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VENUS ZINE: ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS SHED THEIR TEAR-WORTHY LIGHT ON CHICAGO

Live review of an Antony & The Johnsons concert at the Vic Theatre in Chicago on February 12, 2009. Photo by Kirstie Shanley. Posted on the Venus Zine Web site on February 15, 2009.

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ANTONY  & THE JOHNSONS SHED THEIR TEAR-WORTHY LIGHT ON CHICAGO
February 12, 2009, at the Vic Theatre

When Antony Hegarty opens his mouth to sing, he makes you feel as if you’re the only person in the room. And he does this by completely ignoring you; by singing to himself, for himself. These lyrics are so personal that they could not have been written for any reason other than a cathartic one. His lilting melodies and smooth voice transport you into a dream — his dream — and you feel as though you are intruding on a magical moment. It is like you are looking into his diary, reading the entries that he wrote just for himself to get through the especially dark, painful nights.

Seated at the bench of a massive Steinway, Hegarty occupied more than half the stage, leaving little room for the six Johnsons that accompanied him on Thursday night. As his soft and pudgy fingers danced across the ivory and ebony keys, the Johnsons accompanied Hegarty on all manner of instruments, producing the sort of orchestral sound that completely envelops the listener. These things — the orchestral sound, the intimate and impassioned lyrics, the unique vocals — are what Hegarty and his band are known for. They are also the reason the show at the Vic was sold out. One thousand fans packed into the walls of the old venue and argued over plastic chairs that are not normally there but were placed specially for this performance. (The organizers knew that this would not be the kind of show where you need to be standing and swaying. In fact, better to be seated where, when you start to sob, you will have your own small bubble of personal space.) Read more…

VENUS ZINE: LES SAVY FAV LEADS THE WHITE-KID CONGREGATION IN CHICAGO

Live review of a Les Savy Fav concert at the Epiphany Episcopal Church in Chicago on January 31, 2009. Photo by Erica Gannett. Posted on the Venus Zine Web site on February 2, 2009.

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LES SAVY FAV LEADS THE WHITE-KID CONGREGATION IN CHICAGO
January 31, 2009, at Epiphany Episcopal Church

It’s about 9 p.m. on a Saturday and I’m in church. Tim Harrington and the rest of his New York-based rock quintet, Les Savy Fav, took the stage in front of a whole litany of religious figured. Harrington, dressed in some modern interpretation of a cassock, dropped to his knees, hands clasped and pointing towards the ceiling that is buttressed high above him and started to pray.

The crowd went wild and would have burned the church to the ground if he told them to do so. Harrington is their god and, after more than a decade of writing and touring, a major figure in the post-punk music scene. Through the years, the sound of Les Savy Fav has become decidedly more mainstream — now, every once in a while, you might even hear the band being played on the radio. Before, this was virtually impossible. It’s something to note, though, because it was obvious in the crowd that night; Les Savy Fav, which began as a collective of college friends, has kept its core group of fans from the beginning and picked up a whole bunch of new ones along the way. Indeed, the performance was sold out. Read more…

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY NEWSCENTER: NORTHWESTERN STUDENT-RUN BUSINESSES OFFER REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE

Press release detailing the success of Northwestern Student Holdings, the parent company of Chicago Unzipped, a guidebook I was associated with from 2005 through 2009. Posted on the Northwestern University NewsCenter Web site on August 12, 2008.

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NORTHWESTERN STUDENT-RUN BUSINESSES OFFER REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE
Undergraduated looking to gain first-hand experience in launching and managing businesses have found themselves drawn to Northwestern Student Holdings.
By Charles L. Loebbaka

EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern Student Holdings (NSH) is the real deal when it comes to student-run businesses at Northwestern University. Undergraduates looking to gain valuable first-hand experience in launching and managing successful businesses have found themselves drawn to the parent company.

“Students are truly excited to work for us because we are making things happen, both on and off campus,” said Nihar Shah, co-CEO of NSH and a junior in economics and Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences. NSH’s other CEO is Ravi Umarji, a junior in applied mathematics and economics, who spent the summer working for the global investment firm Goldman Sachs in New York. “What I enjoy most about NSH is how real it is,” Umarji said. “We are literally starting businesses, providing students with unparalleled experience while simultaneously enriching the Northwestern community.” Read more…

NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY NEWSCENTER: CHICAGO UNZIPPED CITY GUIDE OFFERS INSIDE LOOK AT CHICAGO

Press release celebrating the publication of Chicago Unzipped, an innovative guidebook to the city that I was associated with from 2005 through 2009. Posted on the Northwestern University NewsCenter Web site on August 08, 2008.

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CHICAGO UNZIPPED CITY GUIDE OFFERS INSIDE LOOK AT CHICAGO
The new guidebook created by Northwestern students offers review of more than 1,400 restaurants, stores, bars and other establishments.
By Alan K. Cubbage

EVANSTON, Ill — A new guidebook created by Northwestern University students provides an insider’s look at Chicago and its neighborhoods. “Chicago Unzipped,” now available for purchase, offers reviews of more than 1,400 restaurants, stores, bars and other establishments, as well as maps and directions on how to find all the neighborhood hot spots.

“We wanted to create a guidebook that goes where others don’t and really let people know what it’s like to live like a Chicagoan,” said Nicholas Jackson, editor-in-chief of Chicago Unzipped. Read more…

ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA: ARCHITECTURE IN THE AGE OF MEDIA: EISENMAN’S STRANGE SIX-POINT PLAN

A critical look at the plan renowned architect Peter Eisenman presented at the 2008 Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RISA) meeting. Posted on the Encyclopaedia Britannica Blog on May 28, 2008.

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ARCHITECTURE IN THE AGE OF MEDIA: EISENMAN’S STRANGE SIX-POINT PLAN
Nicholas Jackson — May 28th, 2008

We’re all living in a state of passivity — at least we are according to renowned architect Peter Eisenman. In mid-May, Eisenman used the platform provided him at the 2008 convention of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RISA) to denounce the effect that a “prevalent media culture” has had/is having on architecture.

The 75-year-old American is known for stirring the pot on occasion, so the six-point plan he presented at RISA comes without the shock and awe of earlier controversies. As one of the first architects to embrace a style that would now be filed under Deconstructivism — a term not used to describe an architectural approach until the late 80s — Eisenman’s most famous buildings appear to most critics disconnected from both historical context and their surrounding environment and caused much debate.

It appears, for the sake of controversy, that Eisenman’s rant on his newest target — our virtually-supported sense of reality — will work, if anything, to undermine nearly all of his creative output produced in a decades-long career. With fewer commissioned projects on the architect’s drawing board, it seems as though Eisenman is turning now to powerful, carefully crafted language to create a firestorm instead of creative, carefully crafted structures to enhance our built environment. Read more…

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