Dim the Lights | Bleader | Chicago Reader

Dim the Lights

Friday, March 16, 2018

The two most-read Reader stories of all time both involve major disappointments

Posted By on 03.16.18 at 06:30 AM

This is not your friend. - TINA JOHANSSON
  • Tina Johansson
  • This is not your friend.

Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

The most-read Reader story of all time is a 2012 Savage Love column with the headline "My husband violated the ground rules I'd set for our threesome." For some reason, this regularly pops up on the weekly list of top ten most-read posts. The husband promised his wife he would not stick his penis into the other woman, but he did it anyway. Dan's response begins, "Please hand this column to your husband. My response is for him: You are one stupid motherfucker."

The second most-read Reader story of all time is the far less sexy "Health: Does Coffee Make You Sleepy?" Published in 1990, it was the only story Roger Downey would ever write for the Reader. Still, since the paper went digital and we started tracking these things, he's probably racked up more page views than other staffers have in their entire careers.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Have a happy Valentine's Day with the Venus II, the greatest masturbation machine ever invented in Illinois

Posted By on 02.14.18 at 09:00 AM

  • Todd vanGoethem

The Reader's archive is vast and varied, going back to 1971. Every day in Archive Dive, we'll dig through and bring up some finds.

Happy Valentine's Day to all those who observe it. If you already have plans for tonight—chocolate, rose petals, Geja's, the Sybaris, any of the fine suggestions in this week's paper—read no further. But if you're lonesome and need a little excitement in your life, check out "Stroke of Genius," Dennis Rodkin's immortal 1994 feature on Rich Gellert, the Arlington Heights inventor who, with the assistance of engineer Valentin Tsitrin, invented of the Venus II, the world's greatest hands-free masturbation machine for men.

"When you hear what Rick Gellert has been doing with himself the past few years," the story begins, "you may want to give him a hand."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Terminal cancer—and the band Toto—is bringing my family together for my parents’ last date

Posted By on 06.22.17 at 01:20 PM

As a baby with my parents, Mark and Jan Smith, in 1977
  • As a baby with my parents, Mark and Jan Smith, in 1977

I was only mildly aware of the band Toto on the Tuesday in May when my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I'm a child of the 80s, and we all know at least "Africa." It was an omnipresent hit in the early days of MTV, when music videos were low-budget affairs: usually stitched-together concert footage, surrealistic short films, or a disjointed combination of the two.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Chicago couple sexes up card games with Weapons of Mass Seduction

Posted By on 05.25.16 at 09:00 AM

Kaitlin Johnson and Daniel Dranove, creators of Weapons of Mass Seduction
  • Kaitlin Johnson and Daniel Dranove, creators of Weapons of Mass Seduction

Pegged as the adult card game in which people play a sex-themed variation of "Would you rather?", Weapons of Mass Seduction picks up where most couples' games leave off: riding crops, Trader Joe's, and Orthodox Judaism. Players win points by guessing which sexual act their opponent prefers—ranging from raunchy to ridiculous—with cards like: "Whip opponent with riding crop," "Apply Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter to your body for opponent to lick off," or "Opponent does taxes, budgeting, or fiscal forecasting while topless with a little calculator and glasses." 

Weapons of Mass Seduction comes from the dirty minds of Cards Against Humanity cocreator Daniel Dranove and his longtime girlfriend, Kaitlin Johnson. Dranove and Johnson initially created WMS in 2013 as a private Valentine's Day gift for each other. "We put together WMS after looking at other sex games," Dranove says. "Nothing appealed, and we felt this stigma—either we felt uncomfortable with the language, or they read like romance novels."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Documentary will tell you How to Lose Your Virginity if you haven't figured it out already

Posted By on 10.14.15 at 12:30 PM

Billboard in a New York City subway station - THERESE SHECHTER
  • Therese Shechter
  • Billboard in a New York City subway station

There was a time when Therese Shechter, like most people, thought of virginity as a fairly simple concept. You had it, you lost it, you told a story about it. Then she started working on her documentary, How to Lose Your Virginity, which makes its Chicago premiere November 2, and realized it was ridiculously complicated.

"We're fascinated with the idea of virginity," she says. "And that fascination is so wrapped up in history and religion and pop culture. We all go through something. It's a primal adolescent experience."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

This blog post is just an excuse to listen to Commodores' 'Nightshift'

Posted By on 08.05.15 at 12:00 PM


Hey, what are you doing right now? Nothing? Cool. How about you just listen to Commodores' "Nightshift"? Nah? OK, got it.

Are you sure you don't want to listen to Commodores' "Nightshift"? Because I kind of get the feeling that you want to listen to it. I mean, it's a pretty great song. Oh, not your thing? Too 80s? Too cheesy? Sure, I understand.

But wait, are you sure you don't want to listen to "Nightshift"? It's sounding pretty good right now. Yeah, "Nightshift." You know who loves "Nightshift"? Joakim Noah. He's pretty cool, right? Well, he fucking LOVES "Nightshift" (editor's note: we have no actual confirmation that Joakim Noah loves "Nightshift"). That's a pretty good recommendation right there.

It's kind of weird that you don't want to listen to "Nightshift" right now. But hey, I'm just leaving it down here for you. It's today's 12 O'Clock Track. Also, Commodores play Arcada Theatre in Saint Charles on Saturday. I'm not sure what they'll play, but I have a pretty good feeling that they might play "Nightshift."

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

'Frances Stark: Intimism' goes inside the mind of a self-described horny middle-aged woman

Posted By on 07.28.15 at 12:32 PM

Total Performance (1988) - FRANCES STARK
  • Frances Stark
  • Total Performance (1988)

Heat rises in shimmering waves off the barren white plains. A thin crust of translucent salt coats the racetrack surface where motorcyclists gather to compete at the Bonneville Salt Flats. A young woman, her face turned toward the sun, poses against a waxed-down 250cc motorcycle. "I was out there racing and just happened to look good in a bikini," Frances Stark laughs. "I was really a weirdo, not some hottie." The photograph, titled Total Performance (1988), was the artist's ticket into art school. "If she looks like that, then let her in," was her mentor Mike Kelley's verdict. “I don't know if that’s true," Stark says now, "but it's a good story."

In "Frances Stark: Intimism" at the Art Institute of Chicago, drawings, collages, paintings, and video installations sparkle with the self-deprecating humor of artist, mother, ex-wife, self-proclaimed "attention whore" and "horny middle-aged woman." In a survey that spans two decades of lo-fi cat videos, iPhone photographs, PowerPoint presentations (such as the wryly provocative Structures That Fit My Opening) and online conversations on Chatroulette, the artist lays bare the uncut reel of her everyday life.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Magic Mike XXL is the best new movie of 1933

Posted By on 07.14.15 at 01:30 PM

One of the many hang-out sessions of Magic Mike XXL
  • One of the many hang out sessions of Magic Mike XXL
In a season when practically every new Hollywood release aspires to be like a five-scoop ice cream sundae, Magic Mike XXL goes down like a dish of lemon sorbet—light, tangy, and refreshing. For a couple hours the film invites viewers to enjoy the company of its characters, along with Alison Faulk's athletic choreography (which is even more impressive here than in the first Magic Mike) and some pleasant southern locations. It makes little pretense at storytelling. Mike's decision to return to stripping feels arbitrary; so does his colleagues' avowal that their trip to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach will be their "last ride" as male entertainers. At the same time, these aspects of the plot aren't belabored. The filmmakers introduce these motivations quickly, as if to get them out of the way, before moving on to scenes of Channing Tatum and his peers hanging out, which are the most relaxed and ingratiating of their kind I've seen in a recent movie.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Monday, July 13, 2015

Aziz Ansari is the dating guru we didn't realize we needed

Posted By on 07.13.15 at 08:30 AM

Aziz Ansari just explained to me why that girl from the Northwestern movie premiere didn’t text me back, and this alone might make his print debut Modern Romance worth a read—besides that it’s funny, thoughtful, and genuinely valuable, a scientific journal disguised as a book of laughs.

I had chatted up this girl at a student film event, felt like we had hit it off, and scored her number. When I shot her a follow-up text the next night, I apparently flew in the face of what Ansari calls the "cultural consensus" in regards to texting: it was too soon, the invitation a little too general, and the message probably too long as well. I never heard back, and when I entered What-Do-I-Have-To-Lose Mode and called her number a few days later, the silence continued. I had doomed myself. The revelation of my own first-contact ineptitude sucked for about fifteen seconds, but Ansari let me down gently. He presents his findings like a friend next to you at the bar, and what he has to say is always interesting.

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Larry Clark's solution to America's social ills? It has something to do with cunnilingus . . .

Posted By on 04.09.15 at 04:00 PM

Adam Mediano (right) in Marfa Girl
  • Adam Mediano (right) in Marfa Girl
Another week at Facets Cinematheque, another marginalized auteur brought out of the shadows. Tomorrow the venue begins a weeklong run of Marfa Girl, Larry Clark's first narrative feature since 2005, just after concluding a run of Ned Rifle, Hal Hartley's first narrative feature since 2006. Like Rifle, Marfa Girl's concerns are nothing less than America Today. Clark acknowledged as much in a 2013 interview with Filmmaker magazine, saying he set the film in the title Texas border town because he regards it as a microcosm of the national culture. His characteristically brusque description of the town is worth quoting at length:

Continue reading »

Tags: , , , , ,

The Bleader Archive

Popular Stories