Unknown City

Updates from RSS

  • 12:36:27 am on November 10, 2008 | 4 | # |
    Tags: ,

    Chinatown Gateway

    Chinatown Gateway

    I ran out really quickly to Chinatown this afternoon, and i mean quickly because it was FREEZING!!! But, it was great. I have lived here my entire life and have only been there once! Crazy, right? But i figured i could get in one more post this weekend, so i jumped on the red line and got there in no time. If you take the red line, you get off at the Cermak/Chinatown stop. If you can’t remember, just look out the train windows, you couldn’t miss it unless you were really spaced out. The entrance to Chinatown is marked with a huge gateway. I’ve never been to China, but i can imagine that although it may not be exactly like the country itself, it definitely has pieces of it. As i walked around, i was surprised by all the little shops they have. Although much of what we buy here is already made in China, the stuff they had in these stores was actually Chinese. In the stores i walked in and around they had giant paper umbrellas, swords, decorations, zodiac calendars, decorations, sculptures, and tons of cute trinkets, toys, shoes, etc… Pretty much anything that could catch your eye was there. I wanted to buy one of everything!!!

    What’s nice about Chinatown was that it had everything for tourists and lovers

    Storefront in Chinatown

    Storefront in Chinatown

    of Chinese culture alike, but it really caters to the Chinese community. In case you didn’t know, we have the third largest Chinatown in the U.S. Not only does Chinatown have gift shops, and restaurants, and bakeries, but it has a lot of services that cater to the Chinese community, like grocery stores stocked full of their unique spices and vegetables and medicine stores. It also, as i mentioned, has plenty for tourists and others interested in their culture, such as language courses, agencies that help with traveling abroad, and I even saw some Chinese etiquette classes that teach people living/studying/going abroad how to properly act around the people in China. There are murals, including the famous Chinatown mural depicting the history of Chinese immigrants, and the Chinese-American museum of Chicago, which, sadly, has been closed for renovation due to a recent fire. But even so, i was able to walk around and enjoy the other sights. Not only that, but i ate way too much fried rice and pot stickers, so good… I walked away from Chinatown with a full belly, origami paper in my bag, and for dessert later i bought a moon cake. I hesitated whether it was too pretty to eat at first, but i got hungry on the train ride home. ūüôā I think that this is definitely one of the neighborhoods to visit if you’re ever in Chicago. And if you live here, then what are you waiting for?

    Advertisements

     
  • 11:10:17 pm on November 8, 2008 | 1 | # |
    Tags: , ,

    Crazy crowd at concert!

    Crazy crowd at concert!

    Or not… They have won several Grammy and Latin Grammy awards, and this past year alone were nominated in six different categories. Originally from Naucalpan, Mexico, Cafe Tacuba has been making music since 1989. Until last night’s concert at the Aragon on Lawrence, i had only heard little about them, and only really knew like 3 songs. The place was ridiculously packed! This band made the people go wild! They played really well, and really knew exactly how to keep the crowd grooving, which is probably the most important factor to a successful concert. Cafe Tacuba’s musical genre is pretty much a big mix of several genres, but they are usually categorized as Rock en Espa√Īol. All their music is recorded in Spanish, but they were tons of fans of other backgrounds at the concert, which actually surprised me because of the language barrier, but really led me to think how widely known and loved they are. Their music is really good, so no matter what language you speak, you can appreciate for what it is; just good music! I would describe their music as punk-electronica, with a dash of emo, and a sprinkling of Mexico’s folk music. You can definitely tell that their music is influenced by the country they grew up in and the people that inspire it. They play everything from heavier punk to billowy emo songs, to songs that sound like a specific genre of Mexican music called “banda.” Like the video below:

    [youtube http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=DEfaxwK3mn4&feature=related%5D

    I wish i could have dragged a couple of you along, the people were insane. I’m not a big rocker, so i guess i’m just not used to that scene, but the crowd was moshing, and body surfing, and in the middle of the floor they were making a huge circle that looked to me like a washing machine on the spin cycle! CRAZY!!! I really enjoyed the scene, I felt like I was at one of their bigger concerts in their hometown or something. That’s how the people made it feel, because they were such huge fans of the band. For example, the lead singer wears his hats below his eyes and cuts eye holes, and there were a couple people in the crowd who had done the same, but you don’t understand it until you see it. But their music was really good, and the people were really fun. I don’t know what came over me, but i started screaming at the top of my lungs for them like the girl next to me! It was electric, and it was contagious! I beat the crowd last night and left a couple songs early, a little after they played my favorite song which I’ve posted below, just so you could see a bit of their musical spectrum. I think if you’re interested in a new type of music scene, or don’t mind listening to good music you might not understand, you should definitely check out this band’s tunes!

    [youtube http://br.youtube.com/watch?v=RQbVEae9HSI%5D

     
  • 03:36:56 pm on October 29, 2008 | 1 | # |
    Tags: , ,

    Murals in Pilsen

    Murals in Pilsen

    After spending all day in “La Villita” i think that its safe to say its not all as bad as you might have heard… Just like Chicago’s bad rep for being a gangster city (thanks Capone), Pilsen has had a bad rep as well for having an unruly past with the law at times, but also for being a very small community that keeps to itself. Located just south of UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago), Pilsen boasts Chicago’s largest Latino community. I took a walk down 18th street, and there you can pretty much find everything.

    House in Pilsen

    House in Pilsen

    There are great award-winning restaurants, bakeries, several shops to peek into, Harrison Park is around the corner, and a couple churches. The walls of the buildings across the street from the park have been painted into beautiful murals, and i found several of these as a walked around. They all varied, but pretty much all of them have a cultural Mexican significance tied into them. I ate some tacos at the Nuevo Leon restaurant right there on 18th. It was so pretty. Everything there is so reminiscent of Mexico itself.

    The National Museum of Mexican Art is right there in Harrison Park, so there’s no need to drive. The museum is beautiful, with arts straight from Mexico and fun souvenirs at the gift shop. Right now they have an amazing Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit going on that i recommend you catch before it ends on December 14.

    Frida Kahlo tribute at Day of the Dead exhibit

    Frida Kahlo tribute at Day of the Dead exhibit

    Pilsen is close to the El, and everything is literally within walking distance. Its such a beautiful cultural experience as well, and i kind of like that its so separate from the rest of the city even though thats usually what its criticized for. The people there are so friendly, and i felt like i was back in the Riviera Maya, with the exception of the cold weather! Pilsen has everything you could need or want, and more! There’s no need to buy a ticket to Mexico, just hop on the El! I really do believe that in order to get to know the whole city of Chicago you would really have to pay a visit to this city within a city!

     
  • 10:46:36 pm on October 25, 2008 | 0 | # |
    Tags: , ,

    Restaurant Mural

    Restaurant Mural

    You know that place you always drive or walk past and want to try, but you never go in? Well, thats exactly what this place was to me. I always take Clybourn because its a fast track to Lincoln Park from the North side of the city, and we all know how bad the traffic can get on Elston… So, i finally decided to check it out! Let me tell you, its nothing like i thought it would be… ITS BETTER!!! Even though the embargo has halted most things from Cuba getting here, no force of nature could stop their food from reaching the bottoms of our bellies. I visited 90 Miles Cuban Cafe on Thursday for lunch and I was so appreciative of the service. I got to talk to the owner, Alberto Gonzalez, about the place and he was so nice about all my questions. The walls are plastered with newspapers and ads he’s collected from Cuba and the U.S. and old photos of his family and childhood in Cuba.

    Pieces of history on walls of restaurant

    Pieces of history on walls of restaurant

    The place is so cozy, and the people there make you feel right at home. He’s very proud of the mural on the side of his restaurant, and i had the pleasure of listening to the story behind it. The boys are the natives of Cuba pulling the picture frame of their country into the city; this is made clear by the background of the Chicago skyline. They’re bringing their culture here! You can tell that a lot of love went into making this place, and it shows from the minute you walk in there and you get that warm fuzzy feeling (and i don’t mean the delicious food inside of you, but that might be it too!). I think that the owners have done a wonderful job of bringing a little bit of Cuba here to Chicago.

     
  • 08:54:53 pm on October 22, 2008 | 4 | # |
    Tags: , ,

    The band in action!

    The band in action!

    I had some friends in town from California who are touring with thier band.¬† Its called Antioquia and they have been touring the country since the beginning of this month to promote the release of thier new album.¬† I¬†absolutely love the title: “Gringolandia.”¬† Lucky me, they made a stop here in Chicago!!!¬† I met them through some mutual friends who are equally as much lovers of music and dance as i am.¬† This group invented their own type of music; no one else plays what they do, so it was a privilege for me to be a part of thier show last night.¬† The music they play is called afrocolombian progress rock…¬†Yeah, thats a mouthful!¬† Whats so funny about them is that¬†all the members in the band¬†are “gringos.”¬† For those of you who don’t know, the word¬†“gringo”¬†¬†is a word used by Spanish and Portuguese people used in Latin America and abroad to denote foreign non-native speakers of Spanish, especially English speakers from the U.S.¬† But man can they play!¬† They even use traditional instruments straight from Colombia, like¬†the shekere which is exemplary of Colombia’s African influences. ¬†I recommend downloading “Puya,” its my fave.¬†Its almost hard to describe, i guess you just have to see it for yourself.¬† ūüôā

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpZJ-b6_Cyg&hl=en&fs=1%5D

     
  • 09:23:35 pm on October 15, 2008 | 0 | # |
    Tags: ,

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    What better way to learn about culture than to actually see it in action? ¬†I recommend that everyone hit up the Chicago International Film Festival . ¬†It is going on October 16-29, and there are tons of films to view from all corners of the world. ¬†Obviously, i haven’t seen one yet, but as i was looking over the times and dates and descriptions of the films, i think that a lot can be learned just by watching them. ¬†I am particularly interested in the movie titled “Deficit.” ¬†I think that we as people have to realize that not only are there cultural differences in terms of ethnicities or of nationality, but also those between genders and the roles that our genders and classes play in our societies. ¬†In this movie, from what i read from the review, they study issues of class consciousness in Mexico. ¬†In Latin America, as in India and other parts of the world, class is a big issue, and at times is easily deciphered by the color of your skin or the neighborhoods we live in. ¬†This at times is true in Chicago. ¬†People judge by the places we live in and around. ¬†I think that the Film Festival is a great way to explore cultural diversity in Chicago and abroad. ¬†And all you have to do is buy a ticket.

     
  • 12:23:33 am on October 12, 2008 | 2 | # |

    Well, this is just an observation i made earlier today at another event i attended. Being a journalism major student, and one who is mostly interested in broadcast i noticed that the way that they do the news in different countries is very different. Specifically for women. I know that this isn’t usually what i would normally blog about, but i was wondering if anyone else had ever noticed the same thing. Or anything different than what i did. The event was another Hispanic Heritage Month event, but this time i was helping organize it. I was interviewed by this beautiful Hispanic woman who was wearing the cutest outfit. She was the reporter for the Spanish language news that day. I couldn’t believe the way she was made up, her outfit was really cute, and she had really pretty long hair. I wondered why U.S. stations make their women adapt to the “anchorwoman mold.” Its a huge cultural difference. See for yourselves.
    Latina anchorwoman

     
  • 11:19:40 pm on October 8, 2008 | 1 | # |
    Tags: , ,

    I can’t believe I almost forgot just how important this month could be for anyone who’s looking for a new cultural experience in Chicago! It just so happens that this is Hispanic Heritage month, and there are tons of events going on in and around the city! I went to one such event last night. I attended the 21st Annual Illinois Association of Hispanic State Employees Conference held by Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. Luckily I was invited because of my prior experience working with the Latino community in Chicago because if not i might have forgotten this whole month! At the event there were the speeches, and the food, and the people all over the place… you know, business event looking types. But then the performances started, and they were so great! There were a couple dances from different South American dance groups, and some live musical performances as well. I am so glad i didn’t miss this one! I have another event to go to this Saturday, and i can only hope the performances are as dynamic as they were that night!

    There are still a couple events that are left on the calendar until the end of the month, but don’t delay! Art museums and galleries across the city are involved, such as the Havana Gallery , right on Webster in Lincoln Park, and of course, several restaurants, stores and businesses. You can find these and other Hispanic Heritage events by visiting your local library and clicking on the Hispanic Heritage Month events available in your neighborhood.

     
  • 11:00:08 pm on October 4, 2008 | 0 | # |
    Tags: , , ,

    Well, in continuation with what I’ve decided will be my ode to Argentina week, I visited El Nandu tonight with some of my Argentinian friends. Lucky for me, one of them is visiting straight from Buenos Aires so i was happy to take him out to have some fun! El Nandu is a great place to check out. It has a great atmosphere, nice traditional art from Argentinian artists hanging on the bare-bricked walls, and the food is sooo good! It has a warm fuzzy feeling to it, as if you were visiting your hip Latin American friend’s house for dinner. Like the last place i went to, they had a really nice variety of empanadas, all really good, and the dinners are super good, too. Portions are big, and the prices are reasonable. But if you’re like me and you’ve got a sweet tooth you have to try the flan… It’s the best I’ve had here in Chicago. There was live music tonight, too; a lone guitarist playing tango music. The sad thing was that there was no space to dance! It was so crowded in there they set up extra tables.

    But the staff was really nice there, and chatted us up a whole lot, so that was nice. It’s a good thing we got there early, because there was a line outside the door tonight, as you can see in my picture above. It was really nice to be with my Argentinian friends because they taught me a couple things about the place and Argentina and its culture… For example, who knew there was a right way to drink yerba mate? There was also a full bar if you’re interested, and my friends certainly were! Fun times if you’re interested, try the empanadas de pollo! Until next time, El Nandu!

     
  • 08:28:01 pm on September 28, 2008 | 0 | # |
    Tags: , , , ,

    Well, i am interested in making my blog about the cultural diversity in Chicago, in a way. I’m not really sure what to call it yet, but its going to be a tour of all of Chicago’s different neighborhoods and the majority populations of the cultures that inhabit it. I was thinking of making it a spin on the current “staycations” that have become pretty popular given to the reasons why many of us cannot just pick up and leave in the middle of the year. For that reason I’m taking mini vacations in these city microcosms. I really want to make it a fun learning experience. Although I’ve lived here my entire life, i know a lot about the different neighborhoods, but not everything, and I’m interested in seeing what else i could learn visiting them and the people in the communities. I invite any of you to come with!!!