Thanksgiving in Chicago

November 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Elmo takes in the view on State Street

For those of you spending the holiday in the city it is wise to make sure that you spend at least one or two days not doing coursework.  Sure meet up with other MAPHers and make a feast, but if you are looking for some diversions here are a few options.

Like Crowds?

If you don’t want to drive to the suburbs and participate in early morning black Friday pillaging there are other options for being in a mass of people.

Love the cupcake costumes!

Thanksgiving Parade on State Street. On November 24th you can head downtown. This is not quite Macy’s Parade in New York but there are floats and balloons and bands and your usual parade festivities. From 8:00-11:00 am on State street between Randolph and Congress.

Christkindl Market

The Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza lets you feel like you are visiting Germany over the holiday. A traditional style German market offers candied nuts in paper packets, gluwein, potato pancakes and bratwurst. There are also traditional blown glass ornaments, cuckoo clocks and other crafts. The market opens November 23rd. They light the tree at 4:30 on the 24th.

An Art Institute Lion gets its wreath on.

If you are already downtown you might as well check out the Macy’s windows (not as good as when in was still Marshall Field’s). You can then drop in on ice skating at Millennium Park or stop into the Art Institute to check out some art.  Also they will be putting wreaths on the lions at 10:00 am on November 26th.

Yes, the Zoolights are lovely. . .

A little further north, The Lincoln Park Zoo starts Zoolights on November 25th.  More mulled wine and hot pretzels are available as you take in the light display and see some zoo animals. Don’t forget to pick up some plastic mold-a-rama animals. They make great stocking-stuffers or Hanukkah presents . . .

Look, you could put a tiny wreath on your own Mold-A-Rama lion.

 

Crowds are not your thing?

You can still get out of Hyde Park and enjoy time outside.  The weather is supposed to be warm. Visit the lakefront. In fact, there are groups that meet up just to go for walks. The Museum of Science and Industry has their Christmas trees from around the world up and the Muppets (okay those will be croweded) but avoid the crowds and look a the U-boat exhibit instead. (MSI has mold-A-Rama machines too, who knew holiday shopping would be so cheap and easy.) See a movie or go see live theater. There are often cheap theater tickets the weekend after Thanksgiving or use your Artspass.

Give Back

This handy guide features a variety of charities in Chicago who are taking volunteers over the holiday weekend. University of Chicago has group service days on the 24th and 26th. Check out the calendar for details.

 

Places to hide and work

October 27th, 2011 § 5 comments § permalink

So after the MAPH Halloween Party many of you may be looking for that place to hide and work on your Lacan paper free from the distractions of your usual haunts. Here are some recommendations for places work around Hyde Park and Chicago.

 

Exterior of The Bourgeois Pig on a warm day.

North and Northwest Side

Head north and off the Fullerton el stop you can go to the Bourgeois Pig where they have good tea, coffee, sandwiches and lavender shortbread and if you find a table you can stay for a very long time undisturbed. It can get a bit busy so if background noise is not your preference choose another spot.

If you venture as far north and west as Lincoln Square  (off the Western Brown line stop) you have your pick of coffee shops. You can switch from one to another though out the day. For those into branding there is a Starbucks, but even better are the little coffee shops  The Grind, and Cafe Neo where laptops are welcome and you can stay all day. If you need a break you can always shop the secondhand stores or the the independent bookshop the Book Cellar (which also has a cafe) or take in a movie at the Davis as a reward for a day of hard work.  Further down Lincoln Ave. is a Chicago Public Library branch and a Julius Meinl where you can also study in peace.  There is another Julius Meinl on Southport and Addison (Wrigleyville) which is equally pleasant and close to both red and brown line stations.

Alliance Bakery’s vintage-y sign

Ben’s pick’s for good places to work are Noble Tree (Lincoln Park) it is four stories and has lots of space to hide and write and Dollop (Edgewater) and Cafe Mustache (Logan Square- near the California Blue line stop).  I’d add Alliance Bakery which has decent French macaroons and a nice room next door where you can work while you nibble your pastries and sip your beverage.

Hyde Park

So you need to avoid Harper and Z&H or the Regenstein. If you need the quiet of a library a library and don’t want to run into fellow MAPHers who might distract you try studying in the Crerar Library or the Law School Library. If you need caffeine with your studies, There is an Istria coffee shop in the Hyde Park Art Center or the Smart Cafe is also great. Bonjour Bakery is another  option and a bit removed from campus.

Downtown

Intelligentsia

Just a short bus ride from Hyde Park. You can use the Harold Washington Library on State Street or the DePaul University Library (just enter the DePaul building on State and Jackson through the Barnes and Noble and take the elevators upstairs) you do not need an ID to enter it is always quiet and full of business journals which will not be distracting.  There are great tables in the Chicago Cultural Center where you can camp out and if you need a break you can peek at whichever free exhibit is on display. Right next door to the Cultural Center is an Intelligentsia with great coffee there is another Intelligentsia on Jackson Ave, close to the Harold Washington Library.

Happy haunting and happy studying.

 

 

 

 

Chicago Theater Guide (now with more theaters)

September 30th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Okay so you’ve all survived your first week and you have six novels , two film screenings and Hegel to read over the weekend and MAPH Central keeps telling you to leave Hyde Park.  So if you don’t think you can squeeze in a play on this dreary rain-filled weekend save this post for some future night when you have an evening free and are wondering what you can do for $10.  Some of you are in an arts reviewing class so seeing performances is homework.

Chicago is a fantastic theater town.  There are many big theaters but there are also great small theaters performing in church basements and storefronts. There are performances where you could reach out and touch the actors (although the actors won’t like that). There are roughly 300 theaters producing work for almost every taste.  Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres website.

Theater Seats

However, the League won’t group them by style of theater and give you tips for seeing things cheaply. My updated guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap is after the jump.

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Nature in Chicago?

September 22nd, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

The city motto is after all "urbus en horto" so make sure to find the best of this city in a garden.

So many of you who have not been working or living in a big city may find yourself missing nature trails and places to hike or walk or generally not see other people. While (alas) no mountains are ever going to be around Chicago there are a number of easy ways to get a bit of a nature fix right in the city. As a Western girl I have found many places to see a bit of nature in the city and have some recommendations after the jump.

 

 

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Art. Institutions. Discuss.

September 12th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Here’s a guest post from indispensible preceptor Anna Lee, who will be your virtual guide to the Art Institute and art institutions in Chicago in general. We’ll be visiting the Art Institute as a MAPH horde on Thursday evening (meet at MAPHCentral at 4:15 PM or at the Modern Wing entrance at 5:00 PM). Anna’s intro gives you a great overview of some of the museum’s highlights–and of other places you’ll want to check out around town.

Although the Art Institute of Chicago’s collection is strong in various areas, the Impressionist holdings tend to be particularly popular. In the last few years, the newly-opened Modern Wing has also been a major draw. But since you’ll have the entire year to explore the museum, here are a few of the most “famous” members of the collection to start you off. It’s great to view these in person, no matter how many reproductions you’ve already seen, and it’s nice to know where they are when relatives visit. The links below will take you to each work’s official AIC description, which includes an image as well as its location in the museum:

GEORGES SEURAT, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte:

Seurat, "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte." Just like Promontory Point, n'est ce pas?

More Art to dazzle your senses after the jump » Read the rest of this entry «

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 . . .

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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 «