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Chicago magazine November 2016

Since 1970, readers have turned to Chicago magazine for expertise on Chicago’s dining, shopping, and entertainment scenes, as well as for award-winning reporting on the key people and issues in the city. Get your digital subscription to Chicago magazine today.

United States
Chicagoland Publishing Company
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SPECIAL: The week´s top pick!
12 Issues


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on chicagomag.com

A Power Player Looks Back on His Chicago Graffiti Crew Days Joseph Sikora is a Chicago-born actor who portrays the well-dressed and hard-bodied drug dealer Tommy Egan on Power, which has been a hit for the Starz cable network. When you were in high school, you were part of a graffiti crew? It was a great and diverse group that consisted of guys who were very strait-laced [as well as] very involved gangbangers. The subculture of graffiti was a strange and unique opportunity to bring people together. There’s a picture floating around of you throwing up the pitchfork, a gang sign. Well, that was the Soldado Nation [a gang on the series]. It has nothing to do with Chicago gangs or anything like that. It has everything to do with the show. It was a…

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sweet talk

A few months ago, our dining team proposed an idea: The November issue, which routinely features a ranking of a popular local food (think: steak, pizza), would focus on desserts. There were protracted meetings where we debated—no joke—what is dessert? Dining editor Penny Pollack was adamant that doughnuts are not; to her, they are breakfast. We also decided to exclude candy, which is really more of a snack than a meal finisher. Beyond that, there was a trickier dilemma. How do you compare hazelnut gelato to a fruit tart? Bakery cookies to birthday cakes? A true ranking was deemed impossible. So instead, beginning on page 70, you’ll find our team’s favorite desserts in several categories, including the 20 best in town—in no particular order. Another wrinkle: Some people find overly sweet desserts…

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inside peek

CONTRIBUTOR Stavros Damos, who lives in Thessaloníki, Greece, illustrates Bill Zehme’s interview series, Back Room (page 168). Says Damos of September’s subject, Mike Ditka, whom he’d never heard of: “I read the comments. He has many admirers and many haters—like most great people.” BEHIND THE STORY While senior editor Lauren Williamson reported on Arne Duncan (page 86), the ex–education secretary earned an unlikely fan: Williamson’s in utero son. “The baby went nuts moving around whenever I was interviewing Arne or transcribing tapes,” says Williamson. “He responds more to Arne’s voice than to my husband’s.” UPDATE Of the nine shelter animals featured in our July pets feature (see chicagomag.com/shelter), five have found homes. Still searching: shorthair cat Ronald, Pekingese mix Champagne, and rabbits Lucy and Desi.…

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talk to us

ON A SOCIOLOGIST’S EMBED WITH A GANG Scared kids killing other scared kids [“Dispatches from the Rap Wars,” October]. There’s no easy solution, but exposing that these folks are not just “sociopathic losers” gives me hope. lacroixdestroixer on Reddit Understand the culture to change it. Great read. @LauraNovack on Twitter This article is one of the most disturbing I’ve read in a while—not simply due to the topic. It just feels exploitative. NPRGAdmin 2015 on Chicagomag.com ON A CREW OF YOUNG ARTISTS This is the best thing I’ve seen today [“The New Bohemia,” October]. Chicago magazine has Lin-Manuel on the cover and every one of my other brilliant friends inside. @chancetherapper on Twitter I love that the feature isn’t only musicians, but also [filmmaker] Austin Vesely, [photographer] Bryan Allen Lamb, and [poet] E’mon Lauren Black. @Melknee on Twitter Chicago is full…

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the munoz way

Business, politics, real estate, and city life: What you need to know this month These have been turbulent times for United Airlines, Chicago’s hometown carrier. Customers gripe about its notoriously late arrivals, sloppy baggage handling, and overzealously canceled flights. The airline placed dead last among the big five domestic carriers in J.D. Power’s 2016 customer satisfaction study. A sluggish integration of Continental Airlines following the 2010 takeover led to investor unrest. And most embarrassing was the headline-making bribery scandal last year that rocked the carrier and upended its management. But Oscar Munoz, who began his second year as CEO in September, is leading the airline into clearer skies. In his first year, he settled labor disputes and an investor challenge, improved on-time arrivals, and built a strong new executive team. He even…

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royale mess

The 30,000-square-foot Middle Eastern–inspired mansion-cum-whiteelephant in Burr Ridge is back on the market with a new name (the Palace Royale) and price tag ($10.95 million). A timeline shows how it got there. 2005 Husam Aldairi, a dentist, buys a plot on the busy corner of Plainfield and County Line Roads to build his dream home: eight bedrooms, a 20-car garage, a 2,500-square-foot master bathroom, and a (somehow smaller) 2,400-square-foot ballroom. 2009 With the gaudy fortress almost done, Aldairi’s plans are derailed by a judgment against his clinic in a sexual harassment lawsuit. He lists the mansion for $25 million. 2010 Aldairi reduces the price to $13 million. 2011 Burst pipes flood the house with six million gallons of water—the equivalent of nine Olympic-size swimming pools. 2012 Aldairi’s bank forecloses on the property. Later that year,…