Chicago Restaurant Week 2014: iNG

iNG

iNG

Chicago Restaurant Week finally arrived, and I was really excited about starting it off with iNG, a restaurant featuring molecular gastronomy that I’ve been wanting to try for ages. They use miracle berries, and they change up their menu on a regular basis. When I went to iNG on January 24th, the menu was based on the artwork of Salvador Dali. The food was highly inventive, and the plating was creative, but overall, I was left underwhelmed. (Also, I apologize for the poor quality of the photos: the restaurant was very dimly lit.) Continue reading

Broadway In Chicago: The Book of Mormon

Nic Rouleau, Ben Platt, and Syesha Mercado (photo from Broadway.com)

I saw a lot of theatre last year – I’ve seen a lot of theatre in my life, for that matter – and none of it has captured my heart as utterly, thoroughly, and immediately as the Chicago cast of The Book of Mormon, which became the 2nd National/Jumamosi Tour. Don’t get me wrong: Wicked on Broadway was magical, and it’s still probably tied with BOM for my favorite musical (and the Emerald City tour with Alison Luff and Jenn Gambatese really was terrific), but The Book of Mormon was life-changing. Nic Rouleau and Ben Platt (as Elders Price and Cunningham, respectively) were – and presumably still are, since they’re now reprising their roles on Broadway – perfection. Continue reading

“Giving Back The Love Inside” with the Cast of Ghost The Musical

With Stephen Grant Douglas and Katie Postotnik, the leads of Ghost The Musical

With Steven Grant Douglas and Katie Postotnik, the leads of the FIrst National Tour of Ghost The Musical

I have mixed feelings about the benefit cabaret “Giving Back The Love Inside”  by the cast of Ghost The Musical at The Laugh Factory on Monday night, but one song was an utter standout: Nicole Turner* singing “Random Black Girl.”

The song contains a pointed message about how rarely black women get cast as lead roles in musicals (“My agent gave me advice. / Those words I’ll never forget. / He said ‘Don’t think you’ll ever be cast / As Eponine or Cossette'”) and how frequently they are cast as, well, “a random black girl singin’ the soul.”

The lyrics are on-point; the music is memorable; Nicole Turner is fantastic. As the lyrics go, “you gotta be thinkin’ to yourself / ‘Goddamn, this sister can sing'” – and oh, seriously, she can sing. I thought she sounded the best of the night, and the song was – to me, at least – very obviously the best. It was intelligent and had a real point. Continue reading

14 Restaurants for 2014

There are always tons of restaurants I want to try and simply haven’t gotten around to yet (due to lack of time, the not-optimal location of the restaurant, and/or, most commonly, lack of finances). And now that I have a stable job, I’m going to work actually dining at some of those restaurants. Around the beginning of the year, in lieu of creating New Year’s resolutions, I compiled a list of restaurants to visit this year from all of the restaurants I’ve recently researched. I’ve decided that if I pick a set number and post about it, I may actually make it happen. So, here are those fourteen restaurants that first came to mind:

2013: A Year in Review

Despite the fact that I haven’t been blogging about it (this is only the second post this year), 2013 has been quite the year. I was named godfather to the most precious baby in the whole world, my now eight-and-a-half-month-old goddaughter. I was hired for three jobs – a part-time job and a temp job that transformed into a full-time-with-benefits-and-everything job that I officially started yesterday. I traveled a bit – to Minnesota four times to see my family, on vacation in Belize with family, and to Pennsylvania for the wedding of my college roommate. And I saw a ton of theatre and ate a lot of great food. Continue reading

CNBLUE: My New Favorite Band

My musical tastes typically tend toward the Barbra Streisand / Cher / Broadway show tunes types or toward the singer/songwriter types like Ani DiFranco and Dar Williams, who often perform with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. Thus, I haven’t had a lot of favorite bands. I listened to some Hot Hot Heat and Flogging Molly back in high school, but I’d suppose that my favorite band was arguably not actually a band at all – the K-pop group Shinhwa, of the singer/dancer boy band style . And now I’ve discovered CNBLUE, an actual rock band – electric guitars and drums and everything – and I adore them. Continue reading

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1 Year After Top Surgery

1 Year After Top Surgery

It has been exactly one year (well, one year and a matter of hours) since I had top surgery, and I’m feeling pretty awesome.