Jessica is the senior online producer for Time Out Chicago. Her friends consider her a useful flesh and blood substitute for IMDB when their cell service is wonky. Follow her on Twitter at @witchyflickchic.
Photos from the World Naked Bike Ride 2014
If you've ever crossed paths with the traffic-clogging bike riders of Critical Mass and wondered, "What if they weren't wearing any clothes?" then the World Naked Bike Ride is for you. An international event where participants strip down and hop on their bicycles in an effort to advocate for cyclists across the world, riders participate in 70 cities across the globe. Aside from not having to worry about underwear riding up your butt, we have trouble seeing the virtues of a clothing-optional spin around the city, but it's hard to argue with those smiling faces. Also, you may want to give that Divvy bike seat an extra wipe down before your next ride. RECOMMENDED: See photos from previous World Naked Bike Rides
Sticky-note confessions: Silly drunk stories
In our latest sticky-note confessions, we asked Time Out readers to share their most ridiculous drunken experiences and they responded with some truly hilarious stories. Racing shopping carts, falling asleep on the CTA and purchasing pets are just some of the tipsy shenanigans you should keep in mind when you're out on the town. Be a part of next month's sticky-note confessions. This time around, we're asking… Fill out my Wufoo form!
7 reasons you should still go out to the movies
These days there are plenty of ways to watch films without schlepping to the movie theater, and lots of them are even legal. While we understand the appeal of curling up on the couch with your Netflix subscription, let's be realistic—there are some experiences that you can only get within the walls of your local cinema. Here are the reasons we still plunk down our hard-earned cash to take in a new movie in the plush seats of a chilly, dark theater.RECOMMENDED: The best movie theaters in Chicago Avoid spoilers and be part of the conversation. Let's face it, social media has taken over the world such that no one can really keep a secret anymore, especially if that secret is something along the lines of "OMG, can you believe that [SPOILER] was the killer in [MOVIE YOU WERE TOTALLY GONNA SEE WHEN IT WAS AVAILABLE ON NETFLIX]?!?!?!" If you want to be party of the latest pop culture conversations with your pals, you actually have to consume the latest pop culture in a timely fashion, which, when it comes to movies, means you're probably gonna have to leave the comfort of your couch on a Friday (or Thursday) evening. Your home theater might be good, but it's not that good. Maybe you've dropped a small fortune on a 90-inch 3D TV, complete with surround sound and Blu-ray player, but there are some theater experiences that just can't be replicated in a home theater. Spectacles like Gravity or the breathtaking skyscraper climb scene in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol belong on a sc
What to see at the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival
With 168 groups performing 188 shows over eight days, the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is the largest sketch fest in the country, so it's understandable if looking at the the line-up makes your eyes go blurry. To help set your comedy agenda, consult this list of 20 must-see sketch groups, from locals like the Cupid Players and Oh Theodora to visiting groups like Siblings of Doctors (featuring former Chicagoan and Community star Danny Pudi) and Hot Thespian Action.
TV Review: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Season 7
It's hard to imagine that a show that began with three guys and a camcorder is now beginning it's seventh season. Thankfully, the Paddy's crew has changed very little in that time and they continue to crack us up by doing horrible things to themselves and others. The first four episodes of the new season find the gang in a variety of crazy circumstances. In the season premiere, "Frank's Pretty Woman," Frank (Danny DeVito) has decided to propose to a prostitute named Roxy (Alanna Ubach). Several references are made to the Richard Gere/Julia Roberts film, but this is a Sunny take on things, so of course, Roxy is no Julia. Later episodes see the gang taking a group vacation to the Jersey shore, Frank hosting a beauty pageant for little girls and Dee getting audited after claiming the surrogate child she delivered last season as a dependant on her tax return. It's the same depraved humor we've come to know and love from these characters and hilariously good stuff. One notable change this year is Mac's (Rob McElhenney) weight gain. The actor gained about 50 pounds this year, further adding to the character's obsession with his personal mass but also keeping in mind that, after several years of working at a bar and not taking particulary good care of themselves, these characters aren't going to be maintaining TV star figures. Mac's increased girth is more of a running source of humor, only specifically noted in the first episode, but it makes for some good jokes even if that gag is
Partners | TV Review
If the premise of Partners—two friends: one gay, one straight—sounds familiar, that may be because creators David Kohan and Max Mutchnick brought us a similar tale with Will & Grace. This time around they mine their own relationship as old friends and working partners in an attempt at comedy that falls horribly flat. Joe (David Krumholtz) and Louis (Michael Urie) are partners in an architectural firm and have been friends since childhood. The (outdated) hook: Joe is straight and Louis is gay. Both fellas are in committed relationships. Joe is seeing jewelry designer, Ali (Sophia Bush) and Louis is living with nurse Wyatt (Brandon Routh). The attempts at comedy hi-jinks stem from Louis's extreme narcissism and intense need to insert himself into Joe's life decisions. The pilot finds Joe mulling a break-up with his girlfriend after she talks about getting married. Things get needlessly complicated when Joe makes a sudden gut decision about his future with Ali, rather than following the advice Louis has given him. Partners would be a harmlessly unfunny comedy were it not for the extremely grating behavior of Louis. He's so selfish, so rude and so unbelievably insensitive that it's hard to care about people that would continue to allow this man in their lives. One repeated "joke" finds Louis constantly talking up that Wyatt's a doctor, despite the fact that he's a nurse. When Wyatt calls him on this, Louis freely admits that he's ashamed of his boyfriend's profession. That's not
House of Lies, Season 3: TV review
While boasting an incredibly talented cast and impressive production values, House of Lies has never lived up to its promise. Aside from occasional amusing moments, this comedy about a group of management consultants just leaves you needing a shower to wash of the grime of spending time with these awful people. While the new third season could have been an opportunity to re-build the series after splintering of the core ensemble last year, it's more of the same for this band of high-paid sociopaths. RECOMMENDED: Winter TV premieres Despite his master plan being foiled by former colleague Clyde (Ben Schwartz) in last season's finale, Marty Kaan (Don Cheadle) has successfully started his own management consulting firm. He's even re-built in the image of the old pod with three fresh-faced young go-getters. But Marty's still got Jeannie (Kristen Bell) on the brain, plagued by apocalyptic nightmares in which she plays an important role, while making plans to reel her back into his world. Jeannie, meanwhile, is running her own pod back at Galweather & Stearn with Doug (Josh Lawson) and two other newbies following her lead. She's been successful at getting close to Julianne (Bess Armstrong), but changes may be coming that could limit her upward mobility. Elsewhere, Clyde is now working for Monica (Dawn Oliveri), learning up close what a horrendous human being she is, regretting having ever left Marty. Aside from the unclean feeling felt by entering into this world, House of Lies fac
Shameless, Season 4: TV Review
The third season of Shameless ended with a lot of upheaval that's palpable the first time the Gallagher family gathers in the kitchen during the season four premiere. Several familiar faces are missing, and most have disappeared without any explanation. But Fiona (Emmy Rossum) is still soldiering on as caretaker for her youngest siblings. Despite the recent turbulence, things might actually be looking up. RECOMMENDED: Winter TV premieres After securing her first full-time job last year, Fiona is continuing to excel at Worldwide Cup and even finds that she has to learn what things like "401K" mean. She's still seeing her boss, Mike (Jake McDorman), but taking things slow, given the impact the relationship could have on her financial stability. While money may be less of an issue, taking care of the kids has gotten a bit more troublesome, even as the quantity has gone down. Debbie's (Emma Kenney) descent into the pit of despair that is being a teenage girl has transformed the once adorable little girl into a sex-obsessed hell beast. Her newly discovered angst is aided by the fact that she's one of the girls in school not to have gotten her period yet. Aside from growing some under-arm hair, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is mostly unchanged, but when Frank (William H. Macy) is dropped on their doorstep, still suffering from impending liver failure, the boy takes it upon himself to take care of his father. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) are still AWOL, the former havin
TV Review: The Playboy Club
It’s hard to determine whether The Playboy Club leans more on the historical legacy the Playboy brand and of Chicago or on the popularity of Mad Men. What results is a hodgepodge of all three that’s messy and quite dull. The show begins with a narration from Playboy mogul Hugh Hefner (only ever seen in silhouette) describing his Playboy Club as a respite from the corruption of 1960’s Chicago. Of course, this is quickly proven false as fresh-faced cigarette bunny Maureen (Amber Heard) is assaulted in the back room by a man who turns out to be major mob player. When dapper lawyer and future candidate for public office Nick Dalton (Eddie Cibrian doing a shameless Don Draper impression) intervenes to help her, the two accidentally kill the man and must make him disappear, lest the mob come gunning for both of them. Dalton’s disappearance is noted by his usual squeeze and head bunny Carol Lynne (Laura Benanti), who immediately gets catty with Maureen, thinking that she’s stolen her man. Additionally, Dalton quickly finds mob guys asking him for info on their missing man, as he used to work with them prior to his days of high-priced lawyer-dom. The pilot spends a lot of time setting up the murder cover-up and love triangle, but none of it seems to pay off. Both plot strings are hopelessly rote and boring, which has a lot to do with Cibrian being devoid of any charisma. He is the anti-Jon Hamm. Heard is totally wasted, forced to spend much of the episode making doe eyes at her co-st
TV Review: Ringer
In her interview with Entertainment Weekly, Sarah Michelle Gellar described her new show Ringer as "Cruel Intentions meets Buffy." That description's more than a little misleading, though. While Gellar's new characters—she plays a dual role as identical twins—may share the blonde hair and pint-sized frame with the iconic vampire slayer, that's where the resemblance to Buffy Summers ends. If anything, Ringer's twin-swapping melodrama is more reminiscent of Gellar's first major television home at All My Children. Ringer begins by introducing Bridget Kelly (Gellar), a former stripper and prostitute, as well as a recovering alcoholic. On top of that pile of sad sackery, Bridget witnessed a crime boss murder a fellow exotic dancer and has agreed to testify against him to avoid serving her own prison sentence. In desperation, Bridget ducks her police escort to meet up with her identical twin sister Siobhan (also Gellar). Despite sharing the same face, the sisters don't appear to have much in common. While Bridget's life is in shambles, Siobhan is dripping with money and appears to have the perfect life. Things take a turn when the gals take an afternoon boat trip. After waking up from a little snooze, Bridget finds Siobhan has disappeared in the middle of the water, conveniently leaving behind her wedding ring. Following the breadcrumbs, Bridget assumes her sister's identity and steps into her life, hoping to avoid her troubles with the law and the mob. Of course, she quickly beg
Our wish list for Block 37's new luxury movie theater
Yesterday it was announced that AMC will be opening an 11-screen movie theater in Block 37's ghost town. The term "luxury" has been bandied about to describe this new downtown movie house, which automatically has us flinching. Luxury generally means pricey, and as many of the city's cinemas have begun to upgrade their amenities, it's a word that means less and less when it's applied to the movie-going experience. This posh multiplex is set to boast a bar, table service and "Cinema Suites" that are only open to viewers 18 and older. While these perks sure seem nice, they're pretty commonplace in these type of establishments. If we're going to be shelling out extra bucks for a swanky night at the movies, here are some amenities we'd like to see at this establishment. RECOMMENDED: The best movie theaters in Chicago Distraction-free table serviceRestaurant-style menus were one of the first upgrades that lavish theaters rolled out, but even though the concept has been around for years now, few have actually found a way to deliver food and drinks to patrons without getting in the way of the movie. Austin's Alamo Drafthouse has managed to accomplish this with the wonderfully low-tech solution of slips of paper and an extra, recessed aisle between seats that servers can easily walk through to pick up orders and deliver food without blocking your view of the screen. Healthier food optionsWe already feel guilty for dropping way too much money on movie snacks. Must we also feel bad abou
Celebrate Oscar weekend with these lovable losers available on demand
The Oscars are this Sunday and while a lucky few will walk away with Hollywood's most sought after bald dude, even more will join the ever-growing population of empty-handed nominees. But just because they didn't leave with the big prize, doesn't mean these films and performances will be forgotten. We looked back at the decades of Oscar nominees who went home empty-handed and found several classic films well worth remembering. Check out our ballot of some favorite Oscar losers that you can binge on all weekend long. BEST PICTURECrouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Amazon Prime, Netflix)Fargo (Amazon Prime, Netflix)There Will Be Blood (Netflix) BEST DIRECTORRobert Altman, The Player (HBOGo)Ingmar Bergman, Cries and Whispers (Hulu Plus)Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down (Netflix) BEST ACTORJack Lemmon, Some Like It Hot (HBOGo)Jack Nicholson, Chinatown (Netflix)Peter O'Toole, Lawrence of Arabia (Amazon Prime) BEST ACTRESSJudi Dench, Mrs. Brown (Netflix)Shirley MacLaine, The Apartment (Netflix)Gloria Swanson, Sunset Boulevard (Netflix) BEST SUPPORTING ACTORJohn Hawkes, Winter's Bone (Hulu Plus)Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master (Netflix)Billy Bob Thornton, A Simple Plan (Netflix) BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESSFrances McDormand, Almost Famous (Netflix)June Squibb, Nebraska (Amazon Prime, Netflix)Kate Winslet, Sense and Sensibility (Amazon Prime, Netflix) BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAYElection (Netflix)In the Loop (Netflix)Trainspotting (Netflix) BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAYDirty Pretty Things (Netflix)Heaven
Word on the Street: 10 crazy things we overheard in Chicago this week
We kept our ears open this week and heard some hilarious things about Chicago's mayor, Jimmy John's and Joe Montana. Did you overhear something crazy this week? Email us and you may find it in the next Word on the Street.
What's the most bizarre thing you've seen on public transportation?
Most Chicagoans have a love-hate relationship with the CTA. We love not having to sit in wall-to-wall traffic to get to work each morning, but you never can tell what odd activities might distract you from reading your book during that commute. For this month's edition of sticky-note confessions, we want you to share your strangest public transit experiences. Fill out my Wufoo form!
Word on the Street: 10 crazy things we overheard in Chicago this week
This week's array of overheard gems cover all manner of food-related topics from pizza to sausage to stomach bacteria. Did you overhear something crazy this week? Email us and you may find it in the next Word on the Street.
Word on the Street: 10 crazy things we overheard in Chicago this week
This week we overheard more gems from the mouths of Chicagoans. Things were said about Prince, babies, sausages and hair tea. Did you overhear something crazy this week? Email us and you may find it in the next Word on the Street.
9 unconventional romantic movies available on demand
Valentine's Day is just around the corner and there are plenty of sappy romantic movies out there that will tug at your heartstrings. But for those exhausted with Katherine Heigl and Meg Ryan, these unique love stories are quite the palate cleanser and they're all available on demand. Her (HBOGo) Finding the perfect human mate is hard, which is perhaps, why lonely writer Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) finds a relationship with his personalized operating system Samantha (Scarlett Johansson) much more simple. While the premise casts its romantic hero as pathetic and a little bit creepy, in the hands of director and Oscar-winning writer Spike Jonze, it's actually a bittersweet and affecting love story. Lars and the Real Girl (Amazon Prime, Netflix) Before he was the fixture of Internet memes and donned washboard abs, Ryan Gosling played a broken young man who dresses up a Real Doll and carts it around his small town introducing the thing as his girlfriend. What sounds like a mediocre SNL sketch is a tender tale of a community's devotion to a troubled member. Obvious Child (Amazon Prime) When a booze-fueled rebound fling leaves up-and-coming stand-up comic Donna (Jenny Slate) pregnant, she makes plans to have an abortion, but before the appointment, she discovers that her inadvertent sperm donor is actually a pretty great guy that she might want to see more of. The One I Love (Netflix) While trying to work through their marital issues, Ethan and Sophie (Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Mos
Word on the Street: 10 crazy things we overheard in Chicago this week
Did you overhear something funny? Email us and you may find it in the next Word on the Street.
What's the worst pick-up line you've ever heard?
For our first sticky-note confession of 2015 we want to know the worst thing someone's ever said while trying to pick you up. Think back to your most memorable seedy bar experience and give us the goods. Keep your answers brief and sticky-note sized and, as always, your responses are totally anonymous. Fill out my Wufoo form!
Where and how to watch Oscar-nominated movies
The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, with some of the best films of the year racking up the acknowledgments. If you haven't kept up with your movie-watching this year, you can still see a lot of the Academy Award nominated films in the theaters or Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. A few are even available via streaming services. Consult the list below to begin ticking off the boxes on your Oscar movie watchlist before the ceremony on February 22. American SniperOpens in theaters tomorrow with a few preview screenings tonight. Begin AgainAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. BirdmanIn theaters now. The BoxtrollsAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD January 20. BoyhoodAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD, and appearing in some theaters now for an encore run. Captain America: The Winter SoldierAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. CitizenfourPlaying the Gene Siskel Film Center February 6-12. Dawn of the Planet of the ApesAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. Finding Vivian MaierAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. FoxcatcherIn theaters now. Gone GirlAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD and playing at Doc Films this weekend. The Grand Budapest HotelAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and playing on HBO and streaming on HBOGo. Guardians of the GalaxyAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five ArmiesIn theaters now. How to Train Your Dragon 2Available on Blu-ray, DVD and VOD. IdaAvailable on Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and streaming on Amazon Prime and Netflix. The Imitation GameIn theater