Cover Story

The Making of a First Lady
by Carol Felsenthal

She’s got the drive to do good and do well. Michelle Obama grew up in a close-knit South Side family, conquered the Ivy League, and finally got with Barack’s program. Next she stars as First Lady.


Action Heroes
by Robert Loerzel and Jeff Ruby
It’s a wrap. Here’s our list of 27 actors and directors, legends and whiz kids, writers and dealmakers and other assorted folks that make Chicago’s thriving film industry go. 

The Dark Knight
by Shane Tritsch
The latest Batman epic starred Chicago as a brooding Gotham City and marked a high point in local efforts to bring film production to town. But as movie makers haul in the profits, what’s the payoff here? 




PAGE TWO No nukes! More power!; Barack’s spending spree ARTS & CULTURE The Seldoms—a dance troupe at the hub of the city’s indie art scene; a decade after Viagra, an Illinois drug company shows the ladies some love; does dating come down to—biology? We test a new theory. Three fresh faces on Chicago’s literary scene; on the eve of a new album release, Noble Beast, Andrew Bird opens up about life as, well, Andrew Bird. Plus: An insider weighs in on five don’t-miss concerts in February. MONEY A CTA ride and a gallon of gas, compared over decades STYLE Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the latest trend in jewelry: iconic neckwear. Plus: No need to wait on a man. We pick five local jewelry designers whose wares are worth buying for yourself.

Thin-crust pizza rules; a dynamite burger; the hottest spots right now; three recession-proof hot spots; where to have a mai tai

by Sarah Preston
A rehabbed dive loses the dust, keeps the color and the cheap beer.

by Mara Tapp
Thornton Wilder’s all-American play Our Town is back, 70 years after it opened on Broadway, in two reconsidered and radical productions by Chicago directors.

Deal Estate
by Dennis Rodkin
Renovation restrictions corral a quirky Winnetka house built by a Texas Maverick. Plus: Condo news  

The Closer
by Jeff Ruby
The strangeness of the products in foreign grocery stores is exceeded only by their entertainment value

Chicago Guide®
The Kennedy’s Virgin inspires prayers and a play; plus, the truth about pirates

Bluprint challenges the fast-food dynasty at the Merchandise Mart.