Illustration by Lilli Carré
All for the best
It’s less than a year since the farewell that changed the face of the city, the visage we’d shown the world for a generation, and it already feels like a different town, doesn’t it? After all, Rosie’s taken to her new Chicago-ness with the relish of an ecstatic newcomer, homesteading in Lakeview, popping up in all the right gay bars and generally reminding us that Oprah long ago transcended us, becoming a citizen of the planet even as she still blessed us with her presence. Oh, and that other game-changing retirement’s kicking up a fair bit of dust, as well, as Rahm redefines the mayor’s office. Here’s what we’ve noticed: while Richie was always one of them, an insular member of Chicago political royalty who seemed to operate with their own code, Rahm seems like one of us. He shows up at rock concerts, at theater openings, at triathlons. He takes the el. We even know a guy who says he bumped into him at a quiet little bar before the election. You didn’t bump into Richie. Read the rest of this entry »
She Doesn’t Shill for Toxic Cults
On November 18, self-help guru James Arthur Ray was sentenced to two years in prison for negligent homicide, the result of a poorly planned “sweat lodge ceremony” gone awry. Ray was one of many new-age hucksters who gained celebrity and influence in the wake of “The Secret,” a simplistic positive-thinking fad that became an enormous cash cow after receiving The Big O’s powerful seal of legitimacy. Rosie O’Donnell may be an ostentatious do-gooder and a sucker for Hollywood glitz, but she retains a comedian’s nose for blatant BS. One can hope she won’t introduce the world’s desperate housewives to another dangerous con man like Ray.
Audience choice: Who cares?
Best audience comments: “She frequents Boystown bars”; “She said Soldiers Field and Wrigley Park or something like that”; “You don’t want to see what Rosie has put under your seat”; “Um… is there one?”
Best of Chicago 2011
After a visible long-term crush, Oprah Winfrey finally marries John Travolta.
Live on the air, of course. Taking a cue from his Edna Turnblad role in “Hairspray,” Travolta wears an exquisite white wedding dress by Vera Wang. Winfrey pairs ivory satin-and-lace, floral applique-trimmed Christian Louboutin peep-toe pumps with a black satin tuxedo (hand-tailored by Hart Schaffner Marx to match Obama’s inaugural tux). Oprah’s maid of honor is none other than Stedman Graham. The happy newlyweds will honeymoon in
Bora Bora with Oprah’s velcroed-on best friend, Gayle King.
Best of Chicago 2010
Michael Jordan during the 2016 Olympic bid
The question became: where was he during this whole campaign? He was more ghost than a fourth encounter. Couldn’t be seen nor heard. And even more than Oprah, Barack or Daley, this was supposed to be HIS town. But he laid low like a Tony Rezko crony. In pure Chicago style, he kept quiet and kept it movin’. And in the end, when the embarrassment was all over our face, it could have been his nonexistent-contribution-to-the-cause that caused the city to get treated by the IOC like the Bears treated Kyle Orton. Maybe he knew something that none of us knew? Maybe he wasn’t down with the Games coming here and messing up the infrastructure of his kingdom? Maybe so. Because once Pelé (the international Jordan before there was a Jordan) came to place a voice for South America, it was evident that MJ’s silence was about to be the exact opposite of golden.
Best of Chicago 2009
Studs Terkel was the last of a generation of Chicagoans who came of age in the fifties and sixties, and through a combination of talent, output and staying power became fixtures in our cultural consciousness. Oprah, MJ and Barack may have all come to fame in Chicago, but they’ve become global personalities now, transcending geography. Tony Fitzpatrick, one of our town’s most successful visual artists, epitomizes the city in his work and his personality. Beyond image-making, he’s an actor on stage and screen, a published poet and an occasional raconteur on the radio. But beyond all that, he’s a friendly, down-to-earth guy you might just run into and have a nice chat with at a literary event or a White Sox game.
Best of Chicago 2009