February 22, 2009 -- Chicago magazine and the Associate Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation teamed up again this year to celebrate the 81st Annual Academy Awards in style. "A Dark Night"-themed viewing party at the new South Loop tapas restaurant, Tapas Valencia, welcomed over 250 guests who enjoyed signature cocktails, wine, beer courtesy of Stella Artois, and delicious tapas. The new GLK-class from Mercedes-Benz set the stage as guests arrived on the red carpet. Once inside, a silent auction and raffle sponsored by Mercedes-Benz benefited JDRF. Photos by Randy Lee Belice Read more

One of the city’s best modern furniture and accessories showrooms, Morlen Sinoway Atelier, is having a sample sale starting March 3 at 9:30. Find discounts of 20 to 70 percent off lighting, area rugs, accessories, chairs, and side tables. The sale runs through the end of March. Morlen says that last year he “dipped his toes” into the sample-sale waters, but this year the sale is much bigger.

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The air conditioner in our hotel room turned on us at some point in the middle of the night and began blasting us with painfully cold air. We were so tired we slept through it, which meant I woke up with no feeling in my feet and Arctic boogers clogging my nose. The first thing I saw when I opened my eyes was Sarah’s frosty breath filling the air. We had to take Hannah outside to thaw her out before changing her diaper... Read more

My friend Frances, a teacher who is way into modern design (she knows so much; like the educator she is, she does her homework), sent me a pic of these crazy closet-like frig/freezers from Smeg. They’re on wheels! Coolio! For where to buy in our area, click here.

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Nightlifers, meet Chicago magazine’s new professional barfly, Kate Seamons. Kate, meet our very thirsty readers. By day, Kate’s the managing editor of newser.com, a site that could make us all a little smarter. (Before that, she spent four years at the helm of centerstagechicago.com, a post that required its fair share of bar hopping—you know, for research.) By night, she’ll be trolling the taverns of Chicago, looking for your next go-to spot for... Read more

One of our favorite decorative painting outfits, Simes Studios, is disputing the notion that one needs 14 layers to get a great finish. Simes’ latest newsletter outlines three one- or two-step processes that make for fabulous finishes at a reasonable cost. “We have not found a finish we can’t conquer in five or six steps,” the owners say. “Many of our best surfaces average three steps.” Shown here is the Charcoal finish, a dark pewter wash to be applied over a wood surface or floor. It’s a two-step process over sealed wood and we think it would look equally fab in a modern or traditional home.

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List Price: $4,239,000
The Property: Fifteen years ago, Tom Melk and Sarah Potter paid $500,000 for two dilapidated wood frame houses from 1874. “They were basically leaning on each other to stand up,” Potter remembers. Over the course of ten years, the couple created a distinctive new home by building a glass bridge between the two houses and completely reworking the interiors in a 1930s Modernist style with white plaster walls, crazy-quilt... Read more
BYO Alert
“I have no restaurant experience,” says Hector Peña, owner of Café Bella (3311 W. Fullerton Ave.; 773-292-5040), a brand-new Logan Square BYO. “I’m a real estate broker. My experience is McDonald’s, when I was 17 years old. My buddy is the chef, and I have always wanted him to open up his own place because his food is marvelous.” The buddy in question is Cesar Casas, a veteran of Ambria who most recently ran... Read more
It seems like only yesterday that we introduced y’all to Brad Rowley and Ty Best’s West Town home design boutique Caste, but it’s actually been 17 months since these Montana boys hung their shingle up at 521 North Halsted Street. We checked in with Brad to see how the yearling’s doing, and were happy to hear things are going swimmingly. Read more
Rouw siert Electra (Mourning Becomes Electra)
Eugene O’Neill’s take on the Oresteia trilogy (a.k.a. the House of Epic Dysfunction, wherein son loves mother, murders father; wife murders husband, is avenged by children; and so on) is stripped down to its primal essence by the renowned Toneelgroep Amsterdam. Raw, merciless, and pungent with sexuality, this production incorporates TV, video, and plenty of nudity. In Dutch with English supertitles. Read more