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The Gaslamp Killer (photo via Last.fm)

The Gaslamp Killer
10 p.m. at Smartbar; $8-$10
Ten years ago William Bensussen aka Gaslamp Killer wasn't considered a very popular DJ. In fact many would have called him a dance-floor killer, and it was a surprise, even to him, that club promoters bothered to take a chance on his bugged-out blend of psychedelic rock, hip-hop and grunge. But today, over a decade later, those promoters were proven right as GLK is now known worldwide for the same high-octane performances that began years ago in San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter.

Beer Under Glass
5:30-8 p.m. at Garfield Park Conservatory; $35-$45
Seven local breweries (Argus, Goose Island, Half Acre, Hamburger Mary's, Metropolitan, Rock Bottom and Two Brothers) will be on hand to serve samples to go along with food from Marion Street Cheese Market and Green Zebra at this event at the West Side conservatory. In addition to the refreshments, attendees can enjoy a composting demonstration, chocolate tastings and a beer-growing and brewing tutorial.

Cory Doctorow
5-6:30 p.m. at Harold Washington Library Center (YOUMedia); free
The popular blogger (he's the co-editor of Boing Boing) and science-fiction writer comes to the library to discuss his latest book, For the Win, about online gaming and thievery. Copies of the books will be available for purchase, and pre-registration is required (call (312) 747-5260).

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According to Weather.com, the forecast for next Thursday includes "isolated thunderstorms." There go your alfresco drinking plans, right? Not exactly. Instead of heading to your nearest uncovered beer garden, make plans to attend the first-ever "Beer Under Glass" event in the climate-controlled (but still leafy) environment at Garfield Park Conservatory.

Seven local breweries (Argus, Goose Island, Half Acre, Hamburger Mary's, Metropolitan, Rock Bottom and Two Brothers) will be on hand to serve samples from 5:30-8 p.m., to go along with food from Marion Street Cheese Market and Green Zebra. In addition to the refreshments, attendees can enjoy a composting demonstration, chocolate tastings and a beer-growing and brewing tutorial. The 21-plus event costs $35 in advance and $45 at the door.

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We have to give you credit, CTA. After all the ways you’ve screwed us over in 2009 (full buses passing us by, trains running express when we least expect it, the persistent odor of bodily fluids), you think you can make us forget all of it by offering penny rides on New Year’s Eve. And you know what? It just might work. Because instead of writing up a list of grievances, we’ve been busy brainstorming how to spend those cents between 8 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday. Here’s what we’ve come up with (not including all the New Year’s Eve events on the slate):

  • Hop on the Red Line and spend some time at the Jackson stop, where you’ll surely find a music performance in progress, whether it’s classical violin or jazz on electric guitar. Increase your enjoyment by stopping by Ceres Café for a drink with the traders first.
  • Take a ride over to the Chicago Blue Line stop to view the new installation from local artist Peter N. Gray. While you’re there, head above ground for a cocktail at the Matchbox and maybe a heart attack (the Three Little Piggies Sandwich) at the nearby Silver Palm.
  • Plan a Pink Line journey to 18th St, where the decorated station will have you in awe. Not only that, but perennial favorite Nuevo Leon is just a short walk away (and if you’re taking a ride on the tail end of the deal, Panaderia Nuevo Leon opens at 5:30 a.m.)
  • Pre-party with the Wildcat faithful at Tommy Nevin’s Pub in Evanston, off the Purple Line’s Dempster stop – the diehards have plenty to prepare for, as Northwestern plays its biggest football game in several years on New Year’s Day, against Auburn in the Outback Bowl at 11 a.m. (if you can’t bear to leave the city, try Lion Head Pub – by the Fullerton stop – or the brand-new Purple Haze, steps away from Belmont).
  • Ride the Brown Line out to Francisco, just so you can confirm it exists (seriously, it’s gotta be the least referenced stop on the North Side). The welcoming Montrose Saloon is a short jaunt south.
  • Go for a late, late dinner (or an early breakfast) at the 24-hour Huck Finn Donuts near the Pulaski stop on the Orange Line. We recommend the Donut Delight (topped with whipped cream and ice cream).
  • Brave the cold and take a walk to Promontory Point, near the Garfield Green Line stop in Hyde Park. It’s the perfect place to toast to 2010 (with non-alcoholic beverages, of course).


Got better ideas for how to take advantage of cheap public transit on New Year’s Eve? Let everyone know in the comments. And remember to check out Centerstage’s Virtual L to find the best spots near train stops year-round.

Six different ways to warm up

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So, according to our nemesis, Punxsutawney Phil, there will be six more weeks of winter. Before you fly into a SAD-induced rage, consider that this season ain't all bad. Actually, we've found six (fitting, huh?) upcoming winter-friendly happenings that'll make you forget spring even exists. Well, maybe we won't go that far.

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See
"Beer"
Yes, a healthy dose of suds will help get you through many a cold Chicago night (and we've especially been loving Goose Island's new Mild Winter Ale), but we're actually talking about a play here. The show, conceived by Neo-Futurists Steven Mosqueda and Sean Benjamin, is performed at the brand-new Metropolitan Brewing in Ravenswood. If you hate watery, mass-produced swill, and love barley puppets, you'll love this show. Through March 7 at Metropolitan Brewing, 5121 N. Ravenswood; 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday.

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