How to Chicago: Concerts

Dinosaur Jr.


21. Thrive.  Go to shows. Plays. Musicals. Concerts. They’re ubiquitous in the metropolis. It’s one of the fundamental reasons you’ve chosen to live there…. endless entertainment options. If you’re heading out for a bit of the old rockity roll, call the venue that afternoon and get the set times. Nine times out of 10 they will tell you exactly when the opening act starts, when the headliner begins and when the headliner has to be finished by. They are staggeringly accurate. Very few bands take the stage when they’re “feeling” it, or end the show when they’re satisfied.  It is all predetermined. That’s useful for letting your babysitter know when you’ll be home. Better yet, you no longer have to guess when the best time is to arrive. There’s nothing worse than showing up at 7 when music doesn’t start until 11. 

Bobby Bare Jr.


Dale Watson


Alia Shawkat


Mike Watt


How to Drive Chicago: Doored

20.  Survive.  More than 25,000 people use bicycles to commute each day in Chicago. The city has more than 200 miles of protected bike lanes.  This post, however, is once again about drivers. Obviously, general awareness of bicyclists in large cities is paramount. Let’s get more specific. After parking, before exiting your vehicle take five seconds and look at all your mirrors.  By gosh even turn your head around.  Look to see if there are any bikers zipping by on your left.  They can materialize from the ether in a blink. We MUST be heedful of them.  I’ve heard many, horrific accounts on what a car door can do to human on a bike. Like involuntarily manslaughter them. 

Chicago Ordinance 9-80-035 states 

“No person shall open the door of a vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so, and can be done without interfering with the movement of other traffic, nor shall any person leave a door open on the side of a vehicle available to moving traffic for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers.”

Hitting a rider, or forcing them into a collision with another vehicle can result in $1000 fine, but obviously it can do much worse. 

A good habit for drivers would be to open your door with your right hand, forcing you to turn your head to the left. 

Please try it. 

P.S. The news is reporting that a car has lost control and careened onto a sidewalk in Times Square. 

Refer to my January archives. Blog Entry #3. 

How to Chicago: Cliques are Cliché. and Passé. and Blasé.

19. Thrive.  Do not spend the totality of your time socializing with people of your same ethnic background exclusively. Most large cities are melting pots. The world is a large melting pot. Take advantage.  If your hood is all caucasians, head to art fairs, farmers markets, or parks with more ethnic diversity. If your niños go to a predominately Latino school, sign up for a football league that’s more diverse.  Even at my children’s very racially diverse grade school, white parents huddle with white parents. Puertoriqueños gather with Puertoriqueños. Filipinos congregate with Filipinos. Racial cliques are a comfort thing. I get it. But it can it can be a slippery slope and lead to isolation. Isolation can lead to segregation. Segregation leads to racism. And I’m not just saying white against others racism. I’m saying everybody against everybody racism. All ethnicities do it. 

We would all benefit from experiencing what it’s like to be the minority at times. Learning about other cultures first hand will help you learn about yourself. I guarantee it will cut down on some of the fear that grips the world. Fear of anything different from you. 

How to Drive Chicago: honk, beep, baaa

18.  Drive.  Automobile horns exist to alert people who are about to collide. They are not, much to your surprise, fuck you buttons. Resist honking at transgressors several seconds after an illegal move just because you didn’t like it. That’s annoying for everyone. We all know they were wrong. Get over it. Now, a tractor trailor is about to merge on top of you crushing you and your ninos to death….horn. Definitely horn. Someone’s a little slow to accelerate at a green light…. patience.