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RE Gift

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The art mystery we'll give you $10 to solve

Posted By on 08.16.11 at 12:33 PM

The Chicago Reader receives dozens and dozens of pieces of mail every day. The vast majority of them are PR, with a few periodicals, letters to the editor, and notes from home (hi Mom!) sprinkled in; nothing too exciting. But yesterday an editor received a peculiar envelope with no return address that has some of us trying to wrap our heads around a bona fide mystery—a $10 art mystery, as it's been called, although it could be called the $1,000 art mystery.

The contents fof the mystery envelope
  • Andrea Bauer
  • The contents of the mystery package. The name of an editor has been removed from the large envelope.
Inside the envelope was another envelope that says "for you" on the front and "follow your Narrative Urge!" on the back; inside of that was a $10 bill, a small block of text on a strip of paper next to the number "65," and a note with a message book-ended with little hearts that says, in pretty handwriting, "Thanks for opening the envelope. The money is real. We are all parts of each others' stories. Let's create one together. Please join the project! Use the hints. Find me." Instead of a signature, the letter is signed with a "haiku clue" that hints at "a site to see." It reads:
robotic cranes dance
in singapore. in taiwan
appears tornadoes!

It was tagged with a scribble that was evidently a tiny tornado. That was it.

What was going on, we wondered. What project? Who's Whose (oops!) stories? Why just give away $10? Easing past the thought that this was a trap laid by some kind of modern-day Devil in the White City, we figured we were holding a kind of puzzle or conspiracy—we didn't know which.

As about an hour on the Internet revealed, the $10 art mystery turns out to be a really sophisticated and as-yet-unfinished narrative fiction experiment that hasn't quite made it out of the underground. We'd still love to figure out the mystery, and since we're obliged not to take the $10 bills due to our editor scolding us "ethics," we'll give you the $10 if you can figure out Chicago's part in the story.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Mediocre Last-Minute Gifts for People About Whom You're Ambivalent

Posted By on 12.24.09 at 06:35 PM

Yo, it's the day before (War on) Christmas. Have you purchased all of your gifts? How about for those near-stranger aunts and once-a-year uncles who annually give you a major case of the "ugh, I dunnos" when you're shopping for them? Or the coworkers you barely know but feel bad about skipping because they retrieved your mail for you that one time, or always say "hello" in the hallway? We conducted a short recon mission at places likely to be open at the very last minute—like, on Christmas Day—and dug up some ideas that won't cost you much time, effort, or money.

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Make Rock-Star Dreams Come True

Posted By on 12.24.09 at 11:28 AM

  • photo by Shayla Hason
Girls Rock! Chicago, the week-long summer camp where girls 8 to 18 get to pursue their dreams of being the next Taylor Swift, is rapidly expanding. In 2010 the camp is adding a second session to meet applicant demand. A little more than half the campers attend on a full or partial scholarship; if you're looking for charity gifts, pledge in honor of the rocking lady in your life. $400 covers the cost of one camper.

More ways to support rockin' girls below the jump.

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Holiday Cookie Recipes Courtesy of the Liberal Elite

Posted By on 12.24.09 at 09:30 AM

If you're looking for a last-minute gift idea, or a way to keep visiting family busy, the New York Times recently posted a mammoth holiday cookie guide, with recipes and dozens of droolworthy pics submitted by readers.

(Above: polvorones, or Mexican wedding cakes, by Rick Bayless.)

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The Season of Box Sets: Roots & Country

Posted By on 12.24.09 at 09:00 AM

Buddy Holly, Not Fade Away: The Complete Studio Recordings and More
  • Buddy Holly, Not Fade Away: The Complete Studio Recordings and More
I had a moment of internal struggle when it came time to subtitle this post, because the music of Buddy Holly can fit into so many categories: rock ’n’ roll, country, pop. Next to Jerry Lee Lewis, Holly has always been my favorite 50s pioneer. The young man from Lubbock, Texas, who died at 22 in the same February 1959 plane crash that took the lives of Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper, was a superb and distinctive singer. Plus his band came up with novel sonic ideas, and he wrote the most sophisticated, catchy melodies of any of the early rockers.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Americans, If You Can Find It

Posted By on 12.23.09 at 04:26 PM

The new anniversary edition of Robert Frank's landmark 1959 photojournalistic canvass of America, The Americans, is a must-have. It's sold-out on Amazon and at several chain book stores, but as of right now the MCA store has three copies in stock (in store, not online). Just $39.95.

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Holly GoNightly

Posted By on 12.23.09 at 04:13 PM

For your fave precious party girl: a replica of Holly Golightly's curious sleep mask from Breakfast at Tiffany's. $14 from Fred Flare. Mickey Rooney's disturbing yellow-face routine not included.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Give the Gift of Safety

Posted By on 12.22.09 at 12:20 PM

katherine of chicago

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Tickets: The ultimate last-minute gift

Posted By on 12.19.09 at 04:00 PM

As a mild agoraphobe with nontrivial social anxieties, I can promise you that one of the greatest gifts you can give is stuff that makes people leave the house. So I spent awhile browsing local venue calendars for promising shows, obligatory attendance at which might make a thoughtful gift.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Gifts for Journalists

Posted By on 12.18.09 at 03:20 PM

lomo bag

Lomography Sidekick Canvas Bag ($50). Elegant without looking stuffy; fits a laptop and has a modular camera bag.

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