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Rube Goldberg Machine ContestIf you've ever seen Back to the Future, played a game of Mouse Trap or watched a recent OK Go video (particularly "This Too Shall Pass"), then you've seen a Rube Goldberg Machine. These creations are elaborate, generally ridiculous machines that are crafted for the purpose of accomplishing a mundane task... like brewing a cup of coffee or feeding your dog. Rube Goldberg has been called "the grandfather of S.T.E.M." due to the enduring legacy of his iconic illustrations. Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning engineer and cartoonist, and his "invention cartoons" were the blueprint for countless contraptions that now bear his name. In 1988, things became official with the start of the RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST®, originally as a college competition. Three decades later, the annual contest encourages student inventors from across the country to create the best machines that they can, and for the 30th Anniversary, the 2018 contest came to a conclusion in Chicago.

Published in Tech

In 2019, Star Wars Celebration will return and it's celebrating its 20th Anniversary right here in my home town of Chicago! That's right, ReedPop (the folks behind the fantastic C2E2) and Lucasfilm will bring Star Wars Celebration to McCormick place April 11-15, 2019.  The full website and details will be coming soon, with tickets going on-sale June 5, 2018 at noon CST. The announcement was made on this week's installment of The Star Wars Show, and you can bet I will be spending quite a bit of time in the City proper come next April.  In the meantime, check this out...

Published in Movies, TV and More

With three decades of storied history, acclaimed singer/songwriter Kevin Lee continues to inspire generations as one of the best big-hook, power pop songwriters in the business. Flanked by his incredible band, The Kings, Lee recently released Sticks & Stones on Sigus Records. With an infectious sound of modern pop/rock packed with big guitars, indelible hooks, and soaring vocal harmonies, the songs deliver the kind of car-radio magic that turn winter nights into summer bright. Tracks like “On Top of the World,” “Tell the Truth,” the Tom Petty-esque, “All We Have Is Now,” and the ultra-catchy “Hold On to Yourself Tonight,” remind you of why you loved rock and roll in the first place. Ahead of some summer live dates and an upcoming performance at Joe's Live in Rosemont, IL to benefit Lurie Children's Hospital, our writers caught up with Kevin to talk a little bit about the new album, the music business and the Chicago sound.

Published in Music News

Don't play this with the kids around. Also, unless you work somewhere cool, you can probably consider this NSFW (not-safe-for-work) as well. Those helpful tips out of the way, today brings a third trailer for MGM's DEATH WISH remake, and this time around the Eli Roth-directed action flick is getting the GRINDHOUSE treatment. With a new, 70's-style trailer that recalls the 2007 Tarantino/Rodriguez collaboration to which Roth contributed the infamous "Thanksgiving," you can see the splatter-iffic action below. Again, don't show it to the kids. There's brains involved. 

Published in Movies, TV and More

Around these parts, I'm known for being "anti-football." I don't like the game, I despise the NFL, and I find much of the culture around the sport to be unsavory. But there was a time when I did like football, and it was when i was a child. I like to think that I just didn't know any better at the time, but living in Illinois, the '85 Chicago Bears were a big deal. I still have my 7" vinyl 45rpm copy of "The Superbowl Shuffle." I had the G.I. Joe figure of William "The Fridge" Perry that Hasbro put out. And funny enough, my first "acting" role was as "Little Jimmy" McMahon in a cable access spoof of "The Superbowl Shuffle" that aired in Park Forest, Illinois ahead of Super Bowl XX in 1986. Now, as we approach Super Bowl LII (which I have no plan on watching aside from the commercials and the halftime show), a new documentary is coming to theaters that spins it back to a time when I did like football. Check out the trailer for '85: The Greatest Team in Football History... brought to you by Fathom Events, in select theaters on January 29, 2018...

Published in Sports Entertainment

It was in September of 2017 when the rumblings of a major restructuring really took hold for Toys "R" Us. I offered-up some commentary on one of their owners, Bain Captial, and how I feared that they were positioning Toys "R" Us for a repeat of the fleecing and destruction that they subjected KB Toys to in the early 2000s. A week later, the rumbles became reality as Toys "R" Us filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. While it was "business-as-usual" for the most part at the actual stores, now that the holiday season is behind us, the dark reality that everyone knew was coming has arrived: store closures. In a statement issued late on Tuesday, Dave Brandon, Chairman & CEO of Toys "R" Us announced that they're pairing down the store list, but he reaffirmed the commitment to making Toys "R" Us a destination for generations to come. One thing not included in the message was the actual store closing list, but that was buried in a court filing from yesterday afternoon. Around 180 stores will be shuttered between February-April, and sadly the Toys "R" Us that I shopped at as a kid is one of the ones about to go, and as an adult I've shopped at four of the eight Illinois locations about to go dark. Of note is that many of the store closings are actually stand-alone Babies "R" Us locations, and it's expected that nearby Toys "R" Us stores will be remodeled to be TRU/BRU combo stores. Here's the local list...

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