Chicago Wins City of the Year, Then Goes Bankrupt, id Denied, and gets Arrested

Yesterday, after being named the city of the year by GQ Chicago was dealt several blows that might demand the national magazine rescind its proclamation. The editors chose the city because it had been the political home to the president elect and has experienced a comeback as the backdrop for major movies, but Monday a trifecta of blows quickly kicked out the pedestal and let the city wallow in the muddy waters at the bottom of the giant hole where the Chicago Spire, an architectural abomination that brought the city’s skyline back to the national conscious, was supposed to stand.

First the Chicago Tribune announced it would be going bankrupt. The move saved the newspaper from its massive debt, giving the media outlet a chance to operate without the pressure from creditors. However, despite the financial sense the declaration might make, it is a blow to the paper’s respectability. It is kind of like when Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt split or when Britney Spears chose to break up with Justin Timberlake. It is going to take a while for the newspaper to get through these dark times and have its reputation repaired.

Second, the Cubs diabetic, leg-less third baseman from the 1960s, was again denied a place in Cooperstown. Ron Santo played on the same field as Hall of Fame players Ernie Bank, Billy Williams, and Ferguson Jenkins has been trying to get in since the 1980, but has been the victim of rule changes and a lack of support.

While Santo did not reach the typical milestones, such as 3,000 hits or 500 home runs, at the time of his retirement few third basemen had even collected 2,500 hits or hit 400 homeruns. His 342 homeruns, nine all-star selection, and five Gold Gloves have proven not enough to convince members of his worthiness. His denial is the latest blow to the Chicago Cubs after a second consecutive first round loss in the playoffs. I think the Cubs fate and the Santo Hall of Fame escapade are somehow intertwined, and will continue to haunt the fans in Chicago until the sports gods stop thinking that a fan crying into an Oldstyle is hysterical.

Third, the first Chicagoan to become the Governor of Illinois since James Thompson was arrested on charges of corruption. Gov. Rod Blagojevich is accused of attempting to solicit financial benefit from the replacement of President-Elect Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat, numerous other financial schemes, and political maneuvering in the denial of state assistance to aid the sale of Wrigley Field to punish members of the Tribune editorial board that were critical of Obama. This may come as news nationally, but locally the entire state of Illinois has been angry with the man and still wonder how he won his re-election bid.

Basically, to put the story in John Hughes terms, Chicago decided to throw a party after winning the award, trashed their parents house, spent all the money on the credit card that was to be used for emergencies, and got turned down by the girl of their dreams all one night after being named valedictorian and being given a full scholarship to Harvard.

Well, at least the city still has the Bears…err…the Bulls…err…the Blackhawks…to look forward to? I give up.

This was a very bad Monday and only worsened the city’s image despite its successful attempts to make the city greener and bring back theater, with Wicked and Jersey Boys undeniable hits. Leave it to Chicago politics and the Cubs to ruin a good thing.

Dancing with Stars takes to the Tour

So when a reality show starts touring is it an ultra real experience? Dancing with the Stars tickets are being sold not for the studio audiences, but for a tour. I am not going to question the aesthetic value of going to a dance recital, dancing has been a qualified form of entertainment as long as music has been apart of our species history.

Ballet is no less of an art than a classical music concert. Break dancing is not considered lame while hip hop is considered cool (there are even a few movies specifically about b-boys and b-girls). One of the key factors in a musical on Broadway is the choreography. Dancing is as much a part of the entertainment landscape as the music playing in the background.

I wonder what it would be like to watch a dancing concert (not sure if that is the right term) in a huge arena like the Allstate Arena in Chicago or the Staples Center in Los Angeles. These are huge venues that seat tens of thousands of people. Does this take away from the experience because some of the audience has too watch the performances on the jumbotron on the scoreboard hanging from the middle of the arena? Or, does the large collection of fans of the show add to the experience?

I have been to basketball games and seen the action from the upper level and moved down and watched the players from a few rows deep on the lower level. It is a completely different experience.

Up high you can see and judge the action just fine, but up close the true grace, speed, and flow of the action on the court is something to truly behold. One gains appreciation for the difficulty and the skills being presented from a few yards away.

My guess is that the frenzy in the crowd will help when watching Warren Sapp, Kim Kardashian, and Susan Lucci perform their dances from the show. It is that willingness to be entertained and excited by the B-list stars that will make Dancing with the Stars worth their price.