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Friday, August 31, 2012

Hie thee to Armitage for pizza sublimity

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 04:30 PM

It took me a while to make it to Armitage Pizzeria—Lincoln Park's not among my usual haunts. But there J. Spillane, proud son of Worcester, Massachusetts, is plying his trade, re-creating the gas-fired east-coast-style pizza he grew up with. One of the original owners of Coalfire, he's a perfectionist down to the tap water in his crusts (the local H2O's a respectable stand-in for east-coast water, he says—"We're all in the rust belt"). Grab a stool or sit at one of the two high-top tables and you can watch him lovingly pat down and roll out his dough on a marble countertop.

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Dear Rahm and Rafael: About that sudden groundswell of support for bulldozing Prentice

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 03:35 PM

There's a good chance that Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Landmarks Commission Chairman Rafael Leon are buried under a blitz of e-mails and phone calls about the old Prentice Hospital right now.

And most of those messages might be telling them to let Northwestern University go ahead and bulldoze Bertrand Goldberg's odd duck of a building.

This could be impressive.

It might look to Rahm and Rafael like the public suddenly awoke to the rightness of NU's plan to take Prentice down and build a wonderful new medical research facility in its place.

They might assume that this public is fully informed and acting of its own accord.

And they might think they have no choice but to obey such a spontaneous groundswell of public will.

So they ought to know that on Thursday, NU e-mailed a letter to members of its alumni association (200,000 or so strong) and, apparently, to anybody else on its various mailing lists, urging them to click a link or pick up a phone and send those messages.

The letter talks about all the jobs and money that the new research center will bring, and about looking for cures for things like ALS and Alzheimer's.

It doesn't mention that all those great things would also happen if the research center were built on another piece of ground, like the huge empty lot right across the street, which is owned by NU's sibling organization, Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

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Focusing on the family in two new horror movies

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 02:55 PM

Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Possession
  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan in The Possession
During the Music Box Theatre's recent Noir City week, I decided I would arrive 15 to 20 minutes late to all the movies about a hero or heroine attempting to exonerate an innocent man jailed for murder (there were three of them). Depriving myself of the expository scenes—which would only set up a conflict familiar from a film I'd seen recently—I went straight to the guts of the movie, the better to appreciate the nuances that made it unique.

This proved a boon to enjoying the 1946 programmer Black Angel, as I was able to focus on the unconsummated romance between Dan Duryea and June Vincent, rather than on the investigation they led together. What a poignant movie it became! Working to free Vincent's husband for the murder of Duryea's wife shows both characters how well they get along, hinting at the life they might have lived together. There's a Kieslowskian meditation on chance buried under this shoddy mystery, and I probably would have missed it altogether if I'd involved myself in the central plot.

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Empty pools and tragic Greek fools: new performing arts reviews

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 02:23 PM

The gods have their little joke in Idomeneus
  • Jonathan L. Green
  • The gods have their little joke in Idomeneus
With most Chicago companies deep in rehearsal, prepping for the mid-September openings blitz, it would be pretty dead out there if not for the Chicago Fringe Festival. The 11-day event presents 48 shows at various Pilsen venues.

As for the few nonfest shows running now:

Expert use of choral speaking and strong audio and visual design make Sideshow Theatre Company's Idomeneus the solitary Reader-recommended production of the week. Our Albert Williams reports that German playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig turns the Greek tale into an exploration of war, duty, and survivor's guilt.

Dan Jakes isn't nearly so pleased with Pool (No Water), a drama about a successful artist who's abused by her peers while lying comatose after a diving accident. "Pretentious verse, questionable dialects, and long, dull stretches of contact improvisation" reduce the play to the very kind of art it was meant to denounce. Change the Night Owl also misfires on all cylinders. Judi Lee and Cady Leinicke provide above-average performances but don't make up for the faults of this sex farce presented at Prop Thtr.

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Drought spikes global food prices and more food news bites

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 01:05 PM

Thanks to the drought, global food prices are up 10%, reports the Stew.

On the heels of our news that Premise closed, Dish followed up with further details on the new owners Stephan and Nicole Outrequin Quaisser: they plan to offer "a menu similar to their casual French restaurant Troquet."

More food news—not all depressing—after the jump:

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A headline of no importance

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 12:33 PM

Not Pat Daily
  • Not Pat Daily
But considerable wit. It showed up on page four of Friday's Tribune:

"Being earnest: The ballad of reading guilt."

I read the article below the headline anxiously, fearful that the Tribune would make the catastrophic mistake of pandering to readers by explaining it. Smartly, the paper didn't. You either got it or you didn't.

The article was worthy of its headline. Written by Ellen Jean Hirst, it told the tale of a limited-edition copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray 78 years overdue at the Chicago Public Library. But the library had declared an amnesty, so back it went.

Hirst began, "Dorian Gray's story would have been much different had he been granted amnesty for his sins. Instead he died a deformed, barely human figure, resembling the ugliness of his immoral life."

The headline was written by Pat Daily, a temp on the copy desk. I'm pleased to say that in a better time Daily got off his good ones for the benefit of the Reader.

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12 O'Clock Track: Dephosphorus, "Starless"

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 12:00 PM

  • Viral Graphics
  • Dephosphorus (I know it's hard to tell, but there are three of them)
Greek trio Dephosphorus call their flavor of metal "astrogrind," and it combines (among other things) eerie cosmic-psychedelic guitar harmonies a la Oranssi Pazuzu and Inquisition with the same kind of fiendishly reanimated punk skeleton that grindcore gets around on.

On August 20 the band released Night Sky Transform (7 Degrees), their first proper full-length and the source of today's 12 O'Clock Track. The album will run you all of five dollars via Bandcamp, and vinyl copies should be available soon.

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Taste of Polonia and other food and drink events

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 11:34 AM

A Stone Brewing Co. rep will educate attendees on the qualities that distinguish IPAs from other beers and provide several styles for sampling. 5-7 PM, Armanetti Wine and Spirits Shop, 3530 N. Lincoln.

If you missed out on the Taste of Little Italy, the 31st annual Taste of Melrose Park may help satisfy your Italian food cravings, serving up various Italian treats including sfingi (doughnut holes), arancini, cannoli, and fried bologna sandwiches. Fri 5-11 PM, Sat noon-11 PM, Sun noon-10 PM, Village Hall, 1000 N. 25th, free admission, food and drink additional.

For those looking to show their Polska pride, join Chicago as it gets in touch with its Polish heritage at this weekend's Taste of Polonia. Chicago's vast Polish population will be serving up all the Polish staples; pierogies, potato pancakes, kielbasa, and more, along with Polish beer. Live entertainment, including polka and Polish rock bands, artists and traditional folk dancing will be featured at the festival. Fri 5-11 PM, Sat-Sun noon-11 PM, Mon noon-10 PM, Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence, $7 at the gate, $5 for seniors, kids under 12 free.

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Romney's plea to the great women of America

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 10:37 AM

Romney in Detroit in February
Mr. Chairman, delegates, I accept your nomination for President of the United States of America.

I do so with humility, deeply moved by the trust you have placed in me. It is a great honor. It is an even greater responsibility.

I will be using the word great often tonight, because this is a great country, and because the word great has done great in focus groups.

For our next vice president, I have chosen a man with a big heart from a small town. I love the way he lights up around his kids, and how he's not embarrassed to show the world how much he loves his mom. Any of you women out there, I hope you noticed too.

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Chicago's only Yunnanese restaurant and more in this week's Food & Drink

Posted By on 08.31.12 at 07:31 AM

Lao Yunnan, formerly Spring World

The Chinatown empire of Tony Hu (Lao Sze Chuan, Lao Beijing, Lao Shanghai, Lao Hunan) continues to grow, with Lao Mala now open in the former Lure Izakaya space and a River North venture in the works. In this week's Food & Drink Mike Sula reviews Lao Yunnan, Hu's rapid takeover of Spring World, which has received less attention than its fellows. This is a pity: Spring World was Chicago's only Yunnanese restaurant, and Hu's menu retains many favorites, with a dedicated Yunnanese section amid the dauntingly long list of more than 800 panregional items. You can still eat such dishes as nuggets of boneless fried chicken tossed with nubbins of chewy rice cake, smoky lamb riblets fuming with cuminy vapors, and fatty fists of pig feet dubbed "Lao Yunnan special pork hand." There are lots of fish preparations, hot pots, and cold plates of soft, spicy eggplant or chewy slices of pig tongue. And the most iconic of Yunnanese specialties remains: Cross-Bridge rice noodles, a pork-and-chicken-broth soup customizable with beef or pork tripe and blood cakes.

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Performing Arts
April 10
Performing Arts
July 31

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