#561: Things My Family Said During the Bears-Packers Game Following Thanksgiving Dinner 2015

November 27th, 2015 § permalink

Sitting down next to my football-crazed sister.
Mom: “I’m going to sit here and ask you questions every two minutes. Or I’ll knit.”

Walking into room, saying this. No context given.
Dad: “I don’t care what anybody says, Paul. I still love you.”
Leaves room.

Regarding a commercial.
Mom: “They’re watching TV while eating Thanksgiving dinner?”
Liz: “Do you know who that is?”
Mom: “Some idiot watching TV while eating Thanksgiving dinner.”
Liz: “Peyton Manning.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#560: The Dojo, Part 1 — ManOfGod

November 25th, 2015 § permalink

The apartment, by nickname that stuck, is called “The Dojo.”

A second-story flat above a storefront, it has over the last decade through friends of friends and other connections been home and practice space for a rotating group of dancers connected with Chicago’s breakdancing community.

Intermittently over the next several weeks, we will be hearing the stories of several Dojo residents, past and present, about how they came to the apartment and to lives embracing hip-hop dance.

For B-Boy ManOfGod, who recently moved from The Dojo to Hong Kong, it started with a fused spine. » Read the rest of this entry «

#559: Homeward Bound

November 23rd, 2015 § permalink

“I’m sitting in the railway station, got a ticket for my destination.”
— Paul Simon, 1966

“But the dawn is breaking. It’s early morn. The taxi’s waiting. He’s blowing his horn.”
— John Denver, 1966

“Did I remember underpants?”
— Paul Dailing, 2015 » Read the rest of this entry «

#558: Overinvolved Explanations to Four Chicago Jokes I’ve Heard

November 20th, 2015 § permalink

There are two seasons in Chicago: Winter and construction.

Although this joke is commonly applied to many major metropolitan areas, Chicago’s position as a northern U.S. city (latitude 41°52′55″N according to this version of Wikipedia apparently written in a Scottish accent) coupled with the “lake effect” of cold winds move across long expanses of warmer lake water, picking up water vapor which freezes and is deposited on the Lake Michigan lee shores, creates cold and snowy winters. » Read the rest of this entry «

#557: The Hechties

November 18th, 2015 § permalink

I pushed past the milling lobby crowd on Tuesday, past the early onslaught of Christmassy decorations in prep for the theater’s upcoming Nutcracker deconstruction, looking for the stocky man in jeans and a black shirt.

I caught up with him by the bar. I smiled nervously and introduced myself, extending my hand for him to shake.

What do you say to a stranger who changed your life? » Read the rest of this entry «

#556: The Professional Writer Simulator

November 16th, 2015 § permalink

Ah, writing. The noble art. The scribbly science.

It was recently announced that the American Writers Museum and its freakishly Caucasian planning team will make their home on North Michigan Avenue in the Loop. To this organization and its, like, seriously super-white planners, a plea.

Don’t forget the hacks. » Read the rest of this entry «

#555: Myra Bradwell and the Fireproof Newspaper

November 13th, 2015 § permalink

In October 1871, a little girl named Bessie Bradwell stumbled through a flame-choked city, clutching photographs of two dead siblings and a book.

This is the story of the only newspaper to make deadline after the Great Chicago Fire. » Read the rest of this entry «

#554: The Smell of Magic

November 11th, 2015 § permalink

“I spent, God, probably two, three months researching the history of smell in magic,” the woman said. “I could count on one hand the number of examples that I was able to find of people doing it in the last 200 years of written history.”

We’re sitting at a coffee shop in Lakeview. The hissing of espresso machines and light 1960s pop play overhead. The Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Do You Believe in Magic” plays at one point, which the woman, magician Jeanette Andrews, calls “a riot.”

We’re talking magic. Magic and art and performance and philosophy, perception, phenomenology, vaudeville and Siegfried & Roy.

It wasn’t a wide-ranging conversation. These are all the same topic for the 25 year old who wants to make magic art again. » Read the rest of this entry «

#553: A Pumpkin Spice Update and the Failure of Communism

November 9th, 2015 § permalink

It was a clear plastic knife, the type built for picnics where they really care.

I picked up the little knife, hefted it as much as one can with a sliver of molded plastic too light even to get a recycling number printed on it and cut off a slice of vanilla bean gourmet fancy-pantsy doughnut.


Now a slice of a cinnamonny looking ‘nut.


Now a risk, a gamble. A weird, sort of orangey thing with these odd teardrop seeds on top.

I pushed the knife into the doughnut until it gave, springy cake bits popping around each side of the dull petroleum blade. I popped a piece into my mouth. » Read the rest of this entry «

#552: Goodnight Wicker Park

November 6th, 2015 § permalink

Goodnight moon. Goodnight stars.

Goodnight overpriced, ridiculous bars. » Read the rest of this entry «

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