Arts & Culture

Drinking problems rampage among college students causing severe health risks

By Xinyi Zhang
Medill Reports

College students often assume that they can escape most of the negative physical and mental effects of consuming alcohol because they are young and healthy and some don’t drink all that frequently. But even minimal consumption of alcoholic beverages can still have significant negative impacts on health regardless of age. That’s according to Dr. Mashkoor A. Choudhry, a Loyola University professor of surgery, microbiology, and immunology.

Alcohol has a major impact on physical health, personal safety, and is linked to mood, and eating disorders, he says.

“Regular alcohol consumption affects multiple organs including the brain and greatly influences a person’s cognitive abilities. Alcohol has an immediate effect on the brain, making it difficult for a person to inhibit impulses and concentrate,” Choudhry says. This increases the likelihood of making poor decisions and may encourage irresponsible sexual behavior and drunk driving, the cause of many accidents. Frequent alcohol consumption puts college students at risk and may result in physical harm, injury or even death. Continue reading

Native American Powwow draws a multi-cultural crowd at UIC

By Anika Exum
Medill Reports

Every November, the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) hosts a traditional powwow to commemorate the start of Native American Heritage Month.

Chicago is home to the Midwest’s largest Native American population and is the second largest east of the Mississippi River.

This year’s powwow was the 27th annual event, hosted by UIC’s Native American Support Program (NASP) and the Native American and Indigenous Student Organization (NAISO). Members of the community from across the city, throughout Illinois and even outside the state gathered in UIC’s Student Center East for a night of traditional dance, drumming, singing and food.

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The evolving, not disappearing, presence of ethnic cuisine in Chicago

By Annie Lin
Medill Reports

“What is authentic?” Rooh’s executive chef Sujan Sakar remarked. “Nothing is authentic.”

“I am having a hard time with the definition of authentic anyhow,” said longtime Chicago Tribune restaurant critic Phil Vettel. He thinks that it is going to be impossible to find authentic or traditional restaurants.

In recent years, the $30.1 billion restaurant industry in Illinois has seen an emergence of restaurants marketed as contemporary, modern, fusion, and globally inspired. This raises the question of whether these new restaurants are replacing traditional, family-run ethnic restaurants.

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Triumphs and tribulations of the Chicago Red Stars franchise reflects the evolution of the NWSL

By Krystina Iordanou
Medill Reports

Within a seven-day span, the Chicago Red Stars experienced the triumph and defeat that comes with competition.

On a beautiful autumn Sunday in Chicago, the Red Stars defeated the 2018 Thorns to reach their first National Women’s Soccer League Championship in franchise history. Just seven days later, the Red Stars suffered the largest deficit loss ever in an NWSL championship, losing 4-0 to the North Carolina Courage on the reigning team’s turf.

Despite the lopsided loss, the Red Stars showed an inspiring effort throughout the entire 90 minutes, even after going down three goals in the first half. The Red Stars journey as an organization emulates the same hurdles we have seen the league struggle through since its inaugural season in 2013. Continue reading

How Cesar Izquierdo started a premiere Chicago Peruvian restaurant

By Harrison Liao
Medill Reports

It’s no “fu fu restaurant.” That’s the first thing Cesar Izquierdo tells you about his restaurant, Taste of Peru in Rogers Park.

Irene Ulbrich, owner of Caleo Cafe in Angola, Indiana, and a Peruvian native that frequents Cesar’s restaurant when she visits Chicago, says it’s what makes Taste of Peru so special.

“Other Peruvian restaurants serve these really pretty, very yummy dishes, but the Peruvian food I grew up with is like what Taste of Peru serves,” she says. “A plate full of food and flavor. Lots of food.”

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Community drives three independent bookstores to thrive despite digital-heavy environment

By Hannah Farrow
Medill Reports

Between same-day shipping and instant Kindle ebooks, Amazon dominates book sales. Borders went out of business in 2011. Barnes & Noble was sold this year after its worst year in sales to date; they’ve also closed over 150 stores in the last decade. Yet the entire country is seeing a spike in independent brick-and-mortar bookstores and their sales. In Wicker Park alone, a neighborhood known for the arts, three thrive: Volumes, Myopic and Quimby’s.

“Myopic is the used books. Volumes is the family friendly. And we’re the weirdos,” said Liz Mason, 45, manager of Quimby’s. “We all have different vibes, and we all fulfill different needs. Honestly, in my mind, it feels like I have collaborators in getting Wicker Park to be more literary.”

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Obstacles in front of building art center with affordable space in Wicker Park

By Yilin Xie
Medill Reports

Alma Wieser’s plan of building an art center in Wicker Park needs to cross over many obstacles. Raising money is the first. Achieving sustainable affordability in a gentrified area is the second.

Alma Wieser, the owner of Heaven Gallery, hopes to build a not-for-profit art center on North Milwaukee Avenue. The center will be dedicated to developing art in Wicker Park. A not-for-profit in San Francisco is her model.

The proposed art center will be in the Lubinski Furniture Store building. The building went on the market on Oct. 10, according to LoopNet, an online real estate marketplace.

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Compulsive loyalty at Starbucks and clues to it from a neurology lab

By Annie Krall
Medill Reports

Starbucks has learned how to make customers keep coming back for more thanks to their rewards program.

And they’re not alone.

Thousands and thousands of businesses use rewards programs to draw customers in and keep them loyal. But why is potentially getting the next stamp or another level up so enjoyable to us?

Talia Lerner, a neurobiologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and her team of researchers are trying to answer that question and many more. Using mice as test subjects they are analyzing the neurological pathways that make compulsive behaviors so difficult to stop, especially when it comes to alcoholism or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

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Ninja Warrior joins obstacle course racing to set sights on Olympics

By Junie Burns
Medill Reports

Acclaimed athletes such as gymnast Simone Biles and swimmer Katie Ledecky prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. But behind the scenes, Ian Adamson and Bob Clark are hard at work to introduce a new sport to the Olympics: obstacle course racing joined by Ninja Warrior athletics.

Every season of Olympic Games provides an opportunity for new sports to be showcased as demonstration sports, and each of those sports hopes to be selected as an official Olympic event. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will welcome back baseball and softball as Olympic sports while also debuting Rock Climbing.

Ninja Warrior became a phenomenon as a youth recreational sport following the success of the NBC hit series American Ninja Warrior, launched in 2006. The televised Ninja Warrior competition has spread to more than 18 countries, and local gyms are popping up in the Chicago area and all over the world, providing ample opportunities for local competitions.

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Local guitar pick vending machine business donates a share of profits to Planned Parenthood

By Lucia Whalen
Medill Reports

Chicago music venues Gallery Cabaret, The Empty Bottle and Cole’s Bar have new additions to their décor: adult vending machines that, for the price of four quarters, deliver a small plastic container that holds a one-of-a-kind guitar pick and a condom.

The business, Glitter Picks, is owned by local Chicago musician-turned entrepreneur Alen Khan, and 10% of all proceeds are donated to Planned Parenthood. Rock and roll meets safe sex.

According to Khan, the idea for Glitter Picks came to him while in search of a guitar pick at the Gallery Cabaret music open mic in early 2019.

“I went up there to play and no one had a pick, and I’m notorious for never having a pick. So I said, ‘Hey, why don’t places like this have a machine that just has picks?’ And that’s kind of how it started,” Khan explained.

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