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.
The 58th Annual O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels presented by South Oak Dodge/Chrysler/Jeep is March 6-8, 2020 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. There vill be over 500 custom cars, classics, hot rods, trucks, motorcycles and race cars on display for three tunerific days. Team Gregula is thrilled to be covering another Chicago World of Wheels!
WWE Legend Ric Flair – Friday | 6:00PM to 8:00PM
Cody Walker from The Fast and Furious Family – Saturday | 4:00PM to 7:00PM
Spiderman (Marvel Comics Superhero) – Sunday | 11:00AM to 5:00PM
Aaron Kaufman from TV’s Shifting Gears and Aaron Needs a Job – Sunday | 1:00PM to 4:00PM
ISCA Championship Finals
Cyclerama – featuring many of the top bikes from around the USA
Summit Racing Equipment “Chop Shop” featuring Voodo Larry
Pedal Car Challenge presented by “Summit Racing Equipment”
12th Annual Chicago Brushmaster – Pinstripers Charity Auction for Hope Children’s Hospital Ronald McDonald House – Auction Times: Friday 7PM; Saturday 1PM, 4PM, 7PM; Sunday 1PM, 4PM
Tin City featuring Traditional Rods and Customs/DJ – Presented by Hop Up Magazine
Tuner Galleria featuring Euro, Import, JDM and High Performance Domestics – Upper Level – Saturday 12:00PM to 10:00PM
Jack Trepanier Legacy Award
Legend Cup Presented by Clean Tools
Master Builder Award – Presented by Steele Rubber Product
DATES & TIMES:
Friday, March 6, 2020 | 3PM-10PM
Saturday, March 7, 2020 | 10AM-10PM
Sunday, March 8, 2020 | 10AM-6PM
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center – Rosemont
General Admission – $21.00
Children 6-12 – $8.00
Children 5 & Under – Free
DISCOUNT TICKETS (Available at O’Reilly Auto Parts):
Talking with Brendan Gay, something sprang to mind. It was a conviction I have, but don’t often say – that comedians are the high priests of our culture. They articulate issues that we don’t know how to express. They reveal perspectives we hadn’t considered. They’re unflinchingly honest. Whatever insight they bring, they lift us up and connect us. Share a laugh and nobody’s a stranger. I thought about all this because everything Brendan was telling me exemplifies this theory.
When Brendan was just one year and three months into his stand-up career in Chicago, he made a bold move. He decided to get in his car and do a “52×52” tour. That’s fifty-two cities in fifty-two weeks. Over the course of the year, he said, “there were endless things to learn.” Brendan grew up in Minnesota, one of the only biracial kids in his town. The experience ingrained a profound sense of what it’s like to be different, feel different and to be looked at differently. But as he traveled across the country, this truth began to co-exist with an additional truth – that we all have way more in common than we realize – and that the pain of feeling different can make for great comedy.
He is also resilient. When I asked what his favorite story was from the road, he told me “a struggle story” that was “the worst day of my life.” As bad as that day was, he turned around his fortunes the very next day.
Shortly after returning to Chicago, he decided to move to New York to take his career to the next level. He now produces stand-up showcases at The Bowery Electric and at The Stand Comedy Club. He hosts a podcast with plans to launch another. He was a finalist on TruTV’s Comedy Breakout Initiative at The New York Television Festival, a Finalist in the Make Me Laugh USA Competition, and Semi-Finalist in NBC’s Stand-Up Diversity Showcase.
On March 20, he returns to Chicago and becomes the first comedian to record an album at the Lincoln Lodge’s new theater. Brendan kindly spoke with me by phone about his powerful perspective, the key to building a comedy career (it has to do with who you trust), and why, despite his success, he is still “a comedian who smiles confidently when he’s nervous.”
STARTING OUT ON THE PLAINS
Teme: What did you do before comedy?
Brendan: My first career was medical device sales. My territory was Montana and Wyoming which was beautiful, but it was only fun for two weeks. I was 21 and I was so bored. I drove three hours a day, so I listened to podcasts like Mark Maron, Joe Rogan and Bill Burr. I started to think, “What do I actually want to do?” I went to an open mic in Montana just once to check it out and I loved it. So I quit my job and two weeks later I was in Chicago where I started comedy.
Teme: What about comedy inspired you?
Brendan: You can really express yourself. I love writing jokes. There is no better feeling than being on stage and actually creating something that people enjoy. Which, now that I’m saying that, I realize, “Oh, I love attention!” As soon as I did it, there was no turning back.
STARTING OUT AND BOUNCING BACK
Teme: What was the first open mic that you did in Chicago?
Brendan: The first mic I ever did in Chicago was four years and two months ago. It was December 8th, 2015 at Durkin’s Bar. No one laughed except at one joke and that’s all it took for me to like it.
After I was in Chicago for a year and three months, I decided to tour the country for a year. I went to fifty-two cities in fifty-two weeks starting January 1, all the way to January 1 a year later. I was back in Chicago for a year. Then I moved to New York. Do you do stand-up?
Teme: I did a little bit a long time ago. I’m not an on-stage person. But I think doing stand-up is the greatest feeling in the world. It gives you so much energy whether you’re on stage or in the audience.
Brendan: When you do well it’s the best. Oh my god, when I do bad it’s the worst. The worst feeling in the world.
Teme: What do you do to bounce back if that happens?
Brendan: Oh man, you just get on stage the next day. It’s a classic quote, “You get knocked down seven times, you get up eight.” Let’s say one night I have a really bad night. What I like to do is get back on stage immediately. Go to another open mic, get on another show.
A STORY OF CHANCE
Teme: Do you have a favorite story from your time in Chicago?
Brendan: Does it have to be comedy related?
Teme: No, not at all!
Brendan: One time, I was walking a dog and I was listening to Chance the Rapper, to one of his new songs. Then this guy comes up to me and starts petting the dog. Then he looks up and he says, “You have such a good dog.” And that person petting the dog was Chance the Rapper! I was like, “Whoa!” So now I’m a fan for life.
Teme: Of course, I want to ask you about the “52 Cities in 52 Weeks” tour! How did you decide to do it?
Brendan: I saw great comedians like Dave Chappelle, Hannibal Buress and Sarah Silverman. They went on the road. So I was like, “Oh, in order for me to be the best, I need to go on the road.” When you go on the road you see what’s actually funny, you can test a lot more jokes, and see different types of audiences. So I took three to four months and mapped out my schedule. I asked at work if I could work remote. I was a year and a month in [to my comedy career] and I just decided to do it.
Teme: Did you find that people laugh at different things in different places?
Brendan: Oh, yeah. One hundred percent. Chicago is very midwestern. People are more polite and conservative. More moralistic. You go to California or to New York, they’re way more liberal. You’re able to swear more. You’re able to say more radical things. I’m not saying that’s better comedy. I love the Midwest. I performed in the Midwest mostly and I prefer it. But definitely people laugh at different stuff. You go down south, the jokes are going to be completely different than in Portland, Maine.
You can be yourself, but you’ve got to have awareness of the room. You’ve got to sit in the culture. It’s like if you were the only minority in the room. People just look at you different. You’ve got to change jokes to make them work and make people laugh.
Teme: How did you prepare?
Brendan: You really don’t. You’ve got to throw yourself in the water. I’ve been on stage thousands of times, so I guess how I prepare for it is just all the experience that I’ve had on stage.
Teme: Where did you start the tour?
Brendan: I started in Miami because it was January 1. I needed to start somewhere warm. So I stayed down south and I kept going west. I went to Atlanta. Then I went to Louisiana and Alabama. Then eventually, I went to Mexico and up through California. I went to the Pacific Northwest and then the Midwest. My last city was in North Carolina. When I was done, I drove back to Chicago.
Once I was done I was kind of sad. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was draining, but there were memorable moments in each city. I’m really glad that I got to do it.
Teme: Wow, what an adventure. There’s a great book in that.
Brendan: Oh my god. I tried to write it. I have all my journals. I just moved to New York instead. I didn’t have time. I’ll get there eventually.
Teme: I’ll pre-order it right now!
THAT TERRIBLE NIGHT
Teme: Do you have a favorite story from the road?
Brendan: My favorite story was a struggle story. It was in Hoover, Alabama at the StarDome Comedy Club. It’s a theater with 600 seats. And I’m on my way there. I’m already late and my car breaks down in the middle of the highway and I had to call Geico or something, and they had to pick it up. I had to pay money and I didn’t have the money. I got to the comedy club and I’m late. I’m going on stage in two minutes after my car just got towed and I don’t even know what’s wrong with it.
So I go on stage and I bombed. I do so bad. Like crickets in the audience. Then the next guy who gets on stage does so well. Just murders. And I’m sitting in the green room so sad. And then the headliner comes up on stage and for the first three minutes of his set he is just making fun of how bad I did on stage. And the crowd is loving it. It’s going so great. And I was like, “Oh, my god. This is the worst day of my life.”
I had to pay a thousand dollars to get my car fixed and that’s money I didn’t have. I didn’t know where I was going to stay.
But the great thing is, I had a show the next day. And I did so well. I was like, “Oh, this is what comedy really is, it’s just a roller coaster.” There’s ups, there’s downs. You never know, but you just got to keep going and get better. It was only week five or six [into the tour]. So I was like, “Okay, if I can make it through this, I can make it through all fifty-two weeks.” So yeah, that’s the story that I’ll never forget. Hoover, Alabama.
52×52: PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL
Teme: How did the tour change your life personally and comedy-wise?
Brendan: Oh man, let’s start with personally. There’s an endless amount of things to learn. I got to meet so many different people. I got to learn that everyone is the same. Everyone has their problems. Everyone has their life experiences whether you’re in Iowa or Florida. There are different cultures. People may eat different food. They may have a different language or communicate differently. You have your nuances within politics. But everyone is still the same everywhere. Doesn’t matter what color or race you are.
But oh my god, comedy? I got so much time [on stage]. I got to see what was actually funny. I got to be in front of real audiences across the country. It makes you so much better as a comedian to get that exposure and experience, to struggle somewhere else and to do well somewhere else. I got to do theaters in front of thousands of people. Other nights, I got to do The Comedy Store in front of three people.
It made my material sharp. It made me work on long form sets doing thirty minutes, doing an hour. It made me connect with other people across the country, so now I get more work. It boosted my career significantly.
Teme: How did you decide to move from Chicago to New York?
Brendan: I wanted to go to the next level. I wanted to be doing it with the best of the best. New York City has the best comedians, not in the country, but in the world. When you see Dave Chappelle, Jim Gaffigan, Mark Normand, Jerry Seinfeld … if you see people go up like Chris Rock and Michael Che in a single night, that’s a college education.
Teme: It’s got to be incredible seeing people like that all the time.
Brendan: I run a stand-up at the Bowery Electric. We have Todd Barry come in, Sarah Silverman. Roy Wood Jr. is going to be on the show. I saw Bill Burr perform five times. That’s something you don’t get to see when you’re in Chicago.
HOW TO BEGIN AGAIN
Teme: When you moved to New York, you had momentum from your tour. How do you keep that momentum going in such a big scene?
Brendan: It was really hard. I had to start over. I’d been in New York when I was on the road. I had some connections, but you got to go back to square one. You got to start hitting the open mic scene a lot. You’ve got to meet all these people, go to the shows and introduce yourself. You got to prove yourself in the biggest city in the world. You got to build your own momentum again. So that’s why I produce the show. That why I’m producing another podcast.
The great thing is, you can get exposure here. I did a show at a comedy club and Jimmy Fallon’s booker was there and we exchanged contacts. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be on The Tonight Show, but industry is in the seats at these comedy clubs. So make yourself get out there. That’s a good way to build momentum.
INNOVATION IN ICELAND
Teme: Overall in your life or career, what is the best thing that has happened so far?
Brendan: The fifty-two cities in fifty-two weeks was insane. This album’s going to be insane, but it hasn’t happened yet. I was part of a team of comedians that shot a pilot in Iceland called Funny Planet. The show is us finding out what’s funny around the world. It’s like Anthony Bourdain but with comedy.
We got to interview the former mayor of Reykjavik who was a comedian. We also got to perform there. We submitted the pilot to the New York Television Festival and we became finalists to have it produced by truTV. I’m just a comedian. I just want to tell jokes, and now it’s like we’re these serious people who might have a TV show. That was pretty insane. We got to shoot a pilot. We actually did it.
A MAJOR SECRET TO LIFE: TRUST YOURSELF
Teme: You’ve said that something that helps you move forward is trusting yourself. How do you build that trust and what does your inner dialogue sound like when you trust yourself?
Brendan: That’s a really good question. If you don’t trust yourself, who else can you trust? You are all that you have. You got friends and you got family. You’ve got co-workers. But at the end of the day, it’s just you. So if I don’t trust me, my whole life is shambles.
I think the strongest people are the ones who trust themselves and excel because they’re accountable for themselves. They have no one else to rely on. They’re not entitled. They got to trust themselves to do something. If you really trust yourself and believe in yourself, you’re able to do so many things and push yourself further. How? I look back on the stuff that I’ve done. I try new stuff. And I haven’t died yet.
Teme: That’s such a great answer. I have trouble trusting myself because I’m afraid I’m going to fail. But it sounds like you can trust yourself and still be open to any outcome.
Brendan: Yeah, you’re right. Of course I’m going to fail. I’m going to feel sad. I’m going to feel scared. I’m going to be hesitant. I’m going to be lazy sometimes. But keep going and trust yourself. You’re going to be fine. If you really do trust yourself, you’re going to have less anxiety and less worry. So it’s going to push you further. You’ve got nothing to worry about. You have yourself. You know yourself.
Teme: That’s so brilliant. And if things ever go wrong because that’s life and it’s inevitable, you just trust yourself, “I’ve done this before. I can deal with this.” And get through.
Brendan: Right? That’s a really good point. Yeah, you’ve done this before. Teme, you survived. Whatever’s bad that’s happened to you before, you’re still standing, you’re still moving. You’re still doing interviews. You’re still writing. You’re still going. So, it’s like, “I trust myself. I’ll be fine.”
Teme: I can’t wait for your book.
Brendan: I’m still learning. I have so much to learn. And so much to get better at.
Teme: You’ve said that when you’re nervous you smile confidently. How did you learn to handle nerves with a confident smile?
Brendan: Stand-up comedy is where I learned to smile confidently when I’m nervous. When I started and I wasn’t funny and a joke didn’t go well, I learned you just smile and move on. The emotions are going to come, but just smile and keep going. It’s going to make things a lot easier.
Teme: What are you favorite topics to talk about in stand-up and what does your comedy say about you?
Brendan: I love talking about my friends, and experiences that I’ve had that trigger emotions; that have been scary. Or things that have been the most fun times in my life. My childhood. Anything that was very impactful. I’m very observational. I do some race stuff, too. I talk about family stuff. Anything is funny. A lot of my comedy is me trying to figure out who I am as a person. I’ll even say that on stage, “I don’t know who I am yet. I’m a 27 year-old millennial, still trying to figure it out.”
Teme: Your comedy includes observations about minority culture and growing up as a millennial. How do these experiences impact your perspective?
Brendan: A lot. I’ll say that. How deep do you want to go? Being a black person in this all white town, who’s very broke in one of the wealthiest cities in the country … You’re so different from everyone else. Just imagine coming into this world noticing, oh, you are not like everyone else. So you are right away feeling, “Oh my god, everything I do is different. People look at me different just based on the color of my skin.” That dramatically changed my life. I’m going to think differently than everyone else automatically. I’m willing to say things about that in my stand-up that other people aren’t willing to say.
But here’s the thing I was telling you. On the road, I was like, “Oh, I always thought I was so different from everyone.” But going on the road, I was like, “Oh, everyone’s the same.” Everyone feels that they’re out of place. Everyone has different things about them. They have anxiety or feel like they’re an imposter or they feel like they’re not good enough. Everyone has problems. It doesn’t matter how rich you are or what color you are or what your status is. Everyone has it. We all have the same roots.
But it definitely changed me, growing up differently, being broke in a rich town, and being a different color skin in an all white neighborhood. You’re going to think different. Have a different perspective. Because people treat you different.
Teme: Do you think that feeling different is good for comedy? It’s painful to feel different, but it gives you a unique perspective.
Brendan: I think that it is awesome for comedy. When you’re able to laugh about something traumatic and make everyone else laugh, that is an amazing moment. I’ve had people come up to me at my shows and say, “Thank you so much. I feel that way, too,” especially when I talk about race. Dave Chappelle talks about race, racism, and the civil rights movement. That’s serious stuff, but he takes all that trauma and makes it funny. That shows a lot about the person who’s on stage. He’s able to be stronger than the controversy.
YOU’RE INVITED: LIVE ALBUM RECORDING!
Teme: Of course, I want to hear about your album recording! What will your show be like?
Brendan: It’s going to be pretty crazy. I’m going to do forty-five minutes to an hour. I’ve been doing comedy for four years and two and a half months. It’s going to be all the jokes that have hit, that have gone through the road, and about my life. There’s going to be a lot about growing up. It’s going to be an introduction to who I am as a person, where I am right now and everywhere that I grew up, and my perspective on life. So the 27 years that I’ve lived, you’re going to hear about all of those 27 years within an hour. That’s what this album is. It’s an introduction to Brendan Gay. You’re going to know exactly who I am.
Teme: What do you want the audience to take away?
Brendan: I want the audience to laugh and have a good night. To not think about their work, not think about struggles in their life. I want them to know how we can change the world for the better. I know some people rip on that, but the best comedians to me can make something funny out of serious moments.
Teme: Absolutely anything else you would like to add?
Brendan: I’m really looking forward to coming back to Chicago because that’s where my comedy roots are. I’m looking forward to performing in front of the people who made my comedy career. It’s like coming back home after you’ve been away for college. You know that feeling? You come back for Thanksgiving and you see all your friends. They’re like, “Oh my god, you’re so different. You’ve changed.” I want to show Chicago proud.
Brendan Gay’s album recording is Friday, March 20, 2020 at The Lincoln Lodge, 2040 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Shows at 8:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. Tickets at brownpapertickets.com/event/4484865
I’ve been a comedy fan since age four when Moe Howard asked me, “What’s your name, lil’ goil?” Fortuitously somehow by way of Washington, D.C., Poughkeepsie and Jerusalem, I ended up in Chicago, the comedy Mecca of the world where comedians are kind enough to give me their time and where I was lucky enough to meet the great Dobie Maxwell who introduced me to the scene. You can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. (Please remember the “w” there in the middle.)
I am often very reasonably asked, “How DO you pronounce that?” The spelling is Teme, but it’s pronounced Temmy.
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
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.
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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.
CHICAGO, IL – JANUARY 07: Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers advances the puck under pressure from Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on January 7, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Oilers 4-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Chicago Blackhawks are hosting the Edmonton Oilers at United Center. They are not going to avoid playing Connor McDavid this time.
The last time the Chicago Blackhawks played the Edmonton Oilers, they were lucky enough to not have to go up against Connor McDavid. The league’s best player was missing due to a minor injury but now he is back. McDavid has 32 goals and 63 assists for 95 points in 61 games played so far this season. It has been a remarkable year for him so far. The thing is, they still lost that game. It was a missed opportunity for sure.
The thing that has been good for McDavid and the Oilers is that he has a running mate. Leon Draisaitl is making the argument for the second-best player in the league. He has 43 goals and 65 assists for 108 points in 67 games played. He was a monster during McDavid’s absence and continues to play well now that he is back. They play on separate lines which gives the Oilers tremendous depth at forward. With the level these two are at right now, Oilers games have become appointment television for sports fans.
In order for the Blackhawks to win this game, they are going to need to hone in on these two players. The defense needs to be aggressive against them and the forwards need to be hard on the forecheck and backcheck. They also need to activate their defense so they can counter their attack. The Blackhawks like to play a game where they trade chance for chance and that is not a recipe for defeating Edmonton.
Special teams might play a big role in this game. It would be wise to stay out of the box because their power play leads the league at 29.9 percent. They also have the second-best penalty kill at 84.4 percent so breaking through on the power play might be tough. If they get themselves into a special teams battle with them, it is going to be a long night.
In addition to trying to contain their offense, the Blackhawks will need to bring some offense of their own. The Oilers aren’t a perfect team defensively so if they are willing to go chance for chance, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Dominik Kubalik, and Brandon Saad amongst others need to step up.
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.
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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.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – FEBRUARY 25: Head coach Jim Boylen of the Chicago Bulls yells instructions to his team against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the United Center on February 25, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. The Thunder beat the Bulls 124-122. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Since Jim Boylen took over head coaching duties for the Chicago Bulls, he’s been often blamed the most for the team’s struggles. Based on the reality of NBA coaching, that should not be the case.
Jim Boylen is considered by many to be a “lame-duck” head coach. He’s often a punch-line for media-talking heads who want to poke fun of the way Chicago Bulls players interact with him during blowout losses; the puzzling, irritated look Zach LaVine among others give to a head coach who has made a habit of calling unnecessary timeouts with a minute left in games that have already been decided early, to teach his players a valuable lesson, when all they and everyone watching the game wants is to head out the exit doors.
By all accounts Boylen has not been a good fit for this Bulls organization. Then again, what coach has been considered a good fit under the “GarPax” Era? The front office tarnished Tom Thibodeau’s reputation by the end of his tenure with the Bulls. Same goes with Fred Hoiberg, Vinny Del Negro, and Scott Skiles. In short, it appears that no matter who is coaching the Bulls, sustainable success is going to be extremely hard to come by.
There are so many factors that determine whether or not an NBA franchise is going to experience success, many of which are completely outside of the head coach’s control. Injuries to key players can hamstring an organization for years. Same goes with ill-advised trades, free-agent signings, and missing badly in the draft.
Unfortunately, the Bulls have habitually experienced all of these misfortunes simultaneously, making Boylen’s job nearly impossible to do well.
Even the most highly regarded coaches in the NBA experience seasons that go poorly. Steve Kerr‘s Golden State Warriors currently have the worst record in the league thanks to injuries and recent departures of star players. Kerr hardly knew what losing felt like prior to this season, given the string of championships his teams had won.
On the other hand, Frank Vogel is coaching the Los Angeles Lakers right now to the best record in the Western Conference. And this is the same head coach who got fired from the Orlando Magic following the 2017-18 regular season, after posting a dismal 54-110 record.
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In short, if your team isn’t surrounded by top-fight talent, or if that talent is hardly available to manifest itself during games, good luck finding success.
If Boylen and Vogel swapped places, there is no doubt Boylen’s reputation as a head coach would be entirely opposite of what it currently is. That’s what happens when you get to enjoy the perks of sitting back and watching LeBron James and Anthony Davis take over for the Lakers.
Without a great supporting cast to lean on, it becomes increasingly difficult for people to flourish, regardless of what profession they’re in. Boylen is especially experiencing this, because the front office has failed to put together a great supporting cast to help steer him in the right direction in competing for a championship.
Boylen is no different than any other head coach in the NBA. It just feels like he is, because of circumstances he just can’t control.
PHILADELPHIA, PA – OCTOBER 23: Trent Williams #71 of the Washington Redskins enters the field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles during their game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
And the Washington Redskins just allowed a top tackle to seek a trade.
The Chicago Bears had a lot of issues following their disappointing 2019 NFL Season, but one of the top problems that needs to be resolved happens to be their offensive line. Enter Trent Williams and the Washington Redskins. A peculiar situation, that I’m sure you’ve already heard about…
Williams, a top-talent at a premium position gets injured and after numerous injury related issues, said player requests a trade and proceeds to sit out regular season games.
Charles Leno Jr. currently sits atop the Bears depth chart at Offensive Tackle While the former 7th-round pick hasn’t been bad in the line of duty, an impact player like Williams only becomes available every so often.
While Leno Jr. is 3-years younger than Williams, I could see a scenario where Chicago would try to include the former Boise State Bronco in any deal for Williams, as it would help balance out the cap situation. Currently, Leno Jr. is slated to have a cap hit of roughly $10.3 million, while Williams is expected to earn $14.5 million. So, from a numbers stand point, I’d say Leno has to be apart of any deal, which isn’t crazy seeing as how Trai Turner was just traded in a player-for-player deal which included Russell Okung.
BRIAN URLACHER CHICAGO BEARS NFL CAREER STATS BOBBLEHEAD
With that being said, Washington currently does not have a draft pick in the 2nd-round of this years’ draft because they previously dealt it to the Indianapolis Colts. My thoughts? Send Leno Jr., the 2020 2nd-round pick that Chicago received from the Las Vegas Raiders and their 2021 2nd-round pick to Washington for Williams and a 2021 4th-round pick.
This trade gives Washington an average Left Tackle and draft pick compensation, which will only help bolster their rebuild. Subsequently, this trade also helps Chicago push all their chips into the middle of the table, and gives whoever is taking snaps under center for the Bears the best chance to succeed.
Some may ask why would Washington accept this deal if they didn’t accept a trade for the Patriots 1st-round pick? Well, with the news of Washington allowing Williams to seek a trade it shows their hand. Their backs against the wall, and they very well may have to take pennies on the dollar in terms of return for their franchise Left Tackle. Time to make the call, Ryan Pace.
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.
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.
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!
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