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Thursday, November 12, 2015

MasterChef Junior Casting on Dec. 5

MasterChef Junior Casting will be held in Chicago on Saturday, December 5th. They are looking for kids who love to cook and want to try out for this fun lighthearted show. "The casting call is a total blast for all the kids who try out and everyone leaves with a huge smile, feeling like a winner!" 
Those interested can apply 
From Nicole Mirkof, Casting Associate Producer, MasterChef Junior, "I have to tell kids not to be intimidated by the skill level they see on our show because no one walks into our open casting call cooking like a MasterChef. We are looking for passion and the potential to learn and blossom into the MasterChef inside each and everyone of them!"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

See "Undiscovered Species" on Nov. 7, 6 -9 p.m.

See "Undiscovered Species" Nov. 7, 6 - 9 pm

Sidetracked Studio is proud to present Undiscovered Species, an exhibition featuring doodles, drawings, collages, and paintings that reveal the obsessive and repetitive mania of their makers, all of whom happen to be Chicago-based artists. View works from the exhibition here.

Lauren Levato Coyne, Rory Coyne, Vito Desalvo, Julie Murphy, Jordan Scott.
Opening night reception is Nov. 7, 6 - 9 pm and continues through Dec. 19.
Drinks provided by New Holland Brewing, our beloved beverage partner.

above image "Selvedge" by Lauren Levato Coyne, colored pencil on paper, 22" x 20", 2015.

Nov. 19 Art Opening: The Art of Normal

So what is "The Art of Normal", you ask? It's an audiovisual exhibit that pulls back the curtain on the everyday lives of those with disabilities. Visitors will see, hear and experience the art up close, granting them a unique view of the artists' hopes and dreams, their challenges and triumphs – and giving them a brand new definition of normal.

Event: Art opening on November 19th,The Art of Normal, an interactive exhibition that attempts to allow visitors an experiential view of living life with a disability and also explores issues surrounding ADA laws and compliance. 

The exhibition will be housed in the newly rededicated Fleetwood Jourdain Gallery on the 2nd Floor of the Morton Civic Center.

Like The Art of Normal on Facebook

Follow The Art of Normal on Twitter

Nov. 6: West Evanston Artists First Friday

Adler/George open studio on November 6. Black and Blue Monoprints by Beth Adler.

1100 block of Florence, Curt's Cafe at 1813 Dempster and Space 900 at 1042 Wesley.

Visit six different galleries in Evanston's great West side. Talk to the artists, enjoy refreshments, and consider buying affordable art: it's that simple. Go here for complete list of participating artists:

Jill King Studio will be joining Ausrine's Art Room! Looking forward to moving onto 1123 Florence Ave.

Six studios within six lovely blocks.  Great art, interesting conversation and light refreshments (including Sketchbook Brewing samples at Adler George Studio and Space 900).
Visit our Facebook Page for updates and images!
Alice George, at Adler George Studio 1125 Florence Avenue -new work in progress
Beth Adler, at Adler George Studio 1125 Florence Avenue -Black and Blue-new monoprints on handmade paper and collages on wood panels
Ausrine Kerr, at Ausrine’s Art Room, 1123 Florence Ave (on display: Ausrine’s latest oil paintings, sculptural felt pieces, Alvydas Pakarklis ceramic work, J. Crow oil paintings).
Jack Kraig 1532 Crain Ave (on display: Many new 6×8 framed  photographic images will be available.  Mandel bread plus sale items!)
Mill Creek Miniatures, 1127 Florence-In the Right Place: New Paintings by Amy O. Woodbury
Space 900, 1042 Wesley Avenue (a visual arts collective)–
Ken Avick -Paintings and Drawings
Colleen Conley- Drawings
Clark Ellithorpe- Collage Paintings
Judith Roston Freilich – Fiber work and Drawings
Joanna Pinsky – 2-D Shaped Paintings
Curt’s Cafe South, 1813 Dempster, Holiday Market

Friday, October 23, 2015

Evanston, the Suburb That Tried to Kill the Car

This is a fantastic read from Mark Peterson at Politico on so many levels, and such fantastic news about Evanston. 

"What's striking about downtown Evanston is that it's missing cars. Or, more accurately, it’s missing a lot of cars. The local automobile ownership rate is nearly half that of the surrounding area."- Mark Peterson / Redux Pictures for Politico Magazine


At first glance, downtown Evanston, Illinois, doesn’t look revolutionary—just another a gentrifying urban core with the obligatory Whole Foods, the local organic sustainable restaurants serving $14 cocktails, the towering new, high-end luxury apartments filled with stainless steel appliances and granite countertops. The booming downtown feels increasingly hip; this summer it was featured as a “Surfacing” destination in the New York Times Travel Section. “I have everything here,” says Joanne McCall, pausing one evening on her way inside Sherman Plaza, a soaring, 26-story condominium building. “The post office, the dry cleaner, the movies, I work out upstairs, the Whole Foods is over there, the hair dresser over here. And the Uber thing is getting big here.”

It takes, in fact, a few extra minutes in the neighborhood to realize what’s different—and what’s missing. Downtown Evanston—a sturdy, tree-lined Victorian city wedged neatly between Lake Michigan and Chicago’s northern border—is missing cars. Or, more accurately, it’s missing a lot of cars. Thanks to concerted planning, these new developments are rising within a 10-minute walk of two rail lines and half-a-dozen bus routes. The local automobile ownership rate is nearly half that of the surrounding area.

Which again, may sound like so many other gentrifying urban areas. Who owns a car in Brooklyn, after all? But Evanston isn’t Park Slope—the city, now 75,000 strong, is quintessentially a suburb, somewhere to escape the density of nearby Chicago, a place to get extra room and, especially, a place to drive your car, jetting down Lake Shore Drive or the Edens Expressway to the Windy City. The houses in Evanston were so idyllic, in fact, that filmmakers came to use it as the beau ideal of postwar suburban life—it was where Hollywood came to film all-American suburban movies like Sixteen CandlesDennis the MenaceUncle Buck, and both Home Alone 2 andHome Alone 3.
And the whole point of the suburbs, reinforced by decades of local zoning laws and developers’ plans for a car-centric lifestyle, was that you weren’t supposed to live on top of your neighbor, that there was supposed to be plenty of parking everywhere you went and that you weren’t supposed to walk anywhere.

But Evanston had a different idea: What if a suburban downtown became a place where pedestrians ruled and cars were actively discouraged? As it turns out, what looks like normal urban gentrification actually marks the success of one of the most revolutionary suburbs in America. And its approach to development is fast becoming a model across the region—a model even embraced by its urban neighbor to the south, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Evanston, Chicago and their neighbors all now want to attract more people like Tyler Hauck, 27, who pays $2,200 a month for his 1½ bedroom apartment, which he says is “definitely a high-end” building close to one of the region’s transit lines. “On the neighborhood list serve, people say things like ‘You’re paying all this money and you don’t have room for a car?’”
Urban density got a bad rap sometime in the mid-19th century—nobody found any redeeming value in the overcrowded Victorian slums of London—and by the beginning of the 20th century, the Englishman Ebenzer Howard’s concept of the “Garden City,” a series of outlying satellite villages to a larger, established central city, became the dogma of city planners around the world.
In the United States, the concept of density was further discredited after World War II when its antithesis—suburban subdivisions with big lots, plentiful cul-de-sacs and large connector roads to move people from home to office park to shopping mall—became not just the norm but the ideal. Aided and abetted by the construction of the federally-funded Interstate Highway System and inexpensive Federal Housing Authority loans aimed at single-family homes for returning veterans, sprawl spread across the country like a wildfire.
Public transit ridership peaked in 1956, the same year that Dwight Eisenhower signed legislation creating the Interstate Highway System, whose original 41,000 miles helped funnel the country’s shift toward suburbia.

Over time, the building practices that facilitated the classic suburban lifestyle became codified in local zoning ordinances, meant to separate commerce and residential life, and in wonky documents like the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Parking Generation manual, which lays out a rigid ratio for the number of parking spaces required by various buildings, and has long served as the bible for developers and local officials. 

The manual’s fourth and latest edition, published in 2010, includes the number of suggested parking spots for 106 separate land-use classifications, including mosques, synagogues, motorcycle dealerships, and coffee and donut shops with a drive-thru window and those without. It’s a well-meaning book, written by well-meaning people, but the assumptions and mind-set of Parking Generation and other documents like it wreaked havoc on post-war sprawl—pushing American cities ever outward, creating decades of investment in billions of dollars of ever-wider interstates, and contributing to a nation choked by car emissions and hellish traffic.

By the 1980s, even close-in American suburbs like Evanston were beginning to be hollowed out by sprawl, as their residents decamped for cheaper exurbs fueled by new shopping malls filled with big box stores.

Now, a half-century after the rise of the automobile transformed the American landscape, a new generation of urban planners is trying to reverse its dominance. “We treat our land as worthless when it’s not,” explains Yonah Freemark, pointing to a “dead” school bus sitting in a virtually empty parking lot almost directly underneath Chicago’s "L" train, as he walks along the city’s North Milwaukee Avenue.

Read more:

Share Your Thanksgiving Table


Share Your Table for Thanksgiving 2015 

The International Office (IO) at Northwestern University is proud to announce our Seventh Annual "Share Your Table for Thankgiving" Program! In the spirit of the upcoming holiday season, the IO seeks community members in the Evanston/Chicago areas to host international students, faculty, staff and their families for Thanksgiving dinner (November 26, 2015). 

Complete the form below so we can learn more about you and your family. We ask that you kindly sign up only if you are absolutely certain you are available to host.   

Participate in cultural exchange, make new friends, and introduce NU's international community to the great American holiday of Thanksgiving! 

Due to the popularity of this program, we cannot guarantee any specific matches between hosts and our international community.  

After signing up, Stephanie Cisneros will be providing continuous updates, and reminders. Information about specific host family and international pairings will be sent out approximately 1-2 weeks before Thanksgiving.  

Questions? Please contact Stephanie Cisneros at or 847-467-4025.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Bright Night for the Arts in Evanston

Come and celebrate Evanston's rich and diverse arts community with us! Tickets are $20. Featuring wine and tasty small bites. Mayor Tisdahl will present the Mayor's Awards for the Arts, and we will feature a few "Bright Spot" presentations on innovate and amazing projects taking place in the area.

Buy tickets at