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Thursday, November 30

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The end of the year for some reason always causes a lot of list making. The staff of Gapers' Block is not immune to this phenomenon, hence the following 10 Top Ten lists about 2003 and the city we live in. Although the items in each list are numbered, they are not necessarily ranked in any sort of order. Happy new year!

Top Ten Reasons Chicago is Better Than the Coasts.

10. According to the 2000 census, Chicago has the lowest concentration of silicone enhanced persons of any major city.
9.Strangers will happily give you directions.
8.No earthquakes, no risk of hurricanes.
7.We can take the cruelty that is a seven month long winter and not whine like babies.
6.Not only is everything we need within walking distance, but people of modest means can actually afford to live here.
5.We've never elected a movie star to high office.
4.Our baseball teams are not the pure incarnation of evil.
3.The south side of our city is not Tijuana.
2.$10 buck covers to sit two feet away from Patricia Barber and Kurt Elling when they perform at the Green Mill.
1.Nothing, it's just that everyone else is so shitty.

Top Ten Places to Fill Your Hipster Bingo Card.

10. Damen platform on the Blue Line.
9. Delilah's.
8. Gold Star.
7. Belmont Army Surplus.
6. Estelle's.
5. L&L Tavern.
4. Club Foot.
3. Outside the Art Institute dorms, hidden in a cloud of cigarette smoke.
2. Around the Coyote.
1. Waiting in line at the Empty Bottle.

Top Ten Places People from Chicago Don't Go.

10. Navy Pier (IMAX theater excluded).
9. Hummer dealerships.
8. Garrett's Popcorn on Michigan Ave.
7. B.L.U.E.S.
6. The Sears Tower observation deck.
5. McCormick Place.
4. The Walnut Room in Marshall Fields.
3. Any Billy Goat location that's not within an easy stagger of a major newspaper.
2. Pizzeria Uno and/or Gino's East.
1. American Girl freakin' Place.

Top Ten Places to Hide in Chicago.

10.The Chicago Cultural Center, way up on the third floor, on the stairs.
9. The old post office building.
8. The Hideout, of course.
7. Hyde Park.
6. The tunnels under UIC.
5. Amongst the crowd at The Taste.
4. The metal basket under the trap door on the Wells Street Bridge.
3. Lower Wacker Drive.
2. Any bar that sells "packaged goods."
1. If we told you, it wouldn't be the best place to hide anymore, would it?

Top Ten Local Artists (musical or otherwise).

10. Stu Helm (aka King Velveeda)
9. Ellen Hargis
8. Ken Vandermark
7. Wilco
6. Chris Ware
5. Jeff Zimmerman
4. Linda Barry
3. Neko Case
2. Kelly Hogan
1. The Neo-Futurists

Top Ten Performances in 2003.

10. Jonathan Richman at Metro.
9. Blind Boys of Alabama at Ravinia.
8. Lightning Bolt at the Texas Ballroom.
7. Ween at the Vic.
6. Joao Gilberto at Ravinia.
5. New Pornographers at the Metro.
4. Erykah Badu free show in Grant Park.
3. Kelly Hogan's residency at the Hideout.
2. Elvis Costello free show in Grant Park.
1. Ozzy Osbourne singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

Top Ten El Stations.

10. Rockwell, Brown Line. Crowds build up in anticipation of crossing after the train.
9. Logan Square, Blue Line. It looks like a set from "Logan's Run."
8. Roosevelt, Red/Orange/Green Lines. Smooth elevator access from high above the street to far below ground.
7. Clinton, Green Line. What is this, a Habitrail?
6. O'Hare, Blue Line. Weird architecture, and the departure point for the rest of the world.
5. Belmont, Red Line. Great people-watching.
4. Howard, Red/Purple Lines. The dividing line between City and Suburbia.
3. Washington, Blue/Red Lines. The hub of the two biggest lines.
2. Grand, Red Line. "This is Grand!"
1. Quincy, Brown/Purple/Orange Lines. Like stepping into another era.

Top Ten Best Dive (and "Dive") Bars.

10. Bruno & Tim's Lounge and Liquor Store, Sheridan Rd. across from Loyola University
9. Skylark, 2149 S. Halsted
8. Al's Tap, 8600 block of S. Commercial
7. Innertown Pub, 1935 W. Thomas
6. Ricochets, Lincoln & Leland
5. Red Rooster, Argyle and the train
4. The Cove, in Hyde Park on 55th Street
3. Carol's Pub, Clark and Leland
2. Gold Star, 1755 W. Division
1. Lakeview Lounge, 5110 N Broadway

Top Headlines We Wish We Saw in 2003.

10. Chicago Schools Tops in Nation
9. Recession Over, Chicago Economy Soars
8. Cubs vs. Sox in World Series!
7. Sexy Rexy Goes Undefeated in Rookie Year!
6. Eighth El Line To Be Added On West Side
5. Soldier Field Renovations Complete, Suck Less than Expected
4. Prophesy Fulfilled: Wesley Willis Dies, Rises on 3rd Day, Kicks Batman's Ass
3. Alou Ruins Fan's Chance for Souvenir, Faces City's Wrath
2. Bin Laden Captured

Top Ten Headlines We Hope to See in 2004.

10. White Sox Win World Series!
9. Dean Beats Bush 5-4; Writing for Majority, Thomas Tells Rhenquist to "Stick It"
8. Chicago Approves Mayoral Term Limits
7. Ridge Declares Green Terror Alert
6. Chain Restaraunts Face Steep Independent Competition
5. City bans cars from Loop
4. Ditka Returns!
3. Ryan Sentenced to Death, Saved by Own Commutation
2. Chicago Voted Best Place to Raise a Child
1. Frodo throws ring into Mt. Doom, Daley administration crumbles

Some of the staff also came up with our own personal Top Tens:

Top Ten Hilarious Things Said By Chicago Politicians, 2003.
Ramsin Canon

10. "I don't have absolute power! You're gravely mistaken! I'm just a human like anyone else!" -Richard M. Daley, being modest about his absolute power.
9. "I'm just trying to convince [granddaughter Maggie] -- instead of calling me Grandpa, I keep saying, 'Mayor, mayor, mayor.'" -Richard M. Daley, Mayor, Mayor, Mayor.
8. "Ryan's word meant something. You always knew where he stood." -Il. Senate President Emil Jones on Former Gov. George Ryan.
7. "There would be lawsuits galore. That's why. They'd be in federal court trying to monkey up the water." -Richard M. Daley on why the Meigs destruction was so secretive.
6. "When a carpetbagger from DuPage County comes in and tries to buy an election, that's why we have a residency requirement." -Jesse Granato campaign spokesman Thom Karmik on Manny Flores' aldermanic candidacy.
5. "No phone calls. Nothing. No behind-the-scenes. Not talking to people. Not pulling their arms or legs or anything else you want to pull. I didn't do anything." -Richard M. Daley, on the sweetheart deal brother Bill got for SBC.
4. "I'm a tree hugger. When I see someone cutting down a tree, I'm a little upset." -Richard M. Daley
3. "Re-elect Ambrosio Medrano." -Former alderman Ambrosio Medrano, convicted of accepting bribes in 1996.
2. "Fine. I need a cigarette." -Ald. William Beavers (7th) when told of a protest walk-out by a group of aldermen.
1. "He's a real piece of shit." -Committeeman Ed Kelly (47th), on Ald. Gene Schulter (47th).

The Top Ten Places You're Likely to Find Me Buying Arts and Crafts Supplies.
Cinnamon Cooper

10. Paper Source
9. Caravan Beads
8. Knitting Workshop
7. Clark-Devon Hardware Store
6. Aiko Art Materials
5. Pearl
4. International Bead Co. (111. N. Wabash)
3. Arcadia Knitting
2. Tom Thumb
1. Vogue Fabrics

Top Ten Edible (and Imbibable) Cravings of 2003.
Jes Davis

1. Monkfish foie gras wrapped in octopus at Mirai
2. Vegan Belgian dark chocolate dipped in natural peanut butter
3. Organic Honey Crisp apples from the Green City Market
4. Cha siu bao from Phoenix Dumpling House (BBQ pork buns)
5. Imitation meat Lad nar at Dharma Garden
6. White tuna sashimi at Sai Cafe
7. Organic mango soaked in aged tawny port
8. Hommus and oven bread at Anatolian Kebab
9. Silk nog with amaretto
10. Pho. Doesn't matter where it's from, as long as it's good.

The Top Ten Tips on How to Successfully Navigate the Modern American Mall.
Naz Hamid

1. Assume a stance of authority and defiance. This will require you to walk purposefully and with a don't-you-dare-get-in-my-way gait.
2. Don the Pissed Off Face or Michael Keaton Eyebrows or Ice Cube Eyebrows. This may take some practice if you are not born with this look. For me, it comes naturally from years spent as a surly pseudo-angsty teenager who nobody seemed to understand (boo hoo hoo). To learn this technique, pretend you are a charging bull, slight tip of the head down, and raise those eyebrows in a V. Any old Vanilla Ice video or photo will also help you to achieve this look.
3. Maintain a cool stand-offish exterior. In combination with the first two points and you've got a winner. Thus, salespeople at retail outlets will not bother with formalities and the usual "Hello, how are you, can I help you find anything?" speech. They take one look at you and quietly move on to much more easy prey.
4. But flirt with the occasional salesperson. If a salesperson catches your eye, in my case, a few women here and there, crack a smile and say hello. It will calm you down in an otherwise rampaging relentless mustfindproductandbuyproduct mission.
5. Actually go to a store where you like stuff there too. My touchstone and brief remission before I saw any more khakis, oxford shirts, whitecaps and fake punk/skate stuff was to gaze into the Apple store. The only shining beacon of anything worth buying or looking at in the entire building. My brief Zen Moment.
6. Be quick or be dead. Iron Maiden couldn't have put it better. Any unecessary lagging or falling behind to look at the pretty window dressing or nicely dressed up product displays will only break your cool hard chocolatey shell topping. You will find yourself on the floor, being tramped flat as a pancake by families and pimply teenagers who think you're the latest marketing ploy � "Gosh golly, look at these interactive ads they're putting in the floor, so real and lifelike."
7. Go to the weird store which is actually really cool. There's a Rand McNally store at Woodfield Mall. It is undoubtedly the coolest and least populated store in the entire mall. It has maps! Just ask the two other people who were there. The salespeople. Hell, they didn't even have to walk around or anything, preferring to stand behind the cashier and just look as bored out of their minds as possible. It's like a breath of fresh air here. Slacker retail types have never been more welcome.
8. �Plan your route. Plan your visit. Know which stores you need to hit and where they are. Consult the directory as soon as you get there if you don't know where stores are. Find the quickest route and hit them one by one. Since they've so conveniently designed Woodfield Mall like a gooddamn M.C. Escher drawing, it is imperative to your sanity that you do this.
9. Know where the nearest bathroom is. If you're like me and it's as cold as a witch's tit, you've just hydrated yourself with a 16oz. of some beverage and you have the weakest bladder in the world, this knowledge may come in handy.
10. Cut people off, really. This is the fun part. Bump into people, especially the people with the 10 bags in each hand who happen to be walking along the mall's walkways hogging up all the space so you can't get around looking like they're JC himself at The Last Supper �- arms spread out, palms forward looking like the saddest people in the world. Yes, yes, sacrilegious but when you're at the Mall, hell hath no fury.

Top Ten Things You'll See at the South Side Irish Parade.
Ellen Hayes (with family & friends)

10. The inevitable parade marcher walking into a pile of horse poop. That is, when Uncle Pat hasn't had a chance to pick it up with his shovel first.�(The Hayes family has many parade marshalls each year; it's always been a family affair).
9.�Green dogs of all shapes and sizes.
8.�Drunken suburbanites hanging from the lamp posts taking pictures.
7.�By sunset, Western Avenue is the cleanest its looked since after the end of last year's parade.
6.�The giant Jewel shopping cart -- always elicits the loudest cheer.
5.�The appearance of "drinking gloves."
4.�Confused motorists just trying to get to the other side of Western Avenue.
3.�Nervous Italian political candidates.
2.�Mom carrying the baby, and dad wheeling the cooler in the baby stroller or wagon.
1.�People waiting in line to enter a bar at 8 am. Quickly followed by people waiting in line for the port-o-potty, after waiting in line for the bar at 8 am. That is, when they don't take to the alleys in protest.�We call this "Refreshing your spirit" -- enjoy!

Ten Chicago-Specific Words or Phrases, and Their Context.
Andrew Huff

10. El. "Somebody fell on the tracks, so we sat on the El for an hour."
9. Deep Dish. "Do you want thin crust, stuffed or deep dish?" "Deep dish, with pepperoni."
8. LSD. "I was on LSD near North, and this jerk cut me off!"
7. Trixies. "Let's hit another bar -- these Lincoln Park trixies are giving me a headache with all their squealing."
6. Downtown. "I'm headed downtown." "Oh yeah? Where?" "Clark and Belmont." (More of a suburban term.)
5. The Cell. "We're headed down to the Cell to watch the Sox kick Toronto's ass. Wanna come with?"
4. 's. "Be right back, I gotta run to the Jewel's for some milk."
3. Combo. "I ordered a combo, and the beef was so wet the sausage kept squirting out the back of the bun."
2. Couple Two Tree. "Yeah, I've been there couple two tree times. It was fun."
1. Gapers' Block. "The Kennedy inbound is backed up from Irving Park to the Junction due to a Gapers' Block to an earlier accident. Fifty minutes Montrose to the Loop."

A Completely Idiosyncratic Top Ten List of Objects in the Art Institute Collections.
Alice Maggio

10. Arthur Rubloff Paperweight Collection. Gallery 69. Because you haven't seen anything until you've seen hundreds and hundreds of paperweights together in one room.
9. Jan Steen. The Family Concert. 1666. Gallery 216. Jan Steen's genre paintings consistently prove the adage that pictures are worth a 1,000 words.
8. Shiva Nataraja. India. 10/11th cen. Shiva as Lord of the Dance - creator, destroyer and preserver of the universe.
7. Appollonio di Giovanni. The Adventures of Ulysses. 1435/45. Gallery 208. Because I dedicated the better part of a year to studying Italian Renaissance cassone panel paintings like this one.
6. Giovanni di Paolo. Six Scenes from the Life of St. John the Baptist. 1455/60. Gallery 208. Because the scene of St. John's beheading gave me nightmares as a kid.
5. Bartolomeo Manfredi. Cupid Chastised. 1613. Gallery 213. A painting full of movement and conflict done in the Caravaggesque baroque style.
4. Frans Snyders. Still Life with Dead Game, Fruits and Vegetables in a Market. 1614. Gallery 212. I could try to explain, but you wouldn't understand.
3. Edward Hopper. Nighthawks. 1942. Gallery 244. Stark, lonely and beautiful.
2. The Joseph Cornell Collection. Galleries 237A, B, C & D. Eerie and magical works from this strange American artist.
1. Reliquary with Tooth of John the Baptist in a Fatimid Crystal Vessel. German. 1375/1400. Gallery 140. Oh, those crazy, crazy medieval folks.

Top Ten Things to Do That Won't Cost a Dime.
Suzanne Ritchie

1. Gawk at really famous art on Tuesdays at the Art Institute.
2. Get your research on at the Newberry Library.
3. Swim with the fishes or at least just pretend at the Shedd Aquarium Mondays and Tuesday October through February.
4. Catch a play, watch a rehearsal for a dance troupe, explore at the Chicago Cultural Center.
5. Stop and smell the roses at Garfield Conservatory.
6. Learn more about do-gooder Jane Addams at the Hull-House museum at UIC.
7. Explore the city and learn more about local treasures with a Chicago Greeter from the Office of Tourism.
8. Play the Field Museum Mondays and Tuesdays January-February and September 15-December 23.
9. Look up and around at the Chicago Architecture Center.
10. Visit the bears at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Places to Eat on Your Last $6.
Luke Seemann

1. Maxwell Street Market, Sundays
2. Ba Le
3. Hot Doug's
4. Perry's
5. Diner Grill
6. L'Appetito
7. Will's Northwoods Inn, during a Packers game
8. La Unica
9. Zaiqa
10. Hellas Gyros
Also, Best Places to Have Dessert on Your Last $3:
1. Sweet Occasions
2. Chiu Quon
3. Cafe Selmarie
4. Margie's Candies
5. Scooter's Frozen Custard
6. The Penguin
7. Sukhadia's Sweets
8. Middle Eastern Bakery
9. Thai Authentic Cuisine
10. Zephyr

Top Ten Reasons to Love Chicago, After a Week in the Sticks.
Kris Vire

10. Chipotle.
9. The Reader.
8. Landmark's Century Centre Cinema.
7. The CTA.�No, really.
6. Chicago-style pizza.
5. "You mean you still don't have any Thai restaurants here?"
4. Old Style, on tap.
3. Michigan Avenue or a generic mall? Take your pick.
2. Local politics (and politicians) worth arguing over.
1. The Cubs (so what if it's the offseason?).


About the Author(s)

The Staff of Gapers' Block wishes you a happy new year.

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