The series finale of 30 Rock airs tonight. Yes, Tina Fey's sit-com takes place in New York, but the show definitely has roots in Chicago. After all, Fey spent many years here performing and studying at Second City and iO (which she talks about in her book, Bossypants), and so did Fey's character, Liz Lemon. The show has made a ton of favorable Chicago shout-outs over the years, so we're hoping for at least one more in tonight's finale. But first, let's take a look at some of our favorite Chicago mentions throughout 30 Rock's run:
1. Liz Lemon does jury duty in Chicago
Midway through the series, we learn that Liz Lemon kept her voter registration/address info in Chicago because she didn't want to be taken off the mailing list for Chicago Pizza Explosion. When she comes to Chicago to serve on a jury, she gets out of it thanks to her Princess Leia outfit. The same gimmick doesn't quite work when she tries it in New York.
You knew it was only a matter of days, hours really, until the temperature returned to normal (aka freezing). That doesn't mean you have to suffer through it for the next four months. Here are three easy ways to warm up this week.
- Take a schvitz at the just-opened Red Square spa, the former home to Division Street Russian and Turkish Baths. Or, if you're up for an adventure, head west to Chicago Sweat Lodge. This sauna is for guys only; sorry ladies. You can always go to the Korean King Spa instead.
- Sign up for a hot yoga class. Our skeptical art director got hooked on CorePower.
- Or let someone else do the work for you and treat yourself to a warming spa service, such as a hot-rock massage or a body wrap at Eshe Day Spa.
You can thank us later.
Today on Craigslist, one of the strangest "rooms & shares" ads I've ever seen popped up: a 29-year-old lesbian masseuse in Logan Square seeking a roommate for "a very unique living arrangement." And by unique she means sharing an apartment with two potbellied pigs "who will be an unavoidable part of your life."
"They are intelligent, sweet, and adorable, but they also behave like pigs and so anyone who lives here must understand how to interact with them properly. That I can teach you, but it requires a certain degree of confidence around animals. Franklin, the oldest, will bully you—they are herd animals and while I am ultimately alpha, he feels the need to climb the hierarchy. If you live here, logically you are in his herd, therefore he will challenge you every so often to establish who is where in the hierarchy. He can also be very sweet and cuddle with you on the couch while you watch your favorite show. The other one is an absolute sweetheart and will probably never challenge you."
So after Porky has established his dominance over you in the domestic power structure, you two can lay around rubbing snouts and watching Girls. To misquote Tarantino, that's one charming motherfuckin' pig! And the apartment, she says, is no pigsty.
"This is a great arrangement for someone who appreciates a clean environment. Despite stereotypes, the pigs are actually very clean and I take full responsibility for any messes they create."
You have to be cool with Pig Lady's pets, yet she isn't okay with you bringing a cat or dog into the situation. ('Cause a dog is a filthy animal?) Also, she doesn't ingest pork. But if you dig on swine, she adds, that's cool; you just can't eat her pigs.
There are plenty of free things to do this week that will save you a pretty penny.
Off the Record: Brokeback
If you’re going to name a song “Colossus of Roads,” it better be epic. Douglas McCombs and his confederates come up with the goods on the closer of Brokeback and the Black Rock, Brokeback’s latest for Thrill Jockey. Its grand melody begs you to look up, the better to see the towering beat kept by bassist Pete Croke and drummer James Elkington. McCombs and fellow guitarist Chris Hansen take detours off the tune’s main route that are so stirring you might book a road trip just to find matching scenery. The LP’s seven preceding pieces are shorter, but no less evocative.
My favorite movie of last year is returning to Chicago. Facets has booked Julia Loktev's haunting relationship drama The Loneliest Planet for a weeklong encore run. Yes, the film is available on several streaming platforms, including Netflix. But this is the type of picture—visually stunning, with lots of immaculate compositions and spectacular rural scenery—that plays best on the big screen.
Like The Color Wheel or The Cabin in the Woods, two similarly spoilable recent movies, The Loneliest Planet presents a unique challenge to those looking to write about it. Most reviews of the film, including my own five-star assessment, tiptoed very carefully around a crucial…incident that occurs sometime around the midpoint. It's impossible to convey the full scope of Loktev's ambitions without spilling the beans about this particular plot point. If you haven't seen the movie, stop reading now and get thee to Facets. Spoilers are imminent.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center will commence Black History Month with the exhibition "COURAGE: The Vision to End Segregation, The Guts to Fight For It" on February 3.
Created by the Levine Museum in South Carolina, "COURAGE" tells the story of Rev. Joseph DeLaine and his efforts to end segregation within Clarendon County, S.C., schools. His activism eventually led to the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown vs. Board of Education. The ruling would not come without hardships and suffering for the small-town minister and his supporters. Specifics are to be documented in "COURAGE."
This morning, I spoke briefly with curator Arielle Weininger by phone. She describes the exhibit as "experiential" and said visitors will be transported back to early 1950s Clarendon through photographs, audiovisual interviews and two replicas—a rural classroom and the DeLaine family house, which was firebombed by vandals.
On opening day, hear from surviving DeLaine siblings Ophelia and Joe Jr. in an afternoon (1–3pm) discussion with Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington.
As Chicago hits the time of year when even my sleeping bag of a winter jacket can’t keep me warm, I can’t think of anything crazier than jumping into Lake Michigan. I also couldn’t have more respect for the people who are brave enough to take on the lake for a great cause. This Saturday, the Lakeview Polar Bear Club hosts its 12th Annual Polar Plunge (subtitle: Celebration of Shrinkage) at Oak Street Beach, raising money to support two local families affected by serious medical ailments. Last year the club raised $28,000 for two other families—a sum not to be shivered at!
Why join them? Listen to testimonial from Lakeview resident Grant Boyadjian, 27, who will be plunging for the third time:
“Even though everyone thinks I'm crazy, it's really not as bad as it sounds. Though that's partially because of numbness.... But it's over in the blink of an eye—and it couldn't have been so bad if I'm back for round three, right? The adrenaline rush from getting pumped up, then stripping down with hundreds of other crazy people and sprinting into the lake, is truly addicting. More than that, this is rooted in the families we are fund-raising for.”
That would be the family of 1-year-old Mary Cate Lynch, who was born with Apert syndrome, a craniofacial condition of the head, feet, and hands that will likely require her to have more than 20 surgeries in her lifetime; and the family of Peter Quinn, a father of three who suffered a spinal-cord injury after being hit by a speeding van while crossing the street in 2011.
Want to help without taking the plunge? If your North Face isn’t coming off anytime soon, you can (like me) grab a hot tea and help the cause by donating here.
Oak Street Beach. Arrival time 11am; plunge at noon. $25 early registration before 5pm Thursday; $35 on site.
Here's a sneak peek at what's coming up in this week's Time Out Chicago, on newsstands tomorrow:
Hey, have you noticed it's a little chilly out there? Don't let the nose hair–freezing temps keep you from going out: Just follow our guide to the best eating and drinking spots close to El stops so you can inhale, imbibe and jog back to the train before your limbs turn to ice. Go for the carnitas off the Pink Line's 18th Street stop, high-end cocktails off the Red Line's Grand stop, the abundance of BYOBs off the Blue Line's Western stop and more. Plus: the ultimate guide to restaurants and bars on (almost) every block of the Loop!
Happy Birthday Robert Burns! In celebration of the Scottish poet’s birthday on January 25, some restaurants in the city are hosting Burns night. Burns night is an annual celebration for the national poet of Scotland who was an important figure in the Romantic Movement during the eighteenth century. These celebrations will include traditional food like haggis, poetry reading, and lots of booze.
The Scottish organization Chicago Scots will be bringing nursing home members of their Scottish Home to the Robert Burns statue in Garfield Park. They will be gathering for some poetry reading and all are invited to join.
Union League Club of Chicago
Chicago Scots is having a supper filled with haggis, patties, and other delicious meats. There will be poetry readings and dancing, and Sheila Gilmore, a scholar from Scotland, will be performing the Immortal Memory speech praising the life and work of Robert Burns.
There's a full week of exciting activities that don't require you to pull out your wallet.
"Dutes Miller: In the Garden"
11am–6pm, Western Exhibitions
Miller's ecstatic installation of new works on paper and sculptures portrays a natural world in which homosexuality is the norm.
The Maltese Falcon
1pm and 7:30pm, Northbrook Public Library
Dir. John Huston. 1941. 100mins. Bogie would perfect his whip-smart gumshoe routine in Howard Hawks's The Big Sleep, but this earlier detective yarn is the better film: a morally complicated caper, with private eye Sam Spade (Bogart) outwitting a trio of lowlifes searching for a priceless antique. The ending is devastating—and, with apologies to Sleep, it actually makes sense.
4pm, Loyola University
Leveen discusses her historical novel, The Secrets of Mary Bowser, about a Union spy who posed as a slave in the Confederate White House.
6pm, Chicago Public Library (Blackstone Branch)
Steinberg discusses his latest book, You Were Never in Chicago, as part of the 2012–13 Despres Family Memorial Lecture Series.
5:15pm, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art
Northwestern's Jason LaFountain, Terra Foundation postdoctoral fellow in American art; performance studies chair D. Soyini Madison; and American studies director Ivy Wilson join Dan Silverstein, manager of exhibitions and collections at the Block Museum, for a conversation about "Terry Adkins: Recital."
Artists' Talk: Brian Jungen and Duane Linklater
6:30pm, Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts
The Canadian artists speak about their film project Modest Livelihood, which is on view at Logan Center.