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The Comprehensive Guide to Making Money on New Year's Eve

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New Years Eve, like all grown-up holidays, gets more disappointing each year. For kids, there’s the excitement of staying up late and convincing yourself you’re drunk on sparkling apple cider. But adults must wrestle a surplus of writhing anxiety, much like that snake pit in Indiana Jones.

What will I wear? Where will I go? Will I be stranded without a cab? Will that creepy guy wearing those shoes with a slot for each toe who keeps trying to argue with me about whether The Beatles are really a rock band try to kiss me at midnight? If he doesn’t and no one else does either am I doomed to spend the rest of my life alone? What if I get alcohol poisoning? What if I’m trying to write a check in line at the grocery store tomorrow (because I’m eighty-two years old all of a sudden) and instead of writing 2011, I write 2010 and then I have to start over but I make the same mistake again, and the line is growing and the people behind me are getting angry and finally one of them loses it and tries to asphyxiate me with that bag of Doritos he’s buying to go with his Monster drink?

These are a mere sample of the fretful issues that flood the adult mind, whereas kids are mainly concerned about the Times Square ball coming loose and flying through the TV set to crush them, at least I was. But even if you’ve achieved some Zen-like stage of enlightenment and when your ipod loses battery power in the middle of a run or everything you pick up gives you a paper cut, even the cat, you just smile and sip some green tea, New Year’s Eve remains ridiculously expensive. So ha, you still need me, because that’s where this blog post comes in.

Below, please find a proven list of New Year’s Eve activates that will cost you nothing. Better, each item may even earn you a buck or $2500. Or maybe that’s just the sparkling cider talking.

1. Stuff your pockets with burritos, Plan B and those thin elastic headbands and stand on the corner of Clark and Addison. Come three a.m. sell your merchandise for $50 a pop. Men and enterprising lesbians: this may also be a way to land an out of your league sleepover buddy!

2. You know that older fellow who lurks in Edgewater doorways barking? At first I deemed his disorder involuntary, like Tourette Syndrome or an affinity for the Rachel Ray Show. However lately, I’ve been locking eyes with him instead of acting oblivious as well as observing his behavior from afar. My conclusion? He targets heedless women. So this New Year, why not dress up like Animal Care and Control and come after him with a net? Then charge him $5 for release back into the wild.

3. With tickets ranging from $145 to $2500 for a VIP table, Chicago Scene New Year’s Gala at The Drake Hotel is a perfect place to line your pockets. Just stand out front and pretend to be the doorman. Note: wear running shoes.

4. Slap a lit-up triangle on top of your car and pick up drunken revelers. Bonus: Tell them you’re the Cash Cab, then ask a series of increasingly difficult trivia questions. Every time they get an answer wrong, fine them $20.

5. Watch the New Year’s Eve scene in "When Harry Met Sally" on repeat at top volume. At intervals, wail, “Why doesn’t anything romantic ever happen to me?” and “I want an off-the-shoulder party dress!” When your husband/girlfriend/downstairs neighbor/dog begs you to stop say you will. For a price….

Photo by Patty Michels

A freelance writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Sarah Terez Rosenblum, when not writing, supports herself as a figure model, Spinning instructor and teacher at Chicago's Story Studio. Inevitably one day she will find herself lecturing naked on a spinning bike. She’s kind of looking forward to it actually. Follow Sarah on Twitter: @SarahTerez

One Hundred Fifty Degree Oatmeal and Other 2010 Milestones

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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.

Naked Ghouls Reading
7 p.m. Friday at Studio L'Amour; $20 (reservations required)
There are so many great Halloween-themed shows this week, but we want to highlight this one because, well, what's not to like about Naked Girls Reading? The ever-popular series returns, with all the gore (and bad puns) that you'd expect from a Halloween edition of the series. This month, the unclothed literati will favor us with selections from the spooky and the gross section of the library. Don't miss Cherokee Rose, a Naked Girl who will be Reading tarot.

Bob Dylan
7:30 p.m. Saturday at Riviera Theatre; $60
Like a force of nature, Bob Dylan just keeps rolling on. A few months shy of his 70th birthday, the greatest songwriter of the 20th century remains a force to be reckoned with a decade into the 21st. His Never Ending Tour continues to live up to its name and just out are a pair of albums generating massive buzz: a collection of demos from his first years in New York City and the first CD release of his first eight mono LPs. At one point, Dylan had a rep for delivering wildly uneven results live – either transcendent or mail-it-in bad – but he's seemed more energized lately and is one of the true must-sees.

North Halsted Halloween Parade
4 p.m. Sunday starting at Belmont and Halsted; free
Find crazy costumes and even crazier behavior as the best of Boystown let their hair down for the day. This year, the theme is "Little Street of Horrors" and the event will be emceed by the incomparable Miss Floozie. Think you're creative? Test yourself in the costume contest after the parade. There will be over $5,000 in costume contest cash and prizes.
More: Find all Halloween events.

Ghostface Killah
8:30 p.m. Sunday at Abbey Pub; $20-$22
If there were ever to be a perfect performance scenario, it would have to be Ghostface Killah performing on Halloween. The veteran Wu-Tang alum has always been a fan favorite, and his crafty lyricism and vivid storytelling abilities have placed his name right up there with the legends. Lately Ghosface has kept a relatively low profile, but his last project, Wu-Massacre, with Raekwon and Method Man, has propelled him back into the spotlight. His performance at Abbey Pub will likely be in promotion of Wu-Massacre as well as last year's Ghostdini Wizard of Poetry, but as we all know it's past classics from Ironman, Supreme Clientele and Fishscale that'll turn the Abbey into a Halloween destination.

Walk of Shame Halloween Party
11 a.m. Sunday at Faith & Whiskey; $35
Shake off the Halloween party cobwebs at this catered, open bar party in Lincoln Park. All food and drinks are provided for five hours, and you get five bucks off if you show up in your costume from the night before.

Just missed the cut: JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Death Toll: A Drinking Game, Clean Halloween

Death Toll: A Drinking Game
11 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Cornservatory; $10-$20
Get splattered and plastered at this brilliantly moronic distillation of the Halloween season. It's a game, and it's simple: Watch a series of ultra-violent sketches. Whenever a character bites it, drink. BYOB and plenty of it. The body count in the Cornservatory will be high.
More: Halloween theater guide.

Deerhunter, Real Estate, Casino vs. Japan
9 p.m. Friday at Metro; $19
Atlanta's Deerhunter kicks out the most blissfully disturbing sounds on this neo-chill wave bill. Lead man Bradford Cox recently cut his finest lyrics to date, inspired by the "sad" way in which we can "digest" our memories as we please, most likely playing heavily from recently dropped Halcyon Digest. Real Estate, not too keen on the twisted metaphors, rolls on mid-eve with a taste of their Jersey Shore relaxitude, combining beach-comber guitars with floating choruses from their best-of '09 charting self-titled debut. Opener Casino Versus Japan is a ringleader of the Intelligent Dance Music boom, serving up a dream ambient segue into the night’s chill vibe.

Chicago International Children's Film Festival
All weekend at the Center on Halsted, Facets; $6 for kids, $9 for adults
Now that the Chicago International Film Festival is over, the kids take over. See host of films for all ages, chosen by a child-led jury. Check out the schedule of weekend screenings, workshop dates and info on the opening and closing events. Kids can also participate in the Young Chicago Critics Program and tell everyone what they think.

9 p.m. Sunday at Lincoln Hall; $13
After gaining popularity with U.K. label BBE, the hip-hop duo Phantogram (Joshua M. Carter and Sarah D. Barthel) recently signed with Barsuk Records in order to reintroduce themselves to fans here in the U.S., and so far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Their show at Lincoln Hall will be in promotion of their latest album Eyelid Movies, but don't be surprised if they come to the stage with a set of new material from a forthcoming EP. Opening for Phantogram will be Why? drummer Josiah Wolf, who is also promoting an album entitled Jet Lag.

The Nervous Breakdown's Literary Experience
6:30 p.m. Sunday at Cary's; free
Our favorite arts blog comes to Chicago for a free reading. The event is emceed by Gina Frangello (Slut Lullabies) and contributors include Rob Roberge (Working Backwards from the Worse Moment of My Life), Mathew Frank (Barolo), Davis Scheiderman (Drain) and Zoe Zolbrod (Currency).

Just missed the cut: Zion I, The Ladies & Gentlemen, Whistler Soul & Funk Party, Pistol Pete Band, The Other Cinderella, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Ghostbox.


Prince Paul
9 p.m. at The Shrine; $10
For as much as De La is responsible for ushering in the Daisy Age, none of that would have been possible if not for the work of Prince Paul. His offbeat skits, bugged-out sense of humor and encyclopedic knowledge of breaks decorated De La's first three albums, which to this day stand as one of the most innovative bodies of work hip-hop has ever known. It's been a while since he’s been to Chicago, but the last time he was here he put on a set that covered everything from hip-hop and funk to deep house cuts and even a little classic rock. (J. Min)

6 p.m. at Museum of Contemporary Art; free
Local artist Paul Nudd leads this installment of the monthly free-form workshop for aspiring artists (as well as those of us with no artistic talent whatsoever). Materials and direction is provided. The imagination is up to you.

Perfume Genius, Sebastian Blanck
8 p.m. at Schubas; $10
Threaded about the audible foot-pedal thumps of Seattle-based singer-songwriter Perfume Genius are usually nothing more than his angelic – yet intensely raw – coo and maybe a scratchy synth line for warmth. But that's it. All that's left are some achingly tender anecdotes about writing letters to siblings and daughters holding their mothers, that float forever in the room like cathartic ghosts. New York baroque popster, Sebastian Blanck, and Chicago’s Mazes, open. (Gavin Paul)


Oktoberfest Chicago
Friday-Sunday at St. Alphonsus Church (Lincoln and Southport); $5
As the festival season winds down, we now enter Oktoberfest season in Chicago. Find beer, brats and more. Music acts include locals 16 Candles and Rock Candy alongside traditional German acts like Die Musikmeisters Band. The area also has a lot of German history, and you could stand to learn a thing or two ... over a beer or two.

Lincoln Square Applefest
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Gidding's Plaza (4700 block of N. Lincoln Ave.); free
This family friendly fest offers live music, cooking classes, plus an appearance by Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. And don't forget the pie-eating contest (as if you won't be staging an unofficial one throughout the day).

Sonnets and Striptease
4 p.m. Saturday at The Spot; free
This sex-and-literature themed variety show features new writing, Shakespearean burlesque acts and something audience-participatory called "Strip Sonnet." The totally free event celebrates the publication of "Erratica," a play by local writer (and Centerstage contributor) Reina Hardy. After a reading of the first act, stick around for striptease, a bad poetry contest, naked librarians, and more. It's a lot of entertainment for exactly zero dollars.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival
All day Saturday at various venues in Hyde Park; free
This jazz marathon (over 30 performances in 13 venues) offers 12 hours of non-stop music. Performers include Orbert Davis, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Reginald Robinson, John Burnett Orchestra and Dana Hall. See the full schedule here.

The National
7:30 p.m. Sunday at Riviera Theater; $29
There's so much baggage in sharp-dressed New Yorkers The National and their ocean-deep LPs of despair. But when the lights hit the stage, front man Matt Berninger turns their quintessential brood into fierce lashes uncommon to what he and the band lay down in the studio, which almost always tears up his vocals, but surprises all who think they're solely a sad-sack set. The artist formerly known as Final Fantasy, currently known as Owen Pallet, opens, teasing Andrew Bird violin backbones with digi landscapes and a bit of Rufus Wainwright lull.

hallogallo-450.jpg Hallogallo 2010 9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $20 Krautrock founding father Michael Rother has rallied Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley, Tall Firs’ Aaron Mullan and the Secret Machine’s Ben Curtis to jam the ambient glory days of Rother’s immediate step outside of Kraftwerk. Neu! opened the floodgate to experimental guitar sounds and all of the new noises we so adore today. Chicago’s garage rock set, Disappears, gets the privilege of opening. Rick Shapiro 9 p.m. at Schubas; $12-$14 The New York City funnyman headlines a night of comedy presented by Laugh It Up, Kid. Local funnymen Junior Stopka and Drew Michael join Jersey’s Prescott Tolk to help get the crowd warmed up. Hot Mikado 1:30 p.m. at Drury Lane; $31 Take the afternoon off and check out David Bell's smokin’ hot adaptation of "The Swing Mikado," a 1938 African-American version of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. Go ahead, you’ve earned it.


Gold Coast Art Fair
Friday-Sunday in Grant Park; free
The 53rd annual art fair attracts 450 artists and nearly 350,000 visitors. This year it moves to a new location in Grant Park, just across from the Art Institute.

Love's Labour's Lost
Through Sunday at Oak Park Festival Theatre; $10-$20
Oak Park Festival Theatre had a critical hit with its season opener, a sorrowful, starlit take on "Of Mice and Men." Its second show of the season is more typical outdoor summer fare, a Shakespearean comedy that's billed, alarmingly, as a bardic version of "Sex in the City." That warning aside, this should be a deft, enjoyable picnic of a show.

North Side Summerfest
Friday-Sunday at Lincoln and Irving Park; $5
This new fest (only in its fourth year) is all about the party, and you'll need to let off some steam after a grueling festival season. The music lineup includes all the festival staples, like Sixteen Candles (Friday), Too White Crew and Wedding Banned (Saturday) and Hairbangers Ball (Sunday).

Superstars of Burlesque
10:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday at Music Box; $20
America's top teasers descend on the Music Box for a weekend of glitz, debuachery and highly creative pasties. This two-night-only event, organized by Michelle L'amour (the Chicagoland area's duchess of skin) is guaranteed to be a fancy affair. Why? Every single performer holds a world title from the Burlesque Hall of Fame.

Demitria Taylor, Rob Blaine
9 p.m. Sunday at B.L.U.E.S.
One of the Eddie Taylor prodigal spawn, daughter Demetria doesn't get the limelight her brothers enjoy. But that'll be a passing phase when people start to pick up on her Memphis Minnie meets Koko Taylor sass, which she's been slinging in spades from B.L.U.E.S. to the Chicago Blues Festival without the fam. Opening guitarist Rob Blaine, 29, has seen stints with both the late, great Little Milton and The Chicago R&B Kings, heartily recruited for his ability to keep in time while traversing through blues, soul and funk, albeit armed with his most lethal weapon: a bearish growl channeled in '70s roadhouse lore.

3 Things To Do Today

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Jersey Shore viewing party
9 p.m. at Uncle Fatty’s Rum Resort; free
Make sure you GTL early, so you’ll be ready for tonight’s episode. Uncle Fatty’s is serving up $1 drinks and beers for the viewing, along with Jersey Shore-related contests.

DJ Jazzy Jeff, Cool Kids
10 p.m. at Beauty Bar; free
Old school meets new as Will Smith’s one-time sidekick plays from his solo projects. Joining him is the one of the hottest acts on the local hip-hop scene, Cool Kids, playing a DJ set.

Dancin’ in the Park
6 p.m. at Willye B. White Park (1610 W. Howard St.); free
Learn the basics of steppin’ and hip-hop moves with teachers from Old Town School of Folk Music, then practice them yourself at this two-hour event.

3 Things To Do Today

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Saved By the Bell Trivia Night
7:30 p.m. at Ginger’s Ale House; $5
Test your knowledge about Zach, Slater, Kelly, Screech and the Bayside gang at this Lakeview pub.

Dating For Nerds Trivia Night
7 p.m. at Holiday Club; $20-$25
Keeping with the trivia theme, show all the other singles how big your brains are at this mixer, which includes one free drink.

Kent Burnside
9:30 p.m. at Buddy Guy’s Legends; $10
The grandson of blues virtuoso R.L. Burnside, Kent brandishes the same, inherent master-tweak soul, of which he dubs "cotton field disco." Equipped with a five-piece band, and strung-out on lap-steel pulls, Kent digs his Americana, as well.

3 Things To Do Today

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Halsted Tastes Better
6 p.m.-midnight on Halsted between Belmont and Addison; $25-$30
Foodies around the city unite at this Boystown feast featuring local restaurants like HB, Chicago Diner and Ann Sather.

Caribou, Budos Band
6:30 p.m at Millennium Park; free
Experimental Canadian rockers, Caribou, perform a free show as part of the New Music Mondays series. Their synthesized and airy dance grooves will be a perfect foil to the grit and thunder brought by Afro-rock aficionados Budos Band.

Miss Wicker Park Pageant
8 p.m. at Double Door; $10
Help crown the queen of Wicker Park as a panel that includes rapper Rhymefest will choose among 10 finalists. The winner will rule the land of Wicker Park all year long (and also gets a $1,000 cash prize).

The Heavy

The Heavy, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound w/Ralph "Soul" Jackson
Noon Saturday at Taste of Chicago; free
The best show at this year's Taste may be at the weirdest time slot. Yes, we know it's early on a Saturday. And yes, we know it's the tourist trap otherwise known as Taste. But you won't be disappointed with these acts. UK ex-pats The Heavy blend a little bit of everything to a boisterous show, and JC Brooks and the boys bring some soul to your Saturday. Renaldo Domino, East of Edens Soul Express DJs, Mr. Greenweedz also add to the funky mix.

National 40-Ounce Week/Heckler Party
10 p.m. Friday at The Fifty/50; $9.99
Celebrate the end of National 40-Ounce Week at this Wicker Park bar by drinking $5 Mickey's 40s. If that's not enough, you can win some great Cubs swag and party with satirical sports publication The Heckler. Buy tickets early and you get a Heckler fan pass, a free 40, a shot of tequila and entry in the Wrigley rooftop raffle.

Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival
Wednesday-Sunday at Community Park in Lisle; $5
With the city canceling its big fireworks display this year, why not head out to Lisle for some good ol' country fun. In addition to fireworks shows all weekend, check out the adjacent free carnival. And the star attraction -- hot-air balloon launches -- are just a buck a ride all weekend.

LeapFest 7
Through Saturday at Stage Left Theatre; $12-$25
It's your last chance to take the leap with this festival of five politically aware new plays. The scripts, which will be presented as workshop productions, cover everything from beauty compliance (Mia McCullough's "The Face of a Ruined Woman" to truckers' unions (Jayme McGhan's "Mother Bear"). It's the perfect way to make your summer theater experience a little less fluffy and a little more fiery.

Porn on the 4th of July
10 p.m. Saturday at Vision Nightclub; $10-$15; get tickets here
The 11th annual event is sure to start some fireworks for your holiday weekend. Porn star (and current "Entourage" babe) Sasha Grey makes an appearance, and DJ Johnny Chaos will handle the music. There will also be "entertainers" from Pink Monkey and products available from Lover's Playground.

If you're looking for a little more G-rated fireworks show, check out our handy guide to July 4 shows.

Salt 'n' Pepa, Bell Biv Devoe, Rob Base, Slick Rick, Doug E. Fresh
5:30 p.m. Friday at Taste of Chicago; free
Normally we wouldn't stoop to promoting such a mainstream commercial event as Taste in this space, but just look at the lineup for the first night. Anyone growing up in the '80s or '90s couldn't pass up a chance to see all of these old-school R&B and hip-hop acts at once.

The Glorious Ones
7:30 p.m. through Sunday at Theater on the Lake; $17.50
If you get all festivaled out this weekend, head to the lake and get some culture at the Park District's weekly production. This week, BoHo Theatre rolls into town with this musical about a troupe of 16th-century traveling players.

Pride Fest
Friday-Saturday on Halsted; $7 donation
Where to begin with this fabulous weekend of gay-themed events? How about both Tiffany and Taylor Dane (among dozens of others) performing. How about drag queens as far as the eye can see. How about these cultural events going on all week. And we didn't even mention Sunday's Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade.

Crossroads Guitar Festival
All day Saturday at Toyota Park; $100
Eric Clapton brings a roster of guitar gods to Toyota Park to support his rehab facility, Crossroads Centre, in Antigua. The lineup includes Clapton, Buddy Guy, BB King, the Allman Brothers Band, Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Joao Gilberto, Robert Randolph, Sheryl Crow, Steve Winwood, ZZ Top, Keb' Mo and many more.

Green Music Fest
Noon-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at Eckhart Park; $5
Local groups like Maps and Atlases join the eclectic sounds of The Wailers, Fang Island and Cloud Cult to make this much more than your average street fest music. And an environmentally focused event where all the vendors are earth-friendly (recylced crafts and solar-powered devices will be on offer) will make you feel good about pigging out on the fest food and indulging in the craft beer tent.


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

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

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


She & Him
6:30 p.m. at Millennium Park; free
It was pretty much a no-brainer that the combined powers of a popular indie singer-songwriter (M. Ward) and a popular indie actress and singer (Zooey Deschanel) would attract a strong indie audience. But She & Him is more than just a marketing ploy, as the duo's second album (the appropriately titled "Volume Two") proves with another batch of catchy, understated pop, including a great cover of NRBQ's "Ridin' in My Car." Local garage act Hollows supports at this free show.

Boom Boom Room
10 p.m. at Green Dolphin Street; $10
Nothing about Green Dolphin Street is the same -- except for its venerable club night, which has been going strong for over 15 years now. Catch DJs Just Joey, Uncle Milty, Michael Serafini and Diz at their party-rocking best tonight.

Impress These Apes
8 p.m. at ComedySportz Theatre; $10
The fifth season of this eight-week talent competition kicks off tonight, as contestants perform in a different talent challenge each week, with the goal of entertaining three hyper-intelligent apes from the future. The contestant with the most points at the end of eight weeks is crowned Least Pitiful Human.

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant (and bar) openings and closings.

Pour Drinks & Eats -- Joe Parra, the general manager of this Lakeview spot, took the garden concept up a notch with moody lighting, cozy seating, flat screens and a thought-out menu of affordable fare.
FreshBerry -- Yet another frozen-yogurt chain has set up shop in Chicago, this time in Streeterville.
Donatella Mediterranean Bistro -- Donatella Majore, owner of the now-closed La Cucina di Donatella, is back for more, opening this Mediterranean-inspired spot in Evanston.
Jimmy Green's Bar & Grill -- This self-described "all-American sports bar" serves up everything from pizza to hummus in the South Loop.
City Provisions Deli -- Gourmet catering company City Provisions (headquartered just up the street) offers up gourmet sandwiches, sides and a small selection of groceries at this shop.
Ojo de Agua Taqueria -- Get tacos, burritos and quesadillas on handmade tortillas at this taqueria on the border of Bucktown and Logan Square.
Kim & Scott's Cafe Twist -- The folks behind frozen-food brand Kim and Scott's Gourmet Pretzels now have a storefront restaurant to call their own.

Marche -- Got a steak frites craving? Better get there fast. The French West Loop spot plans to close its doors on June 13.

Martini Park -- No more adults will be playing at this River North lounge.
Sugar Syndicate -- One third of Lincoln Square's "Sweet Collective" has come down from its sugar high.
Purple Haze – The Northwestern-themed bar didn't last long in what seems to be a cursed space in Lakeview. The new inhabitant: Beer.
Shallots Bistro -- Apparently, gourmet kosher fare wasn't for everyone.
Shrimp Walk -- The Highwood Thai spot remains open for private parties.
Viet Bistro -- The Rogers Park restaurant stayed classy 'til the end.
En*Thai*Ce -- Andersonville just lost a favorite pad see eiw purveyor.

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.

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

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

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

Off-Loop theater fans will need to update their records -- Theatre Building Chicago will now be known as Stage 773. The venerable three-theater space, home to many a transient company over the years, was sold on Friday, with Stage 773 (formerly Lukaba Productions) to become the primary tenant. The company is helmed by Brian Posen, who also runs the annual Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival (it'll celebrate its 10th anniversary in the space in January 2011).

The theater will still rent space to outside companies, according to Theatre in Chicago.


Erykah Badu

7:30 p.m. at Chicago Theatre; $49.50-$69
When Erykah Badu released the video for her single "Window Seat," the viral world got an eyeful of just how far she was willing to go in order to convey a message. As entertaining as it was, it was a little unfortunate to see the act overshadow the song itself, and it was even more sad to see how once-loyal Badu fans jumped ship, thinking that her naked romp though Dallas was nothing more than a gimmick. But the video, which was not entirely original as it was inspired by Matt and Kim's "Lessons Learned," is in many ways indicative of the album it's featured on ("New Amerykah Part 2 (Return Of The Ankh)"). From a creative standpoint it's important to look at her past two albums as a unified body of work as opposed to two separate projects. "New Amerykah Part 1 (4th World War)" was a darker album that gave rise to an aggressive side of Erykah, while part two softened the spectrum with its sensitive lyrics and ethereal vibes, giving credence to the idea that even Badu isn't immune to the yin and yang of raw emotion. Either way, the publicity has given Erykah a larger stage than she could have ever imagined, and she looks as comfortable as ever standing atop the peaks of hip-hop's elite. N.E.R.D. and Janelle Monae provide support for what should be one of the best shows of the summer.

DJ Premier

9 p.m. at The Shrine; $10
After the passing of legendary emcee Keith Elam (aka Guru), the hip-hop community responded appropriately by paying tribute whenever and wherever possible. The outpouring of love and condolences to the Elam family was touching, but less than a month after the fact it still seems like people are mourning over the loss. To help move forward, artists like longtime friend and collaborator DJ Premier (together, the two were known as Gang Starr) have stepped up to the plate, honoring Guru with a wealth of stories as well as a tribute mixtape. Premier's set at The Shrine will be featuring some of those classic Guru/Gang Starr cuts, and overall it'll be a night to remember as The Shrine will be in the midst of celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Reading Under the Influence
7-9 p.m. at Sheffield's; $3
Things get a little risque during this month's installment of the reading series, which offers up a "Slut"-themed show. Gina Frangello (Slut Lullabies) and Zoe Zolbrod (Currency) celebrate book releases, while local writers Josh Alletto and Charlie Vlahogiannis will read work based on the theme. There'll be trivia, too.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Beer
Guess what this Lakeview bar serves?

Weekly Treat: Sake it to yourself at Izakaya Hapa
The downtown bearer of the city's latest bar trend offers half-price rice wine tonight.

Off the Beaten Path: Cafe 787
Mouth-watering surprises await at this Puerto Rican cafe on the West Side.

Man We're Crazy About: Anteprima
Outstanding octopus and perfect pasta dishes are on the menu at this friendly Andersonville eatery.

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