Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Reason #2 - The Food

The city’s ubiquitous deep dish pizza, caramel popcorn, hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches are ubiquitous because, well, they are delicious! But what makes Chicago a true food town is less about what we eat but how we eat. Chicago LOVES food, CELEBRATES food, IDOLIZES food—and rarely (with the exception of foie gras) do we vilify food. A city that devotes an entire festival to bacon knows that good food (even if it is not always good for you) is great. 

Take a moment and think of a cuisine you’d like to eat–we bet you can find it in the city. In fact, you can taste the world without even leaving the neighborhood. But if you do venture out, you’ll find almost anything you’d want to eat. It is the #2 Reason We #ENJOYChicago.

Pictured (clockwise from top):
Greetings From Chicago Card from The Found

Friday, April 10, 2015

Reason #3 - Comedy & Theater

Chicago is a city that can take a possibly pejorative moniker like “Second City” and elevate it to a cultural touchstone. Any city that has only 3 months of nice weather better have a sense of humor and enjoy indoor activities–and Chicago does. Home to sketch, improv and drama giants, New York and Hollywood have been luring away our greats for decades. But like the leaves that must fall for an annual to rebloom, you can bet the next big act is blossoming now... quite possibly right in your neighborhood!

Here are a few great shows, acts and theaters that are nearby, around the corner and/or close to home. They are great examples of the #3 Reason We #ENJOYChicago–Comedy & Theater.
Pictured: Stone Soup Theatre Project
Filament Theatre Ensemble
Cornservatory and Corn Productions
"Love, Loss, and What I Wore" at the First Folio Theatre
Albany Park Theater Project
The Blackout Diaries at The High Hat Club
the kates 

Not pictured: 
"Other Hands" at the Linchpin Theatre

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

7 [Rejected] Reasons We ENJOY Chicago

We’ve been counting down the 7 reasons we ENJOY Chicago online and in our store, and every week through mid-April we’ll be highlighting the things that make Chicago great. We thought we’d share some reasons that came to mind but got the big REJECTED stamp—because as Chicagoans, we’re definitely familiar with these daily realities, but we’d have to be FOOLS to love them.

7. [Rejected] Reason - Potholes

[Rejected] Reason - Potholes
bachor / via    
The breadth and depth of potholes in Chicago after our Polar Vortices has provided a new medium for artists. As funding for the arts continues to decline, artists who hang their heads in misery need only open their eyes to the asphalt canvas under their feet. A gallery opening is great. An opening in the earth is better!

6. [Rejected] Reason - Polar Vortex 2: Electric Boogaloo

[Rejected] Reason - Polar Vortex 2: Electric Boogaloo
Urban General Store / via Facebook

Despite over 30 days of sub-zero temperatures, the Second City was forced to play third fiddle to our Boston brethren's Snowpocalypse. As we watched the Patriots once again win the Super Bowl through the snowscreen of our SuperBlizzard, we were reminded that our football team wasn't there, their former non-World Series winning baseball team has since won the World Series (thrice) and our big Polar Vortex: The Sequel was more "Grease 2" to the East Coast blizzard's "Godfather 2." It seemed familiar but just wasn't as fun. Or exhausting. Or crazy making. Or just plain awful. Why are we always taking sloppy seconds?!?

But, on the bright side, there's always a chance that it will snow in April in Chicago!

5. [Rejected] Reason - Parking Meters and Traffic Control

[Rejected] Reason - Parking Meters and Traffic Control
The Found / Via

Are you really a Chicagoan if you haven't gotten a ticket for "Parking in a loading-zone, between 4 and 6 pm, between April 1 and March 31, non-rush hour, residential zone, street cleaning on days that end in -day"? It is a rite of passage for your rights of passage in Chi-town. Chicago even has its own Parking Ticket Geek.

Radical proposal of what to do with the maligned Red Light Cameras: use them as traffic volume sensors to time the lights on major arteries. Maybe then traffic on Western Avenue wouldn't suck so badly.

Hmm. Not likely.

4. [Rejected] Reason - Wildlife

[Rejected] Reason - Wildlife
Bob Fila, Chicago Tribune / via

With 2007 the passing of Joseph Zeman, the "Pigeon Man of Lincoln Square," Chicago may have lost the last true lover of Chicago pigeons. In fact, the city has unleashed some bad ol' peregrine falcons to help control our "flying rat" population. Seems we prefer to view wildlife without them carrying entire pizza crusts or chicken wing bones.

And don't even get us started on squirrels.

3. [Rejected] Reason - Politics

[Rejected] Reason - Politics
Schadenfreude / Via

Every time we hear "Chuy Rahm" it sounds like a delicious, nougaty, caramelly candy. It's not. But now we're hungry.

Did you know that most people in other parts of the United States don't know what an alderman is? In Chicago, aldermen are such characters that Schadefruede's Justin Kaufmann has spent years portraying a fictional city council member—Ald. Ed Bus of the equally fictional 53rd Ward (the triangle of land at the corners of Belmont, Lincoln, and Ashland). And if his seat was contested, we think he could actually win! Like, in the real election.

2. [Rejected] Reason - Lake Michigan and the Chicago River

[Rejected] Reason - Lake Michigan and the Chicago River
© Jeremy Atherton, 2006 / Via

Sure, they're pretty. And provide water. Or in the river's case "water." And being one of only a few major metropolitan cities on such a large body of water is nice. But Lake Michigan has seriously put Chicago at a disadvantage—we only have three sides! Since the founding of the city over 175 years ago, have there been any plans to expand the East Side of Chicago? Why not a new agency—the Land Reclamation from Water Reclamation Department? Or maybe George Lucas should forget the museum and focus on a new underwater neighborhood called "East Atlantis."

And we love the Chicago River. Except on a warm day when it smells like it needs to wash.

1. [Rejected] Reason - Pizza P.I.E. (Pizza Inferiority Effect)

[Rejected] Reason - Pizza P.I.E. (Pizza Inferiority Effect)
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart / via

Why must we always defend our pizza? Yes, sometimes we cut it in squares. Yes, a single deep-dish pie can weigh up to 25 lbs. And, if you can forgive the double negative, it's NOT not as good as New York style pizza, it's DIFFERENT. And if you don't like it, we know a squirrel who will happily take a crust off your hands. (After all, who hasn't seen a Chicago squirrel carrying a piece of pizza larger than its entire body in its mouth?)

To quote (ahem) Chicagoan Vince Vaughn in Wedding Crashers, "It's a great band, it's a bad band, it's like pizza, baby. It's good no matter what."