This weekend, the 13th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair (ChiTAG) returns to Navy Pier in Chicago for two days of fun, Saturday, November 21, 2015 and Sunday, November 22, 2015. Having covered ChiTAG extensively here on THE ROCK FATHER Magazine for the past four years of its run, I've taken a look at this year's schedule and floor plan to highlight five things that we're looking forward to this weekend. With hundreds of participants, there's some familiar faces and some fresh ones that will be exhibiting some of 2015's hottest toys and games (several of which are in my 2015 Holiday Wish Guide), appropriately just ahead of Thanksgiving Week and the infamous Black Friday shopping kick-off. Here's a few things to check out... and yes, there will be STAR WARS.
September 1, 2015 started out as a pretty normal, yet very exciting day for our family. It would be a milestone morning in which our youngest daughter, Finley, would embark on a new journey - her first day of preschool. My wife made plans to go into work early on that day, parents welcome to accompany their little ones as they took their first step into a larger world. We were in the classroom filled with the smiles of happy kids and glowing parents when one of the administrators quietly entered and asked for all of the parents to move into the hallway to "discuss an event in the community." Standing in a hallway lined with little red lockers and colorful artwork, we would learn that the school had entered lockdown for "an active shooter in a neighboring town." Information was sketchy, fast-moving and ever-changing, but what we knew was that there was an "officer down" - one who would soon be revealed to be Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz.
Chicago Friends - this weekend, THE MASSACRE (Chicago's original 24-hour horror film event) returns to THE PATIO THEATER for a full cycle of monstrous goodness just in-time for Halloween! Kicking off with a short film program at 11:15am on Saturday, October 17, the feature-length goodness runs from noon-noon, with "survivors" being counted on Sunday - those brave enough to make it through the full 24 hours. There's some Rock Father Favorites in the mix this year including GREMLINS 2, George A. Romero's DAWN OF THE DEAD, THEY LIVE and CHRISTINE. Check out the full lineup below, or grab your tickets now for just $20 via Brown Paper Tickets.
While Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival can take many shapes for many people, Day Two was all about the "legends" in my eyes. A genre-bending day filled with plenty of punk (THE DAMNED, CIV, THE DEAD MILKMEN, PENNYWISE, THE LAWRENCE ARMS+) tied to Riot Fest's roots, the biggest moments for me were stacked as night began to fall.
Ever since Woodstock '94, visions of mud-fueled mayhem have gone hand-in-hand with summer music festivals in America. In Chicago, that hasn't been far-off these past couple of years, as soggy weather has made for some challenging festival-going, turning once lush green grass into foot-deep bogs of sticky slop. As Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival got underway in its new home at Douglas Park yesterday, the scene was much like last year on the weather front, though thankfully the skies opened early enough in the day that concertgoers were able to enjoy most of the festivities rain-free... despite the muck underfoot. Families were out in full-force for Riot Fest, with new generations experiencing some of their parents' favorite bands, likely for the very first time.
This weekend, Chicago's Riot Fest & Carnival returns, this time taking place in a new location, Douglas Park (St. Anthony Hospital, be damned!). Having attended and covered the festival off-and-on over the years, it's still incredible to see what was once a week-long, multi-venue, sorta "underground" affair having expanded into a massive, three-day event that no longer simply happens in Chicago - but also Denver and Toronto. While there's certainly plenty of other festivals in Chicago (and the U.S.), this is the only one that I look forward to - the only one that truly speaks to my interests. The only issue for me with the size is, well, size - and that creates logistics issues no matter which festival you attend, particularly one with dozens of bands spread over seven stages. Conveniently, Riot Fest has an App (available for iOS & Android) to help with scheduling and music discovery, and from that App I was able to narrow my list to around 27 artists to check out, toplined by my favorite band of all-time, FAITH NO MORE. Still, there's some overlap, but I'll get it figured out. Accompanied by a highlight reel from last year, here's THE ROCK FATHER's picks for Riot Fest Chicago 2015 as exported and emailed via the Riot Fest App.