Use that Student Loan “Living Expenses” Money

August 29th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Bring Wine to HB. Stay for Dinner

What recession? You’re flush with loan money (aka Play Money….aka money that you’ll have to be careful with and keep safe and spend on books).

Or, well, for now, you’re new to town, and can use your green status as an excuse so treat yourself to (just one, you swear) really fantastic meal before the whirlwind starts up. Chicago is up there with New York and San Francisco when it comes to gustatory delights. And if you think it’s a steakhouse-only town, here are some places that will disabuse you of this rumor. These places won’t break the bank wide open (and if you’re interested in Alinea, Charlie Trotter, L2O, or any of the others, you might start trying to get reservations now…).

Rather, these places are more than delicious for the price of entry.

1) HB: Up in Lakeview, chef and owner Joncarl Lochman puts together a menu of wildly different flavors and ingredients that are locally sourced. HB offers a contemporary take on comfort food, and it’s one of two BYO’s on my list. Prices are really, really reasonable for both the portions and the quality of the food. You never feel rushed either–but make a reservation if you can. (Wallet impact with wine: Pricey / Without wine: downright reasonable)

If you’re stumped on wine, hop across the street to The Gourmet Grape and pick up a bottle. Here are some recommendations of some CA wines they have on offer:

  • Merlot: 2005 Duckhorn, Napa (expensive, but really delicious: $57)
  • Zinfandel: 2006 Trentadue, Sonoma (moderate: $17)
  • Sauvignon Blanc: 2007 Trinitas, Napa (moderate $18)

(More guilt-inducing indulgences after the jump…) » Read the rest of this entry «

Free (or cheap) Autumn Entertainment

August 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

So it seemed like it was time to update the blog with a new batch of free or cheap ways to entertain yourself as a graduate student.  Courses haven’t started so there is no excuse for not trying out a few of these options before you are drowning in reading.

First for incoming students it is great to know that your University of Chicago ID serves as your arts pass to get you in free or discounted to many area museums and theaters.

The Chicago Cultural Center

Ceiling at the Chicago Cultural Center

Festivals and Lectures

There will be many fantastic lectures on campus. However, the Chicago Humanities Festival hosts events all over the city in October and November. Most of them free or very cheap for students there is no excuse not to go see Steven Sondheim, Laurie Anderson or Jonathan Franzen speak.

Many Chicago street festivals are still happening in September and October.

Check out the Renegade Craft Fair September 10-11, Oktoberfest, September 23-24 or the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, September 24-25. A full list is here. Don’t miss free concerts in Millenium Park or Grant Park.

Theater

Discounted theater tickets are available the week of performances at hottix It is always worth asking for a student rate or checking your arts pass discount at most theaters.

Be sure to check out my guide to Chicago theaters here.  There are over 200 small theaters in Chicago covering ever style, taste and price range, many small companies still have industry nights, or pay-what-you-can nights.

More free things after the jump . . .

» Read the rest of this entry «

Chicago: Home of the Used Bookstores

August 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6j8EiWIVZs

If there’s one major character trait that all MAPHer’s tend to have in common, it’s a borderline nerd-level appreciation for books (and, perhaps, booze…but that’s a post for another day). Thankfully, you now (or soon will) live in a city that is chock-full of fantastic book stores ready to cater to your every-reading need. And, thankfully, you have three mentors who share this trait and are happy to impart our knowledge on to you.

So, take a break from Core prep reading (syllabus coming soon) and mosey on down to one or two (or all) of these gems to pick up some books that should really be on your summer reading list (see A-J’s post on non-required summer reading for several suggestions). And, be sure to share any good title recommendations with us at MAPH Central (see where to go after the jump)… » Read the rest of this entry «

“The Interrupters”: A Plug for Kartemquin, MAPH, and Chicago

August 17th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

See it.

The Interrupters is vital documentary watching for anyone coming to Chicago. In it, director Steve James and co-producer/writer Alex Kotlowitz spend a year with the Violence Interrupters of Ceasefire. This organization, founded by an epidemiologist, treats violence as an infectious disease. It employs individuals, many of whom have criminal records, to go into communities of Chicago and intervene in potentially fatal situations.
Justine Nagan, a MAPH alum, is Executive Director of Kartemquin.

What the Locals Read

August 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Read Reader.

While we trust that you’ll be checking MAPHtastic every hour on the hour for urgent updates on all things social/academic life at UChicago, in case you want to hear a different voice, here are some of the best in-town publications to check out. Allegedly people still read the Tribune and the Sun-Times.

I don’t. But if you’re looking for other things that people do still actually read, start after the jump… » Read the rest of this entry «

Get your Classical Music On.

August 16th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

French horns are for girls.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra is located a quick Metra ride from Hyde Park (get off at Van Buren Street) on Michigan Avenue. Supposedly Ricardo Muti, who was hired as Musical Director after epic, NFL Lockout-like negotiations last year, went on to spend nearly the entire season convalescing (17th Century Style) in the Alps for what seems to have been a mysterious illness (post-contract fatigue. See also ADAM DUNN but HOLY GOD Don’t get me started). Get student rush tickets after the jump… » Read the rest of this entry «

SoooOOoooOOOOOO Chicago: BRIDGEPORT

August 15th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

 

I smell hipsters. (And coffee).

Perhaps best known as the home base of the Daly dynasty (you know, the American Pharaohs), Bridgeport is a small and eclectic neighborhood on the near South Side (though it’s only an 8 minute drive from Hyde Park, it takes about an hour to get there via public transit. Trust me. I know). For one reason or another, its residents fiercely defend the distinctiveness of the neighborhood. The local Assembly of God has gone as far as to make their own custom “Bridgeportopoly” which you can buy or win as a prize at Bernice’s Tavern (see below). » Read the rest of this entry «

SOooOoooOOOOOOoOO Chicago: A totally cliche night in LINCOLN SQUARE

February 14th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

Worth the hike

Lincoln Square feels like a cheerful little Chicago suburb.  That’s kind of what it is.  There’s no doubt that it’s pretty f’n far from everything, but a long escape from Hyde Park never hurt anyone. Lincoln Square used to be home to a big German immigrant population.  A few brauhauses still dot the neighborhood, and you’ll find one of the city’s largest Christkindl markets there in December.  In all,

Here’s a pretty generic evening to increase the happiness in your life.

A movie at The Davis Theatre: Shows before 6 PM are a paltry $5.50, and though the screens might cut off part of the frame (picture quality was sacrificed in exchange for more capacity a few years back), the seats are warmly worn and the crowd is friendly.

Dinner at The Grafton: A pub just down the street, The Grafton caters to local clientele and serves basic pub fare.  The selection of whiskey and the warm, dark ambience are perfect for the “relentless” part of winter.  You know, when it’s still cold and windy and rainy, and all you want is for the days to get longer.

Drinks at Huttenbar: It’s a German part of town.  Go grab a pilsnerbier and be merry.  Just be sure to only use one hand when you’re drinking.  Germans apparently don’t like it when you grasp a mug with two hands.  Don’t ask how I know this.  I just.  Do.

Getting There: Take the brown line forever.  (Just kidding, get off at Damen or Western on the Brown.  It can take as little as 45 minutes to get up there if you time the transfer from Millennium or the Bus the right way).  Keep in mind that your tour directors (mentors) are always able to talk about things up north to do to keep you sane…

SOOooOOOOoOOoooOO Chicago: A Totally Cliche Outing in Logan Square

January 27th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Get there before he does.

It’s no secret anymore.  Or maybe it never was a secret.  In any case, everyone knows about Logan Square now.  But that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get out there for a night on the town before every beardo in Chicago takes his be-tighted date to Longman and Eagle (which, btw, got a MICHELIN F*CKING STAR) for ironic PBR’s.  Sure, the Red Eye just did a huge profile of this exploding neighborhood.  I still insist: you don’t need to head south to Humboldt Park yet to have a totally, like, authentic Chicago outing.  Here’s what you can do in Logan Square that they didn’t talk about:

“Work from Home” – Or from New Wave Coffee, whichever you’re closer to.  New Wave has a hugely open space and is the rough equivalent of the neighborhood’s lower-key version of Wicker Park’s Filter.  If you want a smaller venue, Cafe Mustache opened more recently and is getting great reviews from totally legit Yelpers…

“I’m like, kind of an aspiring audiophile” – Retro tech is obviously now mainstream (the music industry grew in only one category last year: vinyl sales).  So head over to Saki to and take some Instagrams of yourself buying the new Black Keys pressing, you hipster. » Read the rest of this entry «

Hyde Park Census Data

January 6th, 2011 § 2 comments § permalink

Just dots here, but check out the site.

Type one of Hyde Park’s zip codes (60637 works well) into the New York Times‘s “Mapping America” feature on the Census data, and get a  clear picture about how our neighborhood’s architecture, park boundaries, and the presence of the University itself starkly alter racial geographies.  It’s not exactly earth-shattering news–that is, not at all un-obvious–but once in awhile a clear graphic representation of realities on the ground can make even the obvious seem visceral in a different way.  Thoughts are always welcome…