Archive for March, 2005

Burlesque and Mexican wrestling — two great tastes that taste great together

Several nights ago, I happened to be at my local watering hole, and a gentleman down the bar struck up a conversation with me. Turns out, he’s a promoter for some events up at the Congress Theatre, including a monthly Mexican wrestling event. And, more importantly, a half-burlesque show, half-Mexican wrestling event.

I have to admit that it seems a little bit odd. I mean, burlesque, okay, funny costumed wrestlers, okay. But, smashing them together into one spectacular one-night-only event? It’s not exactly a natural combination like chocolate and peanut butter, now, is it?

On the other hand — when a man offers you free tickets to go see something like this, it would be churlish to refuse. Besides, when else are you going to get an opportunity like this?

So, I think I’m going to email him and take him up on it. Live a little, you know? This could change my life forever. Expand my horizons. Whole new vistas of possibility. And all sorts of other cliches. But there’s only one way I can find out.

My parents are alcoholic swindlers

… at least according to the Sun-Times. They really have a knack for smart-ass headlines written in a completely dead-pan tone.

Kids aren’t as drunk, crooked as parents were

Jeffrey Butts, director of the youth justice program at the Urban Institute, said the report speaks well of today’s teens.

“Maybe we have the next ‘greatest generation’ coming along here,” Butts said.

Ha ha, they said “butts”.

Unfortuantely, chances are it isn’t the next “greatest generation” as much as it is the next “overweight with trust and intimacy issues” generation. The report also found that “Rates of childhood obesity have soared since 1975, from 5 percent to an estimated 16 percent for 2003. In 1975, about 17 percent of children lived in single-parent households. By 2003, that number had increased to 28 percent, with most of the increase occurring in the 1980s.”

So they swapped the bottle for the burger. That’s progress.

Always a bridesmaid….

Damn you New York City! Why are we always playing second fiddle??!?!

A report on national commute time rankings came out, and Chicago (33.2 minutes) squeaked in right behind New York (38.3 minutes).

Chicago – We suck only slightly less.

For once, even in a category where there are no awards, it would be nice to be able to say “We’re Number 1! We’re Number 1!”

The Un-Sun-Times Building


If you like revenge, drinking, and/or dancing… this is for you.


This Thursday, March 31st brings us the 15th monthly installment of The Modernist Society. On this occasion we pay homage to the revenge thrillers of the 60s and 70s with our own home-grown flick, Find Him and Kill Him

(View the FHAKH trailer)

Coming down to help us is Bridge Club, a fine band from Minneapolis making their Chicago debut. Download a sample song or two.

Also joining resident DJs John Dugan and myself will be our dear friend Jen Hughes, also of Minneapolis, making her third appearance at the Society. Thursday’s her birthday, so bring a gift, eh?

The Modernist Society
Find Him and Kill Him
Thursday, March 31st
2210 W. Chicago Ave.
No cover before 10pm, $3 after


My Days with Del Close

If nothing else, you’ll know who Del Close is when I say he was the Alderman in The Untouchables who says, “I will pay you the courtesy of being frank.”

But of course he was so much more than that. He was a fire-eater and stand-up comedian who became one of the first members of the first modern improvisational theater company, The Compass, and went on to devote his life to exploring the possibilities of improv as an art form. Along the way he was a teacher and inspiration to a laundry list of actors and comedians: from the Second City and original cast of Saturday Night Live, to the cast of SCTV, and the Upright Citizens Brigade, and hundreds of students at the ImprovOlympic.

For the last two years of Del’s life an improv actor named Jeff Griggs helped him with his weekly errands. Now Jeff has written a newly-published memoir, Guru: My Days with Del Close.

Guru covers Del’s entire life and career in interspersed chapters, but focuses on the time Jeff spent with Del. So we get a very personal portrait of a larger-than-life character that many people only knew as an intimidating teacher and director. Del was brilliant but Jeff is not afraid to show us that he was also a little crazy, sometimes smelly, a mysoganist, and a child-hater. (That’s one of my Del Stories(tm) — at a festival in Austin, TX I overheard Del demanding that his driver be replaced because she was pregnant and he didn’t want to be that close to a potential child.)

The improv website has posted an excerpt from Guru.

(Full Disclosure: Jeff Griggs is a friend of mine and Del Close yelled at me one time in a workshop in Kansas City.)

Bikeapalooza ’05!

The Chicago Bike Show is coming to Navy Pier this weekend. For less than ten dollars, you can ogle all the neatest bikes people really, really want to sell you, like the cool recumbent I saw some guy riding down the path this morning, getting far more exercise and fresh air than me in my car. And since the BP at Wabash and Roosevelt had regular gas listed at $2.50/gal and the high-octane stuff for $2.64, he was definitely saving a lot more money than me…

See you there! I’ll be the one person who never traded her Kryptonite lock in last October when the Bic pen hack came out. :-)

Trotter’s got a hell of a yapper on him

I was reading this great article in The Trib about the outrage some local chef-stars have about the treatment of ducks being raised for foie-gras, and can’t believe what a whiny and sassy little bitch Charlie Trotter is. Well, I can kind of believe it. In my head he has always been a pompous little prick, but this is proof. Here are his thoughts on Rick Tramonto…

“Rick Tramonto’s not the smartest guy on the block,” Trotter retorted. “Yeah, animals are raised to be slaughtered, but are they raised in a way where they need to suffer? He can’t be that dumb, is he? It’s like an idiot comment. ‘All animals are raised to be slaughtered.’ Oh, OK. Maybe we ought to have Rick’s liver for a little treat. It’s certainly fat enough.”

To which Tramonto replied “Yeah, well, so’s your face”.

No he didn’t. I just made that up. But I would love to see a Chef Thunderdome between Trotter and Tramonto.

Later, Trotter pitches a harsh burn to the activist group Farm Sanctuary…

“These people are idiots,” Trotter said. “Understand my position: I have nothing to do with a group like that. I think they’re pathetic. . . . I have nothing in common with that left-leaning kind of ideology.”

Holy crap, did someone’s mom not love them enough when they were a baby?

Related: 10 Chicagoans We Love To Hate over on Newcity

Spring Spring Spring Spring!!!

Fuzzy might be all superstitious and not wanting to jinx the new weather, but I am SO OVER IT that I am going to gloat all over the place. 2 reasons why today is the greatest day in the last 6 months:

1. I didn’t have to turn the heater on in my car AT ALL.
2. I drove to work behind a cyclist who had a boombox in his backback and was blasting Elvis.

I love Chicago in the spring. Awesome. Totally awesome.

Seriously, Get Outside Right Now

spring flowers

I had promised myself I wasn’t going to say anything about the weather, but it’s f-in beautiful out this morning. And it’s a TRICK – it’s gonna drop back down to -40 or something tomorrow. So just ditch work. Git!

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