AN ATHLETIC ENDEAVOR: In a city where a major pro team plays nearly every day and where the outdoors beckons with recreational options galore, you face a sports lover’s summertime dilemma: watch or play? Luckily for the spectator and the athlete in you, there’s no wrong answer. Game on. Read more
THE TRANSFORMER: Bruce Mau has gone from innovative graphic designer to world-class conceptualist, producing books and museum shows, collaborating with star architects, and rethinking and revamping education. Several years ago, the Canadian native moved to Chicago, where he’s been embraced by the city’s movers and shakers (including Mayor Daley) and where he now pushes his empire toward its modest goal: using design to change the world Read more
Yes, you can pick up free matches just about anywhere, but wouldn't you rather have a well-designed box? Rock of Ages Press’s ( new line of Holy Smoke matchboxes ($7, at Paper Source) feature spiritual texts‹Good Karma, Light My Fire, Burn Baby Burn, and Peace Love Rock & Soul. Perfect for philosophizing by candlelight on your deck. Read more
Sepia (123 N. Jefferson St.; 312-441-1920) announced on Tuesday on its Facebook page that it would be closed from July 1st to July 9th but coyly implied that it wasn’t just for a long Fourth of July break. In fact, the restaurant is closing to accommodate the shooting of an as-yet-untitled Ron Howard movie starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James. Read more
iPad Thai For two months, Chad Starling, previously of Saltaus and Le Lan, has helmed the kitchen at Aria (Fairmont Chicago, 200 N. Columbus Dr.; 312-444-9494), and now the menu belongs entirely to him... Read more
Our top five picks for things to do this week: Abigail returns … Berwyn rocks … Frank Bruni reads … and more options for your holiday weekend Read more

Looking for a no-strings-attached ballpark estimate of your cabinetry project? For the next few weeks, Christopher Peacock Home is offering to look at your kitchen, mudroom, or library floor plans and give you a free estimate on Peacock cabinetry. Email floor plans (and your zip code) to and the folks there will respond with a few different options in different price ranges.

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Jonathan Alter grew up in Lincoln Park before heading east for school and then to New York to write for Newsweek. Currently the national affairs columnist for the beleaguered magazine, Alter is also the author of The Promise, a fast-paced analysis of President Obama’s first year. In Chicago to promote his book, the journalist stopped by my house last week... Read more