For Claude Fontaine: Mix 1 Parts Bob Marley + 1 Parts Bebel Gilberto, Then Stiron February 26, 2020 at 8:38 pm

Cut Out Kid

For Claude Fontaine: Mix 1 Parts Bob Marley + 1 Parts Bebel Gilberto, Then Stir

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Legends ‘Game of Thrones’ bobbleheads released, including Ryne Sandberg and Frank Thomason February 26, 2020 at 9:57 pm

ChicagoNow Staff Blog

Legends ‘Game of Thrones’ bobbleheads released, including Ryne Sandberg and Frank Thomas

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Tamika Catchings – Basketball Goddess, Olympian and Humanitarianon February 26, 2020 at 10:34 pm

When Tamika Catchings (’00, ’02) played basketball at Tennessee she always looked to her coach, the legendary Pat Summitt (’76), but not just to learn her plays.

“I used to watch Pat when she didn’t know I was watching her,” Catchings says. “She was so humble and she never saw a stranger. Everybody who worked in a facility, she knew all of them and always spoke to everybody. I try to follow her example.”

During Catchings’s storied career on the court she won an NCAA championship and four SEC titles at Tennessee, a WNBA championship and numerous honors with the Indiana Fever, and four Olympic gold medals. Catchings retired from WNBA play in 2016 and was recently promoted from the job of vice president of basketball operations for the Fever to become the team’s general manager. And she will be inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville in June.

On Valentine’s Day,  Catchings was also named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame alongside other basketball greats like the late Kobe Bryant, who was her childhood friend while their fathers played professional basketball in Italy.

If inducted, she’ll join Bernard King and her beloved Coach Summitt as only the third University of Tennessee representative to be included. It’s an honor that the late coach would most certainly take pride in, but it’s her role as a humanitarian that Catchings knows Summitt would be most proud of.

“Pat didn’t want us to just be good players,” Catchings says. “She wanted us to excel on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. She wanted us to be great people.”

Catchings took those lessons from Summitt and put them into action with her own nonprofit organization. For more than 15 years, the Catch the Stars Foundation has been helping underserved children in the Indianapolis area by focusing on literacy, fitness, and youth development.

An idea that started as her master’s degree project at UT’s College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences transformed into an organization that has benefited more than 15,000 youth.

Tamika CatchingsThe foundation started with a single basketball camp. When attendees asked if the organization had any other programs, a fitness clinic was added. Now, Catch the Stars hosts a variety of programs like a back-to-school celebration that provides more than 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to area children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

A six-week program called Dream Catchers helps boys and girls ages 8 to 12 learn financial literacy and business skills. They learn how to start, own, and operate their own businesses. The V.O.I.C.E. leadership program teaches young adults a number of necessary skills like dealing with peer pressure, financial and community responsibility, career planning, and good decision making.

Throughout the years, the foundation has awarded $250,000 in scholarships to students who excel in academics, help their community, and participate in athletics. Students are awarded four-year renewable $5,000 scholarships. Catchings says the foundation is working toward the goal of giving full scholarships to these student–athletes.

Catchings, who has a hearing disability, says it’s important to serve a diverse group of children.

“People helped me when I was growing up, and it’s important to help others,” she says. “People inspired me, impacted me, empowered me, and it allows me to continue to do the same for others.”

Catchings tells the story of being in elementary school in Texas and being frustrated with the fact that other kids would make fun of her for her hearing aids and the way she talked. One day while walking home from school, she took out her hearing aids and threw them into a field of tall grass.

Her mother went to look for them but couldn’t find them. The family couldn’t afford to buy new ones, so Catchings had to learn to adapt to life without them.

And she did. She learned to compensate by reading lips, studying extra, talking to teachers after class.

By the time she was playing under Summitt, Catchings thought she had the hang of things. One day, Summitt called her to the athletic trainer’s office and convinced the shy freshman that she shouldn’t be ashamed of wearing hearing aids.

“Pat told me that someday I would share my story with thousands of people,” Catchings says. “At the time, I was a freshman who would barely talk to 10 people. I couldn’t believe she thought I could do all that. But now I do.”

In 2015, Catchings was honored with the first-ever ESPN Sports Humanitarian of the Year Award for the positive impact she was making on her community through her foundation—through the lessons she learned from her coach.

“I feel like I’m part of Pat’s legacy, even as I’m building my own.”Tamika Catchings

Photos by Steven Bridges

UT 225th anniversaryThis story is part of the University of Tennessee’s 225th anniversary celebration. Volunteers light the way for others across Tennessee and throughout the world.

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ABFF Honors: Award Winning Actor Rob Morgan, (Just Mercy, The Photograph) Gives ‘Shout Out’ to Chicago’s ‘Steppin’ Dancers [VIDEO]on February 27, 2020 at 1:05 am

The Art of New Media

ABFF Honors: Award Winning Actor Rob Morgan, (Just Mercy, The Photograph) Gives ‘Shout Out’ to Chicago’s ‘Steppin’ Dancers [VIDEO]

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Chicago Bulls: Jim Boylen is the worst coach in team historyon February 26, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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Chicago Bulls, Jim Boylen

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) Chicago Bulls

Chicago Bulls coach Jim Boylen is easily the worst coach in the NBA. But let’s take a look back through time to find out why Boylen is the worst coach in the history of this team.

When the NBA All-Star Game came to Chicago last a couple weeks back, there were no Chicago Bulls players on either roster. It was one of the most intense All-Star Games in recent memory, but there was no superstar on the court to represent the Bulls.

It was nice to see Chicago as the setting for the NBA’s biggest weekend and to see all the celebrities that came to the city to be a part of things. It stings for Bulls fans that their hometown team was an afterthought all weekend.

The Bulls haven’t been good for several years. Their recent history has been particularly bad as they tried to tank and failed. They now exist in a weird state of basketball limbo where they hope to gain relevance by somehow sneaking into the bottom spot of the NBA Playoffs.

The team was supposed to start turning things around this season. Although it wasn’t a popular choice with the players, Head Coach Jim Boylen was going to start this season still leading this team and hoping to inspire them to take that next step.

That obviously hasn’t happened as the team sits at 20-39 currently. After a disappointing loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday, the Bulls aren’t in playoff contention and also are unlikely to have a high draft pick.

Still stuck in that basketball purgatory, it’s unclear what the Bulls will do this offseason.

There were reports that the team intends to shift the responsibilities of front-office executives John Paxson and Gar Forman. Boylen has made missteps in his short Bulls career, but he doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.

Let’s take a minute to go over the reasons why Boylen is the worst coach in Bulls history while looking back at some other Bulls coaches that challenge him for the title.

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Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith scores goal 100 in losson February 26, 2020 at 2:00 pm

The Chicago Blackhawks continue to fall in the standings but Duncan Keith’s 100th career goal is something to be proud of.

The Chicago Blackhawks were in Missouri for their first game after the trade deadline against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues are the defending Stanley Cup Champions along with sitting at the top of the Western Conference. They are good and there is no way around that fact. The Blackhawks played them well but ended up falling 6-5. They got the Blues to play their offensive-minded game and still lost.

One note from the game that is considered a positive one, is the fact that defenseman Duncan Keith scored his 100th career goal. That is an incredible milestone for a two-way defenseman. It was a power-play goal assisted by Jonathan Toews. Keith has been sitting on 99 goals for a bit here so getting that 100th goal off his back is great to see.

Keith has been one of the pillars for this franchise forever. Keith’s 100th goal is with 504 assists for 604 points in 1131 games. He has a Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP, two Norris Trophies as the league’s top defenseman, and of course a three-time Stanley Cup Champion. He is without question going to walk into the Hall of Fame one day. You can make the argument that Keith is the best defenseman the Blackhawks have ever had.

As mentioned before, Keith’s goal was on the power play. That was one of three power-play goals for Chicago. As everyone knows, the Blackhawks power play is awful. They are dead last in the NHL but seeing them score 3 against the West’s top team is good to see. It is too little too late but going into next year, it would be cool to see them improve that area of their game.

Related Story: Three takeaways from the trade deadline for Chicago

Keith and the Blackhawks have yet another extremely tough game ahead of them. On Thursday night, they will be in Florida to take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts had a rough start to the season but now they are right where we expected them to be all along, one of the best teams in the NHL. They really don’t have any flaws so once the playoff games start, they just need to execute. This is going to be a tough game as Chicago tries to end a long losing streak to Tampa Bay.

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Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy approaching 2020 differentlyon February 26, 2020 at 3:00 pm

As the Chicago Bears met with the media on Tuesday, head coach Matt Nagy made it clear 2020 was going to be different.

If you watched the Chicago Bears press conferences on Tuesday, there seemed to be something different regarding head coach Matt Nagy. Unlike 2019, where Nagy seemed upset over the Bears playoff exit at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles, on Tuesday, it seemed like Nagy was optimistic for the Bears future.

Despite being asked a variety of questions, it seemed like Nagy has also done some self-reflection over the last eight weeks. Since the end-of-season press conference in early-January, Nagy has made changes to his coaching staff and while he’ll still be calling plays in 2020, seems like he’s ready to give more responsibilities to his assistants.

This is significant since in 2019, Nagy ran the show and everything started and ended with him. However, upon hiring Bill Lazor and John DeFilippo as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach this offseason, he’s got one goal in mind: Fix the offense and fix Mitchell Trubisky.

While many do not want to see Trubisky starting in 2020, Nagy will roll with him in week one and for a good reason too. He took the Bears job two years ago knowing that he would need to develop Trubisky and turn him into the Bears franchise quarterback.

Besides Trubisky, Nagy has hired assistants that will be in charge of figuring out what was wrong with the offensive line and getting the running game back on track. The Bears backfield in 2020 is expected to be headlined by Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery, with Montgomery being a featured running back.

Too often in 2019 did Nagy and the Bears abandon the run early in hopes of Trubisky carrying the offense with a pass-first philosophy. While this succeeded a few times, it wasn’t enough to get the Bears to the playoffs.

With 2019 now in the rearview mirror, Nagy seems like he’s ready to take a different approach to his football team. While he’s still establishing his identity for what he wants the Bears to be, he’s going into 2020 knowing that he could be on the hot seat if expectations aren’t met.

Next: Chicago Bears: Tight ends to watch at Scouting Combine

A lot will change between now and the beginning of the 2020 regular season but for now, Nagy seems to have turned a new leaf. But even then, he’ll have to show it for people to believe it.

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Lake Shore Drive reopens after smoke from downtown fire shuts down laneson February 26, 2020 at 10:39 pm

Traffic resumes on a section of Lake Shore Drive after being closed for more than an hour Wednesday because of thick smoke from a fire downtown.

Wooden pallets caught fire about 1:40 p.m. at a construction site in the 100 block of North Harbor Drive, according to Chicago police and fire officials.

The fire was out by 1:54 p.m., fire department spokesman Larry Merritt said.

Inbound and outbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were closed between Madison and Illinois streets because of smoke from the fire but were reopened by 3 p.m., police said.

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10 Most Haunted Places in Chicagoon February 26, 2020 at 3:36 pm

For a city with so much history, Chicago is no stranger to ghost stories or creepy adventures. We’ve picked out 10 of Chicago’s spookiest spots for your paranormal pleasure. These are Chicago’s most haunted places. 

haunted chicago

Graceland Cemetery

Built in 1860, Graceland Cemetery is the final resting place for some of Chicago’s most notable people, such as George Pullman, Marshall Field, John Peter Altgeld and Jonathan Ogden Armour. There have been reports from visitors and workers of a little girl playing in the cemetery on rainy days.

haunted chicago

Congress Plaza Hotel

Built in 1893 to help house the influx of visitors to the city, this hotel was frequented by visitors in mobs and it is believed to have been the site of many gruesome cries. It was named the most haunted place in Illinois by Travel & Leisure. Pro tip: Room 441 receives the most security calls.

haunted chicago

The Drake Hotel

Though there were plenty of notable visitors at The Drake Hotel over the years, it seems that it has also experienced some notable crimes. For example, the unsolved murder of Chicago socialite, Adele Born Williams. Ghostly apparitions have been reported to be haunting the halls of the hotel.

Site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Al Capone ordered a hit on Irish mobster George “Bugs” Moran, which resulted in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. This was one of the bloodiest days in Chicago mob history, and those who lost their lives are said to still roam the area.

Couch Place Alley
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Couch Place (The Alley of Death)

Located in downtown’s theater district, over 600 people lost their lives in a fire caused by a stage light sparking during a theater production in 1903. There have been reports of an unusually cool breeze, apparitions and sounds of whispers while you walk down the alley, making it one of the most haunted spots in Chicago.

haunted chicago
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Camp Douglas

The area between Cottage Grove Avenue to King Drive and 31st Street to 33rd Place is where Camp Douglas used to sit. It was a camp for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, where many of them died from starvation and disease. Maybe you’ll see an apparition of a soldier while you’re in this haunted Chicago spot. 

The Green Mill
Photo Credit: The Green Mill Facebook

The Green Mill

Not only is The Green Mill an iconic cocktail lounge in Chicago, it is also said to have played a part in the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre because of its association with Al Capone and other gangsters. Employees have claimed to hear odd noises and see things move mysteriously.

haunted chicago
Photo Credit: Jane Addams Hull-House Museums

Jane Addams Hull-House

This settlement residence in Chicago is located on the west side and was a place for early arriving immigrants to stay and get acclimated. Jane Addams, the woman who ran the house, was the first to report paranormal activity from inside the walls. The room where she reported the most activity, is actually the room in which she died.

haunted chicago
Photo Credit: All That’s Interesting

Site of Eastland River Disaster

On July 25, 1915, the SS Eastland steamship capsized on the Chicago River, trapping over 2,500 passengers on board. Many of the nearby buildings were used as makeshift morgues for the recovered bodies, and visitors of the area have reported ghostly sightings on the riverwalk.

Photo Credit: Rosehill Cemetery

Rosehill Cemetery

As the final resting place for many Civil War soldiers and historical Chicago figures, Rosehill Cemetery has a chilling vibe that is hard to deny even just walking by. Moaning and the rattling of chains can be heard from inside this cemetery’s walls.

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!

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Visit These Unique Chicago Bars for the Best Night of Your Lifeon February 26, 2020 at 9:18 pm

This list of one-of-a-kind Chicago bars highlights sometimes classy, sometimes divey, but most of the time, quirky experiences. And quirky isn’t bad; if anything, Chicago will show you how to do quirky effortlessly. Bring a friend and beam with pride for Chicago as you explore your city’s most unforgettable experiences—with a drink in hand, of course. These are the bars to visit to have the best night of your life in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Facebook

The Signature Lounge at 96th | 875 N Michigan Ave

Perched on the 96th floor of the Hancock Tower, just off Michigan Avenue, is the Signature Lounge. Although this tower of delights is in a tourist setting, the overall experience does not disappoint. At this particular famed Chicago attraction, specifically on the 94th floor, you can admire the architecture on the 360 Observation Deck or even dare yourself and participate in The Ledge Experience (for thrill-seekers!). However, for those of you who are thirsty and would like a quieter evening, venture on up to the 96th floor. Here you’ll find some of the most spectacular views of all Chicago all the while enjoying a strong drink. You’ll never want to take your eyes off the vastness of Lake Michigan or the glitter of Michigan Avenue.

Pro-tip: Ladies, go to the bathroom. You won’t believe the view of Chicago. 

Get Laid Chicago - Bunny Slope
Photo CredIt: Bunny Slope Facebook

Bunny Slope | 15 E. Ohio St.

While Chicago doesn’t have a ski-lift (or ski-mountains… or ski lodges), Chicago’s River North neighborhood does have a retro-chic ski-lodge perfect for any special occasion. Bunny Slope is a throwback from the 1960s ski-lodge, complete with cabin-decor and a cozy fireplace. Did we mention there’s a hot-tub as well? Splish-splash with your bubbles and enjoy this eclectic atmosphere with top-notch beverages!

*Note: Bunny Slope is reservation-only for parties of 20 (maximum). Make some friends at our other bar options to make Bunny Slope your go-to party haven.

best chicago bars

Big Joe’s 2  & 6 Pub | 1818 W Foster Ave

Probably the most dive-y of places for a one-of-kind experience but don’t let looks deceive you; Big Joe’s 2 & 6 of Ravenswood Manor is the home of Turtle Races! It’s like the Kentucky Derby, but with turtles and domestic beers… minus the hats, horses, and mint juleps. On Fridays, Big Joe’s transforms its beloved pool table into a race-track for our reptilian friends. Spectate and cheer for your turtle or even make it a team sporting event for you and your friends! 

rose all day in chicago
Photo Credit: Happy Camper

Happy Camper Old Town | 1209 N Wells St

This may be the future of millennials, especially when we age: brunch-themed pizzas, boozy morning drinks, twinkly-lights with neon, and brunch bingo. Nursing homes (or wherever we end up) are going to be lit and trendy. All joking aside, Happy Camper in Old Town has a fresh interpretation of bingo. Give a little, get a little, and score some while you play this famed-game of chance. All proceeds benefit a local charity so be sure to bring the $10 suggested donation. Feel good about your brunch this Sunday and maybe you will realize your potential as a bingo-badass.

*Note: Happy Camper’s Brunch Bingo starts at 1:30 pm every Sunday – be sure to arrive early!

Photo Credit: SafeHouse Facebook

SafeHouse Chicago | 60 E Ontario St

Whether you’re Agent 007, Evelyn Salt, or Agent Scarn from Threat Level Midnight, SafeHouse offers a whimsical, mission-like atmosphere, complete with undercover events, “in-spy-red” drinks, and shareable cocktails. River North’s not-so-secret spy-themed bar is ideal for those in groups or on dates who want to flex their prowess of perception all the while enjoying a beverage (or sharing one). Come later in the evening and explore the lounge’s nooks or ignore the imminent mission and dance the evening away (in other words, do the Scarn!). With all the events SafeHouse offers, you’re sure to have fun and look good while doing it.

best chicago bars
Photo Credit: Replay Lincoln Park

Replay | Lakeview, Andersonville & Lincoln Park

With various locations across Chicago, Replay has managed to create a one-of-a-kind relaxed environment for those who want to play their favorite arcade games of yesteryear with a craft beer or cocktail in one hand. It’s like the ultimate adult playground. Throughout the year, Replay also redesigns the bar into a “pop-up.” From Spongebob to Harry Potter or Rick and Morty, Replay brings its best self for you to experience your favorite fictitious worlds while playing Skee-ball and enjoying their beverage. With the novelty of a pop-up-themed bar and all the games of your childhood in one place, you’re sure to think you’re in arcade heaven… or Hogwarts…. 

Chicago Bar Bucket List
Photo Credit: Kingston Mines Facebook

Kingston Mines | 2548 N Halsted St

Established in 1968, Kingston Mines in Lincoln Park is an unforgettable evening for any jazz and blues connoisseur alike. Kingston Mines has two rooms and two stages so you have twice the opportunity to savor the melodies, hum to the harmonies, and tap to the riffs. Kingston Mines has been a staple for Chicago, being the longest-running blues and jazz club here. A perfect combination of riffs, raffs, and old-time friends- Kingston Mines brings you an evening of approachable yet top-notch entertainment, complemented by strong drinks and homestyle cooking (BBQ and okra!). Feed your soul and your stomach!

The Revel Room
Photo Credit: The Revel Room Facebook

The Revel Room | 1566 N Milwaukee Ave

Specifically on Monday nights, The Revel Room hosts Industry Night karaoke. This is unlike other karaoke’s in Chicago — primarily because of the juxtaposition that is The Revel Room. First, you’re in Wicker Park, which is unapologetically hipster. But then, the decor of The Revel Room is that of the Victorian era (imagine these massive, leather booths paired with ornate light fixtures and dim lighting). Then, to top it all off, The Revel Room’s creative and friendly bartenders craft well-balanced classic cocktails while belting out Celine Dion… So, here’s the deal: weekends, The Revel Room is your typical Wicker Park old-time-y feel bar with a DJ. However, on Mondays, there’s a karaoke session, in which the emcees and bartenders all join in the fun. It’s quite the experience where you’re included as a spectator, performer, and friend. 

Singing Hall and Oates or watching turtle racing? Enjoying classy drinks in a skyscraper or in a retro-chic ski-lodge? B-I-N-G-O: you can have it all at any of these Chicago bars!

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!

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