The Bleader | Blog + Reader, the Chicago Reader's blog

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Blackhawks: line readings

Posted By on 12.31.11 at 01:00 PM

Jonathan Toews
  • Jonathan Toews
"I like that line," coach Joel Quenneville said about the grouping of captain Jonathan Toews with wingers Marian Hossa and Daniel Carcillo. It might have been the understatement of the night as the Blackhawks trimmed the archrival Detroit Red Wings 3-2 Friday at the United Center before a season-high 22,166 fans. Toews and Hossa are tenacious forecheckers, and Carcillo brings the body blows to form a group that's effective at both ends of the ice.

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The year in music: my favorite albums the Reader has favored

Posted By on 12.31.11 at 12:00 PM

Parts & Labor: Constant Future
  • Parts & Labor: Constant Future
I'm not sure you've noticed, but most weeks the Reader previews 14 artists in Soundboard, not counting the exhaustive festival coverage we do in the summer months for Pitchfork, Lollapalooza, the World Music Festival, the Chicago Jazz Festival, and others. Altogether, that's roughly 728 different artists annually (though of course Thee Oh Sees, who release 11 albums a year, mess up the count by touring so relentlessly that they warrant something like four previews all by themselves). I'm pretty sure you've noticed that we live in Chicago, the third most populous city in the U.S., home to a thriving scene of monster ballrooms and theaters, divey neighborhood holes in the wall, and DIY basement dumps. So when a band drops a new album and starts packing up the van for a cross-country haul, chances are it's heading this way.

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More best bites and sips of 2011

Posted By on 12.31.11 at 08:00 AM

Antelope tonnato at MorSo

For our Year in Review issue, food writer Mike Sula compiled a list of 2011's best restaurants, along with the help of his state-of-the-art, myriad-data-crunching software program CriticKiller2012. They also threw in an impressively wide-ranging list of 133 tasty things the human half of the duo had eaten and drunk over the year. I don't get around as much—I'm just the restaurants editor—but I did have some notable potables and bites. Here's a modest list of them, in chronological order.

(1) In the cold of January I schlepped out to John Des Rosiers' Lake Bluff restaurant Inovasi, where among the highlights were steamed Manila clams and a salad of arugula and red oak lettuce with house-made bacon.Yet the tastiest, most memorable thing I had there was the "inovaccia", cappuccino capped with thick goat's milk froth. And that's not a diss.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

The year in music: best albums that aren't from this year

Posted By on 12.30.11 at 02:52 PM

Emmylou Harris
  • Emmylou Harris
One of the frustrating parts of putting together year-end album lists is that by any given December at least a few of the records that mattered most to me during the previous 12 months didn't actually come out in that time frame. Given how regularly I discover or rediscover great old material, I could make an entire year-end list of it. So I did. After the jump, a few of my favorites.

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Chicago's most memorable live rock of 2011

Posted By on 12.30.11 at 10:00 AM

Off!
  • Off!
It's the time of year when music lovers the world over scramble to compile and rank our favorite performances, records, songs, 45s, and mix-tapes of 2011. After the jump I've listed what I consider to be the best, most memorable Chicago shows from over the past year. It's an odd number, but I'm almost positive that I'm not forgetting anything. Enjoy:

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This week's movie action

Posted By on 12.30.11 at 09:00 AM

The Maltese Falcon (1941)
  • The Maltese Falcon (1941)
If you pick up our print edition you’ll find an attractive digest version of the year-end review pieces we’ve been posting online throughout the month. Of the 20 favorites mentioned in our lists, only one—Terence Malick’s The Tree of Life—is screening in Chicago this week, but it’s well worth checking out if you missed it over the summer. It plays Monday through Thursday at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

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Eat ashes at Telegraph Wine Bar

Posted By on 12.30.11 at 08:00 AM

Most Key Ingredient chefs haven't put the dishes they've made on their menus—with good reason. While the food has been surprisingly palatable overall, you can imagine how bull's balls might not appeal to the average Blackbird patron. Mindy Segal did, but her ingredient was the relatively tame sorghum syrup, with which she made a carrot cake that fit right in at Hot Chocolate. (While Luke Creagan didn't put his bamboo-worm poutine on the menu at Pops for Champagne, someone ordered it anyway.)

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

City arts staff gone missing—again

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 05:15 PM

1325115831-summer_dance_test.par.10408.image.-1.-1.1.jpg
Yikes! An e-mail sent to the city's widely admired music programmer Michael Orlove this week came back with this auto-reply: "I no longer work for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture."

Orlove's innovations include the World Music Festival, Downtown Sound, and SummerDance; his departure would be a huge loss—if it should actually happen.

It might or might not, since what we have here is round two of the city's magic arts-and-culture-staffing show: now you see a whole team of arts workers, now you don't.

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Post-holiday sales

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 04:39 PM

It's on: Cash that check and hit the streets.

The end-of-season sale at Tula, 3738 N. Southport, includes sweaters, scarves, hats, gloves, and New Year's outfits marked at up to 50 percent off. Also on Southport, at 3458, Krista K is slashing prices all the way to 75 percent off. And their neighbor Cerato, 3451 N. Southport, has clothing by indie and local designers for 50 percent off on Thursday, 40 percent off on Friday, and 30 percent off on Saturday.

At Sarca, 710 N. Wabash, all fall-winter items—including jewelry, shoes, and bags—are up to 30 percent off.

Art Effect, 934 W. Armitage, is offering select clothes at 30 to 70 percent off, hats and scarves for 30 percent off, and select jewelry—such as a Jennifer Bailey turquoise and topaz wrap bracelet that is marked down to $230 from $460—at 50 percent off.

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133 tasty things from 2011

Posted By on 12.29.11 at 03:18 PM

Tamales Garibay
It's that time of year again. Just like last December, after mathematically calculating the best restaurants of 2011, I found myself haunted by dozens and dozens of memorably delicious things from everywhere I went. Even the most loathed and forgettable restaurants usually had one or two things to recommend them. And the best had plenty.

Here they are, in no particular order:

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Perfect Arrangement The Broadway at Pride Arts Center
September 21
Performing Arts
The Skin of Our Teeth Greenhouse Theater Center
October 19

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