Archive for the ‘Chicago7Gifts’ Category

Chicago’s Seven Gifts

The challenge was issued from Metroblogging HQ: as we enter the holiday season and approach the new year, what seven gifts does your city give the world? What exactly a “gift” means was left up to each city, and here in Chicago we took it to mean not a best-of list, but rather a surprise, like a wrapped present under a Christmas tree. Sometimes it’s the new iPod you wanted, sometimes it’s a hideous sweater that’s two sizes too small, and sometimes it’s a Zune.

On behalf of Chicago, we gave the world seven gifts: improv, the grid system, f’ed up hair, sports legends, juvenile court, McDonald’s, and Bozo the Clown.

So in that vein, what gifts, what surprises, what hideous sweaters do you think Chicago gives the world?

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts

Chicago’s Seventh Gift to the World

For the next few days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.

Bozo the Clown Bop BagLike McDonald’s, Bozo the Clown was invented in California, but perfected in Chicago. Bozo was created in 1946 for a series of read-along records and then brought to TV in Los Angeles in 1959. Rather than syndicating the show, it was franchised, so each local TV market had their own Bozo the Clown. (Washington DC’s Bozo was Willard Scott, who went on to be the first “Ronald McDonald, the Hamburger-Happy Clown”. See, back to McDonald’s — small world.)

Bob Bell was the Chicago Bozo, on WGN, from 1960-1984. Bozo’s Circus was incredibly popular in the Chicagoland area, but as WGN started broadcasting via satellite in 1978 and became one of the first “Superstations,” Chicago’s Bozo became the nation’s Bozo.

(Thanks to OfficerGleason for the gift idea.)

Chicago’s 6th Gift to the World

It’s the season of giving and here at Chicago MetroBlogging, we wouldn’t want to disappoint. But that’s the problem with gifts: what might be a perfect gift for someone could be another person’s worst nightmare. So in the spirit of gifts that cut both ways, I give you Chicago’s 6th Gift to the World: McDonald’s.

McDonalds may trace it’s humble beginnings to California, and the McDonald brothers, but it was the man, Ray Kroc who took McDonald’s and turned it into a global fast-food empire.

From humble beginnings with his first restaurant in Des Plaines, Kroc’s empire now spans the globe, with outposts in 120 countries, serving 54 Million people crappy food everyday. Truly, a gift to the world, even if it might not be the size or color you wanted.

McDonalds. The gift that keeps on giving, be it gas, girth, or gastronomic nightmares.

Chicago’s 5th Gift to the World

Originally uploaded by officergleason.

Gift Number 6: Juvenile Justice

For the next few days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.

In 1899 Cook County convened the world’s first court for children. This was a civil court designed to help families provide direction for their children without involving a legal system that treated children adults. Historically speaking, this is a mind-blowing event. Prior to this court, in regards to criminal matters (actually, in all matters), children were treated like adults. This includes incarcerating kids with adults. For instance scenes like this were regular.

Technorati Tags: , , ,


(more…)

Chicago’s Fourth Gift to the World: Sports Legends

For the next few days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.

When you talk about Chicago, you have to talk about sports. Chicago has offered up plenty of legends for the entire world to enjoy. For example:

Michael Jordan. 6 championships. Scoring titles. Those amazing dunks. His defense. Heck, he even had his own shoe before anyone had their own shoe. Any question about whether he’s a Chicago legend?

The Super Bowl Shuffle. Hardly does a Bears season go by without seeing this classic bit of cheeseball on the air. The Bears were so hot that year, they felt they just had to create a video. “We’re not here to start no trouble. We’re just here to do the Super Bowl Shuffle.” Indeed.
View video here (you know you want to)
Courtesy of Google Video

Harry Caray. Sure, he broadcasted for the White Sox before coming over to the Cubs, but who remembers that?? If there ever was a Cub Fan, Bud Man, he was it. Thanks to WGN being a national superstation, folks across the country fell in love with Harry and his mispronunciations, garbled speech and famous home run call – “It might be…it could be…it is! A home run!” Now that’s baseball.

Ditka. Da Coach. Leading the ’85 Bears to a Super Bowl win, throwing gum at fans, having his own skit on SNL (ok, 9 hurricanes against Coach Ditka……Ditka!). ‘Nuff said.

Chicago’s third gift to the world …

For the next few days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days.

For those of us who live in Chicago, we all know that no season is sacred. One day might be seventy degrees, the next thirty–whether this is more likely in January or August is up for debate, but it’s true in either case. I present as my primary piece of evidence Tom Skilling’s weekly forecast. This week, we will be vacillating between end of summer humidity and snow.

And thus I present Chicago’s third gift to the world: a terrible hairdo year-round. In humidity, sleet, heat, rain, snow, or sun, there are nevery any guarantees that your designer coif will look great. In fact, the only guarantee you’ve got, more or less, is that it will be horrible. Wind-blown, frizzy, flat, or fried–the fashion mags don’t give their secrets to sexy hair based on Chicago weather and it’s for a reason. If you’ve got great hair, don’t move here. If you don’t, then by all means–it couldn’t look any worse than the rest of ours.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts

Chicago’s Second Gift to the World: A Rockin’ Grid System

For the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. To see what the rest of the world is contributing, click here.

“Oh, that’s at 3200 North, and 800 West.”

There are grids, and there are grids. And then there is our Chicago street grid system. Established in 1908 and implemented in 1909, it’s been helping Chicagoans and non-Chicagoans get around town for almost 100 years. Any traveler can tell you that not all of the world’s cities are laid out in such a clear and easy to use manner. I myself have wandered down some curvy cobblestone streets in London and found myself in alleys named as streets that seemed to go in circles.

In Chicago, there are no such problems. With the streets arranged in the grid pattern, and a street numbering system that’s consistent all over the city, once you learn Chicago’s grid system, you’re good to go anywhere in town. Zero is at State and Madison, the very heart of our famous Loop, and 800 units on the system are equal to one mile (thus, 8 blocks = a mile). There, you’re all set to go wandering, find any building in the city, and find your way back to where you started.

Here you go world, here’s a city with a street grid system that anyone can navigate, making citizens and tourists feel at home. Don’t mention it.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts

Chicago’s First Gift to the World: Improv

For the next seven days, the Metroblogging sites around the globe will be unveiling seven gifts their cities share with the world – one gift a day for seven days. Metroblogging Chicago begins with improvisation. (to see what the rest of the world is contributing, click here)

On July 5, 1955 a group of University of Chicago students called The Compass put on a show at a Hyde Park tavern that wouldn’t be that unusual today, but was completely new at the time — the show was entirely improvised. Under the direction of David Shepard and Paul Sills, the group relied heavily on the work of Chicagoan Viola Spolin (Sills’ mother), who had developed what she called Theater Games in the 1940s to unlock creativity in children. The Compass took a gamble that those games could be adapted to produce works of theater, and that gamble paid off, with The Compass expanding to casts performing in several cities. Players from those casts came back to Chicago in 1959 and The Second City opened its first revue.

The Second City largely used improvisation as the start of a process to create scripted sketches. And while improv was not confined to Chicago during the 60s and 70s, it continued to be used mainly to perform short form “games”. In the 1970s Del Close returned to direct shows at The Second City (he had previously been in The Compass and fired from Second City) with an idea in the back of his head that improvisation could be a stand-alone art: that full-length theatrical pieces could be created in front of an audience. Chicagoan Charna Halpern and Close opened the ImprovOlympic (now the iO Theater) to explore those ideas in front of paying audiences.

These days, improv is everywhere. Actors who have trained and honed their skills in the classrooms and on the stages of The Second City, iO Theater, and The Annoyance are all over TV and movies. Movies like those of Christopher Guest and TV shows like The Office are created, at least partially, with improvisational techniques. And any night of the week here in Chicago you can see a bajillion different improv shows.

World, we give you our improv. You’re welcome.

Tags: Metblogs7Gifts

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.