On Ramp

Thank You & Goodbye!

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Andrew Huff

Editor & Publisher of GapersBlock.com

We've had a lot of fun working on the On Ramp, but with the new year comes new challenges, and we'd decided to cease publication on this blog so we can concentrate more of our efforts on new and exciting developments on Gapers Block proper.

Thanks for reading, and look forward to seeing you around town. Meanwhile, don't forget to slow down and check out Chicago!

Next Stop: A Right Good-will Draught

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

Happy New Year! Start it off right with Tom Waits covers, a benefit show at the Hideout benefiting Holiday Panto cast members left homeless by a house fire, and a free Canasta show at Simon's.

Next Stop: New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, New Year's Week

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

Drive-Thru: NYE Plans, Gingerbread Houses, Coq at Riesling and Cheese Balls

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Robyn Nisi

I hope my adversaries are reading this.

Hope everyone had a happy and merry whatever!



A/C: Lots of Books, Public Art, Wrapping Up the Year

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David Schalliol

David Schalliol is Managing Editor of Gapers Block, among many other things.

Mind Over Mood
Photograph by TheeErin

Next Stop: Surly Dinner, Free Cake

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

Next Stop: Hit the New Year Running

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

Break into 2010 fast (or at an even pace) with the 25th Annual New Year's Day 5K Run/Walk.

Tailgate: The Bears Did What?; My Scapegoat Vinny

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Ken Green

Write. Poetry. White Sox. CTA. Bike path. Italian beef, dipped. Bears. Ernie Banks. Green Mill. Old Wicker Park.

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  • In case you opted again tuning in their Monday night clash again the Vikings, figuring you've seen enough bloodshed and ineptitude for one season, yes, the Bears did in fact win. It doesn't mean they've turned any corners with regards to coaches and players, but even the Minnesota papers had to give them their props. Now comes the season finale, the Brawl For Nothing At All, if you will, against the equally frustrating Detroit Lions. And after that? Well, the real Bears challenge begins.
  • As Vinny Del Negro twists slowly in the wind, amid rumors the Bulls head coach is thisclose to the unemployment line, is he really to blame for all that is wrong with the team? And in a similar vein, is Tracey McGrady the answer?
  • For those keeping track, the Cubs are involved in their 137th trade rumor of the offseason. One scenario has former White Sox pitching warhorse Jose Contreras moving back to town and working at Wrigley Field.
  • The Hawks move to the top of the NHL power rankings. At least according to the National Post...and the hearts of Hawks fans.
  • The Harlem Globe Trotters heat up the Chicago Sports Fest. You gotta hurry but you can stll catch it today.
  • The Chicago Fire may have a new head coach.
  • The best Chicago sports game of the decade? Scott Podsednik's walk off homer in the 2005 World Series. The worse? Some game involving a guy with a Walkman... 

Transmission: Memories of the Lounge Ax and Christmas Continues

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Anne Holub

A Southern gal, I arrived in Chicago on somewhat of a whim in 2003 and was charmed instantly.

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Next Stop: Visions of Unicycles, Mysteries and Furnaces

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

A/C: Stradivari, Home Galleries, a Viking and a Goon

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David Schalliol

David Schalliol is Managing Editor of Gapers Block, among many other things.

TV VCR REPAIR
Photograph by Brian Hagy

Next Stop: A Very LTH Christmas Eve, Guinness Turns 250

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • Get your iron quota met with meat and beer: Smoke Daddy helps celebrate the dry stout that drinks like a meal's 250th birthday next Tuesday.

Drive-Thru: Fighting a Holiday Cold, Carnitas, More Chicken, and S'mores Cookies

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Robyn Nisi

I hope my adversaries are reading this.


Next Stop: Sports Fest

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

Today's all-ages sports festival at McCormick Place includes pre-registered tournaments (basketball, soccer, volleyball and table tennis) and interactive activities (wall climbing, football, golf, skateboarding, badminton, boxing, tumbling, fencing, etc.). More information here, register here.

Tailgate: Bulls Hit Rock Bottom?; Bears Play Out the String

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Ken Green

Write. Poetry. White Sox. CTA. Bike path. Italian beef, dipped. Bears. Ernie Banks. Green Mill. Old Wicker Park.

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  • Proof that the Bulls don't play in a vacuum is the fact that their stunning defeat Monday night to the Sacramento Kings after posting a 35-point lead has become the talk of the sports world today. The Vinny Del Negro Watch has picked up steam.
  • And, no, we can't look to the Bears for relief, but the good news is they only have two games left in this season. You gotta find your silver linings where you can. Meanwhile, the fans take to the streets with their torches and pitchforks.
  • About the only bright spot right now is the Blackhawks. How bright are they? Other teams are looking at doing well against them as a measuring stick.
  • Ozzie Guillien isn't the only White Sox member glad to see Juan Pierre come aboard. Count Gordon Beckham among Pierre's new fans.
  • Once again, it's time to play everyone's favorite game, "Guess Who The Cubs Are Interested In".
  • The is only one Stan Mikta. Accept no substitutes.
  • ESPN Chicago names the Top Ten team moments, games and players in Chicago sports. And you can vote too.

The Mechanics: With Sunlight Come Protests

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Ramsin Canon

I bomb atomically.



Transmission: Bird in Review, Bronzeville Blues, and Getting a Thrill

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Anne Holub

A Southern gal, I arrived in Chicago on somewhat of a whim in 2003 and was charmed instantly.

  • Andrew Bird played some kooky great shows at a local church this week.
  • You can win a great prize pack courtesy of Alarm magazine and Bloodshot Records. Enter by the 21st.
  • We talked about The Fold, who will hit the Metro on the 26th.
  • Check out Daniel Knox's cover of "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas."
  • Indiana's Sam Vicari recorded at the Phantom Mansion and is set to release a year later.
  • Grab a free holiday tune by Bloodshot's Amy Gore.
  • The Adler lets loose After Dark.
  • CHIRP radio's Dustin Drase puts out his Best of 2009 list.
  • The Bottle's putting extra Girl Talk NYE show tickets on sale.
  • Speaking of, Jim DeRogatis breaks down what you should be doing NYE.
  • Spencer Tweedy sits in on Beck's Record Club.
  • The Hood Internet has started its annual list of stuff that just didn't make the cut this year with their Top Rejects of 2009.
  • Local label Thrill Jockey is looking for some new interns.
  • A review of the Cool Kids at Reggie's.
  • Libertyville son Tom Morello (of the Killers) releases a few tracks for Amnesty International on Human Rights Day.
  • Learn about the Blues in Bronzeville at the DuSable Museum.
  • Check out the new album from Honest Engines or hit their live show in early January.
  • Just who are The Yolks?

Next Stop: Saints, Friends and Good Cheer

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • They've been mixing obscure instrumentals and an approachable pop sensibility for some time now, and Sunday local group Joan of Arc takes it to the Empty Bottle.
  • More pop at the Empty Bottle on Monday, this time of the psychedelic variety: Netherfriends play with A Lull and Aktar Aktar.

Next Stop: Dreams Deferred, Indie Arts, A Holiday Party

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • Tonight! It's the Gapers Block Holiday Party at Black Rock! Get to Addison and Damen to mingle with the people behind the site, free beer from Half Acre by the fire, and an overall good time.
  • Operation Safe Passage, a non-profit determined to end youth violence, puts on an encore performance of Dreams Deferred Friday night. More information here.

A/C: More than Studs Lonigan, Gallery Snacks, A Forgery

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David Schalliol

David Schalliol is Managing Editor of Gapers Block, among many other things.

Chicago Loop, 2009
Photograph by John Maloof

Drive-Thru: Chicken, Challah, Cocktails and Chinese

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Robyn Nisi

I hope my adversaries are reading this.


Next Stop: New Farmers Market, Julie & Julia

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • Discovering yourself through mixing, kneading, and butter: the 2009 film Julie and Julia told the story of Julie Powell's quest to cook everything in Julia Child's first book. See it Tuesday at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 7:45pm. More information here.

Next Stop: Run Run Bike

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • If two wheels>two feet, Big Shoulders Realty has just the thing: a bike tour of Hyde Park, ride two of a four part "Big City Bike Winter Classic." Bike around the neighborhood's architectural spots at a leisurely pace and get some winter cycling tips while you're there. Helmets mandatory, leaves Washington Park Field House at 1pm.

Tailgate: Bears Set Us Free; Sox Sign Pierre

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Ken Green

Write. Poetry. White Sox. CTA. Bike path. Italian beef, dipped. Bears. Ernie Banks. Green Mill. Old Wicker Park.

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So what are you going to do with your day off? Take the kids to the museum? Burn through some of those television shows sitting in your DVR? Visit Mom and get that out of the way?

Don't go looking at your work calendar. There's no super secret holiday you forgot about. Rather, we're talking about the free time you'll have on Sundays now that the Bears are dead in the playoff water. Seriously, there's no real reason to watch the remaining three games of the season, other than satisfy any masochistic tendencies you might have (and if you have those, there are other ways to deal with them). Yeah, you could tune in to see if Jay Cutler can rack up any more interceptions to boost his league lead in that category (and as the Wall Street Journal points out, it actually puts him in some very good company). Or you could see if the Bears finally realize they have nothing to lose and start putting in some of those younger players you've been yelling about, like receiver Devin Aromashodu.

But other than those mildly interesting scenarios, setting aside a three hour block of your day on Sunday to watch a foregone conclusion is counter-productive. So how will you spend your Sundays for the rest of the season? Your fellow Bears fans can use your ideas.

Meanwhile...

Next Stop: Council Meetings

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

Looking to get involved on a city or county level? Head down to the potentially heated Cook County Board Meeting tomorrow, or watch the City Council Meeting as it happens Wednesday.

The Mechanics: Wage Theft Week

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Ramsin Canon

I bomb atomically.

We covered a number of topics over at Mechanics this week: but wage theft, the practice of employers side-stepping fair labor standards to avoid paying workers what they've earned, generated a good (though admittedly strange) conversation and a follow-up post.

Descend with us into the bowels of the economy...

Next Stop: Ronny's Jam, Raise (High) the Roof (Beam)

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • Local folkies Raise High the Roof Beam bring their pretty music to Schubas next Thursday.

Transmission: The Kids Know What They Want, Indie Xmas Tunes

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Anne Holub

A Southern gal, I arrived in Chicago on somewhat of a whim in 2003 and was charmed instantly.

A/C: Chris Rahn, the Apocalypse, the Obsession with Word Count

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Alice Maggio

Co-Editor of Gapers Block Book Club

The Day Before We Left
Photograph by Dalmatica

Next Stop: Video Art 101, Holiday of Horrors, 101 Lecture

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Rose Miller

Rose came to Chicago by way of San Francisco and St. Paul, pursued higher education, and has been here ever since. Edits Slowdown, the Gapers Block calendar.

  • It's a weekend (well, weekend and early next week) of film, comics and screenprinting, and it kicks off Friday night with the Chicago Art Department's Video Art 101, which explores the medium of video through an art exhibition.
    • Saturday, the historic Portage Theater hosts Holiday of Horrors Film Festival. Nothing says "holiday spirit" like gore, terror, and suspense on a big screen. Films include Christmas Evil, Silent Night, Deadly Night, New Years Evil, and Black Santa's Revenge. Lewis Jackson, the director of Christmas Evil, will be there in person. If that's not enough, there will also be vendors, free stuff, and booze.

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