Archive for April, 2006

Zac, Zac, He’s a Lego Maniac

spiderman2bigb.jpgI LOVE Legos. My sister and I used to construct entire towns out of Legos when we were younger, and then created soap opera level dramas for the inhabitants of our small scale world. But then, sadly, at some point Legos became incredibly gauche and I was forced to turn my attention to boys and smoking.

For those that were lucky enough to play with Legos forever, Lego is looking for you. They are auditioning across the country for their next model builder, and they are making a stop in Chicago on Tuesday. You can sign up for an audition slot on their site.

Not your style? Clearly you have never seen Monty Python and Spiderman recreated in Lego form. So choice.

Need a quick break?

I love getting the hell out of dodge on the weekend. Back in the days when the boy and I were just students with no responsabilities, and he didn’t have a standing requirement to work every weekend until the end of time, we used to take little trips to go camping, visit family in Michigan, and check out the antiques in Door County. Man, that was great. So this post of MetaFilter about mini-vacays around the Midwest has me hurting for the good old days. So take of next Friday and head somewhere. Anywhere.

Leaving LA

I’m on my way and looking forward to the weather which, ironically, is not all that different from Los Angeles.

One more art thing I haven’t mentioned, the NOVA art fair started yeserday and is open today today to the public – they have a whole boat-load of activities going on.

Three Hundred Thousand Expected for Immigration March. Wow.

The Tribune headline blares that the Police are “bracing” for the May 1st march for immigrant rights. Read two paragraphs in, however, and you will find that “Deputy Supt. Charles Williams said police anticipate many of the immigrant groups to be peaceful and stressed that officers will be in “soft uniforms” rather than black riot gear.”

The switch to “soft uniforms” is symbolically equivalent to the tactic of soldiers switching from Kevlar helmets to floppy boonie hats while on patrol in Iraq (well, they used to do that, anyways) and is in stark contrast to the stormtrooper outfits the CPD donned for the most recent Iraq War protest.

The Trib also provides a more detailed protest route:
“Monday’s rally is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., where marchers will gather before heading eastbound on Randolph to southbound Des Plaines Street.

The crowd will then turn east onto Monroe Street and Jackson Boulevard at the same time and head to southbound Columbus Drive, a police news release said.

The protesters will finish the rally at Grant Park’s Hutchinson Field at Balbo Drive, where they are expected to disperse and head home in the late afternoon.”

In addition, a wider array of groups is involved:
“A spokeswoman for the organizers, Kathy Salgado, said the number of organizations involved has soared to 200 from around 50 several weeks ago.

They include Hispanic organizations but also groups like the Asian American Institute, the Pan African Association and the Polish American Association.

The Polish group is urging Chicago’s Polish-language media to publicize the march. It’s also asking priests to speak about it from the pulpit.”

Three hundred THOUSAND people. WOW.

We’re Number 11!

The American Lung Association has released it’s list of the 25 cities with the cleanest/dirtiest air… and we’re number 11! Um, of the dirtiest. *sigh*

A Star Blogger Right Here In Our Own Backyard

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Frequent readers of Daily Kos no doubt recognize the handle “georgia10.”

But did you know that “georgia10” is in fact a 23-year old law student at DePaul (Iformerly an undergrad at NIU)?

I sure didn’t, but in a diary at DKos today by “chicagochamp” I learned that fact, and got a heads-up that the smiling visage of georgia10 will be grace the cover of the forthcoming edition of the Chicago Reader (warning: links to stupid PDF file).

Check it out!

Truth be told, I’m not georgia10’s- nor DKos’- number one fan. Frankly, as time passes, I find the writing at DKos to have veered away from electoral politics towards blogging that appears to be an attempt on the part of the blogger to gain some fame rather than to advance an issue. Maybe I’ve simply outgrown it. Whatever the reason, I find myself visiting DKos less and less, but it’s STILL cool to see a local blogger get her due! And, it’s nice to know that one of the most prominent voices in the “blogosphere” is one of our own.

No, *I* wanna be the top hat!

What’s your favorite Chicago landmark, say if you had to choose between 3? Monopoly wants to know. They are choosing one landmark from 22 special cities to have representation on their new Here and Now version of the game. Landmarks with the highest amount of votes will jockey for choice placement on the board. For Chicago, you can vote for Wrigley Field, Michigan Ave, or Navy Pier.

Really? Those are our choices? No Sears Tower? No Hancock Building? My guess, if you ask a segment of the U.S. population, a hell of a lot more people can identify the Sears Tower over Navy Pier. What landmarks do you think should be on the list?

Chicago Improv Festival

Chicago Improv Festival 9

For the first time in years I have no official connection to the Chicago Improv Festival. Which means that I can give you my recommendations completely bias-free. Except that I’m friends with half the performers I’m about to recommend. Oh well.

Thursday, April 27

In the 7:30 pm slot at the Athenaeum Mainstage you can catch The Williamson Playboys, a Canadian duo who purport to be the world’s oldest father-son Cajun music duo. They’ve invented every musical genre of the last 100 years. The songs are funny and the banter is hilarious. The same show features Bassprov, who just sit and fish and talk. Their shows mix the weight of heady social topics with the minutiae of rural Indiana life. Bassprov will be joined by a special guest, MADtv’s Mo Collins.

At 9:00 pm in the Athenaeum Studio 1 is The Midnight Hell House. Midnight Hell House is a smirk-free recreation of a fundamentalist Christian Halloween “Hell House“. It’s over-the-top, but, frighteningly, not that over-the-top.

At the exact same time in Athenaeum Studio 2, there’s Play. I haven’t actually seen the show, but it’s a 2-act fully improvised play directed by Schadenfreude‘s Sandy Marshall and features some of Chicago’s finest improvisors.

Friday, April 28

Slap Happy, from Toronto, are some of the most consistently inventive improvisors I’ve ever seen. And they’ve slept on my couch. 7:30 pm, Athenaeum Mainstage.

Also in the haven’t-seen-them-but-heard-good-things category is Screwbuki, a production of Hawaii’s Loose Screws. They do an improvised kabuki which, I understand, is both very faithful to the actual art form and very playful and funny. 10:00 pm, Athenaeum Mainstage.

Pimprov is so wrong it’s right. Five pimps perform an improv show. They skewer improv cliches, other performers, pimps, and themselves. 11:00 pm

Saturday, April 29

Johnny Lunchpail do incredibly physical improvisation with whatever materials are at hand in the theater space. 9:00 pm, Athenaeum Studio 1.

imp. are also very physical — they perform wordless improvisation inspired by clowning and silent film comedy, with musical accompaniment. 10:00 pm, Athenaeum Mainstage.

Until they (finally) open their new space at 4840 N Broadway, this is one of the rare chances you have to see Chicago’s own groundbreakers, Annoyance Productions. On the same bill are JoKyR & Jesster, two guys from Utah with lots of energy. 11:00 pm, Athenaeum Studio 2.

They were just my hosts at the Phoenix Improv Festival, so I’d be remiss not to mention Galapagos, also at 11:00 pm, Athenaeum Studio 1.

Galleries to see this Weekend

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These are some of the gallery shows that I plan on seeing while I’m in Chicago (all have openings this Friday from 6-9pm)…

Don Doe (main space) and D’nell Larson (project space) @ Bodybuilder and Sportsman Gallery. Don Doe makes pirate girl paintings so, really, you can’t go wrong with that. They’re sexy, curvy, without the skurvy. D’nell Larson who lives in Los Angeles and, oddly enough, I think we’re on the same flight back to LA, is breaking beyond her usual sculpture and installation to present a video piece. Cannot wait!

In her new video Close Your Eyes and Think of Me, Larson continues to explore the themes of love, longing and the possibility of emotional exchange. For the piece, Larson selected a series of songs with great personal significance and asked her parents to perform them. Larson then recorded the
performances in her family’s basement, where she had grown up hearing her parents rehearse love songs for their regular wedding gigs. The unembellished presentation – a single-camera shot, looping without titles or credits, and featuring the musicians dressed in everyday clothing – heightens our focus on the emotional content of the songs and their unique adaptation by the artist’s parents. These songs, each about love, longing and loss, in many ways counter the traditional upbeat soundtrack of wedding entertainment, but ultimately speak to the real experience of emotional entanglement.

Click continue reading for the others…
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Make your next fare a green fare

You know that gas prices are entirely too high when the city and Ford start talking hybrids.

Chicago is set to get hooked up with some Ford Escape hybrids (the first hybrid by a domestic manufacturer) for the taxi fleet. Sure, they aren’t set to get here until 2007 but I for one am incredibly excited at the prospect. In the meantime, Ford will be providing us with a loaner for testing and to heighten public awareness of the program.

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