Street Smart Chicago

Big Cheese: Organic School Project gets unhealthy

Events, Food & Drink, News etc. No Comments »

moxieAt a fundraiser for the Organic School Project, everyone mills about Goose Island Brewery, shoveling in spoonful after spoonful of mac ‘n’ cheese, throwing back brews and enjoying one cupcake (and then another). A wellness program created by Chef Greg Christian that works with the Chicago Public School System to get kids eating healthier, OSP plants organic gardens at schools, teaches youngsters about nutrition and works to combat obesity. Everyday, OSP provides Alcott Elementary with all organic, natural and made-from-scratch lunches.

This information, coupled with the images being continuously broadcast from the Goose Island TVs of OSP children eating organically and working in gardens, endows one with a creeping sense of guilt. Shouldn’t this event practice what it preaches? Nah, let’s try the Mac-tini. The Adam Seger-designed mac ‘n’ cheese-inspired cocktail made with cheddar cheese, maple syrup, fresh lime juice and CapRock vodka, flies off the bar and down the throats of fundrais-ees with surprising speed. Read the rest of this entry »

Bingo Was His Name, OOOOO!: The beloved game gets a little dirty

Events, News etc. No Comments »

bingo-pic2When you’re one space away from winning Bingo, you have to yell, “I’m coming, bitch!” And if you’re lucky enough to win, your prize may be something along the lines of anal beads or a mini vibrator. For those who attempt to cheat or “accidentally” mishear a call and their boards don’t match up after they’ve called bingo, punishment comes in the form of a good ‘ole paddling across the rear, or the far more embarrassing fake orgasm performance. Unless, of course, the Bingo Bitch decides you deserve both. Simultaneously.

Welcome to Dirty Bingo, held twice a month at Victory Liquors. You may only play one board per game, and each game consists of creating a different formation. Like the upside-down T-shape entitled “Erection,” or the circular “Boob” (with the middle free space making the nipple) that’s illustrated on the instruction sheet you receive. And it’s all for charity. Read the rest of this entry »

Giving the Bissness

Lit, News etc., Rogers Park No Comments »

eulabissEula Biss brings it in “Notes from No Man’s Land,” her collection of essays published this month. Touted (and praised) as a book about race, “Notes” is that and more. “Opening a different kind of dialogue is where I see a possibility for me to do something meaningful as a writer,” says Biss. Identifying the lack of discussion about race as a “chronic problem” in this country, Biss works to create a conversation where we don’t “police each other so closely,” where we can think clearly about race because “we aren’t afraid of saying the wrong thing or being exposed as racists.” The title essay of “Notes” is about moving to Rogers Park, and while Biss is a relatively recent arrival, she’s already endowed with the signature Second City directness, both outing Chicago as a “hyper-segregated city” and asserting that it will take more than one election to end racism. “Part of my project is to be as forthright as possible,” Biss says. (Meaghan Strickland)

Haute Cuisine: The fashion and the food at Tocco Pizze e Arte

Wicker Park No Comments »

toccoBy Michael Nagrant

There’s just something about Bruno. And tonight, I aim to please him. How else explain that, though I’m a 32-year-old straight dude who shops entirely too much at Old Navy, I’m more skittish than a red-carpet-roving Hollywood starlet caught in the crossfire gazer beams of Joan Rivers and Steven Cojocaru?

Since I’m a food critic, Bruno Abate, restaurant impresario/owner of Wicker Park’s Tocco Pizze e Arte, should be the one to impress me. Yet I’m worried that my recently pressed white-stitched ultra-indigo dress jeans are slightly wrinkled at the ankle, and I’m wondering whether they drape over my pointy-toed Robert Wayne dress shoes enough to prevent me from looking like a court jester. Abate, who cooks from $8,000 San Lorenzo sauté pans, wears sunglasses that make Bono jealous and rocks orange shoes, has seemingly turned the tables. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry/Field Museum

Loop, Museums No Comments »


With the Grainger Hall of Gems under renovation, the Field Museum has partnered with the National Jewelry Institute to present this one-room teaser chronicling the ancient bling of the Near and Middle East. The 130-piece exhibition, upstairs in the intimate Kimball and Brooker Gallery, bridges the gap between “then” and “now.” The entire exhibit has the feel of a small, sparsely lit display on Jeweler’s Row; one can’t help but coo at the rings and necklaces, partly hoping some are available for purchase. Gold, glazed quartz, ruby, garnet, shells and filigree—ancient jewelers, much like their modern counterparts, understood the human need to flaunt gemstones and precious metals as beautiful adornment. The Islamic world’s history of Muslim expansion is punctuated with earrings and bangles festooned with elaborate geometry, granulation and goldworking. Hammered gold and twisted wire bedecked the people of the Levant, while the crossroads of Mesopotamia utilized blue lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and Egyptian faience. The Greek writer Herodotus wrote, “Of all the troops, the Persians were adorned with the greatest magnificence…they glittered all over with gold,” reminding us that people have always adorned themselves with stunning jewelry, a fact that hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years. (Laura Hawbaker)

“Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization” runs at the Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore, (312)922-9410, through July 5.

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Beware of people who act like polite jerks or tone-deaf music critics or emotionally numb lovers. While they may be able to teach you a lot about what you don’t need, they’re not worthy candidates for enduring relationships. Now let’s turn our attention to the question of who exactly does belong on your future team. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 John Paxson
The Bulls GM put rumors of his resignation to rest and made a series of deals that basically replaced half the team. Read the rest of this entry »

The Hollywood Issue

Events No Comments »

021909Wherein we continue our tradition, sort of, of focusing on the circus that is the Oscars, rather than the bread that is the movies themselves. (Not to worry, though, we’ve covered them already.) This year, we have more local connections than the usual to the Academy Awards and, accordingly, bring you the dish on those, as well as a guide to the best local award-watching celebrations. Read the rest of this entry »

Spicy Smackdown: Turning up the heat in the South Loop

South Loop No Comments »
Chutney Joe's

Chutney Joe's

By Michael Nagrant

With all the truth-seeking, moneyed, mid-life-crisis-experiencing entrepreneurs “climbing” Mt. Everest, it’s surprising there hasn’t been a nationwide boom in Nepalese cuisine. After all, in the late 1960s and early 1970s when the counter-culture got tired of smoking peyote and mainlining Mexican mezcal, they returned to the States bearing larded beans, chimichangas and burritos as big as your head. But, while young reformed hippies needed to build a life and make some money, flush hedge-fund managers don’t quite need sidelines beyond month-long sojourns to the Turks and Caicos or weekend benders at Maybach dealerships. And so our nation suffers a culinary debt.

And as the nation goes, so does Chicago, or at least the South Loop. Despite the confluence of affluence gathering in newly sprung high-rise condos off of South Michigan Avenue, or the density of cultured denizens living in former printing warehouses off Dearborn, the South Loop has been one of Chicago’s stalwart ethnic-food deserts. But, in the last month, with the addition of the Indian and Nepalese-skewing Chicago Curry House and the McDonald’s-meets-the-Maharaja, fast-food-slinging Indian diner, Chutney Joes, it’s now ground zero for all things sambar and spice. Read the rest of this entry »

Blood Bath: Cobra Lounge welcomes a little sin

Events, Love & Sex, West Loop No Comments »

toolFriday the 13th and the small stage in the back of Cobra Lounge is decorated with adorable pink hearts of various sizes. A closer look reveals the red-inked words written across the hearts: “Your mom has a really pretty mouth. Sorry about the crabs. It ain’t gonna suck itself…”

The Sinstress Sideshow is hosted by the oh-so-beautiful Miss Maya Sinstress, who is endowed with the kind of large yet amazingly perky breasts romance novelists make millions fictionalizing. Throughout the night, Miss Maya and her girls continue twisting fantasy into a frighteningly sexy reality.

There’s the classic Bettie Page-alike, who shimmies around stage in slow motion. A duo performance depicting date rape is a huge crowd favorite, though it’s Miss Maya herself, sashaying across the stage with large feathers skewered through various parts of her flesh that leaves mouths agape. Hard to believe how sexy removing blood-stained spiked feathers can be.

But pasties, corsets and mini petticoats just can’t compare to the Reverend B. Dangerous. Wearing smeared greasepaint all over his face (think the late Heath Ledger in “Dark Knight,” but dirtier), and a tattered ringleader jacket, the Reverend immediately brings to mind a Pentecostal Snake Handler. Now subtract the snakes, add sharpened nails, power tools and a staple gun and you have yourself one crazy Southern boy.

The show begins with him stabbing a screwdriver into his right nostril. Ouch doesn’t even begin to describe the moment he takes a handheld power drill and drills into the center of his nose. A mix of awe and nausea flows over the audience when Rev. Dangerous pounds two nails into his face with a hammer.

He invites guest assistants from the audience up on to the stage. Several cringe and flat-out refuse, including a man well over six-feet tall and weighing a good 400, maybe 500 pounds. But the brave ones go up and join him. They staple his shirt to his biceps, and stand on the back of his head, forcing his face into a pile of broken glass.

Surprisingly, blood doesn’t spurt everywhere. It gushes a bit, drips a lot and causes thick globs to form on his self-promoting tank top. When he removes the hole-ridden shirt, thick nipple rings hang from his man-boobs. Naturally, Rev. Dangerous takes a metal chain, attaches it to a metal briefcase, and clips the opposite ends of the chain to each nipple ring. The Reverend straightens his back and swings the briefcase round and round.

But even this isn’t as bad as the heavy video camera he has tied to a bungee cord. Piercing his tongue with the sharpened hook of the cord, and ignoring the blood that fills his mouth and stains his teeth, he lifts the camera a few inches off the ground, and swings that round and round.

“This ain’t any of that Criss Angel bullshit up in here,” the Reverend reminds. “That motherfucker can suck a cock.” (Khaveri Campbell)