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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Better not be like Derrick

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 02:00 PM

There is, I fear, something about sun, sea, and sand that makes it easy to snicker at the sweaty-palmed fretting of the distant north. As the five of us sipped coffee Thursday morning and breakfasted on the fruit that hangs from the trees that grow along the Caribbean coast of Honduras, my daughter Laura read aloud from her iPod.

She'd been seeking the latest NBA scores. She came across a headline from the Chicago Tribune: "Derrick Rose is no role model." Was it necessary to read another word? The ultimate accolade to which a black professional athlete can aspire is the headline advising "Michael Jordan is no role model" or "Barry Bonds is no role model" or "Walter Payton is no role model." (As happened to Ron Santo, Payton received his most priceless honor posthumously.)

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The year in music: top 50 albums

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 01:00 PM

Danny Brown
  • Danny Brown
In keeping with a relatively new tradition I established myself, my contribution to the Reader's year-end issue collects a few of my favorite happenings in the music world in 2011, not however many of my favorite albums. This is partly just to do something different with the year-end list and partly because I don't enjoy the process of ranking and sorting records the way that a lot of other critics seem to. But I do like a lot of records that came out this year, and after the jump you can find 50 of my favorites, in no particular order.

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This week in Food & Drink: Best restaurants 2011

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 12:00 PM

The Burger at Next: Childhood
As part of our 2011 Year in Review, Mike Sula—with the assistance of software program CriticKiller 2012—selects eight top new restaurants, along with ten honorable mentions. There’s Next, of course, but also Phillip Foss and Andrew Brochu’s El Ideas, Giuseppe Tentori and the Boka Group’s GT Fish & Oyster, Paul Virant and the Boka Group’s Perennial Virant, Brendan Sodikoff's Maude’s Liquor Bar, and Mark and Elizabeth Mendez’s Vera. Not all are swanky: rounding out the list are Tony Hu’s Mao-themed Lao Hunan and Art Jackson’s Bridgeport Pleasant House Bakery. Among the honorable mentions: Al Dente, Snack Planet, La Taberna Tapas, and Telegraph Wine Bar.

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In this week's Reader: What we loved about 2011

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 11:19 AM

In this week's issue of the Reader, we take a look back at 2011, including sections devoted to film, music, theater, and food. If you haven't been following along on the Bleader, take a look at Peter Margasak's complete albums list and multiple lists from music critic Miles Raymer and film critic Ben Sachs.

Mick Dumke and Ben Joravsky hand out year-end awards for city politics, including such creative titles as the "Kryptonite Award," the "Little Dutch Boy Award," and the "'I Didn't Inhale' Award."

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Blackhawks paraphrase the Eagles

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 10:43 AM

The Blackhawks paraphrased the Eagles with a common refrain after their 2-0 loss to the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday: "One of those nights."

"It was one of those nights," said Marian Hossa. "Their goalie played unbelievable. ... Basically, he won the game for them.

"It was one of those nights when their goalie was really hot and we couldn't get a puck behind him."

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My favorite albums of 2011, numbers 20 through 11

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 09:00 AM

We're heading into the home stretch. In fact, you can find my top ten faves of 2011 in this week's print edition or online here. But let's stick to the countdown for now, shall we?

20. Rudresh Mahanthappa, Samdhi (ACT) Alto saxophonist and composer Rudresh Mahanthappa has spent lots of energy exploring rigorous fusions of jazz and Indian music, most notably on Kinsmen (Pi), his 2008 collaboration with saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath. On this explosive new album, he merges funky electric jazz with Indian modes just as convincingly.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

More on Lisa Martain Hoffer, the outreacher

Posted By on 12.28.11 at 06:00 PM

As editor Mara Shalhoup noted in her intro to our People Issue, a theme emerged in our coverage of the 29 Chicagoans we profiled: "Many of them spent years of their lives, if not adrift, then unsure of their purpose—only to arrive at the place that fit." That's been true over and over again for Lisa Martain Hoffer, who's currently a patient care coordinator at South Suburban HIV/AIDS Regional Clinics. Interviewing her, I learned that her degree was in modern dance. (When I asked her if she still practiced, she told me, "Yeah, yeah, I went to class last Saturday. Almost broke a hip.") And from there?

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Read it: The Tiger's Wife

Posted By on 12.28.11 at 05:00 PM

"I know you admire him, but I'll have you know he fucked me up the ass, standing in view of the window next door."

So said E., my neighbor back in the day—we're talking mid-80s—of my instructor T., who lived next door to her with his bewitching wife, K. Both from Belgrade, they'd often take meals on their front porch, and would call me over to join them.

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Reefer in Evanston, Probcause, and only a few words about Mayor Rahm

Posted By on 12.28.11 at 04:30 PM

Believe it or not, one of the most frequently asked questions I get these days has nothing to do with TIFs, taxes, or Mayor Rahm.

Instead, it's this: Hey, man, who's the dude who sings that Evanston song?

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Put on your eatin' pants

Posted By on 12.28.11 at 04:00 PM

Step one for managing the extended food fest of the holidays comfortably: elastic-waistband pants. There are actually some examples that aren't sweats and also don't resemble the polyester wonders favored by early bird diners at Denny's. Even if you aren't overeating, they are an elegant alternative to yoga pants for comfortable airplane wear when you're heading back from the holidays. Above left, a flared trouser pant brings some boho glamor. Mick trouser pants, $84 (on sale from $138) at

More comfy but still cool pants after the jump.

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