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T.J. Miller

Chicago Underground Comedy presents: Secret Big-Time Local Comedy Showcase
8 p.m. at Beat Kitchen; $15
To kick off the Just For Laughs Chicago fest, some of the city's favorite comedians will perform sets at this Roscoe Village venue, including Adam Burke, Cameron Esposito, Sean Flannery and T.J. Miller (of such films as "Cloverfield," "She's Out Of My League" and the upcoming "Gulliver's Travels").

Fiestas Puertorriquenas
4-10:30 p.m.; free
The annual celebration of Puerto Rican culture kicks off today with live music, food and drink, arts and crafts vendors and more. Stay tuned for more fun all week long.

King Khan & BBQ Show: Live at the Empty Bottle
7 p.m. at Delilah's; free
Even if you weren't there before this garage act made it semi-big (well, they played -- and killed -- at Pitchfork), you can pretend you were by watching this concert film from a 2005 show down the road at the Bottle. Make sure to load up on $2 cans of American beer.

As we reported in February, Humboldt Park gallery and performance space Quennect4 was shut down by the city earlier this year for operating without a license. The ensuing Kickstarter campaign has raised (as of today) $1,480 toward the $3,600 goal.

With just 9 days remaining, the Q4 Tribe is making a final push for funds, releasing a digital compilation with tracks from musicians who have been a part of their community. The collection will be released on Friday, May 7, with a party at Elastic Arts in Logan Square featuring the Chicago Gypsy Experiment, Rambos and Wake Up Siouxsie. The all-ages event begins at 9 p.m., with an $8 suggested donation at the door. Pay that, or make at least a $10 donation to Kickstarter, and you'll be hooked up with the compilation download code.

The full list of artists on the comp: DJ Limbs & Butter, BBU, Eyes Manouche, Curtis Evans & Our Friends Electric, Agents of Change, The Embraceables, Kenny Keys, Chandler London, Phillip Morris, Jeremy Miller, Natalie Grace, Drunken Monkee, Pugs Atomz & 6th Sense, IL Subliminal f/ Idris Goodwin, Charles Williams, Matthew Merryweather, Radius, Kore One, Shannon Vs. The Stranger, Wake Up Siouxsie, The Minneapolis Henrys, and Big Splashes. Download a complimentary track ("Djelem Djelem" by Eyes Manouche) here.

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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Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Cabalo
Dine, drink and dance all in one place in Humboldt Park.

Off the Beaten Path: Isabella Café & Catering
Exquisite food and fine dining in this Tinley Park cafe.

Weekly Treat: PBR night at Driftwood
Grab a $1.50 can tonight in Uptown.

Man We're Crazy About: Sushi Taiyo
Sunny Streeterville sushi shop from the owners of Rise and Shine.

For more about what's going on this week, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

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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.

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Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Halsted Street Deli/Original Rainbow Cone
Try two Chicago favorites in one Loop location.

Weekly Treat: Cheap wine Wednesdays at Sheffield's
Take half off any bottle of vino tomorrow night in Lakeview.

Off the Beaten Path: Memories
Portage Park dive focuses on live music, colorful characters.

Man We're Crazy About: KnockBox Cafe
Quaint coffeehouse in Humboldt Park offers wi-fi and applesauce.

For more about what's going on this week, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

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David Cross and Bob Odenkirk bring back the magic of "Mr. Show" to the Lakeshore Theater.

Just For Laughs Chicago
Through Sunday
David Cross. Bob Odenkirk. Michael Ian Black. Michael Showalter. George Lopez. Jimmy Fallon. Andy Dick. David Alan Grier. Bill Engvall. Lisa Lampanelli. Patrice O'Neal. All these big names will be gracing Chicago stages this weekend, some more than once, as part of this TBS-sponsored fest. As much as we hate to reference those annoying commercials, this event promises to be "very funny."

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Owners Victor and Nancy Garcia of Papa's Cache Sabroso.


1. Garlicky chicken jibaritos from Papa's Cache Sabroso, located in the heart of Paseo Boricua. (2517 W. Division)

2. Biking through the 207-acre park, which was named for Alexander von Humboldt, a German naturalist who never set foot in Chicago. (1400 N. Sacramento)

3. Chilling at the Continental (formerly The Hiawatha) where DJs spin rock, indie, and downtempo styles til 4 a.m., and cocktails rarely cost more than $7. (2801 W. Chicago)


What are your three favorite things about Humboldt Park?


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