Bears, Hawks, Sox, Bulls!

If you ever owned a pair of Bears Zubas or served brats and O'Douls to your guests I got a track for you.

This track is Serengeti's "Dennehy." It's a great song for Chicagoans with civic pride, and it reminds me why every time I shave I consider leaving the 'stache. This isn't the first or the last hip hop song you will hear about Chicago, Kanye and Common both have their own, but this is the only one that sounds like it could of been written by one of Saturday Night Live's SuperFans. If the beat sounds familiar it was previously featured on a Master Ace song "Da Grind" another good song for summertime reminiscing. If the story sounds familiar that's just Chicago living.

Sterch's Obituary

Sterch's or Sterch’s 66 doesn’t look like it used to.  There is a new feel to the bar and a new crowd. Usually I wouldn’t notice, but Sterch’s is something of an institution. 

I asked Sterch’s regular Adrian Bleifuss Prados if he wanted to do an interview about the changes at his favorite bar.  He told me it would be more appropriate to write its obituary.  That obituary follows below:

Sterch's is no more. The last tolerable bar in Lincoln Park, a long-embattled fortress of goodness and decency, has fallen to the barbarians. The cranks, eccentrics and aging malcontents that were the bar's regulars have mostly scattered into the tall grass, like rabbits before wolves. The rites and rituals of old have been forsaken and in their place a new, hideous order has been established. Sheepskin boots, and pink polo shirts abound. The music is intolerably loud because the patrons have nothing to say. They open their mouths and banalities flutter out like moths. 

No longer do bottles of Old Style chill in the ice behind the bar. No longer will its famous awning, emblazoned with the Sterch's carrot, flap in the wind. Today, the sign reads "Sterch's 66." Is this a reference to Route 66? A cute gesture to kitschy Americana? I do not know what it means but I know that it is evil. 

The watering hole became famous three decades ago when Lincoln Ave. was considered a bohemian stronghold. Messrs. Stern and Smerch were the original owners and "Sterch" was a portmanteau of their surnames. The carrot became its symbol when deep-fried carrots were the bar's signature snack. Many notable journalists, musicians, political radicals and small-time criminals quenched their thirst at massive mahogany bar. Hunter S. Thompson once destroyed its porcelain urinal. A urinal where Royko, Ebert, gods and giant-slayers relieved themselves. 

 "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned," so wrote Chuck Marx and Fred Engels in 1848, when they observed venerable institutions unsettled and dismantled by the constant upheavals of the market economy. Sterch's, which once seemed eternal and unchanging, has melted into air, Lincoln Avenue is now entirely the province of the enemy. We are doomed.

Bonus! Metal! Exclamation!

Last week we interviewed Tom Fort, but some of that interview got left on the cutting room floor, and in honor of his big show at Shuba's Sunday we are giving you guys a little bit of what got left out last Wednesday.

(Tom Fort on the metalheads)

UFC 98: Podcast Preview

This podcast is a preview for the light-heavy-weight title fight between Rashard Evans and Lyoto Machida and a taste of the great interview coming up with Inside Fighting writer Elias Cepeda.

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Big Weekend

Three things North and Clark is excited about this weekend:
  1. H for Hombre, my band, preforming live this Saturday
  2. UFC 98
  3. Cobalt and the Hired Guns live at Shuba's this Sunday
Casey Brazeal

North and Clark has got love for all these guys so we are going to celebrate them in the following ways:

First, the Hombre show is a private gig, but if you, gentle reader, want to come write a comment below or contact the boys in the band, and we will make sure we get your name on the list. It's on the west side at Avers and Fullerton at about 8:30.

Second, we who write for North and Clark love the UFC, but know precious little about it. So, we called in our long time supporter (can you be a long time supporter of something that has existed for a month?) and general homie Elias Cepeda from in to do a preview (posted in a couple hours). You will see a longer interview with Elias on Wednesday.

Third, we got a great response to the first interview with Tom Fort so I put together a little mini clip of some of Tom's thoughts (Post Saturday) on metal for all you Cobalt heads, or Metal heads, or podcast heads.

It's a Holiday weekend folks enjoy yourselves.

Wednesday Podcast: Teaching in Japan

Every highschool student in Japan has a rank, a number and a home room. Some of them have to clean their school bathroom. Former Japanese-High-School teacher Amanda McClintock explains.

Education Week Interview: Molly Raiche

Inventor, educator and accountant Molly Raiche sits down to talk about her invention the Raiche Roller. It's math on a stick.

Programing Note: Education Week

Next week two podcasts!

First, Monday Molly Raiche inventor of the Rachie Roller, then Wednesday Amanda McClintock talks about teaching in Japan.

Taste the Knowledge

Wednesday Podcast: Tom Fort Interview

Today's interview is with Chicago musician Tom Fort, guitarist, singer and one of the front men for Cobalt and the Hired Guns. We talk about the Chicago music scene, opening for Dashboard Confessional, and the third heat.

See Tom and Co. at Schuba's May 24

Playlist for Mama

My Mama was there when I bought my first album and the person who taught me to love music. I would be surprised if a lot of you weren't in the same boat. So this mother's day let's have a little music for the Mamas and probably the mamacitas too.

Mama Said Knock You Out – LL Cool J
“LL Cool J is hard as hell,” but not too hard to seek his mother’s advice on how to dispense with sucka MCs, like the never named adversary in this, perhaps the only song with the word mama in the title to feature boxing in its video.

Bohemian Rhapsody - Queen
This might seem like a strange choice for starting a mix for the women who brought you into this world, but few songs more heavily features the word mama. When your down on you're luck and there are few others to turn to, lean heavy on mama.

Renegade - Styx

Speaking of which...
It's eerie how similar the lead-ins on these two songs are. "Oh mama!"

Mrs. Jackson – Outkast
Maybe your mama would be offended by Big Boi’s verse in this song, but to this critic’s way of thinking, this song is all about Andre 3000. It is his failed relationship with Erykah Badu that inspired the song, it is his baby mama's mama that is aggrieved in the situation and it is his verse that carries the day. “Forever. For-ever-ever?”

Don’t Sniff the Coke – Pato Banton
Like an indulgent mother, even when Pato Banton is telling us to avoid cocaine he is telling us that weed is ok. On top of, what I would argue is, some pretty good advice, Pato Banton lets us know that his drive starts at home with his mother.

Whip You With a Strap – Ghostface Killah

It has long been a point of pride among a certain contingent of sadists that they were victims of corporal punishments as children. This song has a home in that audience. Aside from spankings, the song seems to be bragging about a deeply flawed woman. Ghost is effusive about his mother even though the person he describes is pretty far from anything in the Clever household. “Despite the alcohol I had a great old mama.” If you're unconditional with your mom, you should have no trouble nodding your head on this tune.

Shaft Theme - Isaac Hayes

This one’s for the bad Mother…

Grandma’s Hands – Bill Withers

A new generation was introduced to one of souls finest grooves when Blackstreet sampled the opening to Grandma’s Hands. But what the song lost was the story, a the kind hagiography any kid with a great mama’s mama ought to relate too.

Loves Me Like A Rock - Paul Simon

If you're gonna praise mama it's hard to go wrong with that gospel sound.

If you want more playlists check this out

Old Town Ale House

If this blog is gonna be called North and Clark we ought to at least identify a place for somebody chilling on that corner to get a drink. Lincoln Park and Old Town have plenty of places to go, but if you can't find your khaki shorts and Cubs hat and want to enjoy your beer in a darker danker room good dives can be hard to come by.

Don't despair. You don't need to buy a forty from the Shell station just yet. If you walk down North Ave a little past Wells you can stop in at the Old Town Ale House.


Notable Features of the Old Town Ale House:
  • A long finger-nailed bouncer who calls you baby
  • Juke box filled with Miles Davis and Billie Holiday
  • A dirth of Dudebros and TVs
  • Quasi-graphic erotic paintings behind the bar

Like Austin sticking out in the middle of Texas, this is a welcome bit of weird in the middle of too much of the same.

Keep your nails long old town.

Wednesday Podcast: Robin Kacyn Interview

In today's podcast actress Robin Kacyn talks about Diversey Harbor, Theater Seven and playing herself (sort of).

Diversey Harbor runs through May 10 so if you gonna go you best get to getting.

Programing Note

We are trying a new format.  For the next couple of weeks we'll have a new podcast every Wednesday and new blog posts (like these) every Monday and Friday.

The next few Wednesday podcasts will be interviews like those Dan Jerez and Shaheli Guha.   

Coming up, you can look forward to interviews with actress Robin Kacyn from Theater Seven's Diversey Harbor, Tom Fort singer guitarest and rock idol from Cobalt and the Hired Guns and many more.

Thanks for tuning in we'll see you Wednesday.

Old Media Showdown

The Economist recently published an article questioning the long term viability of broadcast television.  If their chart (below) is to be believed they are probably right.

CBS however found the economist's article too "dramatic."  Their response letter is printed below.


SIR – Your article “The not-so-big four” (April 11th) is certainly dramatic, but is excessively negative and misleading. Your claim that “broadcast television is declining at an accelerating rate”, while true for some, is not the case with the CBS television network, where ratings are higher this season then they were a year ago.

Over the past four decades many have predicted the demise of the broadcast medium. Yet we continue to deliver higher numbers of viewers than our media competitors, night after night. We believe our business model will prevail, not “collapse abruptly”, as you predict. And we believe news of the impending death of the magazine business is also premature.

Gil Schwartz
Executive vice president
CBS Corporation


The bold print is my addition, ham fisted yes, but I wanted to make sure that you the reader was saying "Oh no he didn't!" along with me at home. 

I maintain that they're both screwed.  After all, I read about this on The Economist's website and you read about it on a blog. 

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