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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Fans celebrated Star Wars Day with a faux lightsaber battle in the South Loop

Posted By on 05.05.16 at 03:37 PM

Is that you, Anakin? - CHRIS RIHA
  • Chris Riha
  • Is that you, Anakin?

Rest assured, Wednesday's lightsaber battle wasn't between Friends of the Park and the Chicago city council over the fate of the Lucas Museum.

Dozens of costumed fans of the space opera gathered in the South Loop on to celebrate Star Wars Day (May the Fourth) with a "Lightsaber Freeze Mob." Members of the Chicago Jedi teamed up with EDGE Theater—whose recent adaptation of Shakespeare's MacBeth (MacSith) was set in the Star Wars universe—for a series of posed battles between good and evil.

Reader photo intern Chris Riha was there to document the faux wars. 


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Thursday, March 17, 2016

Trump Tower: A terrible place to watch Trump win Illinois

Posted By on 03.17.16 at 11:58 AM

If there were justice in the world, the TRUMP sign would be in printed in Comic Sans. - PHOTO: CHELSEA COOPER; ILLUSTRATION: SUE KWONG
  • Photo: Chelsea Cooper; Illustration: Sue Kwong
  • If there were justice in the world, the TRUMP sign would be in printed in Comic Sans.

CNN had just called the Illinois primary for Donald Trump, but I might have been the only one inside Trump Tower who noticed.

This wasn't how it was supposed to go down.

I opted to spend election night at Trump Tower in anticipation of something exciting happening. I expected a fraction of the protesters from last week's aborted Trump rally at UIC to dust off their "Dump Trump" and "Mein Drumph" signs and fill up the lobby. Or maybe a viewing party thrown by Trump enthusiasts cosplaying in expensive Armani suits and "Make America Great Again" caps. Could the GOP front-runner himself make a surprise appearance? I wasn't willing to rule it out. Illinois was a big electoral prize and this was the House That Trump Built. (Or rather: "The House Trump Stamped His Name on in Giant Ass 20-Foot Block Letters.")

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Thursday, November 19, 2015

Groupon's goofy 'clip-in man bun' goes viral

Posted By on 11.19.15 at 01:30 PM

Groupon's "Clip-in Man Bun"
  • Groupon's "Clip-in Man Bun"

Ashley Hamer expected the "clip-in man bun" to receive a few scattered guffaws when she wrote a Groupon ad for it last week.

Instead the puffy attachable-hairpiece sale went viral, inspiring a #Manbun hashtag on Twitter and countless memes, many of which involved photoshopping faux man buns on celebrities (Obama, Donald Trump, and NBA commentator Ernie Johnson, for example). Hundreds of media outlets—from CNN to GQ to the New York Post—quickly hopped on the bandwagon with incredulous "Can you believe this is a thing?" coverage.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's the requisite 2014 Riot Fest slideshow!

Posted By on 09.16.14 at 07:00 AM

Riot Fest organizers went big for the punk spectacular's tenth anniversary—more than 100 bands performed on seven stages, and ten of them played classic albums in their entirety—but no amount of planning could've stopped Friday's inclement weather from, um, raining on all the fun. The muddy Humboldt Park fields threatened to suck attendees' shoes off, but plenty of performers made it easy to forget about the fest's awkward layout, strange smells, and the Pizza Underground. There were plenty of great performances to take in all weekend long, be it Patti Smith's heartfelt tribute to her late husband (MC5's Fred "Sonic" Smith), the Flaming Lips' psychedelic fever dream, the Hotelier's visceral anthems, or ShowYouSuck's seriously fun one-man pizza party. Chances are even if you went to Riot Fest you couldn't see everything you wanted to (there were plenty of schedule conflicts), but fortunately the Reader is here for you: our talented photo staff slogged through the rain and mud to capture all the sights for your enjoyment, so put on Reign in Blood (or whatever classic album you love from front to back) and dig in. Leor Galil

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

When surveillance culture was funny

Posted By on 06.11.13 at 04:11 PM

One of the Candid Microphone comedy records
  • One of the Candid Microphone comedy records
The night after Edward Snowden claimed responsibility for one of the biggest leaks in U.S. history—concerning the National Security Agency's surveillance of countless civilians at home and abroad—the Northwest Chicago Film Society screened a Candid Microphone short from 1952 as a lead-in to Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole. Like the long-running TV series Candid Camera (which first aired in 1948), Microphone was based on a popular radio show in which comedian Allen Funt played pranks on unsuspecting people and used hidden equipment to record the results. After he played his mark as a fool, Funt would admit to the gag, and everyone would have a good laugh. "You're in the movies!" he said in last night's segment, a variation on his usual catchphrase, "Smile, you're on Candid Camera!" In light of recent events, it all seemed kind of creepy.

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Did you read about Hurricane Sandy, drone strikes, and rap-game SEO manipulation tactics?

Posted By on 10.29.12 at 10:44 AM

It doesnt look so bad.
  • It doesn't look so bad
Each day Reader staffers share stories that fascinate, amuse, or inspire us.

Hey, did you read:

• That there's a massive hurricane looming over the northeast coast? (Also, I'm stuck in it right now—thanks, Southwest Airlines!) Tal Rosenberg

• Paul Krugman in the NYT on Medicaid? (It faces "savage cuts" if Mitt Romney is elected, even though it "has been more successful at controlling costs than any other major part of the nation's health care system.") Steve Bogira

• That, according to a report by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 168 children have been killed in U.S. drone strikes on Pakistan? Ben Sachs

• This eye-opening NYT piece on the retail industry's use of ever-more part-time workers? Mick Dumke

• Andrew "Noz" Nosnitsky on Rap Genius's SEO manipulation tactics? Leor Galil

• About Lena "Girls" Dunham's suggestive new ad for the Obama campaign? Jerome Ludwig

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Julia Child: "I just love pussies"

Posted By on 10.07.12 at 08:00 AM

Julia_s_Cats.jpg
Get your minds out of the gutter, people. She was talking about cats.

The relevant passage from Julia's Cats: Julia Child's Life in the Company of Cats (Abrams Image):

Pussycats. Before Paris, Julia admitted that she had never really known cats, but "since Minette and other French cats, I just love pussies." In the decade after Paris, Paul's job meant they were always being uprooted, so she couldn't have a cat to call her own, but every time she saw one, she fell under the old spell. Alley cats and strays or the feline friends of friends—she couldn't resist scooping them up and giving a squeeze. Each one reminded her of Minette and those magical days at Roo de Loo.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The view from the bottom of the bill: Outer Minds' Pitchfork diary

Posted By on 07.17.12 at 02:00 PM

Outer Minds in 2011
Most of the acts on the bill at this past weekend's Pitchfork Music Festival are the type of professionals who hire managers and publicists and work well within an indie music industry that now looks remarkably similar to the mainstream one. Not so Chicago's Outer Minds, who pair their folk-rock-on-trucker-speed sound with the kind of resolutely antiestablishment attitude that most people bail on by the time they're out of high school.

As one of the unlikeliest bands in town to end up playing a massive, precision-crafted festival, they were also the perfect group to document their Pitchfork experience for us. After the jump, Outer Minds front man Zach Medearis shares what it's like being the first band on the side stage on the first day of the festival, in stream-of-consciousness journal form.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Pitchfork: the festival in review

Posted By on 07.16.12 at 06:04 PM

Some of the attendees who chose to get muddy
I just watched a video shot at the Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend, and the sight of the festival grounds alone was enough to trigger a wave of somatic anxiety and exhaustion. Even for those of us who don't consider a policy of avoiding dehydration by drinking one bottle of water for every two beers to be "stupid," like some of the interviewees in this video, the festival weekend can be physically grueling.

Despite its inherent brutality, Pitchfork is still my favorite of Chicago's big summer festivals—partly because it's so well run and conscientious of its attendees. The rainstorms during the weekend only resulted in slight deviations from the planned schedule, and a phalanx of staff and volunteers managed to offset the rains' effects on the grounds to the point where the only people who got muddy were the ones who wanted to. And when the weather turned sunnier and hotter, there was free sunblock available—and the security guards in front of the stages gave free bottles of water to the fans dancing up front, who needed hydration the most. Given that Lollapalooza often resembles a strangely festive and hypercapitalistic refugee camp, these small gestures matter.

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day three: return of the Pitchfork Music Festival coverage

Posted By on 07.15.12 at 08:00 AM

By now you're exhausted, sore, and potentially hungover. You know what that means: Time for another full day of music in the hot sun!

If it's your first day at the Pitchfork Music Festival, check Miles Raymer's introduction for general info. We have reviews of all of Sunday's acts, but the itineraries we have from staff and other contributors may be more helpful for planning your day. For today, we've got Raymer ("1 PM: Drink water. Drink another water right after that. Maybe also one of those vegan frappuccinos from the hippie food stand"), editor Mara Shalhoup ("I don't love Vampire Weekend and I still don't care what anyone says"), contributor Luca Cimarusti ("You can hear Beach House and Vampire Weekend anytime you turn on modern-rock radio or step into a Gap"), Chic-a-Go-Go cohost Ratso ("Being an underage puppet with tinnitus, my recommendations are suspect"), and attorney Barry Owen, one of the winners of our Pitchfork itinerary contest ("I'm going to need more beer than I thought").

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Agenda Teaser

Music
Swamp Dogg The Promontory
November 16
Performing Arts
The Better Half Steppenwolf Theatre, 1700 Theatre
November 08

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