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Chicago’s Best and Worst of 2013

The city’s best viral video, most exciting 17 seconds, and more highlights and lowlights of the year that almost was.

Photo: Fredrik Broden

As the year draws to a close, here are five people, places, and things that will linger pleasantly in Chicagoans’ collective memory—and eight more that will live in infamy. See below.

The Best

Asean Johnson

Best Viral Video

Asean Johnson
Photo: John Sheehan via YouTube

The nine-year-old Marcus Garvey Elementary student’s speech to a local union on May 20 made it to MSNBC—and, according to the Tribune, helped save his school, which was slated for closing.

Michael Shannon

Best Star Turn

Michael Shannon
Photo: Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures

The cofounder of A Red Orchid Theatre killed it as General Zod, Superman’s nemesis in Man of Steel, which premiered June 14 and became the third-highest-grossing film of the year.

End of Blackhawks Game 6

Most Exciting 17 Seconds

End of Blackhawks Game 6
Photo: Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune

With 1:17 left in the third period, the Hawks stunned the Boston Bruins at the United Center with two quick goals to win the game—and the Cup—on June 24. It doesn’t get better.

Pearl Jam

Most Unforgettable Concert

Pearl Jam
Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

The ’90s rockers kept fans at Wrigley Field until 2 a.m. on July 20 (highlights included Eddie Vedder’s Cubs anthem “All the Way,” featuring Hall of Famer Ernie Banks) in what Rolling Stone called an “epic show.”

Stephanie Izard’s Wedding Cake

Most Unusual Dessert

Stephanie Izard’s Wedding Cake
Photo: Jesse Lirola Photography

For the Girl & the Goat owner’s October 6 nuptials, pastry chef Mathew Rice incorporated the bride’s favorites: Cheez-Its and bacon buttercream frosting.


The Worst

Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, Sandi Jackson

Worst Scandal

The Jacksons
Photo: Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune

On February 20, former congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, ex-alderman Sandi Jackson, pleaded guilty to using campaign contributions for personal expenses.

‘The Onion’ logo

Worst Joke

The Onion

The satirical paper’s February 24 tweet about a 9-year-old actress—“Everyone else seems afraid to say it, but that Quvenzhané Wallis is kind of a [expletive], right?”—led to its first-ever apology.

Rahm Emanuel

Worst Timing

Rahm’s Ski Trip
Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images

On March 20, aldermen leaked the list of public schools slated for closing just as the Emanuels jetted to the slopes of Utah.

A sinkhole

Scariest Street Scene

The Monster Sinkhole
Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune

It swallowed three cars on the Southeast Side on April 18 after a water main breach undermined soil beneath the pavement.

Lupe Fiasco

Most Inappropriate Speech

Lupe Fiasco
Photo: Anthony Souffle/Chicago Tribune

At a high-school commencement on June 29 at Chicago State University, he told the graduates: “Congratulations! You have graduated from one of the most terrible, substandard school systems in the entire world.”

‘Hardly Workin’ ’ by Andrew Mason

Most Embarrassing Album

Hardly Workin’

“It takes real work to actually enjoy [this] music,” wrote critic Leor Galil of ex–Groupon CEO Andrew Mason’s country/hip-hop/gospel effort, released July 2.


A cockroach

Grossest Gourmet Store News

Fox & Obel
Photo: istockphoto

The Department of Public Health found 200 fruit flies and 30 cockroaches infesting the high-end Streeterville market on July 15. (It’s now closed.)

A needle

Worst Craze

Photo: istockphoto

The flesh-eating heroin knockoff surfaced in Joliet in October, sending three teens to the hospital.


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