As of January 1, 2016, Gapers Block has ceased publication. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions over the past 12-plus years. 

TODAY

Thursday, March 23

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Merge

Rising Prices

Chi-Town Rising, a new New Year's Eve celebration planned for Pioneer Court, won't be as free as promised, nor as big.

"Better Make Room"

FLOTUS Michelle Obama raps--yes, raps--a shoutout to the South Side in the CollegeHumor "Go to College" video.

Vinyl on the Tree

Here's an offbeat holiday activity for you: hand-paint a Munny ornament at Rotofugi on Dec. 16. Space is limited.

Den of Scum and Villainy

The Whistler transforms into the Mos Eisley Cantina, featuring the music of Figrin D'an and the Modal Nodes. They've just added a late show for those who aren't already in line for the new Star Wars movie.

Funny Thing, the Holidays

Steve Albini explains why he and his wife haven't had a normal Christmas in 20 years. It's in large part because of 24-Hour Site for Sore Eyes, the Second City music and improv marathon going on right now, raising money for Letters for Santa and Onward Neighborhood House.

Start Giving Thanks Early, with Laughs

Letters to Santa, the Second City's annual 24-hour improv and music charity show, begins Monday, Nov. 23 at 6pm at Second City's e.t.c. Theater. If you're lucky enough to get through the door (tickets are $20 cash, limit two), you'll see performances by alumni including TJ Jagodowski, Kate James, Horatio Sanz and Fred Armison, and musical guests Jeff Tweedy, Kim and Kelley Deal with Carrie Bradley, AC Newman and Bonny Prince Billy, among many others. The show will be streamed live on the web, and there's also an online and in-person auction for such items as a living room concert by Jeff Tweedy, meetings with Cecily Strong and Aidy Bryant and two tickets to "SNL," and one-on-one startup advice from Groupon founder Andrew Mason.

(Terracotta) Soldiers at the Field

Next March, 10 of the terracotta warriors created by the first emperor of China will be on display at the Field Museum. [via]

Find an Event

Next Wednesday, Nov. 18, is GIS Day. There are a few local events, including one hosted by Cook County ...on Nov. 17.

Sleep Under the Stars to Fight Homelessness

On Nov. 20, people will get in their tents and sleeping bags on Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park for Sleep Out Chicago, a charity event to raise awareness and funds for local shelters and homeless services.

The Mayor's Collection

Rosemont is home to the Museum of Hummels, the world's largest collection of MI Hummel figurines and ANRI carvings, collected by the late mayor Donald E. Stephens himself.

Spooky Drinking

Emporium Logan Square is turning into a haunted house this week. RSVP for a free beer and discounted admission.

Now You Know

Looking for something to do tonight? Head straight over to Schubas for 20x2, a show where 20 people have two minutes each to answer the same question any way they like. The question this time is "When did you know?" Doors open at 6:30, and the show starts at 7. Better yet, it's all ages, so you can bring the kids!

Your Face is Frightening Enough

Planning to go to the Halloween Gathering parade tomorrow night? Don't wear a mask.

Citizens of the Humanities

The Chicago Humantities Festival kicks off Saturday and runs through Nov. 8. Programming is organized under the theme "Citizens" -- peruse the schedule and get tickets quickly.

Get Cheesy this Weekend

Mac and Cheese Fest is back this Saturday; tickets are still available.

Walk Right In

Explore some of the coolest buildings in the city during Open House Chicago this Saturday and Sunday.

Coming Up with Lots of Ideas

Chicago Ideas Week starts today. Many talks are already sold out, but here are ones with available tickets.

Opening the Vault

This weekend, archives of various sorts are throwing open the doors as part of Chicago Open Archives. [via]

Really Underground Comedy

The Reader delves into the world of the Shithole, a comedy venue so underground it doesn't have a permanent address.

Building Up to It

The Chicago Architecture Biennial begins this weekend -- and Open House Chicago is in just a couple weeks. Curbed offers a guide to some of the more unique buildings around the city.

Visit a Museum

The first annual Chicago Museum Week runs Oct. 1-7. A dozen museums (Adler Planetarium, Art Insitute, Chicago History Museum, DuSable Museum, Field Museum, Lincoln Park Zoo, MCA, Museum of Science & Industry, National Museum of Mexican Art, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and Shedd Aquarium) are offering free or discounted admission as well as special events and exhibits.

It Burned

After a lackluster debut last year and much effort ahead of this one, the Great Chicago Fire Festival went off without a hitch, although the crowd was significantly smaller.

Luna is Loved, Good

Luna, the Shedd Aquarium's youngest sea otter, turned 1 this week, and JK Rowling revealed on Twitter that she voted for the otter to be named after the Harry Potter character Luna Lovegood.

Last Ride Around

This weekend is your last chance to ride the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel before it's dismantled and replaced with a bigger one.

Showcasing the Encased Meats

The Chicago Foodseum opens the doors on its first exhibit, "The Hot Dog and Encased Meat of the World," this Saturday at Block 37. Executive Director Kyle Joseph talked with WBEZ about the show and the museum.

A Late Riser on New Year's Eve

A new event, Chi-Town Rising, aims to make Chicago a New Year's Eve destination (although it already is, so...). Instead of dropping a ball, they'll raise a star.

A Funny Little App

Got an idea for a fun app or web project? Comedy Hack Day Chicago, being held Oct. 3-4 at Cards Against Humanity's offices, is the perfect place to develop it.

Drink for Good

Tickets for Festiv-Ale, the Sept. 18 beer festival to raise funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, are on sale now.

Northerly Island Park Grand Re-Opening

Bike and pedestrian trails, man-made hills and great blue herons will be on display at the re-opening of the new Northerly Island Park today, 12 years after Mayor Daley's midnight raid on Meigs Field.

Just Terrifying Enough

The Onion tells the story of a family living in Humboldt Park that's considering leaving the neighborhood because it's too safe for them to afford to live there.

Stronger Surf

Waves buffeting Lake Michigan's shores are getting stronger due to shoreline erosion.

Adopt a Pet This Weekend

This Saturday, Aug. 15, animal shelters across the country will be doing an adoption drive. More than 30 shelters are participating in Chicagoland. If you've been thinking about a new pet, may this give you the push you've needed.

Laugh at Politics

The Better Government Association holds its annual summer fundraiser next Thursday, Aug. 6. The headliner is John Mulaney.

Streaking Rahm

After a Greek billionaire offered $250,000 for someone to streak in front of Mayor Emanuel at this weekend's Pride Parade, a someone made good.

Videos are ever so slightly NSFW.

Update: Read the streaker's story in her own words.

Celebrate Marriage Equality

There's a marriage equality victory rally tonight at 7pm at the Center on Halsted. [via]

Baba Phooey

During NBC 5's coverage of last night's storm and tornado sighting southwest of Chicago, a phone interview with a truck driver caught in the weather went blue. Literally.

Text a Hot Dog

Nearly a year after Blackberry users got a hot dog emoji, the symbol is being added to Unicode 8.0 and will debut on your iPhone or Android later this year. (Previously.)

Get a Piece of Judy

Today through Saturday, there's an estate sale for the late state comptroller Judy Baar Topinka at her Riverside, 20 minutes by bus from the Harlem-Forest Park stop on the Blue Line.

Celebrate the Obscure

This Saturday is Obscura Day, with events at interesting places all over town, such as a tour of the Busy Beaver Button Company, a walk in the footsteps of Leopold and Loeb, time to write a letter and more.

Last-Minute Oohs and Ahhs

Navy Pier is hosting a "surprise" fireworks show tonight to celebrate Memorial Day weekend.

Hit this Convention with Your Buds

The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo is in town next weekend. U of C economics professor Steven "Freakonomics" Levitt is the keynote speaker. [via]

Get Your Groove on at Lunch

Starting today from noon-1pm, enjoy free house music from the Chosen Few DJs under the Picasso in Daley Plaza downtown. The "Hot Mix Lunch" will take place once a month this summer by the same awesome collective who bring you The Chosen Few Picnic on July 4 in Jackson Park.

The Scav is Back

The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt has begun. This year's list [PDF] includes holding a wedding, emoji charades, a two-person cocktail-shaking routine ala Cocktail, and a properly balanced breakfast ice cream. You have until Sunday.

Let's Trade Fair

Early warning: the Chicago Fair Trade Day Festival hits Daley Plaza Wednesday and Thursday, featuring global shopping, music and a live taping of WBEZ's "Worldview."

Not too Late to Be Undead

The Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl returns to Andersonville Saturday. Tickets are still available.

Looking for a Bulldog Linebacker

The public kickoff event for NFL Draft Week downtown was sparsely populated today, but who cares about meeting football players when the first-ever Puppy Bowl draft is happening at PAWS Chicago?

Geek Out with the Nerd Circus at C2E2

If you are part of the hordes rushing to get your fill of sci-fi and fanfiction at Mc Cormick Place's C2E2 this weekend,don't be surprised to see some of your favorite characters doing more than just posing for pictures. Acrobatica Infiniti, a group of acrobats, contortionists and jugglers will be in house stirring up dust. They call themselves the Nerd Circus because they appear as superhero,supervillain and fictional characters to perform all of their stunts.

If the sight of Batman and Robin flipping through the air together doesn't make it worth braving the C2E2 crowds, then nothing will. Acrobatica Infiniti performs on Friday at 2pm, Saturday at 6, and Sunday at 1:15 at the Family HQ stage, or visit booth 162 to meet the cast in person. There are rumored to be appearances from the Green Arrow, Magneto, Wonder Woman, Harley and the Joker, Batman and Robin, Cat Woman, a jedi and many more.

Fanning the Flames

The Great Chicago Fire Festival on the river was, you may recall, a bit of a bust. City Council and Redmoon are planning changes to make sure it's better this year.

Festival Season is Upon Us

The City's new Lake FX Summet & Expo starts today, as does CIMMFest. The Chicago Latino Film Festival is ongoing, and Bacon Fest starts tomorrow. Oh, and there's also the Chicago Palestine Film Festival and HUMP! Film Festival this weekend. Whew!

Event to Remember the TB Sanitarium

North Park Village Nature Center will mark the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Municipal Tuberculosis Sanitarium on April 25. The nature center is on the sanitarium's former grounds.

Mommy Daughter Dance

It's not too early to think about Mother's Day gifts -- and Studio L'Amour has a unique one for you: a mother-daughter burlesque workshop. Ladies, bring your moms to learn how to shimmy from Michelle L'Amour, and have a glass of champagne before and after class.

Don't Diss Your Fans

Do you remember last year, when a fan convention named Chi-Fi was cancelled due to accusations that hotel staff was rude to the fans attending the conference? Well, the conference took place this last weekend at the Palmer House Hilton. But, it appears that this first-time event wasn't very successful, at least not in the eyes of fans who paid to attend the convention. h/t to Darlene of Do Bats Eat Cats?

Coffee with the Cats

The Tree House Humane Society is gearing up to break ground on a doozy of a cat house (no, not that kind of cat house). It's an animal shelter and clinic that will also host a cafe where you can interact with adorable cats up for adoption!

Chancing Some New Rhymes

Chance the Rapper will be part of the lineup at the Louder Than a Bomb teen poetry festival team finals on March 28.

Curious in Person

Love WBEZ's Curious City? They're doing a live show at Lincoln Hall on Monday, March 23.

Get Your Creative Juices Flowing

Pre-registration is now open for the Lake FX Summit & Expo, a free conference for artists, entrepreneurs and creative professionals. The event is April 16-19 at the Chicago Cultural Center and additional venues around the city.

See Earthcam Views of St. Patrick's Day

Check in on what the paraders and partiers are doing on St. Patrick's Day around the world by viewing earthcam.com. View the New York parade and celebrants at Temple Bar in Dublin as well as whatever the Irish do in Las Vegas today.

Go Big on Pi Day

The Adler Planetarium and WBEZ are hosting the Ultimate Pi Day this Saturday, filled with fun family-friendly activities -- and yes, lots of pie.

Put Your Back into It for Bacon

On March 28, Bacon Fest is volunteering its time to the Greater Chicago Food Depository to help repackage food donated by corporations. Lend a hand and you could earn yourself free tickets to Bacon Fest.

Get a Cart & Get in the Race

The Chiditarod shopping cart race is now in its 10th year! Hard to believe, I know. Registration is now open, and they're looking for volunteers to help run the event on March 7.

Tweet This Movie

The F This Movie Twitter film festival is this Saturday starting at noon. Follow along at @fthismovie and #fthismoviefest.

Put it On the Table

The Chicago Community Trust celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, and it's honoring the occasion by organizing another On The Table event on May 12. Thousands of Chicagoans will come together to talk about ways we can make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic through collaboration and philanthropy. Consider hosting a meetup yourself -- I am.

Pedway Pub Crawl for Pedals

This Thursday, there's going to be a pub crawl on the pedway to raise money for Streetsblog Chicago, so the site can return to daily transportation news coverage.

A Taste of the Obscure

Atlas Obscura, a website dedicated to highlighting significant places around the world, is launching the Illinois Obscura Society with a boozy event in February.

Books on Tape

James Kennedy's 90 Second Newberry Film Festival, featuring kid-made films about Newberry Award-winning books, is back in town this Sunday at Adventure Stage Chicago. Tickets are free, but get one anyway because it'll be a packed house.

Send Out Your Singles

The Reader wants to meet your most eligible single friends to profile them in their Valentine's Day issue. Send nominations by Jan. 14.

The Art Institute is the Best

No really -- the Art Institute of Chicago was named the best museum in the world in TripAdvisor's 2014 Travelers' Choice Awards.

24 Hours of Fun

Second City's annual Letters to Santa 24-hour marathon benefit for the Onward Neighborhood House is a week away. From 6pm Tuesday, Dec. 16, to 6pm Wednesday, watch musicians and comedians strut their stuff; tickets are $20 at the door, or watch it online.

Want to Make Some Kid's Day?

Stop by the main post office, 433 W. Harrison St., and pick up a letter to Santa to reply to as part of Operation Santa.

Winter Tour Without Your Coat

Don't worry, though, you'll still stay warm on Chicago Elevated's Heavy Duty Winter Tour, because you'll be loaned a battery-powered heated coat from Milwaukee Tools.

Very Important Porkbelly

VIP tickets for the 2015 Baconfest go on sale at noon Wednesday. There will once again be three sessions, on April 17 and 18.

Warmer than the Polar Plunge

She-Nannigan's is hosting a Santa Speedo Run on Saturday to raise money for the Chicago Diabetes Project. Strip down to your skivvies for a 1-mile run down Rush Street and back up Michigan Avenue.

Buy It Yourself at the DIY Trunk Show

The cold and the snow are true signs that winter is approaching. And with the start of winter comes the holidays and the beginning of the holiday craft show season. The DIY Trunk Show returns this year with more than 130 craft, art and handmade vendors, food sold by Wishbone, free beer donated by Lagunitas and Brooklyn Brewery, live music and several djs from CHIRP Radio. So grab your list and get a jump start on gift buying tomorrow at the Broadway Armory (5917 N. Broadway) from 10 am to 5 pm.

Lunch Appointment with an Otter

The Shedd Aquarium is hosting a Google hangout at noon with Pup 681, the new baby otter.

Yep, Holiday Season is Fully Upon Us

Scott Whitehair's Christmas Letter Swap is now open.

Get Ready for Full Contact Karaoke

Think you can sing? How about while dodging marshmallows? With Full Contact Karaoke you'll face that and more, in the name of fundraising for the Windy City Rollers, at Schubas Dec. 2.

Goodbye, Hungry Brain

The Hungry Brain is closing its doors in mid-December after nearly 18 years in business. Stay tuned for closing party news (and get to Club Foot soon, too.)

Talk Typography with Tobias

The Society of Typographic Arts is hosting a talk by Tobias Frere-Jones Nov. 6 at SAIC. If you're a type nerd, you should be there. [via]

Food on Film

Tickets for the Chicago Food Film Festival are now on sale. The festival will run Nov. 20-22 at Kendall College.

Get Some Ideas

Heads up, Chicago Ideas Week kicks off Monday, Oct. 13. Start putting together your schedule.

Great Fire Fest Fizzles

Despite lots of enthusiasm and big crowds, the Great Chicago Fire Festival was underwhelming thanks to the rain affecting the electric ignition on the big houses and preventing a burn. But that wasn't the only issue. John Tolva has some suggestions should the City try again.

Where the Rubber Meets the City

Expect more rubber fashion than usual in Boystown on Halloween weekend. The Mister International Rubber Contest is being held in Chicago this year, at the Center on Halsted.

Get Ready for the Open House

Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago is coming up Oct. 17 and 18, giving you an opportunity to explore some of the coolest buildings in the city. And hey, they're looking for volunteers.

Go to a Museum This Weekend

Twelve Chicago museums and several in the suburbs are participating in Smithsonian's annual Museum Day Live this Saturday, Sept. 27. Register here for two free tickets to the museum of your choice.

How Do You Do 20x2?

20x2 Chicago, the show in which 20 people get two minutes each to answer the same question, is back at Schubas on Oct. 25. The question this time is "How do you do?"

Probably not Crawling Division

So you know that Chicago Christmas Crawl? It's probably not happening, at least not with any resemblance to Twelve Bars of Christmas. Ald. Moreno tells RedEye he's going to try to put the kibosh on the organizer's original plans.

TBOX & TBOX West?

The massive and controversial Twelve Bars of Christmas bar crawl will be Dec. 13 this year, and tickets are on sale now. Meanwhile, the former social media manager for TBOX is launching Chicago Christmas Crawl for the same day, over in Wicker Park.

Overnight in the Cultural Center

The World Music Festival begins Friday, and it's starting off with a 24-hour open house at the Cultural Center.

Get Yourself Treated

Aziz Ansari is doing a secret "pop-up" show somewhere in Chicago on Wednesday. Tickets are $35 and assigned by lottery.

Warm & Gooey Events

Get ready for Mac & Cheese Fest in Oct. 4.

Head to the Beach

StreetsBlog shares six car-free beach destinations you can reach by bike or train.

Bridgeport, Center of Creative Energy

This Saturday Chicago Detours is leading a walking tour of Bridgeport's history as a creative production center, from old factories to current art studios and performance spaces. Space is limited, so get a ticket soon.

Not a Man, a Way of Life

New shit has come to light! Lebowski Fest is returning to Chicago October 17-18.

Perfect Pick

Lots of fruits and veggies are ready for harvest now. It's a great time to hit your local farmers market, but you might also be up for a weekend trip to one of the pick-your-own farms in the area.

You're the One

Still a little time to adopt a duck in today's Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, benefiting Special Olympics Illinois. The ducks hit the Chicago River at 1pm.

Bearded Beauty Contest

Chef John Formica was selected by a traveling team of "mustacheologists and beardisticians" to represent Chicago in the Wahl Man of the Year contest for his Leonidas-style beard.

Knit One, Crawl To

The Chicago Yarn Crawl runs this Saturday through the following Sunday, Aug. 10. Visit any of 28 stores across Chicagoland and get your passport stamped for deals and discounts

Social Media Tourists

The Sunsation Tour, a meet'n'greet tour featuring a bunch of social media stars, hits House of Blues tonight. The crew includes Matthew Espinosa, whose tweet saying "Hi Chicago" trended nationally today.

Sometimes the Bull Gets You

No gorings occurred at the Great Bull Run over the weekend, but there were some injuries. The Sun-Times's Jessica Koscielniak provides a first person account with plenty of photos and video.

Bacon Double

If you can't imagine waiting till next April for BaconFest, you're in luck: The folks behind the American Beer Classic are organizing the Great American Bacon Festival for September.

Get Brand New Info

The Brand New Conference, organized by once-upon-a-time Chicago-based Under Consideration, is in Chicago in September, and early-bird pricing expires June 27.

Look Up

Tour company Chicago Elevated has added a binoculars tour of the Loop to its roster, encouraging folks to see the sights above their heads.

Goats + Chickens = Jet Ski

Comedian Kurt Braunohler will jet-ski from Chicago to New Orleans starting next week for a Comedy Central web series -- and also to raise money for Heifer International.

The Portage Returns

The Portage Theater is reopening in June after being closed for a year.

Grumpy Cat Visits Navy Pier

Grumpy Cat will be at Navy Pier's Signature Store from 4 to 5pm today, posing for pictures and generally being annoyed.

Grumpy Cat at Navy Pier

Be Exposed to Laughter

The Comedy Exposition of 2014 is a new stand-up comedy festival coming to Chicago in July.

To Scav is to Live

The annual University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt list is out, and it's full of fun items, such as Barbie's résumé, a "Canadian tuxedo" made entirely of denim, and a barbershop version of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins," to be performed in hobbit-Starfleet costume

Returning Angels

The Blue Angels and the skydiving Golden Knights will take to the skies above Chicago for this year's Air and Water Show, returning after budget cuts forced them to cancel last year.

Walk for the Dogs

The Pup Crawl May 10 takes you through River North bars and benefits PAWS -- but you should probably leave your four-legged friend at home.

Beer & Circuses

Lagunitas is bringing its Beer Circus to Chicago in May, which apparently means live music and lots of clown burlesque. Oh, and beer fresh from the brewery. Get your tickets here.

A Century of Studs

The 102nd anniversary of Studs Terkel's birth is a month from now, and there's a lot planned to mark it. (Here's an interview with Studs conducted by GB founding staffer Dave Elfving.)

Geeks, Get Together

The inaugural Chi-Fi geek convention is this Saturday. No matter what geekdom you practice, you're welcome there.

First and 26th

The Onion and AV Club are launching the first annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival in June. Three-day passes go on sale tomorrow, and single day tickets go on sale Friday, March 28.

Let's Get Studs

In May, the University of Chicago hosts Let's Get Working, a three-day festival celebrating the legacy of Studs Terkel.

Green Ice

Unless the river is still fully frozen, you can bet the City will dye it green for St. Patrick's Day.

Conference Time

A couple upcoming conferences you might be interested in:
Ideas Are Worthless, on tech startups, April 24
Out of Chicago, on photography, June 28
Story, on creativity and storytelling, Oct. 2-3

Happy Birthday, Chicago

Celebrate the city's 177th anniversary -- and Mardi Gras, and paczki day -- today at a party in Daley Plaza from 11am to 7pm. There will be food trucks, free cheesecake from Eli's, paczki from Delightful Pastries and Mardi Gras music.

Marlin the Dog: Shedd Aquarium's Current Star

The Shedd Aquarium announced the arrival of their fourth adopted dog, Marlin. Marlin, a chocolate Lab mix (possibly with a little Boxer and a little Great Dane) will be one of the canine ambassadors at the aquarium. Each canine ambassador at the aquarium came from a local shelter and are all named after Finding Nemo characters.

Beer & a Puzzle

Tired of bar trivia? Puzzled Pint, started in Portland, OR and now in Chicago, challenges you to solve puzzles instead. The first one is March 11; check the site on March 10 for a puzzle to find out which bar it's at.

Meth Lab Suspect Also A Fan of Breaking Bad

A 21-year-old man is facing charges for a methamphetamine lab for the second time in less than one year, but that's not the best part. The suspect appears in his booking photo wearing a Los Pollos Hermanos t-shirt, representing the fictional fast-food chain created on the television show "Breaking Bad."

los pollos hermanos

Throwing Snowballs: Now A Felony?

A 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged with a felony for allegedly throwing a snowball at a police officer on Wednesday. The unnamed boy claims the snowball hit the vehicle, not the officer, but the eighth-grader is still facing juvenile court and a five day school suspension.

T.Hanks for Your Support

International Tom Hanks Day is coming up April 12, and the organizers are raising money on Kickstarter to help grow the event.

Ex-Cop's Plan for a Torture Chamber

The former Chicago cop who had plans to kidnap and mutilate his victim's genitals in order to seize a strip club also had plans to create a torture chamber. The cop's partner who assisted in creating the space said the chamber would "make Stalin proud." Steve Mandell's trial began on Tuesday.

It's Tuesday, Here's the Funk

Tonight at Hopleaf, Tuesday Funk brings together an eclectic mix of fiction, essays and poetry in the presence of very good beer. Forget the weather and come hear Mare Swallow, Cameron McGill, Tom Underberg, Chuck Sudo and Amelia Beamer read!

Chicago Sandwich Bracket

An online tournament of sandwiches has begun in Chicago, and is being called an "edible version of March Madness." The bracket currently consists of 64 sandwiches of various types all around the city. Participants who agree to the challenge eat the sandwiches, take photos and blog to the group's Google Docs.

Revenge Porn Hated & Now Soon-To-Be Banned

After Chicago said "hell no" to revenge porn kingpin Hunter Moore, a ban on revenge porn was introduced to Illinois legislature. The proposal would make it illegal for post revenge porn on the Internet without consent.

Bed Bugs Bite Through Dreads

A woman who stayed at the Palatine Holiday Inn Express encountered bedbugs during her stay, forcing her to cut off her waist-length dreadlocks, which she had been growing for 13 years. She filed a lawsuit this Tuesday, exemplifying Chicago's rank as number one city with bedbug infestations two years in a row.

Lease a Wienermobile

Kraft Foods is running a contest to "lease" an Oscar Meyer Wienermobile for a day -- and entries must be submitted by Twitter with the hashtag #Tweet2Lease. See the rules here [PDF].

Sweet Liquor

The upcoming Candy Crush Crawl has nothing to do with the videogame and everything to do with chocolate fountains and pools filled with jelly beans. And booze.

Celebrate the King

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the Museum of Science and Industry and DuSable Museum are celebrating.

Ex-Cop Kidnaps to Seize Strip Club

In the ongoing pre-trial announcements about ex-cop Steven Mandell, new details emerged that Mandell planned to kill two targets in order to take over their lucrative strip club. The Chicago Tribune had created a timeline of the "Steven Mandell Saga" that will now continue to grow.

Dress Up & Race

The annual Chiditarod urban shopping cart race is March 1 this year, and registration opens on the 17th. They need volunteers, too. [via]

Gruesome Ex-Cops' Kidnapping Plan

Two former Chicago cops were caught boasting on a tape about plans to mutilate a kidnapping victim's genitals. Moments before their kidnapping attempt, the two were arrested. Last year one of them was also accused of planning to extort and murder a local strip club owner.

The Best Worst Film Festival

Tickets for B-Fest, the annual 24-hour b-movie festival at Northwestern, went on sale last night. Keep an eye on the fest's website for lineup details for Jan. 24-25, and check out Mitch O'Connell's poster.

What to Do Tonight

Wait, you still don't have New Year's Eve plans figured out? Assuming you want any, check out the Reader's guide, or take a look at our hand-picked selection.

Just for One Day

Berlin is hosting the Bowie Ball Jan. 2, featuring Chris Connelly and Robert Byrne as David Bowie, "Bowiesque" DJ sets, Bowie Burlesque and more.

Your Other Office Party

The Hideout Office Party is tonight, featuring bits from Funny Ha-Ha, the Interview Show, Schadenfreude, Shame That Tune -- and Aldermen Arena, Fioretti and Waguespack as the Progressive Aldermanic Choir. Don't miss it.

Adopt Your New Best Friend

Starting at 11am today, PAWS Chicago is running a 36-hour adoption drive.

Help for the Philippines

Several fundraisers are planned for this week to help Filipino victims of Typhoon Haiyan. You can also donate directly through the Filipino American Network of Chicago.

Chicago has Ideas

Chicago Ideas Week kicks off today and runs through the 20th. Tickets for some events are still available, and many talks will be live-streamed.

Up & Away in a Flying Machine

Red Bull Flugtag is this weekend.

Baconfest Expands Next Year

Think the nation's love affair with bacon is on the wane? Fear not, for Baconfest is doing three sessions next year, April 25 & 26 at the UIC Forum.

Crawling Through Restaurants

The Wicker Park/Bucktown Chamber of Commerce is bringing back its Fall Dinner Crawl Oct. 1. Like last year, there are three routes to choose from, each featuring tasting portions of signature dishes from a dozen neighborhood restaurants. The Fork route is already sold out, and tickets are going fast for the Knife and Spoon routes. Get'em while they're hot!

Trading Pinewood for Plastic

Some very cool 3D-printed cars were launched to their likely doom in a derby-style race at the recent IDSA Conference.

Malört on the Move

Malört lands in an unsuspecting Madison, WI, and the local media are trying to make sense of it all.

Eating in White

Diner en Blanc, an annual outdoor dining event in a surprise location to which guests are expected to dress all in white, is back in Chicago on Sept. 19. If you weren't already on the mailing list, you missed the chance at tickets, but you can still register for the wait list.

Opera in the Grocery Aisle

Mariano's celebrated its third anniversary in Chicago last Saturday with an opera flash mob performance of "Brindisi" from Verdi's La Traviata in the West Loop store by the da Corneto Opera Company.

You Have Nothing to Fear

The next installment of Fear Experiment, a three-month program in which you learn how to do something you've always been afraid of and then perform it in front of hundreds of people, is looking for additional participants for its session on . Go on, take a chance. What are you afraid of?

Toplessness for All

The World Naked Bike Ride may have already passed, but there are two upcoming opportunities to protest obscenity laws. This Saturday, Topless Equality is holding a Free the Tatas rally at Foster Beach. Then on Aug. 25, activists celebrate Go Topless Day at North Avenue Beach.

Small Change

The World's Fair of Money visits the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont this week. If you're into rare coinage, this is the place to be.

Reunion Tees

Threadless throws its annual Family Reunion next Saturday; RSVP and enjoy a carnival, music, food and more.

Rubber Ducky, You're the One

The annual Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby is today on the Chicago River. Now till 12:30pm, you can adopt a duck for $5 outside the Wrigley Building, 400 N. Michigan Ave., and enjoy the family fest from 10am on. Duck drops begin at 1pm on the river, viewable from the Riverwalk and the Michigan Avenue Bridge. If your duck comes in first, you could win one of a handful of prizes, including vacations and a new Chevy Malibu. Proceeds benefit Special Olympics Illinois.

Pamplona at Hawthorne Race Course

If you've always wanted to run with the bulls but can't afford to fly to Spain, you may be in luck: The Great Bull Run plans to come to Chicago next summer.

All the Parks are a Stage

Chicago Shakespeare in the Park is bringing free performances of the Bard's A Comedy of Errors to green spaces around the city all summer.

Start Getting Ideas

Chicago Ideas Week announced its first batch of speakers, which include astronaut Buzz Aldren, journalist Malcolm Gladwell and chef Cat Cora. Tickets for the Oct. 14-20 event go on sale Sept. 5.

Play in the Street

Open Streets Chicago is back Sept. 15, shutting down Milwaukee Avenue to automobile traffic from Ashland to Kedzie for a variety of activities.

Honus Visits Rosemont

The National Sports Collectors Convention is out in Rosemont this week, and will feature the auction of the super-rare Honus Wagner T206 card, among other highlights.

Bloggers Swarm the City

BlogHer's annual convention is in town this weekend, bringing 4,000-5,000 bloggers -- and lots of marketers -- to McCormick Place and the Sheraton.

Get the MANual

Guys, do you need help becoming more well-rounded? The MANual this Thursday may help. It's an evening of networking and TED-like talks on topics ranging from dating to grilling to storytelling (I'm speaking about exploring the city beyond the obvious options). It's free and men-only.

Feeling Clever?

The Numbered Days is launching a new puzzle hunt called the Clever Ape Race that supposedly tracks the evolution of man. Register for the Aug. 17 race here.

Juggalo Breaking News

Speaking of underground festivals, the trailer for Insane Clown Posse's annual Gathering of the Juggalos downstate in Cave-In-Rock is up.

But No Turkey Legs

The Taste of Chicago opens today at 11am. The Sun-Times' Grid runs some of the numbers surrounding the annual food fest.

Refighting the Napoleonic Wars

The July 4th holiday may put you in the mindset for Revolutionary War or even Civil War reenactments, but the Napoleonic Historical Society would like you to relive the effort to thwart Emperor Napoleon's progress across Europe.

Tour Englewood & Avondale by Bike

Two bike tours this weekend give you an intimate look at two very different neighborhoods: on Saturday, Ald. Toni Foulkes leads a tour of Englewood, while Forgotten Chicago takes a tour of Avondale on Sunday.

Get a Cat

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and this weekend is purrfect for adopting a new or gently used kitty, with multiple events at local shelters.

Oddballs are Funny

Hannibal Buress is among the headliners for Oddball Fest, Funny or Die's comedy tour that also features Dave Chappelle and Flight of the Conchords. It hits Tinley Park Aug. 31; tickets go on sale Friday.

Indie by Design

The annual Guerrilla Truck Show takes over Fulton Market tonight. Check out the latest from both established and up-and-coming furniture and industrial designers, showcasing in the backs of cargo trucks.

Funny Media Folk

Tuesday night the Laugh Factory hosts Chicago's Funniest Media Personality, a stand-up comedy competition featuring media folk from print, broadcast and online -- including Pat Capone, Scott Miller, Bob Sirott, Tracy Swartz and Ernest Wilkins. Each will do a five-minute set, and the audience will vote for their favorites. The top vote-getter wins a donation to the charity of their choice, in addition to bragging rights.

Explore Beyond Printers Row

If you're headed to Printers Row Lit Fest this weekend, keep your eye out for a trolley at the corner of Plymouth and Polk, which will take you on tours of the South Loop and near South Side. Tours depart every hour from noon to 5pm both Saturday and Sunday.

Up, Up & Away

Yesterday 566 Sears employees gathered at company HQ dressed as Superman to set a new World Record. Yes, there was a previous world record for that: 437.

Nails as Art

Artist Breanne Trammell brings her Nails Across America trailer to the DePaul Art Museum at around 2pm today. Stop by and get involved in some nail performance art.

Nails Across America (for grant applications) from breanne trammell on Vimeo.

Make Some Media Connections

It's not too late to register for Making Media Connections, the Community Media Workshop's annual media relations and education conference, which runs from 9am to 7pm this Tuesday.

Shredding Air

Do you think you have what it takes to be an air guitar champion? Well, strap on your axe and sign up for the qualifier next weekend at Gman Tavern, 3740 N. Clark St.

Lincoln Park GoogaMooga?

Looks like Brooklyn's Great GoogaMooga food and music festival is coming to Chicago in August; permits have been applied for.

The Parks at Night

This year's Movies in the Park schedule is out. There are also quite a few other "Night Out in the Parks" events this year, from theater to live music.

Meet the Meatpacking District

Tickets are on sale right now for From Cuts to Cult: Chicago Meat Past and Present, Chicago Detours' new tour through the Fulton Market Meatpacking District, giving the history of the neighborhood and a look at its future.

Save Green on the Green Fest

The Green Festival sprouts on Navy Pier this weekend -- and the first 250 people who use the code GAPERSBLOCK when they register online get in free.

Red Line it While You Still Can

The CTA's Red Line South Reconstruction project begins this coming weekend. Time Out has some suggestions of places to go on the South Side while you can still get there.

The Scav Goes YOLO

The 2013 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt begins this Sunday. So far, the item list [PDF] is insane. (Then there's the real list [pdf].)

Try the Malort Cheese

Still tickets available for the Reader's Key Ingredient Cook-Off tonight at the Bridgeport Art Center. If you're culinarily adventurous, this is the event for you.

Plunging for Lungs

There are plenty of charity stair-climbing events now, but the truly hardcore rappel down skyscrapers. The second annual Skyline Plunge "rappelling adventure" sends people down the side of theWit Hotel May 5 to benefit the Respiratory Health Association. There's still time to register.

Who Needs Critics?

WBEZ's Jim DeRogatis hosts "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Critics," a discussion of the role and status of criticism in the modern media landscape, at the Mayne Stage tonight at 7pm, with an esteemed panel of critics and editors including GB's own LaShawn Williams. DeRo gives a peek at his own perspective in a blog post today.

"O, speak again, bright angel!"

But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is Talk Like Shakespeare Day, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater is the sun.

Altered Music

The Reader's Ben Sachs talks with composer John Corigliano about his concert tomorrow night at the Harris Theater and composing the soundtrack to cult classic Altered States.

Hipsters Meet Oldsters for Bingo

This WSJ story has it all: Smashing Pumpkins, Bill Kurtis, bingo... Apparently Monday nights are celebrity bingo night at Madame Zuzu's, Billy Corgan's Ravinia tea shop.

Go Make Stuff

There's going to be a Mini Maker Faire at Schurtz High School on May 21. Apply by April 26 to be a part of it.

I Barely Read That

Michelle L'Amour, owner of the ass that goes pow and proprietrix of the Everleigh Social Club, Naked Girls Reading and more, has decreed that July 5 shall be International Read Naked Day. Prepare accordingly.

Hear a Good Story

Tonight at Haymarket Brewery, The Moth StorySLAM tackles the topic of luck. Stop by and see who wins -- then get tickets to the GrandSLAM Championship on April 24, where the past year's winners duke it out to see who's the best storyteller.

Activate Globally

If you're interested in making a difference in the world, hitting the Global Activism Expo this weekend isn't a bad place to start getting involved.

Chicago Critics Launch Film Fest

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced the first-ever Chicago Critics Film Festival, which will run April 12-14. Steve Prokopy shares more details on Ain't It Cool.

Meet People from the Internet

Among your many options for activities tonight, our friends at Chicagoist are tending bar at Nisei Lounge for charity. Meanwhile, we'll be down in the Loop for a karaoke Get-Together of our own.

Food Fight at Soldier Field

Last year, the traveling Tomato Battle coated Toyota Park with pulp. This year we've got a food fight of the home-grown variety: Tomato Blast will be held at Soldier Field on July 27. Register here.

Give This Guy a Mulligan

A man at a downstate golf course fell into an 18 foot sinkhole late last week; luckily, he made it out with a shoulder injury.

No More Thunderbirds

The Blue Angels Air Force Thunderbirds will not participate in the Air & Water Show this year, thanks to the sequester.

Ask a Cubs Fan

Some brave soul took the infamous sausage costume that the Milwaukee Brewers use during game breaks.

I Tumbl for You

It might be a little early to start booking hotel rooms, but if you're a fan of Tumblr (follow ours!), you'll be excited to hear about the Tumbl-CON now in the works for July 2014 in Tinley Park.

First Me So Far Event for the 40+ Crowd!

It's Me So Far's first-ever 40-plus event. Hear the slideshow stories of singles on or around their 40th, and see how Me So Far is reimagining singles events.

1 Day to V-Day

Still a little more time to get half-price tickets for the Reader's Anti-Valentine's Day party tomorrow. (We've got a few other ideas for you in Drive-Thru, both traditional and unconventional.)

One Billion Will Rise

On Valentine's Day, the Chicago edition of VDAY's One Billion Rising will hold a rally and dance party to protest violence against women and LGBTQ people. Join in.

Do You Have Talent?

Audition to show it off to the world on "America's Got Talent," this weekend at McCormick Place.

Must See: All-Girls Beastie Boy Tribute Band

She's Crafty, Chicago's all female Beastie Boy Tribute Band, is starring in their very first solo concert at Underground Lounge on Friday, Jan. 18. Come check out the band one person once said, "She's Crafty, not a novelty act."

Happy 102nd, "Sailor Jerry" Collins

Beginning at noon today, Sailor Jerry Rum is giving away 102 anchor tattoos at Chicago Tattooing Co. in honor of Norman "Sailor Jerry" Collins' birthday. First-come first-served, 21-and-over and only the anchor tattoo is free. Anyone who gets a tattoo also gets a token for a free rum drink at Trader Todd's.

Learn to Air Rock with Nordic Thunder

Nordic Thunder, aka the World Air Guitar Champion, aka superhero Justin Howard, will be teaching a dabble class on Jan. 30. If you ever have the urge to just rock out and be awesomely weird, this class is for you. Sign up here.

A Taste of Romance

Romance language, that is. The ItalCultura is offering free trial Italian lessons tonight and next Thursday, Jan. 17.

Pride and Prejudice and Readers

The Greater Chicago chapter of the Jane Austen Society of North America needs volunteers for a live reading of Pride and Prejudice in honor of the book's 200th anniversary. The live reading will be held at Block 37 from 7am to 7pm on Jan. 28.

Fun Time, Unweildy Name

The Chicago Uptown Lakefront Carnival & Entertainment Festival will debut this summer, June 20-July 7. I'm going to set a precedent and just start calling it the Uptown Lakefront Carnival.

Your Local TED

TEDx Windy City tickets went on sale today. The Feb. 23 conference features everything from a dance troupe to a comedy team who make fun of TED conferences.

The Ghost of Titillations Present

If you've always thought that Charles Dickens needed more nudity, you're in luck: tonight at 7pm, Naked Girls Reading reads A Christmas Carol, as well as other holiday favorites, at the Everleigh Social Club. Spiked hot chocolate will be served; get your tickets here.

Cataloging Critical Mass

Massup.us now hosts more than two years worth of Critical Mass GPS ride plots, including an an interactive compilation of the rides. If you want to see routes earlier than that, you can still see route flyers going back to 1998.

Hanukkah Events

Chicago Quirk has put together a Hanukkah 2012 celebration guide complete with Jewish history, musicals and Star of David cupcakes.

Christmas is Back On

Nobody -- not Michael Scott, not the Pope -- can cancel Christmas.

Early Warning: Letters to Santa

Second City's annual 24-hour marathon of comedy and music, is Dec. 18-19, and boy does the lineup look good. Bonus: you'll be able to stream it live.

Date by "El" Line

Attention all single men off the Red and Brown Line! Skip the online dating and bar scenes this Wednesday and check out a MeSoFar dating event just for you. Sometimes the shortest distance between two people is an (almost) straight line.

Me So Far presents Red Line / Brown Line: Sometimes the shortest distance between two people is an (almost) straight line.

When: Wednesday, Nov. 28th 6:30pm - 9pm
Where: 58 E. Ontario, Sushi Taiyo's Private Upstairs Lounge
Price: $35
What else: We're raising money for Hurricane Sandy Relief Efforts. Also Gapers Block's Chicago Bucket List columnist Niki Fritz will be one of the presenters giving a four-minute PowerPoint on her life. ( And yes there will be embarrassingly childhood photos.)

Buy Tickets Here!

ABOUT ME SO FAR
Me So Far (2010) is an experiential approach to dating based on the simple insight that attraction is more often gradual rather than instant. But in today's fast-paced, click-through world of dating, gradual connection isn't always easy. Me So Far's in-person, story-driven format allows people to show multiple sides of themselves and discover connections that usually take several dates - or even several years - to make. Me So Far is honored to have been featured in The New York Times, PRI's America Abroad, Time Out Chicago, and on WBEZ.

Christmas is Terrible

Found video artist collective Everything is Terrible! is touring the county with a Holiday Special, culminating with a show at Lincoln Hall Dec. 21. They describe it as "a millennium's worth of VHS memories of misplaced sentimentalities, fist fights over toys for tots, erotic Santas, Nazi elves, and an endless parade of singing kids." Why would you not go?

Rudolph the Red Line Reindeer

The CTA has released the schedule for this year's Holiday Train. First run is next Friday, Nov. 23, on the Brown Line.

Meeting in the Living City

The Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago are holding a conference today through Sunday at UIC. Even if you can't make it for the whole thing, you might be up for an after work talk by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute.

Get on CHF's Short List

If you're running a little short on funds but still want to get your fill of culture, the Chicago Humanities Festival has a deal for you: $25 gets you into five events, plus cocktails at one of them.

Haunted Houses

There's still time to get a scare in before it's officially Halloween. Time Out Chicago has the breakdown of the cities best "hauntings."

Get Dressed to Impress

The second annual November of Dressing Nicely starts Thursday. Are you ready?

Get Creative Friday Morning

There are still a few tickets left for the Creative Mornings talk Nov. 2, featuring IDEO designer Sara Frisk.

Perfect Imperfections

GLI.TC/H , the festival of glitch art, music and technology, will be back in Chicago for a third round Dec. 6-9. Here's a review of the 2010 edition.

GLI.T/CH 2112 BUMPER from Kevin Carey on Vimeo.

Stretched Truths from a Burly Youth

Designer Aaron Draplin is swinging through Chicago for "Tall Tales from a Large Man" at Bow Truss Oct. 25. Tickets include beer and a snazzy poster.

Meet M. Diddy

Martha Stewart will be at the North Avenue Home Depot this Thursday for a decorating workshop. Good luck getting in.

Thanks, Bike Messengers!

Today is the fifth annual Messenger Appreciation Day. Don't forget to celebrate. (Thanks, Dubi!)

image.png

Check Out the Zombies

The Dana Hotel & Spa is doing a "Zombie Takeover" Oct. 26-31, with special parties, "zombie apocalypse survival kits" in the rooms, zombie brunch, a flashmob and more.

Charity Whiskers

Guys, put your upper lip to good use and participate in Mustaches for Kids. Tuesday is shaving day; hit the Map Room tomorrow night for the kickoff. Too soon? You can always wait till Movember.

Visit All the Museums!

Smithsonian's annual Museum Day is this Saturday! Get free admission to more than a dozen Chicago museums (and more in the suburbs) when you register for a ticket.

Take a Field Trip

Atlas Obscura is hosting Field Trip Day on Saturday, Sept. 29, and the local event begins at 3pm in Quimby's. Intrigued? Sign up.

His Talk is Gonna Be Dope

Chicago Ideas Week announced yesterday that Lance Armstrong will speak at the invite-only Edison Talks on Friday, Oct. 12.

Famous Brains for Under $10

A Chicago medical museum was allowed to scan and digitize several hundred slides of Albert Einstein's brain. And, because why not and this is the future or something, they made an interactive iPad app out of it, so you can poke around and draw on your vast knowledge of neuroscience to learn things and reach conclusions.

Face to Facebook

Social media meets real world interaction on Monday, when Social Media Week begins. There's still plenty of room in most of the events; see the schedule here.

No Minis, No Golfs; Yes Mini Golf

Today is Park(ing) Day! Keep an eye out for parking spaces turned mini parks -- and consider shooting a few holes of mini-golf on Milwaukee Avenue in Avondale.

MiniGolf_Map.jpg

Obama in Space

A bobblehead took a trip.

Listen to the Marathon

Composer Mark Mallman is in the midst of a 150-hour-long song, "Marathon 4," broadcast live from the back of a van traveling from New York to LA. He'll be out front of Graham Elliot Bistro tonight at 6pm.

Dribbling into History

America SCORES Chicago is taking part in a world record attempt at the most soccer balls dribbled at one time by a group -- and you can help. Sign up to participate, then read our feature about the organization in Tailgate.

Bronies in the 'Burbs this Weekend

Chicagoist notes that Midwestria, a convention for "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic" fans, will turn St. Charles into a stable for Bronies this weekend.

Open the Door to 150 Chicago Places

Open House Chicago's 2012 website is now live, including this map of the locations open on October 13 and 14.

Brains, Blood & Beer

If a zombie pub crawl is just too run-of-the-mill for you, maybe the Zombie vs. Vampires Pub Crawl this weekend offers enough of a twist to get your blood running.

Go Get an Idea

Tickets for Chicago Ideas Week are now on sale.

The Sweet Smell of Astroturf

The Milwaukee Avenue Mini Golf Course is a one-day event that will transform a series of public parking spaces on Milwaukee Avenue from Kimball to Central Park into a nine-hole mini golf course on Sept. 21.

A Gapers Block favorite, Moe's Tavern at 2937 N. Milwaukee, is offering you the opportunity to be the one to design the mini golf hole for the bar. Interested parties should call the tavern directly at 773-227-2937.

The Starlight Lounge Our Destination

Sci-fi fans have descended on Chicago for the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, which opens today and runs all weekend.

Get On Your Bike & Tour

To counteract some of that anti-bikeness, why not hit the Four-Star Bike Tour or Fork and the Road's "global snack" biking food tour? They're both Slowdown picks for this Sunday.

Shop the Boul Mich

If you're just looking for an excuse to go shopping the Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival this weekend is as good a reason as any. Lots going on between Aug. 24 and Sept. 6.

Eating in Secret, in White

Is it a secret if an event is widely publicized and hundreds of people are expected to attend? Yes, if the event is Dîner en Blanc and the exact location of the "chic picnic" to which everyone wears white is unknown. Get on the waiting list to be notified about where to show up on Aug. 24.

Free Pussy Riot Day Today

Rallies to protest Russia's trial and conviction of the activist band Pussy Riot are happening all over the world today; Chicago's will be from 4:30 to 6:30pm outside City Hall. Amnesty International will live-stream a public reading in NYC starting at 6:30pm.

It Seems You Have Forgotten Our Little Deal

Tickets went on sale today for Lebowski Fest Chicago Nov. 9-10. (Get limbered up with Lebowski burlesque tonight.)

Celebrate Your Seoul

Among the many events this weekend is the Chicago Korean Festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday on Bryn Mawr between Kedzie and Kimball. It's probably your only chance to see traditional Korean wrestling (ssireum) this year.

Thunder in the Sky

Just a reminder: jet practice for the Air & Water Show begins today, so if you've got a nervous pet, you might want to give it some tranquilizers today.

Castles Made of Sand

How are you at building sand castles? Test your mettle against other granular architects at Edgewater's second annual Chicago SandCastle Open this Saturday. [via]

Rock'n'Roll Garage Sale

The Empty Bottle is holding a garage sale this Sunday; if you've got some stuff to throw in there, get in touch.

Bid on 8x10s on 8/10

Starting today, local music education nonprofit Rock for Kids is launching an eBay auction of autographed 8x10 photos from 150 bands, including The Temptations, Pat Benatar, The Village People, Nickel Creek, Naughty By Nature, Ben Folds and more. Bid early and often to win your favorites. Bidding starts at $8.10 and proceeds benefit the charity that brings music education to at-risk youth in Chicago.

Making it in Evanston

The streets of downtown Evanston will be full of tinkerers and crafty people as the city hosts a Mini Maker Faire. Saturday night's events include a Power Racing Series Power Wheels race.

Giving up 4 Wheels for 2

The annual Tour de Fat rolls into Palmer Square tomorrow, and Bill Bushnell of Elmhurst will be trading in his car for a new bike and a commitment to car-free living for a year.

Printing Up Lit

The latest issue of TriQuarterly went online this week. It's just one of the many publications participating in the Printers' Ball this Friday; read our preview in Book Club.

Movieoke Time!

Chicago Movieoke takes it the 'burbs on Saturday, July 21. Recreate your favorite movie scenes, karaoke style at this after-hours event sponsored by the Oak Park Public Library's genre X book discussion group. Movieoke is free and 21+; a cash bar will be open for enhanced performance and spectator enjoyment. More details on Facebook or at genre-x.com.

Face Your Fear

The Fear Experiment, which our own Niki Fritz participated in this spring, returns this fall with two new challenges: a capella singing and stepping. Mandatory information sessions are this Wednesday and Thursday; register here.

"A Safe Haven of Free Thinking"

The Gathering of the Juggalos, which will be held August 8-12 in downstate Cave-in-Rock, released a 24-minute-long announcement of the acts scheduled to appear (Geto Boys, P-Funk, Warren G, Raekwon, DMX, Biz Markie, etc.).

Celebrating the Subcontinent

The Eye on India Festival returns to Chicago starting today.

Make it Work this Weekend

"Project Runway" will have a pop-up photoshoot booth on Pioneer Square this weekend.

It's Pronounced "cole-BEAR-ee-un"

Do you speak Colbertian? Learn how now, and it might help you learn another language later.

Floating Down the Calumet & Other Tours

Forgotten Chicago still has room on its annual Calumet River boat tour this Sunday, July 15. They've also got a Blue Island Bertrand Goldberg tour and a bus tour of Clearing and Ford City coming up.

The Rockets' Red Glare

Many suburbs are canceling their fireworks displays due to fire hazard concerns with the heat and dry conditions. Navy Pier's big show is still happening, though, and the fireworks displays in Evanston, Oak Park and Skokie are also reachable by CTA.

Hipster Wet T-Shirt Contest

OK, not exactly. Join GB, Do312 and the RedEye at Churchill Park (not Wicker Park as previously announced) for #WaterWar2012, a free-for-all water balloon fight starting at noon on the Fourth of July. BYOBalloons, though we'll have more than a few on hand, too. See you there!

Mobsters, Bootleggers and You

Waxwing Puzzle Co. still has a couple spots left for its "Speakeasy" game next Saturday, July 7, in which participants work to solve a murder mystery set in the Prohibition era.

No Chords and a Dream

The US Air Guitar Chicago Regional Championships are tonight at the Metro. Watch as National Champion Nordic Thunder defends his title -- and join us beforehand at the GingerMan Tavern for this month's GB Get-Together.

Making Music All Day Long

The Make Music Festival started today before you probably did -- the first of more than 700 concerts was at 6am.

Prepare for the Pride Parade

The Pride Parade is running a different route this Sunday, and that's not all that's new this year. There will also be a stronger crackdown on public alcohol consumption. You could always watch it live from home. (Time Out has some other makeover suggestions, too.)

These Boots Were Made For Driving

Clear your schedules Friday, when the Bootmobile rolls into Chicago.

Balls on Parade

They don't sound nearly as fun as cows, but 100 oversized, custom-painted golf balls will nonetheless be dotting the Mag Mile this fall, in honor of the Ryder Cup being played in Medinah this year.

Today's Urgent Ticket Purchase

The sixth annual Chicago Festiv-Ale, a beer bash benefiting the Chicago chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, isn't until September, but tickets went on sale at noon today and they won't last long.

Or Do You Say Maifest?

Lincoln Square's Mayfest kicks off tonight at 5pm, even though it feels more like Februaryfest today. Don't let the rain water down your beer.

Get Your Wings

Remember Flugtag, Red Bull's crazy flying-thing competition from a couple years ago? It's back Sept. 8, and you have until June 29 to sign up with your team.

Help Make a TEDx

TEDxUChicago is asking you to help determine who will speak at the conference in 2013. Vote online; you've got until Monday, June 4.

Ruby on Rails on Rails

Hackatrain, the first-ever hackathon aboard a moving CTA train, will be happening June 16. Get on board.

U of C Comics Webcast

If you missed the chance to RSVP for the University of Chicago Comics Convention, you can catch a live webcast of going-ons 6 to 7:30pm on May 18, 9am to 7:15pm on May 19, and 10:30am to noon on May 20. [via]

Stay Outta Bridgeport, Hipsters

Apparently not everyone in Bridgeport is so excited that Version Fest is bringing so much attention to the neighborhood this month.

ScavHunt All the Things!

Watch out for roving bands of crazed college students: the list for the annual UofC Scavenger Hunt has been released.

Among the 351 items on this year's list are a rainbow cupcake, a game of Name That Tune on the Quad this Friday, an AOL floppy disk, Blue Cheese Man Group, and a flawless pair of ice dice. Get moving.

scavhunt.gif

Camp Groupon has no Tents

Instead, Camp Groupon July 6-8 includes two nights in a downtown hotel, and a whole bunch of activities organized in six interest tracks, all for just $749.

Cosplay, Pageantry & Fire Alarms

In A/C, Tim Rolph takes you inside Anime Central, an annual subculture convention that draws more than 24,000 people to Rosemont every spring.

Not the First Time I've Danced in a Walgreens

Ellen DeGeneres wants you to be at the Walgreens at Clark and Catalpa today at 4:30pm for a filming opportunity for her show.

This Version of Bridgeport

In its 12th year, Version has morphed into a monthlong celebration of Bridgeport, "Community of the Future." The festival kicks off with a party tonight at Maria's Packaged Goods, and continues with events every day through the 31st.

Have The Tim Of Your Life

What did you do to celebrate your 30th birthday? Tim Sarrantonio has us all beat: he's throwing a fundraiser at the Goose Island Wrigleyville brewpub to raise funds for some of his favorite local charities (including Reading With Pictures and ARISE Chicago). Full details at the event's Facebook page.

Ebert's Choice

After failing to Outguess Ebert, The Music Box agreed to let Roger screen the film of his choice. He's picked the 1994 cult classic Red Rock West, which will show at 7:40pm on May 1, with tickets at just $3.

Be One with the Meetup

The RedEye introduces us to the Chicago Jedi Order, a group who aim to emulate the Jedi way.

Rachel Dratch Comes To Second City

Rachel Dratch is stopping by Second City twice next week (Saturday the 28th and Monday the 30th) to promote her new book, A Girl Walks Into A Bar... There will be a live reading followed by audience Q&A and book signing after the performance. Tickets are free, but must be reserved online or by phone at 312-662-4562.

Celebrate the Obscure & Wonderful

Atlas Obscura's Obscura Day is Saturday, and Chicago events include a tour of the Busy Beaver Button Museum, a visit to the Letter Writers Alliance, a Forgotten Chicago tour of Goose Island and Pulaski Park, an Art of Darkness scavenger hunt at the Art Institute, and a day of fun at the Boring Store.

Break into this Club

The Chicago chapter of The Open Organization of Lockpickers holds monthly meetings at Pumping Station: One; the next one is May 3.

Wake Up Creative

The next Creative Mornings Chicago is this Friday, with guest speaker Mike McQuade. Tickets become available at 11am this morning.

Local Chicagoans Take On Their Fears

Social Guru Saya Hillman was recently interviewed by the LeapYear Project, a website designed to help people share their stories about fear and take a giant leap in 2012. The Chicagoan native, who is the creator of Mac 'n Cheese Productions, is helping 38 strangers conquer their fears of public performance and possibly humiliation. Over the past three months 20 non-dancers have learned to dance and 18 non-improvisers have learned to improv. The fruits of their sweat, tears and fear all culminate on April 28 for a show at Park West. Go and be inspired by local Chicagoans conquering their fears! As Hillman says, "What's the worst that can happen? You end up right where you are, but better for having tried."

Run Through a Quick Tour

New City profiles Marlin Keesler, manager of the Chicago branch of City Running Tours.

Teach Your Neighbors

Learnapalooza is a free festival of workshops and seminars being held June 16 in Wicker Park, with another scheduled for Lakeview in July. They're currently accepting applications for folks interested in teaching.

Antiques!

Looking for that perfect Ming Dynasty vase, or century-old earrings? The International Antiques Fair runs at Merchandise Mart April 27-30, with over 120 of the world's top dealers, along with speakers and other events.

"Hark! now I hear them"

I'll speak to it though Hell itself should gape and bid me hold my peace: Talk Like Shakespeare Day is next Monday, April 23. Enter the video contest and you could win $500.

Honoring Chicago Icons

John Schmidt proposes a Chicago Walk of Fame -- statues of the city's historic figures immortalized in bronze on CTA Loop pillars.

Draw Big

The Big Draw Chicago is planning a month of drawing related events this October -- and they're looking for event ideas.

Save on Saving Lives

Groupon and Spark Ventures have teamed up to offer an eight-day volunteer vacation in Zambia through the Groupon Grassroots program.

Coming Soon: The Vintage Garage

As AON moves out of the Uptown neighborhood this summer, the neighborhood is gaining another type of commerce. The company's staff parking structure on Broadway (near Argyle) will be utilized as a part-time vintage market from June-October, with vendors selling straight from their methods of transportation on the third Sunday of each month.

Online Dating IRL

The NYTimes covers new dating sites that bring the action into the real world, including Chicago-based Me So Far (previously).

Get Spaced Out

Tonight is Yuri's Night, in honor of cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's, the first man in space. The Chicago party (one of hundreds around the world) is at, fittingly enough, Orbit Room from 9pm to 1am.

Spring Donating

To make the most of spring cleaning, try donating your old stuff instead of dragging it to the curb. Huffington Post has a list of which organizations will take your books/clothes/furniture, and who will benefit from the donation.

Pillows at the Ready

Saturday at 2pm, be in Pioneer Court for International Pillow Fight Day. More on Facebook.

Nice Weekend for a New Pet?

Animal Care and Control, which has undergone some big changes in the last week, is holding an "Mega-match-athon" adoption event [pdf] this weekend at their facility (2741 South Western), 9am-9pm both days.

A 175th Birthday Party You Won't Forget

Tickets are going fast for Forgotten Chicago's 175th Birthday Party this Saturday. The lineup now includes the first Midwest screening of a short film created by Vivian Maier in the early 1970s. (Thanks, Patrick!)

Party with Airbnb

Airbnb is holding a meetup in Chicago this Saturday at Doejo's former office (soon to be home to Bow Truss Coffee Roaster). Stop by and share books, bikes and beer.

Help Make a Maker Faire

There's a Mini Maker Faire happening in Chicago in April, and they're still looking for participants -- as well as people to document it.

C2E2 is Coming

The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo is in a couple weeks, and today is the last day to have tickets mailed to you. Celebs including John Cusack, Anne Rice and John Barrowman are scheduled to attend.

Totally Geocities Prom!

826CHI's website for its annual Prom is NSFW in totally the best way.

Green River

Chicagoist has a brief history on how the river-dying tradition was stumbled upon. Trivia: the first attempt used enough dye to keep the water green for a week.

Just One Word: Thorium

There are people who think the obscure element thorium could be the future of energy. The Thorium Energy Alliance, based up in Harvard, and is hosting an international conference on the subject here in May.

Studs at 100

In honor of what would have been is 100th birthday, the Studs Terkel Centenary Committee has put together several events throughout May and June to honor the city's great oral historian. Amongst the highlights: screenings of his innovative television drama "Studs' Place" that haven't been seen since 1951.

Fight for the Force

Glow Battle is a lightsaber battle that's touring the country; if you want to bring it to Chicago, go vote on their Facebook page.

Drinking Here Today

To get you in the mood for the South Side Irish St. Patrick's Day Parade on Sunday, local band Slattery's Drunk Again recorded "The South Side Irish." (NSFW)

Baring All with Bill & Dan

Join Northwestern University professor Bill Savage and writer Dan Savage tonight as they discuss the Chicago History Museum's Out in Chicago exhibit with co-curators Jill Austin and Jennifer Brier. "Curators Bare All" will cover what went into mounting the exhibit, which closes March 26. Get more details in Slowdown.

Blood, Brains & Beer

Tickets are already on sale for this year's Zombie Pub Crawl, rampaging through Andersonville April 28.

Beware Exploding Toilets

Students at the University of Chicago use social media to raise awareness about certain unsanitary living conditions — including exploding toilets — in one of the oldest dorms on campus.

Go Beyond CSI

For $15 on a Friday afternoon, you can learn how to perform an autopsy.

DIY Lit

The 2012 Chicago Zine Fest is just around the corner -- on March 9-10, small press and independent publishers will showcase their work and talent. Check out the site for a full listing of events, workshops and readings.

Tattoo You

Want to help animals? Thinking of getting a tattoo? This weekend you can do both at the same time.

Cars, Trucks & Motorcycles

There is only one Chicago Auto Show, but it's not the only vehicle show this weekend. Over in Rosemont, the Progressive International Motorcycle Show will be revving up Friday through Sunday.

Man vs Machine

Overwhelmed by the 2012 Chicago Auto Show? The Tribune has put together a short list of must-sees for those feeling underprepared.

Teeny Tiny Obamas

If your indoor plants are seeming a bit lonely, why not get them a set of wee Obamas to keep them company.

The +1's at iO

Catch the final performance of the +1's, an all-female variety show, at iO this Thursday, Jan. 26 at 10:30pm. This month's theme is "New Years Resolutions."

Tickets are available at ioimprov.com or by calling the box office at 773-880-0199.

Mushers, Ready Your Carts

Registration for Chiditarod 2012 is now open.

Celebrate MLK Day

You have several options for events honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. today, including performances at the DuSable Museum, the CSO, Chicago History Museum and the Black Ensemble Theatre. OccupyChi also has an event planned, a followup to their Sunday rally.

Your Love Song {Here}

Submit your favorite love song at Chilights.com by Feb. 10 and you might win a place for it in this year's V-Day playlist on State Street's Lightscape, a choreographed song and light show in the Loop. The winner will also receive a romantic getaway package at theWit. Contestants may also tweet songs to #LIGHTSCAPE or text "Lightscape" to 33938.

Why No Pants Isn't Enough

A.V. Club Chicago explains why the annual No Pants Subway Ride is past its prime- it's over-planned, over-populated and over-publicized. With most of the surprise bled out of flash mobs, how can they stay fresh?

Collecting the Glamour

Potter & Potter Auctions specializes in a very particular item: magic. Their next auction, offering the estate of close-up magician and master of cards Larry Jennings, is Jan. 28.

Ice Art

"Top Chef Texas" contestant Chef Richie Farina will be outside Moto demonstrating his ice carving skills today until about 4pm.

Cop's Grabbed Crotch, Cause for Beating

A suspect was beaten after grabbing an officer's groin and refusing to let go.

Throw a Punch Party

Do you dig stage combat? Want to get involved? Then Fight Jam is for you. The next event is tomorrow, Dec. 20, partnered with Asylum Stunts.

Troop-Supporting

The Governor recently highlighted two ways to help out veterans this holiday season. One, by donating your frequent flier miles to Hero Miles, which buys tickets for wounded veterans and their families. Two, by purchasing "Veteran's Cash" scratch-off tickets, the proceeds of which goes towards helping vets find jobs.

Every Holiday Cartoon Comes to Life

Two Tinley Park kids filled a backyard ice-skating rink from a fire hydrant. Police fined them a few hundred dollars but said they're free to keep the water.

Furries on Parade

WBEZ's Jason Marck and Eilee Heikenen-Weiss went to Midwest FurFest. Here's their report.

And here's the The Fur Suit Parade!

Suburban Lawns on Ice

Two young hockey enthusiasts in Tinley Park got in some hot water for using a fire hydrant to fill their backyard ice rink.

Vice for Virtue

Today through Saturday, if you bring a new, unwrapped toy to The Admiral, you'll get a free lapdance. If you'd prefer your contributions SFW, you could donate to Bloodshot Records' Holiday Stuffed Animal Drive Tuesday at the Hideout's Holiday Sale.

Bring A Can

A few music events are doubling as holiday canned food drives this year. If you're heading to the Metro any time this month, bring some canned goods to the Metro Store to help out the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Alternately, if you go to the Bloodshot Records Holiday Whiskey Extravaganza on 12/17 at the Cobra Lounge, bring food to aid the Casa Catalina Basic Human Needs Center.

The Greater Chicago Food Depository doesn't want your old ramen noodles. Items most needed include: peanut butter, beans, canned fruit, canned vegetables, cereal, chili, tuna and pasta.

10 Years of Letters to Santa

The 10th annual Letters to Santa 24-hour improv and music marathon begins tomorrow night, Dec. 6 at 6pm at Second City ETC. and runs through 6pm Thursday. Your $20 admission gets you access to all 24 hours, whether you stick around or not, and all the proceeds go directly to needy families on Christmas Day. Plan to get there early; lineup details on Facebook.

Next Year's No Pants Ride

Early heads-up: Improv Everywhere announced that the NYC No Pants Subway Ride will be Jan. 8. Keep an eye on this Facebook group for details on the Chicago ride.

A Debate for All Time

Tonight, the 65th annual Latke-Hamantash Debate takes place at UofC. Be there for history... and starchy Jewish foods.

Newborns in the Monkey House

The Lincoln Park Zoo welcomed a baby lowland gorilla into its family last week. The baby, a female, made its debut today. The zoo also has a newborn Bolivian gray titi monkey.

Facial Hair for Charity

More specifically: Mustaches for Kids, a charitable group partnered with DonorsChoose.org. Nov. 21 marks the start of Growing Season, wherein volunteers solicit donations for CPS and meet weekly to checkup on stubble-progress, until the Dec. 18 Stache Bash.

90 Seconds of Wonder

Author James Kennedy brings his 90-Second Newberry Film Festival to Chicago tonight at the Harold Washington Library. Go watch Newberry Award-winning books transformed -- by kids -- into 90-second films.

Getting Kicks for Vets

Speaking of Nick Gerber, he and his father are riding Route 66 from LA to Chicago this spring to raise funds for and awareness of organizations helping veterans of Middle East wars. It'll eventually be turned into a documentary.

1 Wood for 2 Sheep?

If this means anything to you, then you may be interested in heading to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair next weekend for the the Settlers of Catan national pre-qualifying round. The winner will be sponsored, by Mayfair Games, to compete in the World Wide Catan Championship at GenCon 2012.

Pledge for Plaster

Artist and "recovering groupie" Cynthia Plaster Caster is writing a memoir about her experiences making plaster casts of the, um, "equipment" of rock legends like Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Jello Biafra. She could use some financial assistance to finish the book, and is offering some great incentives for people who donate to her Kickstarter project.

The Last Beckoning of Lovely

At 11:11am today, Amy Krause Rosenthal holds the fourth and final installment of The Beckoning of Lovely in Millennium Park. Look for the yellow umbrella.

The four Beckoning of Lovely events are being put together into a film by the same name, the first 15 minutes of which debuted at midnight.

Curiously Missing Mints

Wrigley-owned Altoids has created a Hall of Curiosity full of odd mint-themed items, many of which you can bid on on eBay. A couple of the others are scattered around Chicago.

I Sense a Weird Al Cover in the Works

One of the best TribLocal headlines I've read, "It's hard out there for a mime," is actually about a teen mistaken for one when what he intended was to dress up as a dancer from America’s Best Dance Crew. "...not used to seeing street performers in a residential neighborhood, some neighbors were confused and called police."

All Buttoned Up

Take a stroll through the Busy Beaver Button Museum's new website. A couple local stand-outs.

Good by Design

Involved in a nonprofit? You have one month to apply for the 2012 Grant for Good. Meanwhile, it's there's always a good Reason to Give.

The Parade Needs People

With Thanksgiving only a month away, organizers for the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade are still looking for volunteers to do anything from carry banners in the parade to, um, cleaning up after the horses as part of the "poo crew." Visit ChicagoFestivals.org to learn more.

Cheating at Scrabble

Gapers Block will be competing at 826CHI's Scrabble for Cheaters tournament on Saturday. If you donate to either Team Gapers Block or Team Bapers Glock, the teams can cheat more and money is raised for 826CHI's free student programming, which includes workshops and after-school tutoring.

Hunt for a Free Night from Hilton

Hilton HHonors brings its Fast Ways to Free Stays promotion to Chicago this Wednesday with a social treasure hunt. If you are one of the first 100 people to complete a task successfully and find the Hilton HHonors team, you'll be rewarded with a voucher good for a night's stay at any Hilton property in the world. Follow @HiltonHHonors on Twitter (where they've been dropping hints already) or check them out on Facebook for more details.

Zombie Boobies & More

The Admiral Theater has brought back its Night of the Stripping Dead zombie burlesque -- and this year it's on four nights, Oct. 18-21, and features everything from the expected (strippers) to performance artists (Brooklyn-based Narcissister) and food trucks.

Fright Time

It's haunted house season, and the A.V. Club has rated a few of your options. Haunted House Chicago has your complete directory of frights.

Ideas Week is Here

Ideas Week, seven days of events and talks of all sorts, starts today. This morning, former Mayor Daley leads a tour of Millennium Park, while Mayor Emanuel hits the stage at the Oriental Theater with Time's managing editor, Richard Stengel. Check out the full calendar here.

Free Night Of Comedy At Mayne Stage

Mayne Stage is offering a night of free comedy tonight, featuring three of Chicago's top comics. $4 draft specials. No reservations necessary. Shows are at 8 and 10:30.

Roy Leonard Selling Memorabilia

Roy Leonard, a WGN broadcasting icon, will be selling hundreds of books, CDs and memorabilia from his estate Saturday in Kenilworth.

Pow-Pow-Power Wheels!

The folks at hackerspace Pumping Station: One have a dream: to make the Pow-Pow Power Racing Series even bigger and better than ever before. Help them out with their Kickstarter.

See what else we have curated on the Gapers Block Kickstarter page.

Smithsonian's Free Day Everywhere

Well not everywhere, but many of Chicagoland's museums are free this Saturday, Sept. 24, as part of Smithsonian magazine's Museum Day. Fill out this form to get two free tickets.

Here's a list of participating museums; search the full list here.

Chicago:
Adler Planetarium
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
Clarke House Museum
DuSable Museum of African-American History
Glessner House Museum
Illinois State Museum Chicago Gallery
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive & Outsider Art
Loyola University Museum of Art
Museum of Contemporary Art
National Veterans Art Museum
Smart Museum of Art
Swedish American Museum
The Art Institute of Chicago

Chicagoland:
Barrington History Museum, Barrington
Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio, Oak Park
Graue Mill & Museum, Oakbrook
Hinsdale History Museum, Hinsdale
Joliet Area Historical Museum, Joliet
Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, Elmhurst
Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
West Chicago City Museum, West Chicago
Willowbrook Wildlife Center, Glen Ellyn
GHCS Museum of Gary History & Culture, Gary IN

Aim for 500

That talent you thought was useless once you got too old for Chuck E. Cheese is relevant again: Chicago has a new Skeeball League.

Help a Pup or Kitteh Find Their New Home

Chicago Animal Care and Control is holding a 33-hour-long Adopt-a-thon next weekend at the Petsmart at 2655 N. Elston Ave. Not only should you attend if you're searching for a new pet, but they're also looking for volunteers to staff the event; email them for more information.

Circus in the Parks

Starting this weekend and running through Oct. 23, The Midnight Circus will set up in parks around the city, performing under a big-top tent for just $15 a person.

Help Build a Moving Park

Art on Track the mobile garden/art gallery on a CTA train, runs again this Saturday, and Joe Baldwin, the organizer, is looking for volunteers of both help and houseplants.

Miss Wicker Park Returns

The Miss Wicker Park contest is once again turning the neighborhood into a beauty contest. Still time to enter.

Dating Through Stories

After a trial run this spring, dating event Me So Far is back Sept. 30 at 826CHI to bring together interesting people.

Colin Quinn to Visit The Second City

Colin Quinn, stand-up comedian and writer best known for Saturday Night Live and MTV's Remote Control, will visit the Second City training Center (Donny's Skybox) on Thursday, September 8th at 1 pm. Quinn will share his experiences in comedy, followed by an exclusive Q&A with students of The Second City Training Center. Quinn is in Chicago promoting his one-man show Colin Quinn, Long Story Short, directed by Jerry Seinfeld. Tickets and show information are available here.

If You Boombox It They Will Dance

The Decentralized Dance Party, which sounds a little like Critical Mass meets rave, plans to come to Chicago in December, but only if there are enough people committed to making it happen.

Phyllis' Musical Inn After-Openings Art Dance Party

Looking for the cool after party this Friday night? Weary art-goers will find refuge from the drudgery of making the citywide gallery circuit at the Fourth Annual After-Openings Dance Party at Phyllis' Musical Inn. Hosted by artists and local art world mainstays John Phillips and Nevin Tomlinson, the action starts at 9:30pm and rolls on until 2am.

Letting Go of the Machete

"SNL" veteran Julia Sweeney is part of the lineup at Paper Machete this Saturday at 3pm.

Honoring 9/11 with a TED Talk

TEDxLakeshoreEast takes place on Sept. 11, and the speakers will "give talks unified by the theme of moments that shape our lives, society, and world around us." Tickets are now available.

Chicago's Nordic Thunder Places 2nd in the World

Nordic Thunder, aka Justin Howard, came in second in the World Air Guitar Championships this weekend. Read our coverage of the US finals in Transmission.

The Right Time to Write

In observance of today's date (8/26), the literacy and tutoring nonprofit 826CHI encourages you to spend 8 minutes and 26 seconds crafting a piece of writing before 8:26 pm today. Celebration of the right to write will ensue at the Boring Store (1331 N. Milwaukee) throughout the day.

Maria's Community Bar Celebrates Makeover Anniversary

Bridgeport favorite Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar announces a celebration of the one-year anniversary of its makeover on September 3 at both the bar and art space Co-Prosperity Sphere down the street.

MDW Fair To Return in October, Opens Call for Proposals

Chicago's breakaway-spirited MDW Fair will return this October to Bridgeport's Geolofts, and has announced that proposals for the sophomore installment are now being accepted.

Ready for a Chase?

City Chase comes to Chicago next weekend, Aug. 27, pitting teams against each other in challenges ranging from karaoke to human pyramid building.

Rubber Duckies, You're the 30,000

The annual Rubber Ducky Derby for Special Olympics poured into the Chicago River today; WBEZ has photos.

Duelling Cons

Rosemont is ground zero for geekdom this weekend: Wizard World's Chicago Comic Con and the Flashback Weekend horror convention are just a Blue Line ride away.

Field Museum Honors 9/11

On Sept. 2, the Field Museum will debut Ground Zero: 360°, an exhibit that immerses museumgoers in the events of 9/11 from the perspective of a police commander and a photojournalist. The exhibit runs through the end of the year.

Playing in the City

Tour company StrayBoots is introducing a new mobile-based tour called "Chicago: The Game" on Aug. 11. They're giving away free tickets all this week.

Saints & Sinners, Poetry & Titillation

Like your poetry on the lascivious side? Chicago Poetry Brothel sets up shop in Thalia Hall down in Pilsen Saturday night. "Poetry whores, burlesque dancers, pianists and assorted vaudevillians perform for your pleasure.

Thinking in Black & White

Do you go? The Lakeview Go Club meets every Tuesday night at Intelligentsia on Broadway; there are a couple other Go clubs in the area.

America's Top Flush

The Field Museum's first floor bathrooms are in the running for Cintas' America's Best Restroom Awards. [via]

The Air of Champions

Chicago retained the US Air Guitar championship belt Saturday, as Nordic Thunder won the finals Saturday at the Metro. Read all about it in Transmission, and catch him on "Lopez Tonight" Tuesday.

Battling for Air Supremecy

This Saturday the US Air Guitar Championship finals invade the Metro to rock your face off. We've got a preview and tickets to give away in Transmission.

Sleep Under the Stars Downtown

The Affinia Hotel has a rather unique room available for just $10,000 a night: "The Inside-Out Suite" on the 29th floor -- essentially the C-View bar turned into your private outdoor penthouse for the night.

Some Serious Coin

If you're a numismatic fanatic, you'll be quite interested in a couple of pennies coming up for auction in August.

A Different Sort of Machete Hits Radio

WBEZ announced today that it's bringing the popular Paper Machete "salon in a saloon" to the radio in the form of the Paper Machete Radio Magazine. It'll be live each Saturday at 3pm, which means if you go to the show, you're in the studio audience.

Touring Chicago's Former Vice District

The Chicago Architecture Foundation is holding a tweetup during its "Vice to Nice" tour tonight at 5:30pm. Sign up with the code "Tweetup714" for a discount.

Yarn-Bombing is not a Crime

Not this time, anyway. The Rogers Park Business Alliance is inviting knitters and crocheters to help them yarn-bomb Howard Street -- for charity. Each piece produced will earn a $10 donation to the Rogers Park nonprofit of your choice. Details on Facebook.

Explore the Subcontinent

The Eye on India Festival kicks off tomorrow and runs through July 17 with a variety of musical, theatrical, cinematic, culinary and other events.

Floating Down the Old Calumet

Tickets for Forgotten Chicago's Industrial Calumet Boat Tour are now on sale.

Browne's New Comic Venture Blasts Off

Ryan Browne (creator of weekly webcomic God Hates Astronauts, contributor to comics put out by IDW and Image, and much more) launched his latest project today: Blast Furnace, an illustrated exercise in improv and DIY.

Better Guarded Taste

When the Taste of Chicago opens Friday, expect a stronger police presence than in past years.

Double Door Dog Show

Rich Seng, the guy behind last year's Miss Wicker Park pageant, is back with new beauties: the Chicago's Best Friend dog competition. The finals are at Double Door this Sunday.

Fight Back

If the recent mob attacks downtown have you a little worried about your safety, the RedEye has your back. Tracy Swartz will be hosting a free self-defense seminar with the Guardian Angels Wednesday in Pioneer Court; RSVP on Facebook to participate.

We Be Slammin'

Chicagoist, Time Out, A.V. Club and GB will be duking it out onstage in the third (not at all) annual Alt Media Slam, part of Schadenfreude's Just for Laughs show at Beat Kitchen tonight. Don't miss it!

Here's a sample of what you might see:

I Want to Live in a LEGO World

Brickworld is a conference and expo about the world of LEGO. It starts today and runs through the 19th, and yes, it's open to the public. Only downside is finding a ride to Wheeling.

Free, the Fishies

General admission at the Shedd Aquarium is free this week -- and it's staying open until 8pm, so you could feasibly head over after work.

Puppies on Sundog

Speaking of pet events, the Anti-Cruelty Society will be receiving another 40-plus dogs from busted puppy mill operations this Sunday. If you've been looking for some companionship, here's a good opportunity.

Got the Zombie Blues

Hilarity will surely ensue when attendees of the Zombie March and Blues Fest run into each other Saturday.

The Good Kind of Flash Mob

Improv Everywhere is in town for the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival, and invites you to participate in the MP3 Experiment in Millennium Park June 12.

Printers Row Lit Fest Gets Mobbed

Now this is a flash mob. More in Book Club.

Intergalactic Miracles

It's that time again: time for the Gathering of the Juggalos infomercial. Tickets for the Cave-In-Rock, Illinois, er, event August 11-14 are on sale now.

Get Your Kicks

Theresa Carter of The Local Tourist and Jim Goodrich of With a Voice Like This are doing a Route 66 tour to raise money for pediatric cancer research, and the kickoff party this Friday Saturday.

Memorial Day Has Chicago Roots

The first commemoration of Memorial Day was in 1868 -- and was proclaimed by General John Logan, for whom Logan Square was named. You can thank him yourself by visiting his statue in Grant Park.

Love a Man in Uniform

Memorial Day Weekend may mean Fleet Week in New York, but it means International Mr. Leather in Chicago. Check out the full calendar here.

The Mayor, The Moth & More

Mayor Emanuel will be one of the guests on tonight's installment of Chicago Live! at the Chicago Theatre.

Free Memorial Day Tours

All of Margaret Hicks' Chicago Elevated tours are free this weekend, May 27-29. Claim your spot before the fill up!

Go Streaking this Saturday

But keep your clothes on. CityStreak is a treasure hunt game, not a naked dash.

Make it Big in 72 Hours

There's still time to make early registration for Windie City Shootout, a 72-hour film challenge.

Get Yer Cosplay On

Anime Central, the Midwest's largest anime, manga and Japanese pop culture convention, kicks off today at the Rosemont Convention Center, just off the Rosemont Blue Line stop.

Gapers Block in the Flesh

If you've ever wanted to meet GB staffers in person, this Thursday offers two opportunities. Transmission Editor Anne Holub is part of a panel discussion of music journalism at DePaul -- while other GB writers and readers are heading at the Art Institute's Modern Wing for our monthly Get-Together. Hope to see you there!

Another Month at the Museum

That's right, the Museum of Science and Industry is looking for a new month-long resident.

Got Any Ideas?

You might want share them at Chicago Ideas Week in October.

Scavenging the World

The University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt (previously) successfully broke the world record for largest scavenger hunt.

Run Till Dawn

Chicag0 runs a game of Journey to the End of the Night Saturday night, starting in Welles Park. More than a thousand people are signed up to play, but how many know what they're doing? FoGB Felix Jung asked one of the organizers to explain.

Cycling Pin-ups

Thought You Knew is looking for new men and women for next year's pinup calendars. Could it be you?

May the Fifth be with You

Adentro de Pilsen has your Cinco de Mayo Festival guide.

Sexo y Violencia

Still not sure of your Cinco de Mayo plans? Lucha VaVoom brings its unique mix of burlesque and Mexican wrestling to the Park West tonight. Tickets are still on sale.

Claw to Claw in NYC

Chicago boasts two contenders in Tasting Table's New York Lobster Roll Rumble later this summer, with seafood stalwart Shaw's Crab House and extremely new GT Fish & Oyster.

A Bicycle Built for Two

Two people, one bike, and a possible third wheel(?) make their way down the street in this short, kind of amazing clip taken in Logan Square.

Riot for Health, Get Art

This fall, help the Chicago Women's Health Center move: you'll support health care, education, and counseling for people of all backgrounds and get bonus prints, minicomics, or uterus-sporting flags from illustrator Laura Szumowski.

"I guess it's pretty serious."

The question isn't "What are we going to do?" The question is "What aren't we going to do?" To make Ferris Bueller Day a reality, that is. [via]

Camping Creativity

You have till tomorrow to get early bird rates for CreatorCamp Chicago May 14. Come talk creativity, ideas and more with some very creative folks.

May Day Doings

The Haymarket Affair reenactment on Saturday isn't the only May Day event this weekend.

1040s in the 11th Hour

Chicago is the second-worst at filing taxes at the last minute, according to TurboTax. If the last minute is even too soon for you, Rockstar CPA is doing its annual Extension Filing Marathon on the 17th and 18th.

Stop by Alliance Bakery, 1736 W. Division St., between 10am an 10pm on April 17 or Small Bar, 2049 W. Division St., between noon and midnight on April 18 and Martin Kamenski and his team will electronically file an extension for you that pushes your tax deadline back to Oct. 17.

Lake Undertones With a Windy Finish

Help the planet and it inhabitants while enjoying wine at the Peggy Notebaert Museum's Earth, Wine and Fire Earth Day Benefit next week.

From Big Bang to Biospheres

If you can be downtown by 6pm today, consider attending Astronomer Royal Martin Rees' free lecture on the cosmos at the SAIC Ballroom today. It should be out of this world. Wokka.

Pritzker Military Library Reopens

The new Pritzker Military Library is open, and will be celebrating with a reception and live auction this Friday. If you've got the cash, you might be able to walk away with Bulls playoff tickets or a ride in a WWII warbird.

Cold Blooded Entertainment

ReptileFest is this weekend at UIC.

Workers Unite (to Fund an Event)

Pocket Guide to Hell plans mark the 125th anniversary of the Haymarket Affair with a reenactment on April 30. It's looking for assistance via Kickstarter to help cover to cost of the event.

Invisible Triumph

Chicago will host the 2011 US Air Guitar Championships this July -- details in Transmission.

Preparing for the Big One

No, not in California -- here. Later this month in Illinois and seven other Midwest states, The Great Central U.S. Shakeout aims to prepare us for the possibility of a major earthquake. [via]

Northwestern Students in a "Cage Match"

On Friday, a group of Northwestern students will begin watching Nicolas Cage movies, and they won't stop until Sunday. Thirty hours of Cage, all in the name of charity.

Party with Websites

Your website dance card is full this week. On Thursday, Chicagoist is at Beauty Bar with the return of CMD-SHIFT-DANCE DJ night. Then on Friday, join Gapers Block at Cafe Bong Ho for karaoke! Hope to see you there!

Robot Wars!

The Illinois FIRST Robotics Competition is on right now at the UIC Pavilion -- and you can watch it online if you can't make it there tonight or tomorrow.

The Zombies Crawl Again

Pre-registration is open for the Zombie Pub Crawl through Andersonville April 30.

Lots more than Comics

The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo starts today, and features everyone from Svengoolie to Rick Bayless to Eliza Dushku. Comics Alliance has some suggestions of "best and weirdest panels" to check out if you're going.

Fight the Empire at McCormick Place

Local plush maker Steff Bomb's created a soft-yet-deadly Han Solo blaster, so well-made any intrepid hero would be proud to have it at their side. Pick up one of these limited edition stuffed sidearms this weekend at C2E2: 2301 South Lake Shore Drive, Booth #1026, 2pm-3pm. Did I mention it comes with a holster?

Scientology Protest Tomorrow

You may (or may not) want to steer clear of Michigan and Wacker around noon this Saturday: Anonymous activist organization Anonymous is planning a protest against Scientology, marking L. Ron Hubbard's birthday.

Not Pi Day, But A Close Approximation

The Chicago Nerd Social Club celebrates Pi Day this weekend on March 13, which is one day before the official holiday (they're calling it Almost Pi(e) Day). Bakers can bring their home-baked pies for competition, trivia buffs can try competing for cash prizes, and math geeks can compete in recalling the most digits of the irrational number. For full details see Slowdown, or the event's page at the Chicago Nerds Website.

Chiditarod in Pictures

If you missed Chiditarod this weekend, never fear, because the cameras didn't. Take a gander at Chicagoist, Refinery 29, ChicagoNow, flickr, YouTube and of course our own in Tailgate.

6 Minutes, 40 Seconds of Depth

PechaKucha Night Chicago returns to Martyrs' tonight with a lineup that includes activist and education reformer Bill Ayers, human beatbox Yuri Lane, architecture mapper Chris Botham, architects from the Studio Gang, spoken word artist Kevin Coval and more. Each get 20 seconds to talk about 20 slides of their choosing, and it's bound to be interesting.

Free Tour Friday

Chicago Detours is offering free Friday tours through March 16 if you "like" them on Facebook.

Steampunk Tonight

In just two hours, the Abbey Pub will transform into an industrial, whimsical world of yesteryear through Clockwork Vaudeville: A Steampunk Circus Extravaganza.

Learn About Lincoln

Have Presidents' Day off? The Chicago History Museum is free on Monday.

Rockit the Vote

Seems a little late for this election, but Chicago Votes and Rock the Vote host an afterparty for tonight's mayoral debate at Rockit Bar & Grill

Slide into Dating

Me So Far, an experimental new dating platform, gets its first test run at Feb. 27 826CHI. A group of 12 "talkers" will create slide presentations about themselves ahead of time, and show them at the event to 65 "listeners." Afterward, everyone gets a chance to mingle and get to know each other. Want to help test it out? Register online.

Grocery Carts, Start Your Engines

More than 60 teams have already registered for this year's Chiditarod, happening March 5.

The Dirt on Becoming Chicago's Dirtiest Car

Prove you own Chicago's dirtiest car, and it will be transformed into the cleanest. Send a photo and description to Dr. Beasley's by the contest's deadline of Feb. 25.

Gentlemen, Get Groomed For Your Valentine

The James and John Allan's invite Chicago's menfolk to partake in "mini services" (trims, nail buffs, mini massages, shoe shines) Friday through Sunday from 4p until 7p. In addition to free business center services, complimentary morsels and cocktails will be served by David Burke's Primehouse and SVEDKA. Contact John Allan's directly for reservations.

A City of Ideas

Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell is planning Chicago Ideas Week for this October. Fast Company talked to him about what it'll entail.

Batten Down the Hatches, Frozen Novelties Ahead

A new take on the upcoming snowstorm. (Thanks, AnswerDave!)

Racing Across Twitter in a Convertable Benz

Len Kendall and John Morrison are Team E in Mercedes' Tweet Race. Follow their exploits under the hashtag #MBteamE, and join them for a rally next week before they head to Tampa, FL for the start of the race.

Ask One Where to Celebrate

Happy Concierge Day, Chicago.

If You Loved Him in 'Full House,' Consider Staying Home

Hang on to your hats, surprisingly-blue-comedy lovers. Bob Saget's coming to The Venue at Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN this April.

Questionable Deal of the Week

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Willis Tower Skydeck is offering anyone named "Martin" (first, middle or last name) free admission on Monday. [via]

For the Love of Tacos ...and Comedy

RE:COM, a new magazine about comedy, celebrates the release of its second issue with a party at Logan Square's Crown Tap Room this Sunday. Come for the stand-up comedy, stay for the free taco bar.

No Pants CTA 2011 Recap

Did you miss the No Pants CTA Ride yesterday? Appropriately named YouTube user phampants recorded the annual event in this video, while Ross Guthrie documented it in photos.

Resolutionaries Take Note

While you're working hard at not being a dick on the bus, also don't be a gym jerk! Tips courtesy of WCIU and Cheetah Gym.

Ring in a Reasonable New Year

Want to do something more special than TV and beer, but can't afford New Year's Eve specials hovering around three digits? Metromix and the Reader have some ideas to get you started.

If Only We had a Time Machine...

Crap, we forgot about Chicago TARDIS, the area's biggest "Dr. Who" fan convention, again this year! Well, at least we have photos to tide us over till next November. [via]

It's On

Logan Hardware celebrates its grand re-opening on Jan. 15. That wouldn't normally be newsworthy, except that Steve Wiebe, star of the documentary King of Kong, will be on hand attempting to once again break the world record for Donkey Kong -- and teaching a class on how to play to win.

City Submerged

Craig Shimala turns Chicago into a water wonderland with a digital camera strapped to his windshield (and a nice ambient soundtrack).

Doggy Power

Sugar, my canine consigliere and the official mascot of GB, is competing for household pet supremacy today at WCIU's Cat vs. Dog. Care to make a dream a reality and vote?

Satromizer Gives You Glitches on the Go

Video/installation artist Jon Satrom and designer/programmer/photographer Ben Syverson have created a way to make glitch photo art via iPhone.

NewCity's Number Ones

Cultural weekly NewCity gives us their 2010 top picks in vintage TV shows filmed in Chicago, food trucks, indoor make-out spots, and many more.

Select Packaged Goods

The Select Media Festival kicks off tonight at Maria's Packaged Goods & Community Bar with a launch party for the latest issue of Proximity Magazine.

The 2nd Hand is at 10

Literary broadsheet THE2NDHAND is 10 years old, and it's using Kickstarter to fund a commemorative book. Give them a hand, and also head to the Hungry Brain Tuesday night for its new performance series, So You Think You Have Nerves of Steel?, which will feature a cameo by our own Ramsin Canon.

I Went to the 1893 World's Fair...

...and All I Got Was Brutally Murdered: what the title of Devil in the White City should have been, according to Better Book Titles, where you can "cut through all the cryptic crap" of titles local and otherwise.

Come Together, Go Forth and Create

Next Friday, head to the Evil Olive for Reply All, a gathering of artists, designers, writers and more -- anyone who likes to make, do, and drink.

Emergency Flirting

Help the Red Cross and meet (presumably) cute, charity-minded singles at Flirting for Disaster, a fundraiser at the Bull & Bear tonight.

Cold Clothes, Cool People

Fashion Frost is tonight at the Chicago Urban Art Society. Billed as a mix of art, fashion and music, it's also both a networking event and an opportunity to help the Chicago Toy Drive.

A Month Already?

Kate, the Museum of Science & Industry's house guest, had her final day in the museum yesterday.

Get Out Your Santa Suit, Too

Speaking of fetishes, SantaCon is coming up Dec. 4.

Get Out Your Fur Suit

FurFest is this weekend!

Get Your Game On

National Gaming Day is Saturday, Nov. 13, and several Chicago-area libraries are participating. Look them up here.

Santa Rides Free

It's never too early to start planning your trip on the CTA Holiday Train!

A Wealth of Options

The Surgeon General, heavy metal and Jonathan Eig? Tuesday night usually isn't this packed.

Skating Pretty

Hey rollergirls of Chicago -- Dr. Hauschka Skin Care wants to give you a 20% discount on their holistic, natural skin care products.

Ditching the T-shirts

Go check out Threadless' costume contest -- and vote for your favorite by "liking" the photo!

Halloweevents

Need some ideas for Halloween weekend? Here are some from The Reader, Metromix, Centerstage, NewCity and Time Out.

Sanity Restored

The Chicago satellite Rally to Restore Sanity is Saturday, and they're about $750 away from paid off as of this writing. If you're attending, chip in.

Put Your Beer Pyramid Skills to Work

Registration is now open for the Greater Chicago Food Depository's annual Canstruction competition.

Spine-chilling Stoop

Check out Oak Park blogger Nicole Balch's Halloween project for Better Homes & Gardens: an appealingly eerie front porch, complete with twisting branches, stone statues, and (fake yet scarily realistic) rats. You can vote for her vestibule here.

Afternoon of the Walking Dead. No, It's Not Any Other Weekday in the Loop.

If you see a teeming horde of the living dead stumbling through the streets in the Loop tomorrow, don't sweat it. You won't be witnessing the apocalypse--just a promotional stunt for a new show on cable.

20-sided Dice and Spell Cards

Co-Prosperity Sphere kicks off a weekend of fantasy games tonight.

Fright Wigs @ Monster Martinis

Feast of Fun is hosting a haunted house pub crawl in Boystown this Sunday. Including something called "Lady Gaga's Funeral."

Her! The Experience

Kate McGroarty started her Month at the Museum on Wednesday. Keep an eye on her on Twitter.

Nonprofit Makeover

The 2010 Grant for Good is now accepting applications from local non-profits in need of a reinvention.

Deaf Poetry Jam

That's what Three Peas Art Lounge at 16th and Michigan calls its free Wednesday night American Sign Language workshops.

Tonight is Terrible

Video scavengers Everything is Terrible show off their fall collection at the Hungry Brain tonight; details in Slowdown.

Vote for a Tree.

The race for Official Chicago Christmas Tree is near an end, and it's time to vote for your favorite candidate. Fortunately, the field is smaller than the one for mayor will be.

Your Art Vote Counts

Art Loop Open opens today and runs through the 29th. Pick up a map at Block 37, tour galleries around the Loop and vote on your favorite artist.

Rally to Fund Sanity

The Chicago satellite Rally to Restore Sanity is well on its way to happening, thanks to donations to cover insurance and other costs. Chip in here.

10/10/10

Meet you at the Bean.

Run to the FanZone

Volkswagen is celebrating 15 years of sponsoring the Chicago Marathon with something they're calling the VW FanZone Sunday. Doug E. Fresh and OK Go will make appearances, and DJs will spin throughout the morning.

How Grandpa Used to "Blog"

Quimby's and Baltimore's Atomic Books are sponsoring 2011: The Revenge of Print!, a challenge to all former zinesters to produce the latest issue of their long-dead zine. Get out the long-reach stapler and ironic clip-art, kids.

Pay the Electrical (Studios) Bill

Fans of Electrical Audio, Steve Albini's influential recording studio, have launched a campaign on The Point (remember that? Progenitor of Groupon?) to pay off the studio's mortgage.

Great Balls of Fire

A colossally sized Super Mario Bros. skirmish took place at Toyota Park on Saturday thanks to the Chicago Fire supporters known as Section 8.

Something to Crow About

Depending on who you ask, urban chicken farming is either a major trend or less common than the media would lead you to believe. Nonetheless, poultry-possessing Evanstonians are putting pressure on their aldermen to legalize backyard chicken keeping. And the Chicago Chicken Enthusiasts are sponsoring Hen-apalooza [PDF], a tour of 15 of the city's backyard coop locations, on October 3.

Who Will Live at the Museum of Science and Industry?

You decide.

Warm Day Misdemeanor

As the Chicago Police Department tweeted, "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Paper Cuts

At 6pm Friday, Sept. 24, the TV show "Late Night Republic" will be at the Water Tower with 1,000 cardboard tubes. Your job is to show up and battle until the last tube is destroyed.

Fear & Sanity in Chicago

You may not be able to make it to DC for Jon Stewart's Rally to Restore Sanity (or Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive), but surely you can reach Grant Park, where a local event is in the works. [via]

Worst. Macy's Display. Ever.

Oh look, the Little Mermaid is ...swimming... or dead. In the snow. (Taken at the downtown Macy's on State Street.)

Calmer Than You Are

Lebowski Fest Chicago gets underway today -- as does Lebowski burlesque. Check out Katie Donbavand's review of the latter in A/C.

20 People, 2 Minutes Each

Tonight GB is proud to help bring Austin's 20x2 to Chicago! Join us at Martyrs' to see how 20 writers, comedians, visual artists and musicians use their two minutes to answer the question, "Who knew?"

Going to the Gala

Galaist, a new site devoted to helping you put together your next party, is launching this Thursday with, what else, a gala at Room 1520. RSVP ASAP!

Halo: Stretch!

The White Sox' Brent Lillibridge was up last night, waiting for the biggest game of the year.

Button Bonanza

Busy Beaver celebrates their latest Button-o-Matic collection, "Souvenir," with a party tonight featuring the largest button vending machine in the world.

High-Flying Ice Skating

For those unafraid of heights, here's a reason to look forward to winter: the Hancock building is adding a skating rink on the 94th floor. The rink is scheduled to open on January 1, 2011.

What Really Happened in There

Reporters covering the Blagojevich trial share their stories at "Bleeping Golden: Insiders' Stories of Covering the Blago Trial" at Columbia's Film Row Cinema Thursday night.

20x2: Who Knew?

This Friday's show at the Metro isn't the only event Gapers Block is sponsoring in September. We're also helping bring to Chicago Austin's 20x2, in which 20 people get two minutes each to answer a question -- this time around, it's "Who knew?" It's Sept. 17 at Martyrs', and tickets are on sale now.

Another Minor Earthquake in Illinois

Or perhaps I should say "miner," as the US Geological Survey page for the 2.7 magnitude tremor says it may have been mining related. It occurred at around 1pm. (Thanks, Nicole!)

Chicago Circus District

Circus in the Parks will bring clowns, acrobats and more to five North Side parks in September and October.

OMG, You Guys: It's Payback Time

Beleaguered bridesmaids, your time has come. Faith & Whiskey, Lincoln Park's self-proclaimed "premiere brown liquor soaked and hard partying spot," is hosting a Bridesmaid Dress Party on Sunday, Sept. 5. Get there right at 5pm, when the doors open: the first 25 females who arrive wearing old bridesmaid dresses will receive $40 gift certificates to Local Lookbook Boutique.

While you're parading around in your ugly expensive duds, drink a$3 "Accidental 3Some" cocktail; gawk at wedding-themed movies like My Best Friend's Wedding; listen to traditional wedding tunes played by a DJ who has spun at "over 200 weddings in Wisconsin"; take pictures on disposable cameras and mug for the professional videographer; shove a bunch of complimentary party favors into your beaded clutch; and rehearse the 90-second bridesmaid speech you wish you could've delivered. The best speech will earn $100 cash.

Poor Lil Gator

The reptile police --aka: Lizard Busters; aka: Herpetological Five-Oh-- have busted the three-foot gator who was camping out in/around the Chicago River at the Belmont bridge. Wally Gator was unavailable for comment. Snagglepuss remarked, "Gators Gotta Go! Exit. Stage Right."

Coloring Contest

Break out your crayons, markers, and colored pencils: local artist Mindy Fisher is making a coloring book, and giving you a chance to win one of her paintings.

Chicago Comic Con(vict)

Rod Blagojevich will be at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con this Saturday. No, really.

TEDxWindyCityxFood

If you missed TEDxWindyCity back in February, you've got an opportunity to see a food-related mini version in October. Tickets are on sale now, and expected to sell out today.

Set Them Free

National Go Topless Day, an annual protest against skin-baring inequality, is this Sunday, Aug. 22, and Chicago's contingent will meet at the North Avenue Beach House at noon.

Mooooo

The Butter Cow, now on display at the Illinois State Fair.

Happy Birthday, Bozo!

Remember this terrifying clown who starred in his own Chicago television show for half a century? To celebrate the show's 50th anniversary tomorrow, Borders on Michigan Avenue will host the first book signing for the memoir of the late Larry Harmon, who originally played Bozo.

You're Out of Your Element

Lebowski Fest Chicago tickets are on sale now.

Is the Museum of Science and Industry Lame?

Cecil Adams of Straight Dope Chicago continues an investigation of the museum's current exhibits and concludes that at least everything still works.

Rubber Ducks River Race

Anyone downtown at this moment, take note: right now, over 30,000 rubber duckies are making their way down the Chicago River from the Columbus Drive Bridge.

Fight for Night at the Museum

If you're entering the MSI's Month at the Museum contest (previously), you're facing some pretty stiff competition -- from Order of the Odd Fish author James Kennedy, ex-GBer Felix Jung, Davin Coburn and many more.

Refreshing Chicago

The American Indian Center of Chicago and Tabula Rosa are among the top 100 projects in Pepsi's "Refresh Everything" contest, and there are many more hoping to join them.

Get Ready for the Rumble

The Air & Water Show is this weekend, which means we'll get to "enjoy" noisy fly-bys from various aircraft all week. To get the most out of the show, see Todd McClamroch's "ultimate guide," full of tips on where to sit and what you'll see.

If you'd rather avoid the noise of the show, Todd says going west of Ashland or north of Devon is your best bet. To the south, you should be in the clear west of Ashland as well -- most of the planes fly out of Gary International, so stay clear of the lake.

More Things to Do Besides Lolla

Just because Lollapalooza is grabbing all the headlines doesn't mean it's the only thing going on this weekend. You've also got the Festival Cubano, Retro on Roscoe, the South Shore Jazz Festival, and Taylor Street Festa Italiana available for your amusement.

Tweeting Up in Chicago

Little did you know that people fly here from all over for our awesome tweetup prowess.

Got Wood?

All bad jokes aside, there's a big pile of wood for the taking in the alley south of Erie Street between Elizabeth and Ada, courtesy of this summer's bout of thunderstorms.

Life Will Find a Way (in Rosemont)

"Walking with Dinosaurs" is no ordinary puppet show. For one, it features a walking, roaring 39-foot Tyrannosaurus Rex. The Jurassic tour will be tearing up Allstate Arena next weekend, and tickets are now available.

Go Drink Chicagoist's Beer

If film's not your thing, how about beer? Chicagoist hosts a reader meet-up tonight at 6pm at the Goose Island Clybourn Brewpub. It's an opportunity to meet staffers and other readers -- and sample "Sai-Shan-Tea," a new Goose Island beer developed in collaboration with Chicagoist's Chuck Sudo and the Rare Tea Cellar.

Own a Morbid Memento of the King

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers will be offering a number of rare books and coins at its Aug. 12 auction -- as well as items relating to Elvis Presley's embalming and post mortem autopsy.

Look Out Southern Illinois

The 11th Gathering of the Juggalos returns to Cave-in-Rock in August, and in addition to the music, the lineup features the comedy stylings of Tom Green, Gallagher (that should go well) and, uh Ron Jeremy. Learn more in the traditional endless infomercial.

Lights on the Water

The Local Tourist is trying to bring back Venetian Night, one boat at a time.

Bond's Garage

Momence, about 50 miles south of the city, will become home to the Museum of Bond Vehicles and Espionage in 2012.

Be Basil E. Frankweiler for a Month

The Museum of Science & Industry is looking for someone to live in the museum for a month as an "experiment" and report their "findings" to the world. Oh, and earn $10,000 doing it.

Happy Bastille Day

Once upon a time in Revolutionary France, a mob of peasants stormed a fortress-prison, sawed off the defenders' heads and paraded them on pikes. Thus we celebrate Bastille Day with our Parisian sister city every July 14. TimeOut Chicago lists the local cheese-tasting, crepe-wrapping parties going on tomorrow for all those Jacobins at heart.

Unleash Your Hidden '80s Talent

The Chicago Public Library is hosting a Rubik's Cube competition this Saturday at the Bucktown-Wicker Park branch. How fast can you complete a 3x3x3?

Accidentally Steal Some Gummy Vitamins from Whole Foods and You, Too, Could Be the Subject of an Article in Chicago Magazine

An upstanding member of the Lincoln Park community accidentally steals some chewable dino-vitamins from a neighborhood Whole Foods. The company goes nuts.

Halloween in July

Who says you can't wear a costume other times of the year? The Innervation Dance Cooperative is holding a costume'n'karaoke fundraiser next Wednesday at the Granville Anvil that lets you indulge in a little pageantry while the weather's still warm.

In Case You Forgot

There will be no July 3 fireworks this year. Yes, that means you'll have to trek through Sunday's crowd.

Illusionists in Illinois

Fascinated by feats of illusion, trickery, and sleight of hand? The Elmhurst Historical Museum explores Chicago's connection to the world of magic in "The Magical History Tour," running through September 12.

Threadless on Tour

Threadless is going on tour with its Airstream trailer this summer, and the first stop is close by: their Ravenswood office. Come to Threadless HQ on Friday, July 2 for an open house and party; RSVP here.

A Very Different Architectural Boat Tour

Forgotten Chicago is hosting a boat tour of the Calumet River in August. Check out the US Steel South Works and other heavy industrial sites while sipping beer and wine!

Goodbye, Childhood

Forthcoming generations of Chicagoland kids will never experience the joy of Kiddieland, the Melrose Park amusement park that is being demolished today. Maybe they can find fun at the Costco that will replace it?

Gather Round the Square

Two fun music-related events in Logan Square this Saturday: Summer Sessions on the Square and Strangelight's DIY Fair.

Buy a Puppet, Help a Puppet Bike

Chicago's beloved mobile street entertainment known to one and all as Puppet Bike will offer up a little piece of itself on eBay starting next week. Owner/Creator Jason Trusty is "retiring" several older puppets and you can take them home, if you're the highest bidder.

It's Like the Lollapalooza of Learning

Learnapalooza spreads its tendrils of free classes across the city this Saturday. Mexican cooking, self hypnosis, independent publishing, and butchery will all be covered amidst the event's 70 workshops. You can RSVP here.

Design Sneak Attack

The 6th annual Guerrilla Truck Show happens tomorrow night in the Fulton Market District, in tandem with NeoCon at the Merchandise Mart. Check out new works by some of the city's most innovative designers, displayed in the back of rental trucks.

Another Merge

Merge intends to be "a free party for passionate people in the creative industry" -- aka advertising, for the most part. If that's you, the next one is July 7.

Ferris Bueller Reenactiment Contest Redux

Due to the overwhelming popularity of the Ferris Bueller reenactment contest we told you about last week, ExploreChicago is running a second contest, this time on Facebook.

Scavenging the City

The State Theatre is running the Chi-Town Hunt-Down, a digitally-enhanced scavenger hunt through the Loop, on June 19. Advance tickets are available here.

Foursquare Ferris

Get a little creative with your best Ferris Beuller movie reenactment ideas, and you could win a couple of tickets to fly friends into town to have a great "day off." Explore Chicago is sponsoring this Ferris Foursquare mission today and tomorrow. Leave your ideas on this Foursquare Facebook wall post to enter.

A City of Kitties

Our contact at Chicago Animal Care and Control (2741 S. Western) tells me that they have an abnormally high number of cats (of all ages) right now and are hoping you (yes, you) will come adopt one soon. Adoption hours end at 7pm nightly.

Poster Artists Speak Type Their Minds

If you've ever wanted to know more about your favorite show posters, tune in Wednesday at 1pm at the Rock for Kids' website to pose questions to some awesome rock poster artists. The nonprofit's new online interview series launches this week with Jay Ryan of the Bird Machine and continues Friday and next week. More in Slowdown.

Fountains of Blood for the Blackhawks

The fountain at Daley Plaza has been dyed red in honor of the Blackhawks -- either that or GWAR is back in town. Oh, wait.

Lights, Action, Design

Lightology, the locally based largest contemporary lighting showroom in North America, is having a design contest. The concept must feature at least one foot of Lightology's LED Soft Strip, and prizes include a $2,000 Lightology gift card and a feature in i4 design magazine. More details here.

Genderqueers Have a Field Day

Genderqueer Chicago, a support and discussion group for people who don't identify with strict male/female gender types, is holding a picnic and field day in Humboldt Park tomorrow.

Speed-painting the Indian Head

Next Wednesday, June 2, Mahoney's will host the artist known as "Elliott from Art Beat" for a live painting of the Blackhawks logo during the Hawks' first Stanley Cup match. The painting will be auctioned off to benefit March of Dimes.

Recycled Clothes

Speaking of Tavi, she notes a green and recycled fashion show coming up this Friday at Salvage One: Revamped, presented by Earth Share of Illinois.

Does Your Co-Worker Look Different?

WGN Midday asks the question we have all been thinking: Would you get plastic surgery if you believed it would help you keep your job? Submit your thoughts to their poll.

Kiddieland Train Rides Again

If you thought you'd kissed your last chance to ride the Kiddieland Train goodbye when Kiddieland in Melrose Park closed last year, then buck up. Hesston Steam Museum in La Porte, Indiana will be letting you ride the Kiddieland Limited rails again beginning on Memorial Day Weekend.

Night of the Living Prom Date

Zombie Prom proves zombies are the meme that just won't die.

SUElebration Time

The Field Museum's chatty T-Rex named Sue is turning 10 years old (well, give or take 60 million) and the museum's having a party and a fancy online auction.

Living Off Groupon

Chicagoan Josh Stevens is the winner of Groupon's "Live Off Groupon for a Year" contest. He's started blogging the experience already. [via]

Hug Your Crossing Guard Today

Why? Because it's Crossing Guard Appreciation Day! (It's also Star Wars Day, so hug your favorite Jedi, too.)

Consult Your Timetables

National Train Day is Saturday, May 8, and there's lots of stuff planned for Chicago's celebration at Union Station.

The First Time...

What was your first time like? Hear others tell their tale at CHIRP Radio's inaugural reading event, tonight at Uncommon Ground Devon. (There are a couple other readings tonight, too.)

The Dudes' Abodes

Apartment Therapy is looking for some guys who have a room in need of a do-over. Lucky for you, Chicago is one of their five selected metro areas (but sorry, ladies, this project is for boys only). Apply by May 24.

Find Yourself in the Cosmos

That's pretty cool: an Earth Day geocaching challenge whose treasures create a planetary model of the Solar System, with the Adler Planetarium as the Sun. [via]

Road Trip Idea: Sock Monkey Museum

Just a quick jaunt down 90 to Rockford will lead you to the Sock Monkey Museum, chock full of more sock monkeys than you can imagine.

Watch for the Shuttle Early Tomorrow

If the weather is good, Chicago will be able to see the space shuttle Discovery on its reentry trajectory to Kennedy Space Center tomorrow morning. The shuttle should pass over Chicago sometime between 6:05 and 6:15am, traveling from northwest to southeast. (Thanks, Sandy!)

Love Blooms at Lincoln Hall

Last night, Scott popped a very big question at the Cloud Cult show.

Happy Global Social Media Holiday

It's Foursquare Day -- connect with your fellow Mayors and badge-unlockers, and enjoy special deals at participating businesses when you check in.

Chicago's Got Talent (We Hope)

The Chicago Theatre will be hosting auditions for the next season of reality/variety show "America's Got Talent" on April 27th and 28th. If you're interested in seeing what our fine city has to offer, for better or for worse, free tickets are currently available.

Get Crafty

Crafters, if you're looking to up your (business) game, CraftyCon may be for you. It's being held here in Chicago this October.

Extend Your Taxes (Like a Boss)

Speaking of taxes, Rockstar CPA will once again help folks file their income tax extensions for free. Look for them at Alliance Bakery from 10am to 10pm April 14 and at Small Bar on Division from noon to midnight on the 15th.

Sleep(walk)ing around River North

Ever watch the Amazing Race and think you could do it -- if it weren't for the jetlag? Take part in the River North Sleep Around Challenge, and you won't even need to leave the 312 area code. The Challenge Starts at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza and ends up at Martini Park. Along the way, there are stops at seven hotels that will provide challenges and refreshments. Lots of prizes will be offered. Tickets available from the River North Business Association.

Drink Like Your Life No Longer Depends On It

That's right, the Zombie Pub Crawl is back. Sign-up opens this Saturday for the April 24 invasion of Andersonville.

Celebrating Michael

Tickets for the first-ever MJ Fanvention, to be held Aug. 26-29 in Merrillville, IN, went on sale today.

Craigslist Rally Car

Jalopnik tells the incredible tale of Bill Caswell, "an unemployed Chicago racing freak" who bought a $500 BMW off Craigslist and entered a championship rally race in Mexico against cars costing upwards of $400,000 -- and came in third in his class. Here's a write-up from his co-driver.

Rock'em Sock'em Robots!

The FIRST Robotics Competition Midwest Regional is going on right now at the UIC Pavilion. Can't make it? You can still watch on the live webcam.

Your Name in Lights

ExploreChicago.org, Metromix and Red Eye are teaming up for "Movie Madness," in which teams of people will attempt to visit movie locations and check in with Foursquare. The winners will get their name on the Chicago Theatre marquee.

Boys Don't Make Passes

...and it's their loss. A quick lineup of cute, bespectacled Chicagoans.

Flip Madness!

Are you the master of flip cup? Form a team of four (or sign up solo and meet new friends) for Flip Madness — a flip cup tournament on 3/27 at Mad River benefiting Rock for Kids. Beer, food, entertainment provided. Details in Slowdown.

Chickens and Organic Chemistry Don't Mix

A prank in a Northwestern o-chem class ends badly for the chicken.

Celebrate Chicago's 173rd Birthday

Take in musical performances from the Latin School Jazz Band and have a slice of Bleeding Heart Bakery's Chicago-style birthday cake for free at The Chicago History Museum--where else? The festivities begin at 10:30am, March 4. And, if you share a birthday with the Windy City, you'll receive a special certificate signed by the mayor.

The Wave of the Future, Dude

Bowlers, get out your calendars: Lebowski Fest returns to Chicago Sept. 17 & 18.

Twitterer in Chief

Who will take over as Obama's social networks manager? A.V. Club Chicago suggests some local options.

Fighting Refinement

I hereby nominate the upcoming mixed martial arts show at the Chicago Theatre as the weirdest collision of venue and event in some time.

Jeudi Gras

Mardi gras is next Tuesday, but Thrillist is getting les bon temps rolling early with a party at Double Door tonight. You're invited, of course.

The Looooove Hotel

Want to make this Valentine's Day special? A.V. Club Chicago has a list of area themed lovers' hotels.

Walking Dead Breach Chicago Suburb

The zombie flick A Chance in Hell is set in 1944 Germany, but is currently being filmed in 2010 Elgin. Braaiinnns and Nazis and staggering undead hordes, oh my!

More Words and Pictures

Fifteen illustrators, including Chicagoan Laura Park, draw out a scene from their favorite books. [via]

Drawings Every Hour on the Hour

It's Hourly Comic Day, and more than a few Chicago artists are following John Campbell's (Pictures for Sad Children) lead and sequentially documenting each hour of wakefulness.

If Unmarried, Accessorize with an Air of Desperation

If you wear a wedding dress or tuxedo to the Field Museum on February 13, admission is free and you'll be eligible to win prizes. I'd say "Insert Miss Havisham joke here," but Sue already did.

Bloggers on Ice

Are you a blogger? Do you enjoy sliding around with metal blades on your feet? Then Blogger Industry Night is for you! Gapers Block is co-sponsoring the event with Explore Chicago, the Printers Ball and the Chicago Publishers Gallery. Join other Chicagoland bloggers on the ice at the Millennium Park Ice Rink from 7 to 11pm Feb. 5, and warm up in the Park Grill with complimentary apps and a cash bar. More info and RSVP on Facebook. (We're also co-sponsoring a Flickr meet-up on Feb. 6!)

Crafty Cards FTW

For those creatively inclined Valentine's Day lovers, Andersonville and Lakeview card and frame shops Foursided and Twosided want to see your best handmade Valentine's cards. Winner gets $50 gift certificate. Deadline 2/7. Details and rules.

Thinking About Cities

This weekend, dozens of folks interested in the intersection of government and the web will be meeting at City Camp. Tickets are still available if you'd like to be one of them.

From the Top

Margaret Hicks wants to show you Chicago, elevated: her Pedway Tour takes you through over 40 city blocks connecting some of the city's defining buildings. [via]

Never Say Neverland

Construction of a Michael Jackson entertainment complex is expected to begin this year in the Jackson family hometown of Gary, Indiana.

No Pants CTA Ride

On Sunday, about 200 people met at the Granville Red Line stop and rode the train downtown as part of the international No Pants Subway Ride Day. Here's video (1, 2) and photos from the event.

One Day Only: Quimby's Becomes Svymby's

Hey, Chicago hipster old-timers (and young-timers): Steven Svymbersky, founder of Quimby's, is visiting from Amsterdam and hanging out at the store (1854 W. North Ave.) today from 1 to 5 p.m. He'd love to see all his old friends, so stop by!

01-02-2010

Lynn Sweet points out that today is a palindrome! The date is the same backwards and forwards.

Finding Santa in Streeterville and San Juan

NORAD is on the case--and even if you think it's impossible to lojack Santa, you're obviously wrong.

Deck The Hall With...Um, What?

Tiny Miller Park Zoo in downstate Bloomington is selling a unique holiday accoutrement: ornaments made of reindeer dung. Don't laugh; they've made $20,000 off of them.

Karaoke + Tamales + Beer = NYE?

If the equation above sounds like heaven to you, get yourself signed up for Señor Rory Lake's New Year's Tamale Dreams while there's still room.

Naperville's Full of Ideas Worth Spreading

You've heard of TED, right? Well, next March you're invited to TEDx Naperville.

Christmas Trees for All

Chicago's Christmas Ship is both an actual ship and a charity, providing Christmas trees for needy families. The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw performs this mission at Navy Pier today from 1:30 to 5pm. (You can help via donations or simply by purchasing Goose Island's Christmas Ale.)

Forget Black Friday, Shop This Weekend

So many opportunities to do your holiday shopping hand-made/local/independent this weekend! Come say hi to Gapers Block at the DIY Trunk Show this Saturday; pick up cool student art at SAIC's annual holiday show; or peruse the Modern Vintage Holiday Market for neat vintage stuff.

Dancing in State Street

Consider yourself invited to DanceNOWChicago's next guerrilla dance party. Time? 6:45 pm on Wednesday, November 18. Venue? The crosswalk between the southwest and southeast corners of State and Lake. The song? David Bowie and Mick Jagger's cover of "Dancing in the Streets". Visit DanceNOWChicago's blog for more details.

Green and Gone

This Saturday (10am-noon), gather up your unwanted paper debris and head down to the parking lot in front of Jewel, Kmart, and Staples near Ashland and Division: WPB is teaming up with Secure EcoShred to tear up your printed materials for free. 3 box/bag limit, $5 box/bag after that.

Celebrate Designing Obama Tonight

The book Designing Obama overshot its Kickstarter funding goal of $65,000 by more than $15,000 -- and the Post Family is celebrating with a launch party tonight at 7pm.

Your Own Personal MST3K Moment

If you think karaoke isn't embarrassing enough, you might be interested in Movieoke, which -- you guessed it -- allows you to act out scenes from movies. Chicago Movieoke is at the Whistler tonight at 8pm, with additional dates later in the month.

Instant Costumes and Creepy Buttons

In a pinch for a costume or just like parties? Join Busy Beaver Buttons and Uncle Fun on Halloween for a night of novelty at the Uncle Fun HQ in Lakeview. Details at Busy Beaver Button's Facebook page or check out their blog for recent winners of their Halloween button design contest (judged by Svengoolie himself!). Details in Slowdown.

Front Line for the Singularity

When the machines rise against us, the folks at Chibots, the Chicago robot club, will be ready.

Guerilla Thriller

DanceNOWChicago's dance #2 takes place at 7:30 tonight in Hamlin Park. Dancers, get the late Michael Jackson's "Thriller" on your iPod (or favorite portable music device with headphones) and be sure to wear your finest zombie finest. More details here.

Embossing the Future of Design

Bevel-Emboss is a brand new monthly networking event for print and web designers in Chicago. The first is at Bottom Lounge on Nov. 5; sign up and show up with some business cards.

Michael Jackson & John Wayne Gacy Walk Into a Bar...

Find out the punchline at The Dead Celebrity Pub Crawl this Saturday; register here.

Kids, Get Your Game On!

Young inventors (ages 6-18) have about a week to reserve a spot in this year's Chicago Toy & Game Fair Young Inventor Challenge, which takes place during the convention on November 21. Full rules here.

The Farney Lights

Plenty of people do over-the-top Christmas light displays. Michael Farney in Forest Park tries to bring the same excitement to Halloween. (To be fair, he does Christmas, too.)

Zombie Strippers

Yep, you read that right. Admiral Theater is hosting Night of the Stripping Dead next Wednesday, Oct. 14. There will be zombies at every level of decay and undress, from nude to burlesque to a (sexily clothed) zombie pin-up contest. You can take advantage of makeup artists to get zombified yourself, too.

Finally Landing at O'Hare

Greg Krause arrives home in Chicago today after using JetBlue's 30-day All You Can Jet Pass to fly around the world raising money for a school in Zambia.

The Man of a Thousand...er, Bras?

Meet The Bra Man. He collects bras. No, really, bras. He has more than a thousand of them. Yeah, we know. But it's for a good cause, so...yeah.

School of Too Much Light

The Neo-Futurists are still enrolling for fall classes, where ensemble members lead their studious flock through the creation of new two-minute plays in the style of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. More here and here.

The Re-Beckoning of the Lovely

Amy Krause Rosenthal and friends returned to The Bean on Sept. 9 and created another video.

Dead Men (and Women) Walking

Can't wait for Halloween? Well, slip on your finest undead fashion and catch a free screening of Zombieland this Thursday.

Free Chocolate!

Like candy and NASCAR? Satisfy both cravings when racer Kyle Bush hands out free Mars chocolate bars next Thursday at Pioneer Plaza. Why the free candy? Well, apparently Chicago was voted the city most in need of "sweet relief". Whatever, just hand over the Snickers.

Hold That Balloon

There are several ways to march in the Thanksgiving Day Parade: become a prominent politician, join a high school marching band -- or volunteer to wrangle the balloon floats or clean up after CPD horses.

Yo Ho Ho, Etc.

As part of their Real Pirates exhibition, the Field Museum is pulling out the stops for International Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19) with pirate re-enactors, sword fights, treasure hunts, and more. Can I hear an ahrrrrr?

Just Getting Started for ItWasOverWhen.com

Evolving out of beta testing never looked so sultry. User-contributed relationship confessional sites, ItWasOverWhen.com and ItWasLoveWhen.com is seeking couples (or extroverted singles) to lock lips and help with their redesign at their launch party. More details in Slowdown.

She Will Walk 1,000 Miles

Loreen Niewenhuis has been taking a really long walk on the beach. Since March, she's hoofed it from Chicago through Indiana, up through Michigan, down through Wisconsin, following the shoreline in her attempt to walk all the way around Lake Michigan. She finishes the last leg of her trek at Navy Pier on September 26.

Vote for the Blue Buddha

Rebeca Mojica started Blue Buddha Boutique after a successful PR career, a sojourn in Germany, and a curious run-in with chainmaille. Got that? Since, the Chicago company's gone gangbusters creating handmade jewelry, educating the masses, and supporting local causes. They're now nominated as an "inspiring small business" in the Shine A Light competition from American Express and NBC Universal, in the running for up to $100,000 in grants and marketing support. Learn more and endorse them (before Sunday the 13th) by following the instructions here.

Desperately Seeking Waldo

Just when you thought you distinguished him among those blasted barber shop poles, Waldo and his friends have managed to lose themselves again--this time in downtown Chicago. Dawn your red and white garb and try to find him this Saturday with the Chicago Nerd Social Club.

The Puppet Economy

Humans aren't the only ones hurting these days.

Avoiding The Big O's Traffic Woes

Whether you're heading to Oprah's big Michigan Avenue bash, or trying to avoid it altogether, Chicagosphere and the Parking Ticket Geek have the lowdown on the best way to get around downtown as you head back to work tomorrow.

Mark Your Calendars

Ten must-do things this fall, courtesy of NewCity.

More than Kielbasa

Among all the other stuff going on this long weekend, you should try to make it to Taste of Polonia, which will open your mind to what Polish food can be -- and features the musical stylings of Poland's Sidney Polak among others.

Literature (in the) Buff

Naked Girls Reading is exactly what it sounds like: nude women reading literary works to an audience at Studio L'Amour. Of course, it's not for everyone, but if it's for you, you might even considering entering the "So You Wanna Be a Naked Girl" contest at this month's event, happening Friday. (NSFW, obviously.)

Pasties and Bowling Balls

Tickets are going fast for both Lebowski Fest and "Rollin' Outta Here Naked: A Big Lebowski Burlesque" -- which will be making a special appearance at the Fest in addition to its September run at Gorilla Tango Theater.

Party with Gapers Block!

We've been teasing it on Twitter for a couple weeks, and we've finally announced it: the 6th annual Gapers Block Party! Next Friday, Sept. 4, we'll be at the Metro with Nikki Lynette, The Hood Internet, Blane Fonda and Panda Riot -- plus other fun stuff! Free before 9:30pm, $6 after -- kick off your Labor Day Weekend right!

Fun Shows Up In A Paper Hat

If someone handed you a paper hat this evening on a CTA Brown Line train, you were one of the lucky few players in the Paper Hat Game, a game invented by Scotty Iseri, local musician, performer and star of "Scotty Got An Office Job". Scotty's moving away soon, and so tonight's Paper Hat Game was the final one in Chicago. Unless, of course, you wanted to continue the tradition...

Air Attack

Don't fret, the rushing of jets you hear is just practice flights for the Chicago Air & Water Show this weekend. (Seems a bit early, but oh well.)

Breakfast Club Burlesque

Speaking of John Hughes, here's an unusual tribute: Burlesque maven Ms. Bea Haven's beginner's burlesque class at The Galaxie this Saturday will dance to an all-John Hughes movie soundtrack. (Not sure if she'll teach Ally Sheedy's Breakfast Club dance moves.)

Argggg... Pirates in Lake Michigan

As part of an anti-terrorism training exercise, the FBI and Chicago police will commandeer the cruise ship Odyssey in Lake Michigan by Navy Pier at 6 am Thursday.

Everything Is Terrible! Live!

Everything Is Terrible, the video Website that digs up all sorts of crazy mind-blowing footage, is doing a screening next Monday in Chicago. Yes, they will have copies of their new DVD on hand for purchase. Details in Slowdown.

Heavy Petting

As part of the Shedd Aquarium's re-opened marine mammal pavilion, visitors can now spend $200 to play with and pet a whale. Those who ante up get to wade into the Grainger Beluga Encounter Habitat, help trainers give behavioral instructions, and scratch some whale tongue.

No, BlogHer is NOT This Weekend

But from all the buzz, you'd think it is. Never too early to prep, folks; even though the main BlogHer Conference is sold out (there is a waitlist), BlogHer Business (happening this Thursday) still has space.

The Final Layer

This year's Layer Tennis season comes to a close today at 2pm with a championship match between designers Shaun Inman and Gregory Hubacek. (Neither is from Chicago, but that's OK -- the stadium is.)

Poetry With An Attitude

The Examiner takes a look at one of the granddaddies of the Chicago open mike poetry scene, the raucus Monday night poetry night at Weeds. Featuring (as host Gregorio Gomez puts it) "some of the best, some of the worse and some of the most indifferent poetry in Chicago."

Zombies Trade Make-up Tips

Don't be such an undead schlub! Improve upon your zombiehood at Zombie-Con this Saturday at the Comic Vault. Come as you are, or as you will be after you're bitten.

Next Stop: Lollapalooza

FoGB, designer, (and frequent festival photographer) George Aye snapped a pic of his special Lollapalooza edition CTA transit cards which are showing up in station vending machines now. He snagged his at Logan Square.

Sadly, no "Druggachusetts"

Wondering what you missed at the highly anticipated (and instantly sold-out) Bob, David and Friends show this weekend? Time Out Chicago has a review.

Shred On!

Sure, you've been meaning to get rid of those old bank statements you've been holding onto for years. Bring it to the United Center (Lot E) tomorrow. The Better Business Bureau is hosting a paper shredding event from 9 AM-2 PM, and you can bring up to ten boxes of paper to be shredded for free.

No Flies On Us...Well, Almost None

Think Barack Obama is the only president with Illinois connections who is now historically linked to a fly? Think again. (At least this other guy didn't have PETA breathing down his neck.)

Free MSI Friday

If the lines at the Shedd Aquarium are too long on Friday (we've heard reports of hour-plus waits and packed hallways during their free days this week), head on down to the Museum of Science & Industry for free general admission in honor of the museum's 76th birthday. [via]

The Other Side of the Summer of Love

The riot police from the 1968 Democratic Convention and 1969 "Days of Rage" are planning a reunion.

The Future of News

Speaking of journalism and how to pay for it, if you're interested in that sort of thing you should come to the Chicago Media Future Conference this Saturday afternoon, featuring panelists from Chicago Tribune, EbonyJet, EveryBlock, Gapers Block and more.

L.A.T.E. Ride

There are few things as enjoyable as riding a bike through the streets of Chicago during the late nights of summer. The L.A.T.E. Ride organizes a community of cyclists to do just that. It is Chicago's only midnight bike ride, and it takes place this year on Saturday/Sunday, July 11/12. Early bird registration has ended, but you can still save $5 if you register by June 30.

Feel the Wind in Your ... Um ... Hair

Start doing those sit-ups now: The Chicago version of the World Naked Bike Ride (and Skate!) is set for Saturday, June 13. Clothing is discouraged, but you shy types can probably get away with a discreet pair of boxers. Warning: There are photos on the site but they're probably NSFW.

Tune Up Your Non-Axe

Saturday night the Metro will be filled with the sounds of squealing guitars -- but none will be present. That's right, it's time for the US Air Guitar Championships. The Sun-Times interviewed last year's Chicago champ, Nordic Thunder, who's judging this year instead of competing due to an air guitar-related back injury.

Get Hitched by a DJ

Vocalo wants to marry you, on the radio, on Navy Pier.

All Your Bacon Are Belong To Us

Mark your calendars: BaconFest Chicago will be held October 25 in Logan Square's tony Stan Mansion.

Get Out of My Dreams

...and into Ferrari Guy For Hire's car. [via]

A Slightly Different Summer Camp

Building on the support offered by LayOffMoveOn, some folks affected by the crappy employment market are taking it face-to-face. LaidOffCamp, an ad-hoc gathering that's spread from San Francisco to New York to Dallas, comes to Chicago on June 10 to bring together unemployed and non-traditionally employed people (including freelancers, entrepreneurs and startups). Participants can join together to share ideas, connect, and empower one another in this free event.

I Love You, Clown

It may have been too late to join the March Against Clowns pub crawl last week, but there's still plenty of town to join the Clown for Chi-town pub crawl this weekend. Donations benefit the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Does The Drake Hotel Have The Best Restroom?

We'll soon find out, because the ladies' restroom at the hotel has been nominated as one of the 10 best restrooms in America. Voting is now live at bestrestroom.com; check out the list of nominations, see if you recognize any facilities in there, and then vote for your Number 1 choice (making all others Number 2).

And Aw-"Eh" We Go

Sign up now for Rental Car Rally, a weekend road race from Chicago to Toronto starting July 24. While registration costs $250, the winning team will win at least $1500 and a golden gas pump.

What Do You Do for Recreation?

That's right, Lebowski Fest returns to Chicago this September. Don't get caught out of your element.

Air Guitar Hero

If the thought of entering the The World Air Sex Championships gives you pause, maybe the Chicago regionals for The 2009 US Air Guitar Championships is more your speed. Or stroke, as it were.

I'll Have What She's Having

If you thought air guitar was titillating, you're gonna get schooled. The World Air Sex Championships are going on tour, and coming to Chicago June 14 at Logan Square Auditorium. Yes, that means contestants get up on stage and do it (fully clothed) with the air. Want to show how you can rock the air's world? Contact chris@airsexworldchampionships.com.

Oh, Drew, You Slay Me

Local cutup Drew Peterson doesn't let a little stint in jail kill his sense of humor, as he took a stab at comedy on the Mancow & Cassidy show on WLS-AM. Prison jokes are always a hit, especially when they're done... by a guy in prison.

I Hate You, Clown

March Against Clowns, a pub crawl, is happening this Saturday. Clown haters/beer lovers, this one's for you. UPDATE: Damn, looks like registration is closed. Maybe you could go dressed as a clown to torment them.

Trip The Bride Fantastic

Dancing with Brides is like "Dancing With The Stars" only for regular folks who aren't quite so addicted to spray tanning and glitter. Sorta. Brides Magazine's instructional dance workshop for couples comes to The Drake Hotel on Sunday, May 31. Not only can prospective brides and grooms learn some smooth first dance moves, they may also get a chance to win $10,000. Check Slowdown for details.

Put in a Drive-Thru Already!

For the second time in as many months a cab has crashed into the front doors of Petterino's restaurant at Dearborn and Randolph. Man, the food must be REALLY good there.

Unicorns And Rifles

Apparently Chicago gangs in the 1970s and 1980s had their own business cards.

Paragraph Events

Pilcrow Lit Fest kicks off Sunday with a reading at the Whistler and a cocktail party at Matilda's. So what if it's a school night?

Run for the Buck

If you're into philanthropy, running, and winning Lollapalooza tickets I've got just the activity for you. On May 30, participate in the Buckingham Foundation 5K Fun Run and help raise money to restore Buckingham Fountain. All racers have a chance to win two 3-day passes to Lollapalooza.

To the Shores of Tripoli Chicago

Don't be alarmed by the increased number of men in uniform or helicopters overhead: it's just the first-ever Marine Week, running today through the 17th.

A Virtual Birthday Fundraiser

The Local Tourist's Theresa Carter's birthday is Friday, and she's using the occasion to attempt to raise $20,000 for pediatric cancer research with Endure to Cure. Later this summer she'll be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro for the cause as well.

If You're Dreaming About Wisconsin

Write about your favorite Wisconsin experience and win a free two-night cabin stay in Minocqua, Wisc. for up to six people. The owners of two woodsy cabins are running the contest, and every entrant gets 10 percent off a future stay. Video/photos also welcome, unless it's your tale of skinny dipping gone awry. Details here.

Witches Melt, Zombies Don't

Despite the rain, the second annual Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl staggered through Andersonville Saturday. Here are lots of bloody photos from the event.

An "Industry" Conference

Chicago Sexpo is nearly upon us. And of course it's at Excalibur. (Do I really have to say NSFW?)

Get Close to Spidey on Broadway

An open casting call for Spiderman: Turn Off the Dark - Directed by Julie Taymor, with music and lyrics by Bono and The Edge - will be held May 7 in Chicago at a location to be announced. (The musical opens in New York Feb. 18, 2010.) For more information, email the producers or visit Spiderman on Broadway.

Add Some Local Culture to Your Outdoor Time

It's a beautiful weekend, Chicago. Based on the smiles I've seen on people's faces so far, there is a lot to fall in love with in the city. Including the CHIRP Record Fair which is happening at Plumber's Hall on Saturday and Sunday. (Gapers Block will be there on Sunday so come say howdy.) And if you're more likely to be entertained by antiques, artifacts, and cool designer crafts, then the Spring Show at Architectural Artifacts is where you'll want to be. Speaking of crafts, Chicago's premier of Handmade Nation is taking place tonight at Columbia College.

Grab Your Snuggie and Go!

The Snuggie Pub Crawl is tomorrow, and there are still some tickets left!

Threadless: Multiplying Like...You Know

This Saturday, keep a keen eye open for these adorable bunny boxes from Chicago t-shirt shop Threadless. They'll be placed in random locations and they're filled with something better than chocolate: gift certificates!

Outdoor Films Announced

Get set for Tuesdays at Butler Field with your favorite stars of the silver screen. This year's Outdoor Film Festival features have been announced, and they sure don't disappoint. Full list after the jump.

This Year's Films are Sunset Boulevard (July 14), Duck Soup (July 21), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (July 28), Born Yesterday (Aug. 4), Psycho (Aug. 11), Young Mr. Lincoln (Aug. 18) and Tootsie (Aug. 25).

Beer for Brains

The Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl returns to Andersonville in a couple weeks. More details in Slowdown.

BaconFest Cometh

That's right, an entire festival devoted to your favorite pork product, right here in Chicago. Follow @baconfestchi on Twitter or join the Facebook group.

Lights Out Saturday Night

Don't forget to turn off your lights from 8:30 to 9:30 tomorrow night as part of Earth Hour. Chicago's a flagship city for the global effort -- sort of a rolling blackout on a planetary scale.

Get Stimulated

The new Stimulus Social Club has two goals: network socially conscious professionals in a laid back atmosphere, and help out a local charitable organization. Its first event is next Wednesday, April 1, at Rockit Bar & Grill. Your $10 admission gets you apps and your first drink, and benefits Step Up Women's Network. RSVP here.

State Staycation

The Illinois Tourism Board is promoting its new "Find Your Getaway Match" promotion with a mock game show at 700 N. Michigan Ave. Thursday from 11:30am to 1pm, in which you could win one of seven two-day trips to Illinois cities, including Quincy, Galena and lovely Chicago.

File for April 15

Make a note of this: Martin Kamenski of Rockstar CPA will be at Alliance Bakery from 10am to 10pm on April 14 and at Small Bar on Division from noon to midnight on April 15, filing income tax extensions for anyone, for free. (Brave man.) First come, first served.

Master Strippers

The Admiral Theater's hosting a little bit of economic stimulus for some lucky ladies with their "So You Think You Can Strip" contest. If you've got what it takes, you can compete in the four-week competition for $15,000 in cash and prizes. The winner will get a trip to Las Vegas to compete in the national finals. [Via]

Geek Chic

The Chicago Nerd Social Club aims to prove that nerd is the new cool in 2009.

Do Not Pass Go

Have you spied any more Monopoly-themed graffiti around Chicago? [via]

A Lovely Day For A Counter Protest

Members of Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church appeared on the campus of the University of Chicago yesterday to protest President Barack Obama's ties to the university's law school. The U of C community was there to welcome them with a counter protest. A counter protest which included marshmallows and fraternity brothers in boxers, apparently. More pictures from the day's events can be found here.

Funeral for a Funeral Museum

The New York Times writes about the Museum of Funeral Customs down in Springfield, which finds itself on the verge of death due to lack of funding. Too bad -- it seems like a logical road trip destination starting from the International Museum of Surgical Sciences here in Chicago.

9 Girls, 1 Hotel Room

Sleepover 2.0 is an overnight show featuring nine women in a room at Hotel Sax, talking about all sorts of things and streaming it live on the Internet from 4pm Saturday till 10am Sunday.

50 Years of Fruit Flies

Speaking of the Drosophila Research Conference, the Tribune has a fun look at some of the odd names mutant fruit flies are given.

Avast, Ye Landlubbers

The Chicago Maritime Festival will be weighing anchor at the Chicago History Museum Saturday. Details in Tailgate.

Not Just Any Old Pinups

What happens when you get a dozen fabulous female cyclists together in Chicago, introduce some introspection and give one of them a camera? The Thought You Knew Us Pinup Calendar, of course. Twelve Chicago cyclists, ranging from road warriors to bike messengers to everyday saddle lovers got together to explore public perception of women cyclists and to raise money for the Chicago Women's Health Center which keeps many of them on the road. Learn more, including where you can get your own here.

Things My Beard Can Lift

Eamon Daly takes the mustache for charity meme a step further: he will endeavor to lift successively heavier objects using only his beard, all to raise money for the Off the Street Club. His first lift, of 7lbs., occurs Friday -- see photos of practice lifts here.

Looking for Love?

Nerds at Heart is throwing a Love Fest at Holiday Club tonight from 7 to 10pm. You never know, you might land a Valentine's date out of it.

Take Meme, Add Booze

Snuggie pub crawl.

The Curious Case of Abraham Lincoln

Well, not the late president himself, but his bust which sits at 69th and Walcott on the South Side and has undergone some interesting changes. Update: Here are two other shots of Abe.

The Economy (St)inks

As the economy continues to take a nosedive, even tattoo parlors are beginning to fill the pinch.

Get Your Carts Ready

The 2009 Chiditerod grocery cart race is now accepting team applications. Race is March 7.

Are You Buzz-Worthy?

The folks from Butterfinger Buzz, a new caffeinated version of the candy bar, want to give you $100. You just need to get a buzz cut on February 12 and have the company's logo spray-painted on your head. The first 25 who do it will get a $100 giftcard. (You'll also be eligible for more prizes.) Hosts promise the orange color will wash out in time for Valentine's Day. Check Slowdown for more details.

Twitter + Festival = ?

Something called a Twestival rears its head next week, and you're all invited. It's a charity event to benefit charity: water, whose aim is to provide fresh drinking water worldwide. Details about Chicago's event here.

Should Be a Swingin' Time

The first annual Chicago Polyamory Conference will be held in Rolling Meadows at the end of March.

Goofy Friday Afternoon Diversion

GrubHub and Metromix staffers are competing Rock Band throwdown in the Tribune Tower at 3:30pm. While you can't go watch, you can follow along as they live-tweet: @GrubHub and @Metromix.

I Want You to Want Me

A lovesick security guard planned a startling attack on a hospital employee in order to get her shaken, then discarded his disguise and returned to comfort her. It also got the attention of the cops.

Swearing In, 20 Feet Tall

If you can make it to Rosemont next Tuesday, you can watch the inauguration live on a movie screen, courtesy of MSNBC. HollywoodChicago has the details. UPDATE: It'll be showing at Landmark Century Center, too.

Var det en 22 eller en 36?*

Perhaps it's one of those Jerry-Lewis-is-big-in-France deals, but for some reason the CTA Bus Tracker is popular in Norway, receiving 15,000-plus hit from that country, more than any other country outside of the U.S. *Incidentally, the headline translates to "Was that a 22 or a 36?", a pretty popular phrase among CTA users.

A Cut Above

What's in a name? A lot of you're trying to run a successful Loop hair salon and you have the misfortune if your business has the same name as one of the most despised men in the world. But switch a few letters around and you're on the cutting edge again. (Previously.)

Pants Optional

Saturday was Improv Everywhere's No Pants Day on trains around the world. Chicago's entry got some press; photos from the event are here.

Hendry Way Surprise to City

Some honorary street signs for 'Jim Hendry Way,' honoring the Cubs general manager, were put up in Park Ridge recently, but city officials were not informed of the plan. Apparently nobody can figure out why the signs were posted, and the only explanation that IDOT gives is that the order came "from the governor's office." Uh oh...

Another New Grad on the Job Market

An 80-year-old man received his associates degree in General Studies from Harper College.

Do They Sell 'Just For Presidents'?

Usually it takes four years in office for it to happen, but grey hair has already been spotted sprouting on Barack Obama's head. Judge for yourself here (from a 2007 photo) and here (on the cover of Rolling Stone from this year).

Jones Big Ass New Years Eve

Did you really like that spoof commercial for Jones Big Ass Truck Rental and Storage? If so, you may want to pick up tickets for New Years at the Lakeshore Theater -- they're only $20 and Robert L. Hines (aka "Toby Jones") performs and debuts his follow-up commercial.

Two Wheels, Times Two

Double Bike Match launched today: donate to World Bicycle Relief through the site and an angel will match it, so that two bikes can be purchased for needy people.

Ain't Nobody Here But Us...

The latest hip urban trend? Raising chickens in your backyard. Says one owner: "They're like pets with eggs." Yeah, but most pets don't have their young eaten by the owner so, you know, not quite the same. (Here's a classic from our archives.)

Chilled Braaaaiiins

Hey, did you miss Chicago Zombie's Zombies on Ice yesterday? There's plenty of photos on Flickr of the event at the Millennium Park skating rink, and a nice Sun-Times article on the event. The Sun-Times also mentions that SantaCon Chicago was at the rink on Saturday, but of course the drunken Santas were less behaved than those mild-mannered nice young zombies.

Crazy Flipper Fingers

Yes, in the age of Wii and Golden Tee, people still play pinball. In fact there's a "tournament of champions" going on in Schaumburg this weekend. You can still enter so you may want to start loosening up those fingers.

Jellified Holidays

In between all the other holiday parties this weekend, here's a freebie for you: Jelly Chicago and other local tech folks (including Gapes Block) are hosting a free holiday party at Noble Tree Coffee & Tea, 2444 N. Clark St., Saturday night at 10pm. It's free; just RSVP.

Who's the Zaniest Person in Chicago?

It appears to be Dobie Maxwell, who won Zanies' "Zaniest Person in Chicago" contest. Full list of winners at the Reader's blog.

Celebrate 25 Years of Ralphie

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the classic holiday movie A Christmas Story, based on author/screenwriter Jean Shepherd's childhood living in Hammond. To celebrate, the Lake County (IN) Convention & Visitor's Bureau is hosting "A Christmas Story Comes Home" now through January 11. The exhibit features animated displays from the movie, and special events throughout December include an ugliest lamp contest, "Mommy's little piggy" eating contest, the "Oh Fuuudge!" relay race, and an opportunity to meet Flick.

Vote and Get Fed Today

Many national chains are offering special free items if you vote (most, if not all, won't require you to show your "I Voted" sticker or slip as proof, either). Get in on some free coffee, donuts, chicken strips, or ice cream at participating businesses.

Gaming Live

On Nov. 15, the Chicago Theater will host Video Games Live, multimedia concert featuring music from popular videogames -- and they've offered Gapers Block readers a discount on tickets! Just use the code CTVGL7 for 20 percent off when you place your order.

Dinner and Obama

If you're a "hot chick" with a ticket to Tuesday night's sold out Barack Obama rally in Grant Park, Old Town resident Brad Feldman, 27, wants to take you out. If Brad's not your type, he's not alone.

I Am The Egg Ban, Goo Goo Ga Joob

To head off another "Great Egg War" this Halloween, an Evanston and Chicago alderman are asking area merchants to stop selling eggs to youths until after the holiday.

Chicago Going To The Dogs

...or rather the othe way around as this one pooch demonstrated. We knew the city was popular tourist destination, but...

Tickets to the Big Show

Tickets are now available to Obama's Election Night party in Grant Park. Get'em while they last. UPDATE: Sold out!

The Truth Is Out There...In Tinley Park

The History Channel devotes a whole hour Wednesday to UFO sightings in Illinois, including some weird glowing orbs in the Tinley Park skies.

Hero Worship

The MY HERO Project and Looking for Lincoln Heritage Coalition have teamed up to create the "Looking for Your Lincoln Hero" contest as one of the many events that will mark the bicentennial anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth. To enter, write an essay or create artwork that depicts the Abraham Lincoln-like qualities of a person you know. More details about the contest are here. According to the Tribune, winners receive a trip to Springfield to visit various Lincoln sites. The deadline is December 1.

Bent Coat Hangers Oh My!

Sure you tell your friends you don't believe in ghosts, but deep down you still love those Time-Life Mysteries of the Unknown books. Well find out if there's anything normal in the paranormal at the Science of Spooky. Details in Slowdown.

Don't Play Games with Me!

Today Nov.15 is National Gaming Day at public libraries across the country. According to this map, only two CPL branches -- Mayfair and South Shore -- are participating, but you could probably find someone to play chess against at most branches.

On Your Mark...

Somewhere in the city, a gas station is going to offer petrol for 99 cents a gallon between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., thanks to a local car insurer. The catch: You have to sign up for a free quote on the insurer's website and won't find out the location until just prior to the event.

At Least They Had Umbrellas

While it kept some indoors, the wet weather didn't dissuade everyone from taking part in Improv Everywhere's Chicago Mp3 Experiment a few weeks back. Luckily, those who didn't make it can still live vicariously through some just-posted photos and videos of the soggy event.

Tattoo You

Lakeview resident Marco Paiz is making his torso available for tattoo practice. The Sun-Times reports that "he's open to an artist's ideas -- as long as they don't include swastikas, Satanic symbols or 'something totally crazy.'" You mean crazy like offering your torso to tattoo artists for free?

That Must Have Been An Awesome Spot

Barbara and Lee Mitchell of Glencoe got a parking ticket in the amount of $9,501,071.

Face/Off

In time for the last debate tonight, as previously noted, you can download, print, and don the mask of your favorite political candidate.

Yes We Carve

RSVP now to the Chicago chapter of Yes We Carve, a pro-Obama and pro-pumpkin project. The group has posted lots of swell stencils on their site, and will have a Chicago meet & carve on 10/21 in Hyde Park. See Slowdown for details.

Looking for a Scare?

Every year around this time, our 2004 Ask the Librarian column about the best haunted houses in Chicagoland starts getting lots of hits. I just made a couple updates, but it's basically still accurate four years later. (If you don't want to travel out of the city for a fright, the Park District hosts the Haunted Sanitarium in Lincoln Park and the Haunted Beach House at 63rd Street Beach, plus Trails of Terror in Peterson Park.)

A Restaurant with Wireless (not that kind)

A Chinese restaurant in Urbana, IL (if you know which one, let me know) has started using a wireless remote to let customers summon their waiter for food, water, the check, or just regular old attention. Makes me want to roadtrip for some ma po tofu.

Political Papercraft

Want to get crafty during the debate tonight? You can play some Palin Bingo, try your hand at a Build-O-Bama, or any of these Obama-themed craft projects. [via]

Got an MP3 Player, T-Shirt, Umbrella and a Balloon?

Improv Everywhere, the New York-based group of pranksters (you may remember their work from a This American Life episode several years ago), will be holding the first Chicago MP3 Experiment this Sunday in Lincoln Park.

Hey! That's My Stop!

Want to show some love to your favorite El stop (and if you have favorite El stop that might be a sign of something altogether different)? The CTA unveils its new online gift shop with items featuring various city stations. And who doesn't need a train system shower curtain?

His Swan Song

It's been called "Wrigley Field North" for the way that Cubs fans take over Miller Park when their team plays there. That sort of exhuberance cost one man his job. But then he works for the Brewers so you can see where that might be a problem.

Free Bliss

This Saturday, Sivananda Yoga offers a free Intro To Yoga open house. Or, alternatively, Screenz in Lincoln Park is offering free gaming until Wednesday while they test out their new game room; call store for info.

Things You Don't See Every Day

Mayor Daley in a floating chair. (Check out the magnetically levitating chaise lounge and other interesting stuff at Wired NextFest in Millennium Park for the next two weeks.

Giggles All Around

Head over to the monument at the center of Logan Square (Logan and Kedzie) this Saturday at 5:45pm for an ode to laughter through a cell phone-coordinated laughter symphony to the tune of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy."

Don't Forget to Feed the Meter

Today is National Park(ing) Day, and the Trust for Public Land has taken over some spots on the 1800 block of Milwaukee Avenue to raise awareness for the proposed Bloomingdale Trail.

Yar! Talk Like a Pirate Day is Here

Just like September 19ths of yore, today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. What better way is there to annoy your boss, amuse your coworkers, and blow off steam on a Friday? None. You can celebrate like some Geologists at NIU and plunder some bandwidth, or like a teacher in Lisle and emphasize your "Rrrr"s all day long. Or have some grog and call it a day.

Gourmet Discount

Thinking about going to Chicago Gourmet, the new high-end food and wine festival in Millennium Park next week? Use the code CG2008TEN when you buy your tickets and you'll get 10 percent off.

Out Of Bounds

A local high school football coach lost his job this week. No, not for producing a winless season. For robbing a bank. How many yards do you get penalized for that?

Arrgh! Kidrobot Is Coming

Fans of adult toys (no, not those kind) will be geeked to find out that Kidrobot is opening its first-ever Chicago-based pirate store here next month. The purveyor of vinyl art toys and apparel will open the store in Wicker Park from October 4 through December.

Be the Change

Today and tomorrow, the Sustainable Living Roadshow is at UIC with a wide-ranging program of exhibits and workshops on how to live more green. It's free, from 10am to 7pm both days.

Armed and Fabulous!

The FBI is on the hunt for the "Cross-Dressing Bandit", who robbed a Park Ridge bank wearing a black and pink dress, pink sun hat and white gloves. For a dangerous felon, he manages to stay well-coordinated.

Putting the Porn in "Foodporn"

How soon do you think before the protests start over this provocative ad for Cabana Cachaça on the Near West Side?

An Amazing Race

Looking for something a little different for this weekend? Get some friends together and enter the High Trek Adventure Chicago -- part scavenger hunt, part trivia challenge, part bar crawl.

Scrabble for Your Cheatin' Heart

Finally, you can cheat your way to success at Scrabble, and it's allowed. And it benefits children. 826 Chicago (the writing/tutoring nonprofit affiliated with Dave Eggers and the entire hipster universe) is hosting a benefit in October called Scrabble for Cheaters. The funds you raise allow you to buy "cheats." Like, for $400 you can reject your opponent's word for no reason. (If only everything worked that way... oh wait.) Details and sign-up at the 826 web site.

HOBO FEST! In Pullman!

At first I thought I was going to have to go all the way to Iowa next August to get my fix of Hobo culture and stew. Not true -- it appears that Pullman is having "Hobo Fest" this weekend on Saturday and Sunday. They want to make the largest batch of mulligan ever made in Chicago -- and you can be there to taste it.

Everybody Wasn't Kung-Fu Fighting

Shameless self-promotion: I interviewed rock and roll wrestler Bob Calhoun (aka Count Dante) about his new book Beer, Blood, and Cornmeal: Seven Years of Incredibly Strange Wrestling and did a little write-up for the Reader. Bob will be reading from BB&C at Quimby's tomorrow night.

The Beckoning of the Lovely

On August 8, dozens of people joined author Amy Krause Rosenthal in Millennium Park to do... something. This is what they did. (You can do it, too.)

Meet Some Dead Women of Influence

The Chicago Architecture Foundation will kick off a new tour soon featuring influential women in Chicago's history. The "Women of Influence Tour" will meet at Graceland Cemetery on select Saturday mornings starting September 6, and for the meager price of $10 (or free, if you're a CAF member) you'll learn about women who fought for civil rights, conducted the Underground Railroad and broke up the plot to kill President Abraham Lincoln...and see some pretty cool tombstones.

Pork My Ride

Even if you're a newer scooter rider (scooterer?), you should make your way to Slaughterhouse XIV this weekend. It's one of the country's biggest scooter rallies, and for $5 you get access to all sorts of events and rides, starting Thursday at Delilah's. Mount up!

Racing on Lake Shore

Ron from Big Happy Funhouse tipped us to this site dedicated to Robert Lester and Team Wink, amateur racer and one of several members of The Outer Drive Hero Drivers Club, which runs clue-based car rallies in Chicagoland even today.

A Long, Long Walk

John Greenfield walked from Milwaukee to Chicago, and wrote about it for New City. He wrote about some previous walks for GB.

The Bill Murray & Water Show

In case you missed the kick-off of the 50th annual Air & Water Show, featuring Bill Murray parachuting onto North Avenue Beach, the Tribune live-blogged it.

Put On Your Beer Goggles & Suit Up

It's time for the Chicago Bar Olympics, a tournament of bar games being held at 15 bars across the city. If you're not up for the travel, maybe just the Beer Olympics at either Mahoney's or Cortland's Garage would suffice.

08.08.08 @ 8:08

At 8:08pm on Friday, join Amy Krouse Rosenthal for a special "happening" to commemorate the special time and date convergence. The event, whatever it turns out to be, will be filmed by Steve Delahoyde. Look for the woman holding a yellow umbrella.

Flying Smurfs, Pizza, Mustache

The Flugtag organizers have posted sketches of this year's flying hopefuls. If you want to know more about the last event, they've got history there too.

Do-It-Yourself Superhero

Since the cast and crew of The Dark Knight didn't leave any of their cool equipment lying around after they filmed here, the Tribune tells you how to become a real life Batman. And looking at the total cost, no wonder Bruce Wayne was a millionaire playboy.

See You In Chicago

There are plans afoot to reenact the 1968 DNC protests. Tell your parents.

Star-Studded Air & Water Show

This year's Chicago Air and Water Show will have a boatload of celebrities on hand: Bill Murray will jump from a plane, Gary Sinise will perform with the Lt. Dan Band, and Florence Henderson will sing the National Anthem.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Turns 100

Chicago-based Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first sorority started by African-American college women, is turning 100. It's celebrating in D.C. with the "largest banquet style dinner in the history of conventions." Mattel's even commemorating the anniversary of the group with the AKA Centennial Barbie.

Chicago: It's No Cowpie

In an op-ed piece in the Terre Haute TribStar, Chicago gets a thumbs-down from one woman who states a preference for corn fields and cowpies. Maybe she hasn't gone to the Farm In The Zoo.

Psst... Prohibition Is Over

Somebody forgot to tell a South Side man that you can buy liquor legally in Chicago now. He was busted by cops in Tennessee transporting moonshine across state lines. Riding shotgun with him? His dog, Thunder.

More Free Stuff

It's Free Slurpee Day today! Also, enter to win a designer t-shirt from Chicago magazine, or $10,000 for your own design sense.

In Illinois, We're Sittin' Pretty

You can relax now: The list of "America's Best Public Restrooms" is out and, yes, Illinois has two of the top 10 spots, including one in Chicago. You can vote for the No. 1 place for No. 1 (or 2) here.

Beatle Cupcakes

Yesterday some guy named Ringo Starr spent his birthday handing out cupcakes at the Hard Rock Hotel to spread "peace and love."

Save Batman!

He's kept you safe from The Penguin for years. Now, Chicagoans, here's your chance to tell Batman you've got his back. A rally organized by "Citizens for Batman" will be held Tuesday evening on Wacker Drive between Monroe and Adams at the (ahem) Gotham City Community Center No. 5. Sure, they might be giving away some "Dark Knight"-related swag, but we're sure it has NOTHING to do with the movie which opens on July 18.

Bean Worship

It's happening this Saturday--the first opportunity to worship the Bean.

On the Cusp in September

The Cusp Conference looks promising, but save your pennies or get your boss to pay for it: full price tickets are $1500 'til July 31, $1750 thereafter for the Sept. 10-11 conference.

Do the Robot

Static Studios had a robot dance party recently. The results were... interesting. (They also did the sound design on this sweet ad for Rotofugi.)

Fill That Empty Room

Looking for a roommate? Then sign up for the Flatmate Meetup, described as "kinda like speed-dating, but if things go well, you'll sleep in separate beds." It's July 9 at 9pm at Easy Bar, 1944 W. Division St. RSVP requested.

Are There AARP Cards For Apes?

Keo the ape turns 50 today and the Lincoln Park Zoo is throwing a party for its elder statesman, one of the two oldest male zoo chimps in North America. If you have time, go over to the Regenstein Center for African Apes and show him some monkey love... um, or something like that.

Suit Man Revealed

Meet Vincent Falk. C'mon, you know him... the guy with the crazy colored suits? Hangs out in the Loop? Yeah, that guy.

Upcoming Bean Worship Session

Have you ever felt a strange attraction to the Bean, as though its power overwhelms you and you need to bow down before its greatness? You are not alone. Join others in this spiritual question to bow down before the Bean on July 5th.

Vikings & Gnomes

Blogger Suttonhoo makes a visit to an historic replica Viking ship in Geneva and discovers a whole lot more lurking in the woods.

Art in the Salon

Tonight at ROOMS Gallery's monthly Salon, there will be theatre, film, burlesque, music and, um, clowning, all for just $3.

Mortified Before Your Eyes

Next Wednesday, the Green Mill hosts Mortified, an evening of true horror stories. Think of it as Pathetic Geek Stories done live. Details in Slowdown.

Creative Freelancers Conference Luvs Chicago

It's only fitting that HOW and Marketing Mentor would host their first Creative Freelancers Conference in a town full of writers and creative business owners. They know their audience: no event starts before 9am. But can we wear PJs? Get the scoop on speakers and registration, and a discount by signing up before July 16 ... and enjoy incurring no travel expenses.

The Bucket Brigade

An entertaining slice of urban life or a pain in the...eardrums? Either way, the "bucket boys" are a familiar sight in Chicago and North by Northwestern has an article/video on the ubiquitous street performers.

Hey TEAL — Fix This'

We at GB are not immune to typos, so it's a good thing the Typo Eradication Advancement Team didn't spot us on their recent visit to Chicago. The Tribune tagged along on their trip down Milwaukee Avenue.

You Better Work it, Dog

If you (or your dog) could use a self-esteem boost, head to Morton West High School (2400 Home Ave, Berwyn) tomorrow for the Great American Mutt Show. The events run from 10a-3p, and feature adoptable dogs, pet care tips, and most of all, a competition of pooches for awards such as "Smallest Big Dog," "Friendliest," "Best Listener" and "Best Lap Dog Over 50 Pounds." A "Dock Dog" competition will also be held to find the best animal that can make the leap from land to water.

Rapping at Warp Speed

Chicago can once again lay claim to being the hometown of the fastest rapper in the world, as confirmed by the Guiness Book of World Records. The title was previously held by Twista.

Happy Birthday, Buddha!

If you've driven past Wilson and Ashland lately, you've probably seen this impressive display in front of the Truc Lam Buddhist Temple. It's part of the temple's annual celebration of the birth of Buddha -- this year's celebration is this weekend, with an outdoor concert scheduled for Saturday at 8pm and an indoor ceremony Sunday at 10am. Call 773-506-0749 for more info.

In Search of Barack's Haircut

The annual University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt kicked off over the weekend, sending hundreds of Maroon-ers out to the streets in search of (among other things) a Obama-styled haircut at the senator's very own barber shop and a disgruntled beekeeper. As of Monday afternoon no winners had been named yet. Here's the offical report and blog, though.

Hyde Park Goes Wild

As if wild parakeets weren't enough, Hyde Park now is home to a band of feral cats who have set up shop in an alley near East 62nd Street. No reports of cougars in the HP, though... yet.

My Pen! My Pen!

Did you miss the Chicago Pen Show? Were you even aware that there was a Chicago Pen Show? Apparently, some folks take pens quite seriously.

Cougarwatch '08 Continues...

Forget potholes; cougars are the new urban menace. Police got a call from someone who claims they saw a cougar near Lawrence and California at about 3:15 a.m. (not too long after closing time at the bars ... hmmm). Meanwhile, authorities in Stickey say a photo of a cougar prowling around their area is a hoax. Still, there are a couple of eyewitness reports of a big cat near the water reclamation plant.

Help Our Furry Friends in the South

Our neighbors to the south, in Marion, Indiana need some help. The Marion-Grant County Humane Shelter is closing down at the end of May or early June and all animals need to go to a loving home. Unfortunately, any animals still at the shelter at its time of closing will be euthanized. There are some dogs whose status is urgent and photos and more details on those dogs can be found here. If you're looking to adopt and dog or cat and can find your way down to Marion, Indiana, please consider this an option.

NU Senior In Career Mode

Meet Lee Linderman, the Northwestern student currently ranked 150th out of 6 million Guitar Hero III players.

First Coyotes, Then Cougars and Now...

...horses, one of which escaped from the Noble Horse Theater in Old Town early this morning and wandered the streets for a while. Our new city slogan: "Chicago: Where the Zoo Comes to You."

(Water) Guns That Kill

It's rather vague to me how this all works, but if you want to chase people around for three weeks and 'kill' them with water, then join the Chicago Assassins in their upcoming June bout of secret agents and water guns.

Babes, Bullets, and Brass Knuckles

The Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention starts today in Lombard. The Chicago area has an admirable pedigree in the story of pulp fiction, being the birthplace of writers like Edgar Rice Burroughs and magazines like Weird Tales. Gotta love those tawdry covers.

Listen Up, Drunkie

This week marks the beginning of the annual 2nd Story Festival, wherein writer/performers regale you with tales, accompanied by a DJ. Organizers predict that over the course of the festival, they'll serve 5,000 glasses of wine. Place bets now on how many will be yours.

This Prom Gets 3½ Stars

Dig out your party dress: Yelp is throwing a prom this Saturday, April 12, and you have till tomorrow to RSVP. You need to be a Yelp member, but it's otherwise free.

Braaaaiiinsss... Beeeerrr...

That's right, Zombie Pub Crawl. April 26 in Andersonville. $10 in advance. Be there or be eaten.

More Free Beverages Today

Starbucks is offering a free cup of its new Pike Place Roast starting at 11am today. Hopefully the lines won't be as long as they were this morning at the Jamba Juice giveaway.

U of C Tackles the Zombie Issue

Some of the greatest minds of our future have been given funds to tackle the pressing problem of zombie attacks, thanks to the University of Chicago's UnCommon Fund, a program designed to provided funding for, um, unique student projects. Other proposals that received modest grants include a clothing-optional Halloween Party. OK, to be fair, other approved projects are a bit more serious.

Lights Out Tomorrow Night

Don't forget to turn off unnecessary lights between 8 and 9pm tomorrow night, March 29. It's part of Earth Hour, and Chicago is one of the partner cities. Do what you can to make the skyline go dim.

Mission To Mars

They didn't make it to Superdawg, but a Chicago political strategist and his trusty companion did manage to travel all the way to Mars. For naught, as it turned out.

Feathery Fun

Chicago's Pillow Fight Club celebrated International Pillow Fight Day today with a mass flying-featherfest in front of the Art Institute of Chicago on S. Michigan. If you didn't catch it, here are some photos. (Nice to see white stuff that isn't sleet or snow falling from the sky, isn't it?)

Big Brother Google is Watching

I wonder what's going on here at 3912 S. Vincennes Ave.? UPDATE: Google has taken the scene down; Gawker has the screenshots.

This Ball Is a Seed Bomb

Despite the recent snizzle storms, spring is here, and it's time to plant stuff. Even if you lack a lawn, you can still get into the gardening spirit by "seed bombing" your nearest vacant lot. This video, shot in Pilsen by locals Fresh Cut Media, provides a concise how-to and tips on the latest trend in guerrilla gardening. Seed bombs away ...

Mythical Mystery Museum Tour

It's nowhere near Halloween, but you could fashion your own "paranormal" museum tour right now. Start at the Field Museum, where "Mythic Creatures" await, then head down to the National Museum of Mexican Art, where Chupacabras lurk. For extra credit, visit the International Museum of Surgical Science to creep yourself out with actual medical history.

Bursting Fantastical Bubbles

The Field Museum's new exhibit "Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids" proposes zoological origins of the world's storied beasties. Cyclops? Just a pygmy elephant. More debunking in the Trib.

A Dent in Their Plans

The marketing whizzes for the upcoming The Dark Knight (read: Batman) movie thought it would be a cool idea to promote the film's fictional district attorney Harvey Dent as a real candidate here in Chicago. The early returns weren't too good: police gave them the boot.

Where We're Going We Don't Need... Landing Strips

Running late for his son's tennis game, a Lake Villa father did what any of us would do - hopped in the family four-seater plane and landed on the golf course adjacent to the courts. Police speculate that a trespassing charge is in the works, though what's a guy to do when the club's tower doesn't respond to a request for clearance?

Embedded in Chiditarod

That massive 360° coverage campaign the Methods Reporter planned for last weekend's Chiditarod really paid off.

The Olympics of Hair

Reader CT writes, "Who needs to wait for 2016? Chicago is playing host to over 1000 competitors from 50 countries this very weekend." That's right, it's HAIRWORLD 2008!

The Podcasters Are Coming

Interested in learning more about audio and video podcasting and other social media? You might want to sign up for PodCamp Chicago, an "unconference" scheduled for early June. [via]

Pier Revue: Comedy Fest Comes to Chicago

Navy Pier will be the site of the first Chicago Comedy Fest, slated for this fall. Some of the funniest people in comedy, many with local ties, will perform. Oh, and Jim Belushi will be there too. Check the official site for more details.

Hot Dog Musical

Found on Songza: The Theme from Hot Doug's by bee.

It's Funny, Eh?

Canadian comedy fest Just For Laughs is teaming up with TBS to create a Chicago edition of Just For Laughs: A Very Funny Festival. The festival, which will feature Ellen DeGeneres, is slated for Summer 2009, so you still have plenty of time to work on that Rabbi/Priest/Northsider joke.

Prep Your Cart

The 2008 Chiditarod has been announced. Pull your team together!

The Truth is Out Dere...

According to a (strange) Canadian newspaper, Chicago Heights police are investigating the possible UFO abduction of a woman jogging in a forest preserve. Then again, there was that UFO incident near O'Hare last year. Maybe they have their eye on a nice bungalow in the area.

Swap-o-Rama-Rama Comes to Chicago

The legendary Swap-o-Rama-Rama -- part swap meet, part political statement, part DIY Project Runway -- finally hies itself to Chicago on March 29 at the AV-aerie, 2000 W. Fulton. Bring $20 and a bag of your cast-off clothes, linens, and other goodies, then raid other people's stuff and gussy it up with the sewing machines, silkscreens, and other supplies on the premises. There will also be workshops and a fashion show. What is Swap-o-Rama-Rama, you ask? Watch this.

Not a Dumb Idea, But a Dome Idea

"Rock over Chicago," as Wesley Willis used to sing. How about "winter dome over Chicago?" (Don't laugh -- Moscow's getting one.) Andrew Mason of local start-up The Point -- which applies the principles of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point to enable people to organize fund-raisers, boycotts and other campaigns for change -- estimates the collapsible weather shield would cost "$10 billion." Campaign contributors won't pay a dime until the project reaches its funding goal.

If You Can't Beat 'Em...

So what the Packers made it to the NFC title game and the Bears... well. We'll get even with them somehow...

Cold Streak

For those of you that don't like to stand out in the cold, much less run through it naked (read: are normal), you can experience the grand finale of UChicago's annual winter celebration Kuviasungnerk through photos, and video. Neither one of which is remotely safe for work.

Excessively Lazy Assassins are Disqualified.

Today is the last day to register for the Chicago Assassins' Inaugural Tournament. Part tag, part urban (squirt gun) death match, this three-week long tournament sets participants hunting after a single name - all while knowing that someone out there has theirs. The last remaining assassin wins the tournament and a $200 cash prize. Reflective aviators optional.

Holy Roller's New Year's Eve

A little birdie told me about this shindig, especially if you're into bikes and bike people. Ring in this New Year in high style at Holy Roller's New Year's Eve. This dance party benefits West Town Bikes. The evening's entertainers include Matt Roan + E, DJ Andrew Foster and DJ Coyote DG. Enjoy a midnight dance-a-long with Chicago's own Team Band. There's a secret location that you have to RSVP for, as well as some other fancy spy like stuff. Details in Slowdown.

Officer Fin-dly

A Chicago cop plans to swim the entire perimeter of Lake Michigan... in the summer, not now, silly. He's no fool.

Learn a Skill, You Slacker

Links Hall artists are offering a series of "skill-sharing" workshops in January, where you can take a short class for a small fee in topics such as screenprinting, toy theatre and basic winter bike maintenance. There's also a potluck-style skill share at the end of January, where you can bring your own crafty expertise to the party.

Lights Out

You've got some time to plan, but put it on your calendar now: on March 29 from 8 to 9pm, turn out all your lights.

Move Over, Virginia - O'Hare is for Lovers, Too

A new study sponsored by AXE (a male grooming brand) finds that flight delays can lead to romantic connections. Thanks to its poor on-time percentage, O'Hare places a respectable 13th on the list of major US airports; Midway limps in at number 31. The best matchmaker? Philadelphia International Airport. Start rearranging your connecting airports, people.

The Can that Could

Lake Michigan deposited a Chicago Park District trash bin onto the shores of Holland, Michigan last week. Much poking with a stick ensued.

Make Clothes, Not War

Subterranean hosts national design competition "Style Wars" tonight, which is described by its founders as "Project Runway" meets "Iron Chef". Hopefully the guy trying to revitalize Zubaz doesn't show up.

The Art of PBR

Pabst Blue Ribbon lovers, prepare to have your minds blown at The Empty Bottle tonight. For one night only, view an exhibition of PBR-inspired art while guzzling your favorite low-cost libation. Doors open at 7pm for the exhibit, followed by the Bottle's weekly free show at 9pm (details in Slowdown).

...For The Rest of Us

Seeking "serenity now"? Head to Elemental Gallery and Gift Shop's "Festivus Celebration" this Saturday, Dec. 8. Be sure to bring your list of grievances.

Do Not Look Mr. Cox in the Eye

John C. Reilly will take the stage at the Cubby Bear tonight - in character as Dewey Cox - to promote his upcoming film Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. Fingers crossed that Chris Gaines joins him for a number or two. [via]

A Steampunk Wedding

...right here in Chicago. Check out the full flickr set. [via]

Funny for Five Bucks

Every Tuesday, Chicago Underground Comedy presents some of the finest in local funny people for just five bucks at The Beat Kitchen. This week, catch Hey You Millionaires plus Mike & Duane.

A-Tisket, A-Tasket...

At the risk of inciting a lot of bad scat singers, The Northlight Theater and The Spot are teaming up to hold the second of their Ella Fitzgerald Karaoke Contests this Wednesday, Dec. 5. Tone-deaf renditions of "Too Darn Hot" notwithstanding, it's a good way for Northlight to promote their production of "Ella" that's currently running.

Red (Suit) Alert.

Santacon. Next Thursday. Prepare yourselves.

A New SEED

The SEED Conference, put on by 37signals, Coudal Partners and Segura Inc., is returning to IIT's Campus Center January 18. Get your tickets now.

The First (Slide) Rule of Fight Club...

Wanna see "nerds" beating the hell out of each other? Head over to the University of Chicago where their Fight Club-esque "Thunderdome" combat society is hoping to body slam the image of 90-pound, slide rule-wielding weaklings. Not everyone is in awe of the physical spectacle. "We come almost every week, mostly to laugh," said one second-year student.

Yiff-O-Rama

Grab yer fursuit and head on over to Schaumburg this weekend for the 2007 Midwest FurFest.

Razors at the Ready

Register now for this year's Mustaches for Kids mustache competition.

Boggling Joggler Blogging

Local, self-described "joggler" Perry Romanowski just set a new world record for running a 50-mile ultra-marathon while juggling three bean bags. Romanowski did it in an amazing 8 hours, 23 minutes, and 52 seconds with no more than four drops--a half hour less than the old record. Hold on there... there was an old record to beat?

Sadie Hawkins' Day Race & Style Ride

The now annual Sadie Hawkins' Day Race & Style Ride is back again, November 10th. What is it? "Sadie Hawkins Day Race/Style Ride is an on-street, in-traffic, point-to-point bike adventure for couples or pairs... There are prizes for the fastest couple, fastest tandem team, fastest out of towners, best dressed, and more." Last year's inaugural event drew people from out of town, generated a ton of missed connections and suffice to say, there were a few couples that are still together to this day.

Halloween on Halsted Photos

If you didn't make it to the 11th Annual North Halsted Street Halloween Parade and are wondering about what you missed, check out some photos. Better yet, all you parade-goers out there can join Gapers Block's flickr group and post your own pics for us to see. Surprisingly, this Gaper did not see a single, in-the-flesh faux Amy Winehouse all Halloween -- not even at the heavily populated parade. Did you? UPDATE: Here's one -- thanks, Ron!

Local Punkin' Chuckin'

CNN's running some entertaining video of Illinois Institute of Technology students and their pumpkin slinging machines. Even their brand new President gets in on the action. Sweet.

Film & Fashion Night with Nau

Nau, the outdoor atelier whose clothes are eco-friendly is hosting a Film & Fashion Night in the South Loop on Tuesday, November 7th from 8pm to midnight. There's going to be BMX Ballet, food and drink (first drink free or so we hear) and other festivities. Learn about sustainable economy! It's free if you download, print and bring this ticket. More details in Slowdown.

Sam & Willy's Halloween Pet Parade

If you love dogs in costumes, check out Sam & Willy's 5th Annual Pet Parade this Sunday on the Boulevard Park at Henderson and Paulina. Prizes for Funniest, Scariest, Most Creative, and Best Overall costumes. Registration starts at Noon, and the parade begins at 12:30.

Awwww...

The RedEye is running a Chicago's Most Beautiful Dog contest. In case Cute Overload wasn't enough for you anymore.

Wish Upon a Space Station

For six minutes tonight the International Space Station and shuttle will be visible in the sky above Chicago. The Trib has your timetable.

It's Thriller! Thriller Night

On Oct. 27/28, people around the world will do the "Thriller" dance en masse simultaneously in an effort to break the world record (yes, there's a world record for this.) The local contingent is organizing now.

OMG! Lulzcon 2007!

Reader Dubi asks, "Can 15 minutes stretch over a weekend?"

Reason 1,472 to Love The Onion

Pitchfork, you've been served!

Looking for Funny People

Our pals at Time Out Chicago are looking for the funniest person in Chicago. Are you that special one? Send in a filmed clip of your talent to TOC by September 20; the finalists will be subjected to online voting to determine the winner, who will get a bag of swag and bragging rights.

It Only Takes One Ticket to Win

After reading about the lone Powerball ticket worth $314 million that was sold recently in Indiana, I started dreaming about how my life would change if I had that much money, and wondered why I don't buy lottery tickets more often so that I can win and start my own Chappelle-like series of revenge missions. This Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing will be for a $250 million jackpot, so if you find yourself in a checkout lane with a dollar or two to spare, it might be your lucky day.

Cry Havoc and Let Loose the Ducks of War!

The Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby for Special Olympics Illinois just commenced, with several thousand plastic quackers released into the Chicago River's murky green waters.

What Not to do with your Wienermobile

Hot dog clogs major artery (and other assorted puns).

DorkCon '07

You can call it by its other name, Wizard World. This convention, the Midwest's largest, will feature legions of creators, fans, Suicide Girls, and that one stacked chick from "Battlestar Galactica." This Thursday through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont.

Pillow Fight Today

I'm ruining this a little by telling you, but there's a pillow fight flash mob happening in Daley Plaza at 2pm today. Grab a pillow (maybe one from the couch in reception?) and look for people in red shirts.

A-One and A-Two

The Old Town School of Folk Music wants to set the Guinness World Record for largest music lesson as part of its 50th anniversary. All they need is you and your guitar. And by "you" I mean everyone. Register online or by phone at 773-728-6000, then show up with your ax at the Welles Park Gazebo on Tuesday, August 7, around 6-ish to get all tuned up. The lesson starts at 7:30, and it's totally free.

Sting Operation

Ex-cons in North Lawndale are pursuing the noble art of bee-keeping as a career. (Insert pun about freedom being "sweet" or "media buzz" here.)

Looking for Laughs

This weekend, the Music Box is being invaded by that other form of moving pictures: TV. The first-ever Chicago TV Pilot Competition showcases comedy television pilots based on ideas from Chicagoans. It even comes with its own commercial, by FoGB Steve Delahoyde.

What a Ball

I bet when you think of conventions, sleazy salesmen or geeks in Klingon costumes come to mind. Me? I think of yarn. Especially since I just found out about YarnCon. Organized by two crafty chicas, YarnCon is possibly the first hip, urban yarn convention in the country. Put October 13th on your calendar if the idea of buying locally made goods related to yarn thrills you. Put August 15th (application deadline) on your calendar if selling goods related to yarn is more your thing.

Condiment-nation

Neo-Futurist playwright Sean Benjamin recently received 21 packets of taco sauce for two tacos from the Taco Bell drive-thru. Then he wrote a play about it. Now he wants your help collecting one million condiment packets for his Condimentometer project. Because why the hell not? You have more condiment packets than you could ever possibly use, right? Bring (or mail) your packets to the Neo-Futurarium at 5153 N. Ashland, 60640, and be a part of something big and meaningless.

Berwyn Car Spindle Headed For Junkyard?

The Spindle (the stack of cars in Berwyn's Cermak Plaza most famously seen at the beginning of Wayne's World) is coming down to make room for a Walgreen's, and it's unclear whether the current owners are willing to spend the money to place the artwork in another location. Better drive by Cermak Plaza and see the Spindle one more time before it drives off into the sunset...

The Value of Lost Love

A Cook County jury ordered a woman's lover to pay her husband $4,802.87 for stealing her love. Then it gets weird.

Illinoisans Make Great NPR Hosts

After receiving over 1,000 submissions, the Public Radio Talent Quest, a nationwide search for a new voice in NPR programming, has been whittled down to ten lucky semi-finalists, three of whom are from Illinois! You have until Monday, July 2 to vote for who of this bunch will advance to the next stage of the five-part contest, so visit the website and listen to their promising submissions.

Where to Stand in Line

A map of all the Apple and AT&T stores in Chicagoland: go get an iPhone.

If You Stray Past the Invisible Border, Your Electrified Collar Will Activate

Lake Forest has decided to make part of a mile-long stretch of beach a kid-free zone. Persons appearing to be under 21 will be asked for ID by parks and recreation Sandmen, uh, Stalkers, er... staff.

Just a Little Greener

As of today, Cheikh "Bamba" Dione is the first fleet-based hybrid taxi driver in Chicago. Oh, and if you attend the formal unveiling, you may be lucky enough to watch David Hudson receive CCC's Cab Driver of the Year award and then witness his hand print and signature rendered in wet cement for CCC's "Walk of Fame."

See a Doctor if Condition Persists for More Than Four Hours

Due to high temperatures this weekend, the Jackson and State Street bridges were unable to close without receiving a cold shower of water from a Chicago River fireboat.

You're Suspect and Funny

Suspicious Clowns 9 is the current show at the Live Bait Theater and I hear it's good. Quite good. The Reader approves too. Friday and Saturdays all through June.

Nerd Alert

The US Rubik's Cube National Open starts tomorrow at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Old Blue Bug Eyes Is Back

There's always room for one more cicada story, isn't there? A lad in Downers Grove found a blue-eyed cicada in his backyard, a one in a million find (among "hundreds of millions of cicadas," per a killjoy researcher).

Typeface vs. Font

Word from Kartemquin Films regarding their in progress film: "Kartemquin is currently working on Typeface, a documentary about cultural preservation, rural renewal and graphic design history in the Midwest.To support these efforts, we're holding a benefit on June 15th at the Center for Book and Paper Arts here in Chicago. Toad Hollow Vineyards is providing the bubbly, MJ Catering is bringing the sweets and a number of local artists (including Jay Ryan and Dennis Ichiyama) are donating original works for the silent auction." While the much lauded Helvetica opens the same night at the Siskel, it is a weeklong engagement. So, why not support the locals? Looks good to me.

Third annual Chi-Town Kruze

Got a car you'd like to show off? It's not too late to register for this year's Chi-Town Kruze, scheduled for Sunday June 2. Billed as Chicago's Largest Outdoor Car Show, the Kruze is two things: a parade around a three-mile loop between Roosevelt and Randolph near the lake, as well as an outdoor car show in the south parking lot of Soldier Field. Admission to the show is $5, and if you have a car you'd like to show off (pre-1987 only), it costs $20 to register. Participation for the parade portion is free to both drivers and spectators.

Alt.Media Slam Jam!

At Schadenfreude's Rent Party tonight, a rare site: The Reader, Time Out, Chicagoist and Gapers Block duking it out in a three-round slam tournament. Just because we're all friends doesn't mean we can't bring it! Details in Slowdown.

It's Freedom from Self-Improvement Day!

Celebrate being exactly who you are today by eschewing the self-help aisle, loving those extra few pounds, and doing something that's absolutely unenlightening. It's the first annual national Freedom from Self-Improvement Day!

Soup's On

The latest in Chicago skull news. A 26-year-old man was discovered by police to have four human skulls in his apartment, with one boiling on the stove. In a strange turn, everything seems to be on the up-and-up since his job involves making anatomical models. I'd reconsider any dinner invitations for a while though.

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner, 20 Years Later

Proving the steel-like endurance and cultural power of teen movies, the 20th anniversary re-release of Dirty Dancing will be shown tonight (and tomorrow) at 7:30pm at the AMC River East 21 (at 322 East Illinois). In addition to the visual treat of mid-career Swayze, you'll also get to see a documentary about the making of the movie, complete with cast interviews. Click here for tickets.

Cue the Barry White

In preparation for mating season, officials at the Shedd Aquarium rolled out the sexy rocks of sweet penguin love for their Gentoo and Rockhopper penguins. It's a lot like Happy Feet, except the penguins will be knocking flippers instead of dancing.

Easter Egg Roll

On Saturday, like some ill-conceived SNL skit come to life, poor Cardinal Francis George took a tumble after slipping in holy water while blessing Easter baskets. He has a minor hip fracture, but he's doing fine.

Give Til It Hurts For a Good Cause

Got any blood you're not using? Donate it on May 5 at Sacred Art, 2040 W. Roscoe, 11 am - 5 pm, for the store's second-annual blood drive. Donors will get discounts and free gifts at other Roscoe Village stores during the drive. Contact Sarah at 773-404-8790 or sacredartstore-at-gmail-dot-com to make an appointment and give the gift of life, y'all.

You Got Feminism in My Porn!

Pornography and feminism: two great tastes that taste great together! Tonight you can watch the documentary, "Hot and Bothered: Feminist Pornography," a look at how women are changing the industry from behind the camera. The screening is followed by a Q&A with director Becky Goldberg, a panel discussion with some local filmmakers, and some naughty raffle prizes from Early to Bed and others. All this empowered sauciness takes place tonight at 7:30 at the Leather Archives & Museum, 6418 N. Greenview. There's a $5 suggested donation, and of course you have to be 18.

Heads, Maori Win

The Field Museum of Natural History will return the skulls of 14 Maori (which were acquired sometime in the mid-19th Century) to their New Zealand homeland and, specifically, the Te Papa national museum.

Pretend You're in Third Grade...

...and go on a factory tour!

Convention Watch: Association of Paroling Authorities International

Keeping track of the City's conventions so you don't have to. The APAI's annual conference is in town this week. Theme: "We Know What Works: Moving From Research to Policy to Practice". No word on what the clients of all these parole officers will be up to while their POs are here in Chicago.

Living Kitchen: New Urban Food Workshops

If you've never gotten a chance to join local artist-gardner-ecologist Nance Klehm's urban food workshops, you are in for a treat this spring. Klehm has just announced a new series of "Living Kitchen" workshops that will include foraging for food in the urban landscape, cheese-making, pickling, sourdough and medicine. According to Klehm, "Living Kitchen is about direct experience with what is living and growing around us, new tastes, simple food-making processes, and sharing with others."

The workshops are often free, though some cost as much as $70 to cover supplies, tastings, take homes and expertise. Space is limited so get in touch. Questions? Contact: Nance Klehm, nettlesting@yahoo.com or 773-762-0277
4/11, Wednesday 6-9pm - $50, 3 way pickling kimchi and pickles
3/15, Sunday 1-4pm -$50 wild sourdough wild starters and bread making basics
3/20, Sunday 2-4pm by donation**, urbanforage walk, location TBA
5/6, Sunday 1-5 pm - $70 raw cheese
5/12, Saturday 2-4pm by donation**, urbanforage walk, location TBA
5/27, Sunday, 1-5pm - $70 Raw Cheese
6/16, Saturday 2-4pm by donation**, urbanforage walk, location TBA
6/24, Sunday, 1-5pm - $50 local medicine herbal tinctures/salves/syrups/lozenges and teas

Second Life in the Second City

Like any newly emergent virtual world, Second Life can encompass both wickedness, and virtue, but what it definitely is not, is irrelevant. The 3rd annual RL (real life!) Second Life Community Convention is taking place this August at the downtown Hilton. With program tracks including Education and Business/Future of the Metaverse, its sure to host some interesting events. It may be months away, but once you log on you'll see that's barely enough time to get a good skin, let alone your bearings in SL.

And That's Elvis in the Bush Behind Him

Salt-stain Marys? Please. That's so 2005. All the cool kids are seeing Jesus Christ in a southwest neighborhood tree now. What? Well, maybe you're not squinting hard enough. Here, try practicing on this grilled cheese sandwich.

CHI-TONW: the New Black?

Hey, remember the tattoo artist who misspelled "CHI-TOWN"? Well, several other local tattoo artists have apparently intentionally had the misspelled word tattooed on themselves, as a show of support for the artist. If that sounds like a good idea to you too, stop by Jade Dragon Tattoo on Sunday, and you can get a "CHI-TONW" tattoo for free.

Keep Watching the Skies, er, Ground

Blogger Dan Telfer points out that after the snows melt and the temperature rises, we'll have to deal with the chitinous grossness of the 17-year "locusts" (though, actually, they're cicadas, not locusts). Not to worry though. The crunchy little buggers are apparently quite tasty. You first.

Hello, Sports Racers

The second annual Chiditerod was this past weekend, and there are lots and lots of photos and video. Check them out here, here and, of course, on flickr. (Not to mention today's Rearview.)

The King of Chicago

Hard though it may be to believe, the remains of the last king of Yugoslavia--and likely the only kingly bones buried on American soil--rest in Chicagoland. King Peter II is currently interred in Libertyville's Serbian Orthodox Monastery of Saint Sava--but not for long if his heirs have their way.

Oosp!

The worst kind of typo is one in a tattoo, and that's what happened to Michael Duplessis. He's suing Jade Dragon Tattoo because they gave him a tattoo that says "CHI-TONW".

They'll Need a Crane

If you were walking past State Street this morning and wondered what all the hubbub was about... Apparently, a man climbed a construction crane near the Chicago Theater and said he'd jump. Police say the would-be sidewalk diver has done this before. Update: Happily, he did not become the man who fell to earth.

Scion of the Times

The Scion PR folks continue their quest to make the brand "cool" by hosting activities at FOUR in Wicker Park. Most days you can paint your own little ceramic Scions while listening to DJs and enjoying refreshments but there are a few movie premieres and other events too. Details on the website.

You Don't Want to Know the Wind Chill

Chilly? Could be worse. Temperatures are about to drop to within billionths of a degree above absolute zero at U of C's Gordon Center for Integrative Science. Assistant Professor Cheng Chin intends to lower the temperature within a two-foot cylindrical vacuum chamber to -459.67 degrees Fahrenheit in order to study the Big Bang. One hopes Dr. Chin remembers to wear a hat and scarf.

The Anti-Valentine Store

Feeling not-so down with Cupid? Chicagoist and Apartment Therapy point us to a pop-up store from Altoids in Lincoln Park aiming to provide "the lovesick, lovelorn and Cupid-wary of Chicago ... a sanctuary from all the romantic overtures." Stop in between now and Valentine's Day and get free chocolate-dipped Altoids, coffee and cupcakes from Angel Food Bakery, anti-Valentine's cards and more. Yes, all for free. Open noon to 10pm at 912 W. Armitage Ave.

Tense Forms Winter Showcase

Tense Forms, the collaborative multi-disciplinary, project-based workgroup, is holding their 2nd annual Winter Showcase at Subterranean on February the 2nd at 8pm onwards. The showcase features an insane amount of buttons (1000+), a wall of televisions screening all kinds of visual art as well as live music.

You Got Your Stand-Up in My Improv!

The divide between improv and stand-up comedy isn't exactly church-and-state, but it's not so often that the twain shall meet. That's what's notable about Thomas and TJ's Tuesday Riot—it's the first show at iO, the former ImprovOlympic, to include stand-up. Each week features sets from three comics, followed by an improv set by Thomas Middleditch and TJ Miller. Read the minireview at Time Out's blog and check out next week's show with guests Prescott Tolk, Pat Brice and Brendan McGowan.

Bicycle Film Festival '07: Call for Submissions

After last year's small success in Chicago, we've heard word that the Bicycle Film Festival will be back again. Currently, founding director Brendt Barbur and co are looking for new submissions for the 2007 round of film festivals set to take place in up to 15 cities: "We are looking for films with a strong theme or character of bicycles. This includes all mediums and styles such as animation, experimental, narrative, documentary and music videos." The deadline is February the 17th so you have about a month to get going or fine-tune that piece you've been working on. Details at the site or take a look at the flyer here.

Fallen Rider Memorial Ride

A group of Chicago cyclists (myself being one of them) have organized a ride to raise awareness of the growing number of cyclist fatalities in the Chicagoland area. Named the "Fallen Rider Memorial Ride", the ride will start at the Thompson Center at 6pm tomorrow, January the 3rd and will ride to Diversey and Pulaski at an easygoing and respectful pace. The goal? To highlight how important driving and cycling are to Chicago and how the two require attention and respect. A PDF flyer can be viewed, downloaded, printed and passed along from here.

Ride CTA on the Cheap

As in past years, you can ride CTA busses and trains for one cent until 6:00 AM New Year's Day. (Also note extended hours on some routes.) Happy New Year!

Stitch into the new year...

...at Stitchfest 2, held January 1, 2007, from noon to midnight. Join other crafty folks (and your tools; they'll supply the yarn) in a show of support for the Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline. More in Slowdown.

"How cool would it be to have Quidditch at Soldier Field?"

Plans are underway for a Harry Potter conference in Chicago in August 2008. It looks like it will be organized by these people.

Get Drunk With Santa(s)

The Annual Santa Rampage/Get Drunk With Santa event is happening on Saturday, Dec 16th. (The bike community is hosting their rampage on the same day, but the details haven't been announced yet.)

A Good Offense

To say that comedian Lisa Lampanelli is "politically incorrect" is like saying Michael Richards "ruffled a few feathers." The difference is that Lampanelli does it on purpose, and she's actually funny. Lampanelli gained notoriety from her appearances on several Comedy Central roasts, particularly that of Pam Anderson (the YouTube clip is here, but even with the bleeping it's still not work-safe). She was later invited for a couple of clean-but-still-dirty visits to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and now she's headlining her own tour. Lampanelli does two shows at the Vic this weekend, and they're both 18 and up for good reason. Details and Ticketmaster links in Slowdown.

Tomorrow: Indo-Jew Bowl VII

Forget Miami v. Detroit. For the seventh straight year, Skokie shows the world how it's done by pitting Semite against Sikh on the gridiron, all in the name of collecting canned food. Details are in Slowdown.

Imagine how big his desk drawer is

The world's largest rubber-band ball is coming to town. Eugene, Oregon resident Steve Milton created a ball 5 1/2 feet high and weighting over 4,000 pounds. To celebrate his achievement, Office Max is flying him and his ball to town, where he will officially be inducted into the Guinness Book of World Records next Tuesday. I expect to see plenty of photos of this event on Flickr.

Swap 'Til You Drop

Swap Simple is on at the Hopleaf tonight from 7 pm until midnight. Just bring your unwanted books, DVDs and video games and swap 'em for stuff other people bring. Drop your stuff at the door and get tickets in return. Then "purchase" your new stuff with these tickets. And plus there's all that yummy, yummy beer for sale at the delightful Hopleaf bar. For questions, contact [at] swapsimple [dot] com.

Make Rolly Fingers Proud

Ever want to grow a mustache, but afraid that people will ridicule you? Well, here's your opportunity: register to participate in Mustaches for Kids and when someone makes fun of your 'stache, you can say, I'm growing it for charity."

D&D, Dude!

Metblogs not only reminds you that tomorrow is Worldwide Dungeons & Dragons Game Day, it's also kind enough to provide a list of places to play.

Homegrown Hats for Sale

Though I'm not a big hat person, I just love it that we have a Milliners Guild in Chicago. Its existence makes me want to be a big hat person, as if wearing beautiful hats could transport me to the same era that the phrase "Milliners Guild" conjures up. I guess you don't know until you try. And tonight is a good time to try, as the Guild is showing off its merchandise. Details in Slowdown.

Sadie Hawkins Day Race

Sadie Hawkins is a fictional day from a L'il Abner strip. However, it is now also a bike race organized to encourage women of all kinds who ride bikes to come out and race for fun, as well as to benefit the Chicago Women's Health Center. There's a pre-race fashion party on Friday, Nov 10th in the Fulton Markets with the race happening on Nov 11th, followed with a post-party the same day. Want to race? Want to have fun? Check out the myspace.

In the Market for a Rollercoaster?

If so, head out to East Dundee for the Santa's Village auction. Don't forget to check out the full catalog [PDF] and supplementary photos so you'll be fully prepared to bid.

More Money for Nonprofits

The Illinois Humanities Council is accepting applications for major (up to $10,000, due February 15) grants in support of humanities projects sponsored by nonprofit organizations. IHC is especially interested in funding projects that target new or historically neglected audiences. For more information, call 312/422-5580 or email ihc[at]prairie[dot]org. Applications are available here.

Get Your Spook On

This Halloween season has plenty to offer the ghoul lurking inside of you. Unusual offerings include KFAR's Spookagogue Synagogue, the Apollo Theater's Haunting History, the Six Corners Monster Film Festival, and Ursula Bielski's Creepy Chicago Hauntings. Check slowdown for additional options.

A Work of Pumpkin Art

Are you a little bit bored giving your pumpkins the same triangle nose and staggered-tooth mouth, year after year? Pick up some tips on Sunday from Sacred Art as they open their doors for a Pumpkin Painting Workshop. $10 gets you apple cider, art supplies and tips, but you have to bring your own pumpkin. (You can buy one at Roscoe Blooms on the day of if you forget.) Head to Slowdown for the full scoop.

Baboonfest is this Saturday!

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that this is the premier baboon-related fundraiser of the year. You should go!

How's Your Pirate-Speak These Days?

Ahoy Matey! It's time to tap into your swashbuckling side! What do you mean, you aren't hard-wired to say, "argh!", at any given moment? Well, today you get to practice it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Of course, I've been told they prefer to be called "Buccaneer-Americans".

Mac-tober

In town next month, C4: Chicago Mac Developer Conference.

Is it Payday Yet?

For all the accountants, corporate controllers, payroll personnel and the people who love them, it's officially National Payroll Week! Whether you take that direct-deposit for granted or you feel payroll is the most important department in your company, join in on the financial fun! To raise awareness, Citibank is hosting a series of financial workshops at Columbia College Chicago.

Things To Do

Looking for something to do tonight or tomorrow? Here's the plan. Tonight at 8pm, head to Gallery Cabaret for Schadenfreude's rent party -- this month featuring winners of this year's Rhyme Spitters contest and Schad's own Hogbutchers. Tomorrow at 7pm, visit the new boutique Koi 8 for its grand opening party and show opening for graffiti artist Revise CMW.

Steaks On A Train

I'm not sure, but this parody of SoaP sure does look like the Brown Line. Yes, that is Steaks On A Train....

Bicycle Film Festival Pre-Party Tomorrow!

You know how you can never walk two-across on Milwaukee Avenue by Rodan because of all the bikes locked to everything? Well, tomorrow night, blame us: GB's sponsoring the official Pre-Party for the Bicycle Film Festival, which kicks off on Friday. Details in Slowdown; BYO cycling cap.

I bet they've never heard so much Cher

Sure, there's the old stalwart Baton, or Boystown's Kit Kat Lounge. But what if you find yourself jonesing for female impersonators, say, an hour south of the city on I-57? The Tribune reports on the unlikely success of a monthly drag show at a blues club in Kankakee.

Why I Go to School: Free Tickets!

In a move to boost Chicago Public Schools' attendance rates, the district has partnered with sports teams, radio stations, and even Southwest Airlines for the Back to School Sports Challenge. While some prizes will be handed out just for attendance, essayists can win a trip to Disney World or a chance to be a DJ on Power 92. So, kids, see how rewarding staying in school can be?

File Under EEK!

The Explorer's Club is a 102-year-old organization (with chapters around the world, including Chicago) of adventurous souls devoted to going where no man or woman has gone before and bringing back hard data. So what is our Chicago chapter planning? With the sponsorship of Redwood Creek, a walk around the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool, followed by a wine and wildlife tasting. Yes, you read that right. Participants will sample reds and whites as they nibble on North American Cricket, worm pretzels, and pigeon pate. Reservations are closed at this writing, but you can check directly with Redwood Creek through the day to see if any places have opened up. (That is, if you're just dying to try Roasted Ant Tarts with a good cabernet.)

More Midwestern Pride

Meet another website devoted to the wonders of the Midwest: Midwestern Goodness. While they have content from around the region, they recently filmed a short video tour in Chicago. More Chicago content is in the works.

Five Days Until the 'Days

Lollapalooza isn't the only festival in town next weekend. Nope, after Pride in June and Games in July, August gives the gays one more chance to have a big party: Northalsted Market Days. Boystowners.com preps you for eating, drinking and being, well, merry.

R.A.M.B.L.E.

Friend of GB, scooterist, designer and vegan guide making extraordinaire, PJ Chmiel hits the open road on his scooter on a tour he calls the 2006 R.A.M.B.L.E. Ambitious in scope, it should be quite a ride. Follow along when he kicks off tomorrow.

Queers on Speed-Dating

A friend recently told me, "I just can't meet a nice girl, you know. I'm not into the bar scene, so its hard meeting people." Thankfully DykeDiva has come up with speed dating events for Divas and Dudes. Dudes, you can pick either a casual dating or serious dating session on August 1. And Divas get to choose between mid-30s and younger, or mid-30s and older on August 15. For $15 or $10 (respectively), and two hours of a night you'd spend alone anyway, you might just find "The One", or at least one of "the ones".

Show WLUW some LUV

Remember when you donated items to independent community radio station WLUW in June? Well, those items are now for sale to raise money for the station. Some particularly interesting finds are an autographed Mekons guitar, a drawing by Archer Prewitt, and a Fugazi/Shellac/The Ex ticket printing plate.

Eggvertising

Since we're all bored with the pristine surface of eggs, a Deerfield company is teaming up with CBS to put advertisements and expiration dates on 35 million of them. Look (out) for them in your local grocery store.

A Million Pounds to Lose

Responding the Chicago's reputation as America's fattest city, the Chicago Defender has launched the Million Pound Challenge to encourage African-Americans in Chicagoland to collectively lose a million pounds over the next 12 months. Sign up here to participate.

Illinois Championship Cow Chip Throw

Like me, you're probably upset that you missed the Illinois Championship Cow Chip Throw in Chatham, Illinois today. But dry your eyes! You can still make the Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw in September.

Behold! The McSundial

McDonald's put up a pretty interesting new billboard in Wrigleyville. (Thanks, VinceJose!)

Your bus is aflame? Fear not.

The ever civic-minded Red Eye has released a series of tips from CTA spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler for "CTA safety." As for your flaming bus? "[T]ell the bus driver."

Representin' CHI

Did you know that July is Chicago Hip Hop Heritage Month? Lots to do.

10 Years of GayCo

Think the DaVinci Code is funny? Excited about the Gay Games? 10 Year Old GayCo is presenting its 'best of' show, The DaVinci GayCode. The show, which they call "homolarious", will run from July 13th through the 23rd at the Theatre Building Chicago on Belmont. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.

Photos from Go Skateboarding Day

I don't follow up on skateboarding like I used to so it was a pleasant surprise to hear about last week's Go Skateboarding Day. You can live vicariously through these Flickr photo sets: here and here.

The Splat Flats

Wicker Park has a relatively new (well, new to me anyway) studio space with 28 resident artists: The Splat Flats. If you're curious about the space or would like to check out some of the work being produced, get down there this Saturday, June 24th from 4-9pm when The Splat Flats have an open house show called LumbArt.

Hitting the Streets

Reader Jacob sent us a link to photos from the Go Skateboarding Day festivities downtown yesterday. More from reader Jim, and the Trib has a Flash presentation of their own pix. (Anyone else? Email inbox@gapersblock.com.)

Hooray T-shirts and Beer!

Friend of GB Cody Hudson drops word of iWANT iT LiKE THiS, a party/live screenprinting event where you can customize your own shirt and get one done live right at the party by LA crew, Hit&Run. The shindig is sponsored by Red Stripe, whose commercials are cracking me up these days. The party goes down this Friday, details here. Hooray!

Playing at Potbellys

If you like music with your sandwiches or wish to play MTV's crappiest hits for those indulging in their lunchtime subs, you might be surprised to hear (or play) a tune or two the next time you're at a Potbellys. The Beachwood Reporter has a piece about the local Potbellys and how they stack up musically. And on a side note: local musician Jef Sarver will attempt to break the world record for the longest guitar marathon ever at a Potbellys on June 21-23.

Chicago Gets Slammed

If you're into slam poetry and want to see a champ at work, you must hit up the Holiday Club tonight at 8pm. More details are in Slowdown, but "Best Individual" national slam champ Anis Mojgani will be there. Highly recommended!

Bam! Pow! Autograph!

The National Cartoonists Society holds its 60th annual awards banquet this weekend in Chicago. Thankfully the society is throwing us non-cartoonists a bone; tonight there will be a large signing event at the Borders on the corner of State and Randolph featuring 10 comic strip artists, among them the creators of For Better or For Worse, Foxtrot, Candorville, Pooch Cafe, and Beetle Bailey. See Slowdown for the full story. (tip from the So-Called "Austin Mayor")

Get Your Tickets Now

A few events with ticket/registration deadlines coming up:
• Only a couple tickets left for Taste of Check Please! next weekend.
Beer on the Pier is this Saturday!
WLUW's Indie Rock Prom is Saturday too!
Bike the Drive is half-way filled up.
826Chi is having a prom too!

Actors, Beef of Your Resume

Speaking of bad jobs, or at least very odd ones, the American Cancer Society is looking for a volunteer to appear as Polyp Man at Skokie's 16th annual Festival of Cultures to help raise awareness of the importance of colorectal cancer screening. All you have to do is walk around in a "red creature" costume for a couple hours. How bad could that be? (Thanks, Sandy!)

Nifty Conference Of The Month: First Monday

Wow, another cool tech conference coming soon to Chicago. The founders of the Apache webserver, Wikiepedia, and the UK Human Genome Analysis project are coming to UIC to speak about building businesses with the openness of the Internet as a foundation. Sounds hokey? It's actually much more interesting than I can describe; the conference website has all of the details.

Old Navy, New Magic

Remember Magic? The dog from the Old Navy commercials? Well, Magic the Old has retired and Old Navy is on the hunt for Magic the New. The nationwide search includes a Chicago casting call on May 20, at North Ave Beach (by the boathouse) from noon till 4pm. Contenders will have their photo taken and owners can talk to professional dog trainers and specialists and participate in canine fun. Old Navy is also making a contribution to PAWS Chicago. If you can't make it, you can champion your dog online.

Sumo Wrestlers in Conference Room B

It must be great to work in Felix's office, which he shares with a couple local radio stations. I mean, how do you beat a sumo wrestling demonstration in the conference room?

Money Smart Week

If you need some help learning to manage your personal finances, this is a good week to start. The city's 5th Annual Money Smart Week begins today and runs through May 6. And, the Chicago Public Library, in partnership with many other organizations, is sponsoring a number of free programs this week. Visit the library's website for the list of programs being offered at various library branches, covering topics from credit repair to buying your first home. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago website has the complete calendar of events for the week.

Midget Wrestling Returns

Former Mancow dwarf sidekick Puppet is back with his midget wrestling team, now known as Half Pint Brawlers. They'll be at Bar Chicago tonight — and there will be protesters to greet them.

Mortified By Poetry?

In a world of text messaging, IM, and email, I often wonder how many tawdry notes are passed in class, filled with tortured poetry or Led Zepplin lyrics. Mortified is your chance to find out, and you can even submit your own now for their casting call in June in Chicago. (Thanks, Alexis)

Beer and Geeks

Like beer? Like science? Head to Map Room at 6:30pm on Wednesday for the inaugural session of Cafe Scientific, where UofC's Sean Carroll will present the topic and subsequent discussion, "Why is the past different from the future? -- Cosmological perspectives on the nature of time." Discuss over beers. (Thanks, Ian!)

Mime Watch

ChicagoCrime.org is a great resource, but what if you want to track that great menace to society, the mime? Well, now you can. [via]

Cubs Bleachers for Sale

Reader Kurt writes, "I probably shouldn't be telling anyone about this since it just means 'competition,' but I'm feeling generous." The Cubs will be holding a "garage sale" this Saturday from 8am to 4pm. Available items will include Wrigley Field bricks, sections of the old bleachers, game-used equipment, and Kerry Woods' arm. Proceeds will go to charity.

What Rhymes with Chitlins?

Not much. Probably best to stick with Moo & Oink's other products when you write your entry in the South Side meat market's jingle contest, judged by Shorty K. You could win $1000! Just remember Rule #1: "Jingle/rap should describe what you love about Moo & Oink." (Thanks, Donna!)

An Event Apart

Web geeks, get ready. You don't have long to convince your bosses that An Event Apart is an important educational conference that the company should send you to. Because it is.

IHOT

Thanks to a typo on signs posted along the Dan Ryan, people who called a phone number looking for IDOT information on pending construction were redirected to a $2.99/minute adult chat line. The mistake was noticed and corrected yesterday.

Oh Brad! Oh Janet!

Columbia! Magenta! Thank God it's time for everyone's favorite transsexual at the Music Box. Yes, 30 years later, Rocky Horror Picture Show is still playing.

Listen Up

LISSENUP6, the sixth installment of Julie Shapiro's periodic presentation of audio pieces from around the world (often culled from Third Coast Audio Festival submissions), moves to the Corbett vs. Dempsey gallery space, 1120 N. Ashland, 2nd floor, this Sunday from 11am to 1pm. It's free. More details here.

Boo!

Time for another horror movie convention/festival in Chicago. This one is the Fangoria Weekend of Horrors, put together by the horror movie fan magazine. If the idea of meeting Lloyd Kaufman (director of Toxic Avenger), Kelly Stables (played Samara in the Ring movies), and George Romero & Tom Savini (together again!), then you'd better get yourself to the Wyndham Chicago O'Hare Hotel this Saturday and Sunday. See the convention's Website for a complete schedule and to purchase tickets.

Drinking for the Kids

mmmChicago lives up to its name this morning with the details of 826CHI's upcoming Wine & Dumplings fundraiser. The event takes place Thursday night and will feature wine writer Bill Daley and food writer Monica Eng, as well as -- you guessed it -- all manner of wine and dumplings.

Firespinning Class This Weekend

If you're interesting in learning how to practice poi, the art of fire-spinning, you're in luck. Local group SPUNN is offering a workshop this Saturday for users of all levels to improve your fire skills. If you think it looks cool, you're correct -- it's even better to hear the sound of flame whooshing past your head.

Chiditarod

A coastal phenomenon comes to Chicago: The Urban Iditarod, dubbed here the "Chiditarod". The premise is simple: steal a shopping cart, dress up like a "team", and run through the streets. As usual, it's important to drink heavily while participating. Sign up now, the race is in two weeks.

And speaking of special talents...

As reader steve_sleeve points out, today's Fuel question ties in quite nicely with Mrs. Meow's Talenza Bonanza talent show, this Friday at Phyllis' Musical Inn. Maybe some of you can take your talents out for a test drive. More info in Slowdown.

Vegetarian Valentine's Fundraiser

Mercy for Animals is holding a Vegetarian Valentine's Fundraiser at Framing Mode, a south loop art gallery on Saturday the 11th. There'll be catered food, spirits (all you can drink!), a DJ and "Best Dressed in Red" wins some fab prizes — all for $10 in advance or $15 at the door. See Slowdown for more details. Love your animals!

Game on and on

If you missed last year's videogame exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, you've got one more turn to play. Game On 2.0 opened last Friday at the MSI, and will be at the museum through the end of April. To draw crowds to the exhibit, which includes over 100 games on many game platforms, the museum is giving away one Sony PSP every day to a visitor of the exhibit. Fire away!

Rollin', Rollin'

Can't make it to the Windy City Rollers' recruitment party at Delilah's tonight? You can still find out all you need to be a bone-crushing hellcat on wheels. Just email info[at]windycityrollers.com to receive the info that you missed. Oh, no boys allowed, though.

Get Out Your Castanets

Instituto Cervantes and Chicagos Department of Cultural Affairs have kicked off the 5th annual Chicago Flamenco Festival, Flamenco 2006. For the next month, flamenco-related concerts, dance performances, films, exhibits, and lectures will be held all over town. For a complete schedule, click here (youll find individual events listed in Slowdown). And if you do have a pair of castanets, click here for instructions.

He's my favorite honky

Get your clicking fingers warmed up; as the Sun-Times reports, tickets for the upcoming King Tut exhibit at the Field Museum will go on sale at 9:00 this morning. If you want to check out some details about the exhibit, the first time the King Tut relics have been on display in Chicago since 1977 (when they were also on display at the Field Museum), check out the museum's pages on the exhibit, which also include a link to the ticket purchase page. The exhibit opens in May and runs through January of next year. (Tut tickets, by the way, will be $25 for adults, $22 for seniors and students, and $16 for children.)

Chick Fantasy Turned Fundraiser

Chicago not for profit rock'n'roll mud wrestling troupe The Mud Queens are preparing for their fifth Chicago show next weekend (see Slowdown). Wrestlers Lug Nut Lucy, El Bano, Jacky Daniels, and the Folsum Prison Manhandler will appear. The Mud Queens' event will benefit the Young Women's Empowerment Project. Don't neglect to BYOB.

Win a Date with a Jake!

Threadless just announced a new contest, and it's not about shirts! Enter Win a Date with Threadless and you could win dinner at Ballo with members of the staff, table service in the VIP suite at Crobar, a room for at the W Hotel and $250 dollars of spending money. (If you live more than 250 miles from Chicago, you get free plane tickets, too.) Woot!

Sketchy (in a good way)

Chicago SketchFest 2006 is underway and brings over 100 improv and sketch comedy groups to town until the 15th. Shows are plentiful (almost 20/night) at Theatre Building Chicago, brief (around 30 minutes), and cheap (tickets are $12 with deals for all night passes). The Fest is also sponsoring workshops so you can learn funny, too. What more could you ask for?

To Wrap it Up

A late entry into Fuel's best/worst gift forum: a gift-wrapped goat's head. An 18-year-old vegan in Palos Heights (12300 block of 76th Avenue) found the box containing the skinned head on her porch last Thursday. Police believe the gift was a holiday prank.

Santamonium Doesn't Have Quite the Ring to It

Saturday afternoon is the second annual Chicago Santarchy! Started in San Francisco in '94, Santarchy involves hordes of Santa-suited merry-makers wandering from bar to bar, spreading holiday cheer ...in a debauched sort of way. Grab your costume and head to Durkin's tomorrow at 3pm.

DIY Grants

Perhaps one of the more difficult aspects of running an independent or non-profit business is figuring out how to make money doing it. On Saturday, Links Hall is holding a Do It Yourself Grant Research workshop where you can learn how to research and interpret funding information and, hopefully, find a good prospective funder. Registration fee is $30. More information, as always, on Slowdown.

Rev Billy And The Church Of Stop Shopping

After a bus accident in Ohio, Rev Billy and the Church Of Stop Shopping is coming to Chicago today. Look out on North Michigan around 1pm for some of their zany antics, and then head over to the United Church of Rogers Park for a special Shopocalypse Show sponsored by Mess Hall.

Chicago Commemorates Worlds AIDS Day

Decemeber 1st is marked globally as World AIDS Day. The Windy City Times calendar has a list of local events, including candlelight vigils, gospel concerts and, courtesy of the Howard Brown Health Center, free HIV screenings.

Design Tastes Like Expensive Alcohol

Do you like sophisticated and well-designed technology? Do you like free alcohol? If you answered yes to at least one of the above questions (and I'm guessing most of you drunk nerds said yes to both), you might be interested in checking out WIRED magazine's "Taste of Design" event tonight at Enclave, a freshly renovated and redesigned lounge/club in River North. If you don't typically hit up spots like this, this is your chance to check out what's normally a posh hotspot and geek out over some consumer electronics with a drink in your hand. Slowdown has the details.

Prune or Potato? You Make the Call

Earlier this week, the University of Chicago hosted its 59th annual Latke-Hamantash Debate; as is often the way, the eyes had it. Okay, bad joke, but still, it was the latkes that won. There's the Times account of this latest installment or, now, the debate's "official" history, newly out from U of C Press. Further details at the book's website, which features recipes, as well as a recording of philosophy professor Ted Cohen's pro-potato pancake pronouncement.

Get Your Leather (And Chicken) On

Do you have a fetish? Sure we all do. Now you have your own place to buy the tools of the trade at The 4th Annual Leather SINS Midwest Holiday Fetish Fair & Marketplace. The event is Sunday from 10am to 6pm at the "Purple Hotel" in Lincolnwood (corner of Touhy and Lincoln). Last Years Event drew close to 600 kinky folks from all over the Midwest. Goody Bags with free samples of WET will be given to the first 500 attendees.

Dear Bobby,

I see from your letter that you've been a good boy this year. I'll pass the word on to Santa that you deserve an extra present under the tree.
Merry Christmas,
Volunteer Santa Letter Responder

Web 2.Showdown

Early next month, two major figures in the development of Web 2.0 architecture will square off at DePaul University. Snakes and Rubies will give Chicago residents Adrian Holovaty of the Django Project and David Heinemeier Hansson, the guy behind Ruby on Rails, a forum to debate their approaches to making over the internet. Event details are here; potential discussion questions are being taken via the website now.

Don't Call Them Yuppies

The Lincoln Park Urban Professionals are throwing a warehouse party of sorts, and you're invited. It's next Wednesday at 600 W. Chicago, the old Montgomoery Ward warehouse (hey, that's not in Lincoln Park!), from 6pm to 9pm. In addition to margaritas and martinis in the lobby, you can visit Japonais for sushi and sake, Kitch'n River North for beer and hors d'oeuvres, Motel Bar for mixed drinks and David Barton Gym for wine and massages. All for $20 in advance, $30 at the door.

Sounds of the Underground

In her blog, Julie Shapiro of the Third Coast Festival previews the birdcall-themed work that will kick off the Outer Ear Festival of Sound on Sunday, describing it as "an experimental sound installation in the fern room of a historic conservatory." What more to say, except, perhaps, that it's free? For information about this and other events that are part of the month-long festival, look no further.

Men DIY too!

Now I'm sure you've heard of the DIY Trunk Show even if you haven't been to one yet. (It happens again this this Saturday. And since it is all about craft with a "c" and not a "k", you might be just as fascinated as I was to listen to an interview with Jeff Faye yesterday on 848. I know I'm excited to see some of his items in person.

Hats Off to Chicago Milliners

If the very idea of milliners seems awfully 19th century, how about the idea of a Milliners Guild? This is the weekend to learn something new about hats. Chapeau, Chicagos own Milliners Guild, presents Falling Head First, a series of events demonstrating that the art of hat making is alive and thriving. See Slowdown for details.

Dorkbot Is On Tonight!

Do you like to do strange things with electricity? Maybe Dorkbot is for you — their motto is "people doing strange things with electricity." Per their web site, Dorkbot is a meeting where interactive artists, scientists, robot builders, mechanics, engineers, and freaks-in-general come to co-mingle. Normally two people/groups present interesting things they are doing while all the other people drink beers and ask questions. So rub a bunch of balloons all over your car (or your Chuck Taylors) and meet the local chapter at Deadtech, 3321 W. Fullerton Ave., from 8pm to 10pm tonight.

Look for the Hoodies

Tonight, Gapers Block staffers will be hanging out in the upstairs bar at Hopleaf for our monthly Get-Together -- you should come. Just look for the GB neighborhoodie. And speaking of, tomorrow night the new Neighborhoodies store in Wicker Park is throwing a grand opening bash from 8pm on.

We're gonna need more tiaras

If an 80's prom isn't your thing, how about a gay homecoming? Crew Bar+Grill in Uptown is holding a homecoming dance Friday night to benefit the Gay Games Chicago 2006. Highlights include the Patty Elvis Band, a $100 bar tab prize for best dressed, free food and some serious drink specials. Plus they'll be crowning a king and queen. Or queen and king, as the case may be. Details, as always, in Slowdown.

Wake Me Up Before You Go Bowl

We're getting a little overwhelmed with premature '80s nostalgia. Witness The Awesome '80s Prom, the Tony'n'Tina-style interactive entertainment that's opening next month at the new '80s-themed club RadioStar (yes, as in "Video Killed the"). But here's one bit of '80s fever we can get behind: the HRC 80's Equality Bowl. Wear your best Reagan-era costume to Waveland Bowl this Sunday for a benefit for the Human Rights Campaign, featuring bowling, buffets, and probably more Madonna than you can shake a stick at. See Slowdown for details.

A Man Named Fred

Is your name Fred? Are you 25-35? More importantly, is your name Fred? Casting is taking place, all day today, for an upcoming Chicago movie where men named Fred are needed. Fred, If you are interested you should call 312-527-0665. Yes, Fred, I am talking to you. (Thanks, Fred Alex!)

This Evening's Activities

Looking for something to do tonight? Here's your plan:
1. Dine out at one of these restaurants (more here) to raise money for Katrina clean-up.
2. Head to the MCA for Stories On Stage, featuring stories from the Paris Review.

Fresh Faces in Fashion

Thursday ends Chicago's first Fashion Week and it all culminates in Millennium Park with Gen Art's Fresh Faces in Fashion runway show. The show features some of the most promising names in local accessories and clothing designers and their Spring lines will make their debut on the runway. You have to get tickets to this event, so get clicky with Slowdown to find out how. (And if fashion really isn't your thing, you might also be interested to know that Liz Phair is scheduled to perform.)

Sadly, no Daley Daisy Pink

If youre the sort of person who wants your nails to match your geographical location, OPI can help. Last month, the company launched its new Chicago Collection of nail and lip colors, including red-brown Mrs. OLearys BBQ and Skinny Dipn in Lake Michgn (shockingly not icy blue, but a shimmery nude). You should be able to find these at most nail salons, including Nail Bar, which held the world premiere of the collection.

Apple at the Adler

Techie types of the Mac persuasion had best act quick so as to be among the lucky 250 at DrunkenBlog's "Evening at Adler." The confab will bring together the folks behind NetNewsWire, Delicious Library, Fire.app and other software you know and love. Best thing: it's free. The event's scheduled to take place October 21, but you'll probably want to put your name in the hat now.

Newsman's Collection Auctioned

Chicago Antiques Guide informs us that former ABC7 anchorman John Drury's collection of erector sets and other vintage toys is going up for auction. Drury was diagnosed with ALS last year, soon after he retired from 50 years of broadcasting; the auction will benefit the Brain Research Foundation.

Eat Pierogi, Watch for Scooters

Lovers of pierogi, polka and polish sausage should make their way to the Copernicus Foundation, 5216 W. Lawrence, for the annual Taste of Polonia. And if you notice a whole lot more scooters on the road this weekend, it's because Slaughterhouse 11, a sort of Sturgis for scooters, is happening.

Stitch'n'Pitch

Now that the nights are cooler, I'm finding myself a little more comfortable when I curl up on the sofa with my knitting. But I'm de-freaking-lighted at the prospect of sitting and watching the White Sox play while I sip a cool one while I knit. If you haven't bought your tickets yet, whaddaya waitin for? Seriously, they're only $12. Even if you don't want to knit you can be surrounded by hot knitters for cheap. Where there is beer. And hot dogs. And nachos. In front of a winning baseball team. And you just might see yourself on the Jumbo-Tron.

See Dead Bodies at Midnight

If you haven't made it to the Bodyworlds exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry yet, you have until Monday to make it. And to accommodate all those last-minute visitors, the museum is going to keep the show open 24 hours a day from 9:30am Saturday through 9pm Monday. So if you've always wanted to see skinless humans at 3am, your wish is granted.

Meet Satan's Angel

She's performing in this Saturday's Gurlesque Burlesque show at the Abbey. She made her burlesque debut in the '60s. She's Satan's Angel! Come meet the lady at Stargaze between 6 and 9 this Friday and chat her up about her life in burlesque, the celebrities she's bedded, and the whole thing about getting hit by the semi. Learn more about her in this Windy City Times interview.

Pinball Wizardry

Forget videogames -- hardcore gamers go for pinball! And this November, the Pinball Expo hits town with the force of a steel ball bearing. In addition to opportunities to buy, trade and play bodytables, conventioneers will have the opportunity to tour Stern Pinball in Melrose Park, the last remaining pinball manufacturer in the world. (Can't afford a ticket? Watch the tour online.)

I'm a manatee!

Indiana funny man and frequent Chicago visitor Jim Gaffigan will be taping a one hour special for Comedy Central at the Vic Theater on October 8th. Gaffigan, who can be seen on many late night shows doing his dry brand of stand up, is probably most familiar to viewers who have seen any Sierra Mist commercials. I've seen him twice and not only is the show great, he's highly accessible and personable post-show.

Open Source / Open Ear

As music becomes more and more experimental or less and less traditional, outlets have opened up for the budding "musician" to explore different venues for their creativity. Open Source / Open Ear is a two-week (now in its last week) exhibition at Mess Hall that invites you to come out and contribute your aural creativity to a live installation. Visit the site to find out how to participate or take a better look at what the project entails.

From Ms. Pacman to the Tomb Raider

For those of us who prefer the digital to the flesh and blood, theres an exhibit other than Body Worlds that will be closing soon at the Museum of Science and Industry. Through September 5th, you can see Game On: The History, Culture, and Future of Video Games. Over the course of sixteen areas, youll have the chance to play over 100 video games, as well as see preliminary sketches and models for games like The Sims and Lara Croft, Tomb Raider.

Bike to Rufus on the cheap(ish)

Wanna go see Rufus Wainwright and Ben Folds at Ravinia Wednesday night? Don't wanna pay $175 to a ticket broker? The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation has tickets that will set you back about $80 and you get a ton of freebies, too. Sounds like something to add to that must-do list you've got, eh?

Stitch 'n' Pitch

It may not sound like fun with the thermostat stuck on "way too f'in hot", but by September 20th it should be perfect knitting weather. Inspired by the Seattle Mariners Stitch 'n' Pitch nights, Brenda Janish (Chicago's designated knitter) of the local Stitch 'n' Bitch group has teamed up with a White Sox marketing guy to set aside a few hundred specially priced ($12--woot!) tickets so local knitters can drink beer, eat nachos and knit sox. You've got till September 6th to order your tickets by mail or fax. And more importantly, you've got just a little over a month to knit a White Sox beer cozy.

Tickets may also be purchased online (a $4 per ticket service fee will apply to all online orders). To order online, go to www.whitesox.com, click on "Schedule" and then on "T" in the September 20 box. On the order page, type SNP in the promotion code box.

Dorkbot Chicago

There's one spot left for Deadtech's Dorkbot event next week. So if you've got a homemade robot to show off, a sweet application you've written, or some wired circuits, contact Deadtech to be in the August 2nd show.

Gen Art Style Chicago '05

Tonight you can see me take in some fashion at Gen Art's Style Chicago '05, a celebration of the organization's International Design Competition winners. What? I'm not money enough to draw you there? Then come see Project Runway winner Jay McCarroll host the evening of worldly fashion. Slowdown is not only pretty, it has all the details you need.

Bacon-off

Recently, some of us decided that a Bacon-off (bacon-eating contest), was a great idea. Pictures of the event are now up. The winner? Atomly, former vegan, ate three pounds of bacon in three five-minute rounds (a pound a round!) to edge out Mike and Dan.

Bastille Day festivities

It's Bastille Day, a French holiday that celebrates the storming of the Bastille. Francophile celebrations are rampant in Chicago. Metromix has a partial rundown of of culinary events, though chances are if you call your favorite French restaurant they have a special prix fixe dinner arranged. There's also a Bastille Day 5K run/walk, or you could visit the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition at the Art Institute.

Carillonathon!

The University of Chicago's Rockefeller Chapel is home to a giant musical instrument known as a carillon. Every Sunday this summer the chapel is hosting a series of free recitals featuring University Carillonneur Wylie Crawford along with guest artists from across the United States and Europe. The concerts start at 6 pm, but come at 5:30 pm to climb the stairs of the bell tower and get a look at the giant bells of the carillon-- not to mention a breathtaking view of the downtown skyline.

A Very Different Weekend

If you want to get out of town and do something different this weekend, you could try the Three Hills Rodeo in Galena that's happening this weekend. And if driving to Galena is too far for a rodeo, then get ready for the Windy City Rodeo in August.

DuPage's Real Live RPG. With Instructions.

I'd heard DuPage County was boring, but pretending to be vampires in the COD cafeteria is a new level of sad sad sad I hadn't considered. As one person put it, "it makes me long for the days where these sorts of weirdos just hung out in a basement listening to Led Zeppelin". Too true.

The Future is Boring and Scantily Clad

Nextfest was boring, it seems. At least one person thought it Nextfest wasn't all that, or, as he put it, the future is boring. Or as this guy puts (pans) it, the people of the future are scantily clad.

Phat Camp

Last Sunday marked the first meeting of Phat Camp's Body Image Discussion Group at Mess Hall. Open to those 18 and older, the discussion focuses on negative body, health and beauty messages, finding a community, and honoring inner stregnth and resiliance -- not numerical weight goals. The group meets every Sunday from 10-11:30am at 6932 N. Glenwood Ave. Call 773-465-4033 to get more information.

Parade of Pet Homes

This summer's Parade of Pet Homes is Saturday, June 18th, in River North. Nineteen area designers took pre-fab dog houses and gave them a makeover, which can be viewed on a walking tour from 10am to 6pm. Afterwards, the dog houses are auctioned off, with proceeds going to the Anti-Cruelty Society.

Candy returns (but not for you!)

The ALL CANDY EXPO® (slogan: "It's candy time!") returns to Chicago's McCormick Place this week. And once again, this is a trade show only; no members of the general public will be allowed allowed to sample the tasty, delicious candy. And unlike last year's expo, when children were allowed onto the floor for one crummy hour at the very end of the expo, this year the children's hour will not happen, "in order to make Thursday a stronger business day for all". Perhaps next year the expo people will rub it in even more blatantly by holding assemblies at various Chicago public schools, where they gleefully devour fistfuls of jelly beans in front of crying children.

Tiki Extravaganza

In just a couple weeks, some serious tiki action will be coming to town. Exotica 2005 Luau by the Lake features the best of Hawaiian, Tiki and retro culture, presented by Tiki Quest author Duke Carter and Eddie Angel of Los Straitjackets. It's a weekend-long tiki party, backyard luau and music festival. It runs July 7-10 at Trader Vic's downtown, Hala Kahiki in River Grove and FitzGerald's in Berwyn. Tickets are required; details and ticket info at ChicagoExotica.com.

Sub resurfaces

The U-505 German sub that was moved last year from outside the Museum of Science and Industry to a new home inside the museum is now on display again, along with an exhibit of nearly 200 artifacts, including an M4 Enigma encryption machine, video clips of the U-505's capture, and a display of a T5 acoustic torpedo. Sounds excellent. See the MSI's site for details on the new exhibit.

Manifest 2005

Who doesn't like free outdoor events? Tomorrow, Columbia College puts on their daylong 15 exhibition artwalk and sale called Manifest that celebrates grad students from all of their departments. Music is never afar and Grammy winners Ozomatli (they are good!), hip-hop stud Saul Williams and fronting the jazz beat, Steve Turre take to three stages. Starts at 11am and ends at 9:30pm and, again, admission is free. (Hat tip to Sarah who's got the inside scoop).

The new Segway, a Mars suit and the head of Philip K. Dick

Still trying to decide whether to go to NextFest? WiReD has helpfully posted a preview of some of the exhibited technologies that you'll be able to see at the three-day showcase of future technologies coming to Navy Pier in June.

Tied Up at the Convention

What is it with Memorial Day in Chicago? IML isn't the only lifestyle convention this weekend -- Shibaricon is the "world's premiere international pansexual annual exhibition and conference that focuses on education and information exchange of rope bondage." It opened today in Naperville (who said the 'burbs are boring?) and runs through Monday; registration is still open in you're looking for something really different this weekend.

Calling all geeks

It's been a while since we let you know about this summer's WIRED NextFest, but if it's not on your calendar, now's the time to mark it down (maybe using Upcoming?). The event will be held the last weekend in June, and organizers are currently seeking volunteers. There are all manner of incentives, but you know you mostly want the badge that makes you "official."

Pornstarpalooza

Memorial Day weekend in Chicago means one thing, and it's not baseball, barbecues or parades: it's The Gay. We've already mentioned IML, for the homos and harnesses set, and Bear Pride for aficionados of beards and body hair. As if that's not enough, tomorrow night also brings an influx of gay porn stars to the Park West for the 2005 Grabbys, the Oscars of gay porn, with awards in categories like Best Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Three-Way Sex Scene. You can also get up close and personal with the beefcake tonight at Gentry on State's pre-Grabbys "talk show."

International Mr. Leather/ Bear Pride

I saw someone with a leash on Michigan Ave. this afternoon, and they weren't walking their dog. Yes! It's time for the annual International Mr. Leather! Thousands of gay leathermen have descended upon the city for a weekend of fun events culminating Sunday in a pageant where one lucky man will be crowned International Mr. Leather 2005. If leather's not really your thing, and/or your pecs have been somewhat neglected, this weekend is also Bear Pride weekend, complete with a chance to be named "Mr. Bear Pride 2005." Rarr.

God bless boxer briefs

You may have heard about Crunch Fitness's convoluted marketing campaign—you know, the one with the underwear, where the people in their skivs somehow represent the liberation of no long-term contracts, and bringing in a pair of new underwear (to be donated to the homeless!) waives the initiation fee? I know, it makes me tired too. But all was forgiven this afternoon when I saw the hot, underwear-clad Crunch models roaming Wrigleyville. Now I say Crunch can market to me anytime. Aaron of Chicagoist spotted them in the Loop yesterday, and snapped a picture. The briefs brigade is scheduled to be popping up around town through tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled.

Rock Your Body

The Museum of Science and Industry is offering a special sweepstakes in conjunction with their Body Worlds exhibition: by entering you can receive a one-week health club pass and $50 off a new health club membership. Winners will receive a one-year health club membership, personal fitness training sessions and more goodies to keep in shape. In case swimsuit season ever arrives. Go here to find out more about the contest.

Scavengers, Scavenge! Scav Hunt Begins.

The University of Chicago's famous Scavenger Hunt began last night at midnight. Participants have until Sunday to fulfill a long list of zany and obscure items in order to earn points and, more important, nerd credibility. The University's Hyde Park campus serves as the epicenter of scav insanity, but each year's hunt includes stunts that take place throughout the city, as well as an array of items and objectives scattered along a road trip route across the country. Getting ahold of the list is the first puzzle each team has to solve before they can start hunting, building, waxing, tattooing, etc. Previous years' lists are available online. U of C students may already have a reputation for being a little weird, but if you see any running around your neighborhood dressed as Care Bears, erecting scale models of famous landmarks, or acting otherwisely absurd, don't blame the school-- blame scav hunt.

Renegade Craft Fair

Whether you're a person who makes crafts or a person who enjoys others' crafty endeavors, the Renedgade Craft Fair is the perfect place for all DIY-inclined to converge. This year's fair, the third of its kind, is now accepting applications from those who wish to participate in the September event. Check out the FAQ and then apply. The deadline is June 15.

Chicago, S.A.L.

Jim Nowlan, director of the civic leadership fellows program at UIUC, thinks the name of the state of Illinois should be changed to the State of Abraham Lincoln. Nowlan's reasoning? "Few in the world know what or where Illinois is. Some have heard of Chicago. Yet the world knows Abraham Lincoln..." And the Trib, bless their hearts, put a poll on the editorial page: "Should Illinois be renamed the 'State of Abraham Lincoln'?"

On Your Mark, Get Set, Fast Forward

Attention filmmakers: It's time once again for the Fast Forward Film Festival. Sign-ups are going on right now for this festival, in which teams have 24 hours to make a short film based around a theme. The filming takes place next weekend, so get signed up and get ready.

Ride Bikes, Help Naz

Tomorrow at 5:30pm, this month's Critical Mass ride gets started from Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn. The ride will wind its way through the North Side up to Konak, where we're holding our monthly GB Get-Together starting at 9pm. Chicago Critical Mass is also raising money to help Naz with his medical bills following his biking accident two weeks ago; check the site for details.

Advanced Flirting for Nerds

Early to Bed, the grrl-positive erotic shop at 5232 N. Sheridan Rd., is holding a class tomorrow night at 7:30pm called "Flirting for Nerds 102." It's a more advanced version of the store's popular intro course, and promises to help even the most un-suave person make a pass. $10 at the door, 18 and over. More info on Early to Bed's calendar, or by calling 773-271-1219. By the way, they tell us there may be a film crew taping for a "documentary on nerd culture."

Story Week 2005

Story Week is here! What's Story Week, you ask? Newcity's Tom Lynch gives a little bit of history on Columbia College's week-long literary festival. Be sure to check with your friendly, neighborhood Slowdown for some of those events, posted throughout the week.

Influence: Art + Design Edition

On Tuesday, April 5th, Interrupt Media Group and Subsystence present the next installment of their monthly INFLUENCE night at Sonotheque, this time with a focus on the local art and design community. Cody Hudson, Ray Noland, Chris Silva, and Juan Chavez will DJ after an informal preshow discussion about the state of the Chicago creative scene. Panelists will include Jim Coudal, Brian Ulrich, Michael Coleman, Elizabeth Cline, and GB's very own Andrew Huff. More information is available in Slowdown, or on the INFLUENCE website. Hope to see some of you there!

More TDC

Stage 4 of the Tour Da Chicago goes down this Sunday the 13th with registration at 8AM with a 8:45AM race start. This one sounds good — a scavenger hunt around our beautiful city. Time Out Chicago recently published an article about the series of races. I'll be there, will you?

Lefkow Memorial Tonight

There will be a candlelight memorial tonight at 7pm on the 5200 block of North Lakewood Ave. in Andersonville to pay silent tribute to the Lefkow family. Bring your own candle. More information available from Nancy Meyerson of the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce at 773-784-5277.

St. Baldrick's Cure for Children's Cancer Benefit

St. Baldrick's Foundation raises funds to find cures for cancers affecting children. To raise money for their event, participants shave their heads to show solidarity with those affected and to collection donations to help the foundation. There are multiple events in Illinois, though I personally know a former neighbor of mine Pete Anderson will be at the event downtown at Fado's Pub.

More Meaty Art

The 7th Annual SPAM Sculpture Contest was this weekend, and it was quite a success. The winners -- The SPAM Circle of Life, the John Spamcock, and Spam-henge -- all went home with fabulous medals. Channel 2 also took some pictures and video (see link at bottom of page), and the first set of pictures are in.

Frozen Snot Century

Next weekend, a rabble of cyclists will roll into Chicago from Milwaukee to join us Chicagoans for the monthly Critical Mass ride. Some Chicago cyclists will join our northern friends back to Milwaukee on Saturday morning for a 100 mile ride. On Sunday the Chicagoans ride back home. What is this insanity you may ask? The Frozen Snot Century.

Great Backyard Bird Count

Now that I've got an eensy-teensy backyard I plan on participating in the Great Backyard Bird Count. Amateur ornithologists all over the country are going to be logging in reporting what types and numbers of birds they've seen, right in their own backyard. It takes place from the 18th-21st and you can participate even if you don't have a window. Go to a local park, look out your window, or visit a friend and look in their backyard.

Make Out on Valentine's Day

Impress your dearest with a poem tonight: Make Magazine, an upcoming "Chicago literary magazine with a focus on publishing new area talent, as well as exploring Chicago traditions," has a poetry booth at "The Tainted Love Make-Out Party." tonight at Gunther Murphy's, 1638 W. Belmont. Originaly poems will be created on the spot, based on information offered by the customer, and the new poem will then be delivered aloud to the purchaser's beloved by an improv actor. There'll also be a kissing booth, DJs and three bands: Belfrie, Coupleskate and Pearly Sweets. All this for only $5! Doors open at 8pm, 21 and over. A little more info here.

Trekkies, Unite!

Fans of the television show "Enterprise" will be rallying to protest its cancellation in a night of music, fun and solidarity at the Logan Square Auditorium this Friday starting at 9pm. At 10:30pm, a webcast of the attendees cheering the show will be recorded and sent to Paramount executives and advertisers. $10 gets you in the door. Check out trekunited.com for more information.

V-Day, Every Day

For many people, Valentine's Day has transformed from a "Hallmark Holiday" to a time for raising the awareness of women in crisis. Eve Ensler (who's in town tomorrow night) started this movement with her groundbreaking work, "The Vagina Monologues," which continues to be performed across the country, and the world. The Monologues work to educate the public about ending violence against women, and performances are usually fundraisers to aid the cause. There are many different organizations who have planned readings and performances for V-Day, many of which will take place well into March this year. Check out the V-Day website and find one near you today.

Pick of the Litter

Thinking about getting a new pet? Consider heading to Chicago Animal Care & Control's "Meet Your Match" adoption drive this weekend. Dogs and cats will be waiting for you to fall in love with them all St. Valentine's Weekend at the organization's shelter at 2741 S. Western Ave.

Takashi Murakami

Tonight Gen Art and Museum Works are opening the Museum Works Galleries Chicago and will be showing a limited edition of Takashi Murakami lithographs. "Takashi who?" you say. You know those colored Louis Vuitton patterns? He designed those. The exhibition is free and open to the public through February 18. Tonight's event will last from 5:30pm-8:30pm at 3 East Huron St., 3rd Floor. Call 312-229-1701 for more information. (I'll be there, too.)

More INXS

Last Sunday, Schuba's held auditions for the new CBS reality show on the search for a new INXS frontman, replacing the deceased Michael Hutchence. Metromix reporter Karen Budell made it to the auditions and relates her experience forgetting the words to "Devil Inside."

Too Much INXS

Remember that movie with Marky Mark where his dream came true when he got the chance to become the new frontman for his favorite band? (I saw it on VH-1, okay?) Mix that with The Apprentice and you've got the format for a new CBS reality show looking to replace the late, great Michael Hutchence of INXS. Think you have what it takes to give us what we need? Auditions take place on Sunday at Schubas (more in Slowdown). Oh yeah. It's classy.

Become a Porn Star!

Local lady-owned sex shop Early to Bed is currently casting its very first sexually explicit video. They're looking for lesbian couples or "play partners" to star in a high-quality porn movie with an all-female crew. You'll get $150 plus lube and toys -- and a whole lot of exposure. Interested? Call Searah at 773-271-1219 or e-mail moviesearlytobedcom.

Clown Around Town

Clown Around Town, a new program from The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, celebrates the circus arts all weekend long with acrobatic workshops, clown performances, and a circus museum exhibit. Today's events include a circus exhibition all day at the Museum of Science and Industry, "Silliness 101" at the Chicago Children's Museum, and an Astro Beat Circus Dance Party from 7-9 pm at the Chicago Cultural Center. Check out Slowdown for highlights of events happening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as well.

Trail of Tears

Jim and the folks at Coudal Partners are about to begin another one of their web contests, this time ominously titled the Trail of Tears. It seems treacherous, mysterious, and all-together intense. It also features prizes from Powell's, Pixies Discs, Veer and Rotofugi, among others. So, perhaps the ends will justify the means. Sign up for more information here — if you think you're up for it. But, don't say we didn't warn you.

Snowball fight in Wauconda!

The Wauconda Lions Club is hoping to stage the world's largest snowball fight tomorrow morning at Cooks Park (600 N. Main, across from Wauconda High School). The Lions Club members came up with the idea after hearing that a town in the Swiss Alps organized 2,473 people for a fight. They're hoping to have at least 3,000 people in the park tomorrow morning and earn a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. If you'd like to be a part of the record, check the Lions' Website for details.

Orange Mullet Alert This Weekend

Babes. The General Lee. Cooter. Spongebob. NASCAR. "Mike the Plumber". All this and more Sunday Sunday Sunday (well, Friday and Saturday too) at the World Of Wheels Chicago show at McCormick. If you've been mullet-deprived or want to pick up a NASCAR dad, this is your big chance.

NextFest Chicago

Kick ass news for computer/tech geeks: Wired Magazine's NextFest is coming to Chicago this summer. Started last year in San Francisco, NextFest is intended to be a "mini World's Fair" showcasing emerging technologies in fields ranging from alternative fuel vehicles to invisibility cloaks to the latest in computer gizmos. It'll be at Navy Pier June 24-26.

Lessons in Hooping

Hooping, the art of dancing/meditating/grooving with a large hula-hoop, is coming to a yoga studio near you. Local artist KC will be teaching a class in hooping at Nature Yoga on Sundays, so if you want to try a different type of motion for your body, you might want to check it out.

The year in wacky news!

The Sun-Times has a list of the wackiest Chicago stories that happened in 2004. Some were stories we mentioned during the year (the Steve Bartman baseball being blown up, Jays vs. Lay's, the Dave Matthews Band poo incident) and some were ones we missed (a Highland Park woman trying to sell the domain name election2004.com for $500,000 and, not surprisingly, failing to do so).

Get Guided By Voices

Want to impress your sweetie with some sweet music this New Year's Eve? Brett over at Reckless Records is giving away two tickets to the sold out (and the very very last) Guided By Voices show at the Metro next Friday. The Catch? You have to write and convince him and "a panel of Metro and Guided By Voices panelists" of your worthiness. Email Brett{at}reckless{dot}com by Sunday, Dec. 26th, and he'll let you know by Dec. 28th if you're the lucky one. Make sure to include your phone number and best contact information.

Buy the Mirth Mobile

If you're ready to head out on the highway with style, you can grab your checkbook and buy the AMC Pacer used in Wayne's World from the Volo car museum in Volo, Illinois. The car, which in the movie Wayne and Garth tooled around Aurora and the Kennedy, is up for grabs for a measely $15,000. If you have a little more cash burning a hole in your pocket, spend $1.2 million on a prototype Shelby GT-500 convertible Mustang, or spend some dough on a 1951 Studebaker painted to portray a Gotham City police car for the Batman movies. Excellent!

Blue Frog, Red Lizard

And you thought the election season was over: The Brookfield Zoo is asking for your vote for official state amphibian and reptile. (Thanks, Fil)

Laser Light Show

The Adler Planetarium has a neat looking show that updates the tired (oh, so so tired) psychedelic planetarium light show. Instead of the usual warhorse "The Wall", the Adler Planetarium is running a digital show with music from artists from - gasp - this decade! Moby, Coldplay, Audioslave, The Flaming Lips (among the proverbial others) contribute music to this digital "dreamspace". Looks pretty neat, and it has to be better than hearing about the Crab Nebula again. (If you insist on seeing The Wall or Srgt Peppers, you're going to have to wait til February. Otherwise, you could make your own laser light show.)

"Buddhism Today," Today

The Diamond Way Buddhist Center of Chicago presents "Buddhism Today," a lecture by Lama Ole Nydahl tonight at 8 pm. The lecture is at the Thorne Auditorium at Northwestern University's downtown campus (375 E Chicago Avenue, at the corner of Chicago Ave and Lake Shore Drive). The event is free and open to all.

Watch Your Step

Somebody's been stealing manhole covers -- more than 150 this month. Police say the rise in scrap iron prices may have driven demand for the 125-pound discs; iron drainage grates are also disappearing.

Firemen vs. Policemen Boxing

Ever fantasized about watching Chicago's burliest firefighters duke it out Muhammad Ali-style with Chicago's toughest policemen? Ok, that's just me then.

Anyhow, Saturday is Chicago's Third Annual Battle of the Badges, a charity-boxing event between the Chicago Police and Chicago Fire Charities. Tonight's bouts get going at the De La Salle Institute (3455 S. Wabash Ave) at 6 p.m. Chicago Park District amateur boxer bouts will begin at 6:30 p.m. Chicago Police and Fire bouts will begin at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door. Pow!

THONGs Fight GMOs

Topless Humans Organized for Natural Genetics (THONG) Presents: BUSH/NO BUSH, a post-election fundraiser to support THONG's efforts to keep our food supply free from GMOs. The event features bands, body painting, naked Twister, organic foods, election healing, and naked Twister. Naked Twister? Naked Twister.

There is a suggested donation of $5 with costume, $10 without, admission is FREE if you're naked (score!). The ball gets rolling Friday night at 9 pm at Transamoeba Studio (1325 S Wabash #101). Check out ChicagoTHONG.org for more info.

Suburb resident to neighbors: drop dead

A resident of the western suburb of Bloomingdale, apparently in retaliation for the complaints his neighbors had made about the RV parked at his house, set up a Halloween display that included tombstones with the names of his neighbors. Long story short, the police were called, words were exchanged, and now the guy is now suing the police (TWO YEARS after the original incident, for some reason) for First Amendment violations, alongside compensation for the "mental anguish, stress and feelings of helplessness" that he says he got when the police handcuffed him. Well, good luck on that lawsuit, although this story sounds more suited to Jerry Springer than the courts.

Rollergirls Take Over the City

In case you missed the party last week, the latest issue of 606 Magazine has a story on the Windy City Rollers, the Chicago's new female roller derby league.

Undead Walking Tour

Graceland Cemetery is one of the city's most beautiful; it's dotted with mausoleums by Louis Henri Sullivan and Laredo Taft for such luminaries as Daniel Burnham, the Palmers and Marshall Field. The Chicago Architecture Foundation conducts its last walking tour of the year this Sunday at 2pm, starting from the entrance at Clark and Irving Park. Since it's Halloween, reader Mike Hanline and friends will be dressing like zombies for the cemetery tour, then heading to McGee's Halloween Pub Crawl. If you care to join them, email michaelhanline at yahoo.com.

Rocky Horror at Music Box

Few things are as beautiful as looking up in a movie theater and seeing many rolls of toilet paper flying towards the screen. This weekend is your chance to do it too -- Midnight Madness, the local RHPS performance group, is giving a show at the Music Box at midnight on Friday and Saturday. This show always sells out, so it might be a good idea to get your tickets now so you can Time Warp this weekend.

Vote early, then pARTicipate

Schubas has just announced an addition to their election-night programming. "A Night of Apocalyptic Possibilities" will now kick off at 6pm with the premiere screening of "pARTicipation," a documentary filmed during August's Interchange music-and-voter-registration festival, featuring performances by Andrew Bird, Bobby Conn, Tortoise, the M's and more. That's still followed by a screening of "Fahrenheit 9/11" at 7:30 and live band karaoke at 10, and it's still all free.

Dead Authors Party

There's nothing wrong with playing dress-up in the privacy of your own home, but if you're ready to take your costume public, check out the Guild Complex's Dead Authors Party Saturday night from 6-9 pm at darkroom (2210 W Chicago Ave). Come dressed as your favorite dead author, dead character from a novel or poem heck, get some friends together and come as the play Our Town. Its a great way to try out that Halloween costume and helps support Chicagos premiere literary center. Individual and group costume competitions will be judged by celebrities for prizes. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. To reserve yours, please call 773.227.6117 x16.

Going for the Record in Eww

UC's Chicago Maroon reports on fourth year student Mel Grubbe's attempt at getting into the Guinness Book of World Records. The category: World's Longest Eyelash.

Gory garage sale

As Defiant Theatre staggers toward the grave—the company's final and well-received production, "A Clockwork Orange", closes this Saturday—they're getting rid of their inventory with a "Graverobbing Sale." They promise to have "tons of costumes, props, office equipment, phalli, and much, much more" on the cheap. The sale is Saturday, 10am-4pm at Defiant's warehouse space at 3711 N. Ravenswood.

Lyric Opera Warehouse Sale

We mentioned this back in September, but it merits another shout-out: The Lyric Opera's warehouse at 2559 S. Dearborn is being sold for redevelopment, so this weekend the doors are being thrown open for a huge sale. Trunks for $50, costumes starting at $5 -- and all sorts of props, from swords to a giant Edgar Allen Poe face. It's free and runs 1-4pm Saturday and Sunday. More info in this Tribune article.

More World Naked Bike Ride

Even though the ride was many moons ago (hah!), the official pictures from the World Naked Bike Ride in Chicago are now up. If your company has a no nudity policy, then I wouldn't recommend viewing these at the office.

Old El Stations and Trains, Oh My!

If the history of the El is your bag, the 2004 Chicago-L.org Historic Station Tour is for you. Each year the Tour stops at various stations of architectural and cultural significance, often on equally significant train models. The event is October 17th and carries a $32 cost, but you need to register in advance via this handy PDF.

No, you won't get some antimatter to take home

If you've ever dreamed of seeing the REAL place where the work is done at Fermilab, now's your chance. The Sun-Times reports that The Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory is going to be offering tours of the accelerator tunnel that is used to make antimatter. The tunnel is undergoing maintenance and upgrades right now, so it's been shut down for 13 weeks. (So the chance that you'll get locked in accidentally and bombarded with antimatter is .... relatively slim.)

Ranch style wedding

Are you getting married soon? Stressed about what location fits your budget, and your style? Do you get hives everytime you walk into a hotel reception room? Then Catalyst Ranch may be just the thing for you. They're able to accomodate most weddings with either a sit-down dinner or a cocktail/app reception, and their rooms kick-arse! With names like Tango and Cha-Cha, you know your guests will be shaking their groove thing till the cows come home. Check the place out on Sunday when they have a show-and-tell with all their approved vendors.

We, Robot Builders

Chibots, the Chicago Area Robotics Group, is having their Robot Builders Day Out this Saturday in southern Wisconsin. Robot enthusiasts (of the human variety I take it) of all kinds are encouraged.

The A-maze-ing Race

Looking for some oddball entertainment this weekend? How 'bout an election themed corn maze? Fairwyn Farms up near Lake Geneva has skipped their usual Bears-Packers theme and instead pit Kerry vs. Bush, each riding the appropriate party animal. It's $7 per person to do one half (assumably divided along party lines), or $10 for both.

Chicago Bang Bang

Meet real mobsters' kids, pretend mobsters and the people who obsess about mobsters at the Golden Age of Gangsters Convention this weekend in Itasca. This event is open to the public and will feature tons of gangster memorabilia, descendents of famous mobsters Capone and Giancana, actors Joe Gannascoli and John Fiore from "The Sopranos," special displays about the St. Valentine's Massacre and The Prohibition years, a guided tour of Chicago gangster history, and several historians and authors who have made gangster history their life's work. Friday-Sunday, Holiday Inn in Itasca. Admission is $15 per day or $40 for the weekend.

Scoot!

If you see a swarm of people on Vespas headed your way this weekend, don't be alarmed -- it's just Slaughterhouse 10, the 10th annual scooterfest thrown by the Second to Last Scooter Club (where'd your site go, guys?). Hit the Hideout tonight at 9pm for a DJ set by 2Stroke Buzz.

Get along little dogies

Hey pardner: get yerself on down to Crete this weekend for the 8th Annual Windy City Rodeo, presented by the Illinois Gay Rodeo Association. Chicago cowboys and cowgirls will compete in 13 honest-to-goodness rodeo events, including chute dogging [ahem], bareback riding [ahem], pole bending [AHEM] and something called a “wild drag race”. This all takes place at the Rodeo Grounds in Crete, Illinois, 12-5 Saturday and Sunday, with social events following the competition. Proceeds benefit Vital Bridges, Howard Brown Health Center, and GLSEN Chicago.

Relics @ Healing Earth

Healing Earth, 3111 N. Ashland, is playing host to a traveling collection of Buddhist relics today between 4pm and 8pm; the exhibit moves on to the Theosophical Society in Wheaton this weekend before heading to Indiana and Ontario. Listen here (RAM) to Chicago Public Radio's report on the relics.

Volunteers Needed

The Chicago Muscular Dystrophy Association is looking for volunteers for Sunday, September 5, at US Cellular Field to help promote its "Jerseys Off Their Backs" event. You'll sell scratch-off tickets with a chance to win a worn jersey from a White Sox player. Volunteers receive a ticket to the game and a free t-shirt. Help take the shirts off their backs, and MDA will put one on yours! To volunteer call 630/960-1500 or email chicagoalsservicesmdausaorg.

The Art of Cinnamon Rolls

Ann Sather's is looking for artists to participate in "The Art of the Cinnamon Roll," a charity silent auction to benefit the Children's Place Association, to take place Sept. 10. If you're an artist, please consider donating a "cinammon roll-inspired" work to this very worthy cause. Contact Ann Sachs at 773/348-2378 for a donation form; artwork is due by Aug. 29.

Livin' La Vida Breakin'

Feeling nostalgic for awful 80s breakdance films? Pine no more—in a bizarre cosmic coincidence, Chicago's got you covered this week. Barrel of Monkeys and The Neo-Futurists will perform a staged reading of the 1984 classic Breakin' on Wednesday, August 4 at 8 pm as part of their It Came from the Neo-Futurarium III series. Tickets $10, $8 students/seniors. To completely pacify your breakdance jones, head over to Metro on Saturday night for the "Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo" breakdance contest. With MC Anacron and DJ Pier Novikov, 10 pm/$10.

Watch What You Eat...

...you may get more than you expected. The Brookfield Zoo received the gift of a California black widow spider from a woman who discovered it in a bunch of grapes she was eating. Jewel, where the grapes came from, will be inspecting its produce a little more closely.

Bartenders Throw Down!

Tomorrow night, at Vision Nightclub, 630 N. Dearborn, teams from 26 of the city's bars and nightclubs will compete in the most difficult event of their lives: Chicago Bar Wars 2004. They will compete in five events: Bouncer boxing, jello wrestling, sumo wrestling, flair bartending (think Cocktail) and the Hottest Bartender Pageant. And you can watch it all for just $20! Tickets are available here or at the door. May the best bar win!

DIY Trunk Show II: Electric Craftaloo

Back, bigger and better than last year, Cinnamon Cooper and Amy Carlton are doing the DIY Trunk Show for the second year. With a new site (by yours truly), they're making an open call to artisans, craftmakers, musicians, anyone with anything home and handmade to showcase, sell and present to the public. The show will again be at the Pulaski Park Auditorium, recently used for the WLUW Record Fair, and will have three large spaces, almost triple the size of last year's Trunk Show. Despite the grander venture, cost for a table still remain cheap and completely affordable. For more details, take a look at the site or if you're interested in joining, please step right up.

Atari Video Game Summit

Attention Atari lovers, the official Atari Video Club Video Game Summit is happening tomorrow at the Fairfield Inn in Lombard, IL. Be prepared to go head-to-head in the Frogger tournament and check out vendors and exhibitors specializing in classic gaming. So dust off that 2600 and go. Admission is free. The Atari Video Club is based in Westchester, IL. Check out their website for more information.

Firecraker Kustom Kar and Hot Rod Kruise

Chicago native George Barris will be appearing at the Volo Auto Museum this weekend for the first annual Firecracker Kustom Kar and Hot Rod Kruise. Barris is the self-described King of Kustomizers, and he is responsible for the creation of many memorable cars for TV and film including the original Batmobile, the General Lee from the "Dukes of Hazzard," and Kit from the "Knight Rider" series. So head out to Volo, IL where Barris will be signing autographs and sharing customization tips. Or is it kustomization?

Make 'em laugh

Have you harbored a secret desire to run away and join the circus? Now you can run to the Circus Factory at 4430 N. Western Avenue for a full range of circus arts classes for adults and kids. If you don't want to commit to an 8-week session, drop by on Tuesdays for their weekly Juggle-Jam from 9-11pm. For just $5 you can learn to juggle, practice your juggling moves, and meet up with other Chicago area juggling enthusiasts. Check out the Circus Factory website for more information.

Bike in the Nude!

Like Biking? Like hanging out in your birthday suit? Why not combine the two and join the World Naked Bike Ride tomorrow night!? The Chicago ride starts from 1542 N. Milwaukee Ave., kicking off with a pre-party and body painting session at 7pm, then hitting the streets around 9pm. More info here.

Candy comes to Chicago (but not for you!)

With the recent news of candy makers leaving the Chicago area, it's heartening to hear that the delicious-sounding ALL CANDY EXPO (slogan: "It's Candy Time!") is happening this week at McCormick Place. The expo, unfortunately, is not open to the public, but the schedule turns up one amusing event: children will be allowed into the expo for one hour only, on the final day of the expo. (And they'll have to go through a 15-minute "children's briefing" before admission. No doubt they'll also have to sign a non-disclosure agreement and be searched before leaving.)

Midway / O'Hare Blunder

A reporter, in town for the Mac Design Conference, mistakenly flies into Midway, though his hotel and the conference itself are at O'Hare. Hilarity ensues.

Foundation's got it going on

Foundation Gallery, an art space, is gearing up for the summer. Their upcoming show is presented by Total Gym and is called Primal Secrets. Here's the dilly: "Total Gym is a social network that presents artwork produced within various multimedia projects which transform an immediate environment through visual, aural, and physical interaction. From June 11-18, Total Gym will occupy Foundation Gallery and implant, implant, implant, implant, implant. Projects include experiential drawings large and small, audio environments where beast and atmosphere collide, cheap manifestations of primal symbols and logic, along with elaborate masked and costumed visitors." You know, sort of like "Eyes Wide Shut." Maybe. They're also having an upcoming fashion show in July featuring local t-shirt makers Syndrome.

Mac designers, unite

From the editors of Mac Design Magazine comes this week's Mac Design Conference & Expo, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. The second-year event describes itself as "three amazing days of hard-core, Mac-only training in Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, Illustrator, QuarkXPress, InDesign, Dreamweaver, Flash, After Effects, Mac OS X, and more." Don't know if this event is for you? Photos like this should turn you all atwitter. It runs June 2-4; pre-registration is closed, but you can still buy admission at the door.

They call him MISTER Leather.

Congratulations go out to Jason Hendrix from Washington DC, who won the 2004 International Mr. Leather competition this weekend. Congrats also to Alan Tunstall of LA, who won the International Mr. Bootblack title. Pictures, of course, are available.

Core77 Offsite

The design and resource magazine Core77 is having an event this evening called appropriately "Offsite". It features Mark Palmer and Russ Branaghan, both user interface and usabiltity professionals for Motorola and Big Red Rooster respectively. "Motorola and Big Red Rooster are working together to create a new product development process that more effectively harnesses the power of true collaboration-between designers, engineers, social science, and most importantly, users." There will be a cocktail reception post presentation. It will be at the Illinois Institute of Technology from 6-9pm. You'll have to RSVP.

The Festival Season Begins

Are you ready for meat on a stick and beer in plastic cups? The summer neighborhood festival season kicks off this weekend with Lakeview Mayfest at Ashland and Barry, where you can catch the standard festival rock bands -- Underwater People, Aphrodesiacs, the imaginatively named Dave Matthews Cove Band -- and DePaul's FESTival:2004 on the Quadrangle, featuring the much more interesting lineup of Paulina, Lucky Boys Confusion, Tonic and Common. Need more help deciding? Mayfest is $5, but DePaul's shindig is free... until 6pm -- then you'll pay $10 for the concerts.

The Circus sets up shop

This past Saturday, at the last minute, I found myself catching a free performance of The World's Fair Regained, this year's theme for Le Vorris & Vox Circus. They are a circus group made up primarily of University of Chicago students and they've done this for the past three years now. Most have graduated and the word is that they're taking this on the road for the next three years. There are a few ways for your to get involved if you've always wanted to support the circus or be in one (how cool is this?) and if you're just plain curious, take a look at some photos (though this year's one was even bigger and better. For more about this past event, I wrote a little recap.

All-girl chess championships

This weekend, Chicago plays home to another unique event: the first annual All-Girl National Chess Championship. Girls between the ages of 6 and 18 will be testing their chess-playing skill at the Adler Planetarium this weekend, with awards ceremonies taking place Sunday afternoon at 2:00. For more information on the tournament, you might go check out the Website of Chess Wizards, a Chicago-area group for chess players.

Seymour Hersh in Chicago

The Hartford Courant profiles Seymour Hersh, the Chicago native, U of C grad and veteran of fabled City News Bureau who exposed My Lai during Vietnam and has been advancing the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in the New Yorker. Hersh speaks Friday at a U of C conference titled Constru(ct)ing the Current: Theorizing Media in a New Millennium.

Suburban Scavenging

Do you stare at the trucks trolling the alleys wistfully? Do you want to take your alley shopping to the next level? The City Of Elmhurst is having its 2004 Annual Spring Clean-Up, which offers unparalled possibilities for junk scavenging. Bicycles, lamps, luggage, furniture, records - all perfectly usable and totally free. Best of all - you won't have to be embarassed, because there will be hundreds of other people doing the same. In full daylight.

Squirrel lovers club

If you're really into squirrels, head on out to Earlville on June 6 for a celebration brought to you by the Squirrel lovers club. There, you can swap squirrel pictures and stories and... whatever else it is that squirrel lovers do. The best part of the club? Their number is 1-888-343-NUTS.

U Chicago scavenger hunt begins!

The list of items and tasks for the 2004 University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt is up in PDF form (original link, mirror site). The hunt kicks off today and concludes on Sunday the 9th, Judgment Day. If the Scavenger Hunt site is a bit slow for you right now (due to it being Slashdotted), peruse this article on the hunt.

The Stray Show 04

The Stray Show happens this weekend. Now in its third year, it brings a diverse and vast collection of galleries, artists and other creatives together to foster progression of the arts. Quite an impressive group of Chicago's finest representing. Be sure to check it out. Opening night celebrations happen this evening with the Stray Show proper Friday through Sunday.

The circus is coming to town

Looking for a little juggling, people walking on stilts, and silly face painting? The U of C circus troupe, Le Vorris and Vox, is putting on their show on May 14th and 15th. This being the U of C, they do have a circus syllabus to correspond to the event, but they also have a lot of links to places where you can learn circus acrobatics, like the Clown Workshop and Aerial Arts Intermediate.

Tomorrow is Critcal Mass Friday

So tomorrow is the last Friday of the month, which means it's time for Critical Mass, a monthly bicycle protest thingie. This month's ride will likely focus on Lucy Parsons, a labor activist involved in the Haymarket riot. After the ride there will be a play about Lucy Parsons at the Handlebar. Also, if you want to sample a bit of Chicago's bike culture and see what's in store for the ride tomorrow, check out this month's Derailleur.

Stunt Roping

Apparently Chicago isn't just a destination for leather fetishists anymore. At the end of May our fair city will play host to a Japanese rope bondage convention. I probably don't have to tell you that those links are not safe for work. [via the Story Hunters]

Version 04

Version is back for round 4 of their creative melange of workshops, presentations and festival cheer. This time it's going for two weeks straight starting April 16th to May 1st. This is quite an ambitious endeavour and the program is almost too daunting to look through. Take a look through the various passes and prices to get an idea of what your best value is. I'm sure there's quite a few gems in there.

Tax day! Yes, already!

It's April 15th, and you (should) know what that means: Tax Day! If you haven't worked out your taxes yet (and about 2 million Illinois residents have put it off until today), the Sun-Times offers some simple tips to keep in mind when filing tonight, as well as the addresses of a couple of post offices that will be open until midnight tonight.

WLUW Record Fair

Calling all crafters! Wanna spend a Saturday listening to great local bands surrounded by cool people and selling all those cool things you make? The WLUW Record Fair is filling up Pulaski Park Auditorium (1419 W. Blackhawk--near Division and Ashland), but it's not just for vinyl sellers. Last year there were more than 800 shoppers and 50 vendors. They've got a lot more space, they're close to public transportation, and they're rockin' cool. Interested in vending? Drop them an email.

Raise the U-505!

If you head over to the Museum of Science and Industry this week, you'll see an amazing site: the museum's U-505 submarine being moved indoors. The sub's being moved from its old place outside because the decades of Chicago weather have taken their toll on the ship, in the form of rusting steel and disintegrating wood. The MSI's Website has the lowdown on the move, and the Tribune has a great picture, along with the moving schedule.

seriouSeries #3

Infamous design site and Chicago brethren SpeakUp makes a return with seriouSeries, their show-and-tell panel style intimate exchange of ideas and grand discussion on April 29th. No. 3 explores Chicago and it's web fiends, namely Jim Coudal of Coudal Partners, Jason Fried of 37 Signals, Jake Nickell, Jacon DeHart and Jeffrey Kalmikoff of SkinnyCorp/Threadless and yours truly of well, this here website and other things. Space is limited but free, details and RSVP here.

Angela Davis Speaks

Angela Davis will be giving the key note speech at a conference at the University of Chicago. The talk is free and open to the public, and this is a great opportunity to hear an inspiring and powerful speaker.

The Peep Bus Is Coming!

What's yellow and coming to a city named Chicago? Why the Peep Bus of course. If you're worried you'll only have one day to see the Yellow Peep Bus, don't fear: they're staying for awhile and will be here in April too. No word on the official hotline as to where the Peep Bus is actually going to visit - but never fear, I'll keep you posted.

Make your own FOUND cover

If you haven't already picked up a copy of FOUND Magazine, you really should. If you are familiar with it and love it to death like we do, then perhaps you can help. FOUND is having a Make-A-Unique-Cover party this Sunday at Open End Gallery from 11am - 6pm. All the found items that did not make it into issue #3 will make it on to personalized covers that will be sent out to subscribers worldwide. That means that someone will have your very own handiwork in their hands. All necessary craft-making materials and found items will be provided. Nifty eh?

Bikin' and Streakin'

Do you often find that car drivers are completely free to drive naked while you, the disgruntled bicyclist, are not? Did you assume that Burning Man was the only place your bum could touch that naked saddle? Stand up for your naked bicycle rights as part of a worldwide day of protest: The World Naked Ride. The Chicago chapter is just getting organized, but the date, June 12th, has been set. Let's make this year's naked ride the best ever!

Kerry's in town

Presidential hopeful John Kerry is in town. He's hosting an Election Night Party tonight at Union Station in the Grand Hall on 210 South Canal Street in Chicago, IL. He'll be here for the next few days. [ Thanks Dan. ]

Karma on two wheels

The third annual Ride for AIDS Chicago is looking for riders, crew volunteers and pledgers for a two-day, 200 mile trip between Chicago and Lake Geneva to take place the first weekend of June. Each rider is expected to raise $1000 in pledges, 100% of which is returned to Test Positive Aware Network and BEHIV.

DEPART-ment

If you've been thinking that it is time you started supporting local artisans and crafters, you've got wonderful timing. The second DEPART-ment show takes place this weekend. Tonight begins with a reception, similar to what you'd find at a gallery opening, but with lots more pieces you can afford. Local people will be selling their handmade creations (clothing, cards, jewelry, toys, artwork, food items, etc.) at 2000 W. Fulton (near Damen and Grand Ave) tonight, Saturday, and Sunday. It's a lot of fun and a wonderful way to support your community.

Is it a man's man's man's world?

Annika Sorenstam, Billy Bean, Lindsy McLean, Katie Hnida: just a few people who might have something to say on the subject of Erin McCarthy's lecture this week. Dr. McCarthy, a history lecturer at Columbia College, will present Sport and Sexuality: (Nearly) the Last Bastion of Sexism and Homophobia at 6pm Thursday at the Chicago Cultural Center. It's part of the Intersections series presented by Columbia and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Admission is free.

Raeses Release Party

Raeses Skateboarding Magazine is having one hell of a party this Saturday for the release of the second issue. Part art show, dance party and chill out, it proves to be quite an event. Featured artists include the infamous Shepard Fairey (OBEY GIANT), Illinois' own Chuck Anderson (No Pattern) and many many cult artists active in the skate and graf scenes. $5 at the door, 7pm, all ages at Transmission Gallery.

SPEC event in Newcity

This week's Newcity mentions last Saturday's SPEC/GB reading! But for some reason, they don't mention that GB was a co-sponsor of the event. Only explanation I can come up with for the omission: sunspots.

SPEC & GB in Reader

Tomorrow night's SPEC/GB event at Uncle Fun is one of the Reader's Daily Specials for this week. Make sure you arrive on time, because there might be a bit of a crowd. The fun starts at 7:00 at Uncle Fun (1338 W. Belmont). Be there or be non-read-to.

The dentists are coming to town

If you notice an unusually large number of people talking around downtown with little mirrors and dental picks, don't be frightened; the Chicago Dental Society is holding its 139th annual meeting tomorrow, and they're expecting over 30,000 dental professionals to attend from the US and abroad. In addition to the meeting, more than 600 vendors will attend the conference, making it one of the largest exhibits of dental products in North America. The meeting takes place at McCormick Place from 11:00 to 2:00, and there will be public tours of the exhibition floor, just in case you wanted to see the latest in dental technology. Now rinse.

Mondo Bingo!

Mondo Bingo is a weekly event benefitting local arts or social organizations. Every Sunday, Rodan, the swanky new restaurant/bar on Milwaukee ave in Wicker Park, will be hosting the festivities. This Sunday, February 22, join the folks at Unit B gallery for a night of beer drinking, food eating, and bingo playing! Unit B is a fabulous artist-run gallery space located in Pilsen dedicated to highlighting new, emerging, and established contemporary artists. A portion of the evenings proceeds will help them continue on with their wonderful endeavours and secure a booth at the upcoming Stray Show. Bingo playing will start at 9pm. Come with a hungry belly and ready to play some serious bingo for art. Rodan is located at 1530 N Milwaukee.

Saturday and Sunday Sunday Sunday

Oh, and when you're done with the muskrat love, you can feel the love a little differently on Valentine's Day at the Monster Trucks Race at the Allstate Arena. Gravedigger'll be there!

The hardest $125,000 you'll ever earn

$125,000 is the prize for the next Chicago Marathon, which is more than the prize totals for last year's marathons in NYC and Boston. On the down side, you have to run 26.2 miles to pick up the prize money. But hey, you've got till October 10 to get training! If you feel ready, you can even sign up already, eight months in advance.

Look! Cars!

The Chicago Auto Show opens tomorrow down at McCormick Place and runs till the 15th. Want to see all the cool new cars without having to brave the crowds? Car & Driver and Motor Trend have overviews. And next year, the show will be even bigger. In related news, Ford announced plans to add as many as 3,000 jobs at its plant on the Southeast Side.

Forty Seven Oh Two

The Chinese New Year starts today, and wouldn't you know, it's the Year of the Monkey. (How to tell if you're a Monkey: if the age you turn this year is divisible by 12. Also: if you like hanging around with Dragons and Rats.) Consider heading down to Chinatown on Sunday for their annual parade, rife with floats, massive amounts of firecrackers, and very long dragons. It starts at 1 p.m. If you can't make it down to Chinatown, there's also a north-side parade, around Broadway and Argyle, on Saturday.

Dr. James Watson Lecture

Interested in genetics? Head down to the Museum of Science and Industry tonight at 7pm to hear one of the founding fathers of genetics, Dr. James Watson, reflect on the history of DNA science, his seminal role in discovering the DNA double helix and recent breakthroughs in genetic science. Before and after the lecture, explore the Genetics: Decoding Life exhibition, featuring live cloned mice, transgenic frogs and mutant fruit flies. Tickets are $20 for non-members, $8 for members; reservations required at 773/684-1414.

MLK Day at the U of C

African-American history scholar Dr. Michael Eric Dyson gives the keynote address at the University of Chicagos Martin Luther King Jr. Day commemoration. Poet Thien-Bao Thuc Phi, who has been recognized for his unique blend of rap and poetry, will give a presentation as well. The commemoration begins at noon at Rockefeller Chapel, 1156 E. 59th St. For more information, call 702-7059.

Free stuff!

The Playground Theater is moving into the Halsted Street space recently vacated by WNEP, and they're having a moving give-away. They say: "We've got beat-up couches, we've got beat-up lamps, we've got telephones, we've got a piano, we've got seven banks of movie seats (four to a bank) we're willing to part with. Plus more stuff I can't even think of right now!" It's free for the taking from their old space at 3341 N. Lincoln this Saturday from noon to 5, as long as you bring a crew to move it yourself. E-mail mark@markthenderson.com for more info.

Coming Out Against Cancer

Chicago's Lesbian Community Cancer Project had a rough year in 2003, with funding cuts leading to staff layoffs. But LCCP hopes to make up lost ground this year, starting February 7 with its 13th annual Coming Out Against Cancer Ball, one of the Midwest's largest LGBT social events. Dance the night away -- with special DJ Meshell Ndegeocello -- at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 South Shore Drive. VIP reception begins at 6:30 p.m., and the Ball runs from 8:00 p.m. to midnight.

Shedd's Seahorse Symphony stops Sunday

Shedd Aquarium is finally closing up its hugely popular Seahorse Symphony exhibit after 5 1/2 years. Originally designed to be an 18-month show, the seahorse display was one of the most popular exhibits at the aquarium, helping to bring in 10 million visitors over the years. If you haven't seen the exhibit yet, you have until Sunday, January 4th to check it out.

Beware the shrinkage

No nudity, no wetsuits, no whining. It's the fifth annual New Year's Day Polar Bear Swim. Come to North Avenue Beach at noon and put all that holiday flab to good use: insulation.

Crossroads of Empires

Looking for an escape from Chicago next spring? If you have an extra $9,000 lying around, why not sign up for Crossroads of Empires: From Cairo to Crete. Visit the Mediterranean and Near East, starting with the Pyramids and Sphinx of Egypt's Giza plateau and continuing with archeological sites in Cyprus, Turkey and Crete. The tour is being led by Emily Teeter, curator of Egyptian and Nubian Antiquities at the Oriental Institute. The trip takes place April 2-16, 2004, and you may register through either the Oriental Institute or the Field Museum.

Elvis Spectacular!

To accompany this week's Detour, for that full interactive experience, pick up your tickets to the Elvis Birthday Spectacular!, just on sale at Ticketmaster. Or, visit Rock-a-Tiki and see the man himself up close.

International Human Rights Day

Today is International Human Rights Day, and some Chicagoans are commemorating this day by having a rally at noon near the State of Illinois building (Clark and Randolph) to protest military occupations and human rights abuses around the world, while Amnesty International is holding a women's rights event at the Mexican Fine Arts Center, 1852 W. 19th St.

Christkindlmarkt

The weather outside is frightful, so its time to make that eyesore at Block 37 more delightful. Luckily the German-American Chamber of Commerce and the Goethe-Institut Chicago--celebrating its 25th Anniversary!--will be setting up the beloved and quite German Christkindlmarkt! The sweet strains of Christmas music and off-putting smell of lightly-grilled pork products can't be missed--and every time you're there, don't forget to stop by "Sweet Swabian" and pick up a package of those delicious cinnamon-and-honey dipped nuts.

10 things for this weekend

Crain's Chicago Business posts their list of 10 things to do this weekend. Not quite so "underground" or "hip" but for a change of pace, interesting.

Peaceable Assemblies

Looking for a peaceful way to spend your free time? The American Friends Service Committee (our Quaker pals) maintains a regularly updated calendar of rallies, vigils, meetings, film screenings, and other events in Chicago and the suburbs for the rabble-rousing idealist in you.

Latke-Hamentash Debate

For Jews, some questions stand eternal: what are the implications of God's covenant with Abraham? What is the relationship between Torah, Mishnah and Rabbinic commentary? Which are tastier, Latkes or Hamentashen? The latter question will again be answered at The 57th Annual University of Chicago Latke-Hamentash debate next Tuesday. Copied across the country, this perennial favorite got its start at the UofC when anthropology professor Sol Tax turned the long-standing disagreement into a formal event. Be sure to wear a Latke-related costume to show your support for the truly superior victual.

Synaesthesia

If you're into glittery glam-rock operatics, student-made films, improvisational dancing and other artsy goings-ons, swing by Hyde Park's Smart Museum of Art, Thursday from 8:30- 10:30 pm for "Synaethesia," a multi-dimensional event put together by a conglomoration of U of C student groups. P1xel (of P1xel and the Chronic Network) has requested that guests wear white to the event, which is free and open to the public.

Anthros Invade Chicago

This week thousands of Anthropologists will descend on Chicago to attend the 2003 American Anthropological Association Meetings. So if you're wondering why all the restaurants in the loop are filled with frumpy professors wearing incongrously ethnic accessories and chit-chat on the el starts including phrases like "the (dis)locations of gender in dangerous spaces", that's why. Theoretically you've got to pay to sit in, but if you see something in the schedule that suits your fancy, I'm sure you could slip in.

Free Self-Defense Training

The recently publicized rapists that have been attacking women in Wicker Park, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, and other northside neighborhoods has drawn together Chicago NOW, Chicago CAPS, and Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney to provide free self-defense classes. Representatives of 1000 Waves will be teaching the final class. You can attend the free session at Sheil Park (3505 N. Southport) Tuesday the 18th from 6-8 pm.

Fast Food Nation talk

Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation, is speaking for free on Saturday at Northwestern's Ryan Family Auditorium at 7pm. The talk will "address the way the fast-food industry has transformed America's economy, workforce and popular culture."

Winter Solstice Burn III

It's a bit hard to think about Burning Man now - it's 296 days away. However, the Burning Man festival is trying to decentralize a bit and the Midwestern Winter Burn - a local Burning Man-like festival - has been scheduled. Winter Solstice Burn III happens in Wisconsin at an indoor facility. Not the same as running naked through the playa, but you don't have to travel 2000 miles to get there either. A great place to get your winter poi fix.

Outer Ear Festival

The Outer Ear Festival is "the only comprehensive interdiscplinary sonic arts festival in the Midwest." It got started this past weekend with some radio broadcasts, but the real action starts Thursday with a screening of sound-oriented films and videos at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Check out the rest of the schedule here.

Bridge Release Party

Super-kewl lit/music/film magazine Bridge Magazine will be throwing an issue release party this Thursday. The issue is a monster 400+ pages and filled with great material - including the Advanced Artists and Alternos role playing system by Yours Truly. So if you've ever wanted to role-play a 6th level goth poet, come on by and pick up your copy!

Halloween events.

Still looking for something to do on Halloween? This week's Newcity has a nice rundown of events happening next Friday, including stage, live music and club happenings.

NaNoWriMo

Only 10 days to go until National Novel Writing Month, where the goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight, Nov. 30. Chicago participants will be having a kick-off party at 6 p.m. at the Ten Cat, 3931 N. Ashland.

Through rain, snow, sleet and hail

Not even a Chicago winter should be an excuse to stop commuting by bicycle. The good people at Bike Winter know all the ways to keep you warm, clean and safe on two wheels while everyone else is shivering on the El platform. Nov. 1 at 1 there will be an educational expo in the field house at Daley Bicentennial Plaza, 337 E. Randolph Drive.

Humanities Festival on the Horizon

Mark your calendars, The Chicago Humanities Festival is rapidly approaching - it's the last week of this month. While only a few events will be SRO, it always pays to get tickets before hand for the super-popular events.

Bar Garage Sale

Stuff from several local bars will be on sale this coming weekend at a bar garage sale. Expect to find chairs, computers and cables, neon signs, bar stools, props, tables, glassware, lighting, bric-a-brac, and sound equipment. Located in the alley behind Get Me High Lounge, the sale is on Saturday and Sunday, October 11 and 12, at 11am. 1758 N. Honore.

Pug Crawl

Yes, you read that right: a pug crawl. This Saturday from 1-5pm the streets of Lincoln Park will be mobbed by 250-300 pugs, tongues hanging everywhichway. The action starts at The New City YMCA, 1515 N. Halsted and makes its way north. All people welcome, but only pugs (no, not even weiner dogs) can join the crawl.

Fray Day 7

Fray Day is upon us, and this year there's an event happening in Chicago. Head down to the Noble Fool at Randolph and State this Sunday at 7pm for some storytelling action.

Rem Koolhaas opening at IIT

IIT, known for its architecture by Ludwig Meis Van Der Rohe, is having a grand opening this Saturday for a new student center designed by Rem Koolhaas. Check out some of the pictures. There will also be a lecture at 2pm, free for IIT students, $10 for the public, with live streaming.

UniverSOUL Circus!

The UniverSOUL circus is in town! Billing themselves as "the best in urban family entertainment", the country's only black-owned and operated circus features Chinese acrobats, Siberian white tigers and Colombian motorcycle daredevils. Check it out through Oct. 19 at Washington Park, 5531 S. King Dr. ($10) (Note: PETA has a few things to say about UniverSoul's treatment of their circus animals.)

Hip Hop and Social Change

So check it out - the Field Museum is holding a two day conference on Hip-Hop and Social Change with a key note by Mos Def and Talib Kewli no less. It looks like the conference will feature rappers, activists, and academics and will cost no more than US$100 to attend the entire thing. Too rich for my blood - but it is always heartening when conferences like this come along that cross the academic/popular culture boundary and then commence to rawk out.

Baghdad Museum official at OI

Donny George Youkhanna, the General Director for Research with the Iraq State Board of Antiquities, Baghdad, will be giving giving two lectures at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. The OI has been providing information about looting of museums in Iraq for some time, but to be able to hear the straight dope from someone as on the scene as Youkhanna is a rare opportunity.

Critical Mass Sept.

It's the last Friday of September which means it's also time for the monthly Critical Mass bike ride. Hundreds of bikers will undoubtedly meet this evening at 5:30pm in front of Daley Plaza for one last ride before it starts getting too cold and only the more hardcore biker types start to show. If you've been wanting to check it out but haven't been able to, today's mild (bordering on cold) weather is perfect.

Jane Goodall

Did you know that Jane Goodall is going to be at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum on October 4th? While tickets are sold out, they may be adding a new event, so if you're interested, give them a call. For $11 you can "climb" through the Gombe treetops, imitate chimp calls, and see see how your strength compares to that of a chimp. Exhibit opens today and continues through January 4th.

Wright Stuff

The Wright Brothers' first flight will be recreated on the lawn of the Museum of Science & Industry this Saturday as part of its Adventures in Flight exhibition. The "Spirit of Glen Ellyn," a replica of the famous 1903 craft, will fly several times 9-11am (or until it breaks, whichever comes first).

Renegade Craft Fair

The Renegade Craft Fair will be taking place Saturday from 11-5 in Wicker Park. There are more than 70 exhibitors and some of the best creative crafters from Chicago and around the country will be showing up to sell their wares. So, if you like supporting the actual artists and not the artist's pimps, this is the place to come spend your money.

Burlesque Benefits

It's gonna be a tassel-twirlin' weekend -- for charity, even! Friday night, it's girlie performances and hot-dog eating contests at "CRISPY TITS: We Dunt Burnt the Trailer Down," a benefit for two burlesque babes who recently lost everything in a house fire. Festivities start at 9 pm, 840 W. Washington, $5 donation to get in the door. And then this Sunday, you can help burlesque lady Ravenous Gorge care for her injured pussy (seriously, her cat needed emergency surgery, and there are vet bills). A Pussycat Benefit at El Gato Negro, 1461 W. Irving Park, also features Betsy Chainsaw, drag acts Lusty Lez and Triage Sparkle, "infamous faggot punk rockers" The Rotten Fruits, plus a kissing booth, auctions, and a chance to play Twister with Jesus. The frolicking starts at 8 pm, $8-$15 suggested donation.

Justice for Barry

Barry Cunnane was shot in Ravenswood on May 24. His killer is still at large. A benefit to raise reward money will be held Sunday, October 5th from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Irish American Heritage Center in Chicago. The event will feature a bevy of Irish music, contemporary and traditional, and a raffle. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Elvis Under The Stars

Frankly, I can't think of a more unholy combination than an Elvis impersonator and really heavy, traditional German food. But that wouldn't stop me from going to see Elvis Under The Stars at the Black Forest Restaurant. Well-known Elvis impersonator Rick Saucedo, aka The King Of Blue Suede Soul, will be performing and you can munch on some Thuringer or Brats while enjoying Elvis tunes. Sept 13 - dinner at 6:30, show's at 8.

Asleep with the fishes

Oh, to be a kid again. This Friday the Shedd Aquarium is hosting Asleep With the Fishes, an overnight event in which kids and their parents are invited to bring sleeping bags and pillows for a night of roaming the museum to experience life on the coral reef. The cost is $50, but it includes all activities including a special marine mammals presentation, dinner, bedtime snack, continental breakfast and parking. A quick look at their website shows the event is sold-out.

"Go Veggie" Cook Out

Join the "Go Veggie!" organization for a family-friendly cook out complete with "burgers", "hot dogs", games and more on Sunday, September 14th at the North Park Nature Center. The cost is $5 for members and $10 for non-members. The North Park Nature Center is located at 5801 N. Pulaski Road. For more information, visit the Go Veggie! website.

DIY Trunk Show

The DIY Trunk Show still has 14 spots available. If you're the creative type who would like to try selling your wares, email them to tell them you're interested.

Slaughterhouse 9

Rev up your scooters and shine those sunglasses. Slaughterhouse 9 is going on all weekend long. Scooter rally-ists will be put-puttin' around town. You can keep up to date at 2StrokeBuzz and get in touch with some folks at Scooterworks for a good ride or contacts or get in touch with my main scooter man PJ who's involved in all of this in some intricate web-like fashion.

DIY Trunk Show

Do you make a lot of cool stuff that is cluttering your apartment and you'd really like to sell it? You're not alone. Hop over and take a peek at the requirements for the DIY Trunk Show. It will take place at Pulaski Park on November 15th. There are still lots of spaces available, but they'll probably disapper quick so get cracking!

Say hello to Mars

Mars is the closest to the Earth in years and by the end of this month it will be within 34 million miles of us. Woo! Stop by the Adler Planetarium tonight to join in Mars Madness. Take a date and make her think you're one of those nerdy intellectual types we really fall for.

Knit-Along For Peace

The American Friends Service Committee is registering knitters (and crocheters, too) to knit baby blankets which will be included in Infant Care Kits being sent to Iraq as part of a larger humanitarian effort. AFSC will also be accepting donations of cash to defer shipping, soap, hairbrushes, and washcloths for babies to complete the care kits through October at their office.
They're also looking for a graphic designer, a web developer, and interns.

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS/ARTISTS NEEDED Currently, we are in particular need of professional graphic design assistance. We are in the process of expanding the Memorial for Victims of the Iraq War and need the assistance of a designer or artist experienced in designing and producing large-scale exhibitions. We are also need immediate help designing several new flyers and tri-fold publications. If you are interested in assisting with any of these projects, please fill out the volunteer form above or email info@peacechicago.org
WEB DEVELOPER CONTRACT WORK AVAILABLE AFSC is seeking to contract a web developer for a short-term project creating interactive, database-driven webpages. PHP and MySQL experience is required as well as experience customizing FileMakerPro and Ebase databases or similar database systems. To apply, email a resume, contract fee requirements, and availability to jobs@peacechicago.org
PEACEBUILDING INTERNSHIPS NOW AVAILABLE A limited number of full-time and part-time internships are available in the Peacebuilding Division of the American Friends Service Committee-Chicago this fall. If you are serious about promoting peace and justice while learning valuable career skills, this is the internship for you! Interns are sought in a variety of skills areas -- research, writing, web design/technology, graphic design, fundraising, and more. Training is provided with most positions. If you would like to receive credit for your internship, we will assist you in making the appropriate arrangements with your university. To request an application or for more information, email intern@peacechicago.org

That's One Long Benefit Name

This Friday at the Empty Bottle, go to the "Bridge Magazine Benefit Night of Weirdos, Rock Bands, Video Projections, Awesome Raffle Giveaways, and a Creeping Suspicion That You May Have Been Hypnotized," a rock show and more, featuring bands Elvin, Apartment, and New Boss as well as a showing of Eric Fensler's "G.I. Joe Public Service Announcements." Doors open at 9pm, $10 admission. Call 773-276-3600 for more info.

It's a Bird, Plane....

The 45th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show swoops into town this weekend. Get some ear plugs, head to the lakefront, and look up. Special guests include the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

Flugtag results

Didn't make it to Flugtag on Saturday? The winners are up on the event site, plus Archie and Mark have posted their pictures of the day.

Bud Billiken parade

The Chicago Defender (which doesn't seem to have a website) began the Bud Billiken parade in 1929 to reward the children who delivered their newspapers. The name comes from a Chinese legend where a billiken, a guardian angel, would protect children. It is the largest parade in the city and the second largest parade in the country (the Rose Bowl parade takes first place.) Last years parade lasted for 5 hours with more than 250 participants. Central City Productions has a promotional video you can watch online. And, Edward Marshall's dad took his son's plea to be King of the parade to an internet forum hosted by his church.

Boulevard Tour

You can now register for the 15th Annual Lakefront Boulevard Tour. An easy 25 or 35 mile ride with rest stops, it's a great way to see parts of Chicago and its history you might not otherwise explore. Helps support the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation, the people behind a lot of the bike lane advocacy and bicycle safety training in the city.

Our State Fair

The Illinois State Fair is about to begin. Trek down to the capitol August 8-17 and enjoy some meats on sticks. Be sure to visit the Fair's icon, the Buttercow, a 500-lb butter sculpture. Eddie Money, Boston, and Lisa Marie Presley are a few of the musical acts they've rounded up for our listening pleasure. Or are you more into tractor pulls?

Wizard World 2003

Wizard World 2003 is taking place this weekend, August 8 - 10, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Come out and meet Jim Lee, Joe Quesada, Alex Ross and Kevin Smith. Tickets are $20 for a one day pass and $40 for a 3-day pass. Advance Ticket holders will get in a half hour early on Saturday and Sunday. Be there, or be square. Oh, wait....nevermind.

Buskerfest '03

Going on now: Buskerfest 2003 at Illinois Center Plaza.

Tall Ships mishap

A "minor mishap" in yesterday's parade of tall ships down the Chicago River -- under the Lake Shore Drive Bridge -- resulted in the breaking of a mast on the HMS Bounty. The parade was a kickoff for Tall Ships Chicago at Navy Pier, where 25 of the world's tallest wind-powered ships are on parade, and can be visited from 11am-8pm. A one-day boarding pass is $8, and the festival runs through August 4.

Assembly

Assembly is a project that "invites interesting people to discuss stuff they know a lot about." Today's assembly features talks by sound artist, performer, accordion hack, radio programmer, producer, curator and pirate Anna Friz, and Howard Alan, who specializes in organic architecture, passive and active solar power, and alternative energy conservation. Thursday July 31st, 8pm, Open End Gallery, 2000 W. Fulton, $5.

FlashMob Chicago:

Tomorrow, 08-01-2003. Assemble at the Calder @ 5:30 PM. Bring sticky note. Acknowledge no one. Leave @ exactly 5:35.

Lay-c Art Sale

Lacey Graves, artiste extrordinaire and her roommate will be having an open house art sale at their building (in their yard I presume), in the grand neighbourhood of Andersonville on Sunday. Judging from the amount of work here and here, there'll be quite some goodies to peruse and purchase. Details here.

Newberry Library's Bughouse Square debates

The Newberry Library is having their annual book fair from Thursday through Sunday. They're also hosting the Bughouse Square Debates in Washington Square Park. There will be prizes for the best speakers and hecklers on Saturday.

The park became known as "Bughouse Square" because of the numbers of soapbox orators who would use it as a forum for public display and debate. This all happened about the time that the mansions around the park were being converted to rooming houses after the turn of the century and the bohemian element started moving in.

BeyondMedia

Beyond Media is teaming up for a fundraiser with DykeMarch to raise a little coin at Las Manos Gallery this Friday. Your $3 donation will get you into the screening of "A Fish (Almost) Eaten by a Shark". Beyond Media's mission is to equip and educate "under-served and under-represented women, youth, and communities in how to tell their stories, articulate their identities and organize for social justice." They'll also be showing clips from their unfinished work about school conditions for queer youth in Illinois. They're collaborating with Coalition for Education on Sexual Orientation.

A Day on the Force fundraiser

Are you missing the Chicago Force already? Well the three women who filmed A Day On the Force are having a fundraiser at the Bottom Lounge on Sunday at 7 pm. For $10 you'll get to meet Jane Danger (great name!), #34 and Gerra Bosco, #42 of the team, see Jen Slusser MC for the Chicago Kings, watch Three Dollar Bill perform, and see other performers, too.

Midget Wrestling

Fans of Mancow may fondly recall "Puppet the Psycho Dwarf;" you may be interested to know he's moved into the world of pro wrestling, bringing his national act to the Clark Street Fair this weekend. The Trbune's Q has an interview with Puppet, aka Steve Richardson of Elgin. More info on the wrestling is at BloodyMidgets.com. [Trib login: gapers/gapers]

World's largest drum circle attempt

Rhythm, a smoke-free percussion bar, is hosting an attempt to set the record for world's largest drum circle on Tuesday, July 15 at noon. 1108 W. Randolph, call 312.492.6100 for more information.

Bastille Day

Happy Bastille Day! Celebrate in Chicago by dining at one of several French restaurants, or sign up for the Bastille Day 5K run/ walk in the west Loop.

Chinatown Summer Fest

The 24th Annual Chinatown Summer Festival takes place this Sunday, July 20th, from 10:00 - 8:00 p.m. The fest features a Lion Dance procession at 1:00 p.m., great food, crafts, live music and entertainment. For more information, call 312.225.6198

kick ass!

The fine folks at Chimera, who have been teaching self-defense for women since 1976, will lead a workshop at Women & Children First on July 14. Monday's demonstration -- designed for both women and men -- will present basic techniques of self-defense and assault prevention. At Women & Children First Bookstore, 5233 N. Clark St., 7:30 pm. Free!

Dinner & Movie al fresco!

The free Chicago Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park begins next Tuesday with "It Happened One Night." Chicago Magazine's Morsels column tells us Cyrano's Bistro & Wine Bar is offering three different five-course French picnic baskets for $28 for those heading to the movie. Bon appetit et voir!

You Shall Know Our Eggers

Yo! You know that dude that wrote that hipster book man, that everyone and their soccer moms I know seems to have read? Yeah! That McSweeney's dude! Dave Scrambled Eggs or sumthin? Yeah! He's gonna be reading from his latest book, "You Shall Know Our Velocity" down at the Ballroom at 112 S. Michigan on the AIC grounds. Man, that sounds like some religious thing. Nah man, that cool hipster bookstore that everyone and their soccer moms I know seems to go to is putting it on. Quincy? No man, that's a show about a doctor or sumthin, Quimby's man, Quimby's. Word up.

A Taste of Siberia in LaGrange

If you've been thinking that shamanic studies is for you, then head out to LaGrange this weekend for Blue Feather, a series of lectures and workshops by a shaman from Siberia. With trance dancing, fire rituals, and soul retrieval, it should be quite a weekend.

Heat festival

Gateway Green, a non-profit group dedicated to environmentally beautifying Chicago, is holding it's third Heat festival fundraiser at the Finkl & Sons steel plant July 11 - July 13. Performers include all 36 members of Parliament/ Funkadelic and Fischerspooner. More information is available on the Flash-laden event site.

Pedal for Peace

Bike along the lakeshore to raise money for bail, lawyers fees, and other costs associated with the legal defense of the more than 900 people arrested for anti-war protesting in Chicago. Saturday, July 12th, Promontory Point, 5491 S. Shore Dr. For more information, call 312-494-5840.

Apple Store Photos

For those of you who didn't brave the hordes of Mac fans at the Apple Store grand opening Friday night, Mike of Marusin.com has posted a gallery of photos, and so has j3s and Leigh. The interior is exactly what you'd expect from Apple: stylish and simple.

Poseidon! Benefit

Last winter's hit show at the Theatre Building and Bailiwick, Poseidon! An Upside-Down Musical, has been invited to the New York International Fringe Festival in August. To help pay for the trip the show's producers, Hell in a Handbag Productions, are holding a "New Year's in July" benefit Sunday, July 27th. The program includes a reception and silent auction at the High Risk Gallery, followed by a presentation of "Poseidon! Moments" at the Bailiwick. Visit Hell in a Handbag or call 312-409-4357 for tickets.

Pride Weekend

This Sunday's Chicago Pride Parade isn't the only pride-related event of the weekend. For the first time, the Northalsted Area Merchants Association, responsible for August's annual Northalsted Market Days, is sponsoring a street festival at Halsted and Waveland on Saturday. Saturday also features the Chicago Dyke March in Andersonville.

Wicker Park Garden Walk

Feeling footloose and fancy free? Well then go for a garden walk. The Wicker Park Garden Club present a garden walk on Sunday, June 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Visit some of Wicker Park's finest gardens. Tickets are $5 per person and sold in the park. Ticket price includes booklet with map! For more information, visit their website.

Fine Art Fair

Ready for a mini-road trip? Visit the Cantigny Sculpture and Fine Art Fest, June 28 - 29. The fest will take place at 1 S. 151 Winfield Road, in Wheaton, from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Renegade Craft Fair

Cinnamon's original post on the Renegade Craft Fair led me to the site again today which has been updated to reflect an extended deadline due to exposure here and on WLUW and late requests. It's been extended one more month: July 20th is the deadline. They will aso be featured in Venus soon, which some of the GB family is involved in. Craft on!

Diagon Alley Comes to Oak Park

Although some of my fellow Gapers seem to have caught Pottermania, no one has mentioned the biggest Harry Potter event taking place this Friday for the release of book five. Thousands of people are expected to flock to Oak Park on June 20 as Oak Park Avenue between Lake Street and North Boulevard is transformed into Diagon Alley. The streets will be closed to traffic beginning at 7pm, and the event takes place from 9pm to midnight. Hosting the festivities, the Magic Tree bookstore in Oak Park will become Flourish & Blott's. Other participants include US Bank, which will be featuring goblin-led tours of the basement vaults of "Gringott's Wizarding Bank." Read more about it in the Chicago Sun-Times, Pioneer Press, and this recent mention in a New York Times article.

MCA Summer Solstice?

I hope this isn't true, but I can't find any information on the MCA's ususally annual Summer Solstice celebration. I'm concluding that they have decided not to hold it this year. A shame because I've been to each and every one in the last four years ever since I found out about it. If there are any members of the MCA or anyone who has info please drop me a line. Update: Thanks to the two Jon's who wrote in and let me know that nope, there will be no Summer Solstice this year, perhaps never again. A damn shame.

Midsommarfest

And speaking of fests, I can't believe no one's mentioned that this weekend is Midsommarfest in Andersonville. Because every neighborhood worth its salt has a street fair. This one has good music, crafty stuff to buy, people dressed all Swedish-like, and you can't go wrong with the Jesse White Tumblers.

Beer! Elgin! Come on!

If there's one thing we like besides live music, and bikes and ribs and stuff, it's Beer. So we'd be remiss if we didn't point out the 8th annual Prairie Rock Brewfest in Elgin. Beer! Lots of it! Bad suburban karaoke! Possibly even ribs and bikes!

It's Friday and you got nuthin' to do?

It's Friday the 13th folks. It may be cloudy out there but it don't matter kids, because there's plenty to do. You may want to check out head-butter extraordinaire Wesley Willis and his drawings (if you want a sneak peek, head on over to the Burger King in Wicker Park on Milwaukee, they have one of his drawings — quite cool), or be one with the green gentle giant under the stars, or check out some folk, some discrete multi-performances or some good time rock n' roll (my band is playing — plug!). I don't wanna hear, "There's nothing to do!" now. There's aplenty.

Chicago Museums? Free.

If you're low on cash and are dying to see dinosaur bones, take heed: all Chicago museums are free this week. [Trib. login: gapers/gapers]

Hyde Park Art Fair

Hey dude, I almost forgot: the 57th St. Art Fair is going on in Hyde Park like, now. Consider yourself duly warned.

Brandeis book sale

There's been a lot of smack talked up lately about used books etc. Suffice to say, the entire Printer's Row thing is not where it's at. Those in the know know that the most important book fair in Illinois is the Brandeis sale this Saturday. But don't worry about getting a place in line, since profesional bookdealers have been lining up since MONDAY to catch the most tasty tidbits. First edtions beware - the sale that drains the entire Midwest of used books is about to be in full effect.

Renegade Craft Fair

Do you consider yourself crafty? Are you interested in selling your handmade items at one of the local street fairs but find the juried atmosphere too expensive and stodgy? Then, join the Renegade Craft Fair. It will only cost you $50 for a 10 foot space (which you can share with your friends) in Wicker Park (1425 N. Damen Ave.) The fair will be on September 20th from 11 am to 5pm. The deadline for entry is June 20, so go download an entry form and tell them about your wares.

AVIT VJ Conference

AVIT (Audio Visual It), is hosting its 2003 North American VJ Conference and Visuals Festival this weekend at the Heaven & Buddy galleries, 1542 North Milwaukee. For more information on the pre-party and artist's reception (June 6) and the North America Conference & Talent Showcase (June 7), visit the AVIT site.

Chicago Ghosts

Speaking of graveyards, Chicago is one of the most haunted cities in North America. There's more than one paranormal organization active around town, and ghost tours can be found wandering spooky spots nearly any weekend. It just so happens that the American Ghost Society is holding its annual conference June 19-22 in Alton, IL (also supposedly very haunted). Tickets are still available -- I know you're dying to get in!

Blues Fest Chicago

The 20th annual Chicago Blues Fest is this weekend, May 29 - June 1, 12 to 9:30pm each day. Admission to the festival in Grant Park is free. Check the city's site for a full lineup and schedule.

Robots Invade Rosemont!

The International Robots & Vision Show invades the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont next week, June 2-5th. This annual expo is one of the largest in the industry, attracting over 175 vendors and exhibitors demonstrating how robots are transforming business and the factory floor. This year's highlights include a robotic amusement ride - the first of its kind and featured speaker Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway Human Transporter. General admission is $30 and is open to folks age 16 and over. Read more about it.

City Antiques Show

If you're not into watching Interpol at the Belmont/Sheffield Music Festival, then this might be your cup of tea. The Spring City Antiques Show will be taking place this weekend, May 30 - June 1. The festival will be held at 1418 North Kingsbury and will feature 45 dealers specializing in 19th and 20th century furniture, objects and art. Admission is $10. For more info, call 312.587.3300.

Lake Michigan Wrecks

It may still be too cold to swim in Lake Michigan, but the scuba diving season is underway. Dive Chicago has a list of diving excursions in the next few months (including several trips to the Mackinac Straits). You could also visit one of the many shipwrecks near Chicago, including the recently discovered Lady Elgin, "Titanic of Lake Michigan."

International Mr. Leather

Notice a sudden upsurge in men on leashes? Don't be alarmed, it's just International Mr. Leather weekend once again. This is the 25th year for IML in Chicago. Aside from all the partying, the schedule includes a seminar on "financial planning for alternative lifestyles" and a panel on the psychology of kink. Events will be held everywhere from the home-base Palmer House Hilton to the House of Blues to the Metro (the contest itself is at the Congress Theater, Sunday night). So remember this weekend: if someone says you really chap their hide, it might be a good thing.

The Last Straw

At the end of your rope in the dating game? Well, ElimiDate is holding auditions tonight, 10 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. at Joe's on Weed Street. Goodness gracious!

Art is Everywhere, even Starbucks

Want some drama with your Frappucino this Friday? "On May 23, 2003, at exactly 5:15 p.m., in ten Chicago Starbucks, professional actors will simultaneously perform original monologues written by Chicago Public High School students in Chicago Dramatists' Outreach Program." The press release story in Backstage says to go to chicagodramatists.org for more info, but they don't have any.

Backstage Theatre rummage sale

Looking for some really interesting junk? Backstage Theatre Company is holding a rummage sale this weekend; items for sale to include old costumes, props and set pieces. Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm, at Cornelia and Ravenswood.

A Bloomin' Sale

The 38th annual "Bloomin' Sale" takes place this weekend at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Over 1,250 varieties of popular and more unusual plants including perennials, annuals, shrubs, trees, vines, aquatics, grasses, roses and herbs will be available. The Midwest's largest plant sale will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 17-18. Admission to the Gardens is free but parking is $8.75 (ouch!). For us city dwellers with no patch of earth to call our own, there are also plenty of container gardens featured. You can view the entire catalog online at the CBG website.

Men in Blue

At 7:00 p.m. on the 1500 block of north Greeview, the 14th district Chicago Police Department, in collaboration with CAPs, will be holding an outdoor Police Roll Call. Stop by and show your support for the CPD or just swing by and check out the cute cops.

Bike Ride: Sat May 17th

As part of the DePaul Bike Club (god do I pimp my alma mater) and the Chicago Bike Fed., there will be a neighborhood bike ride in and around the Lincoln Park area tomorrow afternoon that starts at 1pm. The weather will be perfect for it, and it is open to all. I'll be there so if you're interested in a leisurely bike ride on a mild Saturday afternoon, this is the place to be. Click more for details on where to meet.

Meeting:
The Quad, Lincoln Park Campus DePaul University
Saturday May 17th at 1:00pm

The Quad as it's affectionately known is a the big square of open park-like area in between Kenmore and Clifton avenues on Fullerton.

Mild tune-ups and bike maintenance will be done beforehand if you need it.

For any other questions, please feel free to e-mail me at nh@gapersblock.com.

Lunar Eclipse Tonight

With a full lunar eclipse to take place tonight, the Adler Planetarium has an evening scheduled with events to celebrate and witness this rare occasion. (Full lunar eclipses are infrequent in this part of the hemisphere.) For more information visit the site's visitor guide. The eclipse begins at 9:00 p.m.

David Weinberger @ Seabury

AKMA reminds us that David Weinberger will be speaking at Seabury tonight. Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, 2122 Sheridan Rd, in Evanston. The presentation will be on the second floor in the Seabury Lounge. 7:30pm. Unfortunately, AKMA tells us that the molasses cookies will not be present this time. A shame.

Hunger Walk 2003

Registration is now taking place for The Greater Chicago Food Depository's 18th Annual Hunger Walk 2003. Monies collected from this June 21 event will go towards the Common Pantry. For more information, call 773.327.0553, extension 3054.

HealthWorks benefit

"The World Goes 'Round" is a one-night-only cabaret performance of the music of Kander & Ebb (you may have heard of them; they wrote a little show called Chicago). The May 19 show benefits HealthWorks Theatre, and features some of Chicago's best-known cabaret performers, including Alexandra Billings, Nan Mason, Tom Michael, Michael McAssey, Suzanne Palmer, Stephen Rader, and Honey West. HealthWorks is a 15-year-old company that creates educational theatre for young audiences. For tickets or more info, call 773-929-4260 or go to HealthWorks' site.

What is Public Art?

Because of our recent conversation under Fuel, I thought I would mention a panel discussion taking place this Thursday, May 15th at the Chicago Cultural Center entitled "What is Public Art?" The panel features three local area artists: Juan Angel Chavez, Frances Whitehead and Bernard Williams, and it starts at 6pm.

Tassel-twirlers

Early to Bed is hosting a "hands on" tassel-twirling workshop with Twirly Girl Amelia Ross-Gilson. Amelia is a professional burlesque artist and will be teaching fun twirling techniques. Join other tassel twirling wanna-bes (women only, sorry guys) at the store on May 15th at 8 pm, where for $10 you can join the ranks of the helicopter girls.

Uncle Tupelo re-releases

Schubas is hosting a happy hour listening party for the Columbia/Legacy Uncle Tupelo re-releases, today starting at 5:30. Uncle Tupelo was the seminal alt-country band from downstate Belleville, whose breakup gave birth to Son Volt and Wilco, not to mention Jeff Tweedy's eleventy-seven side projects.

Wright Plus Housewalk

Thousands of devotees will be converging on Forest Hill and Oak Park next weekend for the 29th annual Wright Plus tour hosted by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Of the 11 buildings on this year's housewalk, 8 are private residences only open to the public for this annual benefit. Only 2,500 tickets are available, but you just pay $85 for the honor to track your muddy feet through their homes.

Improv Festival

This coming Sunday is the start of the 6th annual Chicago Improv Festival, the largest celebration of improvisational theatre in the world. Featured performers include Chicago native Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer Simpson, and Fred Willard of A Mighty Wind and Best in Show.

Artsy Scars!

The International Museum of Surgical Sciences currently has on display several photographs of over 16 scars, shot both head-on and abstractly. This cool museum is a must-see for those interested in medicine, the history of surgery and good old-fashion gross-out fun. Definitely not for the squeamish.

Kilbourn Park organic plant sale

The Chicago Park District is sponsoring the 8th annual Kilbourn Park organic plant sale on Saturday, May 10 10am-3pm and Sunday, May 11 10am-12pm. The event will feature more than 150 varieties of heirloom vegetables, culinary and medicinal herbs, and houseplants. Kilbourn Park is located at 3501 N. Kilbourn Ave. In addition, an organic container planting class is offered on Thursdays, 6:30-8:30 p.m., May 22-June 5 for $35.

Polish Constitution Day

It's Polish Constitution Day! The parade runs north on Columbus from Balbo to Monroe, starting at about 11:00am. ABC 7 and CBS 2 will have live coverage.

 

Archives

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15