Happy Birthday, Giant Perplexing Picasso
Aug07

Happy Birthday, Giant Perplexing Picasso

Is it a woman?  Is it a cow?  Is it a baboon?  We will never know, because enigmatic artist Pablo Picasso took the answer to the grave with him, having never visited Chicago or seen the work he graced the city with. But this month is the 50th anniversary of the erection of Picasso’s gift to the city in what was then called Civic Center Plaza.  Ever since, tourists and locals have gazed into its narrow-set eyes and puzzled at...

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Sing Along: “It’s the Most Wonderful Permit of the Year”
Nov04

Sing Along: “It’s the Most Wonderful Permit of the Year”

Both local baseball teams are done for the year.  Daylight is no longer being saved.  And Tom Skilling is saying ominous things about the months ahead.  Yes, that means it’s time for our favorite construction permit of the year to be issued.  And just like clockwork, one of Santa’s helpers (actually a guy from Criterion Productions) was seen filing paperwork at City Hall recently.  And just as sure as tummy aches follow...

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Slice of Life: Heavy Metal Icon And North Pole Honcho Light The Tree At Daley Plaza
Nov26

Slice of Life: Heavy Metal Icon And North Pole Honcho Light The Tree At Daley Plaza

Chicago historical archives unfortunately don’t tell us what music accompanied the city’s first city Christmas tree lighting in 1913 on Christmas Eve by Mayor Carter H. Harrison in Grant Park. (For music buffs, the hit song that year was “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”) However, we will now and forever recognize the song preceding the 2014 lighting of the Big Tree: “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” Technically, it was more of a mash-up of the...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah, 2012 – Part 11
Dec15

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah, 2012 – Part 11

Standing tall next to the Nativity scene in Daley Plaza is a giant menorah, erected by the Lubavitch Chabad of The Loop and Lincoln Park.  In spite of the Orthodox Jewish group’s well-publicized financial problems, it’s nice to see it continuing to spread the seasonal spirit this...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 8
Dec12

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 8

The city’s Picasso sculpture gazes over Christkindlmarkt at Daley Plaza at the official Chicago Christmas tree.  It’s a scaled-down version of the Christmas trees we used to get under the Daley administration, but money is tight these days.  It’s also much bluer looking.  Probably not a reflection of having a Jewish mayor, but instead the use of LED lights, which simply suck for Christmas applications because instead...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 5
Nov27

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 5

  Not everyone can get across the ocean to visit a traditional Christmas fair.  And not every city is as lucky as Chicago to have a small-scale facsimile of one. The annual Christkindlmarkt is underway at Daley Plaza, and while it’s only half the size it once was (because it used to also take up the vacant lot that became Block37), it’s still a wonderful experience, especially at night with a light snow. I try to go...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 1
Nov03

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas, 2012 – Part 1

It’s that time of year again.  Every year for the last decade we’ve chronicled the changing face of Chicago as it gets ready for the holidays.  Eid has already passed, so this year “the holidays” means Christmas and Hanukkah. We’ll start — as we often do — with the arrival of the City of Chicago’s official Christmas tree in Daley Plaza.  It came in on Friday (November 2), donated by the...

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (2011 edition, part 11)

The city’s official Christmas Tree is up and illuminated across from Chicago City Hall (121 North LaSalle Street) in Daley Plaza.  It’s a great spot to enjoy the schnitzel or wurst of your choice for lunch, or as a quickie dinner on the way home at night.  Just enjoy the music and soak up the atmosphere.  This year it’s officially a “Christmas Tree,” as the city has done away with its silly experiment...

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (2011 edition, part ten)

After the opening week fury, the lines have died down, and it is now possible to load up on warm nuts and German chocolates at the city’s Christkindlmarket at Daley...

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas (2011 edition, part nine)

The nativity scene is up at Daley Plaza.  So far I haven’t heard of anyone stealing Baby Jesus from his crib yet this year.  It was something of a tradition a few years back, until he started being held down with really thick...

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