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Celebrate the last day of classes, Chicago-style

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To save money this holiday season, many Chicagoans are taking up a new trend: the "stay-cation," a vacation you take without going anywhere. While Chicago has a host of holiday festivities in the Wintertime, from ice skating in Millennium Park to viewing the new exhibit on Victorian photocollage at the Art Institute. But most of us students are fleeing the city for Winter Break, so now is the time to experience Chicago's holiday season with a "stay-cation" of our own.

Here's a list of some fun events to get you out of Hyde Park tonight, to celebrate the end of Autumn Quarter!

What: Goodbye Cinema, Hello Cinephilia: Film Culture in Transition
Where: Newberry Library 60 W Walton St (between Dearborn and Clark Sts)
When: 6:15

Description by TimeOutChicago: Designed for those whose love of film goes beyond quoting Big Lebowski lines while drunk, this lecture by film critic and author Jonathan Rosenbaum will touch on the recirculation of classic films as well as the social and aesthetic impact of technological changes. A reception precedes at 5:30pm and a book signing follows.
Tickets: $9, Newberry Library Associates members at the Author level or above $6

What: Decorate Christmas cookies at Beijo de Chocolat
Where: (3334 W. Foster Ave., 773-267-0138)
When: 6-8:30 p.m. attendees will receive a dozen sugar cookies to decorate and get to enjoy mulled cider. Cost is $20.

What: Christkindlmarket
Where: Washington and Dearborn Sts
When: Today-Tomorrow 11am-8pm , Fri-Sat 11am-9pm , Sun-Tue 11am-8pm Ongoing through Dec 24.
Description by TimeOut Chicago: Every year, genuine Germans make the trip across the Atlantic to Daley Plaza, where they set up small stands packed with gifts and culinary delicacies. The traditional-style Christmas market offers hearty holiday fare such as sauerkraut, grilled sausages, potato pancakes, glühwein and sweet candied almonds. The wooden huts also brim with candy, blown glass, European Christmas decorations and other delights.

What: Earth Days, at the Siskel FIlm Center
Where: On State Street between Randolph & Lake (right across from the Chicago Theater).
When: Wednesday December 2nd--6:00pm, 8:00pm, Thursday December 3rd--6:00pm, 8:00pm
Tickets are $7 if you show your student ID.
Description from A look back at the transformative history of the environmental movement combined with a cautionary look ahead, EARTH DAYS revolves around nine gurus of green whose groundbreaking work is largely responsible for creating present-day consciousness of the earth's consumption-induced plight. Director Stone's key innovators include: former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall; Denis Hayes, organizer of the original 1970 Earth Day; and Stewart Brand, editor of the Whole Earth Catalogue. A colorfully engaging use of archival footage pinpoints the public mindset and environmental challenges of each era from the 50s through the 80s, through vintage PSAs, TV commercials, and news footage. 35mm. (BS)

A student in my history class said: I can't recommend it enough! Go see it! It's totally worth the bus fare + ticket price!

The night before First Week, and much is stirring

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by Kat Li

The night before classes were to officially start at the University of Chicago, when the rest of the college was tucked in bed and preparing for the onslaught, several fellow students and I found ourselves hours away from our dormitories in a packed venue on the north side of Chicago. It was the second consecutive performance of Grizzly Bear and Beach House at Metro, an intimately worn, two-story concert hall that caters to the independent scene, often featuring acts on the cusp of mainstream acknowledgment.

Like on any Monday night, the city had seemingly gone to sleep, but the concert hall was sold out and alive with young, dancing Chicagoans. The sound was incredible - balanced and substantial. Beach House, known for their quaint, waspy feel on recordings, played that night with a beat and bass that filled and surprised the room. The band sounded off an hour-long set with Gila, a popular single off their second album, Devotion.

beachhouse1.2.jpgBeach House performs with their unique stage set-up. The Sunday night show saw a lot of toppling triangle structures...

As the crowd waited for the headlining band to start, chatting with the friendly show-goers crowded close, overpriced beers in hand, the set was transformed. The color and shapes show given by Beach House was replaced by hanging jar lights and an array of unusual instruments. The members of Grizzly Bear themselves came out to tune their instruments and sound check the microphones. Each time playing a measure of this song or that, giving the crowd a little taste of good things to come.

Finally, wordlessly, the whole of Grizzly Bear came on and began to play. The earthy, peculiar feel of their music rose and rose, along with our hands and the heavy air of warming bodies in from the cold. Every song hit the hall with full recognition and groove, to the pleased surprise of the band members. My friends and I leaned against the balcony railings, overlooking a crowd compelled by rhythm and collective experience.

After the show, the crowd migrated from the venue to the Addison stop on the Red Line. Huddling separately in the cold and hiding our soft grins, we waited as strangers for the El to come and take us to our homes, still basking in the radiation of something seen and shared.


chris taylor.jpg
Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear, known to perform bass, woodwinds, electronics and vocals

There's something ineffably worthwhile and genuine about the humility of self-directed musicians, the weathered venues in which they perform, and most of all the appreciative people who appear at their shows regardless of the hours of travel by CTA and especially of the piles of work to come.

Kat Li is a second-year in the College, and a contributor to the Blog that Works

Our Voices, Our Choices

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The Chicago Foundation for Women does a lot of important work in the city, disbursing funds to woman-focused non-profits large and small. They've put out a call for women to share their stories about accessing abortion and reproductive health services, to be presented in a Vagina Monologues-style event coming up this January. Check out the program description here

Hat tip to Viva La Feminista.