Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicago Quirk's Favorite Things: Hannah Nunn Collection

I couldn't even tell you how I stumbled upon Hannah Nunn's collection, but I'm blown away by her creations.


This is just one of dozens of designs available in ceiling shades, wall lamps, table lamps, floor lamps, wall panels and fairy lights. (LOVE the name!)

Each lamp is designed and handmade by Hannah in her workshop in her lighting and craft boutique in West Yorkshire. And even though she lives in the UK, Hannah ships overseas and will even customize the plugs to fit your country. Her prices are listed in pounds, so you might need a little help translating the currency.

Friday, January 28, 2011

There are no words....

Woman claims yogurt sample tasted of semen

ALBUQUERQUE police said a supermarket worker accused of handing out a yogurt sample contaminated with semen was arrested on outstanding bench warrants. The Albuquerque Police Department is investigating whether the woman's claims can be substantiated, FOX Toldeo said.

On Tuesday night detectives said a woman who was shopping at Sunflower Market on Corrales Rd and Alameda tried a free yogurt sample. She told police she spit it out because it tasted like sperm.

The woman told management and called police around 9pm (local time). Investigators questioned the male employee who was handing out the free samples but said they could not charge him until after tests prove it was semen.

"We found where she basically spit out the possible evidence," Sergeant Trish Hoffman said. "As far back as I can remember this is the first time that we've ever dealt with this."

Sergeant Hoffman said police scooped up the possible evidence and sent to the crime lab.

While the employee was not charged on the yogurt case he was arrested because he was a wanted man.
Police arrested Anthony Garcia, 31, because he had two outstanding bench warrants. One of the warrants was filed in December for failure to appear for an arraignment. The charges on the case included two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor.

Police confirmed Garcia is the employee in question.

"Of course we did talk to the employee who claims that it's not the case and that it was the yogurt inside the store," Sergeant Hoffman said.

Police said charges all depend on what investigators find in that yogurt sample.

"It is a touchy situation," Sergeant Hoffman said. "We don't want to accuse someone if they didn't do that, but when you're looking at criminal nature people deny things that they've done. So it's up to us to get to the bottom of the story and find out what actually took place."

Detectives said if testing proves there was semen in the yogurt the worker could be charged with battery. Police said that is the same charge someone gets when they spit in food.

A spokesperson with the Sunflower Market's Corporate Office in Phoenix said they would not comment because they're waiting for more information.

Police could not say how long it would be before test results came back.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Chicago's Soft Sculpture Artists

So I was poking around on Twitter to see if anyone was talking about cool stuff, and I came across something called Faux Taxidermy Plush by Lana "Plushinator" Crooks.

I have to say that I hated it at first, but when I started looking into this artist, I not only liked it more and more, but I discovered an extremely interesting art movement called "soft sculptures."

Now, I'm not art-savvy enough to even begin to explain what constitutes a soft sculpture rather than a toy or stuffed animal (Original Cabbage Patch dolls are considered to be soft sculptures), but there's an art gallery in Bucktown that you can visit to decide for yourself! OhNo!Doom is a Chicago artist collective that Ms. Crooks happens to be a member of. (I swear, not a stalker. Just following the Internet train.) The gallery features a wide array of genres, including soft sculptures. OhNo!Doom hosts regular events, including their recent one-year anniversary party.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Countdown to a Quirky Valentine's Day: Casablanca Sweetheart Sing Along

Long before "The Notebook" (excuse me, I just threw up a little) there was "Casablanca," one of the greatest film romances of all time. Sure, you could watch the collector's edition DVD at home in your heart-speckled underwear, but why not get the full viewing experience at the delightfully retro Music Box Theatre. On Sunday, February 13 at 2:00 p.m. the theater will host the Second Annual "Casablanca" Sweetheart Sing Along in celebration of Valentine's Day.

Before the film screening, you'll get the opportunity to serenade your sweetheart with classic love songs like "You are My Sunshine" and "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off," while the Music Box organ plays accompaniment and song lyrics are projected on the screen. After you've gotten it out of your system, sit back and watch the movie. Individual tickets are $11 or two for $20.

And here's a little YouTube treat to help you practice for the sing-along:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Chicago Quirk's Favorite Things: Polaroid Manipulation Coasters

I love Etsy and I love coasters. So naturally, I find this to be amazing.

These coasters can be found at Reformado Photography, LLC's Etsy store for $12.50 a piece or $45 for a set of four. She uses uses Polaroid SX-70 manipulations to create these and other amazing pieces. In addition to the coasters, you can find prints, cards and magnets. Be sure to browse through the store; there are tons of beautiful images from around the world to choose from.

Friday, January 21, 2011

O'Hare Bathrooms Getting Mirror Ads

Are you kidding me with this?!

According to NBC Chicago, the always interesting bathrooms at O'Hare Airport will be fitted with mirrors that will display videos and still ads. When you step forward to look at your reflection, the ad will disappear. The creepy factor is that advertisers will be able to count how many people see a mirror ad and how long they looked at it. Can we say 1984?

Countdown to a Quirky Valentine's Day: The St. Valentine's Day Massacre

We could argue all day about the cultural/commercial/romantic significance (or irrelevance) of Valentine's Day, but, in the end, it's here to stay. So skip the cliché candlelit dinner and let the Chicago Quirk show you how to celebrate in style with a countdown to Valentine's Day happenings around Chicago.

And since nothing says love like mass murder, I'll start with the Tommy Gun's Garage re-enaction of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre!

On February 14, 1929 seven members of the Bugs Moran gang were brutally murdered in an event that made the country realize just how bad the Prohibition Era Chicago gang wars had gotten. Being that Tommy Gun's Garage is Prohibition Era speakeasy/dinner theater restaurant, they have reenacted this event every year for over 20 years.

After you experience the classic Tommy Gun's revue – skits, singing and dancing hosted by Vitto, “da gangsters” and “da flappers” – sit back and watch this display of Chicago history. One by one, actors portraying the unlucky men walk on to the scene, set to resemble the SMC Cartage Company where the tragic event occurred. (The garage has long since been torn down, but you can still visit the site at 2122 N Clark St.) As the narrator tells each man's story, actors portraying Al Capone's men dressed as "coppers" on a mock raid begin arresting the gangsters. But instead of cuffing them, they line them up and let the bullets fly. Whereas is was never proven that Al Capone was behind the massacre, it has always been assumed that this was a message from Capone to his long-time rival, Bugs Moran.

The show itself is great for families with older children (10-years old and up) but the re-enactment is extremely realistic, so leave the kids at home. It's so realistic, in fact, that it's been filmed for numerous St. Valentine's Day Massacre documentary films and television shows, including the History Channel.

The show runs throughout Valentine's Day weekend, and seating is limited so make a reservation. Ticket pricing is $60 - $75 and includes a multi-course dinner and the show.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mayoral Massages

This is not a drill, people. Massage Envy's Gold Coast and Lincoln Park locations are actually offering mayoral candidate-themed massages. You can get a Rahm Emanuel deep tissue massage, a Gery Chico educational massage (Apparently you can ask questions during the treatment.) or a Carol Moseley Braun trigger point massage. And, since you can't forget our current mayer, you can opt for a Richard M. Daley hot stone massage. These political rubdowns are available until February 22. (Go figure!) Pricing ranges from $49 - $98.

For the pièce de résistance: the salon will predict the winning mayoral candidate based on the sales of each candidates' massage.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chicago Quirk's Favorite Things: Car Lashes

When I was in high school, I was that girls that had the ultrapersonalized car. I bought this white Grand Am from my grandfather, and I decked it out with bumper stickers, crazy air fresheners and tons of crap hanging in the rearview mirror. When I saw this, I longed to have that car back:


 Car Lashes! There's not much more I can say. Eyelashes for your car. FUN!!!!! I plan to buy one set to put on my scooter this summer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Remember bookmarks.....?

Despite the convenience and overall cool factor of the various e-readers available, I don't think I'll ever buy one. I just can't give up the experience of an old-fashioned book. I love spending an hour at the bookstore going from shelf to shelf to find just the right one. Borders and Barnes & Noble are great, but my favorite bookstore is Myopic Books.

I absolutely love used books. Aside from the fact that they look better when they're loved, they're significantly cheaper. ($30 for a hardcover?! No thanks.) Myopic's books are very reasonably priced, and the selection is just as big, if not bigger, than any new bookstore. You can roam the three floors and find thousands of books you might never have thought to pick up. And everything is set in a groovy environment, ideal for maximum browsing.

Myopic also buys books on Friday nights and all day Saturday. Since throwing away books is sacrilege, this is the perfect way to unload your books. I've done it a few times, and while you're not going to make big bucks, it's nice to have some spending money to buy new books.

Funny story: I accidentally got rather plastered at a bar down the street from Myopic, and, not realizing how ridiculous I was, I decided this was a great time to go buy a book. I couldn't remember the name of the book I wanted or the author, so I proceeded to try to slur out the book topic to the poor cashier. I don't remember much of what happened afterwards, but the next day I found a bag in my apartment with about 10 books. Some people dance when they're drunk. Others have one night stands. I buy books.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chicago Quirk's Favorite Things: The Shoe Wheel

I'd say I have a fair amount of shoes for someone in my demographic; probably a few dozen, including flip flops. I quickly found that my not-so-big Chicago apartment closet wasn't built for housing the modern gal's shoe collection, so I found a solution: The Shoe Wheel.

This miraculous contraption is a mobile storage unit with 20 pockets that can be expanded or contracted to fit anything from sandles to stilettos without squashing them. It's on wheels, so you can pull it in and out of your closet, and it comes in a variety of colors. I personally leave it on display in my bedroom because it's just that cool.

The wheel costs $65, but if that's to steep for you - or you feel you wouldn't use all the pockets - you can try the Shoe Pod. It's also on wheels and has 12 expandable pockets.

One warning: it's a BITCH to put together. But it's completely worth it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Quintessential Diner Experience

If you're looking for the ultimate diner experience, White Palace should be at the top of your list. Career waitresses flirting with cops at the counter. Haggered old men downing plates of steak and eggs. Red vinyl booths. You can pop in and enjoy this experience 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The menu is a guide to classic diner foods at its best. You can get any type of food at any time of day, and it's all served exactly how you want it. Don't let the venue's appearance fool you; they know what they're doing. Everything is homemade and created from the owners' own recipes. My favorite: the French toast. I can't really describe why, since it doesn't have any fancy ingredients in it, but it's just the best! Toss in a side of greasy, fatty bacon, and don't bother me while I stuff my face.

I started eating here when the South Loop was still a pile of abandon warehouses with tons of free parking. Now, you'll find that White Palace is quite out of place among the Yuppie moms shopping at the Whole Foods. Parking has become a major challenge, so I'd try to take public transportation.

And if you need further proof of how awesome White Palace is, check them out on "Diners, Drives and Dives" from the Food Network.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Mashed Potato Eating Contest

As soon as I heard about this my mind immediately flashed to the pie eating contest scene in "Stand By Me."

Risque Cafe, a Wrigleyville joint that serves up amazing barbecue and cool jams, is hosting a mashed potato eating contest on January 8 at 8:00 p.m. To compete, sign up by 7:00 p.m. and wear some stretchy pants. Contestants will have three minutes to scarf up as much mashed potatoes as possible to win $100 and other prizes. The Mashed Potatoes will perform at 9:00 p.m.

P.S. Can someone please explain this new mashed potato fascination? I've been to two events with mashed potato bars and now this?! I mean, I know we're all broke, but come on...

P.P.S. I was going to inclue a photo of one of these contests, but anything I found just grossed me out.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Naked Girls Reading

If you haven't been exposed to the Chicago burlesque scene, it's time to dive right in, boobie tassels flying! Michelle L'amour is an internationally acclaimed burlesque dancer, and we're lucky enough to call her a Chicagoan. In addition to her regular performances with her troop of the fabulous Chicago Starlets, L'amour hosts regular events at the newly christened Everleigh Social Club. (A club so beyond amazing that I've been too intimidated to go there.) One of these happenings is a series called Naked Girls Reading.

This isn't some artsy "we're baring our souls, so it's like we're naked." No, it's a bunch of hot women reading to a crowd in their birthday suits. Think of it as an adult story time. They pick a new book theme every month, and this month's theme celebrates what would be the 100th birthday of the legendary Gypsy Rose Lee.

This Friday, January 8, at 7:00 p.m. Michelle L'amour and Chicago Starlets Mimi First, Greta Layne and Dominique Trixx will read from biographies about Gypsy Rose Lee and books that she has written, as well as perform various burlesque tributes throughout the evening. It's educational! Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. And be sure to check back at Michelle L'amour's website for all of the best burlesque happenings in the city.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fried Rice at 5 A.M.

We tend to think of diners as a place to get an artery-clogging patty melt, but who's to say a heaping pile of greasy pot stickers doesn't fit the bill?

New Chinatown Chop Suey is one of the greatest Chinese food place in the city, and I may or may not have them on speed dial. The menu is just the right amount of fake American and authentic Chinese food at a very reasonable price. The minced beef over rice is one of my favorite things on the planet. The various fried rice options are perfectly seasoned with an excellent meat-to-veggies-to-rice ratio, and the soups are everything you want out of comfort food. And it's important to note that the portions are huge, so be prepared to take some home with you.

Located in Chinatown, at the corner of Cermack and Wentworth, this fine establishment opens at 6:00 p.m. and closes at 5:00 a.m., give or take a few minutes/hours. This brings in a pretty interesting crowd of patrons. You'll usually find some variety of crazy bum outside asking for your leftovers, but I don't think you can blame that on the restaurant so much as Chinatown at night. (That was not a dig at Chinatown. I'm a huge fan.)

Another thing to note: There's been a sign in the window for about ten years now that says the credit card machine is broken, so be prepared with cash.

It's not the most glamorous Chinese food place in the city, but it's one of my favs and deserves way more recognition.

LEGO My Sears Tower

We all have fond memories of building LEGO forts as children, but in true geek style, I still think LEGOs are about the coolest thing ever. So, you can imagine my delight when I was told today about an adult-friendly LEGO activity: LEGO Architecture

This series of LEGO structures features do-it-yourself kits for some of the country's most famous building landmarks. The company is offering the Willis "Don't call me Sears" Tower, John Hancock Building, Rockafeller Center, Empire State Building, Seattle Space Needle and White House kits. (Chicago shoutout: The Sears Tower and John Hancock were the first available.) There's also a Frank Lloyd Wright collection featuring Falling Water and the Guggenheim Museum.

Where can you score these awesome treasures? You now have an excuse to go into your local LEGO store and not feel like a creeper.

UPDATE: I was just told that I'm not really a geek since apparently LEGO is the singular and plural form of the word, and that all real LEGO lovers know that. Guess it.

The Geeky-ist Way to Kill Something

I just discovered an organization that is not only steeped in awesome, but will help me make my Robin Hood fantasy come true: Archery Bow Range Chicago!!!

You might be judging me right now, but consider this: you’re walking down North Avenue and you spy a little old lady desperately trying to fight off a robber who’s trying to steal her purse. Do you call for help? Do you scramble around with your iPhone for a few minutes to call 911? No. You whip out your kick ass bow and arrows and start firing madly at the robber. You are now a hero.

Located at 1757 N Kimball in Chicago, Archery Chicago offers all sorts of clinics, lessons and day camps for about $20 per two-hour session. Each one is a different level, designed to help you reach your full archer potential. Equipment rental is an extra $5.

You can also join an archery league, but you have to contact the organization through the website first. And while you’re checking out the website, be sure to read the blog. It’s just the right amount of geeky and fun that makes me want to sign up.