Confessions of a Double Maroon

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

As a second-year full-time student, now is about the time where the reality that the end is near starts to set in. Whether it’s the creepy nostalgia of “senioritis” from my high school days, the emails that remind me I need to apply for graduation, or the passing of the baton to the next group of ChiBus editors or admissions fellows, it’s no secret that the Booth experience is coming to a close for half of the students here. Since leaving a place you love can be hard, I’ve learned to begin saying “goodbye” early.

I came to Booth as somewhat of an anomaly. I studied English as an undergraduate at The University of Chicago and spent eight very long, yet rewarding, years in education as an English teacher, charter school co-founder, and non-profit manager. I knew very little about how corporations make the world go ‘round. I was fairly naive and even scoffed at the idea that business folks could care about anything other than making money. My experiences had incorrectly taught me this. Booth flipped the script.

When I came to Booth, I initially longed for my college and teaching days where I could debate the radical philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche with a classmate or interpret voice and memory in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf with fellow undergraduate thespians or my nerdy students. But I now know that the purpose of this leg of my journey is not to change all of the experiences I’ve had in the past, but rather it’s to enrich those experiences with new colors.

I’ll admit I haven’t always loved my time here at Booth. Consulting recruiting was one of the worst moments for me, and a memory I cannot sooner forget. I was not always impressed with my professors’ abilities to break down material and or even to find the joy in teaching at times. I longed for more intellectually stimulating conversations that didn’t involve talk of careers or superficial musings.

...I’m preparing to leave this place (again) with a renewed sense of the possibilities.

But I am also critical of my own engagement and my own naive expectations. While I’ve certainly pushed myself to be more involved in the community as an Admissions Fellow, as an editor for this newspaper, and as a representative on university-wide councils, I can’t say that I’ve taken total advantage of all of the resources that exist here at the Harper Center. I haven’t scheduled many office hour chats with professors, attended many of the speaker series around campus, nor worked to create the spaces where students who long for deeper, more meaningful conversations like me can find one other.

However, I know that there is never enough time and I need to be easier on myself. So, I’m preparing to leave this place (again) with a renewed sense of the possibilities. The College before and now Booth have given me a powerful sense of confidence and self-worth. I am ready now more than ever to take on the world with all of the forward motion of a trailblazer.

At the end of the day, I have to remember that this Booth moment is just a stop on a longer road through many more unknowns. And I’m happy to traverse that road--full speed ahead--with some new, wonderful friends; a much larger network of innovative, passionate thinkers; and with the support of some really cool administrators and staff. With my favorite Beyonce song blasting in the background, bring it on.

If you’re feeling nostalgic, reach out and ask John to grab some tea or coffee to talk it through.

OUT OF THE LOOP: Lake View's Eclectic Views

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

A recurring column about the hottest things to do outside of the Chicago Loop!

Anyone who has ventured outside of the Chicago Loop area will have stumbled--either intentionally or somewhat by accident--upon one of the city’s liveliest neighborhoods: Lake View. Geographically amorphous, Lake View mostly covers the area east of the Chicago River and west of Lake Shore Drive, while being bordered to the south by W Diversey Pkwy and north by Irving Park Blvd. However, nestled in those boundaries are baseball fanatics’ Wrigleyville and Chicago’s LGBTQ mecca, Boystown. Nevertheless, no matter what you are looking for, Lake View has something for everyone.

Take the redline CTA train up to Belmont and head east until you reach North Broadway. There you’ll find great independent restaurants and some pleasant coffee houses. Grab a hot mocha and a window seat at the Chicago-born Intelligentsia Coffee (3123 North Broadway). While you could use the space and time to study for winter exams, it’s much better to flirt with the cute Chicagoans traversing by.

For a late lunch or dinner, check out DMK Burger Bar (2954 N Sheffield Ave). Try the crispy prosciutto or aged cheddar in classic beef, turkey, bison, or a thick portobello, with a side of jazzed up fries adorned with Amish blue cheese and smoked bacon or parmesan, truffle cream. Cap off your meal with a craft beer. If burgers aren’t your thing, check out the small, but very popular, Crisp (2940 N Broadway), serving up some of Chicago’s best and crispiest (get it?) Korean fried chicken doused in signature sauces. Also part of the draw are the eatery’s bibimbop rice bowls and BYOB laissez-faire attitude.       

Industrial decor lines the interior of Intelligentsia Coffee Shop, Lake View. Photo Courtesy of Intelligentsia. 

Industrial decor lines the interior of Intelligentsia Coffee Shop, Lake View. Photo Courtesy of Intelligentsia. 

To wash down the fried chicken or to continue the pre-game, head over to Sheffield’s Beer and Wine Garden (3258 N Sheffield Ave), a neighborhood staple, where you can drown yourself in the flavors of over 30 draft beers, an extensive craft beer menu, and featured brews of the month. Don’t stay too long or you’ll get swallowed up by the noise of the young and rowdy crowd. Instead, head to Bobtail Ice Cream (2951 N Broadway), serving up classic homemade ice cream in an old time shop. Check out the Tuesday special for a discount on one of the creamiest milkshakes you’ll ever have!

For some organized entertainment, grab a ticket to one of the many improv comedy shows at the Annoyance Theatre & Bar (851 W Belmont Ave). Particularly great is the weekly show “Messing With a Friend” (Thursdays, 10:30pm, $5), featuring Susan Messing and a rotation of Chicago’s top improvisers from legendary improv houses like Improv Olympic and Second City, among others. If you want something even more ambiguous, catch Blue Man Group at Briar Street Theater (3133 N Halsted St; tix from $35 w/ student ID). Founded in 1991, Blue Man Group has garnered a reputation for combining music, technology, and comedy into performances that have been heralded as innovative and entertaining all around the world.

Exterior beer garden at Sheffield's, Lake View. Photo courtesy of Sheffield's. 

Exterior beer garden at Sheffield's, Lake View. Photo courtesy of Sheffield's. 

If you’re just getting started, stroll up North Halsted and get your dance on at one of the many bars and dance clubs along the Boystown Strip from Belmont to Addison. A favorite is Sidetrack Video Bar (3349 N Halsted St), a large modern venue showcasing reasonably priced drinks and theme nights featuring the hits of popular artists like Beyonce and Madonna (Beyonce Night is March 15th!). Sidetrack will once again be the venue for this year’s annual #PinkParty in May, hosted by the OUTreach LGBTQ student organization at Chicago Booth.

John is always exploring pockets of awesomeness all over the great city of Chicago. Join him!

The Oscars: So White and So Elitist

By John Frame, Class of 2017

By John Frame, Class of 2017

Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science released its nominations for its annual Academy Awards (known as the “Oscars”), which honor outstanding achievement in filmmaking. Following two years where the Academy “failed” to nominate a single minority actor (remember “#OscarsSoWhite”?), the Academy made amends this year including seven minority nominees across all four acting categories, as well as recognizing four films (of nine) about non-whites in the Best Film category.

But what does it say that minority filmmaking is still not consistently provided the same recognition as films made by and about the majority? And what about favoring the obscure over the blockbuster?

To answer this question, one need only look at the membership of the Academy, which, according to a 2016 report from the Los Angeles Times, is 91% white and 76% male. Blacks, Asians, and Latinos make up just 7% of the total membership body. With a mean age of 63, the membership is a whopping 85% over the age of 50.

With those statistics, it’s no wonder that the Academy skews more traditional in its selection of nominees and winners each year. Many of the films that receive recognition rarely earn the big bucks while in theaters, and very few blockbusters earn recognition, let alone a win.

The last blockbuster film to win the Academy’s top prize was 2003’s Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King ($377M), the final installment of the groundbreaking trilogy. Many believe that film’s win was a honor for the entire franchise and the technical achievements of director Peter Jackson and his mastermind team. But that’s neither here nor there.

The statistics on minority nominees and winners in the major categories are so low that Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, an African-American, had to walk a fine line in support of diversifying the Academy’s membership and, most recently, when she instituted initiatives that aim to double the number of minorities and women by 2020. Only one black female has ever won the Oscar for Best Actress (Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball, 2001); four black men have won the Best Actor Oscar; and a total of 10 black actors and actresses have won in the supporting categories over 88 years.    

...minority filmmaking is still not consistently provided the same recognition as films made by and about the majority...

So the Oscar voters are white and old and out of touch. Perhaps even racist. But who cares, right?

Well, not exactly. At a time when our nation is more visibly divided than it has been in recent memory, the importance of honoring the diversity of American culture is really the issue at play here. Americans, on the whole, appear to view our government, media, and public figures as elitists. This continues to fuel a rebellion of what makes America unique and, dare I say, great. The Academy, like many other public institutions, has a duty to represent all facets of American culture. After all, the Academy is at the heart of our most authentic and oldest of pastimes: movie-watching.

This year, the Academy has a chance to honor some of the greatest performances in some of the greatest films ever made by minorities: from Viola Davis’ and Denzel Washington’s masterclass acting in the adaptation of August Wilson’s award-winning play, Fences, to the filmmakers of--and performers in--films like Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Lion. The hope is that we will see a turning point this year, where the Academy members start looking towards a future of honoring the whole of the film industry and not just a few of its obscure parts.               

John is a lover of films and hopes that the Academy does the right thing this year and awards its top prize to Moonlight, over the fluffy La La Land.

OUT OF THE LOOP: AudioBooth Edition

By Mark Hinken, Class of 2017

By Mark Hinken, Class of 2017

A frequent feature of the hottest happenings (mostly) outside of the Loop.

AudioBooth is happy to contribute to “Out of the Loop” this issue, if only because it’s so easy to suggest things that are interesting to do outside of the Loop. With that in mind, here are a few places you should check out over the next few weeks.

M83| Thurs, Oct 20th @ Riviera Theatre, 4746 N Racine Ave, Uptown – He’s not quite “the hotness” in the way he was a few years ago when “Midnight City” came out, but that works in your favor. The Riv is one of the larger venues for music acts coming through the city (~2500 capacity), but it’s a far cry from any of the stadium-type locations he might have played if he was still in peak demand (i.e. UIC Pavillion, United Center, Allstate Arena). Plus the new 80’s-ish material adds a little more levity to the show.

M83 brings its French electronica to the Riviera Theatre, Oct. 20th.     Photo courtesy of Dan W. Young for Vies Magazine.

M83 brings its French electronica to the Riviera Theatre, Oct. 20th. Photo courtesy of Dan W. Young for Vies Magazine.

Acoustic Brunch| Sun, Oct 23rd @ Schubas Tavern, 3159 N Southport Ave, Lakeview Sundays are time to recover, but that doesn’t have to mean suffering in silence. This bar/venue has great brunch food available all weekend in its restaurant section (“Harmony Grill”), but every Sunday they have some sort of folk band on stage and serve food in their music room. I have no idea who Pony String Band is, so to be clear, this is a general place/event recommendation, and not a band-specific endorsement. But bluegrass all kind of sounds the same to me, so just pick the weekend of your choice.

Windy City Soul Club| Sat, Oct 29th @ The Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave, Ukrainian Village You really have to make it to The Empty Bottle at some point before you leave the city. It’s a tiny, bar-type venue that’s rough around the edges in the best kind of way. Some up-and-coming punkish, indie-rock band might be a recommendation better suited to the venue, but they host those type of gigs almost every night. Instead, jump on the chance to dance to some of Windy City’s Motown classics you’ve actually heard before (preferably while wearing your Halloween costume).

Patrons flood the dance floor at a previous Windy City Soul Club event.   Photo courtesy of Jordan Cinco.

Patrons flood the dance floor at a previous Windy City Soul Club event. Photo courtesy of Jordan Cinco.

Mitski| Sat, Nov 5th @ Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport St, Lower West Side/Pilsen Best new venue in Chicago! That’s pretty old news at this point, but it’s yet to be displaced. It’s a well-run venue in a historic theater that’s recently been rehabilitated. And Pilsen remains a really distinct, interesting neighborhood despite a recent influx of new people. If you don’t fill up on the mid-floor hot dog stand during the show, head over to Honky Tonk BBQ (1800 S Racine Ave) afterwards.

For those interested in getting together informally for concerts throughout the year, email Mark (mhinken@chicagobooth.edu) to be added to the AudioBooth GroupMe to feel even more popular in your GroupMe feed than you already are. Cheers!

OUT OF THE LOOP

A frequent feature of the hottest happenings (mostly) outside of the Loop

Alex Aksakov '17

Alex Aksakov '17

Spring is in the air, Boothies, and there is no better time than now to get out and explore Chicago! So put away those winter boots and Canada Goose coats, hop in an Uber, and get familiar with these awesome events and venues that are (mostly) beyond the loop.

LIVE CONCERTS

From Iggy Pop (April 6, Chicago Theatre) to Rihanna (April 15, United Center), there’s something to satisfy every music taste and budget. Beyoncé is headlining United Center May 27-28, following her controversial Super Bowl performance. The legendary Smashing Pumpkins (April 14, Civic Opera House), Kanye’s GOOD Records music label boss, Pusha T (April 5, Vic Theatre), and British pop sensation Ellie Goulding (May 6, Allstate Arena and Lollapalooza) are on their way as well. And how could I call myself your entertainment guru if I didn’t mention everyone’s favorite “Belieber”, Justin Bieber (April 22, Allstate Arena). Since these are highly anticipated shows, you might have to purchase tickets at a premium through third-party sellers or sell your right arm, whichever you prefer.

Beyonce's The Formation World Tour at United Center, May 27-28

Beyonce's The Formation World Tour at United Center, May 27-28

DJ PERFORMANCES

The club scene is also packed with some big names. If you’re looking to chill out and lounge, St Germain at the Vic Theatre (3145 N. Sheffield Ave, April 10) might be your jam. Chicago house fans should check out Smartbar (3730 N. Clark St) where house monster line-up DJ Sneak, Felix Da Housecat, and Todd Terry will be spinning on April 9. German techno guru, Stephan Bodzin, who recently played a killer set for the famous Boiler Room internet music project, will be rocking the dancefloor at Spybar (646 N. Franklin) on April 30. And if you’re looking to tap into your inner Western Euro persona, French electro duo Digitalism will be playing live at Double Door (1572 N. Milwaukee Ave) on May 24.

SPiN Chicago, 344 N State St

SPiN Chicago, 344 N State St

KILLER NEW VENUES

We know you want to be ahead of the crowd, so hop in line at some of the fresh new spots around town. River North’s newest hot spot, SPiN Chicago (344 N. State St.), opened its doors in February and quickly became one of the trendiest social venues in Chicago. A combination of a restaurant/bar/club and ping-pong joint, SPiN Chicago joins New York, Toronto, Los Angeles and San Francisco as the newest location. They hold special events (“Happenings”) several times a week with DJs, original cocktails, and some pretty lively table tennis tournaments. Definitely worth checking out.

CULTURAL EVENT

After Dark, Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, April 22

After Dark, Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, April 22

Concerts and clubs not your scene? Evening Associates, a group of young Art Institute of Chicago professionals, organize a monthly event called After Dark that is held in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute. A blend of an art gallery, classy cocktail party and DJ performance, it attracts Chicago’s young and stylish. On April 22, they’ll host guided tours of Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, live performances, and DJ sets. A must-visit for all Booth art connoisseurs.

And don’t forget to save the date for AudioBooth’s Battle of the Bands on May 20. Booth bands will be looking to defend their crown against Kellogg. Come for the frosty beverages and stay for the great music!