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The Perfect Balance

November 28, 2007- Guests gathered at the chopping block to experience complimentary La Crema wine and delectable Hors D’Oeuvres while listening to a food and wine pairing discussion led by one of the talented chefs from the Chopping Block and Eric Johannsen, the assistant winemaker from La Crema Winery.
Photos by Randy Belice

Before I Say Au Revoir James

My one regret about Au Revoir Parapluie, playing now at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier, is that I didn’t get in to see it earlier in the run. The hauntingly beautiful show closes Saturday, and unfortunately, it’s sold out this year. In case its creator, James Thierree, returns to Chicago, I’ll tell you about it anyway.

Why is the show so great? First, I’ve never seen anything exactly like it. Imagine taking the stunts of Cirque de Soleil, the quirky-meets-psychedelic aesthetic of Chicago’s own Redmoon, and the ferocious dance ability of…

Week 29: Sweeping the Faith

We’ve been discussing the big questions about child-rearing. Will we spank our child? Will we leave him or her in daycare? How will we raise the kid, ideologically speaking? When you’ve got a mixed marriage, that last one is a minefield. What set of beliefs do we instill in our child when we grew up with entirely different belief systems, different histories, different everything? Does one of us convert? Do we make a choice for the child? When? Does the child choose? When? The questions go on and on.

Sarah and I are both Jewish, so that’s good, but we’ve got bigger problems to worry about. She’s a Cubs fan, and I’m a White Sox guy…

Every Time a Bell Rings …

Bailey on the Rocks
All right, so it’s as clichéd as fruitcake; still, It’s a Wonderful Life encapsulates the spirit of the holidays. That doesn’t mean you’re stuck with corny rehashings and cable reruns. This season, two theatres offer creative interpretations of the Frank Capra classic worth catching. American Theater Company (1909 W. Byron St.; 773-929-1031) spins the sentimental fable as a radio play, complete with commercial breaks, live sound effects, and a wholesome snack of milk and cookies after the show. Tickets are $40. Meanwhile, George Bailey sings his sorrows (and triumphs) in Porchlight Music Theatre’s production at Theatre Building Chicago (1225 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-327-5252), adapted from the musical by the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning Sheldon Harnick. Tickets are $35; $34 on Fridays. Both shows run through December 30th.

And a bonus for theatre-goers: We just caught wind of this…

Scene and Overheard: Thanksgiving Weekend

The Most Creative and Simultaneously Self-Deprecating Birthday Bash Award Goes to … Rockit Ranch’s Arturo Gomez. Upon entering his party last Wednesday at The Underground, every guest was handed a pair of thick, black-plastic eyeglass frames and instructed to wear them throughout the evening, so that everyone resembled the guest of honor, whose ubiquitous Prada specs never leave his face. A roomful of pretty people sporting nerdy glasses? Priceless…. PLUS: quotes & notes, most interesting press release, things to do tonight, more…

On the Market—Wilmette


List Price: $1.695 million
The Property: From its triangular floor plan to its hanging chimney, internal balconies, and master bathroom tiled in black polka dots, this Wilmette house built in 1981 is a study in unconventional design. The work of the late Marion Gutnayer—a University of Illinois architecture professor whose own even more unusual home is just a block away—this four-bedroom house has a big eight-sided living room whose brick walls shut out the sight and sound of the busy street outside, while its tall, slender windows frame views of trees and garden space. Upstairs loft spaces near two children’s bedrooms overlook the living room, and they are matched in the rear of the house by a broad balcony off the master bedroom that looks out over the glass-walled family room and into the yard. There is also a wide spiral staircase, vertical cutouts in some brick walls, a large-panel terrazzo floor, and…

E-mail soup, jerk chicken, Mazel Tov martinis

Cyber Soup
Marcello Cancelli has managed dining rooms and wine lists at places such as Carlos’, North Pond Cafe, and Michael. Now, after years of running OPRs (Other People’s Restaurants), he’s ready to take a chance on his own. Sopa (752 Sheridan Rd., Highwood; 847-433-3434), Cancelli’s place for Mediterranean-influenced comfort food, will swing into action on December 4th. As for the name, “Sopa is Spanish or Portuguese for ‘soup,’” says Cancelli. So will there be soup on the menu? “Yes. One soup will actually be inspired by the customers. When someone tells us their favorite foods, we want to help people reminisce. We will try to get people participating in our e-mail list.” We think this means that if you e-mail Sopa about your favorite soup, some version of it could…

Housing Bulletin—Dimon in the Rough

November 28, 2007
Housing Bulletin: Dimon in the Rough
Jamie Dimon, the banking executive who now heads New York–based JP Morgan Chase, has cut 11 percent off the asking price of the 26-room Gold Coast mansion where he lived while he ran Bank One. Originally listed at $13.5 million, the house now has a price tag of $12 million.

The broad house, faced with rough-hewn orange limestone, was built by Potter Palmer in 1889 as part of his effort to make the nascent Gold Coast into the fashionable new neighborhood. The architect Ernest Graham, of Graham, Anderson, Probst and White (think Wrigley Building and Field Museum), did a later expansion and remodeling. The house’s exterior is a many-textured composition of hefty stones, arched windows, copper-topped turrets, and dormers puncturing a…