The Columbia Chronicle

Perry’s ‘jobs machine’ just a mirage

By Matt Watson

September 26, 2011

Once Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination this summer, a buzz over the “Texas jobs machine” started up in political circles and commentaries. The charismatic, coyote-shooting, bible-thumping George W. Bush clone has since jumped to the top of the polls in the Republican field, surpassing former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and replacing U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann as the lea...

Obama’s plan better than nothing

By Matt Watson

September 19, 2011

President Barack Obama announced his jobs plan that he hopes will pull America out of its unemployment crisis to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 8. The plan is essentially another stimulus, this time totaling $447 billion, with $253 billion going to varying forms of tax cuts and $194 billion to new spending on roads, schools and preventing public employee lay-offs.Surprisingly, the Republican response to the bill was...

Oktoberfest 2.0: Germany then and now

By Matt Watson

September 12, 2011

Traditional “oompah” bands of tubas and accordions pump away in the background while crowds swarm the enormous beer tent in Munich, Germany every September. Dirndl-clad beer maids pass out oversized steins of the city’s purest brews, and tourists and Bavarians alike stuff their faces with bratwurst covered in sauerkraut and giant pretzels, or “brezn.” At noon on the first day of the three-week festival, the mayor ...

Comprehensive sex ed doesn’t destroy society

By Matt Watson

September 6, 2011

In the 2004 hit comedy “Mean Girls,” Coach Carr awkwardly lectured his sexual education class, “Don’t have sex because you will get pregnant and die.” A funny and memorable line, yes, but also not far from what some legislators, administrators and parents would prefer was taught in schools.Fortunately, a bill passed by the Illinois State Senate on May 25 requires public schools that have sexual education programs ...

Chicago restaurants go green

By Matt Watson

September 6, 2011

An array of vegetables and solar panels share the rooftop deck of Uncommon Ground, 1401 W. Devon Ave., and provide the restaurant with fresh produce and energy, as well as a sense of pride in being the nation’s first certified organic rooftop farm. With a three-star rating from the Green Restaurant Association, Uncommon Ground is Chicago’s most sustainable diner.[kml_flashembed publishmethod="dynamic" fversion="10.1.8276" useex...

Chicagoan pedals across the Americas

By Matt Watson

May 9, 2011

From the frozen tip of Alaska through the lush jungles of Central America and down the steep peaks of the Andes Mountains, daredevil cyclists brave the Pan-American Highway each year. The paths are all different; some travelers chose to take the scenic Pacific Coast, others rode the rugged Rocky Mountains. While each rider goes for a different reason, few who complete the trip regret leaving.Biking from the northern coast...

‘Sluts’ walk to reclaim word

By Matt Watson

May 9, 2011

Thousands of people marched the streets of Toronto on April 3, carrying signs reading, “Enjoying sex doesn’t mean violence” and “Met a slut today? Don’t assault her.” The protesters, who ranged in age, race and sexual orientation, all marched to end the derogatory use of the word “slut.”SlutWalk is a parade and rally held to raise awareness about sexual abuse and the culture of victim blaming.The movement ...

Hornswaggler mixes cocktails with art

By Matt Watson

May 9, 2011

Serving drinks like the Upstairs-Downstairs and the Mad Dad, Graham Hogan and Joe Rynkiewicz create specialty cocktails inspired by art. The duo began mixing handcrafted drinks after Hogan concocted Skittle-infused vodka for a group of friends at a party, which was a huge hit. Using their mixing skills, they have created a new way to support the art community in Chicago.Hornswaggler Arts, an art-commerce project founded b...

CSA model’s artistic transformation

By Matt Watson

May 2, 2011

Emerging and established artists alike have been brought together by a growing scene across the U.S. that applies the idea of community supported agriculture to artwork. Sculptors, painters and photographers who have been featured everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art in New York City to the Art Institute of Chicago now have a unique platform to sell to customers that previously wasn’t available.Threewalls gallery, 119 ...

Foodgasm premieres with edgy style, alternative recipes

By Matt Watson

April 18, 2011

Dressed to imitate Lucille Ball, wearing a vintage apron and bright lipstick to accent her flaming red hair, Ashley Simone dashes around the kitchen as she prepares recipes designed for people who don’t want to eat a big slab of meat. Ending each episode by blowing the audience a kiss, Simone said she wants to set herself apart with a provocative show that, she hopes, will some day rival Rachael Ray’s in popularity.Sim...

‘Common Sense’ brings interactive work to Oak Park gallery

By Matt Watson

April 18, 2011

Hanging from the walls and ceiling like a massive, colorful spider web, Sheila Pepe’s yarn installation exhibit, “Common Sense,” gives audience members a chance to interact with the artwork at the show’s finale. At Pepe’s recent show in Boston, some exhibit goers crocheted beer cozies using yarn from the exhibit, while another made a cap for her unborn baby.The traveling interactive exhibit by Pepe, opened at He Sa...

Logan Square Preservation turns Comfort Station into gallery space

By Matt Watson

April 11, 2011

Photo courtesy Kyle C. HendersonIn a grassy park, sitting directly across from the Logan Square Monument, is an unassuming building that looks like an abandoned tool shed. Built in 1915, the space was originally a place for weary travelers to escape the harsh Chicago winters while waiting for the train. After sitting vacant for decades, it was finally transformed into an interdisciplinary art gallery.The Comfort Station gallery...

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