Wicker Park Bucktown Insider's Guide

93XRT's Poi Dog Pondering VIP Double Header Continues Tonight at Double Door

Michael Hamrick - Sunday, May 27, 2012
93XRT Welcomes: The Poi Memorial Day Double Header with Poi Dog Pondering Photo:
Sunday May 27th - Show 9:00pm
Double Door 1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue- Wicker Park
$25/$50/$75 Packages Available

93XRT Welcomes The Spring Double Header: A Weekend with Poi Dog Pondering

The double header continues tonight Sunday May 27th. Doors at 8pm.

$25 / $50 VIP Balcony Tickets Include: Signed poster, CD, and 2 drinks 

$75 VIP Tickets Include: Signed poster, CD, and 4 drinks.



For up to the minute information, be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Your Wicker Park Bucktown Memorial Day Weekend Guide Has Arrived

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, May 24, 2012

May 24, 2012


Hello and welcome to your Memorial Day Edition of your Insider Weekend Guide.


First and foremost, thank you so much for your help in making us Wicker Park & Bucktown's most popular neighborhood guide. We've reached almost 8,000 followers on social media alone and 10's of thousands of people visit us online each month. We couldn't do it without you and are very appreciative of your support.


Secondly, we receive information, events and news all day long. Our Weekend Guide is expanding every week so we've streamlined the format a little so it's easier for you to read. Hope you like it. Just click on the accompanying links for more detailed information on any topic. Last but not least, we've included our highlights for Memorial Day Weekend. Chicago Craft Beer Week continues with special events planned up and down Division Street, Poi Dog Pondering will be playing 2 VIP shows this weekend, there's lots of Summer Fest news to share (with Do Division right around the corner), you can win FREE brunch for 4 this Sunday and a couple of sweet deals are waiting for you too.

Thanks, as always, for joining us. Have a great, long Memorial Day weekend and we'll see you in the neighborhood.





Division Street IPA Crawl

Jerry's joins forces with Smallbar Division and Bangers & Lace to bring you the IPA's of North America. Only a short distance separates three of the best destinations for beer in Chicago. Tonight just head to Division Street to taste some of the best IPA's coast to coast. IPA Crawl.

Moonshine Brewery Open House/Tour

Many don't know that Wicker Park's Moonshine at 1824 W. Division Street is actually a brewery. And tonight, in honor of Chicago Craft Beer Week, local brewer JD McCormick is opening the doors to the brewery. Doors open at 5pm and you're invited to join JD for a free tour to learn what goes into making a great local craft beer. Moonshine Tour.



People Lounge Introduces Brunch

This weekend People Lounge - located at 1560 N. Milwaukee Avenue - is introducing a brand new brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. What can you expect? This is not your standard bacon & eggs. Expect higher end fare and creative twists on your traditional favorites. The menu looks delicious an you can take a peek at the new brunch options waiting for you right here. Brunch Menu.






Do Division June 1st - June 3rd

Do Division 2012 is just around the corner and will be a 3 day festival for the 1st time in its history. Shopping, food and, of course, great music will be waiting for you. The final line-up includes: Pinebender, The Antlers. Peanut Butter Wolf, Le Butcherettes, Murder by Death and more. But that's not all, there are also lots of fun activities for kids. The details are here: Do Division.


The Magic Boat Puppet Show in the Park

For young and old alike, please join The Magic Boat Puppet Show at the Wicker Park Playground - 1425 N. Damen Avenue -Sundays at 11am. This annual Summer event kicks off this Sunday and will continue through September. Lots of fun and the shows coincide with the Wicker Park Farmers Market. So you can visit the Farmers Market in the park and then head on over to the The Magic Boat Puppet Show.


Wicker Park Fest Headliners

Although still 2 months away, Wicker Park Fest has announced the headliners for the 2012 neighborhood festival which will include: The Drums, Cursive and local favorites including Joe Pug and Kill Hannah. The festival will take place on Milwaukee Avenue between North Avenue & Wood Street July 28th and July 29th. Stay tuned for additional details about: Wicker Park Fest.







93XRT Presents Poi Dog Pondering Weekend

Local Chicago favorites Poi Dog Pondering will be playing not 1 - but 2 - shows this weekend at Wicker Park's Double Door - 1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue. VIP Packages are available and include cds, signed posters, drinks and more. Get your tickets early. Poi Dog.


Raw Natural Born Artists Showcase

RAW: natural born artists is an independent arts organization that hand-selects and spotlights independent creatives in visual art, film, fashion, music, hair & make-up artistry, photography and performing arts. Tonight, they'll be showcasing who they feel represents the best of the best. Doors at 7:30pm. Show starts at 8pm. Raw Showcase.





FREE Brunch for 4 This Sunday

Would you like win FREE Brunch for 4 for this Sunday at Bucktown's Riverside Cafe? Just look for our announcement later today on our Facebook & Twitter pages. Share our announcement and you'll be entered automatically into our random drawing. The winner will be selected Friday afternoon. Win FREE Brunch for 4.


Glazed and Infused Now Open

Donuts donuts donuts. Yes you can now score gourmet doughnuts directly across the street from the Damen Blue Line el stop at Glazed and Infused. Just look for their window on the west side of Francesca's Forno at 1576 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Open early...and late. Doughnuts.


Jazz Tuesdays at MC

Perfect for Summer, MC Restaurant has announced they will be hosting jazz every Tuesday night from 6pm -9pm. With free parking & wi-fi, a beautiful patio and the banh mi/domestic beer special for just $6.95, MC will be a great spot to relax this Summer. And the banh mi is excellent. Details.

    The Trenchermen Looks to June

Although the folks behind The Trenchermen hosted a fundraiser/preview party May 17th, it looks like it will still be several weeks until Wicker Park's newest upscale eatery opens their doors. According to Grub Street, there is still a lot of work to do and they're guessing the opening date will be closer to the end of June. The Trenchermen.






20% Off Store Wide Memorial Day

Chicago's premier fair trade, eco-friendly store Greeneheart Shop has announced a store wide sale this Memorial Day Weekend.  You'll find unique, beautiful and recycled merchandise that helps to create a better world. The details are here. Sale.

Eat for Beauty - Friday

Kelli Komar reveals the secrets of achieving radiant skin from the inside out at this educational, fun and interactive workshop being held at Elevenzees Friday night. Join Kelli as she discloses the ancient secrets of Ayurveda to help you create a customized holistic dietary skin care regimen that will balance your body and skin. Eating For Beauty.


Insider Deals of the Week

Shear Sapphire is a Women's & Men's Salon at 1712 W. North Avenue in Wicker Park and their 1st Anniversary is just around the corner. As their way of saying "thank you" to you,  they're offering a couple of great deals. First: men can score 50% off any hair cut service. And women, you can get a FREE haircut with a purchase. These offers won't last forever. So hurry! Insider Deals.






Theatre of War - The Chopin Theatre

Tonight only: Theatre of War is an artistic investigation of the disconnect between the experiences of most citizens and those of people directly impacted by war. This show takes place just days after the city bids farewell to the NATO summit. Theatre of War.

If you're interested in receiving up-to-the minute news & event information from us throughout the week, please feel free to join us on Facebook & Twitter. We'd love to include you.


And if you'd like to receive our Weekend Guide each week, sign up. It's easy.


Have a great weekend and we'll see you in the neighborhood.    




The Wicker Park Bucktown Insider's Guide

WXRT DJ Richard Milne Talks to us about Music, Local Anesthetic and His Neighborhood -- Wicker Park

Thyra DeCicco - Sunday, May 06, 2012

For those who may not know, Richard Milne is one of 93XRT’s incredible disc jockeys and host of Local Anesthetic.  Local Anesthetic is a weekly program on 93XRT that showcases local Chicago musicians every Sunday at 7:30pm.

I personally first met Richard Milne 10 + years ago when I was working in the music industry helping to promote local artists. Not only is he just a genuinely nice guy, he is, without question, one of the most influential people in the Chicago music scene. So we checked in to talk about Chicago music, Local Anesthetic and his neighborhood - Wicker Park.

Clearly, you’re very supportive of and passionate about music. When and how did your passion for music begin?

I’ve always loved the radio and the music I heard.  My great rock and roll memories rarely involve live performances; most involve hearing music on the radio for the first time.  Iggy Pop’s “Shake Appeal” on the Big Beat, driving north just outside Joliet and hearing the Rock and Roll Animal version of “Sweet Jane”.  Riding in my broth.  Hearing Nicker-in-law’s Toronado while “Whipping Post” played on the old WSDM Lowe’s “Switchboard Susan” while stopped at a light and jumping out to tell my buddy Squirrel (who was in the car behind me) to “Turn on XRT!”  Dozens of instances like that. Radio moments and music like that just seared themselves into my brain.

I started working in college radio at SIU, got my first real commercial DJ job at the old WDEK in DeKalb and then got hired on for weekends at WXRT in 1986.  My 25th anniversary of being an XRT jock was just last year. 

How did the idea for Local Anesthetic develop and how has it evolved over time?

I started hearing some out of the ordinary music in Chicago beginning in the late 80’s.  Urge Overkill, Eleventh Dream Day, Material Issue, The Jesus Lizard.  I’d bring bands by the station, tape interviews and live performances and then play them back on the air at 3am or so.   In the spring of 1991, I approached the Program Director, Norm Winer, with the idea of creating a show devoted to Chicago musicians and artists.  The first Local Anesthetic aired in April of ‘91 with my guests The Jesus Lizard and Poster Children.

Local Anesthetic is simply an extension of me always trying to turn people on to music, both new and old.  In this case, specifically Chicago music. 



Are there bands who were unknown before appearing on your show and became known after appearing on Local Anesthetic?

I don’t know that I’ve ever directly helped a band make any significant jump in popularity via exposure on Local Anesthetic.  That’s not really the point of the show.  If I can help somebody move some records or tickets to a show, that’s somewhat satisfying but Local Anesthetic is on the air to entertain listeners.  “Hey, here’s a Chicago band that’s doing good work.  Here’s what they sound like and here’s what they have to say for themselves”.  Have I been the first DJ to recognize and play good bands that have gone on to create even better work and perhaps get somewhat popular?  Certainly.  Hundreds.


Photo:  Courtesy of Love it Loud- Smashing Pumpkins

I enjoyed talking with the Smashing Pumpkins in 1991 when “Gish” was released.  Billy was already very serious and passionate about his work.  Actor John Mahoney was a guest DJ a number of times. Always great fun.

Talking to Curtis Mayfield via telephone from his home in Atlanta was a thrill.  I’ve never had the whole band in at once but all the guys in Cheap Trick have made individual and memorable appearances.  Noted chronic record collector Dante Carfagna’s annual appearance for the ongoing “History of Chicago Soul and Funk” is always great.  My favorite show of any given year, though?  The annual Holiday Spectacular in which bands (and mostly unknown ones, at that) come up with short Holiday greetings for listeners.  The “Best of 20 Years” of submissions aired this Christmas.


Who are the most promising top 3 bands in Chicago today?

Gosh, I’ve no clue.  Another distinction of Local Anesthetic that needs to be made is that I’m solely interested in a band’s recorded work.  If you stink in live performance, it doesn’t matter to me.  (And, believe me, the number of bands that have recorded what I consider to be excellent material and then subsequently horribly disappointed me live, are legion).  Conversely, I’ve no interest in bands that put on a great show but make bad records.  “I know what I’m about to play isn’t very good but you should really see the band live to appreciate them”?  Doesn’t work that way.


Double Door 1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue

We’ve talked in the past about Wicker Park being a focal point for Chicago’s music scene.  Do you still feel that way?

The Double Door at 1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue is still an anchor for music in Wicker Park.  Having Reckless right on Milwaukee Ave. is important.  I can even include Myopic Books and Quimby’s as indirect yet vital bastions of the ‘hoods music vibe.  There are a number of booking agencies, music lawyers and publicists up and down the strip, too.  Tons of bands even use the UPS store on Milwaukee as their mailing address.  Is Wicker Park the center point of Chicago music, though?  Perhaps from a public perception but the reality is there are more rehearsal spaces, studios, agents and labels scattered around Pilsen, Humboldt and even Bridgeport than in Wicker Park these days.  Cheaper rents will always be a critical factor for musicians.



How do you feel the music industry has changed over the past 20 years you’ve hosted Local Anesthetic? And specifically Chicago music?

When I first started Local Anesthetic there were two hundred bands in town.  Now, it seems like 20,000.  Frankly, really good bands were out of the ordinary then.  Now, being at least good is de rigueur.  There seems to be less commercial aspirations among young bands now.  There are all sorts of bands for whom just creating music with no eye for commercial success is good enough.  That’s cool from a hip standpoint but I’m sure Joe at Metro would like to see more locals strive to fill his room. 

Right now I’m sitting here listening to Disappears’ sixteen minute guitar throb called “Revisiting”.  Cool Chicago band on a cool Chicago label (Kranky). Cool for Chicago.



Why did you choose to live in Wicker Park and how have you seen the neighborhood change over the years?  

I moved to Wicker Park in 1988 because I could afford it.  Being close to the Kennedy, Eisenhower and the Blue Line could have been factors but weren’t; it was simply because my rent was cheap.  It’s funny to think that now I’ve lived here longer than I’ve lived anywhere else in my life.  I loved the Busy Bee, of course, and Dreamerz was an occasional hang (to name just a few of the many classic joints now long gone).  I never tire of walking by the stately homes on Hoyne and Pierce and Caton.  Even a couple of those beauties that we thought were lost for dead are now being restored to their original grandeur.


How’s it changed?  Damen/North/Milwaukee used to be dead after midnight.  Dead.  Instead of the Rama Mart, I go to 7-11 for a gallon of milk.  My closest bank branch was by the Park West in ’88.  Now, I walk less than two blocks.  I liked the Park itself better without the fence that now surrounds it.  At the same time, thank you Mr. Daley for the beautiful library branch.  That first $350 apartment I had in 1988 currently rents for $1200.  The $850 (with heat) three bedroom I had in ’90 is now a condo.  Right?  Inevitable, I guess, but it’s a shame to see the ‘hood’s affordability slip away.  Yet that artistic spirit and funkiness seems to hang on.  Credit the Flat Iron and all the other institutions I’ve already named for keeping that alive. 

Wicker Park has been my home for nearly a quarter century.  It’s been a good place for my wife and me to own a home, run a business, raise a son, walk the dog and inevitably bump in to a musician or two  I know along the way.  


Richard also owns Rank Entertainment ; a musical booking agency also based in Wicker Park.  


You can catch Richard Milne Sundays starting at 3pm and Local Anesthetic every Sunday night at 7:30pm on 93XRT (93.1 FM).    

Your Wicker Park Bucktown Weekend Guide 5-4-12

Michael Hamrick - Friday, May 04, 2012
May 4th 2012

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of your Insider Weekend Guide.

The Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo arrive this weekend and there are many events and parties planned throughout the neighborhood. But that's not all. We've also included community news, art gallery celebrations, new restaurant openings and more. If you'd like to receive information throughout the week, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. We would love to include you. 

Thanks, as always, for joining us and we'll see you in the neighborhood.



   Cinco de Mayo- Kentucky Derby Parties

This weekend Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby land on the same day. So we've included Cinco de Mayo street festivals, Kentucky Derby parties and those celebrations that will include both. We're adding a few more parties so if you're looking for fun and festive options in the neighborhood, we've got em right here.



   Do Division Update 

More bands have been announced so be sure to check for the line-ups to date right here. Sounds like there will also be food trucks at the Polish Triangle over the weekend. We will keep you updated. 


   Movies in the Park - Bucktown

The Bucktown Community Organization announced their Movies in the Park line-up this week. So, which movies are heading to Churchill Park this Summer? Ferris Bueller's Day Off, The Wizard of Oz and The Lorax. And they're free. Stay tuned for the dates. As soon as they're announced, we will let you know. 


   Wicker Park Farmers Market

It's coming....the highly anticipated Wicker Park Farmers Market will reopen in Wicker Park proper at 1425 N. Damen Avenue on June 3rd. For those who may not know, the market is located at the corner of Damen & Wicker Park Avenue. We will see you there!


   Wicker Park Plant Sale & Fundraiser

Don't miss the Annual Plant Sale & Fundraiser this weekend in Wicker Park. Experienced gardeners and designers will help you pick the plants that are best for you. Proceeds are donated to the 10,000 square foot Wicker Park Gardens and lecture series.



     Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Arts N Spirits
Want to do something different this weekend in honor of Cinco de Mayo? Head to Arts N Spirits at 1921 N. Damen Avenue in Bucktown with your friends and drink of choice. (They're BYOB). You'll have a great time and come home with artwork ready for framing. Details for how to sign up are right here.  


    Park Schrek's 1 Year Anniversary
Park Schrek Gallery is celebrating their 1st Year Anniversary with an opening reception tonight from 7:00pm - 10:00pm. Featured work will include Jonathon Stein and the one and only Dan Schrek & John Park. Congratulations on a terrific 1st year.






    Better Than Something - Film Screenings
The Empty Bottle will be hosting 2 film screenings this weekend for Better Than Something:  a feature documentary about the controversial and prolific garage rock icon Jimmy Lee Lindsey Jr, better known to the world as Jay Reatard.The portrait of Jay's life is captured just months before his untimely passing. Public Works Gallery - 1539 N. Damen Avenue.

    Local H - This Saturday

Hailing from Chicago, Local H is a two-man wrecking crew; a powerhouse invigorated by former Triple Fast Action drummer Brain St. Clair and driven by the distinct lyric and melodic vision of guitarist/vocalist Scott Lucas. Get your tickets now. Keep your eyes open on our facebook and twitter pages. We're giving away FREE tickets for this show later today. Double Door- 1572 N. Milwaukee Avenue.


Rockin' For Rescue Fundraiser

Mark your calendars. The Annual Rockin' For Rescue Fundraiser for the Trio Animal Foundation heads to the neighborhood May 19th. Food will be provided by a top Chicago Caterer featuring signature items designed and served by Hot Doug's Chef.  There will also be an open bar, 2 VIP areas, and a fabulous silent auction and raffle. All donations are tax-deductible.






1/2 off Bottles of Wine

Via Carducci not only offers delicious and authentic Italian fare, but every Monday - Wednesday you can save 50% on select bottles of wine. Head to the patio and enjoy.

   Red Door is Open

The reviews following the soft opening last weekend have been extremely positive and the Red Door officially opened yesterday in Bucktown in the space formerly the home of Duchamp at 2118 N. Damen Avenue. We're looking forward to the private 100 person patio. See you there.




  Real Estate

    Foreclosure Spotting

Every foreclosure we publish sells within a week or less. The 1 bed + den we mentioned last week was under contract in couple of days. But you have another chance. This 3 bed/2 bath is in Ukrainian Village is current listed for $341k. We've also included a banner on our website which links to foreclosures. Don't wait on these if you're interested. 



     Mother's Day Gift Baskets- $25

Looking for a gift for Mom? Head to Greenheart Shop. You'll find beautiful gift baskets that extend beyond physical and cultural borders. Support fair trade and empower mothers everywhere. Starting at only $25. 


    Spex Grand Opening Party - Tonight

Spex opened their Wicker Park location earlier this year at 1407 N. Milwaukee Avenue and on Friday May 4th they'll be hosting their official Grand Opening Party. With swag bags, refreshments and appetizers, it's sure to be a great time. Be sure to stop by.




   The Mariachi Man Drinks to Cinco de Mayo

For one day only this weekend, in celebration of Mexican Heritage and drinking holidays everywhere, the cast of El Mari Chi Chi will perform an interactive drinking theme burlesque show. The audience may keep up with the characters on stage and take a drink for each time a character takes a swig. Gorilla Tango Theatre - 1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue.

Again, if you're interested in receiving up-to-the minute news & event information from us throughout the week, please feel free to join us on Facebook & Twitter. We'd love to include you.

If you'd like to receive our Weekend Guide each Thursday, here's how you do it. Sign up.



Have a great weekend and we'll see you in the neighborhood.    




The Wicker Park Bucktown Insider's Guide

More Bands Announced for Do Division 2012

Thyra DeCicco - Sunday, April 15, 2012

Do Division Street Fest 2012

June 1st, June 2nd and June 3rd Noon - 10pm each day
Division Street between Damen Avenue and Leavitt Street in Wicker Park
$5 Donation Suggested

 Do Division Fest 2012 heads to Wicker Park the weekend of June 1st and for the first time will be a 3 day event from June 1st through and June 3rd. (June 2nd and June 3rd 12noon - 10pm each day).

The Fest takes place from Damen (2000 W. Division) to Leavitt. 

The partial line up has been announced and includes: 

Le Butcherettes


Murder By Death

The Antlers


Mannequin Men and


Wicker Park's Do Division Fest includes a variety of great bands, fantastic food, retailers and shopping.  Sidewalk sales fill the perimeter of the area and the extra-wide side walks allow plenty of al fresco dining at the incredible area bars, restaurants and bakeries ... in addition to all of the food being served directly at the fest itself.

Each and every year this event is packed and getting bigger. Do not miss this fantastic and fun event. It's a great kick-off to Summer. 


Be sure to follow us on Facebook & Twitter for updates about fest details including the full line up.

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