‘Don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand’ — a ballad for virus seasonon March 5, 2020 at 9:08 pm

Margaret Serious

‘Don’t Wanna Hold Your Hand’ — a ballad for virus season

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58th Annual Chicago World of Wheelson March 5, 2020 at 11:24 pm

Count Gregula’s Crypt

58th Annual Chicago World of Wheels

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The Unstoppable Momentum of Brendan Gayon March 6, 2020 at 1:23 am

Comedians Defying Gravity

The Unstoppable Momentum of Brendan Gay

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Motherhood changes you–and your arton March 5, 2020 at 12:00 am

After enjoying the burst of 50-degree weather this weekend, I decided to pop into Heaven Gallery with a few friends. Heaven, which has served as a vintage shop and DIY gallery in Wicker Park since the late 90s, was exhibiting Gwendolyn Zabicki‘s solo exhibition “In a Room with Many Windows,” titled after a poem by Jane Hirshfield. It’s a fitting name for Zabicki, who has worked with themes of mirrors, windows, and passageways in previous paintings and projects. Zabicki earned her BFA from SAIC in 2005 and an MFA from UIC in 2012. Since then her work has shown all over the city–from Hyde Park Art Center to Roman Susan to Comfort Station

Much of Zabicki’s artistic interests lie in the oppressive systems that devour women. She has referenced Pat Mainardi’s 1970 essay, “The Politics of Housework,” which details “progressive men” and how they still avoid feminized work, or work that the woman of the house takes responsibility for. Mainardi writes that “it is a traumatizing experience for someone who has always thought of himself as being against any oppression or exploitation of one human being by another to realize that in his daily life he has been accepting and implementing (and benefiting from) this exploitation.” Cleaning and managing the home are still things that go unnoticed, and this burden still largely extends to women.

Zabicki’s works focus on the mundane moments and the banality of life. While these new works may not outwardly criticize the patriarchal roles of housework, they reflect something new–motherhood. Since giving birth to her daughter Theodora a year ago, Zabicki is awake more hours than she used to be and is much busier than before. She tells me that there is also a lot of down time when she feeds her daughter or holds her while she sleeps. In those moments she is alone with her thoughts. The artist and her relationship to time have been transformed.

Zabicki works out of her studio at Mana Contemporary in Pilsen. “It was really important to me to have a studio outside my home, especially for my daughter’s first year of life,” Zabicki says. “Because I wanted to have a reason to leave the house, and I thought it might help me hang on to my identity and my sanity.” In the days when she isn’t with her daughter, she hires a babysitter. She says she is just as productive as she was when she came into the studio five days a week. “I don’t have the luxury of blowing off studio days anymore to stay home and eat cookie dough and watch Mahogany, which is a great movie starring Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, and Anthony Perkins and not a waste of time at all. Clarity has been one of the big upsides of having a child. You quickly learn what matters [and] get rid of what you no longer have time for, i.e. Netflix, shallots, procrastination.” Being a mother and an artist takes a great deal of multitasking and in the past year Zabicki seems to have found the secret to prioritizing certain tasks and goals. In 20 minutes she can get a coat of gesso on a few canvases, send a few e-mails, wash her brushes, and eat some trail mix. On the drive home from the studio, she uses a breast pump, which she promises isn’t as scary as it sounds.

Self Portrait with Theodora is a piece in the exhibition featuring the artist holding her daughter. Here, the viewer sees the artist multitasking in the bathroom where she is holding her baby while brushing her teeth. Both Zabicki and Theodora are gazing in the same direction as if something has caught their eye. These images that Zabicki has created–the moments in-between the rush of life–are related to the artist’s relationship to time. The fleeting thoughts that Zabicki illustrates stitch together to create her everyday life. In the piece Hold the Door, Zabicki has painted a silhouette of a person exiting a building and going outside towards a blue landscape. Looking at this painting feels like summer. The rush of Lake Michigan is so close and shorts weather is just around the corner. The distance between the person opening the door and the viewer reaching this same door is close but not close enough. If you lived inside of the painting, you can imagine the little jog you would do while running to catch the door. The person would be awkwardly standing there, arm extended with a tight-lipped smile as you picked up the pace. Hold the Door is a familiar moment. It’s relatable, banal, and average. But here are where Zabicki’s thoughts are taking her.

The diptych The Best Place to Cry is in the Shower features two doors that are slightly ajar. One door is front-lit and the other is backlit with a sliver of light appearing from the other side. There are many images like this in Zabicki’s oeuvre–pieces that look into a space through a door or window. In fact, the window is one of Zabicki’s favorite tropes in painting. “I’ve been painting windows, both inside and outside, for a long time,” she says. “Sometimes looking into a window feels melancholic, because we catch a glimpse of something intriguing like a birthday party or a man watching a glowing television, but we know we will never get to know those people in any meaningful way.” And while these particular doors aren’t windows, they are creeping into another space, a passageway that is unknown and unseen. As the viewer we know someone or something is on the other side–the light is on, the shower could be running–but we aren’t physically in the room and may never know what is on the other side.

In Hirshfield’s poem she writes, “In a room with many windows / some thoughts slide past uncatchable, ghostly / Three silent bicyclists. Slowly, a woman on crutches.” Zabicki says that when she sits on the couch with her sleeping baby in her arms, this poem resonates with her. Thoughts vibrate in her mind, flashes of images that she will transform into paintings for us to fall into. v

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Chicago Bears: Free agents to sign from NFC Northon March 5, 2020 at 12:00 pm

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Chicago Bears, Ryan Pace

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

As the Chicago Bears get ready for 2020 NFL Free Agency, what are some free agents they should consider from the NFC North?

When NFL Free Agency opens up in mid-March, the Chicago Bears are expected to be active and sign a handful of players. And for a team who’s arrow is currently pointing sideways, it’s unknown what the Bears plan to do. We know the team is in the market for a quarterback this offseason but there are other positional needs on both sides of the ball that will need to be addressed.

Then there are other positions such as edge rusher where the Bears don’t have a major need but they could still use some depth. Luckily, free agency will provide the Bears with an opportunity to fill these smaller holes as well.

The beauty of NFL Free Agency is that you’re able to sign players from any team. For the Bears, this means that they can poach from within their division as well. The Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions all have a number of free agents that should interest the Bears.

While most would argue against signing players who played for division rivals, the NFL is all about winning championships. And if winning a championship means signing players from your rivals, you need to do it.

However, the Bears will need to be smart with how they do things. General Manager Ryan Pace doesn’t have the salary cap space that he’s had during previous offseasons. Essentially, he’ll need to get creative with how he does things.

With NFL Free Agency right around the corner, what are some free agents that the Chicago Bears could consider adding that played in the NFC North in 2019? Let’s break some names down and find out.

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Chicago Blackhawks: Not escaping Connor McDavid this timeon March 5, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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Chicago Bears: Free agency dominoes which could cause mayhemon March 5, 2020 at 2:00 pm

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Chicago Bears, Ryan Pace

Chicago Bears (Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace could be in for interesting decisions depending on some key NFL free agency dominoes.

As fans, we have become accustomed to seeing general manager Ryan Pace take some risks. He’s not afraid to make a move, even if it means losing out on additional draft capital or spending big money. The Chicago Bears, for the most part, have gotten better because of some of those moves.

The Khalil Mack trade was and is the best move Pace has pulled off to this date. Spending the cash to bring in Allen Robinson has given the Bears an elite talent at wide receiver. Going up and getting Anthony Miller looks like it will pan out, as he truly started to break out at the end of the 2019 season.

Of course, there are still some question marks. We have yet to see what David Montgomery is really made of, and I believe we will eventually see Pace come out on top with that trade-up.

The infamous Mitchell Trubisky trade of 2017 will live on to haunt Bears fans forever, but there isn’t much we can do about it now. Pace has moved on, and so should we.

It’s 2020 and the Bears are in a much different position than they were a year ago. 2019 saw the Bears coming off a division title and playoff berth. It was all about maintaining and continuing to develop as a talented football team.

There isn’t any other way to put it than saying the Bears underachieved. This season, Pace is going to have to be aggressive in filling the team’s needs.

But, he is going to have to strike fast if he wants to get some of the bigger, better names at those areas of need. There are a few storylines to watch with free agency coming up, and each one could significantly alter the Bears’ plans going forward.

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Chicago Bulls: Jim Boylen should not be the “fall guy”on March 5, 2020 at 4:41 pm

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Should Chicago Bears trade for Trent Williams?on March 5, 2020 at 11:04 pm

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The Ultimate Survival Guide to Lollapalooza 2020on March 5, 2020 at 2:10 pm

It’s everyone’s favorite Chicago festival—no, literally, everyone. People from all over the world head to the Windy City for Lollapalooza’s four-day music extravaganza. If you’re heading downtown that weekend, you’re in for some heavy traffic, and you’re bound to see hoards of millennials dressed like circus freaks at every CTA platform. As my mom has literally said, and I quote, “Oh, they’re all here for that lillypabooza fest, aren’t they?”

Close, mom. Close.

Whether you spent your entire life savings to be at Lollapalooza all weekend or you just bought a day pass to catch your favorite band, there are a few things you should know before you hit up this gigantic monster of a music festival. First, of course, being the lineup, which hasn’t been announced yet, but we have a few expectations. This year calls for Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Post Malone, and other huge rising performers. We’ll make sure to check back in with the full lineup once it’s announced!

Over 170 bands are lined up across eight stages this year, and while you definitely won’t be able to see every single artist each day, it’s a good idea to get a schedule together in your head (or on your phone) of who you’re going to see and where they’ll be. If there are a few artists you absolutely have to catch or you’ll die, make sure you know what time they’re playing and hope to all things good they aren’t performing at the same time. The best way to do that is to check out the interactive lineup or the schedule, which will give you all the details on the stage, the day, and the time, so you can create your own makeshift schedule pre-festival.

One thing you should know is that all artists are required to stop playing by 10 pm, so don’t be hollering for an encore at 9:59 and expect Jack White to come back on stage, breaking rules and effing the system. There’s some kind of noise level law in Chicago that requires all festivals to end by this frankly ungodly hour, but I suppose if you’ve been partying all day, you’re about ready to call it quits by then anyway. Good news is, though, that if you’re an all-nighter and you can’t stop, won’t stop, there’s always the Lollapalooza aftershows to attend, also yet to be announced.

Photo Credit: Lollapalooza Facebook

While many of these are already sold out and did so within an hour of being posted, there are a few golden aftershows you can catch for a slim $40 in the week leading up to Lollapalooza. These will take place in concert halls all over the city, from Lincoln Hall to the Vic, and they’re bound to be just as lit as the festival itself.

While you’re at this massive event in Grant Park, though, you’re going to want to travel light. All bags are checked upon arrival and there’s a ton of banned items on their information page. While you may think you need endless bottles of water, your whole wallet, a Polaroid, some snacks, a selfie stick, a rain poncho, a phone charger, your hammock, transition sunglasses, a sweatshirt in case you spill beer on your coolio outfit…you really only need your ID, a card or some cash, and probably your phone (set on low power mode from the moment you wake up) to get you through the day.

That means dressing smart, aka wearing something with a few pockets, preferably deeper than coin-purse-level shallow. Ladies, we’re talking to you. Yes, we know it’s an unfair struggle to find a romper that has deep pockets (why), but try to dress practically because as much as you think hiding cash in your bra is a good idea, it’s not when it comes to taking it out to pay (excuse us while we feel ourselves up for some money).

Apparently, fanny packs are coming back in style, but if you’d rather not add some junk to your trunk, there’s always the new and gracious cashless wristband, mailed to you by Lolla upon purchasing your ticket. Once you have your wristband, you’ll just need to activate it online to add money for a completely card-free experience at the festival. Trust us, it makes everything easier. 

Photo Credit: Lollapalooza Facebook

In addition to bringing as little with you as possible, you should wear clothing that makes sense. Whether you’re a bandeau-and-short-shorts girl or a full-body green screen suit kinda guy, make sure to match your outfit with a pair of good walking shoes. Think about it—you’re going to be on your feet for about 10 hours if you’re going for the whole day, which means flip flops and heels are totally off-limits, no matter how cool your punk-ass, spiky pumps are. Boots are a hit or miss—you probably don’t want to wear anything too heavy, but some Timberland booties are a good option. Gym shoes are even better, so it’s a great time to show off your Nike game.

If you’re coming in from out of town, or even hailing from the suburbs, skip the hotels. Yes, Lolla has some deals with nearby locations, but they’re still hella expensive and you already paid an arm and a leg to purchase a pass. Instead, try to score an Airbnb, whether that’s right downtown near Grant Park or in one of the neighborhoods that offer a quick CTA ride into the Loop. You can find flats, studios, or even single rooms for as low as $30 sometimes, so live low-key and save your cash for the festival itself.

Are you a Lollapalooza veteran? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below!

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!

Featured Image Credit: Lollapalooza

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