August 16th, 2011 § § 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 «
August 15th, 2011 § § permalink
Just the mention of Bridgeport Coffee Company got me thinking about my favorite places to get a caffeine fix in Chicago–a city awash in coffee. Four of my top choices are on Milwaukee Avenue. For anyone new to Chicago, Milwaukee Ave is a great way to get an introduction via bike ride / walk / El to Chicago’s Northwest Side. It’s the main artery: a street known for heavy bike traffic, vintage stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes. Over the past 20 years, the effects of gentrification (there it is: the g-word) have marched up Milwaukee Ave.
Perhaps more pertinent for new students and alums alike, the neighborhoods along this major diagonal artery (East Village [or, more recently according to silly apartment rental sites: Noble Square], Wicker Park, Bucktown, and Logan Square) are heavily populated by graduates of MAPH. You’ll find them busily at work at Lovely Bakery, Filter, Wormhole, and Cafe Mustache. (For natives: obviously, there are others on the list to be sure. Some, I don’t know well enough to comment on, so feel free to chime in. Others, namely New Wave Coffee, just make me sad. You could be so great New Wave. Why do you suck so much) Tour de Caffeine, after the jump…
» Read the rest of this entry «
August 15th, 2011 § § 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 «
August 9th, 2011 § § permalink
This really doesn’t happen…that…often
This is a public service announcement; an advisory; an exhortation to get into the habit now if you’re already here: there is a much wider city beyond Hyde Park. And you need to see it.
So: welcome to Hyde Park!!!
Now get out of here already.
First off, everything you need to know about cabs, buses, trains, and horse/carriages to get yourself up to town is at this link. Get on public transit. Get on a bike. Walk if you have to. You can even swim. Just don’t swim if there’s a swim ban. How do you check if there’s a swim ban? Check here. (More activities after the jump): » Read the rest of this entry «
February 14th, 2011 § § 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…
January 27th, 2011 § § 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 «
November 30th, 2010 § § permalink
So you are finally done with all your papers and want a cheap way to reward yourself before heading home, or you planned your winter travel badly and have a week to kill before you go home. Either way, it is a great opportunity to bundle up and see some of Chicago’s winter sights.
Ice Skating in Millennium Park
See the full list after the jump. . . » Read the rest of this entry «
November 9th, 2010 § § permalink
Hopleaf. Mussels and brews
A few blocks west of the Berwyn CTA stop, you can have yourself a totally hip-in-the-yuppie-sense kind of night in the adorable neighborhood of Andersonville (which, is still technically kind of Uptown, but it’s cooler to call it Andersonville). A great one-two punch is dinner and drinks at Hopleaf followed by the Saturday evening performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind at the Neofuturarium.
Hopleaf has two bars, and a zillion beers. It’s cash-only at the tapless upstairs bar, but usually less crowded than the larger bar on the lower level. For my money at a Belgian gastro, it’s got to be either Corsendonk Brown or the Maredsous 8, but at a bar like Hopleaf, it’s easy to try something new. Don’t order a freaking Leffe. That’s all I ask. Splitting the Moules Mariniere and a side of frites is totally acceptable, and will only cost you 11 bucks each if you’re going Dutch.
After dinner, a little bit full of hops, head a few blocks to the Neofuturarium to catch the long running TMLMTBGB–or, 30 plays in 60 minutes. Every show, the ensemble cast of TMLMTBGB attempts to preform 30 plays in one hour. They write, produce, and perform all of these short plays (which last anywhere from 10 seconds to a few minutes). There are lots of wacky rules and unsettling invasions of your personal space, and it’s all a great deal of fun. Shows run at 11:30 on Friday and Saturday nights, but it’s not unusual for folks to start queuing up at around 10:30. Make sure that you’ve got your Hopleaf beer jacket on as we get close to the winter months.
Warmed by the slightly schlocky performance, head back to Hopleaf afterward and stay till 3. You’re in luck (or trouble) because Hopleaf is a 3 AM bar. Take the Red Line back down south and catch the free UChicago shuttle back to Hyde Park at the Roosevelt stop. The last bus leaves at 4:00 AM for HP. See more information here.
August 19th, 2010 § § permalink
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. There are over 200 theaters producing great innovative work for almost every taste. Most of them are listed at the League of Chicago Theatres website.
Here is my basic quick guide to Chicago theaters and tips for seeing theater on the cheap.
Reviews appear in the Sun Times, Tribune, Chicago Reader and TimeOut Chicago and a number of theater blogs, which given how much newspaper space for reviews has been cut can be a great place to look for information on shows. Chicago Theater Blog, Stead Style Chicago and Theatre in Chicago and Chicago Critic all have reviews.
The Chicago theater awards are known as the Jeffs (short of the Joseph Jefferson Award) so if you see a play has been Jeff nominated or Jeff Citation nominated then it means a panel of fellow Chicago theater artists think it is good.
Movement Based Theater
Check out: The Building Stage (I saw an amazing adaptation of Moby Dick here where different actors played Ishmael and Ahab) Redmoon (known for their annual spectacles and puppet, The House, TUTA (The Utopian Theatre Asylum- the first play I saw there was an adaptation of a Peter Handke novel and performed without speaking), Lookingglass (they are particularly known for their Lookingglass Alice- expect to see someone dangle from a rope), 500 Clown (you haven’t seen Macbeth until you’ve seen it done by three actors with comedia dell’arte and clown training), or Plasticene.
Chicago Dramatists, New Leaf, Theatre Oobleck (always free if you’re broke and amazing writing) Curious Theater Branch, Victory Gardens Theatre (where Kristoffer Diaz’s The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity debuted last year) or Collaboraction (which hosts an annual sketchbook). » Read the rest of this entry «
August 9th, 2010 § § permalink
Dare you to finish.
Say what you will about the lines at Kuma’s Corner. If you go on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday around actual dinner hour, chances are you will be waiting an hour or possibly more (especially if you want to sit out on the patio). But go early (say, around 5) on a Wednesday and have a beer at the bar first. Or, if it’s a cold afternoon, you might want a whisky, which they have ON TAP (contain yourself though, there’s a lot of eating to be done). Bottom line, if you get there early for dinner, you’ll be able to sit down without much of a problem at all. Lunch is murder. I say don’t even attempt it.
And why go in the first place? This heavy metal-themed spot in Avondale serves up arguably the best burgers in town. Usually, I am opposed with the force of religious conviction to the idea of complicated burgers. Give me something with lettuce, tomato, onion, and ketchup, and I’ll be good to go.
But that’s because accouterments are expected to mask a sub-par burger. If your friend is mixing chopped onions and tomatoes into ground meat, chances are she is afraid to let the burger stand on its own. The thinking is often: if you can put enough sh*t on the plate, people will forget what the beef is actually supposed to taste like. » Read the rest of this entry «