Street Smart Chicago

Beef Bailout: Mr. Beef must be kept in place

Food & Drink, River North No Comments »

mrbeefRiver North’s Mr. Beef Deli has been serving Chicagoans beef sandwiches for thirty years. Its walls, decorated with old and new album covers, movie posters and autographed celebrity photos, testify to both its age and enduring popularity. In a much-publicized crisis, Mr. Beef is facing foreclosure. Unable to get a new line of credit “in these economic times,” the sandwich shop may be forced to shut its doors. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Bin Huntin’

Lit, News etc. No Comments »

For a moment, forget about our new president’s vow to hunt and capture or kill Osama Bin Laden. What if it’s already been done? In Chicago-bred author George Matheos’ new book, “The Man Who Killed Osama,” the novel’s protagonist, Jake Darren, kills Osma Bin Laden twice. (Bin Laden is actually killed a total of four times during the course of the book.) “The basic assumption of the book is that most Americans, if not most of the world, would love to see Osama killed-many times over,” Matheos says. Matheos’ idea for the book was inspired by numerous news reports that surfaced every so often that Bin Laden might have been dead. “The intention was not to write a book about Osama per se but of the circumstances of his death,” says Matheos. “What would an average American from Chicago do if he had the opportunity to kill Osama?”

Tip of the Week: Real Pirates

Museums No Comments »


Many piqued by the Field’s latest exhibit are devotees of Disney-themed cinematic swashbuckling. These guests will not be disappointed by “Real Pirates,” which includes wax dummies, games and references aplenty to the squeaky clean facts from Gore Verbinski’s whirling dervish of a trilogy. However, these same guests may be taken aback by the Golden Age of Piracy, made golden only from pilfering the loot, ships, sailors and former slaves of the transatlantic slave trade. Read the rest of this entry »

Tip of the Week: Story Week 2009

Events, Lit, Literary Venues, South Loop No Comments »


One of the city’s top literary events of the year, Columbia College’s Story Week begins on Sunday, and as usual features the best of the bunch-students and faculty-of the school, plus some high-profile outsiders, at various events scattered throughout the city. This week kicks off with the “2nd Story: Storytellers” event at Martyrs’ on Sunday night, featuring readings by CP Chang, Molly Each, Deb R. Lewis and Doug Whippo. Saturday features a Q&A with “Blue Angel” author Francine Prose at the Harold Washington Library, plus a reading at Sheffield’s Beer Garden by local crime guy Marcus Sakey. The Nelson Algren Tribute, Tuesday at the Harold Washington, features appearances by Joe Meno, Billy Lombardo, Stephanie Kuehnert, Bayo Ojikutu and J. Adams Oaks. On Wednesday at the Spertus Museum, Rick Kogan discusses Studs Terkel in a tribute to the man, with Donna Seaman, Bill Young, Alex Kotlowitz, Don De Grazia, Drew Ferguson and Ann Hemenway. And that’s just the first half of the festival. (Tom Lynch)

Story Week 2009 runs March 15-20 at various venues. Visit for complete details.

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Barack Obama

On a historic day for the nation’s medical community, the president lifted the Bush administration’s ban on funding stem-cell research. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras is known as “the father of numbers.” He taught that mathematics provides the ultimate truth about reality. His otherwise productive career went through a rough patch when one of his students found that the square root of two is an “irrational” number that can’t be expressed as a simple fraction. “Impossible!” said Pythagoras. His system was built on the axiom that there are no such numbers. Yet he couldn’t refute the student’s proof. By some accounts, Pythagoras had the student drowned for his impunity. Read the rest of this entry »

My Favorite Things: Oprah Diet Edition

Food & Drink 1 Comment »

By Michael Nagrant

Well now that Oprah’s declared herself a fatty again and is back on the Bob Greene Best Life diet, you can bet she probably won’t be sharing any food finds during her next favorite-things segment. Have no fear. Though I’ve declared myself a fatty seven times over, I’m always here for you with the latest and greatest of my fabulous food favorites. Enjoy.

red-salt-w-packaging-400x310John Kelly Chocolates—Salted Caramel Truffle Fudge Bars—
I know that recommending $5 two-ounce chocolate bars in this economy is a lot like telling you to invest all your money in real estate or stocks right now, but trust me, when things go south on those other two investments, these bars will save you from jumping into the Chicago River. Due to a pretty bare bones Web site, I can’t tell you if these bars are organic or local. But, then again, these bars are so good Read the rest of this entry »

Run, Junk Food, Run: The Wacky 5K Run hits the Loop

Loop No Comments »

moxieIt’s 9:30am and a crowd is already beginning to gather for the eighteenth annual Wacky 5K Run. Participants are moving around staying warm in the frigid temperatures, howling wind and swirling snow.

The Wacky 5K Run is just a little bit wacky. The race, named so because it used to be run on a portion of Lower Wacker Drive, is now wacky for a different reason. Its participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite snack foods, for the event that, this year, marks the end of National Snack Food Month as well as benefiting the Blind Service Association. But there aren’t that many people dressed as food. Read the rest of this entry »

Tip of the Week: Mary Pat Kelly

Andersonville, Events, Hyde Park, Lit, Literary Venues, News etc. No Comments »


An epic novel that documents one family’s emigration from Ireland to the United States during the great potato famine—Chicago, in fact—Mary Pat Kelly’s enormous epic “Galway Bay” paints a picture of the nineteenth-century Irish-American experience with thrilling, if a little overwhelming, results. Let’s face it, though—there was no way this book could’ve been short. Gritty, though not as gritty as “Angela’s Ashes, ” and romantic, though not in an abysmal “Far and Away” way, Kelly weaves her plot with historical intricacies and brilliant observations that could only come from an authority on the subject. Spanning six generations, Kelly’s most impressive feat is her ability to naturally allow space for the passage of time. A former nun, Kelly’s an award-winning documentary filmmaker and former producer on “Good Morning America” and “Saturday Night Live,” plus has a PhD in Irish literature. “Galway Bay” is a meaty novel, rich with color and hope. (Tom Lynch)

Mary Pat Kelly discusses “Galway Bay” March 9 at 57th Street Books, 1301 East 57th, (773)684-1300, and March 11 at Women and Children First, 5233 North Clark, (773)769-9299, 7:30pm. Both events are free.

Wing It: West Loop Gets Hot

Events, Food & Drink, West Loop No Comments »

A man stands huddled with a group of his friends in the middle of the crowded Bailey Auditorium with sweat pouring down his face. “I like spicy foods but this wing is evil incarnate,” he says wiping tears from his eye with barbeque stained hands, to his girlfriend who’s chugging an MGD to quell the burning in her mouth. Read the rest of this entry »