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Brad Armacost, Ira Amyx, Dan Waller, Shane Kenyon and Kevin Theis in The Seafarer at Seanachaí Theatre Company

Brad Armacost, Ira Amyx, Dan Waller, Shane Kenyon and Kevin Theis in The Seafarer at Seanachaí Theatre Company Photograph: Joe Mazza

Seanachaí to become Irish Theatre of Chicago

Posted by Kris Vire on Aug 26, 2014 at 2:09pm

Seanachaí Theatre Company, the modest Equity theater that's focused on Irish stories and themes, is marking its 20th year by clearing up any lingering confusion over that mission. Henceforth, the company will be known as Irish Theatre of Chicago. "While our name is changing, our mission remains the same, and Seanachaí (gaelic for ‘storyteller’) is still at the heart of what we do," said co-artistic directors Michael Grant and Ira Amyx in a statement announcing the change, along with a slate of two productions for Irish Theatre Company's 2014–15 season.

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Le Dress is le closing

Posted by Laura Baginski on Aug 26, 2014 at 10:43am

The Ukrainian Village store Le Dress, which specialized in dresses (duh), is closing its doors on Sept 28 after six years in business. And just like they did when the store flooded last year, the owners are making lemonade out of lemons by holding an "au revoir" sale, with items in the store marked down up to 75 percent.

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Comic, movie and video game lovers dress up as their favorite characters for Wizard World Chicago Comic Con on August 23, 2014.

Comic, movie and video game lovers dress up as their favorite characters for Wizard World Chicago Comic Con on August 23, 2014. Photograph: Joshua Mellin

Photos of Wizard World Chicago Comic Con 2014

Posted by Jessica Johnson on Aug 25, 2014 at 3:28pm

Spider-Man, Batman, Catwoman—these are the characters you expect to see at an event like Wizard World Chicago Comic Con at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont. As you can see from our photos, there were plenty of those, but also some inspired choices, such as Daft Punk, the Ghostbusters plus the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man, Pimpbot 5000 from Conan O'Brien and...a Transformers pimp? Check out our photos of the crazy costumes to inspire some ideas for Halloween.

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City announces Jackie Robinson West parade and rally

Posted by Laura Baginski on Aug 25, 2014 at 3:16pm

Since when do grown people follow a Little League team as if they were in majors? When a team as extraordinary as Jackie Robinson West comes around, which is a rare thing, indeed. The mayor's office today announced that a parade and rally will be held on Wednesday to celebrate the team's U.S. Championship in the Little League World Series.

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Bryan Bosque and Echaka Agba in The Deer at the Ruckus

Bryan Bosque and Echaka Agba in The Deer at the Ruckus Photograph: Jeffrey Bivens

The Ruckus Theater announces 2015 season, new leadership

Posted by Kris Vire on Aug 25, 2014 at 2:45pm

The Ruckus Theater has announced a pair of productions for the company's sixth season in 2015, along with new artistic and executive directors. First up in the new season is the Midwest premiere of Matt Lyle's comedy Barbecue Apocalypse (Feb 15–Mar 15). In the summer, Allison Shoemaker will helm Dan Caffrey's Matawan, which the pair developed as part of Red Tape Theatre's Fresh Eyes series. Dates and venue for Matawan, which centers on a spate of shark attacks that took place along the Jersey Shore in 1916, remain to be determined.

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iO Theater

iO Theater Photograph: Anthony Soave

5 things you should know about the new iO

Posted by Jessica Johnson on Aug 25, 2014 at 1:10pm

The red carpet is being rolled out this Friday for the grand opening of iO's new location at 1501 N Kingsbury Street. While the stars will be out this weekend to celebrate the comedy landmark's expansive new space, we snuck a peek during the current soft opening to see what's notable at the new address. 1) It's not as easy to find…

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Punks, headbangers and rockers unite for the Riot Fest Chicago 2013 music festival on September 15, 2013.

Punks, headbangers and rockers unite for the Riot Fest Chicago 2013 music festival on September 15, 2013. Photograph: Max Herman

Riot Fest expands to massive footprint in Humboldt Park

Posted by Brent DiCrescenzo on Aug 21, 2014 at 4:01pm

Today, the organizers of Riot Fest released a map of its 2014 festival grounds. One thing immediately jumps out: It's much, much bigger. And it features mini-golf, a haunted house, a vintage arcade and a wine bar. Oh, and two Ferris wheels. How much bigger is that space? 162 acres (minus the watery bits, of course) versus the 38 acres of old. To put that in perspective, Lollapalooza takes up 115 acres in Grant Park.

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The Dance of Death at Writers Theatre

The Dance of Death at Writers Theatre Photograph: Michael Brosilow

Jeff Awards 2014: Equity Wing nominations

Posted by Kris Vire on Aug 21, 2014 at 12:01pm

The Joseph Jefferson Awards committee announced the nominations for its 2014 Equity Wing honors. Or, rather, Jane Lynch—the popular TV actor, who won an Emmy Saturday night in her role as host of NBC's Hollywood Game Night and got her start in Chicago's theater and comedy scenes in the early ’90s—announced the nominations on-camera for a tape-delayed YouTube video. Goodman Theatre and Drury Lane cleaned up with more than 20 nods each.

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Divvy announces expansion plans for spring 2015

Posted by Zach Long on Aug 21, 2014 at 10:17am

The Chicago Department of Transportation has announced that the planned expansion of Divvy will take place next spring, bringing the bike share system to 475 stations and 4,750 bikes. The 175 new stations will be distributed to underserved areas on the North, South and West Sides of Chicago, giving the city the most bike share stations and largest service area in North America (Montreal, the next largest, operates 450 stations).

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 Rising British star John Newman made his Chicago debut for the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival 2014 at Lincoln Hall, January 18, 2014.

Rising British star John Newman made his Chicago debut for the Tomorrow Never Knows Festival 2014 at Lincoln Hall, January 18, 2014. Photograph: Hallie Duesenberg

Tomorrow Never Knows 2015 early bird passes go on sale

Posted by Zach Long on Aug 20, 2014 at 3:38pm

The winter months usually serve as a respite from the busy summer music festival season, but that hasn't stopped the folks at Lincoln Hall and Schubas from organizing the Tomorrow Never Knows festival in January for the past 11 years. Taking place at multiple venues across the city, the festival makes a point of showcasing rising acts in intimate settings, including artists like Jessie Ware and Sharon Van Etten who now draw much larger crowds. The 2015 edition will take place January 14–18

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An e.a.t. spots stand at Madison St and  Wacker Dr

An e.a.t. spots stand at Madison St and Wacker Dr Photograph: Alan Shortall

Vacant newsstands in the Loop are being converted into food kiosks

Posted by Zach Long on Aug 20, 2014 at 12:51pm

The continued decline of print has left several downtown newsstands vacant for the past several years, but a local business is bringing new life to these shuttered structures. The first of four planned e.a.t. spots opened in a repurposed newsstand at 368 West Madison Street on Monday, offering a menu filled with healthy, local foods, including a selection of wraps designed by former Frontera Grill chef Shaw Lash. The bright yellow kiosks are open Monday through Friday from 7am to 6:30pm.

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James Foley

James Foley Photograph: Jessica Scranton

Remembering the sacrifice and bravery of James Foley

Posted by Rod O'Connor on Aug 20, 2014 at 8:13am

When I interviewed journalist James Foley three years ago, I sensed a struggle inside him. This was just a few months after his 44-day captivity in Libya during that country’s rebel uprising, and he was truly thankful he had made it out alive. He was easy to talk to. I recall him laughing often. He seemed to appreciate the fact that he had dodged a bullet. But two things tore him up: One was the fact that Anton Hammerl wasn’t so lucky.

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Halsted St pylon

Halsted St pylon Photograph: Jason A. Heidemann

Three Illinois schools make list of top 50 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities

Posted by Kris Vire on Aug 18, 2014 at 1:56pm

On Friday, nonprofit group Campus Pride released its sixth annual list of the nation's top 50 LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. Three Illinois schools made the unranked list: The University of Chicago, University of Illinois–Chicago and Southern Illinois University–Carbondale. It may be surprising not to see more Chicago-area schools make this list—Roosevelt University, for one, has a strong reputation for gay inclusiveness and advocacy as part of its social justice–oriented mission.

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Krewella hits the stage in Grant Park to play a sold-out Lollapalooza Music Festival 2014.

Krewella hits the stage in Grant Park to play a sold-out Lollapalooza Music Festival 2014. Photographer: cousindaniel.com

The City of Chicago defines what "EDM" means

Posted by Brent DiCrescenzo on Aug 18, 2014 at 12:18pm

Late last week, as reported by DNAinfo Chicago, the City of Chicago local liquor commissioner Gregory Steadman and Congress Theater owner Eddie Carranza signed a six-page plan of operation that will allow the concert hall to obtain a liquor license and reopen. Now, there's one funny condition in that lengthy, freshly inked document. The Congress "shall not allow any EDM shows/events at the premises." Which means the City of Chicago had to define what the hell "EDM" means.

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The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Firebirds Delta Team and more perform aerial stunts at the Chicago Air and Water Show, August 16, 2014.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Firebirds Delta Team and more perform aerial stunts at the Chicago Air and Water Show, August 16, 2014. Photograph: Anthony Soave

Air and Water Show photos

Posted by Zach Long on Aug 18, 2014 at 8:45am

After a few days of practice flybys, planes took the sky above the city this weekend as the annual Air and Water Show returned to the lakefront. The Navy's Blue Angels zipped through tight, breathtaking maneuvers, and the U.S. Army's Golden Knights parachute team drifted down to the beach. It was hard to escape the pulse-pounding stunts—you could hear the formations zooming by from Logan Square. We captured photos of the August 16 crowds and action.

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Kelly O'Sullivan as Masha in the Goodman Theatre's 2010 production of The Seagull

Kelly O'Sullivan as Masha in the Goodman Theatre's 2010 production of The Seagull Photograph: Liz Lauren

Kelly O'Sullivan receives Princess Grace Award

Posted by Kris Vire on Aug 15, 2014 at 3:45pm

Actor Kelly O'Sullivan has been named the recipient of a Princess Grace Award theater fellowship. Awarded by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA in memory of the late Princess Grace of Monaco. O'Sullivan, a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, becomes the third artist to receive a Princess Grace Award upon being nominated as an ensemble member of American Theater Company. This summer O'Sullivan shot the feature Henry Gamble's Birthday Party with Chicago filmmaker Stephen Cone; she also has a recurring role on the USA series Sirens.

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Punks, headbangers and rockers unite for the Riot Fest Chicago 2013 music festival on Sunday September 15, 2013

Punks, headbangers and rockers unite for the Riot Fest Chicago 2013 music festival on Sunday September 15, 2013 Photograph: cousindaniel.com

Riot Fest 2014 after-show tickets are on sale now

Posted by Brent DiCrescenzo on Aug 14, 2014 at 2:33pm

Riot Fest Chicago, the final three-day stop in our marathon of summer music festivals, announced its generous slate of after-shows and after-parties today. Once the fun in Humboldt Park is done (or if you just prefer your emo and punk in the dark), you can head to Cobra Lounge, Double Door, Bottom Lounge and Concord Music Hall to see the likes of Primus, the Get Up Kids, Television, Thurston Moore, the Hold Steady and more.

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Slippery Slope

Slippery Slope Photograph: Martha Williams

The Numero Group brings a monthly dance party to Slippery Slope

Posted by Zach Long on Aug 14, 2014 at 12:05pm

If the lines that form outside of Slippery Slope on most nights are any indication, the bar has become a destination for people who like to drink bottled cocktails while strutting their stuff on the dance floor. Now Chicago's premiere archival record label, the Numero Group, is joining the fray, debuting a monthly event dubbed The Chicago Party. The free party kicks off on August 20 and will occur regularly on the third Wednesday of each month.

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Lays Weird Chips

Lays Weird Chips Photo: Amy Cavanaugh

We ate the weird new Lay's chips

Posted by Samuel Israel on Aug 12, 2014 at 4:30pm

The food scientists at Frito Lay are just stoned and bored. As part of its "Do Us a Flavor" contest, Lay's has launched four new fan-submitted flavors of its chips. They range from the mundane (bacon and cheese) to the bonkers (coffee). It is up to us consumers to vote on the survivor. Our staff ripped open some bags to decide which variety should win. Turns out, you can eat just one.

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Patti Smith

Patti Smith

Chicago Humanities Festival complete schedule announced

Posted by Kris Vire on Aug 12, 2014 at 3:15pm

The Chicago Humanities Festival has posted the complete schedule for its fall program, "Journeys." In addition to previously announced presenters including Vijay Iyer, Marcus Samuelsson and Marjane Satrapi and the already sold-out Lena Dunham reading, highlights include appearances by Wallace Shawn, Renée Fleming, Darlene Love, Patti Smith, Roxane Gay and Sasha Frere-Jones. See the complete schedule at CHF's website.

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