By James L. Merriner
Barack Obama calls himself “a skinny guy with a funny name.” But some Democratic faithful hope to call him something else come 2008: “Mr. President.” Although the new senator rules out a run for higher office before 2012, the Obama-for-president boomlet won’t go away. Our reporter explores how the scenarios could play out.

Why Everybody Loves Naperville
By Dennis Rodkin, with Kim Conte and Stacy Wallace-Albert
With its unique blend of small-town charm and big-city panache, 175-year-old Naperville might well serve as an ideal model for the 21st-century suburb.
PLUS: A look at Naperville’s top shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions

Man of a Thousand Faces
The photographer Marc Hauser started his career at Playboy magazine when he was 15 and went on to open a studio that attracted stellar commercial clients (Rolling Stone, Arista Records) and internationally known celebrities (Dolly Parton, Michael Jordan). This collection of his portraits reveals both polish and soul.

His American Life
By Marcia Froelke Coburn
Ira Glass’s true-stories show distributed by Public Radio International recently celebrated its tenth anniversary and is now the basis for a screenplay and a television series. With his projects multiplying and a move to New York in the making, he paused to talk about life, love, work, and how a bad relationship led to a creative breakthrough.




Prep star Sherron Collins heads for a basketball powerhouse; local musicians bid for stardom in Austin; the storied Hyde Park Art Center inspires a futuristic makeover; Wrigley chews on its conservative image; 36-hour St. Pat’s party!; toasting the pennant-winning White Sox and other Chicagoans of the Year; vampires, she-beasts, more.
PLUS: The Shopper, Style Sheet, and Sales Check

How We Spend
By Clare LaPlante
A birdie has told us: not only does Chicago boast more public golf courses than any other U.S. city; it offers relative bargains, as well.
PLUS: With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, we roll out the barrel on Chicago’s beer-drinking habits.

Reporter | Darkest Hours
By Noah Isackson
In the early nineties, Ed Schwartz was known as the king of late-night radio. But the rise of the shock jocks ended his reign, while ill health and financial ruin threatened his life. Will Chicago Ed make a comeback?

Deal Estate
By Dennis Rodkin
Winnetka colonial with a private beach, Kildeer’s first $2-million farmhouse, and a floor-by-floor sale of the original Sears Tower.
PLUS: Condo news from Forest Park, River North, and Flossmoor

By Sarah Preston
Just in time for the city’s new no-smoking ordinance, we butt in on Marshall McGearty Tobacco Lounge.
PLUS: Checking in at the new Chi Bar


The Closer | Take this Job and . . .
By Jeff Ruby
Everyone complains about his job, but these five employees made their grievances public-in court


Chicago Guide
During March: Total submersion is the objective of the movie Deep Sea 3D, an enthralling underwater adventure opening in early March at Navy Pier’s IMAX Theatre. The peculiar, humorous behavior of sea creatures is captured in close-up after close-up of weird, wonderful things that live in water. The IMAX 3D crew made 225 dives and logged 300 hours of filming to produce the next best thing to scuba diving.
Marquee: A preview of coming attractions

Food & Drink

Dining Out | New Spice
By Dennis Ray Wheaton
They’re spicy, they’re fun, and they’re louder than hell: four rollicking new spots owe it all to Spain, Mexico, and other locales slightly more exotic than Chicago.

The definitive guide to Chicago’s top restaurants
This month: Four new and updated listings, including Café Borgia and Tru
Dish: Ten hottest restaurants right now: gossip; a candid Q&A with Steve Dolinsky, the new alpha foodie for ABC7