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February 2010 Archives

WF09 (133).jpgThat's one way to spice up a relationship. (photo:

Chicago WingFest
1 p.m. Sunday at Bailey Auditorium (1340 W. Washington); $24
Twenty-four bucks gets you all the wings you can eat from some of the area's top purveyors, including Mahoney's Pub & Grille, Timothy O'Toole's, Crossroads Eatery, Reggie's, High Dive, Chicago Joe's, Gators Wing Shack and District Bar. There will also be live music (Cadillac Dave and the Chicago Redhots, Peaches, Rico McFarland), giveaways and more, and the event is hosted by WXRT's Lin Brehmer.
More: Check out Centerstage's guide to the best wings around.

Haven't gone to the Art Institute during one of its free days this month? Maybe this will convince you.

Tonight at 6 p.m., there will be a school-oriented flash mob at the museum. Just show up wearing the assigned color for your college (or just pick one, if you went somewhere different). Then give in to the power of group thinking. (via Gapers Block)

Here are some recent restaurant/bar openings and closings.

Gilt Bar - The Aigre Doux space is busy once again with this gastropub from an all-star lineup.
Second City Subs - This quick-serve sandwich spot near DePaul already feels like it's been around for years.
Ameer Kabob - Call 'em up and order inexpensive Arabian favorites for less than Sultan's Market.
Klopa Grill & Cafe - Serbian BBQ cafe serves up "good food," according to its name.
No Man's Land Pizza & Grill - Wilmette pizzeria offers New York-style slices and grilled sandwiches.

Francesca's on Chestnut - The Italian empire expands with this Gold Coast location (in the Seneca Hotel), open any day now.

Your Kitchen - You've only got a few more days to get prepared comfort food from this Albany Park spot, which closes March 1.

Angelo's Taverna (we think) - Papered-over windows, disconnected phone don't bode well, but we're not totally giving up hope for this Old Town Greek eatery.
Marco Polo - Sorry, Skokie, looks like you'll have to get your fried-rice fix elsewhere.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

3 Things To Do Today

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scotland-yard-gospel-choir.jpgThat's a lot of people to help.

Que for the Choir: A Benefit for The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir

8 p.m. at darkroom; $15
Local chamber-pop favorites Scotland Yard Gospel Choir were involved in a bad van accident in September, cutting short their tour and leaving the Bloodshot Records artists with a lot of medical bills to pay. Thankfully, their compatriots in the Chicago music scene are coming to their aid with this benefit show featuring The Whiskey Drifters, Mikey Peterson and The Trust, Weepin' Willows and DJ sets by Bald E., DJ MR and DJ Elia. There will be free chili, BBQ and vegetarian fare courtesy of Man B Que.

The Following Are Pages Torn From Our Most Favorite Imaginary Books
4-10 p.m. at OhNo!Doom Gallery; free
This is the second-to-last week to catch this innovative show, featuring original children's stories by local authors, with accompanying illustrations by local artists. We're especially excited for the creation of standouts Joe Meno and Cody Hudson, Amy Guth and Pea-Be and Lindsey Markel and Jason Brammer (links go to Centerstage interviews with the artists).

Alec Ounsworth, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons
8 p.m. at Schubas; $15
It's not always a shortcoming, wearing influences on your sleeve. Especially when they're Byrne or Bowie. As the frontman of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Alec Ounsworth has had the pleasure of playing in front of both of his idols (when folks cried 'rip-off', the legends came to see for themselves). Ounsworth has proven to be the real McCoy, creating some of the most infectious and genuine indie rock of the decade. His first solo effort spills over with the same horn-driven blasts of pop cacophony that made him someone to watch. Same story with Evanston's folk poster-child Ezra (Dylan, ahem) Furman, save for the celebrity audience members and solo split off.


Got a short attention span? Collaboraction knows how you feel. That's why its annual multimedia fest, Sketchbook, limits its presentations to seven minutes or less. The lineup for the 10th-annual event (June 10-27 at Chopin Theatre) was just released; check it out after the jump, and listen to Collaboraction's Blog Talk Radio Show today at 4 p.m. for a full rundown of the fest's 20 theater, music and video performances. Tickets ($25) go on sale March 1 at Ok, we won't take up any more of your time.

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conchajareno.jpgConcha Jareno will sweep you off your feet.(photo: Paco Sanchez,

Chicago Flamenco Festival 2010

7:30 p.m. at Instituto Cervantes Chicago; $20
Award-winning dancer Concha Jareno returns for a second night of "Simplemente Flamenco," accompanied by Flavio Rodrigues on guitar, Diego Villegas on wind instruments and the voice of Pedro Jesus Obregon Uceda.

8 p.m. at Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre; $20
All hail Mama 'wolf! Chicago's most famous theater company is also its most nurturing, giving promising start-ups great facilities, expert guidance and major press. Starting this month, the 'wolf Garage space will be hosting three plays by itinerant troupes, including XIII Pocket's "Adore," a tale of love and cannibalism.

Soup and Bread
5:30-8 p.m. at Hideout; donations suggested
This week's installment of the always tasty series features batches of soup from the likes of Ryan Cooper (First Slice), painter/DJ Won Kim and novelist Terri Griffith. Donations will go to First Slice, a bakery and non-profit providing food to the hungry.

quennect42.jpgIrvine Welsh fans lounge at Quennect4 before the author's reading in 2008. (photo: Jhonathan F. Gomez)

There's underground, and then there's underground -- and Quennect4 was certainly the latter. Operating without a license for the past four and a half years, the gallery and performance space hosted all manner of events, including parties, concerts, fundraisers, festivals and more (as well as participating in legit activities like the Humboldt Park Arts Fair, Peace Festival and the Wicker Well World Music Series). Notice that we're speaking of the place in the past tense; that's because as of January 5, Quennect4 received a Cease and Desist order from the City for its unlicensed operation.

The folks in the "Q4 Tribe" aren't giving up without a fight, though. They've recently launched a fundraising effort in order to take the steps to make the place a legally recognized establishment where the creative juices can continue to flow. Want to help out? Visit Quennect4's Kickstarter page to pledge funds toward the $3,600 goal (you only pay if the full amount is reached).

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Great Small Works shows big things can come in small packages. (photo: Jenny Romaine/Great Small Works via Forward)

Thaw: A Night of Hot Winter Ballyhoo
6:30 p.m.-midnight at The Red Canary; $30
This benefit for Links Hall takes you back to the 1930s for an evening of circus whimsy and Recession Era glamor. Guests will enjoy an open bar with Prohibition-era cocktails and complimentary hors d'oeuvres. There will be performances from Great Small Works, the acclaimed New York-based puppet company, Chantal Calato, Meredith Miller, fire-spinners, blacklight hula-hoopers, DJs and more. $75 gets you two tickets plus two passes to "The World Is Flat", a toy theater performance at Links Hall February 25-28.

Basia Bulat
9 p.m. at Schubas; $10
Before her lofty autoharp pop landscapes got usurped by car commercials, Canada's Basia Bulat was quieting barrooms with a grainy Shakira vibrato so mobile and ruthless, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to bottle it. The effect's not lost on her sophomore release, "Heart of My Own," which finds Bulat traversing the Yukon Territory that inspired her, with hints of folk and charging Americana beats, compliments of her brother. Fellow classically trained Canadian Katie Stelmanis opens with a bit of digi aggression.

The Moth StorySlam: Love Hurts
8 p.m. at Martyrs'; $7
The New York-based storytelling behemoth returns for an evening of true tales about heartbreak, presumably inspired by the Hallmark holiday just past. There are few topics more entertaining (and humiliating) than relationship woes, so expect a chock-full show (tip: get there by 6:45 for a chance to get in). For a description of what it's like, check out Centerstage's recap of the first Chicago event.

Bye bye, Beer Dude

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Chicagoist is reporting that Phil Kuhl, better known as Sheffield's "Beer Dude" -- whom Centerstage profiled last year and local musician Darren Garvey recommended last week -- is leaving the Lakeview establishment for greener pastures.

Thankfully, he'll be keeping his beer-selecting talents in the city, as he's becoming the beer director for The Fountainhead, the Ayn Rand-inspired, brew-focused spot opening in the spring at 1968 W. Montrose.

Tonight's Phil's final night, so stop by to wish him well -- and to try some of the unique beers he'll be pouring.

The "Ditka" may soon be easier to get. (photo: Serious Eats)

There are few things more frustrating than having your dinner plans foiled by the complete absence of parking within a mile radius of the intended restaurant. Especially when that restaurant is Bricks, one of the city's finest thin-crust purveyors and a resident of permit-happy Lincoln Park.

Come December, such fruitless quests may be just a bitter memory, as the restaurant recently announced plans to open up a second location, dubbed Big Bricks, at 3830 N. Lincoln (the old Grizzly's Lodge space in Lakeview/North Center). Crain's reports that the new space, which will be three times the size of the original subterranean eatery, will offer chicken, fish and barbecue dishes in addition to classic pies like the "Berzerkley" and the "Painful." There are apparently plans for outdoor seating and homemade ice cream. Happy spot-hunting.

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El Perro del Mar performs at Lincoln Hall tonight.

El Perro del Mar, Taken By Trees
8 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $15
Otherwise known as the female tease on Peter, Bjorn and John's whistle-smash, "Young Folks," fellow Swede Victoria Bergman shows her spacious side on her solo project, Taken By Trees. Bergman's Chan Marshall-esque voice shares tracks with bare-bones glockenspiel and piano pokes, evoking a creaky Nordic forest. She likes to warm it up with some strings, though. Another Swede, El Perro Del Mar, goes about her business much more digitally – think The Cure when happy. Her new album, "Love Is Not Pop," should get more cred than it does.

7:30 p.m. at Studio Theater (Chicago Cultural Center); $15-$20
The politics of Chicago's racial divide and neighborhood hierarchies burst onto the stage with James Anthony Zoccoli's engaging performance of "Wiggerlover [white boy + black dad = grey areas]" in association with DCA Theater. A hilarious myriad of music, comedy, history and memoir, the hour-long retrospective delves into touchy topics with wit and heart.

Louder Than A Bomb: Preliminary Bouts
10 a.m.-6 p.m. at 623 S. Wabash and 1104 S. Wabash; $3-$6
Young slam poets kick off the 10th annual competition with this initial round of action (which runs through Sunday). We can't think of a more inspiring way to spend your lunch break.

Quote of the Week

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"Like when Phil Collins left Genesis' drum chair to begin his career of balladry; well, that's what I did, but it sounds completely different."
- multi-instrumentalist Darren Garvey, describing the sound of his new solo record

Read the full Centerstage interview and then hear it for yourself on March 14 at Tonic Room or March 16 at The Whistler.

3 Things We Love About ... Saturday

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Spark the imagination
Take the kids to “Storytown,” an improvised fairy tale for ages 3-10 at iO (3541 N. Clark). Show time is 10:30 a.m.; tickets are $5. Call (773) 880-0199;

Life’s candy and the sun’s a ball of butter
Sara Sheperd puts her own dazzling spin on the iconic role of Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” at the Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace (100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace). Two shows today, 5 and 8:30 p.m.; tickets are $29-$38. Call (630) 530-0111;

When all else fails, free nachos!
Head to Smoke Daddy (1804 W. Division) today in Chicago Bulls attire to watch the 7 p.m. Bulls game. With a minimum purchase of any sandwich or entree, they’ll bring a round of smoked, pulled pork nachos to your table. Call (773) 772-6656 for more details.

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

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Louder Than A Bomb: Chicago Youth Poetry Slam Festival
Starts Friday at various locations; see the full schedule
The 10th anniversary of the two-week event kicks off this weekend with an all-day Intersections Youth Literary Conference (Friday) and viewing of the "Louder Than A Bomb" documentary (Saturday). Both events are at Columbia College's Film Row Cinema.

3 Things To Do Today

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People Under The Stairs
10 p.m. at Subterranean; $15
With seven albums to their credit, People Under the Stairs have proven time-and-time again that good, old-fashioned party rap never gets old. Their latest project, "Carried Away," continues the tradition with non-stop, body-rocking tales of uninhibited debauchery (there's a song called simply "Beer"). It's laughs and straight boom-baps all the way through, but though both Thes and Double K may seem like jokesters on the surface, there's no questioning their undying love for hip-hop.

Adler After Dark
6-10 p.m. at Adler Planetarium; $15
The theme for this month's installment of the 21-plus series is "Star-Crossed," with interactive demonstrations including "How Hot Can You Make Your Partner?" and "Extreme Attractions." There will also be a special presentation from Dr. Marvin Bolt on "Star-Crossed Lovers." DJ Sean Alvarez will spin throughout.

National Drink Wine Day
If you were thinking of taking the night off from drinking, think again. We've basically gotten an executive order to imbibe today, and thankfully there are some pretty easy ways to fulfill our civic duty. Two we like most: Frasca Pizzeria & Wine Bar's Tuscany Wine Dinner (7 p.m., $50), a four-course menu with pairings, and half-price ($55) bottles and $15 glasses of Alpha Estate Unfiltered Blend Florina Greece 2006 at David Burke's Primehouse.

Chicagoans love their pub trivia, as evidenced by the long list of trivia nights available around town.

But only the truly quiz-crazy will dare sign up for the new LetsGoTrivia league, which kicks off tomorrow night at Rebel Bar & Grill in Wrigleyville. Teams (six members or less) will compete against one another from 7:30-9:30 p.m. each Thursday for six weeks, in the hopes of securing over $1,000 in prizes.

Think you and your friends have what it takes (and will actually show up for that many weeks in a row)? Email with your team name and captain contact information to register. Cost is $150 per team.

Help The Boozehound help you.

Since its opening in late 2008, Drinks Over Dearborn has offered a wide variety of booze-related services, from specialty sales to tastings to classes to event hosting. That could soon be over, as the boutique shop finds itself about $50,000 in debt. In an effort to keep the dream alive, proprietor Kyle McHugh (aka The Boozehound) has started a unique fundraising campaign, 500 Benjamins or Bust. He's looking for 500 people to open $100 accounts with the store, to be charged only if the total fundraising goal is reached by March 1. It's kind of like a Groupon, except the window of opportunity lasts two weeks instead of a single day. If the goal is not reached, the store will close on March 5.

Want to make sure your money will be well spent? Check out the store's inventory here.

Thanks to Chicagoist and 312DD for alerting us to this campaign.

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Shani Davis Watch Party
5:30 p.m. at ESPN Zone
No, you won't just be sitting and staring at the South Side native and speed-skating champ (and inspiration for Frozone from "The Incredibles," apparently). You'll be cheering him on with friends and family as he goes for his second straight gold medal in the 1,000-meter race (which begins at 6 p.m.). Davis' former coach, Sanders "Sam" Hicks will be there, as will Jim Nubani, coach of Evanston Speed Skating Club (where Davis began his career as a six year old).

"Revolving Door" Reading Series
7-10 p.m. at Red Kiva; no cover
The West Loop lounge kicks off its new monthly event (which will take place on the third Wednesday of every month) with an evening of poetry readings from Luis Humberto, Sid Yiddish, Allison Gruber and Debra Pecore, an open mic session and music spun by DJ Bornswift. The first installment includes a silent auction benefiting earthquake relief efforts in Haiti.

All-You-Can-Eat Ribs
11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. at Smoke Daddy; $22.95
What's to explain? Stop into this Wicker Park favorite for a plate or three of your choice of ribs (baby back, spare ribs or rib tips) plus fries and choice of a second side (sweet potato fries, smoked pit beans, coleslaw, cornbread, homemade barbecue chips, mac 'n' cheese, veggies). Your heart will quit before the waiters do.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Filter
Wicker Park coffee fans rejoice at the re-incarnation of this popular cafe.

Off the Beaten Path: The Shawarma Inn
Authentic Iraqi cuisine on the Northwest Side.

Weekly Treat: Ticket Giveaway: Evan Dando
The Lemonheads leader soldiers on with a solo acoustic set on Friday - and you could be there.

Man We're Crazy About: First Slice Pie Cafe
Café with a conscience opens up a new location in the Water Works building.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

Here are some recent restaurant/bar openings and closings.


Prairie Fire - This new West Loop restaurant comes from the owners of Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe.
Leo's Coney Island - The lines out the door should tell you something about how much a true Coney emporium has been needed in these parts.
The Money Shot - Try to overlook the, um, descriptive name of the place and focus on the sleek look of this Rogers Park restaurant/lounge.
Rice N Roll - Get your favorite Thai, Chinese and sushi dishes at this Albany Park restaurant. As part of its grand opening, the place is offering an entree with soup and an appetizer for $5.95.
Eggsperience Cafe - This 24-hour cafe offers a full range of egg dishes, whenever you want 'em, in River North.
Rockin' Taco - Try the "Friday Night Fight": 10 tacos drowning in hot sauce, which come free if you eat the whole plate with just one drink and one napkin ($16.66 if you don't).
Rehab - The old martini lounge connected to Circuit in Boystown re-opens with a fresh new look and cocktail-heavy menu.

Gilt Bar - Brendan Sodikoff's simple, fun restaurant in the old Aigre Doux space in River North will open later this month.

Fuego Mexican Grill (Arlington Heights) - If you want your fix of margaritas and tableside guacamole, you may have to go to its Logan Square location.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's list of new restaurants and bars.

Ginger Twin_web.jpg

Being a redhead ain't always easy, what with the freckles, paleness and everyone assuming you're Irish (not that that's a bad thing).

But at the Half Acre Beer Emporium (4257 N. Lincoln), it's actually an advantage -- if you like hoppy beers. According to the local brewery's blog, anyone with "God-given red hair" will get an 8 percent discount on the new Ginger Twin India-Style Red Ale, available in growler form beginning this Friday (and in 22-ounce bottles next week). And if you bring along your identical twin, you'll get a whopping 25 percent off.

Even if you're a dark-haired female with no facial hair to speak of, we suggest stopping by for a taste.


Ever gotten to a concert, only to realize that you've left your ticket at home? That experience could soon be a thing of the past, assuming you're able to remember your smartphone. Twicketer, a new mobile application that allows you to purchase and activate event tickets directly from your phone, has just arrived in Chicago, with South Side venue Reggie's Rock Club the first to partner with the company.

The next available show on Twicketer looks to be the Metal as Art Tour tomorrow night. See all upcoming Reggie's events here.


Eat Paczki.
It ain't called Fat Tuesday for nothin'. These fried, jelly-filled pastries are traditionally made by Polish people to get rid of the forbidden sugar, large, eggs and fruit in their homes before Lent. Whether or not you're Polish (or religious), you should pick up a few of these decadent treats at one of many bakeries or grocery stores around the city. Centerstage offers a great list of paczki purveyors.

Drink Hurricanes.
There's no better excuse (ok, maybe St. Patrick's Day) to get a little tipsy than the all-out celebration that is Mardi Gras. Not surprisingly, Chicago bars and restaurants are taking full advantage of the day, with bead- and mask-filled bashes galore. Find a Mardi Gras party in your 'hood.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!
It's not a true N'awlins celebration without some good music, and Chicago offers plenty of that today, with special performances including Houseman & the Housewreckers (Martyrs'), Paul Cebar and the Modern Sounds (FitzGerald's) and the king of all parties, Snoop Dogg (Metro). Leave your inhibitions at home.


Many were hesitant to pay $30 for the latest hip-hop extravaganza at Congress Theater on Saturday night, headlined by Doom and Mos Def. The reason? Doom, the masked rapper who's been delivering deadpan punch-lines under various monikers since the '90s, has been known to send an impostor to perform in his place, a stunt that some call genius (his act is all about hidden identity, anyway) and some call insulting.

So, who really showed up this weekend? The debate rages on at local hip-hop blog Fake Shore Drive.

A snapshot from last year's Snuggie Pub Crawl. (via Flickr)

What's the only thing more embarrassing than paying to participate in a Snuggie Pub Crawl?

Paying too much for tickets to said pub crawl. That's why, if carousing around Lincoln Park in a creatively decorated "blanket with sleeves" appeals to you, now's the time to secure a spot for the April 10 event. After today, the ticket price rises from $18 to $22. That $4 you save will get you a couple more $2 Bud Lights (other specials at participating bars will include $3 well drinks, $5 Bacardi bombs, $2 Bacardi Torched cherry shots and more).

The second-annual progressive party includes stops at bars like Lion Head Pub, Kendall's, Kelsey's, Sterch'sand more. Check out the official website for photos and other info.

3 Things To Do Today

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The Residents
8 p.m. at Logan Square Auditorium; $25
Loath to interview and even more loath to reveal their identities, The Residents offer only zany, cryptic antics – appearing in giant eye masks while wearing white tuxedoes, distributing David Lynch-like video productions long before Lynch went to film school - a near 70-album oeuvre, and their elaborate live shows. Some shout genius, citing some of their work in the Museum of Modern Art's permanent collection. Others shout absurd, citing the use of a photo of a woman fellating a small child as one of the band's first album covers. All we can shout is that they're on "The Talking Light Tour," and that should be enough to make you curious.

The Philanderer

7 p.m. at Ruth Page Center for the Arts; $10-$22
George Bernard Shaw classified this socially conscious production among his "Plays Unpleasant." But while the two-and-a-half-hour show might occasionally drag, it's far from offensive to modern sensibilities. Expect a cleverly written and charmingly performed play about the hypocrisies abounding in the relationships between the sexes. Read the full Centerstage review.

The Long Red Road Artists Talk
6-7 p.m. at Goodman Theatre; $15 ($8 for students)
WBEZ's Steve Edwards will moderate a discussion with playwright Brett C. Leonard and director Philip Seymour Hoffman about their new production, "The Long Red Road," which runs through March 21.

3 Things We Love About ... Saturday

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What do you know? You can wear it again!
Don your wedding dress (or wedding tuxedo) and get free general admission from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Drive). The first 150 people in wedding attire will also be treated to complimentary champagne and wedding cake at 2:30 p.m. Everyone dressed in wedding attire will also be entered into a drawing for several prizes, including two sets of round-trip airline tickets from United Airlines. For more information, call (312) 922-9410 or visit

We wish we were this in-your-face with our partner:
Sandra Bernhard brings her unique blend of confrontational humor to the Lakeshore Theater (3175 N. Broadway) tonight with shows at 7:30 and 10:30. We hope to pick up a few pointers. Tickets are $46. Call (773) 472-3492 or visit

The next best thing to kissing Bradley Cooper:
The Kit Kat Lounge (3700 N. Halsted) has five new $12.50 martinis named after actors in the new film “Valentine’s Day.” Our favorite is the Bradley Cooper: Effen vodka, Godiva white and dark chocolate liqueurs and caramel liqueur. For reservations or more information, call (773) 525-1111

Tell us your three favorite things about Saturday!

Quote of the Week

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"I was asked once if I was as good in bed as I am on the drums. That kind of stuck in my head."
- "Angry Joe" Dorenbos of five-piece funk band The Jordan Years

Check out the full Centerstage interview, then head to darkroom on Friday, February 19 for the band's Dre Day performance with local rapper Psalm One.


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.

Les Amis Creole perform multiple times during the U of C Folk Fest.
(photo via MySpace)

University of Chicago Folk Festival
Friday-Sunday at Mandel Hall; $20-$25
It's a big year for this celebration of traditional music, as the fest celebrates 50 years of folk. The event includes a range of performers, from Irish folk to Virginia bluegrass to Chicago blues, including Kim Wilson, The New Mules, Aaron Moore, Les Amis Creole and more. There will also be instrument workshops, dances and vendors (some free) throughout the weekend.

Well, that escalated quickly.

Three-day passes for the Pitchfork Music Festival (July 16-18 in Union Park) have already sold out, according to the music review site. That means it took just one week to sell the same amount of tickets sold in two months last year. The stellar lineup announced so far (including Pavement, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem and St. Vincent) probably has a lot to do with it. You can still snag single-day tickets for $40 each at


Still haven't found that perfect Valentine's Day gift? A pair of Mariah Carey tickets would probably work pretty well. You can win two tickets to her Sunday night show, plus dinner and a limo ride to and from the Chicago Theatre -- all you have to do to enter is head to MaxBar on Saturday night (drawing is at 9 p.m.) and see if your name is pulled. We suggest wearing lots of glitter for good luck.

There's probably never been a better time to be a beer aficionado in Chicago. In addition to all the local breweries opening up (Logan Square's Revolution Brewing being the latest), there are two big sampling events coming your way on successive weekends.

This Saturday, head to Delilah's for the Vintage Strong Beer Fest, which features more than 100 high-alcohol brews, including some aged for over a decade. $20.

Next weekend, there's round two of AlphaBeer at Globe Pub, which offers samples of brews from every letter of the alphabet (from Allagash to Zatec). The creative tasting (February 20, 6-9 p.m.; $40) benefits Open Books.

3 Things To Do Today

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Marriott Mixology Class
4-7 p.m. at Chicago Marriott Downtown; $10
If "Cocktail" is your favorite film, but you lack the skills to realize your dream, this class could help. Each participant at this hands-on training session will get individual instruction in making three cocktails using locally produced spirits: the Death's Door Vesper (vodka, gin and Lillet Blanc), paired with seared crab cakes and blood orange-fennel salad; North Shore Bee's Knee's (gin, honey and lemon), paired with bacon-wrapped chestnuts with honey glaze; and Templeton Manhattan (rye whiskey, Carpano Antica, bitters and a cherry), paired with house-cured ham Monte Cristo sandwiches.

The Liquid Burning of Apocalyptic Bard Letters
9:30-10:30 p.m. at Matilda
Several local writers -- Kevin Robison, Ian Randall, Aaron Cynic, Jeff Phillips and Daniel Mac Rae -- will read from their selected works exploring dystopia and apocalypse. Before and after the uplifting readings, you're invited to "mingle and chat about the apocalypse," enjoying $3 Point Pale Ale and half-price appetizers in Matilda's basement lounge, Baby Atlas.

The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900
Opening reception 5:30-7:30 p.m., runs through June 13 at Smart Museum of Art
Paris in the latter half of the 19th Century was not all bustling streets and lively cafes, despite what most Impressionist art from that time shows. In reality, the "City of Light" had a darker side, one captured in the private, shadowy works of lesser-known artists like Felix Bracquemond and Charles Meryon.


About to buy a ticket to see "This Is It"? Stop right there. FCBC (For Children, By Children), a local children's theatre and entertainment group, is producing "Expressions of M.J.," which looks to be a retrospective of the pop legend's career as interpreted by Chicago students -- and you won't even need glasses to see all the 3-D action.

The dance-heavy show goes down at 7 p.m. on February 18, 19 and 25 and March 4 and 5 at the CICS-Longwood Auditorium (1309 W. 95th). Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door ($5-$7 for students), and can be ordered by calling (708) 769-9880.

3 Things To Do Today

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Fernando-Jones.jpgPhoto: courtesy of Bob Fila

Blues Kids of America
3:30 p.m. at Columbia College Theatre/Music Center
The leader of the nation's first collegiate blues ensemble at Columbia College, Fernando Jones leads this instructional course in bridging public school achievement gaps with the blues. Targeting everyone from parents to school council members, Jones shows how literacy, attendance, discipline and overall academic success can increase ten-fold via harmonica workshops and musical-theory courses. In other words – keep cool in school with the blues, kids.

Pre-Valentine's Day Cooking Class
6:30-8 p.m. at Sabor Saveur; $25
The Mexican-born, French-trained chef behind this Wicker Park spot will show you how to create two of Sabor Saveur's signature dishes: lobster enchiladas with hazelnuts and tropical chutney, and figs-and-coconut ante with lemon, blueberry cream and glace sauce. You'll then get to sample the items, along with two champagne cocktails each. If you like the preview, stick around for dinner; class participants get 25 percent off their dinner bill. Sabor Saveur is BYOB, so make sure to grab a bottle at D&D Liquors across the street (2006 W. Division). Wondering what to bring? Check out Centerstage's guide to pairing wines with ethnic foods.

Flirting for Disaster

6-9 p.m. at Close Up 2; $20 in advance, $25 at the door
The latest installment in the networking series offers the chance to find a potential date while also doing some good. Proceeds from the Valentine's Day-themed event, which includes hors d'oeuvres, $5 Effen martinis, tarot-card readings, raffles and more, benefits the American Red Cross.

The always-educating Beer School Bar at Sheffield's shifts its curriculum to math tonight. Don't worry, it's pretty easy stuff. Take four beers (including Peak Organic Espresso Amber, Half Acre Baume Stout, St. Louis Framboise), add four different chocolates, and see if the total pairing is greater than the sum of its parts. Class is in session at 7 p.m., with $15 tuition.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Lockdown Bar & Grill
One-of-a-kind heavy-metal burger bar in Ukrainian Village.

Off the Beaten Path: The Glenwood
Rogers Park bar is open to any and all.

Weekly Treat: Two-dollar Tuesdays at Leg Room
Domestic beers, well drinks and bombs are all just $2 tonight.

Man We're Crazy About: Karyn’s on Green
More meatless fun from the vegan health food empire.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

Here are some recent restaurant/bar openings and closings.


Lockdown Bar & Grill - Rockin' burgers in a prison-themed space - what more do you need?
Filter - The popular Wicker Park coffeehouse gets a new lease on life, just down the street.
Karyn's on Green - Karyn Calabrese's meatless empire gains another outpost.
Life on Mars - Vegan takeout, just what Logan Square needs.
Prairie Fire - The folks behind Northbrook's Prairie Grass Cafe expand into the West Loop.
The Southern - Comfort food from a Georgia native in the former Chaise Lounge space in Bucktown.
Revolution Brewing - The owner of Handlebar Bar and Grill just opened this Logan Square brewpub.
Longman & Eagle - It's a place to drink craft beer, nosh on gourmet food and, soon, sleep.
Small Bar (Lincoln Park) - Fullerton folks, hope you're ready for soccer and good beer.
The Exchange - You won't miss Lava Lounge when you get a taste of the cocktails at this re-imagined spot.

Leo's Coney Island - Come Monday, true Detroit Coneys will finally be available in Chicago. (We investigated the current options and came away unimpressed).
Forty Carrots - Bloomingdale's shoppers, your light lunch spot arrives this month.

Costa's - A fire has destroyed this Greektown favorite...for now.
Chaise Lounge - There was only room for one restaurant in this Bucktown space.
Asmara Cafe - Rogers Park Eritrean spot is now a place to get your taxes done.
Accent Cafe - Mt. Prospect residents will have to find another place for Eastern European fare.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's list of new restaurants and bars.

3 Things To Do Today

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grandslam.jpgWhat's this worth to you? (photo via ToughSledding)

Denny's Free Grand Slam Breakfast
6 a.m.-2 p.m. at Denny's nationwide
It's simple: Go to Denny's. Wait in a long, snowy line. Get a free Grand Slam breakfast, which includes two eggs, two pancakes and either two sausage links or two pieces of bacon. Repeat. The area restaurants closest to the city are in Oak Park (711 N. Harlem), Norridge (4609 N. Harlem) and Oak Lawn (9217 S. Cicero). See 'em all mapped here.

Opera Underground’s “Opera with a Twist”
6:30-9:30 p.m. at Faith & Whiskey; $30 in advance, $40 at the door
Who says opera and debauchery don't mix? This event, which helps support Chicago Opera Theater's Opera For All program in Chicago Public Schools, combines the two with a night of open bar, appetizers and a short performance from some of its Young Artists.

Love Fest
7-10 p.m. at Holiday Club; $20 in advance, $25 at the door
As with the other Nerds at Heart events, this fest at the Holiday Club allows you to show off your prowess at trivia quizzes and board games. You'll get the chance to win some especially nerdy prizes and, if you're lucky, you might find a date for Valentine's Day! Tonight's gay-centric gathering (tomorrow is hetero night) features dating-themed mini-performances from local singer Amy Armstrong and Ms. Bertha Mason (actor/chef Michael Bowen) of "Baking with Bertha." Admission price includes one cocktail.

Phindile Mkhize.JPG
Phindile Mkhizie as Rafiki in "The Lion King." (photo: Joan Marcus)

Be prepared for sensational news: "The Lion King" is coming back to Chicago, with a six-week engagement beginning September 29 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. If you're already roaring with excitement, mark down February 24 on the calendar. That's the day that Broadway in Chicago Subscription Series holders will be able to buy tickets (and if you've got a group of 15 or more, you can buy right now). For more information, visit or

Looks like you can hold off on that tea party for another week, luxury shoppers.

This Saturday, Sunday and Monday, The 900 Shops on Michigan Avenue is offering you a break from Chicago's typically crippling 10.25-percent sales tax by discounting all items -- including those on sale -- by the same amount. Participating retailers include Michael Kors, J. Crew, MaxMara, Montblanc, DNA 2010, Club Monaco, Adidas, L'Occitane, Charles David, Original Penguin, Solstice Sunglass Boutique, Oiliy, Bernardaud, Mark Shale, United Colors of Benetton, Galt Toys, Mario Tricoci, Christofle, Sermoneta Gloves and more. The daily parking rate will also be reduced to $10, so it'll be easy to haul away all those bags.

There's just one catch: you have to present an access pass to get your discount, available online or at the concierge desks on levels 1 and 6.

3 Things To Do Today

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Chicago's Hope for Haiti
7 p.m. at House of Hope
A host of stars will be on hand at this South Side arena for Chicago's hope for Haiti benefit concert. Expect performances from Common, Donald Lawrence & Co., Lalah Hathaway, Shirley Caesar, Marvin Sapp, Regina Belle and others, plus appearances by Mayor Daley and Governor Quinn. The concert will double as a telethon, which will be broadcast live on WJYS TV, with proceeds going to Yele Haiti, Samaritan's Purse and International Childcare.

The Silver Project
7:30 p.m. at American Theater Company
Presented in parts and as a whole, "The Silver Project" includes work from over thirty playwrights across the country writing on what it means to be an American, with each playwright choosing a year between 1985-2010 to focus on. Tonight is part one.

Trivia Night

7:30 p.m. at Finley Dunne's Tavern
The Trivia Jerk website returns to West Lakeview once again this week, with winners of the popular event getting a $50 gift card to the bar. Start formulating your team names now.
Check out Centerstage's listings of trivia nights in Chicago.

Quote of the Week

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photo: Joan Marcus

"I am a drug addict. You see these little blue babies? They're my best friends and they never let me down. Try to get 'em away from me and I'll eat you alive!"
- Violet Weston (Estelle Parsons), "August: Osage County"

For more Weston wit, and the full Centerstage review of the show's touring production (at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through Valentine's Day), click here.

In case you didn't see DeRo's note earlier this morning, the Pitchfork Music Festival announced its first batch of acts today. Pavement, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, St. Vincent, Raekwon, Lightning Bolt, Cass McCombs, Sleigh Bells and Here We Go Magic will be among the performers July 16-18 in Union Park. Tickets ($40 per day, $90 for a three-day pass) go on sale at noon today.

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.

Got room for yet another Haiti benefit concert? You will once you've heard the lineup for Monday's "Chicago's Hope for Haiti" show at the House of Hope in Pullman. Common, Donald Lawrence & Co., Lalah Hathaway, Shirley Caesar, Marvin Sapp, Regina Belle and others will perform as part of the star-studded show that doubles as a telethon, to be broadcast live on WJYS TV at 7 p.m. Proceeds benefit Yele Haiti, Samaritan's Purse and International Childcare.

If you've still got some philanthropic energy left, check out these other Chicago-area Haiti benefits on Centerstage.

So, you've had a hard week. You need something to take your mind off the stress, and maybe give you a little lift as you ease into the weekend. Instead of reaching for that bottle of pills on the nightstand, reach for the mouse and click this sneak peek of the Second City's latest satire, "Rush Limbaugh! The Musical," courtesy of NBC Chicago. You'll thank us when you're not in rehab.

View more news videos at:

3 Things To Do Today

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Black Math will give you a good association with numbers. (photo: Dana Browning via MySpace)

Black Math
9:30 p.m. at Hideout; $8
Hissing intimacies of underground '80s new-wave cassette days, these local bedroom popsters spend much of their time shrouding their vocals and synths in Depeche Mode brood and songs about "Reckless Thoughts" and a "Bottomless Sea." But if you stick with the lo-fi catharsis long enough, the band will treat you to sunshine-reverb punk shakers that could be Jesus and Mary Chain B-sides.
For more shows, check out the Centerstage music calendar or sign up for the events newsletter.

Italian Cinema Night
7 p.m. at Salute Wine Bar
Every Thursday, this Gold Coast wine bar shows a classic Italian film, offering half-price pizzas to those who choose to partake in the cinematic experience. February is Sophia Loren Month, beginning tonight with "Two Women," for which Loren won an Academy Award for Best Actress (the first to win one for a non-English-speaking performance). If you can't make it tonight, consider the upcoming films: "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" (February 11), "Marriage Italian Style" (February 18) and "Houseboat" (February 25).

Faces of Poverty
5:30-8 p.m. at Black Walnut Gallery
Police officers see things differently from the rest of the population -- including poverty. Their views are the focus of this photo exhibit, which displays the work of those pursuing a master's degree in police psychology at the Adler School of Professional Psychology. Participants were asked to take photos at the beginning and end of a course, and the results show much about the officers' journeys. The exhibit event, which will include cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, is open to the public, but an email RSVP to is encouraged.

There wasn't an official competition, but we feel pretty confident in declaring Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort the king of all cover-band bars in Chicago (step up your game, Joe's). Hot on the heels of its Winter Music Fest featuring cover bands from around the city, the island-themed establishment introduces "WTF Wednesdays" tonight, featuring the musical stylings of The Cover Kings, an all-star cover band formed from the city's top cover bands (Hairbangers Ball, Mike and Joe, '80s Proof). This is the cream of the crop, folks.

The band will perform two sets beginning at 9 p.m., and members of other professional cover bands can sign up for a jam session beginning at 8 p.m. Specials include $2 domestic beers and $2 well drinks. Not surprisingly, there's a cover charge: $4.

The word "philanthropist" usually conjures up images of old, accomplished men and women who pay people to decide how to spend their money. But that's not always the case, as the Steppenwolf Auxiliary Council's annual Red or White Ball shows. Young professionals and budding donors gather each year to eat, drink, dance and raise money for Steppenwolf for Young Adults, the theater's arts education program.

For $125, you can join these young movers and shakers at Salvage One at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 9. You'll mingle, you'll bid in the silent auction, and who might even meet a potential benefactor to take home (that's a "sugar daddy," for you uncultured types). Buy tickets and learn more on the official website.

3 Things To Do Today

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If Beacher's Madhouse is good enough for Money Mayweather, it's good enough for you.

Beacher's Madhouse
9 p.m. at Martini Park
Can't afford that trip to Vegas this year? Let Martini Park bring Sin City to you. One of the Strip's favorite shows makes an appearance in Chicago tonight before heading down to The Venue at Horseshoe Casino this weekend. It's an extravaganza featuring variety acts, dancers, sideshow freaks, midgets (Mini Lady Gaga, anyone), acrobats, DJs and, of course, scantily clad babes.

Wednesday Date Night
Blue 13; $80 per couple
If your relationship has been rendered utterly predictable due to the daily grind, switch things up with this brand-new dinner series presented by this rock 'n' roll restaurant. For $80, you and your partner can each choose a salad or appetizer, an entree and a dessert from the regular menu. Options include rabbit streudel, hot 'n' sour cod and warm chocolate cake. Wine pairings are served with each course. The promotion runs every Wednesday through March, except for February 24 (Restaurant Week).

Reading Under the Influence
7-9 p.m. at Sheffield's; $3
The theme for this month's edition of the reading series: Love Hangover. This month's performers -- Claire Zulkey, Aimee Perkins (2nd Story), Joe Deir and Barry Wightman -- will read recognizable published works relating to the topic, as well as original pieces. Award-winning author Jaimee Wriston Colbert will read from her new novel, Shark Girls. As always, you can expect food, drink and trivia.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just (Re-)Opened: Macello Ristorante
Just like old times at this West Loop Italian restaurant.

Off the Beaten Path: Rincon de Tabasco
It's always fiesta time at this Northwest Side spot.

Weekly Treat: Two tickets to Nneka
Do you really want to miss out on the Nigerian Lauryn Hill?

Man We're Crazy About: Tiny Lounge
The Lincoln Square incarnation is a little bigger and a lot swankier than the original.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

This isn't the #5, but doesn't it look good? (courtesy DMK Burger Bar)

We're not sure how a place that's been open just a few months can have a "long-awaited" burger, but ever since we first heard about DMK Burger Bar's new #5 (topped with prosciutto, fontina and pesto), we admit a few anticipatory drools.

Well, the long wait is finally over, as the restaurant launches its latest menu item with a party at 9 p.m. tonight. In addition to free #5s for the first 55 patrons, there will be Italian craft beers on hand and Italian music (Sinatra, Zappa) on the speakers. While you're there, make sure to grab some of the award-winning sides.

3 Things To Do Today

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Hey, Punxsutawney Phil! We've got a three-pack of free events today, so forget that shadow and make the most of it (please?). For all you non-groundhogs, don't forget that it's primary election day in Illinois. Vote early and often.

Eat Outside
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at South Water Kitchen; free
How far would you go for a free lunch? South Water Kitchen aims to test your will; any guests willing to sit outside on the restaurant's patio today (in the snow, no less) will get their meals comped. Menu items -- all of which come with coffee or hot tea, thankfully -- include chicken pot pie, chili mac with aged cheddar and creme fraiche and "Spaghetti-O's" with orecchiette pasta and mini lamb meatballs. Seatings are at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Get "Lost"
5 p.m. (show at 7 p.m.) at Durty Nellie's; free
Everyone's favorite island-based show returns for its final season tonight, and you can watch all the action on Durty Nellie's 15 big-screen TVs (including a 16-by-19-foot giant) with your fellow fans while enjoying $2 pints of Bud and Bud Light, $3 pints of Goose Island, $9.50 pitchers of Goose Island, $5 Jager bombs and $4 Jager shots. After the show, stick around for "Lost" trivia for the chance to win a $100 gift card.

Pac Div
9 p.m. at The Shrine; free w/RSVP to
Using basketball as an analogy, Pac Div released the mixtape "Church League Champions" with the intent of documenting their growth from rec. league scrubs (the underground) to NBA all-stars (rap's upper echelon). So far their rise has been steady, with accolades pouring in from all directions, including trendsetters like P. Diddy and Pharrell Williams. As of now the SoCal trio is working hard on a new mixtape entitled "Don't Mention It," which ought to be a nice primer for their forthcoming album, "Grown Kid Syndrome" (due out this summer and featuring production from Swiff D and The Neptunes).


The Plague is back. Again.

Back in September, we told you about Fifth House Ensemble's production of "Black Violet" a film/music collaboration with artist Ezra Claytan Daniels, telling the story of a black cat and albino rat in Plague-ridden London. This week the group returns with "Black Violet II: The Great Exodus of The Tamed," a continuation of the tale (Chicagoist offers an explanation of the story and the music here). You can catch a free performance tonight at 7 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center, or head to SPACE on Thursday at 8 p.m. ($15 general admission, $25 for a reserved table with Goose Island Matilda and Whole Foods cheese).

3 Things To Do Today

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Toast on the Magnificent Mile
This month-long celebration of the finer things in life gets started today at several Mag Mile-area businesses, which offer deals like a $45 three-tier dessert tray for two (Lawry's), $13 splits Moet & Chandon Imperial champagne (Signature Room) and more. See the website for full details.

Rhythms, Rhymes and Reflections
5-7 p.m. at UIC Student Center East, 750 S. Halsted; free
Celebrate the beginning of Black History Month with performances from spoken-word artist Kevin Coval, dance group Stick & Move and UIC's Black Literary Guild and Gospel Chorus.

La Roux
8 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $18 (sold out)
If you hadn't heard, the '80s are back in a big way. This duo (Elly Jackson's the only member who performs live) brings the best of that synth-laden era to its very soulful performances. If you can somehow snag a ticket tonight, this show is sure to be a party. Yes Giantess and Moneypenny open.

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This page is an archive of entries from February 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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