Friday, November 2, 2012

Last call for submissions to the sixth annual photo issue

Posted By on 11.02.12 at 03:08 PM

A composite of photos from last years photo issue
  • A composite of photos from last year's photo issue
[UPDATE BELOW] In the past, you've given us shots ranging from the spectacle of curlicues of smoke at the Air & Water Show to the power of last year's Occupy Chicago protests to the simple but effective message of a moribund building in front of the downtown skyline. We're looking for more similarly vivid work this year. That's right: we're opening up the field for submissions to our annual photo issue!

Of course, not everyone can make the cut. But following these guidelines will ensure that you at least have a good shot:

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Becoming Elliott, E.T. not included

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 06:00 PM

Red American Apparel hoodie (check)
Gray discarded milk crate (check)
Ragged white blanket (check)
Savvy bike posse (check)
Keen ability to outwit the Man (check)
Anxious, stumpy brown alien (still looking)
Power of flight (when I find the alien)

Happy Halloween.

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Street View 057: Scary + Respectable

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 05:08 PM

Street View is a series in which Isa Giallorenzo spotlights fascinatingly fashionable Chicagoans.

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Have a Halloween party to attend but no time to come up with a Heidi Klum type of costume? Wanna enjoy the festivities but still look respectable? Kris has the answer for you.

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Sex and blood and zombies: the art of Jeriah Hildwine

Posted on 10.31.12 at 04:58 PM

Living Dead Girls IV by Jeriah Hildwine
  • Living Dead Girls IV by Jeriah Hildwine
We all know there's an element of cynicism and snobbery involved in viewing art. Even those who count themselves among the most liberal and enlightened are occasionally guilty of closing their minds. To some degree, we all possess the culturally determined tendency to categorize, to quickly file things where we think they belong. Had I not been looking for a subject to write about in conjunction with Halloween, I might've dismissed Jeriah Hildwine's work without a second glance. The guy paints zombies, after all. But then I would've done his art a disservice.

Zombies are the stuff of comic books, low-budget horror films, and uninspired Halloween costumes. They enjoy a cyclical popularity and are presently registering on our collective radar thanks to a spate of baffling conflations with literature (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) and history (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). And of course, AMC's version of The Walking Dead has helped catapult zombies from the confines of nerdy fandom into the average American living room.

Hildwine acknowledges the zombie's pop status and says he began painting them in an attempt to break free of the theory-heavy critiques of graduate school. Like a teenager escaping the confines of his parents' authoritarian home, he seized the opportunity to make his own rules. To him that meant focusing on "the pure physical pleasure of figurative realist painting and the voyeuristic pleasure of enjoyable subject matter."

In other words, Hildwine wanted to paint what he wanted, how he wanted, without having to justify the work in an academic context.

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The Honest Truthiness: clips from Monday night's boozy debate

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 04:31 PM

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  • The panel
To be perfectly honest, Monday's Honest Truth party/debate was really interesting and very fun, and that's not just a couple of glasses of 312 talking. Props to the moderator, WBEZ's Justin Kaufmann, and the panel, who made this politics stuff seem almost unantagonistic as they addressed such issues as whether the Illinois Republican party will rise again and who would be the better mayor: Rahm, Daley, or Kelsey Grammer as Starz's Boss.

Our pals at NBC livestreamed the debate for everyone unlucky enough not to be there. Here are a few of the livelier moments, starting with Reader politics reporter Mick Dumke on whether Obama lived up to his promises. His grade for the president brought a couple of interesting answers.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

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"Mommy, Can I Go Out and Drink Tonight?" at the Local Option

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 04:00 PM

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A sanctuary from the general obnoxiousness that is Lincoln Park, the Local Option always has a more than respectable tap lineup, often with a few unusual beers thrown into the mix. Last Friday, as they periodically do, they turned over all of their 31 taps to interesting—sorry, "rare and evil"—brews, this time titled "Mommy, Can I Go Out and Drink Tonight?" in honor of the Misfits (whose music played all evening). I'm not sure exactly how the beers were related to the band, but plenty of them were rare, with offerings from Struise, De Molen, Mikkeller, Haandbryggeriet, and many others, including two beers brewed by the Local Option itself. With the help of several friends, I managed to try close to a dozen of them on Friday—though I only had a sip or two of most so my notes are a little sketchy. The good news, though, is that some of them are still pouring so you can try them yourself. Below, a few notes on what I tasted and a list of what's still available.

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Five-dollar* lunches: $1.75 tacos easily worth $2 at Taqueria Moran

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 03:37 PM

Cheap tacos ... and free accoutrements at Taqueria Moran
  • Gwynedd Stuart
  • Cheap tacos ... and free accoutrements at Taqueria Moran
Chicago newcomer and blogger Gwynedd Stuart loves to eat out, but she also happens to be a poor person because she's a Chicago newcomer and a blogger. In this weekly feature she seeks out affordable midday meals that don't exceed five bucks (*actually seven, with tax and tip).

Along the Milwaukee Avenue corridor—particularly in Logan Square—there's almost a glut of Mexican restaurants. I say "almost" because I'm not sure whether there can really be too many establishments that sell refried beans and lots of things that are covered in cheese and cilantro. But it would take a dedicated lover of cilantro-covered things to sample food from every Mexican place along Milwaukee from, say, Pulaski to Western. I am not that person.

I am, however, a person who's happy to fall for the ol' 99 cents trick. By which I mean that I won't spend $30 for that rickety piece of shit I just saw in an infomercial—but $29.99? Well, that's reasonable. This tried-and-true psychological sales strategy translates well to the restaurant industry. Two-dollar tacos? Yeah, that's great, but show me a $1.99 taco and we'll talk.

Taqueria Moran is even better at this trick. In fact, when they play it, it's not even a trick anymore, they're just giving customers a really good deal: $1.75 tacos. Good ones.

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One Sip: North Shore's Silver Lining Liqueur (can you guess what's inside it?)

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 03:02 PM

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Every year our friends at Lake Bluff's North Shore Distillery create a single batch limited release, taking one of their standard spirits and infusing it with something wacky. Last year it was a sloe gin style elderberry liqueur. The year before that it was a bottled Corpse Reviver, and before that a cacao bean and poblano infusion. Wild stuff.

This year's release was unleashed last week. Called Silver Lining, it's based on a German krauter liqueur, a disgestif typically made from a blend of herbs and botanicals. They're often bitter, often sweet and syrupy, sometime medicinal. You may be familiar with its Italian cousin, amaro, or with its most infamous expression: Jagermeister.

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Interview: Sasha Go Hard (and a download of her new mixtape)

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 02:00 PM

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It's been interesting to watch local rapper Sasha Go Hard evolve this year, as she rode the explosion of the Chicago scene to her own share of the national spotlight. The Low End MC makes tracks that have a few things in common with drill music, the aggressive and violent spin on southern trap rap that's now the closest thing to a definitive Chicago sound—to most people outside the city, anyway. Sasha worked with some notable local producers (Young Chop, DJ Kenn, DGainz) for this summer's Do You Know Who I Am? mixtape, a smooth and sinister collection that strips away some of the apocalyptic synths and bombastic percussion of drill. Do You Know Who I Am? earned Sasha critical acclaim and also set her slightly apart from that idea of a "Chicago sound."

Sasha has continued down her own path as national interest in the burgeoning drill sound has grown. Some of that interest, of course, has been spurred by well-reported incidents of violence dogging the scene, most notably the murder of aspiring rapper Lil JoJo. In a recent Fader cover story on Chief Keef and the drill scene, writer Felipe Delerme spoke with Sasha about the violence in her music and image:

"I came a long way from my old songs like 'What We Do,'" Sasha says. "I pulled out a gun in the video, but now I look at it like, Man, why I do that? It's a lot of young people watching me. I just learn from it and be more careful with my music because I care about my fans and I want them to feel safe listening to my stuff, 'cause Chicago, it's crazy out here."

Sasha decided to focus on relationships for her new mixtape, Hip-Hop vs. Love, a collaboration with M.I.C member Il Will that drops today. (You can stream and/or download it after the jump.) She headlines a show at Reggie's Rock Club tomorrow night with the GTW and Bengfang. Last week I met up with Sasha to talk about her rap roots, the violence plaguing the Chicago scene, her new mixtape, and working with MCs from the west side.

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Romney campaign looks for any port in a storm

Posted By on 10.31.12 at 12:47 PM

Mitt Romney, in drier times
If I were Mitt Romney I'd be wicked pissed right now. ("Gosh!" I'd probably say. "Shoot!") The election is only a few days away and the Republican presidential candidate is in an unfortunate position: to campaign as though the east coast didn't have more pressing concerns he'd be criticized as insensitive or maybe, in a more optimistic assessment, irrelevant—but in the meantime, there's really nothing doing. Romney returns to the trail today after a couple days' downtime, with a last-minute blitz planned to start on Friday, though you can't imagine it drawing a lot of attention. Romney's not the president; unlike Barack Obama, he doesn't have an actual job to do if he's not trying to convince people to vote for him, and especially not a job where he can be seen having a direct, salutary effect on hurricane relief efforts.

Not for lack of trying. A scheduled rally last night turned at the last minute into a "storm relief event" that sounded, per Buzzfeed, a little awkward. The plan was to ask attendees for canned and dry goods donations, which Romney would get photographed loading into the back of a rented truck, to be sent off east. The campaign worried they'd come up short, though, and McCay Coppins reports that "the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in."

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