Thursday, December 31, 2009

1/1 — Polar Bear Club Swim

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 07:21 PM

The Chicago Polar Bear Club kicks off its annual New Year's Day swim at noon with a meet-up at the North Avenue Beach boathouse (1600 N. Lake Shore Drive). Swimsuit-clad participants (neither nudity nor wet suits are allowed) will pose for pictures and hold a "group disrobing" before jumping into Lake Michigan. Participants must fully submerge themselves to become "official" polar bears (no medical staff will be on-site); onlookers are also welcome. The weather forecast calls for a high of 18 degrees.

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1/1 — Free Kurt Vile Show at Permanent Records

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 06:08 PM

  • megawords
Tomorrow at 2 PM, Kurt Viledescribed by Reader critic Miles Raymer as "young and painfully hip" and a "romantic urban wastrel poet"—performs a free solo in-store "New Year's Day hangover cure" at Permanent Records (1914 W. Chicago). Matador Records provides pizza, dark beers, mimosas, and other alleged hangover remedies. Vile and his backing band the Violators open for the Black Keys at the Riviera (4746 N. Racine) at 8 PM.

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Mixtape For a Low Dishonest Decade

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 03:59 PM

I'm not one for best-of lists generally, and it seems especially inappropriate for 2000-2009, a decade in which that which was terrible greatly overwhelmed that which was good, and that we can't even agree on a name for, perhaps because we don't want to. But I do like music, and making mixes, insofar as they're a respite from the mismanagement and grief; The lights must never go out /the music must always play.

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Paul Vallas endorses David Hoffman—then points out his flaws

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 03:11 PM

Local journalists miss Paul Vallas. When he was running the Chicago Public Schools and, later, campaigning for governor, he could be counted on for two things reporters love: returning phone calls and talking. A lot.

Vallas is now running the New Orleans schools but was back in town this week—and in top form yesterday, when he stood before reporters and announced his support for Democratic Senate candidate David Hoffman.

Looking trim, tan, and assured, Vallas said lots of great things about Hoffman, calling him "the type of individual we need in elective office," praising his "great integrity" and "record of accomplishment," and predicting that he would be "an exceptional United States Senator."

That was what was scripted. But Vallas was never one for sticking to the script, and after the cameras—and Hoffman—had left, he elaborated for a couple of us who’d stuck around. And elaborated and elaborated and elaborated.

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Sherlock Holmes, Bee Raiser

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 02:14 PM

So, J.R. Jones wasn't too crazy about the new Sherlock Holmes movie.

Perhaps director Guy Ritchie and Robert Downey Jr., the latest of dozens of actors to portray the supersleuth on film, should have taken some tips from The Sherlock Holmes Handbook: The Methods and Mysteries of the World's Greatest Detective, recently published by Quirk Books ($16.95).

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Free New Year's Eve Festivuses

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 01:10 PM


This year sure was tough on the American wallet. Perhaps 2009 was the year that you gave shoelaces and tissue packets to your loved ones as birthday presents, trading in your own convenient Kleenexes for cloth handkerchiefs that you laundered using rainwater collected in a bucket on your porch. Maybe you downloaded a recipe or two for a dollar-stretching dish like pretzel soup, or something involving a pig's foot. And maybe you had insufficient funds to vacay, opting instead for nights of backgammon and fantasizing from your fraying easy chair.

Now it's New Year's, and you've still got no money, and just what will you do to celebrate? Here are some free options:

Big Star: No cover, no reservations needed, and a free bourbon toast at midnight. 4 PM-2 AM, 1531 N. Damen, 773-235-4039.

Finn McCool's Irish Pub: free admission before 10 PM, with party favors, multimedia countdown, champagne toast, and DJ. 6 PM-4 AM, 15 W. Division, 312-337-4349.

Heartland Cafe: After the annual Athletes United for Peace 5K race (7 PM, $25), there's a party at the cafe with a performance from reggae band Roots 101. 9 PM, 7000 N. Glenwood, 773-465-8005.

Navy Pier Family New Year's Eve Bash: An all-ages concert with hip-hop dancers, live music by the Goblins, double-dutch jumpers (6-7:45 PM), and a fireworks show. DJ Madrid spins for a dance party in the Family Pavilion from 9 to 11:45 PM. 600 E. Grand, 312-595-7437.

Nick's: "Bread & Butter" party with free music. 9 PM, 1516 N. Milwaukee, 773-252-1155.

Red Line Tap: Rogers Park All-Stars with Micki Croisant, Justin Gillam, and others. 9 PM, Red Line Tap, 7006 N. Glenwood, 773-274-5463.

For more New Year's Eve options (most of which cost money) see our Music, Food & Drink, and Parties & Special Events guides.

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Where to Find the Other Photo Issue Covers

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 01:02 PM

We ran four different special covers for our photo issue this week, and on behalf of those of you inclined to collect a full set, I asked our circulation manager, Perry Kim, if he could say where each might be found. His reply:

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Early Warnings Roundup

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 10:00 AM

Real Estate
  • Angel Ceballos
  • Real Estate
The week between Christmas and New Year's is often a dead zone for show announcements, and this year is no exception. But while many promoters and venues are taking the holidays off, I'm still diligently scrounging up Early Warnings for you, the concertgoing public. Check out this week's reasonably comprehensive list after the jump:

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Like a Natural Woman

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 09:30 AM

The Chicago Inter-Ocean, July 17, 1888. Rural "wild woman" items like this were a nationwide perennial feature in late-19th century newspapers.

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Morning Art: Liam Gillick

Posted By on 12.31.09 at 07:55 AM

Detail of Three Perspectives and a Short Scenario, an installation by Liam Gillick on display through 1/10 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago, 312-280-2660.

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