Ben Larrison, the man behind the '#SquirrelTruth' ads on the Red line. If you're a regular Red Line rider, chances are you've seen some very strange ads popping up on the train cars over the past month. Among the usual offers to take experimental drugs for schizophrenia or to jump start your career at the Illinois Center for Broadcasting is a campaign called "#SquirrelTruth." "FACT: Statistically speaking, at least one 'person' on this train is actually 7 squirrels wearing a human suit. Don't be a victim," says one of the ads. Another reads, "FACT: Squirrels have never, ever wished you a Happy Birthday. Like, not even once. Probably because squirrels are inconsiderate, selfish monsters." These ads were born out of a Kickstarter campaign by local improv and sketch comedian Ben Larrison, which raised $4,399 from 91 backers. That funding allowed Larrison to afford an ad on 100 train cars, warning Red Line commuters of the danger that squirrels present. "I don't have any genuine hatred or anger towards squirrels at all," Larrison says. "It's funny to me how ridiculously ever-present they are." Larrison contacted Titan, the CTA's advertising broker, last spring to see what it would take to put an ad campaign up on the trains. He found that one can advertise pretty much anything on the CTA. This isn't Larrison's first Kickstarter for a comedic endeavor. Last winter, he launched a campaign called "Dunk Contest of the Century of the World," which raised money for himRead more
It's the dead of winter in Chicago, and it's safe to say that most locals are in need of a little pep. Warm your body and soul with some art during February. And maybe some alcohol. Okay, lots of alcohol.Read more
In an effort to make the lives of Union Station commuters less miserable, Amtrak has announced a commitment of $12 million for renovations of the hub.Read more
This week, we overheard gems like:
"Jake Gyllenhaal and I take SoulCycle together."
"I can't eat mac and cheese tonight. I'm having sex tomorrow."
One of the most exciting film events happening in Chicago this winter is not a movie playing in a commercial theater but rather an installation involving the simultaneous projection of four short films at the Hyde Park Art Center’s Kanter McCormick Gallery. The Latest Sun is Sinking Fast, the latest work by local experimental filmmaker Melika Bass (Shoals), offers more of the beautiful, yet vaguely terrifying, portraits of souls in isolation in which this artist seems to specialize.Read more
The shorter-than-usual month is packed with interesting events and openings. Hit the convention circuit and get your fill of new car smell at the Chicago Auto Show or mingle with Walking Dead fans at Walker Stalker Con. Catch the return of Fleetwood Mac at Allstate Arena or laugh your ass off when The Book of Mormon begins an encore 12-week run at the Bank of America Theatre. Here are the best things to do in Chicago in February.Read more
A new Kickstarter campaign wants to bring the country's first street-legal, emission-free food truck to Chicago. Unsurprisingly, they're aiming to sell organic cold-pressed juice. Even less surprisingly, it looks like they'll come in mason jars.Read more
The stand-up comedy scene in Chicago is on fire. There are scores of comedy clubs, independent shows and open mics. If you live here, chances are that you're aware that comedy is happening around you—sketch, improv, Second City. Chicagoans take pride in farming comedic talent to late night television. Of late, our stand-up scene, traditionally improv's step sibling, has been getting national acclaim in its own right.Read more
In January, 1915, Chaplin made his one Chicago film, His New Job. His stay here lasted only a few weeks. So what made him leave? Spoiler alert: It was probably the weather.Read more
It seems like you can hardly open a restaurant in Chicago without ramen or a craft beer brewed just for the restaurant—and now grocery stores are getting into the game. Whole Foods, which is opening seven stores in former Dominick's locations this year, will have both ramen and a signature beer at its Streeterville location, which opens tomorrow at 9am at 255 E Grand Avenue. Here's a peek inside.Read more