Is your wardrobe desperately in need of a few statement pieces? Just head to 160 N Morgan. It’s all Gucci.
Luxury designer brand Gucci set up a glamorous, ’70s-inspired pop-up shop in the West Loop of Chicago during the NBA All-Star Weekend, and it’s not going anywhere just yet. The limited-time collection is on sale through March 2, and no formal invite is needed. Members of the public can window-shop Gucci’s expensive attire or take home something grand if they’re feelin’ fancy.
Enter a wonderland of luxury wear, royally basked in a violet glow from the custom, geometric mural painted by Colossal Media. The 2,600-square-foot store has no shortage of disco balls, making their designer handbags, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and luggage look as glamorous as you’d expect. The pop-up honors Gucci’s ’70s-inspired GG Psychedelic Collection, which recolors the classic brand logo in kaleidoscopic hues.
Products from the Psychadelic Collection are just as ethereally expensive as you might expect from the luxury brand; a phone case runs around $380, a jacket for $2,500, and the kicker, luggage, puts you back around $4,000.
Interested in visiting? The Gucci pop-up store is open in Chicago’s West Loop at 160 N Morgan Street through March 2, 2020.
At UrbanMatter, U Matter. And we think this matters.
Tell us what you think matters in your neighborhood and what we should write about next in the comments below!
Cash was king for a while until plastic showed up. But in some bars, cash is still alive and well — so much so that plastic is nonexistent. Enjoy cash’s reign throughout Chicago at these bars and get back to the basics with Benjamins… or Washingtons! These are the best cash-only bars around town.
Sky-Ride Cocktail Lounge | 105 W Van Buren St, Chicago, IL 60605
Nestled off Van Buren, in the middle of the loop, is the ultimate local hangout, cash-only bar. Established in the 1930s, Sky-Ride Cocktail Lounge is a well-kept time capsule. An overall wholesome bar in the middle of the city, Sky-Ride embodies classic Chicago; you can hear the rumble of the L racks as you catch up with friends and you’ll see a variety of Chicagoans (from suits to hard-hats) in this local favorite. Be sure you come on weekdays, as it’s closed on the weekends!
Rossi’s | 412 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
River North may be saturated with expensive clubs and trendy bars but in the midst of the overwhelming nightlife lies triumph: Rossi’s. A divey, cash-only bar and local favorite, Rossi’s may become your favorite after-work or pre-game spot. It may not be much to look at from the outside but never judge a bar by its cover. Rossi’s happens to be a super friendly yet dark and charming establishment for all of your beer and liquor needs.
Second Story Bar | 157 E Ohio St #2, Chicago, IL 60611
Twinkling lights set the ambiance for your evening at Second Story Bar. When you order an affordable (and strong!) drink from this LGBTQ+ friendly bar right off of Michigan Avenue, you’re paying homage to years’ progress and appreciation for the queer community. Although Second Story Bar can be a bit cramped at times, this place is a friendly, intimate, and affordable option for your nights on Michigan Avenue!
Ed & Jean’s Tavern | 2032 W Armitage Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
A Bucktown neighborhood standard, Ed & Jean’s Tavern is like going to your Uncle Ed’s and Aunt Jean’s for a casual evening. Established in 1951, this tavern is a fan favorite for an old-school bar with friendly smiles and strong drinks. If you feel like getting out of the house but still being comfortable, head to Ed & Jean’s — you can bring in your own food and enjoy a few favorite brews all the while hanging out with strangers and friends alike.
Zakopane | 1734 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Zakopane is a timeless and dark Polish bar complete with a jukebox and Eastern European bartenders. Although the beer selection is limited, Zakopane’s throwback ambiance (wood paneling!) is totally worth it. Join your friendly neighbors with a shot of “spirytus” while listening to polka (or a ’90s throwback pop hit) on the jukebox. Alternatively, you can play some pool, bring your own food, and find solace in this hometown hub.
Bernice’s Tavern | 3238 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608
Sometimes you just want to feel warm and welcomed — and that you will be at Bernice’s Tavern. Owner Steve has the personality to keep you coming back for more (and if he doesn’t, then their cheap beers will). You’ll see your classic domestics beers along with some local names (like Lagunitas) and imports. Whether you prefer to watch a movie on Mondays, play STINGO (Steve’s Bingo) on Wednesdays, or listen to musicians’ open mic night on Thursdays, Bernice’s is a great change of pace for those in Chicago who want to add some enthusiastic quirks to their weekday evenings.
Reed’s Local | 3017 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60618
A divey, cash-only bar centered around the Avondale neighborhood and family, Reed’s Local is a lively option for those who want to get to know their neighbors (be it through karaoke, board game nights, or a local, craft, draft brew). You’re part of the family here, whether you bravely try the “Three-Eyed Crow” Combo or simply pick up the mic. Impress your friends and support your neighbors at Reed’s Local!
Whirlaway Lounge | 3224 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Whirlaway Lounge is for folks who don’t need flashy decor or lots of televisions to enjoy their evening with a beer and friends. With plenty of beers to choose from, Whirlaway offers a lot of hops for your buck. Feel stumped about which beer to opt for? Maria, the owner and bartender, is your friendly guide and new best friend. If you’re looking for a family, neighborhood establishment with no frills but plenty of friendship, Whirlaway Lounge is just for you.
Bob Inn | 2609 W Fullerton Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
In all sincerity, Bob Inn is an option for all of your friends: old, young, and everything in between. No pretentious folks here but if you happen to carry this air about you, just check that at the door. Bob Inn is a grungy, non-judgmental bar full of inexpensive beers and straight-shooters. Here, at the ‘Bob’, the beer floweth and the pinball pings.
Sidekick’s | 4424 W Montrose Ave, Chicago, IL 60641
If you ever wanted an encouraging theater friend in high school to help you explore your musical passions (even though that was socially unacceptable because you were the star basketball player), then Sidekick’s is that dream friend come true. Encouraging and charismatic, Sidekick’s is an approachable yet lively place for you to explore your artistic self through the art of karaoke. Let’s say karaoke isn’t your style. You’re sure to find darts, video games, and conversation plentiful. Regardless, the Sidekick’s crowd and their friendly bartenders are sure to bring out the best in you and your singing skills!
Explore Chicago’s greatest throwback bars without your three friends this time (those three friends being Visa, AmEx, and Mastercard).
At UrbanMatter, U Matter. And we think this matters.
Tell us what you think matters in your neighborhood and what we should write about next in the comments below!
Jake is a three-year-old, handsome and loyal, 40-pound male cattle dog mix looking for a loving guardian.
Jake lost his home when his human went into assisted living.
He’s great on leashed walks, fantastic in the car, great being bathed, crate-trained and housebroken. He’s been good with the other dogs he’s met so far.
He’s very food-motivated and knows how to sit on command.
Jake is very healthy, de-wormed, neutered, up-to-date on rabies, distemper and bordetella vaccines, microchipped and heartworm tested and on monthly preventative.
He is being fostered in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. His adoption fee of $300 benefits the Friends of Petraits Rescue. To meet and possibly adopt Jake, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for an adoption application.
On July 13, 2015, the headline story featured a 28-year-old black activist name Sandra Bland from Illinois; she was found hanged in Waller County, Texas, in a jail cell; after three days of being arrested during a pretextual traffic stop. Bland’s automobile was stopped on July 10, 2015, by State Trooper Brian Encinia because of a minor infringement.
The world saw the questionable arrest partially recorded by Encinia’s dashcam, a bystander’s cell phone, and Bland’s cell phone. Five years after this ‘minor traffic violation took place, questions surrounding her death continue to resurface, as many seek some form of justice. Bland’s death, ruled a suicide, has troubled many that knew her. The incident enraged the community and protesters that were against her arrest, disputed the cause of death, and alleged it was racial violence against her.
The world premiere of ‘Graveyard Shift’ at Goodman Theatre shines a light on the racial tension that is plaguing our nation. Straight from the headlines, the critical piece of work, written by playwright Korde Arrington Tuttle, touches on the dual lives of Sandra and the cop involved in her arrest. The legacy of Sandra Bland loosely inspires this purposeful story. However, Tuttle doesn’t make any attempt to refabricate Bland’s character or her life story. He allows us to see the emotional depth of the harsh realities in a world filled with lots of trepidation. The fictionalized play entwines the truth with urban poetic dialogue and rhythm, where senseless bigotry is all too common at the hands of a policeman.
Set in Chicago and Texas is where we meet Janelle (Anisa J. Hicks), who just received the opportunity of a lifetime, which allowed her to relocate from Illinois to Texas to work at Prairie View A&M University and to move in with her fiancé Kane (Debo Balogun). Brian (Keith D. Gallagher) is a small-town police officer in Prairieview, Texas, who is on probation for violence against a black college student. He has to deal with his irritable boss Trish (Lia D. Mortensen), who has no problem taunting him all of the time. Brian is also romantically involved with his co-worker Elise (Rae Gray), who decided to relocate and leave town. The worlds of these individuals quickly down-spiral in a collision of power and injustice.
Director Danya Taymor makes her debut along with Tuttle in ‘Graveyard Shift,’ some of her credits include Pass Over at Steppenwolf and Daddy at the Vineyard Theatre and the New Group. After developing Tuttle’s work, she focused on collaborative work so the audience can witness the story as a community. Although set designer Kristen Robinson used split runway staging, at times, it became very confusing.
How can a young woman’s life have ended when she had so much to live for, a new location, and a new job?
The storyline with Bland and her boyfriend, played by Debo Balogun, was a beautiful love story that provides more sympathy for the tragic end of Bland’s life.
The stage, a somewhat extended runway, set up to display a simultaneous look into the life of Bland, and the officer that shot her, was a bit awkward. You could see the audience having a difficult time trying to determine who to look at or listen to the combined dialogue.
We see the love and tension between Janelle and Kane and the personal issues of three Prairie View, Texas officer, Supervisor Trish (Lia D Mortensen), Elise (Rae Gray), and Brian (Keith D Gallagher). Elise is having an affair with Brian, who is married. Balogun, who reminds us of a young Sidney Poitier and Hicks are magical together as the distance lovers who are afraid that being under the same roof might complicate their love.
Graveyard Shift, decision to add the personal lives of the officers diminishes the events of how devastating and demoralizing it was to learn about how a young lady who accepted a new job and excited about relocating to Texas; would commit suicide. Their stories, which seemed out of place, and some unnecessary scenes, felt like fillers lacking meaning. The cop that arrested Janelle (Sandra Bland) storyline lack relevance and needed more substance. The story behind Bland death is too powerful to dilute with casual conversations.
During an interview, Korde Arrington Tuttle described Graveyard Shift as concurrent love stories where two lives collide. We witness the love between Janelle and Kane; however, their passion increased the sorrow and pain felt more than the love Tuttle wanted to display. It reminds us that life is too precious, and power can blind equality.
Let’s Play ‘Somewhat Recommends’ Graveyard Shift. We struggled with this recommendation but ultimately felt that the love aspect got lost in translation.
By: Korde Arrington Tuttle
Directed by: Danya Taymor
February 7 – March 8, 2020
Rick and Brenda McCain are the review critics of “Let’s Play Inc!” With the loving support of great theater members within the Chicagoland area, we have been passionately reviewing plays for many years to where we are on our way to helping people “Discover the hidden gems of Chicagoland theaters.”
We have seen these great plays at American Blues Theater, Black Ensemble, Court Theater, Drury Lane, Goodman, Lookingglass, Northlight, Paramount, Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Writers and the list continues to grow each month.
We pride ourselves on being a trusted source in helping individuals get the inside story on each play to guide you to a remarkable theater performance.
Our goal is to leave a memorable impression that will entice you to visit one of these impressive theaters and enjoy the excitement within Chicagoland that happens on a daily basis.
Rick and Brenda are also internet radio host of The Let’s Stay Together Talk show where they have quickly become to trusted informational platform on ALL RELATIONSHIPS. Within a short period, they have reached people all around the globe, and they continue to grow due to their fun, relatable conversations that are open and honest.
They bring that same joy to Let’s Play so join them as they open your eyes to the hidden gem of Chicagoland theaters.
You can reach us about reviewing your upcoming play, by contacting us at email@example.com.
Rod Blagojevich is a free man. His prison sentence has been commuted by Donald Trump. He’s back in Chicago, home with his family.
The last twenty-four hours has been a circus. All that’s been missing are the clowns.
In the last day, we’ve been overwhelmed with scenes of Rod signing autographs, shaking hands with everyone in sight and a helicopter following the road trip to his home as if he was O.J. Simpson. Ronnie “Woo Woo” Vickers was at today’s press conference. “Rod Woo” “Patti Woo” “Amy Woo” “Annie Woo”!!! I guess the clowns weren’t missing.
Then we were subjected to his proclamation that he’s now a “freed political prisoner.”
I always thought that the sentencing for Blagojevich was too much. I felt five to eight years was appropriate. I’m okay with him being out after seven. But Rod, there’s no way you were a victim of anything except your own greed. You tried to sell a Senate seat! Pure greed. You tried to shake down a children’s hospital for donations. A CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL!! Pure greed and pure evil. You brought shame on yourself, your family and the people of Illinois, who put their trust in you..TWICE!!!
Rod, you said you didn’t let us down. Umm…dude…you absolutely let us down…big time! But most of us are compassionate people. We are forgiving. All we want to hear are these two words…I’m sorry. I’m not asking for much. Sadly, I’m almost positive we’ll never get it.
So Rod, welcome home. I’m happy for you and Patti, but more for your daughters Amy and Annie. It’s nice to see a family reunited and happy. Have a good life. Here’s to that and to never hearing anything from you ever again.
My so called friends think it’s time to edit this section. After four years, they may be right, but don’t tell them that. I’ll deny it until they die!
I can’t believe I’ve been writing this blog for four years.
It started as a health/wellness thing and over the years has morphed to include so many things that I don’t know how to describe it anymore.
I really thought this was going to be the final year of the blog but then Donald Trump came along. It looks like we’re good for four more years..God help us all!
Oh yeah…the biographical stuff. I’m not 60 anymore. The rest you can read about in the blog.
Sitting at a Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru window this morning near my house. The employee’s uniform shirt said, “Fueled by Positive Energy.” And, he most definitely was.
He smiled, cheerfully commented on the weather then asked how I was — which made me think about how many other employees I’d been served by in that same line, with that same friendliness.
So, after I paid, I asked to talk to his manager. As I did, a shadow crossed his face and his smile faltered. I’d seen this effect before, since I frequently like to compliment people who give good service. I knew he was expecting a complaint, because that’s typically what people do when they ask for the manager. So, I quickly added, “I want to compliment you,” and immediately saw relief on his face.
As he called his manager over, that same shadow crossed her face, as if she were bracing.
“Every time I come here, your employees are excellent” I told her. “You’re obviously doing a great job of finding and training good people.”
And she smiled.
Relieved and pleased. And also obviously proud of her team.
A good way to start the day.
The egg and cheese wraps didn’t hurt either.
(This experience happened at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 5414 Grand Avenue in Gurnee, Illinois.)
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And listen to my podcast.
Comments Note: All comments are reviewed. Any that are considered to be a personal attack or hate speech will be removed. In my blog, I always try to be respectful. I expect the same from my readers, both in responses to me, and about or to each other. And, again, thank you for reading.
Copyright 2001-2020, James R. Warda. All rights reserved.
James Warda, author of “Where Are We Going So Fast?”, is a keynote speaker who focuses on connecting to each other, and ourselves, through our moments. His background also includes being a writer and speaker for Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises, and a columnist for the “Chicago Tribune” and Pioneer Press.
I keep seeing a worrisome trend, and hearing it, too. People are doing too much! I don’t necessarily mean they’re too active, but any action is being described by the word “do.”
I suppose it started with “let’s do lunch” among executives. But now I’m hearing people saying “I did the onions” or “Just do the beans” in a recipe, or reading a note saying “let’s do (name of restaurant).”
When I saw that note from a friend who will remain anonymous (and thus remain a friend), I had to write back and ask how you “did” this place — eat, play, or what? That came from not knowing it was a restaurant.
And the conversation went well, too, when I had to stop and say “What did you do to the onions? What should I do to the beans?”
Now that I’m conscious of it, I’m hearing and reading “do” all over the place, like gulls at Lake Michigan beaches in summer. (It was snowing as I wrote this, and the artwork warmed me up. I hope it helps.)
Fall not into the trap of saying “do” when you could use another verb — cook, boil, play, eat, whatever you really need. (And if you wonder about me for writing “fall not” at the beginning of this paragraph, think a moment: I wanted to caution you, but I could not use “do not,” could I?)
I moved to Chicago from the south suburbs in 1986. I have diverse interests, but I love writing about what I’m interested in. Whether it’s a personal interest or part of my career, the correct words to get the idea across are important to me. I love words and languages — French and Scottish words enrich my American English. My career has included years as a journalist and years working in museums, and the two phases were united by telling stories. I’m serious about words and stories. So here I am, ready to tell stories about words and their languages.
One of the problems I’ve always had with Acura is that it doesn’t differentiate itself enough from its mainstream Honda brand. The exterior design is different-ish. But the interior appointments — especially on the Honda upper trims are virtually identical.
For less money.
However, the 2020 Acura RDX finally ups the ante and is worthy of the Acura name.
The RDX was all-new for the 2019 model year, and the changes made this vehicle much more upscale.
The exterior is nicely done with a mesmerizing grille as a focal point, and a few sharp angles to add interest to the design. But the overall lines are still somewhat conservative, which means this vehicle won’t look weird in 10 years.
The interior, however, is the true highlight. Modeled after the “Acura Precision Cockpit” concept, the RDX now has an interior that looks lux-level with glossy black accents on the center stack and a large info screen perched on top of the dash. The reverse stitching on the leather of the seats, center stack and steering wheel is attractive.
2020 Acura RDX (Photo by Jill Ciminillo)
One interesting feature that you also see on some Hondas is the pass-through on the center stack. It’s at about knee level and is the perfect size for a small purse or bag.
The test vehicle was the sporty A-Spec trim, so it also added nice touches such as a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, suede seat inserts and a suede dash accent
Another hit: The standard inclusion list. The base RDX is equipped with high-level safety tech, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone automatic climate controls, heated front seats, power lift gate, passive entry and push-button start. All for just more than $38K.
Frankly, there really aren’t too many misses on this vehicle. I liked the design. I liked the handling. And I loved the Dynamic Mode system.
But if I had to pick something, it would be the True Touchpad interface. This trackpad thingy is one of the solutions automakers are adopting to avoid distractions due to touch screens. But after a week, it’s hard for me to tell if it’s a successful solution.
The Acura system employs the use of “absolute positioning,” which means you touch the pad on the center stack in the same location as the item on the infotainment screen to make a selection. So, it’s like using a touchscreen but completely different at the same time.
The RDX doesn’t have “trims” so much as it has “packages.” You start with the base model and add content packages, which means there aren’t a lot of one-off options to add.
Front-wheel drive is standard, but all-wheel drive is available for $2,000. So, unless you go crazy with accessories, a completely tricked our RDX will stay under $50k.
The Chicago Factor
In terms of SUV sizes, the 2020 Acura RDX is manageable in an urban location. Plus, with features such as rear cross-traffic alert, tight parking lots are much easier to manage.
The RDX is maneuverable, easy to parallel park and fits in most tight city spaces. Yet it’s also comfortable and quiet on the highway for those long road trips. This could easily be a city or suburban daily driver, but if I lived in the city, I’d make sure its primary parking space was in a garage.
THE PHOTOGRAPH is a love story, in fact it is two love stories connected by a photograph.
When Christine Eames (Chanté Adams), a renowned photographer dies she leaves her daughter Mae (Issa Rae) a photograph and two letters. One she has written to her and one to be given to her father.
Christina and Mae were never close, in fact, Mae was never sure if her mother really loved her. As she reads the letter, she finds out so much about her mother and why she was the way she was. Through the letter we are taken back to view the life and love of Christina and her boyfriend Issac (Y’lan Noel – young Issac). They loved each other but Christina needed more and Issac was content to be where he was. She wanted to see the world and tell a story through the eye of her camera while Issac just wanted to be devoted to her and live out their lives in their small Louisiana town. Their love story is deep, somewhat predictable but draws you.
After Christine’s death, journalist Michael Brock (Lakeith Stanfield) has the assignment of writing a in depth story about her. He meets Issac (Rob Morgan – older Issac) in Louisiana to get apart of the story of her past. He then comes back to New York and meets Mae and is immediately attracted to her. Their love story begins here.
It was refreshing watching a true love story of color that didn’t have any violence, jail time, cheating or affairs. These were two love stories that any one of us may or could have no matter our circumstances or upbringing.
There are a lot of insecurities, commitment issues, and awakenings portrayed in this film. Writer/Director Stella wrote a heart felt story of two women who loved but had to make hard decisions.
While I found the love story between Christina and Issac a little more interesting than between Mae and Michael. It felt that Mae and Michael’s story dragged some with the long lingering looks and a few heavy sighs. I also found the parallels between Christina’s mom and Christina eye opening with the choices they both made at almost the same time of their lives.
THE PHOTOGRAPH is worth spending the money to see it theaters. I give it 4 out of 5 winks of the EYE.
Over the last few years, Mugen! The Human has undergone one of the most profound artistic evolutions of any artist I have covered on CoW. From the lo-fi sad rap of projects such as Before You Go to the jazz-tinged boom bap of tracks like “No More Sad Songs,” Mugen has proven that he is not one to stay in the same place for too long. Mugen continues his ongoing metamorphosis with his new single, “Freaking You//IGOR,” where he is sounding more mature as an artist than ever before.
As the title implies, this track is a double-serving of sorts. The production on “Freaking You” is a melancholy trap banger with a soulful vocal sample reminiscent of something that would land on one of Mugen’s earlier projects. The beat on the second track is actually the instrumental to “New Magic Wand” by Tyler, The Creator, hence the title, Igor. This instrumental is an aggressive piece of hardcore hip-hop, something that is meant to be blasted at full-volume.
Lyrically, “Freaking You” sees Mugen diving into a situation with a love interest who he’s trying to pursue. Later in the verse, he flips it back on to himself when he starts questioning himself more and more. By the end of this cut, he is drowning in his own self-doubt. On “Igor,” Mugen completely flips the script, similarly to how the beat switches up. He drops a series of bars that are confident and braggadocios, showing that he’s more hungry than he’s ever been. The contrast between these two tracks is really something.
If “Freaking You//IGOR” is symbolic of anything, it’s the fact that Mugen! The Human is always turning over a new leaf. In a lot of ways, he is still the same melancholy sad boy he’s been from day 1. However, given how much his pen game has improved, it’s clear that Mugen puts every bit as much care into making his bars sharp as he does into crafting a hit. With how much he has been leveling up lately, he is an artist you will want to keep on your radar for the foreseeable future.