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“My whole life I’ve been completely wrapped up in writing,” says jewelry designer and writer Tara Walker. “At a certain point though, I think I just longed to make something with my hands, something physical that could just be done when it was done – unlike a piece of writing which never really feels finished to me.”

Walker’s jewelry line, Lucky Whale proved just the outlet Walker craved.

“For a while,” she says, “I had a hard time seeing the connection between [writing and making jewelry] until I realized that one process frees me up for the other. I think the reason I make jewelry, in some ways, is to refresh my sanity for my writing.”

This week Lucky Whale bobs up at The Andersonville Galleria, where Walker is proud to begin showcasing her designs.

Our Town How did you come up with the name for your store?

Tara Walker Completely by accident. I have a really good friend in Denver who draws the most wonderful things without even thinking about it. One day we were at a restaurant in Denver and he started doodling on the children’s menu. One of his doodles was the whale with a shamrock in his hat. At the time I was looking for a name and a logo for my jewelry business and suddenly there it was, in front of me. There have been times when I’ve thought, weird, I have a smiling whale for a logo. But overall I think it actually fits with the playful aesthetic that I bring to my designs. 

OT What sort of things inspire your designs?

TW Right now the majority of my inspiration comes from hunting for interesting things to reuse. I don’t want to make things that are just pretty. Pretty is fine, but I want to make something surprising, something that stretches my imagination in the process. One of my favorite things to do is repurpose images from unexpected places. For instance, I found a bunch of brochures from the ‘50s at the Brown Elephant – (my favorite was about the “father of steel”) and they had these wonderful illustrations in them. The most fun thing for me is seeing something like that and imagining what it can become. 

book lockets.jpg

OT You’re a writer and your visual art often contains literary elements. Coincidence? Conscious choice?

TW A little of both. There seems to be an obsession with putting birds and butterflies on jewelry. (“Put a bird on it!”) That’s fine of course, I like birds and butterflies – but I am always looking to push myself away from the traditional aesthetic. I like books and poetry so I think it was inevitable that they end up in my jewelry. One of my favorite literature-inspired pieces features the Dorothy Parker poem Resume. The whole thing fits into a 1x2 inch pendant so it works really well. It’s a pretty gold pendant so it looks like there’s going to be a prayer or something inside it, but you look closer and suddenly it’s Dorothy Parker’s quippy “Razors pain you, rivers are damp, acids stain you, and drugs cause cramp…”


Enough about you, let’s talk about me. I’m sick. I know this because I watched an entire season of The Office on Netflix yesterday and peanut butter seems disgusting. Normally, I will crawl naked across a thicket of thorns to procure peanut butter. (Well, what does your grocery store look like?) Also, when I stand up, the world seems shot by Twilight’s cinematographer; everything is blown out and too close. Also, people are drinking blood through straws. No wait, that’s just the couch.


It’s in this spirit of slight ennui and total deliriousness that I bring you my Utterly Subjective End of Year Round Up in which I speak in absolutes and you can’t object because this site doesn’t support comments.

Let’s ease into this with something indisputable.


1. Best new Chicago Restaurant: Lady Gregory. Only days after opening its doors some time last summer (I’m too sick to google.), this upscale Irish bar and restaurant already felt like a neighborhood mainstay. Since then, LG has made itself indispensable, providing not only delicious food and homey ambiance, but also holiday movie screenings, special whiskey tastings and a winter coat drive. If you’re in the market for a low-key New Year’s Eve destination, LG promises a live DJ, party favors, champagne and best of all, no cover. What are you waiting for? Go. Order the beet salad and tell them I sent you. They will have no idea what you mean, but they will still bring you the salad.

Photo by Patty Michels

The other day my Significant Other spotted something at Brown Elephant.

“Look,” she said, “a time clock.”

“As opposed to a space clock?” I rejoined, showcasing my aptitude for humorous observations. I know, how much fun would I be to date? With me no redundancy goes unnoticed. For every misused word, I supply a superior alternative. If, for example, you are splayed across the bathroom floor, damp with fever and confide you feel “nauseous,” like Florence Nightingale, I’ll nurse your word use back to health: “You mean, nauseated,” I’ll coo.

“No,” SO said, “it’s literally a time clock.”

Hearing the word ‘literally,’ I readied my sledgehammer, but not only had she used the word correctly, the device she referred to was actually an old fashioned time clock used for punching in at work.

I can’t tell you how much I wanted to buy it. How great would that be? Wake up, drink my coffee, change into my work pajamas and punch in? I’d totally make the dog and the werewolf punch in too. Maybe the scooter and the Christmas tree as well. They’re seasonal help, but they still count. But I didn’t, because buying some potentially broken gadget when you have yet to repay your student loans is probably irresponsible. Buying a sequin dress, however? Totally different story, a cautionary one in fact. About the dangers of Seasonal Affective Disorder. And Working From Home. And Whiskey.


Things you need to know:

1. I don’t drink. Ever notice how when you do drink, no one asks you to justify it? I on the other hand have been challenged so habitually I start shrugging and apologizing even before I’m asked. My reasons include:
-Expense, (see above re student loans)
-Obnoxiously Delicate Body Chemistry (My body responds to substances from sugar to caffeine to alcohol as if the substance were a side-eye and my body were a Real Housewife.)
-A general need to control everything at all times (See above re so much fun to date.)

2. I’m in the midst of some major downtime right now. Lots of deadlines met, and weeks to wait before I begin teaching my mind-blowing Story Studio novel writing courses which promise to make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams and also clear your nasal passages. (Results may vary). In other words, the only things standing between me and a postapocalyptic nightmare of the sort described by Cormac McCarthy are "30 Rock" episodes on Netflix instant.

3. I believe feminism is about choices, and I choose to be a disgrace to feminism. Except that it’s not exactly a choice. See, I pretty much exemplify every sexist myth about PMS. Picture the most offensive commercial aired during the Super Bowl concerning the difference between men and women. Hello, my life. The other night for example, in the space of little more than thirty seconds I said this to SO:
“I want chocolate cake I’m so fat I want chocolate cake are you bored of me whatever I’m going to be so famous I won’t even remember your name what happens when we die?”

In other words, I’m not sanity’s poster girl. I’ll leave that to Courtney Love.


So, although I’m broke, I decided a night out with a friend was warranted. (Read: my SO told me I was upsetting the dog and I needed to leave for a while.) My friend and I went to Mary's Rec Room!, which was awesome mainly because their tables have bottle caps on them. Not like a server didn’t properly clear between customers, but like, the caps are lodged under a layer of laminate. I couldn’t get over it, which might have been because I hadn’t left the house in weeks. Swept up in bottle cap excitement, I ordered a whiskey, the only kind of alcohol I really like. I have a friend who says it makes her feel like a senator, but to me, it tastes like cream soda, so I guess it makes me feel like a small town boy in the 1950’s, the kind of guy who might grow up to become a senator. Whoa. Full circle.


After dinner, my friend said she wanted to go shopping. (Not the senator friend, the friend I was with. For the sake of simplicity I considered eliding them but we all saw what happened to Vivian Gornick and James Frey.)

“Akira is probably open,” I said. “But you have to be anorexic to shop there. Or Lady Gaga. Or, I guess, both would work too.” Despite the lashing wind I felt pleasantly warm. Clearly, I’d developed the ability to heat my body using the power of my mind.

Down the street at Akira, I instantly found the dress of my slutty, drag queen dreams. Bypassing the navy and champagne version (Navy sequins are pointless, the sartorial equivalent of taking a spinning class while eating onion rings.), I went straight for the red and black.


If you’re a Chicagoan who likes to shop than no doubt you’ve heard of the Randolph Street Market. Created in 2004 by former party planner Sally Schwartz, the event has even attracted the likes of Oprah darling Nate Berkus. Our Town spoke with Schwartz about the Market’s inception, current incarnation, and because we here at Our Town are fashion impaired, snagged some style tips as well.

Our Town When you started what was originally known as Chicago Antique Market, did you have any inkling of what it would become?
Sally Schwartz I knew it was a big idea but I didn't actually think I'd still be doing it eight years later, thought I would be on my yacht having cornered the market in some rare item I'd stumbled across. Honestly, it's so much fun I can't imagine doing anything else and feel very blessed that it's been so well received.

OT Randolph Street Market has been described as an urban street party rather than a traditional flea market. What goes into cultivating that atmosphere?
SS I always wanted this event to feel safe and be a safe place to transact business so the vendors are hand picked and screened. Because it's a two-day show, everyone gets to relax and have fun. Throw in the alcohol and people are loose and enjoying life. It's our cool vendors, many of whom camp out onsite, that make the event such a joy for the customers. We also have lots of big cops, Chicago's finest, as bouncers making sure everyone behaves. Chicago is such a unique place, even in the world of big cities, and the Randolph Street Market reflects it, a little wacky, a lot of quality.

OT Haggling at RSM, distasteful or necessary?
SS Haggling is just part of the game and the fun! Though many of our vendors report that they love our market so much because lots of the customers never beat them down in price at all. They think our Chicago customers are so fun and polite and appreciative. And apparently, that's unusual in the world of flea marketing!

OT What was it like to receive a mention from Oprah darling Nate Berkus?
SS I was totally thrilled the first time I saw Nate wandering about. I knew he would shout it from the rooftops. It's incredibly validating to have people with the means to travel anywhere and buy anything tell you how much they love what they see and buy at the Randolph Street Market.

OT This weekend you’re hosting pool parties and a photography competition.
SS The pool party is part of the high jinx, we fill kiddie pools and put lawn chairs around them and VOILA! Pool party! It keeps everyone cool in spirit and gives the pups a place to drink and romp. The first annual Vintage Vernacular & Street Style photo contest is another way for us to get our audience participating and using the market as a backdrop. There are so many fabulous photo ops and we just can't capture them all so we invite our attendees to try their hands at creating permanent memories.


When it comes to jewelry, designer Erin Gordon knows what she likes, and happily, Chicago likes it too. A New York transplant, Gordon began her line of jewelry as a hobby, but by 2009, she was selling her signature semi-precious gemstone charm bracelets direct to customers and at Sarca, a Gold Coast boutique. Demand escalated, however, and in response, Gordon is launching an e-commerce site, allowing her growing customer base to shop at their convenience. Gordon spoke with Our Town about her favorite designs, her new men’s line and the style-setter she hopes will be Bah-nanas over her work.

Our Town What’s the first piece of jewelry you remember owning?
Erin Gordon When I was very young, my grandparents had a ring made with my birthstone and diamonds for me to wear when it was time for my Bat Mitzvah.

OT What inspires you?
EG So many things, from friends, family and favorite quotes, to fashion, colors, prints, fabrics, art and photography.

OT Which of your designs are you most excited about right now?
EG I recently launched a brand new Luxe Line which will be available on my website in April. With the Luxe Line, I am using luxury gemstones like Malachite, Leopard Skin Agate and Cloudy Quartz with rose gold and rondelle crystal ball accents. The Luxe Line can either be worn alone or mixed in with bracelets from my core collection to add a little extra sparkle.

OT What would you say to others interested in making their hobby a business?
EG I am so lucky I was able to turn my passion for jewelry design into a business. It’s definitely been a learning experience over the past year but if you truly love what you do, it’s worth all of the hard work and dedication it requires to be successful.

OT You’re known for your charm bracelets, a retro concept. However, your take seems current. How do you achieve a look both modern and vintage?
EG When I initially launched my jewelry line, I focused on creating one-of-a-kind pieces using vintage brooches and charms mixed with new gemstones. With the popularity of my vintage pieces, I expanded my collection with signature bracelets that reflect a modern take on a charm bracelet using vibrant gemstones and edgy charms like skulls, Buddha’s, peace signs and feathers.

Photo by Andrew Nawrocki

Fashionable people astound me. Whereas others roll out of bed and into the perfect skinny jeans/plaid shirt/mussed cardigan/Converse combo, when assembling an outfit, I apply the sort of concentration normally associated with defusing a bomb, and still wind up realizing hours into my day that what seemed fresh and daring in my early morning mirror actually makes me look like I was styled by an Olson twin and K.D. Lang, each drunk and angry. Plus I almost always forget to brush my hair.

Amy Creyer faces none of these problems. Currently a DePaul graduate student studying the role of public policy in the fashion and apparel industries, Creyer eats sleeps and breathes fashion. As the owner of, a website dedicated to providing high quality street style photographs, Creyer captures Chicago’s most fashionable perambulators. A self-taught photographer, Creyer’s influence is two-fold. Not only does she showcase cresting styles, but by virtue of what she chooses to photograph, she also shapes trends.

Our Town First off, what are you wearing right now?
Amy Creyer My Proenza Schouler for J. Brand paint-splattered jeans, Erin Gordon for Sarca bracelets, a Graham & Spencer top, my black leather Chucks, and a Giorgio Brato leather jacket.

OT You grew up in Greenwich. Style-wise, how is NYC different than Chicago?
AC In New York, people are very concerned with wearing the right brands or the hottest designers. You see a lot of clothing straight off the runway. I love to photograph and wear designer clothing, but I find the authenticity in Chicago far more interesting. There is an organic and authentic development of personal style in Chicago that I think is directly related to the absence of a strongly entrenched fashion establishment.

OT Describe your website’s genesis.
AC I was the little girl who always wore dresses to run around the playground. My website is the culmination of my lifelong love of fashion and decade long obsession with street style. Every aspect of being a street style photographer, from stopping random people on the street to using social media to connect with my followers, came naturally to me.

OT How do you choose and reel in potential subjects?
AC I constantly scan my surroundings for anything unusual; perhaps a woman's unique hairstyle or the way a man tied his scarf. Sometimes there's skepticism, but I always cut through with my charm. As the art form becomes more popular, individuals are excited about getting stopped for a photo, and I am definitely seeing stronger style on the streets as a result.

OT Do you shoot daily?
AC [Initially] I had too many experiences where, grocery shopping or running errands, I saw someone I would have loved to photograph. Now, I'm always armed with my Olympus PEN and prepared to capture a subject to share with my readers.

OT You study the role of social media in fashion marketing. What role do bloggers play?
AC Bloggers are essentially innovators and trendsetters, early adopters in marketing terminology. These people hold considerable influence over their networks, and social media has dramatically increased that sphere of influence. Before the rise of blogging a trendsetter like Tavi Gevinson would have been limited to influencing people in her local community, but with the Internet she can set trends across the world. Her sway in the fashion industry stems from her authenticity as a consumer, which is extremely valuable to a brand. I'm really interested in how brands build relationships with bloggers and the role of authenticity in those partnerships.


The first time I entered one of those mammoth grocery stores we’ve all grown accustomed to, I reacted as if I’d spent my life in an Eastern European bread line or possibly running with wolves. The options, the scale, both overwhelmed me.
Later, my years in LA felt like a sentence served inside Baz Luhrmann’s mind; the garish corner of Sunset and La Cienega enough to make me sob. I guess lurid excess just isn’t my thing.

Still, as I mentioned last week, I was eager to attend the For the Love of Chocolate gala, (or as I like to refer to it: Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate, Ack!) FTLOC benefits The French Pastry School’s Scholarship Foundation, and draws hundreds of local candy shop pros and restaurant chefs, from Chris Kadow-Dougherty of Whimsical Candy to Kai Lermen, Executive Chef at the Peninsula Hotel.

Inside the Merchandise Mart it was like Willy Wonka meets Midsummer Night’s Dream meets Top Chef: a DJ blasted artful mixes, an elfin man on a sort of elevated bicycle turned a crank to produce wine by the glass and a woman essentially wearing a table served chocolate from her “skirt.” (She refused to come home with me; for the best, she wouldn’t have fit in the car.)

In corridors branching from the main area guests, like well-coiffed ants, surrounded long tables heaped with chocolate concoctions (sorbets, puddings, cookies, tiramisu, cupcakes, mousse). In one area, a candy maker used a blowtorch to construct a two-foot high candy flower. Elsewhere, celebrity chef Rick Bayless attracted a throng of devotees as he threw together some sort of cubed beef, cilantro, tortilla situation (Hey, I’m not a food writer!).

Though I likely bypassed dozens of amazing displays, I was most taken with Bleeding Heart Bakery’s “Tribute to Sid Vicious in Whiskey and Chocolate,” an edgy conglomeration of whiskey infused offerings including a chocolate handgun I slipped into my purse.

Eventually I found my way to the “real food” section, where guests queued up for ceviche, chick pea soup, and soft hunks of meat girded by pureed root vegetables, which I also slipped into my purse. I’m guessing chocolate was involved in each, but at that point I was too overwhelmed to inquire.

It’s been a memorable year. I for one, misplaced a pair of black Converse and made a tolerable mustard/soy sauce marinade. I know many other Chicagoans had similarly staggering peaks and heartrending valleys. That’s why today’s blog is devoted to celebrating the common man. The New York Times may have award-winning photographers and poignant headlines, but I have my parents standing inches from me having an irate discussion about the temperature of my father’s oatmeal. That friends, is what it’s really about.


Sarah Terez Rosenblum (@SarahTerez) is an MFA-holding writer, teacher and Spinning instructor. She's also the Theater Listings Editor for Centerstage Chicago. Look for her posts twice a week.

A former friend once met me for coffee in Andersonville. Glancing up from his dirty Chai, spiked from a flask stashed in his Chrome bag, he snarled, “It’s like Norman Rockwell threw up out there.”

This friend “lived” in Bucktown. I ensnare the word in quotations because his apartment, though hardwood-floored and sunlit, seemed inhabited by meth-addicted ferrets, impossible to do more there than subsist.

While not hip enough for everyone, Andersonville meets every need on my checklist:

3 Things To Do Today

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Chicago Sidewalk Sale
9 a.m.-3 p.m. today and tomorrow at Daley Plaza; free
Shop from dozens of local stores for clothing, jewelry and accessories as the downtown event marks its fourth year.

Classic TV Re-Runs!
7:30 p.m. at Mary’s Attic; $10
Watch live interpretations of classic TV shows at this monthly series in Uptown. This month features animation domination, including “The Simpsons,” “South Park,” “Family Guy” and “Beavis and Butthead.”

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $12-$14
LA-based lo-fi mad scientist Ariel "Pink" Rosenberg will play just about anything (armpit, mouthed drum bits, etc.) to get the right sound – which should make a rather interesting live show. Fellow Tinsel Towner Puro Instinct and Memphis’ Magic Kids open.

3 Things To Do Today

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Erwin Helfer, Ken Saydak
8 p.m. at SPACE; $12-$20
The 72-year-old Helfer found blues while an undergrad at Tulane in New Orleans, studying classical piano. Back in Chicago, fate led him to the wife of boogie-woogie pioneer Jimmy Yancey, of which he entered the professional key-plunker world as her accompanist until her passing in '86. That led to the launching of his own record label, Red Beans, and a formidable set of years as the preeminent post-war authority, from socks-in-the-air rollick to hard-nosed electric. Setting up the evening will be fellow Chicagoan Ken Saydak, another sideman-turned-dynamo with more credits in liner notes than the blues festival this year, and just a wee heel-kick of a country heart.

Movie Night at Lincoln Hall
7 p.m.; free
Celebrate the memories of the old 3 Penny movie theater with a double feature at Lincoln Hall. Tonight’s all about Mel Brooks, with screenings of Blazing Saddles and Spaceballs. May the Schwartz be with you.

Beyond Flan: A Latin Desserts Course
6 p.m. at Fox & Obel; $35
Learn the secret to making Latin sweets like dulce de leche from Pamela Fitzpatrick and Laura Zimmerman Maye, co-authors of "Dulce: Desserts in the Latin American Tradition." Samples and wine are included, and you can also buy copies of their book.

We can't promise it'll be pretty.

Many people dream about making it into the Guiness Book of World Records. We're betting that few of them dream of doing it by applying lipstick. But that's what Estee Lauder Global Makeup Stylist, Rick DiCecca, aims to do tomorrow afternoon at Macy's on State Street (111 N. State, 1st floor cosmetics department). From noon-1 p.m., he'll attempt to smear the stuff on at least 181 participants' lips. Can he do it? Will anyone care? Find out the answers to these and other ridiculous questions tomorrow.


Miranda Kerr
5-7 p.m. at Victoria's Secret (734 N. Michigan)
The Victoria's Secret Angel spokesmodel -- and Orlando Bloom's girlfriend -- comes to our fair city to promote the new Miraculous collection and to take photos with customers/fans. This may be the closest you ever get to an underwear model, so plan accordingly.

Dan Bern
8 p.m. at Martyrs'; $20
It's been awhile since this sardonic singer-songwriter was compared to Bob Dylan, but he's still a prolific talent, penning tunes that are both witty and political (he never took those comparisons very seriously, anyway). Trivia of note: Bern wrote the bulk of the music for the 2007 parody film "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."

The 39 Steps
7:30 p.m. at Bank of America Theatre; $20-$72
A four-man version of a classic Hitchcock flick, "The 39 Steps" wowed Broadway with its blitzkrieg pace and fringe ingenuity. The tight noir plot keeps it moving, but it's the theatrical transformations that dazzled audiences, and sent this light-footed show on a national tour. The shadow falls at the Bank of America Theatre for just two weekends, so think fast.


SCORES World FoosCup
6:30-10 p.m. at Small Bar (Lincoln Park); $20-$25
You may not make the World Cup, but you can compete in the FoosCup, a test of foosball skills taking place at Smallbar tonight. Register as an individual or as a team of two and you'll play at least three games while raising money for American SCORES Chicago's programming for urban youth. The registration fee includes two drinks, appetizers and $1 off drafts of Two Brothers brews.

Mark Hummel & the Blues Survivors feat. Rusty Zinn

9:30 p.m. at Buddy Guy's Legends; $10
There are those who have huffed and puffed their way into harp blues history, and then there's California-based (with all-star Chicago ties) Mark Hummel, who swaggered his way on in, fashionably late to the party with the uber-chill vibe of a lounge act. He lets his instrument swing, and breathe; with the help of backing band the Blues Survivors, the resulting music burns and never lets up. His latest effort, "Retro-Active," dropped late April, is a bit heavy on the swing with Hummel dedicating a bit more time to his singing.

FashionChicago 2010
5-9 p.m. at 233 W. Huron; $15-$25
Love to shop? This exclusive evening of deals from 25 of Chicago's top fashion designers is a perfect fit. You'll enjoy X-Rated Fusion cocktails, Hobnob wines, hors d'oeuvres from Nacional 27 and RA Sushi and more as your browse selections from the likes of Zamrie, Borris Powell, K. Amato Designs, Blake Standard, Paoo and more in an 8,000-square-foot gallery space. VIP tickets ($25) include a goodie bag, and must be reserved in advance.

If you think the Shedd Aquarium is just a place to take out-of-town guests interested in the underwater world, you'd better open your eyes. Like many of its Museum Campus cohorts, has a whole lot more going on outside regular hours. For proof, here are two recent events (one coming up soon, and one just passed):

On Wednesday, January 27, experts from Plitt Seafood Company will be on hand to lead you through a $50 class on rolling your own sushi (with sustainable seafood, of course). The admission fee also includes sake, a tour of the aquarium and coffee and themed desserts. You must be 21 to register (312-692-3206 or

Last night, AKIRA and the Lyric Opera teamed up for a fashion show/launch party for Kraken rum. As this NBC Chicago video shows, it was anything but a dull night at the museum.

View more news videos at:

Ok, so we don't have a Fashion Week like New York or Paris. But Chicago is coming up in the style world (check out this slightly condescending New Yorker piece for proof). To celebrate, and to continue the progress, Chifa Elite Fashion Explosion hosts a number of the city's top designers -- including Alonzo Jackson, Alice Berry and Kevin Hill -- at Loft on Lake, 1366 W. Lake, from 7 p.m.-1 a.m.

The event, organized by The Bumblebee Network, will include a runway fashion show, artist performances (from DL Johnson, UNMOVABO, poet Yolonda Curtis and DJ Corey Sanford) and, of course, tons of networking opportunities. Tickets ($45, available here) include food and drink and a portion of proceeds will go to BUILD, Inc., a Chicago youth organization.

Wine, women and shoes: everyone likes at least one of these things. Come October 1, you can get them all at UNICEF's fourth annual fundraiser.

Held at the River East Art Center (435 E. Illinois), the $85/head event includes sales of designer shoes, handbags, jewelery and accessories from nationally known boutiques (including locals Akira, Lori's Shoes and Shirise), samples of fine wines (including Alexander Valley Vineyards and Two Angels), a raffle and a silent auction.

Proceeds will benefit UNICEF’s Accelerated Child Survival Initiative, a program that helps to reduce the number of children who die each day of preventable causes. Want tickets? Go here.

1978793561_5057fc7eef.jpgThis will seem more acceptable after a few Rin Tin Tinis.

Normally we don't support those who would dress up their dogs in fancy clothes. But we'll make an exception for tomorrow night's doggy fashion show at Top Dog Productions (1551 N. Kingsbury), if only because our own Bill Zwecker is emceeing the event. That, and the fact that the free party includes complimentary drinks (including "Rin Tin Tini" cocktails) and hors d'oeuvres (including human-friendly dog biscuits and "Dog Pound Cake," whatever that is). Yup, we're pretty easy to please.

The event promotes the launch of new dog fashion line, BARQUE, which will be available online and at Pawsh Puppies (2120 N. Halsted). To RSVP, call (312) 266-6683.

3 Things We Love About ... Friday night

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In honor of Memorial Day weekend:


1. Liberate your wardrobe by jettisoning your cargo (shorts)!
Part with what the guys in Boystown are calling a fashion faux pas, the cargo short. The clothing boutique His Stuff (3162 N. Broadway and 5314 N. Clark) will give you 10 percent off a new pair of shorts when you exchange a pair of cargo shorts. All trade-ins will be donated to the Brown Elephant resale shop. (773) 989-9111.

2. Exercise your right to vote.
You decide which of the eight improvisers is the “pHunniest” with “pHrenzy,” a spoof of reality shows that features audience-approved eliminations throughout the course of the fast-paced late-night show. $10; 12:30 a.m. at Stage Left Theatre, 3408 N. Sheffield. BYOB. (773) 732-5450 for tickets.

3. See how Chicago’s political machine used to work (and, just possibly, how it still does).
Neil Giuntoli doesn’t just portray Richard J. Daley in “Hizzoner: Daley The First,” he seems to inhabit the role of the man who kept the wheels of Chicago’s political machine greased for years. $35. It’s at 7:30 p.m. at the Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W. Belmont. Tickets: (773) 327-5252.

Neil Guintoli portrays Daley Sr. in the play "HIzzoner." (Sun-Times file)

Hey! You got three better ones?
Tell us your three favorite things about Friday nights!

First, the bad news. Lakeview's popular toy, clothing and sneaker boutique and art gallery A.Okay Official is closing, with Saturday being its last day in business, according to Gapers Block.

The good news? They're closing things out with a huge sale on Saturday, complete with a DJ and refreshments. It's not quite enough to soften the blow, but hey, it's something.

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