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Friday, September 21, 2018

Reeling Film Festival, 312 Block Party, and more to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 09.21.18 at 12:30 PM

Jean-Pierre “Jupiter” Bokondji and the band Okwess, playing at the World Music Festival this weekend - MICKY CLEMENT
  • Micky Clement
  • Jean-Pierre “Jupiter” Bokondji and the band Okwess, playing at the World Music Festival this weekend

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this weekend. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

America is a junkyard on the gig poster of the week

Posted By on 09.19.18 at 06:00 AM

childishgambino_chicago_final_main.jpg

ARTIST: Dan Black
SHOW: Childish Gambino at United Center on Sat 9/8
MORE INFO: landland.net

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Deadpool jumps from the silver screen to the silver ball thanks to Stern Pinball

Posted By on 09.14.18 at 12:12 PM

STERN PINBALL
  • Stern Pinball

The comic-book hero Deadpool's constant metajokes don't just break the fourth wall—they slice it up and grind it to dust.

It's not exactly surprising, then, that the supermercenary's new pinball game, released this month by Chicago-area manufacturer Stern Pinball, follows suit. While you're busy flipping a silver ball around the playfield, for instance, a digitized Deadpool tries his hand at his own pinball machine on the machine's video display. Much of the rest of Stern's latest is full of that brand of self-referential humor, sometimes to the point of tediousness (I could do without Deadpool mocking me nearly every time I lose).

Luckily the game itself is more than good enough to make up for the minor annoyances. I became addicted after playing five rounds of it early this week at Logan Arcade, which hosts the premiere party for the new game tonight. For the casual player like me, it's relatively easy to unlock the frantic multiball mechanic and send a ball careening down the katana-shaped ramp. But there's plenty for more hard-core players to attempt—for example, they can take on virtual X-Men villains like Juggernaut and Mystique. 
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The pinball game favors the comic-book version of Deadpool over Ryan Reynolds and the silver-screen version of the "Merc With the Mouth," as the character's called, and the cartoonish art—hand-drawn by a freelance artist who goes by the moniker Zombie Yeti—appropriately feels like it's ripped from a graphic novel. My favorite little touch is a guest appearance by Dazzler, the much-derided but beloved disco-themed superheroine.

If you manage to get your hands on the premium and limited editions of the machines, they feature a mini disco ball with illumination effects. To get your own, you might need Ryan Reynolds's salary—the premium costs $7,599, and the limited edition is $8,999. Personally, I'll be sticking to Logan Arcade to play.

Deadpool Pinball Launch Party Fri 9/14, 7-10 PM, Logan Arcade, 2410 W. Fullerton, free

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Riot Fest and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 09.14.18 at 06:00 AM

Atmosphere plays the Radicals Stage 9/13 at 6:45 PM. - COURTESY OF ARTIST
  • courtesy of artist
  • Atmosphere plays the Radicals Stage 9/13 at 6:45 PM.

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Humboldt Park kids' store Peach Fuzz gives hugs

Posted By on 09.11.18 at 09:15 AM

Shop assistant Devyn Mañibo - ISA GIALLORENZO
  • Isa Giallorenzo
  • Shop assistant Devyn Mañibo

"Peach Fuzz is an inclusive kids' shop," says Claire Tibbs of her new business, which opened in Humboldt Park in mid-July. She named the store accordingly: "We all have [peach fuzz], no matter our age. It is tactile, textured, body positive, inclusive, and undeniably human. The space and our goods I hope evoke the same. . . . We want all people to enter and feel hugged by the space."

And that's exactly how I felt after arriving at the store, which is painted in various soothing pastel tones with vibrant neon accents. The walls are covered in unexpected color combinations that surprisingly work beautifully together. One of them opens into a cozy nook designed for more introspective activities: decked with beanbag chairs and minimalist wooden blocks, it's the perfect hideaway for the little ones.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Sketch show Black Boy Joy and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 09.10.18 at 06:00 AM

Black Boy Joy - TEEN CUDI
  • Teen Cudi
  • Black Boy Joy

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Friday, September 7, 2018

The World Music Festival and more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Posted By on 09.07.18 at 12:20 PM

Argentine singer-songwriter Juana Molina plays a free show at the Promontory 9/8. - COURTESY THE ARTIST
  • courtesy the artist
  • Argentine singer-songwriter Juana Molina plays a free show at the Promontory 9/8.

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Josh Tsui, Chicago video-game vet turned documentarian, gets his due with a ceremony and award this Saturday

Posted By on 09.04.18 at 06:00 AM

Josh Tsui
  • Josh Tsui
You may not know Josh Tsui by name, but if you're a gamer, there's a good chance you've seen his face before—a pixelated version at least.

While he was working as an artist at the Chicago studio Midway Games in the 90s, Tsui's coworkers digitally pasted a graphic of his head onto the body of the ice-powered ninja character Sub-Zero in the video game Mortal Kombat 2 as well as that of the martial arts master Liu Kang in Mortal Kombat 4. If you input a secret code you could also suit up as a tomahawk-dunking version of Tsui in the game NBA Jam: Tournament Edition.

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Monday, September 3, 2018

The documentary Minding the Gap and more of the best things to do in Chicago this week

Posted By on 09.03.18 at 11:11 AM

Minding the Gap
  • Minding the Gap

There are plenty of shows, films, and concerts happening this week. Here's some of what we recommend:

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Friday, August 31, 2018

What to expect at the new Chicago Architecture Center

Posted By on 08.31.18 at 08:17 PM

The Chicago Architecture Center (formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation) opens in its new location on the river this weekend. - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • The Chicago Architecture Center (formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation) opens in its new location on the river this weekend.

The exhibits weren't fully installed when I dropped in to preview the new home of the Chicago Architecture Center (formerly the Chicago Architecture Foundation) last week, but on a return visit this week everything was up and running.

The center, now in a two-story space in a riverfront Mies van der Rohe building at 111 E. Wacker, opened to the public this weekend, offering a museum experience along with its roster of 85 tours.

There's an entrance fee of $12 for adults, $8 for students, but if you take one of CAC's walking or bus tours, admission to the center's exhibits will be included.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll find there:
CAC's new home boasts a jaw-dropping view of Chicago architecture. - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • CAC's new home boasts a jaw-dropping view of Chicago architecture.

Spectacular views outside, especially from the second-story Skyscraper Gallery, reached via a grand wooden staircase (or an elevator ride).  The center, a few steps east of Michigan Avenue on Wacker, looks north across the river, toward Tribune Tower and the Wrigley Building. And the entrance to CAC's most famous tour, its River Cruise, is just across the street, where the First Lady docks. 
CAC's Skyscraper Gallery includes a scale model of Beijing's CCTV. - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • CAC's Skyscraper Gallery includes a scale model of Beijing's CCTV.
Inside, the Skyscraper Gallery offers large, white scale models of the world's tallest buildings, including Willis Tower, the still-under-construction Jeddah Tower (by the Chicago firm of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill, which also designed this interior space for CAC), and  Beijing’s otherworldly CCTV Headquarters. Smaller, intricately detailed architects' models of other buildings—like Studio Gang's Vista Tower and Goettsch Partners's 150 W. Riverside—are displayed behind glass, along with explanatory wall text. 
The Chicago Model in the foreground; the city's history on film, behind - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • The Chicago Model in the foreground; the city's history on film, behind

CAC's expanded Chicago Model—a small-scale version of every building in the city's center—is the focal point of the other main exhibit area, the Chicago Gallery. The model now sits in front of a large screen and, thanks to a computerized light show, is more or less integrated into a seven-minute film about the city's growth. When the film (which starts its historical account with a brief mention of the treaties that forced Native Americans to move west) gets to the Great Chicago Fire, for example, orange-and-red lights play over the skyscrapers that now stand on the portion of the city that burned. 
The Great Chicago Fire strikes again. - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • The Great Chicago Fire strikes again.

In the breaks between film showings, visitors can light up parts of the city model themselves by using one of four touch screens that offer a menu of architectural topics to explore.

I was glad to see that the film—which is informative, necessarily concise, and unsurprisingly promotional (but would benefit from a more sophisticated score)—includes the James R. Thompson Center; maybe that'll help save this threatened postmodern masterpiece. 
CAC's Chicago architecture film includes the endangered Thompson Center. - DEANNA ISAACS
  • Deanna Isaacs
  • CAC's Chicago architecture film includes the endangered Thompson Center.

You don't have to buy a ticket to see the tallest of the Skyscraper Gallery models—you can see it from the street through CAC's massive front windows.  And you can still get to the interesting gift shop without purchasing a ticket.

But a membership (they start at $80) will get you free entry to the exhibits, discounts on lectures and parking, and free tickets to what's still the best of what CAC has to offer—65 walking tours of the actual city.

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