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An Open Letter

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The dog is ashamed.

Confidential to the guy who wrote me expressing disgust with the online Sun Times sports section’s use of “borderline pornography” involving “boobs popping out of women's clothing (or lack thereof), 13 total images,” in fact, which amount to “spoon-feeding pre-packaged sexual pleasure meals to anyone who will take a bite.”

I just want to say Sir that I too am appalled and disgusted by The Sun Times sports section—it’s got sports in it! And there is nothing I find more atrocious than sports.

With respect,

Sarah Terez Rosenblum

A writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum freelances for a number of web sites and print publications. Her debut novel, “Herself When She’s Missing," is forthcoming from Soft Skull, an imprint of Counterpoint Press. She is also a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago’s StoryStudio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She's kind of looking forward to it actually.
IMPORTANT: the official Our Town site doesn't support comments. Join in the conversation by following facebook.com/OurTownBlog.ChicagoSunTimes and Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez

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Kingsville
8 p.m. at Stage Left Theatre; $22
A locked-and-loaded speculative drama, playwright Andrew Hinderaker's "Kingsville" puts a piece of conservative rhetoric to the test of imagination: What if the solution to guns in schools was more guns in schools? Tensely performed and smoothly executed, director Vance Smith's production brings it down to a contest of masculinity.

Bonobo, Thunderball
9 p.m. at Metro; $16-$22
With the release of his fourth studio album, Simon Green (aka Bonobo) has taken a much-needed step away from his roots in the downtempo scene. Songstress Andreya Triana steps in where Bajka left off, and the result is an undeniable display of musical synergy. For Bonobo's show at the Metro, you can expect both Triana as well as a live band, which ought to give fans the full breadth of what Green is capable of.

Bumps, Bruises and Bedtime Stories
7 p.m. at Zanies; $20
Talk hockey with former NHL goons Stu Grimson, Jim McKenzie and Reid Simpson. Harry Teinowitz of ESPN Radio hosts.

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Big Buck Hunter Championship
5 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday at Cubby Bear; $5 cover
Hunting season hits Chicago with the third annual Big Buck Hunter World Championships, the pinnacle of competition for this bar-friendly arcade game. Top players from around the world - including X-Games star Travis Pastrana - will attempt to shoot their way to $50,000 in prize money. The event is open to the public and features free game plays for spectators and raffle prizes, such as the new Big Buck Hunter Wii Game.

Oktoberfest Kickoff Party
5 p.m. Friday at Faith & Whiskey; free
Work your way through all 10 $3 Oktoberfest pints and receive a free $15 gift certificate to a Chinese restaurant. More decidedly German offerings include a free bratwurst buffet from 5pm-8pm; a $100 cash prize for the best Lederhosen wearer or German beer wench costume; and a "Germany's Best Video Power Hour" at 8 p.m. featuring clips ranging from The Hoff to Dirk Nowitzki to Claudia Schiffer, to the lyrical stylings of Rammstein (to keep it light).

Pacific Division
10 p.m. Friday at Subterranean; $13-$15
Hailing from SoCal, Pac Div has spent the better part of their young careers trying to carve themselves out a niche. Many have compared them to fellow up-and-comers The Cool Kids, but you'd be surprised how focused a vision they have as opposed to the straight party rap material. A strong buzz has been surrounding their newest album, Grown Kids Syndrome, and if the product lives up to the hype, it should pave the way for a big breakout year. Their performance at Sub-T will serve as an official album release party as well as a celebration for Ground Lift Media (now in its fourth year) and Jugrnaut clothing (third year). Opening will be talented lyricists Mic Terror and Que Billah.

Nightmares on Lincoln Ave Too - Totally Tubular Tales of Terror
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Conservatory; $7-$15
Quake, 1980s pop culture hegemony! The children of the '90s are on the rise. Kick off Halloween season with the latest show from the Cornservatory, which draws on the rich heritage of Nickelodeon, parodying beloved ephemera from "Troll 2" to "Are You Afraid of the Dark" to "Goosebumps." Pair with trick or treating for the perfect evening of regression.

Fork, Cork & Style
Saturday at Arlington Race Track; $12
This tailgate-themed food and wine festival will feature unique dishes from America's best restaurants, chef cooking demonstrations by Emeril Lagasse and other celebrity chefs, a high-end wine tasting with 250 elite brands and innovative ways to dress up tailgating parties.

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A couple of football specials to pass along, in case you’re looking for somewhere to watch the game tonight:

Longtime radio personality-turned podcaster Steve Dahl takes his show on the road to Trader Vic’s for Aloha Monday Nights. He’ll be hanging out with everyone at the Gold Coast bar offers up $3 domestic and import bottles, $5 Bear Bombs and a $12 Pigskin buffet.

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap is running a season-long “coin toss” special. Each table will get a chance to flip a special Melnick’s coin to win prizes like food specials and discounts. You can also get half price Rogue bottles all night long.

Looking for more? Find plenty of NFL game-day specials here.

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The big Blackhawks parade isn't the only exciting sports-related event going on downtown tomorrow. The South African Consulate of Chicago will host a two-day World Cup festival at Daley Plaza starting on Friday, with live entertainment, contests and, of course, broadcasts of the days' major matches.

The event runs from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Daily broadcasts:

Friday, June 11
9 a.m.: South Africa vs. Mexico
1:30 p.m.: France vs. Uruguay

Saturday, June 12

9 a.m.: Nigeria vs. Argentina
1:30 p.m.: England vs. USA

This is just one of many World Cup celebrations hosted by the Consulate, including a soccer tournament and Finals watch party on July 11.

Check out Centerstage for more Chicago World Cup events.

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Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba
6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park; free
Rebel ngoni (goat-skin sheathed string instrument) player Bassekou Kouyate is a Mali Afro-pop musician who kind of did to his country's music what Dylan did to folk with the electric guitar; he was the first ngoni player to stand up and string the instrument over his shoulder. At this free show, he'll unleash a set of his award-winning, disco-threaded tribal blues before enlisting some old Howlin' Wolf backing band musicians (Otis Taylor, Eddie Shaw and Hubert Sumlin) for a flashback jam session.

Sketchbook Festival
8 p.m. at Chopin Theatre; $25
Sketchbook: dedicated to putting the 500-channels-of-cable experience on stage since 2001. Collaboraction's flagship short play festival -- now in its 10th year -- is a hyped-up, drum-n-bass blast of multi-media theatricality. And if you're bored, even for a second, don't worry. A different experience is just a blink away. Tonight's preview performance features nine 10-minute plays by Chloe Johnston, Andy Grigg and others. The fest runs through June 27.

Day Games and Heartbreaks
8 p.m. at Pub Theater; $10
Summer is here, the lights at Wrigley are kindling, and the Red Line is filling up with suburbanites who don't know how to ride trains. Celebrate the season with "Day Games and Heartbreaks," a sketch show about that most hapless and pure-hearted of creatures: the Cubs fan. Performing at Pub Theater at Fizz Bar & Grill, where a sorrows-drowning brew is never more than a few feet away.

Single City is a twice-weekly blog about the Chicago dating scene written by Sun-Times Media Wire reporter Sally Ho. Got a question? Email her!

Let it be known that I predicted Hawks in 6 from day one of the playoffs -- that said, tonight will be a major sports-fan heaven just about anywhere you go. Here are the best and worst pickup lines for this special occasion:

Best: "What do you say we drop the gloves and go at it?"

Worst: "Don't Toews me bro." (This will still get a good laugh.)

Good luck boys! Time to puck up Philly!

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Hockey fans and rock fans alike can join together to cheer on the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Finals at Metro on Sunday. The music venue and XRT will be showing Game 5 of the Hawks’ series against the Philadelphia Flyers with a special show from Jon Fratelli. … You know, of the rock group The Fratellis. … Not ringing a bell? OK, it’s the group that sings Chelsea Dagger. … Still nothing? OK, it’s the “duh duh-duh-duh duh-duh-duh” song they play at the United Center after every Hawks goal. Ohhhhh, that guy!

The free show starts at 5 and the game is at 7. Get tickets at XRT’s web site or text HOCKEY to 5-9393.

And if you’re looking for other places to watch the Hawks in the Finals, check out our top picks.

wcgISemifinals2009MichaelMcBride.jpgMichael McBride sings during the 2009 WCGI Semi-Finals. (via michaelscottmcbride.com)

Windy City Gay Idol
8 p.m. (7 p.m. signup) at The Glenwood; $10 to sing, $5 for spectators
The popular singing competition kicks off its 8th year with the first of many preliminary events around town. At each event, the top vote-getter will take home $100 cash, and the top two will advance to the semi-finals (June 5 at Sidetrack) and a chance at the grand prize of $1,000 cash, a pair of airline tickets, Ravinia tickets and more. A then-unknown Lady Gaga made the Finals in 2008, so you never know who you might come across.

Jean Grae
9 p.m. at The Shrine; $10
Lyrical practitioner Jean Grae is known primarily for two things: her turbulent career involving semi-retirement, and her ability to effortlessly shred a mic. The former was due to her being fed up with the business side of hip-hop (and her album being leaked preemptively), while the latter sustained her passion well past the initial retirement phase and into her 2008 album, "Jeanius" (produced by 9th Wonder). On that project, particularly on "My Story," Jean vented her frustrations in one motion; lyrically bobbing and weaving through 9th's beats and countering his soulful samples with her precise, multisyllabic jabs and poignant hooks. Two years later fans are still waiting for her new album, "Cake or Death," to drop. If you can't wait any longer, head over to the Shrine for a live showcase.

UPDATE: Jean Grae is apparently not happening tonight. Go see The xx at Lincoln Hall instead.

Pierre Thomas Homecoming Party

10 p.m. at The Fifty/50; no cover
Lansing native Thomas, fresh off a Super Bowl win as a member of the New Orleans Saints, comes to Wicker Park after tonight's White Sox game, at which he'll be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. He'll likely bring along a few of his sports pals at this party, which will feature $3 bottles of Stella Artois, $5 Ultimat vodka drinks and $4 Pama "Tossed Fruit Salad" shots.

littledragon.jpgLittle Dragon comes to Chicago for only the third time tonight.(photo: Seek via MySpace)

Little Dragon
9 p.m.at
Lincoln Hall; $12
The last time Little Dragon came through Chicago was for a free show celebrating the 15-year anniversary of the Double Door, only the group's second appearance here (the other being at the Kinetic Playground). Yukimi Nagano blew the crowd away with a blistering performance, one that involved her beating the living hell out of a Japanese shoko gong. The night brought out a diverse group — from hip-hop heads to indie-rock hipsters — and it really captured the heart of Chicago (I'm guessing because Little Dragon's sound draws heavy comparisons to Chicago house). Since then Little Dragon has kept busy with a number of projects including a forthcoming full-length and a guest appearance on the new Gorillaz album, Plastic Beach. Lincoln Hall should be the perfect venue to get acquainted (if you haven't already) with the darlings from Gothenburg, Sweden.
More Thursday music including Spoon, Black Lips, Bonobo

Pillow Fight Club
9 p.m. Thursday at Joe's Bar; $15-$25
The name pretty much says it all: These burlesque beauties are bad to the bone, but use the fluffiest of weapons to do battle. Any suggestion that PFC bouts are not fierce athletic competitions, but choreographed, costumed pose-fests of girl-on-girl action is entirely spurious, and will be met with a pillowy smackdown.

Story Club
8 p.m. at Uncommon Ground
This new open-mic event offers slots to five writers/perfomrers, who can display their storytelling prowess on stage. In addition to the 5-8 minute sketches/comedy routines/readings, there will be featured performances from Fred Reuland and Jennifer Peepas.

The Moth StorySlam: Busted
8 p.m. at Martyrs'; $7
Ever been caught with your pants down, your hand in the cookie jar, or both at once? Why not relive the humiliating experience in front of an audience of hundreds? This monthly series features true tales told live by anyone brave enough to take the stage. March's theme is "Busted," so get your story straight, put your name in the hat, and pull up your damn pants.

Blackhawks Road Watch
7 p.m. at Lottie's Pub; free
If you can't travel to St. Louis to watch Patrick Kane and co. take on the Blues, this Bucktown party is the next best thing. Hawks announcer Gene Honda and the Ice Girls (good band name?) will be on hand, offering prizes like jerseys, 100-level tickets and signed memorabilia. You can also score $3.50 domestic pints all night.

Italian Passover Seder
5:30 and 8:30 p.m. seatings at Piccolo Sogno; $75/person
We're not sure how an Italian Passover feast will work when you can't have pasta, but you can find out at this unique dinner in River West tonight. Expect a traditional service to start, and kosher wine to flow throughout the evening.

P.O.S.
8 p.m. at Bottom Lounge; $15
With a fanbase that's been steadily growing for the past couple years, P.O.S. has been dubbed by many critics as the savior of hip-hop. It's a tremendous title to bestow on a guy whose humble attitude is his most endearing quality, but it isn't totally off-point especially when considering his huge crossover appeal. P.O.S.'s hybrid of punk and rap is stylistically comparable to two trains colliding head-on at 100 MPH, which in this case isn't a bad thing at all. In fact his no-nonsense, aggressive style is exactly what rap needs right now and it's nice to know that Rhymesayers has allowed this guy to grow without restriction. Dessa of Doomtree will open along with Astronautalis.

Legion
7:30 p.m. at Viaduct Theatre; $10
The freaks at Wildclaw Theatre didn't find their niche - they dug it. After two years, they're still crouched inside that niche, leaping out only to terrify audiences with great works of horror theater. Their latest play, an adaptation of a sequel to "The Exorcist," pits a cop against a serial killer who may or may not be dead.

Submit your NCAA bracket to a bar.
Whether you're a fan of college basketball or not, there's no better excuse for weekday celebration than March Madness. Before you get too rowdy, make sure the bartender has your picks in hand -- you could win all sorts of prizes this year, including a trip to the Bahamas, a flat-screen TV and a flight on a private jet to see the Cubs play the Cardinals in St. Louis. Get the details and find out about other tourney deals here, and while you're at it, find your school's affiliated Chicago bar.

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Toast to Harry Caray
7:40 p.m. at Harry Caray's Tavern (Navy Pier); free
What better place to toast to the late Cubs announcer (he would've been 96 today) than at the latest addition to his bar/restaurant empire? Join his widow, Dutchie, plus Chicago celebrities like Ernie Banks, Bobby Hull, Ron Kittle, Rick Nielson, Bill Kurtis, Richard Roeper, Joe Piscopo and more for a special toast to a special man. It's just one of many events happening at the new location today, which celebrates its grand opening with a full schedule including a Mascot Toast, the unveiling of the Chicago Sports Museum and raffles and giveaways every half hour. WGN Radio will broadcast live from 4-9 p.m.

Common Threads World Festival
6-9 p.m. at Soldier Field; $250
Celebrate Art Smith's 50th birthday with the celebrity chef and dozens of his culinary superfriends at this annual charity event. Expect a wide array of food samples from the likes of Graham Elliot Bowles (Graham Elliot), Jimmy Bannos Sr. (Heaven on Seven, The Purple Pig), David Burke and Rick Gresh (David Burke's Primehouse), Christophe David (NoMI), Gale Gand (TRU), Stephanie Izard (The Girl & The Goat), Koren Grieveson (Avec) and more. The event benefits Smith's Common Threads foundation, which introduces low-income children to the world of cooking. A $500 VIP ticket gets you access to exclusive pre- and post-parties.


Jimmy Burns

9:30 p.m. at Buddy Guy's Legends; $10
The longtime host of The Jam is dealing with some sadness, as his wife, Dorothy, just passed away. That's just one more reason to go and support the Delmark stalwart who took a two-decade hiatus from his career to raise his family. He mounted a comeback in the late '90s with Leaving Here Walking, which won accolades for its explosive John Lee Hooker tightness and the Sunday-mass soul retained from his choirboy youth.

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We don't know if the Blackhawks have truly passed the Bears, Bulls, Cubs or Sox in popularity in Chicago, as Carol Slezak suggested earlier this week.

But it's clear that this division-leading team has made many local hockey fans come out of the woodwork, and we expect to see a good portion of them out celebrating National Hockey Night on Saturday at District Bar -- particularly once they hear about this awesome giveaway. For every $3 bottle of Bud Light you purchase at the bar while watching the Blackhawks take on the Thrashers (7:30 p.m. start), you'll be entered to win one of three pairs of tickets to an upcoming game, with a zamboni ride thrown in for good measure. Still need convincing? The Ice Girls will be there, too.

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What's changed in the last 20 years? Find out at Friday's Fresh Fest.

Fresh Fest
8 p.m. Friday at Arie Crown Theater; $40-$72.50
If you came of age in the '90s, this is pretty much a dream concert bill. Salt 'n' Pepa, Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh and Whodini will bring it back to the glory days of rap in a marathon show.

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Tracy Morgan
Friday-Sunday at The Improv; $37; buy tickets
The "30 Rock" and former Saturday Night Live star comes to Schaumburg for a weekend engagement full of the unfiltered commentary that's made him a household name. Don't forget to bring him the french fries he did not ask for.

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At least we can be sure Jay won't throw an interception on Monday. We think.

After yet another discouraging Bears loss on Sunday, there probably aren't too many people left in Chicago who would pay $150 to watch Jay Cutler and Greg Olsen play football.

But what about watching them watch football? The folks at HUB 51 are hoping so, as they bring in the two Bears on Monday, December 7 for live, play-by-play commentary of the Packers-Ravens tilt.

Of course, they seem to understand that two stars on an underachieving team may not be enticement enough. That's why the $150 ticket price includes premium open bar access and multiple food stations. We're not sure the mix of disgruntled diehards and unlimited alcohol will end well, but hey, it's for charity (proceeds go to the Jay Cutler Foundation and the Greg Olsen Foundation).

If you believe you have the offensive strategy to turn around the Bears season, you can tell the QB and TE yourself -- provided you can pony up the $300 for a VIP ticket which includes access to a pre-game meet-and-greet cocktail hour, as well as autographed team apparel.

The main event starts at 7 p.m., and tickets are available here.

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It may not look like it, but this guy is in training.

Thirty-nine hours, two minutes and 25 seconds.

That's how long Chicago real-estate broker Jeff Miller spent watching televised sports on January 1 and 2, 2009, as part of ESPN Zone's annual Ultimate Couch Potato competition. Think you can beat that record? Enter this year's contest by December 9 and you could be in line to win the grand prize: a recliner, free cable for a year and $1000 toward a home sports theater.

Send your 200-word explanation of why you have what it takes to, um, sit on a couch and stare at a screen until your eyes bleed to couchpotato@espnzone.com. More details are available at www.espnzone.com/ultimatecouchpotato .


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Riot Fest
Through Sunday, various theaters, prices vary ($70 for a three-day pass to Congress Theater)
Several rockin' shows (not to mention a bowling tourney) are spread out across five venues (Congress Theater, Metro, Subterranean, Double Door, Cobra Lounge) during this fifth-annual fest. We're talking mosh-inducing rock and punk including Chicago's own Screeching Weasel, NOFX, Alkaline Trio, Naked Raygun and more. Oi!

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Remember the classic Camper Van Beethoven song, "Take the Skinheads Bowling"? The organizers of this year's fifth annual Riot Fest do, and they're taking the directive to heart.

In addition to the fest's strong lineup of punk acts (performers include Screeching Weasel, Alkaline Trio, Naked Raygun, NOFX and more), there will be a "Drunken Bowling Tournament" on Friday and Saturday night at the Fireside Bowl. Members of many of the bands will be hitting the lanes for some friendly competition with the fans.

Registration for bowlers appears to be closed, but it'll cost just $3 to join the fun as a spectator. You'll get drink specials, giveaways, and the chance to see a hardcore dude use bumper lanes. The tournament starts at 10:30 p.m. on both nights, so you won't have to miss any of the shows.

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