OUT OF THE LOOP: Exploring Pilsen, Chicago’s Mexican Mecca

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!

Chicago is a city full of wonders. You can easily traverse the its unique character distinctions by riding the entire Red Line “L” route, north to south, from Howard to 95th Street. While you’ll clearly notice its economic disparities along that ride, you’ll also experience the vast diversity of the third largest city in the United States.

But let’s diverge from that seminal route and head slightly southwest off the Pink Line “L” to a beautiful cultural mecca known as Pilsen, Chicago’s largely LatinX community. While it may very well succumb to the inevitable effects of gentrification in the next decade, Pilsen remains a timepiece in the city’s rich cultural history.

Your first stop should be the National Museum of Mexican Art. The first and largest museum and cultural center dedicated to Mexican, Chicano, and Latino culture in the United States, the NMMA is the only member of the American Alliance of Museums dedicated to Latino culture. Boasting over 6,000 pieces of art in its permanent collection, art shows, and educational program, the NMMA is the recipient of the Time Out “Love Chicago” 2016 Award. 1852 W 19th St; Tuesday-Sunday, free admission; Pink Line: Damen or 18th St.

The colorful interior of The National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Getty/ Chicago Tribune. 

The colorful interior of The National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Getty/ Chicago Tribune. 

For a no-frills delicious bite to eat, La Casa Del Pueblo Taqueria (also includes an adjacent grocery store) is as close to unpretentious as they come. Their signature tender tamales are the draw, as well as the homemade pico de gallo--green not from cilantro, but from jalapeño. Eat up for under $10! 1834 S Blue Island Ave; Pink Line: 18th St.

The vintage selection at Knee Deep Vintage in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Knee Deep.

The vintage selection at Knee Deep Vintage in Pilsen. Photo courtesy of Knee Deep.

For some thrift shopping, avoid the north side of the city and check out Knee Deep Vintage, founded by locals Trent Marinelli and Carlos Lourenco in 2008. Specializing in fashion-forward vintage clothing and accessories, as well as hard-to-find pieces from the '20s-'50s, Knee Deep brings in new finds daily (and accept trade-ins for store credit or cash), so shop often! 1425 W 18th St; Open daily; Pink Line: 18th St. 

 

The bar at Simone's in Pilsen made out of recycled pinball machines. Photo courtesy of Simone's.

The bar at Simone's in Pilsen made out of recycled pinball machines. Photo courtesy of Simone's.

When you’re ready to relax and engage in that favorite MBA student pastime (drinking), head to Simone’s. Entirely made of repurposed materials, Simone’s dons a rooftop herb garden and numerous solar panels, and is one of a few environmentally-friendly spots in the neighborhood. Catch tons of live music, art, extensive food and drink menus, and several event spaces. 960 W 19th St; Open daily; Pink Line to 18th St.

 

So, grab a friend or two, hop on the Pink Line “L” train (or catch an Uber if you must), and head to one of Chicago’s hidden, yet bustling, gems. Fill up on tamales and vintage clothing, art, and all the live music and drinks you can stomach. Then spread the word about this cultural mecca.

John challenges Boothies to get out and explore more of what Chicago has to offer!   

 

Out of the Loop

By Sidney Santos Filho, Class of 2017

By Sidney Santos Filho, Class of 2017

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

There's More University to Discover Outside of Harper Center

From tasty milkshakes to real Nobel Prize medals, the University of Chicago offers many hidden treasures waiting to be discovered by Boothies. I am often astonished by how little Boothies seem to know about the greater university community and sometimes how little we seem to care. In chats, we often see the importance of connecting with UChicago more broadly, yet when was the last time you ventured beyond the Metra--Harper Center path? 

I decided to collect a few interesting things that might motivate you to leave our Booth bubble and, who knows, maybe stumble upon a student from another program, have a chat, and make a new friend. In the process, you can share your experiences and learn from them. So, spread the word, grab a classmate, and go explore. Here are some great ways to get started:

Food trucks prepare for the lunch rush on the University of Chicago campus.

Food trucks prepare for the lunch rush on the University of Chicago campus.

$1 Milkshakes on Wednesdays (Reynolds Club, Einstein Bros. Bagels, 5706 S University Ave): With the heat that is surely to come (we hope), why not treat yourself to a delicious shake? It’s so cheap.

Food trucks (daily, S University Ave and S Ellis Ave, between 57th and 59th streets): Many of you may know this, but there are many great alternatives to Kovler. During lunch time, there are several food trucks on campus offering diverse cuisines, from Korean and French, to Italian and Mediterranean. So put that microecon theory to work and exercise your freedom of choice!

Saieh Hall of Economics (1160 E 58th St, across from Harper Center): Besides the amazing architecture and the fact it is a former Seminary, Saieh holds two hidden gems: the Chicago Economics Experience, where you can see actual Nobel Prize medals and certificates, and a full-fledged Starbucks (ahhh...Frappuccinos!). 

Max Palevsky Cinema (Ida Noyes Hall, 1212 E 59th St): For a bit of culture, Doc Films, the longest continuously running student film society, holds screenings of different movies every evening, directly across from Harper Center. Tickets sell for $5 and the quarter pass goes for $30.

King Tut stands 17-feet above the main exhibit hall at the Oriental Institute.

King Tut stands 17-feet above the main exhibit hall at the Oriental Institute.

Oriental Institute Museum (1155 E 58th St) A full-fledged campus museum housing artifacts from Mesopotamia, Assyria, and Egypt, the Oriental Institute features a 17-foot tall statue of King Tutankhamun. Visit to show your support for the field research and excavations undertaken by researchers and students. 

Sidney loves to explore the university community and would be happy to lead an excursion for anyone who wants to branch out of Harper Center!

Global Boothies: Study Abroad Deepens Local Learning

John Frame '17

John Frame '17

Chicago Booth’s International Business Exchange Program (IBEP) offers students the opportunity to study abroad in their second year at one of 33 partner institutions in 20 countries around the world. Students take the quarter-long opportunity to expand their knowledge of new industries and markets, practice a new language, and immerse themselves in local culture. While some students travel abroad to fulfill requirements for the International MBA (IMBA), others take the opportunity to deepen their business knowledge beyond the walls of the Harper and Gleacher Centers in order to discover the new, exciting, and altogether life-changing.

 

For some Boothies, the study abroad experience helps them rediscover valuable aspects of their lives that may have been neglected while studying and recruiting. “It reawakened my love of the arts,” says Jordy Freeman (’16), who spent the winter quarter studying at the Escola Superior d'Administració i Direcció d'Empreses (ESADE) business school in Barcelona, Spain.

“I took an awesome Life Philosophy course that utilized literature, music, film, and art to extract ‘principles’ for living a good life. I realized that I'd been suppressing my creative side.” Freeman took the opportunity to explore Catalonia, the northern regions of Spain, and nearby France, even meeting up with several classmates on a road trip full of adventure. “The experience reminded me that I'm at my best when I'm leveraging both sides of my brain.” 

2016 Boothies Shahrul Ramli, Jordy Freeman, Melissa Lui, and Pablo Cosovschi in Malaga province, Spain

2016 Boothies Shahrul Ramli, Jordy Freeman, Melissa Lui, and Pablo Cosovschi in Malaga province, Spain

Just over the border in France, Rui “Vicki” Wang (’16), was exploring the luxury goods industry at the École Supérieure des Sciences Économiques et Commerciales (ESSEC) business school in Paris. “The MBA,” Wang proclaims, “is not only an academic and career development experience, but also a global exploration experience.” While some students might shy away from the local culture and stay close to the safety net of the business institution, many seek out the local environment and challenge themselves to break out of their comfort zone.

When they do so, students tend to be welcomed with open arms. “From my opinion, as long as you are open-minded, show your willingness to understand the culture, language, habits…regardless of your race or gender, you will receive a warm welcome,” says Wang who chose to study in France in order to expand her knowledge of international markets beyond what she has learned in the United States.

And further still, some students decide to enrich their studies not by traveling far away from their homes (Freeman is from Texas and Wang is from China), but rather returning to them with a completely new perspective. “I really enjoyed spending time in the townships of South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe,” says Alfa Bumhira (’16) who studied at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and took advantage of the country’s proximity to his hometown.

Alfa Bumhira ('16) leads fellow  exchange students on  a tour through Mbare Township, Zimbabwe

Alfa Bumhira ('16) leads fellow exchange students on a tour through Mbare Township, Zimbabwe

“I was raised in the Highfield Township of Zimbabwe and this was like my homecoming...I was able to learn more about the challenges of people from all walks of life and their interest in becoming a part of the change happening all over the continent.” Bumhira decided to spend his time not only enriching his own educational experience, but also the learning experiences of his local friends. “Booth has taught me that economic opportunities are for all. I enjoyed sharing my Booth experiences with ordinary people and fellow students I met in the townships where I grew up or in rural areas where my family is from.”

While the majority of students are perfectly content with spending their two short years exploring all that Chicago offers the MBA student, roughly 10-15% of students—like Freeman, Wang, and Bumhira—decide that a trip abroad is necessary. There is much learning and growing to do in and around the Winter Garden, along the halls of our River North campus, and at the University of Chicago. However, for those that feel the local experience is just not enough, a trip abroad during a harsh winter just might be the thing for you.   

 

John studied abroad in South Africa as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago. He is thankful for the opportunity that writing this article with Jordy, Vicki, and Alfa gave him to reflect on such a life-changing experience.

OUT OF THE LOOP

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

Alex Aksakov '17

Alex Aksakov '17

The majority of Boothies live and play in the Loop, and while there is nothing wrong with that, getting out of the Loop opens us up to one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The Loop is a great place for meeting with study groups and hanging out with friends, while also being home to cool parks, bars and restaurants. However, the downside to living in such a vibrant area of town is that many Boothies rarely explore the city beyond the Loop or Hyde Park. And it is a pity, because the Windy City has a lot to offer. Here are some hot places that are well worth a quick Uber ride from the Loop.

 

Fulton Market Kitchen, 311 N Sangamon St, West Loop

Fulton Market Kitchen

Fulton Market Kitchen

Technically located in the West Loop, but typically farther west than most Boothies might normally frequent, Kitchen is a mix of an art gallery, a restaurant and a craft cocktail bar. The place opens its doors in the evening for dinner and then turns into a DJ bar towards the night. Kitchen boasts lofty design with contemporary art pieces hung along the wall, tasty food by Chef Kyle Petersen, and top-notch signature cocktails. It’s the perfect date night spot.

Bordel, 1721 W Division St, Wicker Park

A relatively new cocktail bar from Daniel Alonso, the creator of Fulton Market Kitchen, this speakeasy is situated on the second floor of Black Bull, a Spanish small-plate restaurant. An unmarked entrance enhances the alluring vibe that greets patrons at Bordel. The interior boasts bohemian style, red velvet décor and outstanding old-school cocktails. On top of this, Bordel hosts live events every week: Wednesdays are popular for jazz enthusiasts, Thursdays for Flamenco, and Fridays feature a rotating cast of burlesque performers, magicians, and palm and tarot card readers.

Bordel Chicago

Bordel Chicago

Danny’s Tavern, 1951 W Dickens Ave, Bucktown

Danny's Tavern

Danny's Tavern

Located in the trendy residential area of Bucktown, this unique establishment looks like a typical house from the outside. While there is typically a 20-minute wait to enter, it is well worth it because once inside, patrons are submerged into the dark and funky atmosphere of one of the finest dance bars in Chicago. Drinks are cheap and tasty, but Danny’s is really a place for those who love to dance and have fun. The DJ spins records on vinyl turntables, and rarely does the music get boring. From 80s disco with a transition to hip-hop and on to reggae and Chicago House, Danny’s is pure fun. Cash bar only.

 

Chicago is known for its great music scene and nightlife. I urge you to get out of the Loop and discover one of these great places or another of the many hidden gems in the city.

 

Alex Aksakov is a first year from Russia and newly appointed Co-Chair for Audiobooth. When not DJing and getting people crazy hyped up, Alex is busy devising his plan to overtake some of Russia’s largest and most powerful investment banks, to the sound of a killer soundtrack.

 

Students “Ignite Booth” with Personal Interests, Talents

John Frame '17

John Frame '17

On Wednesday, March 2, eleven Boothies bravely presented speeches at the second annual Ignite Booth, a TED Talk-style event where students speak about diverse topics to nearly 80 classmates. Sponsored by the Graduate Business Council (GBC), the event provided students an unrestricted five minutes to share their different talents and interests. A few highlights from the event:

“Can Art Heal? How Music Helped Me Find Myself”, Priyanka Prakash ’16

Prakash kicked off the event with a personal story about the healing power of Carnatic music, a genre of Indian classical music characterized by a complex system of ragas (melodic scales) and talas (rhythmic cycles). As a teenager, Prakash was privileged to perform at a festival in India and music helped her “find…and understand [myself].”

Davis Yang '17

Davis Yang '17

“Let’s Talk About IT”, Davis Yang ’17

Yang gave the first “rousing” presentation with his talk about Fiera, “the first non-drug arouser for women.” Yang is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the firm that produces the product that is championed by President and CEO, Karen Long (LifeScan, Acclarent), and many other powerful women. Yang stated, “If you’re wondering if we’re making a toy, I ask you, ‘Do these women look like toy makers?’”

Untitled, Aditi Sodhi ‘16

Sodhi reflected how “crossword puzzles…fill the human urge to solve.” Sodhi shared how she was diagnosed with dyslexia and, at the age of 12, began to immerse herself in the intersection of “culture, language and trivia,” which helped her gain “a sense of achievement when I didn’t get it from anywhere else.” Hard work led her to the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, an “epic competition” that is “the stuff of legends.”

“Small Talk…And Then?”, Gloria Zhang ’17

The first truly comical moment came from Zhang, whose poignant talk building deeper human connections urged classmates to do so by resisting “small talk.” “What are you trying to accomplish today and how can I help you?” is the “deep, awkward question.” Zhang began asking classmates to surprising success after she found that the only benefit of talking about the weather was that she nearly “became a weather expert.”

Gloria Zhang '17

Gloria Zhang '17

Untitled, Nipur Mahajan ’16

Closing out the presentations, Mahajan outlined several reasons for supporting a presidential campaign for “Kanye West in 2020,” including: Kanye gets the key takeaway from the Constitution that “No man should have all that power (reference to his hit song “Power”)” and the fact that Kanye stood up for justice when he interrupted Taylor Swift’s confusing win for Female Video of the Year at the 2010 MTV VMAs over eventual Video of the Year winner, Beyonce. Mahajan ended with an Obama-inspired poster of Kanye proclaiming “’Ye We Can.”

Other great speeches included: Daniel Lozano’s (’16) “How to Handle Relationships with Journalists”; Andi Hadisutjipto’s (’16) “Pattern Matching 2.0” about making decisions based on past successes; Sanjana Rao’s (’17) case for the spirit of adventure through the lens of the new Doctor Who; Lavinia Popinceanu’s (’16) meditation on culture and fit in the workplace; Hamid Dalglijli’s (’16) uncanny explanation of how croissants, the Great Irish Famine, and a soccer club are connected; and Claire Liu’s (’17) poker and entrepreneurship parallels.

GBC is still debating whether to offer more opportunities to present in the spring. After attending these enlightening presentations, I hope they will consider making this a quarterly offering.