Archive for September, 2008

Ho. Ly. Crap!

The Sox are in. The Cubs are in.

I have exploded.

"They Used to Have More Chairs"

Never let it be said that sketch comedy is a young person’s game. At Second City Sunday night, after the mainstage show, alumni from 1968 to 1972 reunited to perform a surprise set of classic scenes. The perfomance included such noteworthy Second City veterans as Joe Flaherty, Brian Doyle-Murray and Harold Ramis, who played the hour-long set to a packed house. The setlist included scenes that have become staples of the Second City touring companies, including “Funeral,” in which mourners try to stifle their amusement at their friend’s undignified demise, and “PTA,” which sends the cast out into the house to simulate the chaos that ensues after the topic of sex education is introduced at a PTA meeting.

Although the scenes themselves were almost forty years old, much of the humor arose from the random attempts to update the settings. References to iPod Docks clashed hilariously with comments about four-dollar movie tickets and the draft. Some of the scenes had been created by Jim Belushi, David Blum and director Del Close, to whom the evening was dedicated.

Second City celebrates its fiftieth anniversary next year, so there’s a chance that there will be a few more nights like this in the future.

Improv Everywhere MP3 Experiment Chicago

NY-based pranksters Improv Everywhere (you know, the No Pants people) are taking their MP3 experiments on the road and they’ll be in Chicago on Sunday, October 5. Full instructions are how to participate are on their website, but the short version is that you download an mp3, put it on your iPod (or what-have-you), and go to Lincoln Park and press play at 2 pm. As everyone does so and follows the instructions on the track, you’ll participate in a happening.

Previous MP3 experiments: the first one, 2.0, III, Four, NYC and Toronto.

Wednesday Film Fun

What’s going on today? Two fun things involving movies. First the “tonight only!” going on.

I’m a huge fan of old movies, and became a huge fan of early film pioneer Georges Melies after reading the young adult novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Which means tonight is my lucky night because tonight at 7pm at Sonotheque is the “Magic in Cinema” showcase featuring films by Georges Melies. It’s only $8 to see silent films by the first special effects wizard. Worth every movie lover’s penny.

Also, going on every Wednesday night at 8pm at ComedySpotz Theater now till November 19th is the amazing Neutrino Project. The Neutrino Project is an improvised movie. The actors get a suggestion, run out the door with a camera, and then, before you know it, the audience is watching it all unfold on the movie screen in front of them. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, and has a top notch cast of Chicago’s finest improvisers. Gather your $10 now while you enjoy this preview of the Chicago Neutrino Project:


Chicago baseball postseason dreaming

The Cubs and White Sox are still looking great as baseball fans start peering into the possible postseason. Both teams are looking so good that even an article in The New York Times had to mention the possibility of a Chicago vs. Chicago World Series. If you’re a Cubs fan, you might want to stay away from the Times article since its focus is on the White Sox and their manager Ozzie Guillen at his quippiest.

I agree with the White Sox players quoted that a Cubs versus White Sox World Series would be awesome. My anticipation for this cross town face off is such that I’ve started reading the book When Chicago Ruled Baseball by Bernard A. Weisberger. It’s a nonfiction retelling of the last time the Chicago Cubs played the Chicago White Sox in 1906. Besides stoking my dreams of a Chicago World Series, it is also great to read some of the old time sports reporting, and descriptions of Chicago neighborhoods as they were one hundred and two years ago. My hope is that I can get enough people to read this book that the mental will of Chicago will create the World Series of my dreams. Or, more realistically, folks can get exposed to a great book about Chicago sports history.

Register! So that later I can bug you about Voting.

Hey, if you live in Chicago you have until October 7 to make sure that you’re registered for the upcoming elections. Go to the Chicago Board of Elections website and you can check your registration. If you need to update your address or register, there’s a form you can print out and then mail in.

When Will the Rain Stop?

Your guess is as good as mine. All the usual weather sources say this last 24 hours of rain we’ve had are going to stretch out into a couple of days. Let’s just be thankful we’re not getting what the storm is giving people in Galveston, Texas right now.

Take a peek at this one minute video I made just for Chicago Metblogs that proves Chicagoans are still out enjoying the day, even when it’s gray and puddly out there. (Watch for the bit at the end where it gets all meta and stuff.)


Amy Goodman from Democracy Now! to speak tonight

If you’ve been keeping up with the conventions, I’m sure you know all about the protests and scary police tactics used against journalists and protesters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Amy Goodman, reporter for Democracy Now!, was one of the more famous journalists arrested last week, partly due to the whole incident being captured on camera and put on youtube:


She gives an entire account of the incident in a press release here.

Anyone who has interest in the freedom of press and/or this election, would do themselves good by heading over to hear Ms. Goodman’s talk at the University of Illinois at Chicago Student Center (828 S. Wolcott Ave). Her talk is entitled “The Politics of Race, Gender, and Economics in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Race”. The talk is free and will go from 5-6:30pm.

O Happy Day!

As one of my favorite writers likes to say whenever his favorite team does well, “Life is magical and full of joy!”

Da Bears got the ’08 season off to a good start Sunday night, upsetting the Indianapolis Colts in stunning fashion. The star of the game (as you probably already know by now, as his picture was on the front page of every major publication in the city) was rookie running back Will Forte, who rushed for 123 yards. The last rookie running back to start the first game of a season for the Bears was Walter Payton in 1975. His stats for that game? Eight carries for zero yards.

The Bears defense was not the sluggish beast that lurched through the preseason. They caused and scored on turnover, stuffed Colts running back Joseph Addai in his own end zone for a safety and most importantly they managed to prevent Peyton Manning from finding any kind of rhythm. Granted, Manning spent the entire preseason recovering from knee surgery and was off his game before the opening kickoff. Still, it’s Peyton Manning.

Speaking of quarterbacks, Bears starter du jour Kyle Orton had a solid game, going 13-of-21 for 150 yards. More importantly, no turnovers. That was new and interesting.

Oddly enough, the only real screw-up came from, of all people, Devin Hester, who tried to get clever on the opening kickoff of the second half. He caught the ball deep in his own end zone, then stood casually for a few seconds, hoping the Colts would assume he was taking a touchback. They did not fall for it, but Hester decided to run for it anyway, making it only as far as the three-yard. The Colts got the ball back with good field position and responded with a touchdown.

Overall the Bears played a solid, no-frills, no-mistakes game. If they can maintain that this season should go much better than people feared.

Not that this affects us too much in Chicago, but Tom Brady’s season-ending injury is a huge loss for football fans everywhere. It will be a strange year without him.

The RedBall Project

If you are walking down the street some time this month and happen to encounter a giant red ball, do not fear; you have just seen an art installation called the RedBall Project. Conceived by Chicago native Kurt Perschke, the RedBall Project has traveled to such disparate locales as Barcelona, Spain, and Sydney, Australia. And for the month of September it will be appearing at various locations around our great city.You can find a schedule of where to find the big red ball here.

Here’s a brief video clip from the RedBall Project’s appearance in Portland, Oregon:

The Red Ball Project

Do not miss the Big Red ball! How can you miss the Big Red Ball? It’s a Big Red Ball!

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