Sean is a music and sports writer from Chicago. When he's not working, he's playing with his band Single Player or watching wrestling. Follow him on Twitter @Neumannthehuman.
7 Chicago musicians we can't wait to see this summer
Summer in Chicago is dominated by live music, with hordes of bands stopping through the city to play summer music festivals like Lollapalooza or Taste of Chicago, and plenty of others performing at Chicago music venues. We're looking forward to epic headlining sets this season, but we're just as excited about some of up-and-coming local bands that will be playing shows throughout the city and joining the fray at fests. As you plot out your concert schedule for the coming months, keep an eye out for seven Chicago artists that deserve your undivided attention when they take the stage this summer. RECOMMENDED: Our complete calendar of concerts in Chicago
Snag a free download of Bruce Springsteen's Chicago concert
Chicagoans usually spend this time of the year dreading the snow, but (for once) we managed to avoid the blizzard that rolled across the East Coast this weekend. The same can't be said for New York City, which was hit with a colossal snowstorm over the weekend. The weather was so bad that Bruce Springsteen had to postpone a show at Madison Square Garden. To make up for it, The Boss offered up his January 19 show in Chicago for free download until 8pm Tuesday night. If you missed Bruce and the E Street Band at the United Center last week, you can hear the monstrous 33-song set that included a performance of his 1980 album The River in its entirety, as well as a cover of The Eagles' "Take It Easy" in tribute to the late Glenn Frey. Hopefully the East Coast can recover from the snow (and missing out on The Boss), but in the meantime many diehard Springsteen fans will be quite envious of us Midwesterners for cashing in twice on his recent visit.
U-Haul report ranks Chicago as second most popular destination in 2014
A recent report from U-Haul tallied the top cities on the receiving end of one-way destinations in 2014, which is a pretty good indicator of where people are moving. Chicago came in second, so maybe those on the beautiful oceanic coasts are realizing how much they're missing out on when they see Chicagoans digging our cars out of 10-feet of snow for half of the year. It's kind of fun, right? Chicago moved up two spots from a year ago, and it's the highest the city's ranked on the list since 2007, when it also came in second. Maybe all these U-Haul drivers are still stuck in traffic and they just can't make their return trip. People in other states might simply be jealous of our hockey team. Who knows? The U-Haul study and other migration trends don't directly influence the growth of a city's population, but it is definitely a positive sign after a recent Census report estimated that Chicago grew by only 82 residents last year.
How to score tickets to the Stanley Cup Finals
Seeing the Blackhawks play for their third Stanley Cup in six years will cost you. Game three presale tickets cost up to $1,200 on Ticketmaster and the cheapest come in at $140. The presale for the first game at the United Center in Chicago starts today at noon. Tickets for Game One in Tampa Bay cost up to $996.75 and as low as $241.75 in the upper level. You'll have to deal with the club's strange ticket and fan apparel restrictions, though—the Lightning have a clause in their ticket sales that restricts fans with area codes outside of Florida from purchasing tickets through their website, a procedure the organization has had in place throughout the playoffs. Tampa Bay will also make visiting fans remove opposing team apparel if sitting in certain club sections of their arena. It looks like it will be a headache either way, but for those dedicated fans, seeing a Stanley Cup Final live may be worth the trouble. Here's the full ticket pricing for Game Three in Chicago: 100 Level First Row on the Glass: $1,200 100 Level (Sides): $700 100 Level Second Row: $700 100 Level (Corners and Ends): $600 to $700 100 Level Prime (Sides): $700 200 Level Prime (Sides): $650 200 Level Tier 2 (Corners and Ends): $550 300 Level Tier 1: $385 300 Level Tier 2: $335 300 Level (Corners and Ends): $285 to $335 300 Level Tier 3: $285 Standing Room Only (No Seats): $140
Chewbacca-themed voicemail prank turns into actual contest
TouchVision employee James Brennan took one of the better April Fool’s pranks in the city this year and played it off like a champ. The Chicago-based video producer was on the receiving end of this flyer posted around Chicago by his girlfriend, which invited people to call his phone and leave a Chewbacca roar on his voicemail. Images of the flyer went viral. It was one of the top posts on Chicago’s Reddit page and received shout-outs from various local media outlets. When word of the prank got around the TouchVision office, Brennan’s boss offered to put up the $100 offered on the flyer if he would call in the best Chewbacca impersonators and bring them into the office for a Kashyyyk-style showdown. Brennan chose four competitors who were judged on the lushness of their body hair, their fluency in Shyriiwook (Chewbacca’s native language), how well they can nail Chewbacca-like reactions and, of course, the volume of their Chewbacca roar. The competition ended in a tie, so naturally there was a Chewbacca-off between competitors Dan Campbell and Darren Olsen to decide the winner. Olsen won the Star Wars–themed overtime period by a unanimous decision and received $100 from TouchVision. But while Olsen walked out with the cash, Brennan was the real winner, taking a nightmare prank phone call and turning it into comedic gold.
John Mulaney to film new special at the Chicago Theatre
John Mulaney will film his next comedy special during his upcoming shows in Chicago on May 30. The comedian will be performing at the Chicago Theatre as part of the Onion's Second Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival. The festival booked the comic for a second show on May 30 at 10:30pm after an earlier show sold out. Both events will be filmed for a stand-up special, according to the theater's website. Tickets are still available for the second performance. This will be the former Saturday Night Live writer and Chicago native's third stand-up special. Mulaney gained notoriety for his contribution to the SNL character Stefon, played by Bill Hader. However, Mulaney recently struggled in his own television show on Fox—the semi-autobiographical Mulaney was canceled earlier this year after a 13-episode run on the network. Other performances and appearances at the five-day festival include “Weird Al” Yankovic, comedians Eric Andre and Kyle Kinane, and star of Tina Fey's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Ellie Kemper.
Kanye West to receive honorary degree from SAIC
It looks like college dropout Kanye West will finally graduate. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) announced that the hip-hop superstar will be receiving an honorary doctorate from the school at its commencement ceremony on May 11. The 21-time Grammy Award winner will receive his degree alongside artists Janet Neiman, Douglas Druick, Albert Oehlen and Rhona Hoffman. “West is an advocate for education as well as a thinker and maker who often uses his work—his lyrics, videos, performances, designs and paintings—to deconstruct stereotypes and spur cultural discourse on important social issues,” the school said in an announcement on its website. The Chicago native received a scholarship to attend the American Academy of Art, and he would later transfer to Chicago State University. He dropped out at the age of 20 to pursue music full time, releasing six studio albums since. Kanye is set to release his seventh studio album—the follow-up to 2013's Yeezus—entitled So Help Me God. While the honorary doctorate doesn't mean much for Kanye, SAIC is capitalizing on a great PR opportunity in building a relationship with the famous artist. Either way, the school's claim that Kanye supports education is questionable considering lyrics like, "She has no idea what she's doing in college. That major that she majored in don't make no money but she won't drop out, her parents will look at her funny" from his 2004 track All Falls Down, a line that must hit close to home for many S