The iconic dive earns its slogan with this BEST MADE-IN-CHICAGO PARTY EXPERIENCE Cold Chillen Mr. Tom Musick at Weegee’s Lounge longstanding, under-the-radar tradition. 34 The Hoyles have cranked out the tightest two sets of classic country swing on the A few years ago, Eric Lopez got tired of the usual parties. Yearning You thought you were just starting the third coast every Friday at 5:30pm since for something that represented the weekend early with a strong drink at the the turn of this century. Think Bob Wills, Chicago he grew up knowing, he off-the-path corner bar in greater Logan Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, sung by created the Cold Chillen brand. Square. Little did you know this was just golden-throated Irish frontman Myles Alongside longtime friends from the right Thursday—a first or third—to McVeigh. The crowd: regulars who have local neighborhoods, the imprint is stumble into the Church of Downward attended for anywhere from six months to based around a collective concept Transcendence. Leave it to the bar that has sixteen years, tradesmen throwing one been making classic cocktails for years be- back at the end of the week, multigenera- of authentic events. The collective, fore the trend to perfect the recipe for the tional two-step and swingers who crowd which includes writers, photographers sacrament: one part virtuosic arranging the dance floor by the second set, fans and and designers, has built a following and piano accompaniment by Mucca members of the prime-time band taking in with RSVP lists that fill within hours Pazza alum Ronnie Culler; one part Tom the early scene, pedal steel guitar devotees of announcement and collaborations Musick at the end of the bar, in black suit who hang downstage right, studying the with the likes of Chicago White Sox and white shirt, pouring his soul into a mi- wizardry of Brian Wilkie. The unpretentious and Hennessey. (Jake Krzecwoski) crophone and a mystery potion in his setting, the relaxed crowd, the stellar band, stemmed glass; add a dash of foot-ped- the tried-and-true tunes, that golden hour coldchillen.com al-controlled spotlight and you have the between the work week and overindul- most intoxicating brew that will, over the gence: Honky Tonk Happy Hour is Music lilt of a waltz or raised eyebrow of a tango, Friendly Dancing. (Sharon Hoyer) flash before your eyes every heartbreak, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, every lost dream, every unconsummated 773.276.3600, emptybottle.com
Southern Exposure COOKING CLASSES PRIVATE EVENTS The Overlooked Architecture of GOURMET RETAIL & WINE Chicago’s South Side Lee Bey thechoppingblock.com foreword by Amanda Williams “Through these truly awe- some images, we are inspired to stop, behold, and not take these treasures for granted.” —Mary Pattillo, author of Black on the Block BINGA The Rise and Fall of Chicago’s First Black Banker Don Hayner “There is arguably no better icon of Chicago history that deserves such a dramatic and gripping treatment than Jesse Binga.” —Davarian L. Baldwin, author of Chicago’s New Negroes www.nupress.northwestern.edu Arts + spirit in the magnificent setting of Rockefeller Chapel’s resonant space CHICAGO PRESENTS: Sim Canetty-Clarke Eden Sabala Duruflé Tenebrae Handel’s Requiem Messiah WITH THE HYDE PARK THURSDAY NOVEMBER 7 | 7:30 PM CHICAGO CHILDREN’S CHOIR SUNDAY DECEMBER 8 | 3 PM Rockefeller Chapel Choir, orchestra, and soloists FRIDAY NOVEMBER 15 | 7:30 PM Celebrate the beloved tradition of Handel’s present Maurice Duruflé’s Requiem, in the version Messiah to usher in the Christmas season. This for string orchestra, trumpets, timpani, and organ. Tenebrae, the award-winning a cappella choir concert features soloists Kaitlin Foley, Misty Leah Conducted by James Kallembach. Tickets $20 / from Britain, performing only by candlelight, Bermudez, Adrian Dunn, Charles Wesley Evans, $5 for students. brings moments of “intense serenity and with members of the Haymarket Orchestra, and celebratory robustness” (The New York Times) along with the Rockefeller Chapel Choir and to Joby Talbot’s arresting work, Path of Miracles Motet Choir. Conducted by James Kallembach. alongside Owain Park’s Footsteps. Tickets $1–39. Tickets $25–55 / $5 students. Presented by Chicago Presents in partnership with Rockefeller Memorial Chapel Full details at rockefeller.uchicago.edu | Rockefeller Memorial Chapel | 5850 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago IL 60637 | 773.702.2667 All events held at Rockefeller Chapel and tickets can be found online at tickets.uchicago.edu or at the door day of
BEST CHICAGO-BORN BEST MELDING BEST NATIONAL NINETIES STREET OF OLDER JAZZ AND TRIBUTE TO MILOS DANCE TO MAKE YOUNGER LOCAL TALENT STEHLIK SO FAR AN INTERNATIONAL COMEBACK Jazz Record Art Collective The Telluride Film Festival The Jazz Record Art Collective is a ten-dol- Milos Stehlik Scholar Award Footworking The recent mainstream visibility lar, cash-only time machine, transporting Facets Multimedia’s co-founder Milos Ste- of this West and South Side-born jazz fans to the moment of creation of clas- hlik will be remembered by many initiatives street dance is linked closely to sic music of the century past. Chris Ander- in Chicago, but the Telluride Film Festival, The Era crew, which has taken the son has curated this ongoing sonic muse- of which he was a former board president, high-tempo, foot-flying form from um since 2013 in a cavernous loft on the will be honored by TFF with a scholarship Near West Side, arranging performances, for one student “who embodies Milos’ pas- alleyways to a broad range of venues largely with local talent, of vintage jazz re- sion and humanist heart” to attend the in- and audiences: Pitchfork, Links Hall, cords famous and less so, ranging from fluential, high-end and highly exclusive the Museum of Contemporary Art Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley to event. (Ray Pride) Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO and international workshops— Dinah Washington and Sarah Vaughan. BEST NEW particularly in Japan, where “Our goal is to provide a platform to breathe LITERARY SALON Chicago Footwork has a devoted life back to albums that may have been following. But the heart of the forgotten,” says Anderson, who formerly Outlines at the Hoxton Chicago dance is in the neighborhoods, managed The Green Mill. There are shows Launched in September, this series brings derived from Juke and shaped by Wednesday nights two or four times a youth over decades. In keeping month in the gallery of the Fulton Street Collective, an arts incubator space with tradition alive, The Era teaches twenty artist studios. One of the artists is together thinkers from diverse fields to iter- with Open the Circle, a nonprofit on hand during performances, sketching ate on a specific theme. Organized by writ- that provides a safe place for kids musicians and creating souvenirs for sale. er Britt Julious, known for her keen taste to delve into entrepreneurship The record re-enactments —which feature and expansive cultural knowledge, the se- and social justice through the both the original music and background ries is sure to be a hit. (Kerry Cardoza) framework of Footwork culture: information on the musicians—are more dance performance, DJing and than just another jazz event: They’re an in- thehoxton.com/ filmmaking. More than twenty timate, multisensory educational experi- hoxtown/events/ years old, Chicago Footwork ence. (Hugh Iglarsh) outlines-a-literary-salon- saving lives and nurturing a with-britt-julious new generation of artists. 1821 West Hubbard, (Sharon Hoyer) 773.852.2481, BEST PLACE TO BE DURING THE BEST FIRST FOR FILM jazzrecordartcollective.com AIR AND WATER SHOW 36 CRITICISM OTHER BEST NEW Anywhere Else THAN ROGER EBERT CLOTHING LABEL You could head west toward California. Vihanga Jack Lawson (As in the state.) Or North and apply for Chicago is a legendary city for Started by SAIC alums Miles Jackson and Canadian citizenship. You may have to cinephiles, one notable achievement Vihanga Sontam in 2018, Vihanga expert- head pretty far south to escape the jingo- being the first Pulitzer Prize ly handcrafts each garment in their line. istic patriotism that spurs Chicago’s an- Think loose-fitting, agender separates, nual auditory assault known as the Air awarded to a film critic, to the mostly in earth tones, and on gorgeous and Water Show. A display seemingly de- Chicago Sun-Times’ Roger Ebert cotton sourced from India. It’s new age signed to induce PTSD in veterans, howl- in 1975. But our bragging rights meets art school athleisure. “Their design ing fantods in dogs and “Am I having a go back beyond that; in 1914, the decisions are content-driven, made up of panic attack? I think I’m having a panic Chicago Tribune hired the nation’s anecdotes, childhood memories, and rad- attack!” moments in people who’ve never first full-time staff film critic on ical understandings,” they write on their had a panic attack before, all during what a major newspaper. Jack Lawson’s site. “Every detail is an extension of per- is normally one of the finest weekends of reviews have never been collected sonal study. Every collection, installation, weather in our all too brief summer sea- and aren’t accessible online, yet the dance project, and party builds their com- son. Certain single-occupancy bathrooms conversation he started is still going munity from the inside out.” Their fall-win- in Merchandise Mart may also suffice if ter collection was released in September— you don’t have an underground shelter at strong. (Robert Rodi) but don’t sleep, if their first drop was any your disposal. And on the chance you’re indication, these items are likely to sell out. into these kind of nationalistic military (Kerry Cardoza) spectacles: I hear Aleppo is nice this time vihanga.co of year. (Kevin Greene)
food & Drink
THE BEAUTY AND MYSTERY OF MILD SAUCE by SCOOP JACKSON Usually held hostage in yellow squeeze bot- grew up on it, can’t stop eating it, swear by tles, mild sauce for at least four (maybe, five) it, know where to find it and ain’t died from generations has found its way onto our eating it (yet!), that’s all we’ve ever needed Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO W hat you wan’ on it, baby?” chicken, rib tips, pizza, fries, onion rings, to know. So when writers from Chicago mag- That was always the final pizza puffs, waffles (only when they’re azine call it “bright orange sauce” and use question asked after you paired with chicken) and grease-soaked the term “orange” (like it’s the color of Don- placed your order. Leon’s. white bread at many Michelin-missed five- ald Trump or something) to describe the star ‘hood food emporiums and trucks that sauce that was on his chicken and fingers, serve one-course meals fit for families. Part when Thrillist sends its “food guy” to inter- hot, part chili, part ketchup, part Sriracha view the sauce’s experts and appear on the On the 9. 79th Street. When they only with maybe a hint of bbq sauce and aged Mild Sauce podcast, you know a cultural in- served ribs and links. The golden era. vinegar, “mild” has carved out a space in vasion is upon us. And this time they want When the lady behind the glass would the hearts, minds, souls and stomachs of our sauce—not our music, minds, women, black Chicagoans to the degree that we style, filmmaking or basketball talents. fix her teeth with her tongue, waiting claim it being a part of “black Chicago” on for your two-to-five-word answer: “hot the same level we claim the Obamas, Oprah, But like Frankie Beverly and Maze, skins sauce” or “salt and pepper” or “extra bbq Jordan, Farrakhan, Harold (both Washing- (pork rinds), peppermint sticks in pickles, ton and Pierce), Frankie Knuckles, Ye and socks and slides, weaves and fake eyelash- sauce” or “nothin’ ma’am” or… “mild Father Pfleger. es, mild sauce remains ‘hood. Chi or die. Un- sauce.” And it was those two words If you ask, as some have recently, the owner affected by outside interest and curiosity, when they left your mouth that sepa- of Uncle Remus (West Side in Austin) will tell unfazed by newfound fame invading its rated you from anyone else anywhere you that they were the ones who invented 773/708 space. It’s what dips from Mavis Staples and Chaka Khan’s voices. At sixty 38 in the world because those were the the original mild sauce. Could be truth. What years old, it knows both what and who it is; two words that you could only say in the original receipt is/was remains unknown. knows exactly what it represents. As Dave Always been that way. Unsuddenly, with this Infante of Thrillist learned, “To some Chica- Chi and “ma’am”—that lady behind that new influx of foodies and the non-urban in- goans mild sauce is more than a food—it’s non-assault-weapon-protective bullet- terest in urban cuisine came a geographical a worldview.” Chikanda. Because with mild proof plexiglass—would know WTF and racial colonizing interest in mild sauce. sauce it’s not the invention or ingredients, you were talking about. Not just for the taste, but for its life. It’s like it’s the importance. Nothing else. Larry Leg- the “greatest condiment ever” recently found end, respected and designated mild sauce its way into the intersection of Chicago, black god, began his mild sauce dependence film folk and the things white folk don’t know. short, “Intervention,” stating every detail White people from outside the South and that needs to be known about the addictive West Sides who’d “only heard about but accessory that baptizes—not lathers, never experienced” mild sauce crossed the drenches over covers—your 1/2 Dark: “Har- South and West segregation lines and want- old's Chicken is the birthplace of mild CBHEISCTAOGFO ed in. Like it was a secret that was kept from sauce.” Debatable. “8 out of 10 people use them. Which by American standards is mild sauce.” Biblical. un-American. Leave knowing this: Mild sauce is indige- Here’s facts: No one who has made Remus— nous to black Chicago like privilege is to or Harold’s Fried Chicken, where mild sauce white American males. What it is, what’s in may not have originated but was perfected— it, who started it? Muthafucka, we ain’t tel- their second home, literally, figuratively and lin’! Just lick you fingers and keep it moving. actually gives a shit where mild sauce origi- Cross you arms across your chest. Mild nated, who originated it or what’s in it. We Sauce forever.
Made in BEST PLACE TO BRING which make you consider how much is a Chicago YOUR OUT-OF-TOWN reasonable amount to spend on all these RELATIVES WHO confections. Everything about the Ander- JUST WANT TO EAT sonville bakery and cafe is modern, but DEEP DISH PIZZA woven through with unmistakable Scan- BEST RIFF ON Giordano’s dinavian roots. If you’ve ever MEDITERRANEAN fantasized about running off to CUISINE OTHER THAN Take them to Giordano’s. Any Denmark or Sweden, Lost Lar- CHICAGO-STYLE PIZZA Giordano’s. Their pizza is the son just might tide you over for a moment. (Jenny Dally) Flaming Saganaki most palatable to people who 5318 N. Clark, Yeah, the Italians invented pizza; but haven’t eaten deep dish before 773.944.0587, lostlarson.com or are a fan of a particular flavor. thanks to the name, everyone knows Giordano’s crust is the most but- BEST “SECRET” who’s responsible for the beloved tery, their cheese the most HOME FOOD POP-UP plate-load of excess known as stringy in a good way and their Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO Chicago-style pizza. Similarly, while sauce is just sweet enough to Matt's Veal Parm the Greeks gave the world fried cheese suit most palates. But don't for- (usually haloumi), it took a get to warn your out-of-towners Matt’s Veal Parm is one of our Chicagoan—Chris Liakouras of The that the deep dish pizzas take a foodie city’s best secret foods, Parthenon restaurant in Greektown— while in the oven. It's not Domi- or as secret as you can be with to add a dash of brandy and a whoosh no's. (Amanda Finn) a website and social media of theatricality, with a spurt of flame channels. The hyped veal pops and a cry of “Opa!” More than BEST PLACE TO BRING up at his Wicker “Parm” apartment on oc- half-a-century later, Chicago’s role in YOUR IN-TOWN FRIENDS casional Saturdays. Sign up, buzz your way unleashing this flambéed favorite WHO WANT ANYTHING in and walk three flights to enter a friendly remains largely unknown, because no BUT DEEP DISH PIZZA community oozing and smelling of veal- one thought to dub it Chicago-style and-eggplant sandwich love. Place your saganaki. (Robert Rodi) Dog Haus Biergarten order, grab a beer (donations accepted or BYO), sit on the couch, look at his records, BEST CONTRIBUTION TO Vegan and vegetarian options? Check. De- books and Knicks memorabilia before THE BARBECUE ARTS cent happy hour specials? Check. Fun at- Matt’s neighbors dig into simply and per- mosphere with room for groups? Check. fectly prepared fried cutlet sandwiches— The Weber Kettle Over-the-top specialties worth many re- with cheese, sauce, extra sauce if you turn trips? Triple check. Dog Haus Biergar- please—exhale and smile. (Bart Lazar) It may be a legacy of our days as “Hog ten in Lincoln Park brings Chicago-style Mattsvealparm.com Butcher for the World,” but Chicago- hot dogs to a new level. Not only do they 40 style barbecue lives even after the have tasty meat substitutes, but they use BEST ARTISAN-INSPIRED Chicago stockyards are long gone— sweet King’s Hawaiian rolls for their dogs DONUT SPOT squaring right up against other BBQ and hamburgers. I didn’t know my hot dogs were missing the savory delicious- capitals like Memphis and Kansas City. ness of King’s Hawaiian all these years. Hot Smack Dab But Chicago gave the grilling arts dogs will never be the same, especially if something those cities never did: the you try the Cowboy. (Amanda Finn) They’re vegan. They’re homemade. They’re iconic twenty-two-inch Weber kettle, 2464 N. Lincoln, 773.935.3647, never the same. Donuts at Smack Dab in invented in 1952 by George Stephen Sr. lincolnpark.doghaus.com Rogers Park are not only as savory as they and still the industry leader. (Robert are sweet, but they’re also harbingers of Rodi) BEST CONTEMPORARY good fortune throughout the year. Did you TAKE ON THE know that SmackDab donates proceeds SWEDISH BAKERY to charitable organizations? They recently donated five percent of weekend sales of vegan and vegetarian options to protecting Lost Larson the Amazon. Even not-so-daring eaters enjoy Smack Dab donuts. While two of the Everything at Lost Larson looks exactly three flavors rotate daily, “cinny shug” (cin- right: cool and refined, but you want to sit namon sugar) is always there if you aren’t and stay a while. The shop has the kind of feeling the fruity concoctions of the day. decorum that will keep you from—under- Personal favorite? Coldbrew or chocolate standably—wanting to press your face donut. (Amanda Finn) against the glass display case and feast on 6730 N. Clark, 872.241.9111, pastries, cookies, cakes and bread, all of smackdabchicago.com
BEST NEW RESTAURANT neglected organ can be. Soft and that’s ideal for a first date or a BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity THAT WAS A POP-UP tender, his chicken gizzards are weekend morning study ses- full of flavor and if you’ve never sion. (Jenny Dally) 41 Superkhana had this prehistoric offal, a platter of gizzards at Virtue is the best 2806 W. Augusta, As Bombay Breakdown, chefs Yoshi Yama- possible place to start enjoying 773.384.2547, ccferns.com da and Zeeshan Shah spent years prepar- them. Maybe next you’ll try pan- ing “Indian-ish food that’s not typical in In- creas and thymus. (David Ham- BEST PASTICCERIA dian restaurants across the US… or in India” mond) FOR PASTA MADE at atypical times, places and events. Crazy UNDER THE DIREC- hybrid stuff, like psychedelic grilled cheese 1462 E. 53rd, 773.947.8831, TION OF AN ITALIAN and Saag paneer Naan with Wisconsin beer virtuerestaurant.com PASTAMATRIX curds. Thanks to the collaborative and sup- portive contingent of the Chicago food BEST PLACE FOR Tortello community, Jason Hammel of Lula came BRAINS AND A into the picture. It took more than a year, but NICE CHIANTI When Dario Monni and his wife now and Pao, like their spicy chicken con- Jill Gray opened up Tortello’s in coction—we have Superkhana Internation- Café Marie-Jeanne Wicker Park this year, they al—a friendly, fun, no-BS exploration of wanted to be all about pasta. street food in a nonexistent country. Bring At Café Marie-Jeanne, caviar toast is as at Dario, a native of Sardinia, knew there was a group to try it all. (Bart Lazar) home on the menu as foie gras is on your only one way to teach his staff to make breakfast sandwich. Odes could be written pasta like his grandmother did; he brought 3059 W. Diversey, about the tomato jam slathered onto their in a Puglian woman—Lilla Simone—to superkhanachicago.com burgers, and butter is key: drenching bis- spend time with his staff. Was Signora Sim- cuits, smeared on radishes, you name it. The one a good teacher? Si, certo! In the win- BEST PLACE TO dow of his shop, throughout the day, AVOID CUBS FANS food is unfussy, which is not al- Dario’s crew hand-make pasta in all IN WRIGLEYVILLE ways the way to describe a place shapes and sizes, drawing crowds which, where you can order calves brains attracted by the unbelievable dexterity of Osmium Coffee Bar a la carte. The most welcoming el- the pasta makers, sit down at the no-res- ement of the Humboldt Park staple ervation restaurant to enjoy some of the If you need to escape the Cubs is how recognizably Chicago it is: best pasta in the city. (David Hammond) fans on the Red Line, the Cubs the molded ceilings and simple 1746 W. Division, tortellopasta.com fans in Wrigleyville, the Cubs fans wooden furnishings make for an who forgot that baseball season ended, or ideal cozy retreat come winter, and just avoid sports in general, hide out at Os- the flower-lined patio is perfect for cool sum- BEST FALAFEL IN A mium Coffee Bar. Osmium’s baked goods mer nights. Truly delicious food and an un- JEWELRY STORE and kickass Dark Matter Coffee will keep pretentious setting—the perfect recipe for you content through the sports seasons a neighborhood spot that is bound to make Oasis Cafe in Wabash Jewelers Mall and beyond. The atmosphere is chill, the you a regular. (Jenny Dally) staff is happy to give a recommendation Tucked inside Wabash Jewelers Mall past for beverages and you’re unlikely to en- 1001 N. Humboldt, the diamond earrings, gold watches and counter aggressive sports people. Or the cafe-marie-jeanne.com engagement rings, Oasis Cafe will materi- aggressive phone-talking business folks at alize. With a long line for a simple menu, Starbucks. Not every season is a good sea- this Mediterranean spot moves quicker son to be a Cubs fan, but every season is BEST PLACE TO DRINK than it looks, delivering consistently deli- a good season for Osmium. (Amanda Finn) COFFEE LIKE A TRAVEL cious falafel, hummus and shawarma. AGENT FROM THE SIXTIES (Tanner Woodford) 1117 W. Belmont, 773.360.7553 C.C. Ferns Wabash Jewelers Mall, BEST GIZZARDS YOU’VE 21 N. Wabash, 312. 443.9534 EVER EATEN C. C. Ferns is small with a low ceiling and low lights—and good luck finding a seat BEST GROSS-OUT Virtue Restaurant & Bar come the mid-morning rush. But none of ORIGINAL CHICAGO TREAT these things can be counted against the You’ve probably never eaten gizzards, the Humboldt Park coffee shop. Just a few Peppermint Stick in a Pickle muscled cluster in the gut of dinosaurs and steps from the intersection of California their descendants that grinds food before and Augusta, a pleasantly mint-green en- There are few limits to the gastronomical digestion. Gizzards in the wrong hands are tryway gives way to an interior paneled in experimentation of Chicago’s young. The rubbery and not tasty at all. At Virtue, a rel- dark wood and decked out with a hodge- Peppermint Stick in a Pickle, popular on atively new entrant to Hyde Park dining, podge of mid-century furniture and vin- the South and West Sides, is a prime ex- Chef Erick Williams shows us how good this tage travel posters. Come for the coffee ample of street innovation with materials and stay for the atmosphere—Don Draper meets Midwest travel agency in a space
BEST FOOD STAND TO purchased at a gas station. Start with one Tusk at Dusk (basil and lime), On the Beach GET THREE SIGNATURE of those pickles that come in its own plas- (lime, grapefruit, and jalapeño), Sentimen- CHICAGO FOODS tic bag, bite off the tip and slam in a pep- tal Lady (orange, rose and phosphate), and Jim’s Original permint stick as far as it will go. Then you the Flipside (blackberry, ginger and lime) The hot dog is a signature Chicago eat it. There are Youtube video instructions, at three or four dollars a pop, these sodas if any are needed and musician Vernon are the perfect complement to their deli- food, and you can get that at Jim’s Garrett wrote a song about it called, cious sandwiches and sides. Same Day Original, but you can also get two wouldn’t you know, “Dill Pickle and a Pep- Cafe is BYOB, so the sodas can also be other Chicago original foods: the permint Stick.” (David Hammond) added to the alcoholic beverage of your Maxwell Street Polish and the Pork choice. (Isa Giallorenzo) Chop Sandwich. The Maxwell Street BEST PLACE TO SNEAK Polish originated at Jim’s when it was IN A QUICK HOT DOG 2651 N. Kedzie, 773.342.7040, located at the Maxwell Street Market, AFTER WORK samedaycafe.com starting in the 1930s, and it’s a hefty garlicky sausage, set in a bun, loaded Art's Drive In BEST INDUCEMENT TO VISIT with griddled onions, mustard and ALL THE RESTAURANTS YOU EVER MEANT TO optional sport peppers. The Pork Chop If you like your hot dog on a poppy-seed Sandwich is a whole bone-in chop, bun with yellow mustard, chopped white “Lost Restaurants of Chicago” Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO with the same toppings as the Polish, onions, bright green sweet pickle relish, a Greg Borzo’s “Lost Restaurants of Chicago” to be eaten by gripping the bone dill pickle spear, tomato wedges, pickled is a compendium of regret-inducing obit- through the bun and gingerly eating sport peppers and a dash of celery salt— uaries. So many wonderful restaurants— around it to avoid potential dental then this is the place. With over forty years Schaller’s Original Pump, Won Kow—that damage. (David Hammond) in business, Art's Drive In serves breakfast, are no more, though they live on in the gus- deli and specialty sandwiches and dinner 1250 S. Union, jimsoriginal.com plates all day. (Tanner Woodford) tatorial reveries of Chicagoans. If you never BEST CHICAGO-BORN 1333 W. North, 773.489.0099, indulged at these lost places, you never CONDIMENT FOR artsdrivein.com will. But the pages of Borzo’s book, stuffed PERKING UP A BORING with photos of these now-shuttered SANDWICH BEST RESTAURANT FOR restaurants, will, if nothing else, encourage ZERO-PROOF COCKTAILS you to go to those places still on Chicago streets that you always meant to visit but Giardiniera still haven’t. If you don’t go soon, you may Giardiniera is an all-purpose Roka Akor never have a chance. (David Hammond) Italian-American condiment, made of peppers, celery and other vegetables, During a brief period of sober curiosity, I sam- like Italian sottaceti, but with olive oil pled the non-alcoholic offerings at Chicago instead of vinegar. You get a good dose bars and restaurants. The lamest of the lot BEST PLACE TO ENJOY A would serve a virgin mojito or a low-effort MOTHER-IN-LAW 42 of giardiniera if you order your Italian excuse that involved removing alcohol from Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots beef hot, and Chicagoans put this spicy the recipe, a move that had the unintended condiment on everything, including consequence of making me miss alcohol When the great Anthony Bourdain visited pizza, eggs, turkey sandwiches, you even more. The best zero-proof cocktails Chicago’s Fat Johnnie’s Famous Red Hots know, everything. Caputo’s Market & were constructed of interesting ingredients on “No Reservations,” he pronounced the Deli (2400 N. Harlem) in Elmwood and designed to stand on their own as de- Mother-in-Law “wrong in so many ways,” Park has an excellent selection, but at licious beverages. We were most surprised starting with its name. This dish, suppos- by the thoughtful no-alc offerings at Roka edly so-called because it, too, may give you some smaller Italian grocery stores Akor, which have the heft of their alco- heartburn, is a Chicago corn roll tamale in like Serrelli’s Food Market, 6454 W. hol-bearing brethren and satisfied—al- a hot dog bun, dressed with chili, tomato North, you can pick up house brands, most—as much. (David Hammond) slices and pickle. And mustard, if you want which reveal new ways to prepare this 456 N. Clark, 312.477.7652, to go nuts. (David Hammond) classic. (David Hammond) rokaakor.com 7242 S. Western, 773.633.8196 BEST REASON TO START BEST RESTAURANT FOR DRINKING SODA AGAIN FINE DINING FOR THE MOST REASONABLE PRICES Homemade sodas by Same Day Cafe Aboyer Homemade sodas are usually too bitter or too sweet. The sodas made at Same Day From a single Winnetka location, Chef Mi- Cafe taste just right. With flavors such as chael Lachowicz runs a fine-dining triple
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BEST CHICAGO-BORN BEST PLACE TO CHOW BEST SPOT FOR PUERTO RICAN DOWN AND LEARN TANGO SMOKED SHRIMP SANDWICH Artango Bar & Steakhouse Calumet Fisheries The Jibarito As a non-native Chicagoan, I had Artango is an Argentinian restaurant in Lin- It takes planning and effort to make it down eaten steak sandwiches and dined on coln Square with a stage and performance to Calumet Fisheries, that little white shack plantains, but when I stepped into a space that accommodates musicians and, with the brick walk-in smokers out back, Cuban restaurant and saw the jibarito on weekends, tango dancers. After you enjoy the place that’s been sitting next to the for the first time, my mind was blown. your dinner, sit back and watch traditional Calumet River since 1948. But if any Such a simple substitution, yet so tango, but also modern interpretations of the restaurant outside the Chicago city limits satisfying. I thought that this was form. It’s fascinating to witness how the deserves a destination drive, this is it. We Cuban genius, but I was told it came dancers at Artango stretch and reimagine adore the smoked salmon, especially the from Costa Rican cuisine. But this the traditional tango in even three-person garlic-pepper variety, and if you’re a fan of treat of thin, char-grilled steak and configurations. There are regularly sched- shrimp, get them smoked at Calumet Fish- garlicky mayo, tomatoes and lettuce uled free tango lessons. (David Hammond) eries. These shrimp actually taste like between crispy planks of smashed and shrimp, rather than that weird taste of fried plantains came to prominence 4767 N. Lincoln, 872.208.7441, poached cellulose common to commodity artangosteakhouse.com shrimp. Calumet Fisheries serves the real Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO in Humboldt Park in 1996, at a Puerto BEST FINE DINING deal; kissed by smoke, they may not only Rican place, Borinquen Restaurant. IN THE SOUTH LOOP be the best in Chicago but the best in the To delicious hometown ingenuity! Midwest, maybe the United States… or, (Lauren Knight) Acadia you know, maybe the known universe. (David Hammond) BEST HOMEGROWN The adage about location being the most 3259 E. 95th, 773.933.9855, AWARDS SHOW important consideration about real estate calumetfisheries.com The Jean Banchet Awards is undeniably true. Acadia is one of Chica- BEST PLACE TO EAT Award shows: You love them or you go’s premier fine dining locations. Ryan PA E L L A McCaskey’s kitchen turns out seasonal, hate them. And award shows can be a New American dishes that outshine the slog, even for the nominees. The Jean best being offered a few miles north—and Black Bull Banchet Awards, Chicago’s homegrown his work has been recognized by Phil Vet- There’s a lot of fine paella in Chicago, and food and restaurant celebration, tel’s four stars, two Michelin stars and a like all enduring dishes, paellas reflect the acknowledges this and takes its own Jean Banchet award. But Acadia is off the preferences of the chefs. At Black Bull, approach. Led in the last few years by main path for those select Chicago diners Chef Marco Campos does his version not Michael Muser of Grace (and soon, Ever) who can afford a tasting menu that brush- with the usual white rice but with squid- es against $200, which is unfair. Please, do fame, their show has become an essential your best to correct this injustice: eat at ink infused bomba rice that is then stud- 44 party for the local industry, full of fun, Acadia. (David Hammond) ded with scallops, calamari and Carabin- inside jokes and playful roasting, but 1639 S. Wabash, 312.360.9500, ero prawns. These large deep-sea prawns never lacking the foundation of respect acadiachicago.com are dark red, impressive looking, robust in that underpins the Chicago restaurant flavor, a spectacular contrast to the black community. (Lauren Knight) BEST VIEW FROM A rice and well worth the four-dollar up- BAR IN CHICAGO charge. (David Hammond) 1721 W. Division, Cindy’s 773.227.8600, blackbullchicago.com threat: George Trois, Silencieux, and Aboy- There are bars with good street views like BEST ITALIAN-POLISH er. All show the hand of a master chef Skylark and bars with good aerial views, FUSION FOOD IN CHICAGO trained in the French tradition, and Aboyer offers the extra benefit of being reasonably such as Signature Lounge on the 95th, but priced. Entrees are in the $20-$30 range, the grandest, best view from any bar in the Maddon’s Post and if you can find a better version of city is from Cindy’s. Cindy’s capacious, Chicken Galantine or Suffolk Lamb, let me vaulted hall with huge windows and a bal- There aren’t many places to taste Italian know. (Hint: you can’t.). Aboyer is a casual, cony overlooking Millennium Park is where and Polish food together on one plate, easygoing and comfortable place to enjoy you want to bring out-of-towners to wow which is surprising, in that Chicago is extraordinarily well-made and high-value them with our city… or just to remind your- home to so many Italians and Poles. Mad- dishes. (David Hammond) self just how beautiful your Chicago can don’s Post, a joint effort from Spiaggia’s 64 Green Bay Road, be. (David Hammond) Tony Mantuano and the Chicago Cubs’ re- Winnetka, 847.441.3100, 12 S. Michigan, 312.792.3502, cently deposed Joe Maddon, fuses those cindysrooftop.com two cultures in dishes like a platter of Ital- georgetroisgroup.com
CDiner-NewCIty-BigHeat-2018-v1.ai 1 3/16/18 1:34 PM ian and Polish sausage as well as kiel- meat free basa and clams. (David Hammond) since ’83 1191 W. Waveland, 773.269.5370, 10-year consecutive winner, Chicago maddonspost.com Reader, Readers’ Poll • veggiediner.com BEST POSSIBLE C PLACE FOR AN M IMPOSSIBLE BURGER Y Café Brauer You don’t have to look too hard to find CM pretty miserable preparations of the Im- MY possible Burger, the vegetable-based, CY meat-like patty on a bun. Maybe chefs CMY are not yet sure how to prepare this rel- K atively low-fat, no-meat burger. At Café Brauer on the Lincoln Park lagoon, they BEST OF CHICAGO — NOVEMBER 2019 Newcity know what they’re doing, serving the Impossible Burger, with the crisp “crust” found on the best smash burgers, and a deep flavor that may convince you to give up beef, enhance your health and save the planet. (David Hammond) 2021 N. Stockton, 312.742.2400 BEST BURGEONING NEIGH- MT hUe ISn tEeUr nMa t i oOn aFl 45 BORHOOD TO HAVE A BEER… OR TWO... OR TEN SSUCRIGEINCCAEL The Chicago Brewing District At the southern edge of West Town, in the storied Kinzie Industrial Corridor manufacturing district, a few minutes walk from the Harlem-Lake Green Line stop, is a shimmering oasis for lovers of Chicago craft beer. This West Side stretch is home to breweries that cover the spectrum of brews, from Goose Is- land and their forerunner Fulton and Wood location to newcomers focusing on classic styles, like the freshly opened Midwest Coast. On Tour, Burnt City, All Rise… all names that perk the ears of Chi- cago beer nerds, all close at hand. So, raise a pint… or more! (Lauren Knight) BEST PLACE TO TASTE 2019 holiday parties THE RAINBOW WHEN booking now! Mention YOU’VE OUTGROWN Newcity to receive 25% off SKITTLES the rental rate. Rainbow Cone Contact us for more info: The signature snack at The Original Rain- [email protected] bow Cone Ice Cream Shop is, appropri- ately, the Rainbow Cone, a thin cake cone 312-642-6502 x 3118 stacked with layers of chocolate, straw- www.imss.org
berry, a vanilla called Palmer House and pis- delicious pork sausage and butt, and then The inspiration is a Brothers Grimm story tachio ice cream, topped with orange sher- get your own butt tenderized by one of the about three siblings who leave home to bet. It’s sloppy as heck to eat—which is why German beer hall’s muscular sausage maid- apprentice for a carpenter, a miller and a you can get a paper shield on the cone to ens. (David Hammond) turner. “The carpenter pays the first broth- protect your mitts from drips—but the fla- 5500 Park Place, Rosemont er with a table that magically sets itself with vors work together deliciously. You can cus- rustic delicacies, which is promptly stolen tomize; for instance, chocolate and orange BEST DRAG SHOWS by a wicked innkeeper,” as TDS’ site regales sherbet is called a “Halloween,” but you can IN OAK PARK the meaty myth. “The miller gives the sec- craft any combination. (David Hammond) ond brother a donkey that shits gold coins 9233 S. Western, 773.238.9833, at the word ‘bricklebrit.’ The innkeeper robs rainbowcone.com Dining With The Divas at Hamburger him too. The third brother receives from the Mary’s Show Lounge turner a magical stick which beats the inn- BEST LARD-FRIED PORK We met the most beautiful woman in the keeper until he returns the table and don- IN CHICAGO world at Oak Park’s Hamburger Mary’s. key.” And somehow from that, propri- etor-sommelier Matt Sussman orchestrated When she whispered her name—Angel La- these unique and slightly sinister delights. Carnitas Uruapan Bare—in her sultry voice, we were smitten. The always-fragrant castle of charcuterie, Angel hosts a show featuring lots of other working with local farmers and whole ani- Does pig meat cooked for hours in its own beauties, in cowgirl and mermaid outfits, mals where possible, winner in September fat sounds too rich? Then think of this clas- right across from St. Edmund Parish. of its sixth consecutive Bib Gourmand from sic Mexican preparation as a pork confit; (David Hammond) the Michelin Guide, devises seasonally driv- Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO it’s essentially pork prepared the same way Fridays and Saturdays, 155 S. Oak en dishes from the European mountain cui- as the classic French duck confit. In Pilsen, Park, Oak Park, 708.445.0272, sines, including France, Italy, Switzerland, there are many carnitas makers, but our oakparkbeer.com/events/event/ Austria, Germany and Slovenia. There are favorite is Carnitas Uruapan. You’ll swoon dining-with-the-divas-2 lots of food establishments in my Twitter over delicate threads of super-rich pork. feed, but any and every dispatch from their Check out the irreverent cartoons on the BEST OLD-TIMEY menu (@Tabledonkeyinn) stands out: pic- walls and signage of cannibal pigs cooking CHICAGO RESTAURANT ture “Dry aged beef, grit croquettes, carrots, other pigs in a pot, as well as machete- THAT ISN’T THE BERGHOFF black truffle”; “beautiful porchetta di testa wielding man hunting down carnitas-to-be. from a heritage American Guinea Hog”; (David Hammond) “House bratwurst, corn spaetzle, petite 1725 W. 18th Miller’s Pub herbs.” Better: taste them. There’s no room to talk up Sussman’s intense and precise BEST DUCK IN CHICAGO The Berghoff still has the magnificent mu- wine selection, but consider the Monday rals, oak paneling and menu harkening night specials that recently included six-dol- back to an earlier Chicago. Miller’s Pub, on lar beef bourguignon burgers. (Ray Pride) Sun Wah BBQ the other hand, doesn’t shoot for grandeur, 2728 W. Armitage, 773.486.8525, even after a million-dollar renovation com- tabledonkeystick.com We first visited Sun Wah at the turn of this pleted in 2018, the first since relocating to 46 century, when it was in a small space on this location in 1989, just a workingman’s BEST PLACE TO FLOAT Argyle around the corner from its current vision of postwar luxe dining. Its original cavernous yet homey digs. Winner of a location around the corner on Adams was YOUR TAMALE BOAT James Beard 2018 American Classic award, a destination haunt of Marilyn Monroe, Sun Wah is where to go for duck done up Frank Sinatra, Harry Caray, Jimmy Duran- Parky’s Hot Dogs right in multiple ways, all delicious and te, the first Mayor Daley and Bill Veeck. Lo- served in an atmosphere of come-as-you- cated under the El tracks, the place still A tamale boat is a Chicago corn roll tamale, are casualness. Duck can be a little stringy has big-shouldered personality and a prepared with either Tom Tom or Supreme and chewy; at Sun Wah, you will never bite brand of gruff class. (David Hammond) Tamales, submerged in a cup of chili. I’ve into anything less than tender perfection. 134 S. Wabash, 312.263.4988, had tamale boats at a few locations, and my (David Hammond) millerspub.com favorite version comes from Parky’s. The 5039 N. Broadway, 773.769.1254 secret is the in-house chili, tasty enough BEST PLACE FOR AN BEST ALPINE INN to balance out a relatively bland tamale, AFTER-DINNER SPANKING IN THE SHADOW OF topped with sport peppers, raw onions and PARSON’S CHICKEN & FISH cheese. Recently, as we were enjoying our tamale boats, a guy stumbled through one of Parky’s glass windows; we helped him Hofbräuhaus Table, Donkey And Stick up from all the broken glass, an ambulance came, and we finished our tamale boats, You’ve heard, perhaps even enjoyed, the Its almost off-puttingly whimsical name appetites unabated. The tamale boat is postprandial stroll—the after-dinner walk— falls in the background after discovering that good. (David Hammond) but how about the post-prandial paddling? Table, Donkey and Stick and its delightful 329 S. Harlem, Forest Park, At Rosemont’s Hofbräuhaus, you can enjoy echo of an Alpine inn just off Logan Square. 708.366.3090
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THIS SOUTH SIDE SOAP BOX IS MAKING CLEANER CLEANING PRODUCTS IN PULLMAN by REBECCA HOLLAND “There’s a huge efficiency in being located meets certain levels of social performance, in the Midwest as far as shipping, and it’s accountability and transparency. also very carbon-efficient,” says Saskia Van Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO M ethod, the company be- Gendt, senior director of Greenskeeping In the aisle of Target or Whole Foods or hind the pear-shaped at Method. wherever you buy your soap, you may have soap bottles and biode- first noticed Method products, thanks to gradable cleaning prod- She says Method was also interested in bright colors and fun packaging. The new water health, something Lake Michigan Method X Minted collection, for example, could offer and a key ingredient in Method features creative labels from independent products, rail access for distribution across artists. All handwash, dish soap and ucts in the aisles of Target and other the United States and Canada, and the spray-cleaner bottles are made from one- stores, makes and packages all its prod- chance to be a part of a community and hundred-percent post-consumer-resin plas- ucts in a factory in Chicago’s Pullman help develop a local culture. tic, which has a seventy-percent lower car- bon footprint than new plastic. Toilet clean- Historic District. “The opportunity to be part of the Pullman ers and laundry detergent come in fifty- George Pullman built the neighbor- community and hire locally and bring jobs percent recycled plastic bottles. You’ve prob- back to this area with a really robust histo- ably also seen the Method refill packages, hood in the 1880s as housing for em- ry, and to be able to contribute back, was which the company estimates offer savings ployees at his railroad car company, really appealing,” Gendt says. of about seventy-eight to eighty-two percent and its central location in the Midwest Method hired William McDonough + Part- in water, plastic and energy expenses versus the cost of buying a new bottle. proved valuable for companies looking ners to design its “South Side Soap Box” on for efficiency in shipping. The Pull- twenty-two acres of a former steel manufac- Method’s motto is “There’s Good Inside,” 48 man community thrived for years as a turing site, and the company partnered with and what you find inside those bottles is the city of Chicago to rehabilitate the soil. biodegradable and safe for humans. “If manufacturing hub, but decline began there’s a chance an ingredient isn’t safe, we the 1950s. The location and history The factory is Platinum LEED Certified, the don’t use it. Period,” reads a statement on were draws for Method when the com- only soap factory in the world to receive the Method’s website. The company uses a pany decided to move to Chicago in highest level of such certification. It also third-party research agency to vet products, holds a Platinum-level TRUE certification is Cradle to Cradle certified (the first clean- April 2015. for zero waste. ing company to reach this certification), has a “dirty ingredient list” of things like phos- At the factory, three thirty-five-by-thirty- phates and bleach that it never uses, and five-foot “solar tracking trees” follow the Method creates only those natural scents sun throughout the day to maximize energy that aren’t harmful to the environment. generation. Together with a 230-foot wind Skeptical shoppers can pull up an ingredi- onsite turbine, the company generates ent list on the Method website that explains CHBEICSTAGOFO about thirty percent of the factory’s energy. what each ingredient does and its environ- The 75,000-square-foot greenhouse on the mental and health impact. roof is home to Gotham Greens, which pro- duces about 500 tons of fresh produce for Method started in California, but when it restaurants and grocery stores in the Chi- moved manufacturing and distribution to cago area. A separate rooftop canopy min- Chicago the founders wanted to root Meth- imizes energy use and improves air quality, od in the Pullman community. The five zip while reducing stormwater runoff. Method codes adjacent to the factory receive pref- is also a B Corporation, one of the first com- erential hiring—for the first two years that panies to certify in 2007, meaning that it the factory was open it hired only from the
two neighboring zip codes—and Method Foods toured the Method facilities when Gendt says. “Hopefully we can continue to provides training for those who don’t have looking for sites in the area, then moved in be a catalyst.” previous industrial experience. The compa- next door. A pop-up food market featuring ny pays competitively and offers strong local entrepreneurs opened nearby, and health, vision, and dental insurance, as well Gotham Greens is building yet another Chicagoans can see the Method culture as a six-percent 401k match. It works with greenhouse in Method’s backyard. for themselves. Method offers thirty- local high schools and trade schools on re- cruitment and hopes to provide students an “We’re starting to see a confluence of busi- minute tours led by factory employees example of the best type of jobs possible in ness and industry coming back to the area,” every Wednesday at 930am, 11am, and manufacturing. 1pm. Email [email protected] On a recent visit I spoke with a “Mover” and againstdirty.com for reservations. a “Maker,” which is what Method calls its operations technicians, and both were rhap- sodic about their benefits and the company culture (which includes a global ping pong tournament between everyone from execu- tive level personnel to new factory hires), not to mention a much shorter commute since the factory came to the neighborhood. “We really value our culture across the entire company,” Gendt says. “Part of our mission is to provide transparency by bringing peo- ple into the factory and also giving them the chance to meet people from the community.” The neighborhood has grown in the five years Method has been in Pullman. Whole
Made in BEST THRIFT STORE THAT bags and a dog-wash zone. It’s open Chicago DOESN'T REMIND YOU OF during regular Park District hours, and it’s A DIMLY LIT ELEMENTARY- always happy anarchy. Admission is free— SCHOOL HALLWAY though Dog Friendly Area (DFA) tags are required. You can get BEST COMMERCIAL The Brown Elephant them from your vet for five bucks. SNACK CAKE (Robert Rodi) INVENTED IN CHICAGO In addition to being bright, fun and funky, The Brown Elephant resale 4400 N. Lake Shore Drive, 312-74-BEACH, chicagopark Twinkies shops don’t hoard profits for CEOs. district.com/index.php/parks- Every fast-food addict (and former All proceeds from The Brown Ele- facilities/montrose-beach phant shops benefit LGBTQ health Newcity NOVEMBER 2019 — BEST OF CHICAGO kid) has an enduring affection for and fund care for the uninsured and BEST THRIFT STORE Twinkies, the cream-filled sponge underinsured at Howard Brown IN CHICAGO cakes produced by Hostess. Twinkies Health. Not only will you score a made their debut in Schiller Park great deal on furniture or wardrobe Village Discount in 1930, the creation of baker pieces, your money goes to a good James Alexander Dewar. They were cause. The stores don’t feel claus- It’s all about Chicago thrift. Wheth- originally filled with banana cream; trophobic or rundown: you stop in er Bucktown or Uptown, there’s a during a World War II banana and you’ll want to spend time there. cavern of castoffs waiting to get a shortage, vanilla cream was subbed Plus, the staff members are amaz- second chance at life, as some- ing and the wares consistently to- in—and Twinkies never looked back. pnotch. (Amanda Finn) one’s favorite party dress or a de- (Robert Rodi) 3020 N. Lincoln, 5404 N. Clark, cade-appropriate costume piece. 217 Harrison in Oak Park Hats off to Village Discount on Mil- BEST MADE-IN- BEST NINETY-NINE- waukee, and keep the vibes high, CHICAGO HARPS PERCENT-OFF SALE places like this are sacred spaces. SINCE 1864 (Kaycie Surrell) Village Discount, Lyon & Healy Harps 2032 N. Milwaukee, 708.388.4772 Bostonians George W. Lyon and Cards Against Humanity, Black Friday Patrick J. Healy walked up to the From the flight suit Bill Pullman wore in BEST PLUS-SIZE-FOCUSED muddy intersection of Clark and “Independence Day” for $39.95 to a twen- CLOTHING SHOP Washington in 1864 and, realizing ty-dollar bill for only twenty cents, Cards that Chicago was a growing city, Against Humanity offered an absurd item Inside popular Chicago shop Lost Girls Vin- opened a sheet music store. At that for ninety-nine percent off every ten min- tage (the 1976 RV-turned-vintage boutique) time Chicago had little in the way of utes on Black Friday last year. Previously, you’ll find Luvsick Plus—a heavenly selec- culture and by the end of the year the the company has raised its prices for the tion of plus-size vintage curated by Britteny 50 business flourished with over consumerist holiday, sold literal bullshit in Riordan. Not only do they carry “plus-size $100,000 in sales. They expanded to a box, and relaunched as a potato chip vintage for all fearless fat babes” they host brand, Prongles. At press time, fun events. (Kaycie Surrell) building musical instruments, and in we're waiting to see what hijinx 1947 W. Chicago, 1889 unveiled their first Lyon & Healy might be in the works for Black Fri- lostgirlschicago.com harp. Soon, they were recognized by day this year. (Tanner Woodford) symphonies around the world, and BEST DOG BEACH BEST GIFT SHOP praise led the Steinway Company to TO BRING YOUR grant them sole territorial rights Montrose Beach FRIENDS LAUGHS to sell the world’s most coveted pianos. The company has made the We mere persons look for isolation Steel Petal Press instruments played by angels since in a beach; the more room we have 1890 at their facility at Lake and to spread out, the more we like it. There's just no way you won't find Ogden, and since that time their But our canine companions love to a perfect gift at Steel Petal Press. “Style 23” Harp and “Salzedo” Harp rub elbows and this is the place for And it will likely make your giftee have become the most recognized laugh—while costing less than fifty in the world. The facility thrives, them to do it. The city’s first legal bucks. Steel Petal Press carries all carving intricate patterns and off-leash dog beach is large those non-necessities people love adorning them with strings just as enough to welcome multiple stam- getting, such as: bath bombs by they have for 130 years. (David Witter) peding packs of tennis-ball-chas- Whiskey River Soap Co., with ing visitors, and it’s sufficiently scents such as \"Margarita Pool\" 169 N. Ogden, owner-friendly to furnish free poop and \"Sad Birthday Cake\" ($9); lyonhealy.com