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Thursday, April 30, 2009

But there's still no such thing as a Notorious L.A.T.T.E.

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 01:42 PM

Like a lot of people, I consider brewing coffee and making rap music to be two of human civilization's greatest accomplishments, but those two things rarely come into direct contact. (Rumors about the existence of a so-called Cappadonnaccino remain, as far as I know, simply rumors.) But the caffeine geniuses at Intelligentsia have taken it upon themselves to remedy the situation. Their roasters have come up with custom blends for the Stones Throw label and several of its artists.

There will be "a few bags" of the Stones Throw blend available Thursday night at the label's showcase at the Abbey Pub, which BTW is pretty much guaranteed to be great. Stones Throw is mighty particular about not putting its name on anything half-assed, and so is Intelligentsia. Their collabo coffee should be amazing.

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This week's food and drink events

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 01:41 PM


Toast of the Town, Wine Enthusiast's annual bash, features more than 500 wines and food from restaurants including Piccolo Sogno, Mirai Sushi, and Boka. 7-10 PM (VIP tasting starts at 6), Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., 800-847-5949, $75, $150 VIP.


The Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust hosts a tasting of limited-edition wines from Raymond Vineyards at an event that features access to the normally private third floor of Robie House and a silent auction whose items include wines from chateaus Margaux and Lafite-Rothschild and overnight stays in other Wright-designed structures. 5-7 PM, Robie House, 5757 S. Woodlawn, 877-848-3559, $40.

American-influenced Belgian-style beers from Ommegang--including Hennepin Saison, Rare Voss, Abbey Ale, and Three Philosophers--will be pitted against its sister company Maredsous's traditional Belgian ales, including Blonde, Brune, and Triple, at Battle of the Belgians. The beers will be paired with dishes like five-spice ribs with molasses glaze, barbecue mussels, eight-cheese garlic bread, and dark chocolate creme brulee. Fri 5/1, 7-10 PM, Jake Melnick's Corner Tap, 41 East Superior, 312-266-0400, $25.


Blue Sky Bakery celebrates its one-year anniversary with a tasting of sweet and savory doughnuts—including rosemary, rhubarb, and coconut varieties. Sat-Sun 5/2-5/3, 9 AM-2 PM, Blue Sky Bakery and Cafe, 4749 N. Albany, 773-478-2233, $5.

Restaurants including Mundial Cocina Mestiza and Nuevo Leon compete in a mole cook-off at Mole de Mayo. Attendees can sample the mole and buy margaritas, Micheladas, and beer. 11 AM-7 PM, El Zocalo Plaza, 18th and Paulina, $1 suggested donation.

Chef Paul Virant prepares a meal featuring fresh morels and finishing with a cheese course; Goose Island will be providing samples of Matilda, a Belgian-style ale. The morel hunt beforehand is sold out. Sat 5/2, noon, Vie, 4471 Lawn, Western Springs, 708-246-2082, $55, $20 kids under 12, plus tax and tip.


Eric Aubriot will demonstrate how to cook flatiron steaks, which'll be served paired with various wines. 2-4 PM, Taste Food and Wine, 1506 Jarvis, 773-761-3663, $15.


Sepia hosts a spring dinner by chef Andrew Zimmerman featuring duck and pistachio paté, foie gras croquettes, kona kampachi with shaved fennel, and rabbit with braised morels and asparagus, with wine pairings. 6:30 PM, 123 N. Jefferson, 312-441-1920, $80 plus tax and tip.


Doug Sohn of Hot Doug’s and Bruce Kraig, author of the new book Hot Dog: A Global History, discuss encased meats at a Chicago Foodways Roundtable lecture. 7 PM, Kendall College, 900 N. North Branch, 847-432-8255,, $3.

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5/1 -- Ciclo Urbano grand opening

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 01:31 PM


The community bike workshop West Town Bikes is moving to a new location and opening a retail store in partnership with the Puerto Rican Cultural Center. They're celebrating Friday from 5 to 10 PM with a parade, led by Mucca Pazza, from the old location (2418 W. North) to the new store (2459 W. Division), live music from Afri Caribe and Nuestro Tambo, beer donated by New Belgium brewery, and free Puerto Rican food. 

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Okka Disk turns 15

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 01:18 PM


There are more than enough attractions in Milwaukee to make the short trip worthwhile any day of the year, but this weekend there's plenty of extra incentive. Okka Disk, the superb free-jazz label started in Chicago by Bruno Johnson, is celebrating its 15th anniversary and throwing a little festival with music by many of its artists.

Chicago's jazz and improvised-music scene is so busy these days that it's easy to forget how different things were when Okka Disk emerged--it was a reliable outlet for what were then new developments, releasing many key early works by Ken Vandermark. Just as important, the label was partly responsible for Fred Anderson's late-career renaissance; in a few short years Okka helped the tenor saxophonist double the size of his discography.

Johnson moved to Milwaukee in 2002 with his wife, Adrienne Pierluissi, to open a bar, following a long and fruitless search for a space here. In 2003 they opened the Palm Tavern (named after Chicago's long-shuttered Gerri's Palm Tavern) and last year they opened the Sugar Maple, which is devoted to American craft beers. It has a mind-boggling 60 beers on tap.

All the music this weekend will take place either at the Sugar Maple or at the Palm Tavern. Package tickets are available at both bars; they're $50 each and cover all four shows.

Friday, May 1: 8 PM, Sugar Maple Back Lounge, 441 E. Lincoln, Milwaukee, $15
Set I:  Bishop/Vandermark/Daisy/Rempis play the music of Joe McPhee
Set II: Survival Unit III with Joe McPhee, Michael Zerang, and Fred Lonberg-Holm

Saturday, May 2: 2 PM, Palm Tavern, 2989 S. Kinnickinnic, Milwaukee, $15
Solo and duo sets with Joe McPhee, Ken Vandermark, and Dave Rempis with special guests

Saturday, May 2: 8 PM, Sugar Maple Back Lounge, 441 E. Lincoln, Milwaukee, $20
Set I: The Engines with Nate McBride, Jeb Bishop, Dave Rempis, and Tim Daisy
Set II: Peter Brötzmann Trio with Nasheet Waits and Eric Revis

Sunday, May 3: 2 PM, Sugar Maple Front Room, 441 E. Lincoln, Milwaukee, $15
Set I: Collections of Colonies of Bees, music for six guitars
Set II: Caffeine with Jim Baker, Steve Hunt, and Ken Vandermark
Set III: Fred Anderson with Tim Daisy

For more info, call the Sugar Maple at 414-481-2393.

Today's playlist:

Ismael Rivera y Sus Cachimbos, Traigo de Todo (Tico/Fania)
Heliocentrics, Out There (Now-Again)
Simone, Pedaços (EMI)
Office-R(6), Recording the Grain (+3dB)
Doppelmoppel, Outside This Area (Intakt)


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Trib rejiggers its visual arts coverage

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 12:29 PM

The Chicago Tribune's not talking, but gallerists are, and what they're talking about is how the daily plans to cover visual art now that it's sacked the city's its only full-time art critic, Alan Artner, in its latest round of cuts. Word is that they'll be doing it on a blog written by freelancers. Stay tuned for more.

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Hey, you got your art in my fashion!

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 11:15 AM

Art and fashion meet at two events today:

From 7 to 9, Gamma Player holds "Fashion Loves Art Vol. 4," a reception for local artist Brett Whitacre, who paints on old TVs, window panels, and suitcases. The store also introduces its spring offerings, including a T-shirt line that's a collaboration between Gamma Player and Japanese brand Rozalia Scartissue.

In celebration of Art Chicago, Feather Lofts is hosting an open studio night from 7 to 10 with "art, beer, and music." Tour the workspaces and wares of such indie designers as Katie Johansson, who creates jewelry under the name Dollybird Design, and Sara Fox, who as Cursive Design makes jewelry and home accessories, as well as artists in other media. It's at 355 N. Laflin.


Sales alerts: Veruca Salt is offering 30 percent off selected lines at both locations, and Robin Richman has an online-only Mother's Day jewelry sale through May 10.

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The black sheep in the distillery

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 11:08 AM


This week in Omnivorous I wrote about the husband-and-wife team of Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker Hart, who recently opened the doors on the city's only craft microdistillery, Koval. What's in the name? According to Sonat, a former professor of Jewish Studies, in some Yiddish dialects koval can mean "blacksmith." But it can also refer to someone who does something out of the ordinary--which is to say, a "black sheep." She says they chose it in part for the memory of her grandfather, who left the Old World when times were good and whose family thought he was nuts for doing so. But he prospered here, and when times got tough he was able to bring many of them over.

The couple, who left secure jobs on the east coast to start the distillery, hope their fortune mirrors his.

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Morning Art: Anders Nilsen

Posted By on 04.30.09 at 04:43 AM


Hercules, a drawing by Anders Nilsen (cannot recommend Jessica Hopper's cover story on Nilsen highly enough), part of Pictures of Dirt and Grass, a show of his work currently on display at Home Gallery, 1407 E. 54th. More pics and details here; there's a closing brunch on Sunday. If you go to see it, here's my recommended lunch place.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

You Shoot: Metra Station, North Chicago

Posted By on 04.29.09 at 10:19 PM

Taken by one of my all-time favorite* Flickr contributors, katherine of chicago (see also, and). The oval windows are really the crowning touch. In comments, she writes: "I like this station because it's different, I mean the restored (or replica) old-fashioned ones are nice but I get tired of those...." One of the things I like about Chicago's middle-aged suburbs - take, for example, Harlem Ave. south of Oak Park - is the architecture; the heterogenous, slighly berserk 60s-80s development can be sort of freeing (cf. Learning from Las Vegas***).

* For any number of reasons, but entitling this photo "this was probably supposed to be cheerful"; this; "I have a weakness for vacuum-formed and first-name signs"; HOLY SHIT HOW DID I MISS THIS HOUSE** I USED TO LIVE THERE. 

**Errol Kirsh? Passive solar? I must investigate.


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"Probable" swine flu at Loyola

Posted By on 04.29.09 at 05:50 PM

Being forwarded around the Loyola community:
From: "UMC UMC" [email redacted]
Date: April 29, 2009 5:02:37 PM CDT
To: [alias redacted]
Subject: Probable Case of Swine Flu

Loyola Community,

The Chicago Department of Public Health has informed the University
that a Loyola student has a probable, but unconfirmed, case of swine
flu, and that it appears to be isolated at this time.

The student, a male, 20 years old, who lived on-campus in Fairfield
Hall, has been home for several days and is doing well.

At this time, authorities have informed the University that it can
continue to conduct business as usual. Please visit Loyola’s swine flu
Web site for updates and information at

[advice on handwashing redacted]

Diane Asaro, MSN, RN, BCDirector, Wellness Center


PLEASE DO NOT REPLY TO THIS MESSAGE, as it was sent from the UMC
mailbox, an account used by the Division of University Marketing and
Communications to broadcast special e-mails on behalf of various
departments throughout the University.

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