The Short List - November 2006
An “amazing race” visits downtown; drink recipes for Turkey Day; some good news for Woodlawn; and more for November
Freeze tag: For four days starting Nov. 2nd, British runners dressed in black garb and carrying GPS devices will invade downtown. Here at the invitation of the Museum of Contemporary Art , the group Blast Theory will chase virtual characters that anyone can manipulate over the Internet. "It's very much like any computer game-[users] see little figures running around on a screen," says Matt Adams, of Blast Theory. "But the fact that these little avatars represent real people dramatizes the relationship between the real and virtual." For info, go to www.mcachicago.org.
Thanksgiving topper: This year, the food world loves the pomegranate. Take a cue from Koda Bistroin Beverly (10352 S. Western Ave.; 773-445-5632), and serve up a mind-blowing pomegranate martini with this year's holiday feast. As bartender Kathy Mer-kouris coaches: "Mix one part Pama"-a pomegranate liqueur available for $24.99 at Sam's Wines & Spirits (1720 N. Marcey St.; 312-664-4394)-"with one part citrus vodka; then add a splash of both sweet-and-sour mix and grenadine."
Fact-or goofy theory? Is the long-accepted assertion that Walt Disneywas born in Chicago in 1901 just a colorful tale? In Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination, due out this month (Knopf; $35), writer Neal Gabler weighs rumors that Disney may have been born in Andalusia to Spanish parents who went to work for Elias and Flora Disney (they later adopted the boy). Gabler dismisses the story-as did Walt. "It is with utter amazement," he wrote in 1945, "that I learned that I was born in Spain, which is certainly stretching the point by 5,000 miles.
Costume crazy: "Give a kid an astronaut suitand an empty room, and he can be on the moon in 12 seconds," says Mark Levine, a Lake Barrington– based toy designer (www.aeromaxtoys.com). From Nov. 17th through 19th, parents and kids can test Levine's line of "real" dress-up clothes-think NASA suits with patches-at the Chicago International Toy & Game Fair (at the Renaissance Schaumburg; for info, www.chitag.com).
Made just Wright: "I grew up with [my great-grandfather's] furniture, and that created an impression," says S. Lloyd Natof, great-grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright . "It clearly adjusted my baseline for what was typical." For 19 years now, the low-key Natof has been building custom furniture out of a West Loop work-shop. The first two weekends in November, he holds his largest public shoW to date (1217 W. Monroe St.; 312-733-4205, www.slnatof.com).
From the ashes: In 2001, a fire blazed through a Woodlawn community center, destroying everything but the exterior walls. After two years spent blocking rezoning efforts, and three more of renovations, artist DAN PETERMAN (with help from local activists) is reopening the newly named Experimental Station (6100 S. Blackstone Ave.; experimentalstation.org). Look for artist exhibitions, music classes, and the return of BLACKSTONE BICYCLE WORKS, which lets kids trade work hours for bikes.
illustration: Wes Duvall Photograph: Astronaut Suit Chris Guillen