Your Curated Chicago Weekend, 1/28-1/31

I’d like to start this off with a glimpse of perhaps the stupidest idea Uber has ever concocted.

You may have heard about a couple of recent high-profile assaults carried out by drunk Uber passengers upon their drivers. There was the tiny, belligerent doctor who tried to hijack the car and then threw all of its contents out the passenger side window, yelling obscenities the whole time. There was also the (now former) Taco Bell executive who smacked his driver in the head several times for refusing to carry him any further. Incredibly, that dickweed is suing his driver for $5 million, claiming the incident was illegally recorded. Well, Ben Golden, maybe you shouldn’t have beaten up your goddamn Uber driver. I recognize that society tends to go overboard in its social media condemnations, and I think anyone wishing death or worse upon Golden is either evil or falling prey to mob mentality. But this guy seems like a genuine, grade-A asshole who deserves to be seen as such by the general public.

Anyways, today Uber announced a strategy to combat these drunken assaults: they’re going to put Bop-Its in the back seats of their fleet, piloting the program in Charlotte. For those of you who don’t remember, this is Bop-It:

It has to be in the top three of the all-time most annoying toys, with Furby and maybe Tomagotchi.

Uber’s thought process here is that drunk passengers, distracted and mesmerized by the toy, will leave their drivers alone. But I can see several issues with this:

  • Bop-It is super annoying. In the best case scenario, drivers are forced to listen to it be super annoying all night.
  • Bop-It is challenging, especially to drunk people who can’t think or move fast. This makes Bop-It frustrating.
  • Bop-It is easily wielded like a club. This makes it easy to smash in frustration when you lose, especially if you’re drunk and violent.
  • Bop-It, when wielded like a club in the hands of a frustrated, violent drunkard, is pretty much a concussion machine for Uber drivers.
  • Even if, somehow, the drunkard has not given the Uber driver a concussion, Bop-It is very easy to steal. This means that the next drunkard to get a ride no longer has a distraction, and we’re back where we started.

Nice try, Uber, but I’ve foiled your plan. Let’s hope this moronic stratagem never makes it to Chicago, or that the Bop-Its are at least replaced with Beanie Babies or something.

On to your Curated Chicago Weekend, where I recommend the perfect things to do over the next four nights:


Toshiki Okada’s God Bless Baseball @ Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., 7:30 PM

WHAT: Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada’s latest work about the intersection of Asian immigrants with American culture. This one focuses on baseball.

SO WHAT: Baseball reminds me of summer, and I could use some warm vibes–I bet you could, too. Plus, this play will feature Japanese actors portraying Koreans and vice versa, so it should be a delightful cultural mosaic.

NOW WHAT: The show is playing Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, but obviously I’m recommending that you go tonight because there’s other sweet stuff to do on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased here.


NE-HI, Clearance, and Dim @ The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave., 9:00 PM

WHAT: Local lo-fi rockers NE-HI take the stage at the Ukrainian Village mainstay, with Clearance and Dim opening.

SO WHAT: If there’s a Chicago band poised to break out in 2016, it might be NE-HI. They come from the same scene that produced Twin Peaks, they just got back from a national tour with Car Seat Headrest, and their music is goddamn catchy as hell. And, of course, if you’re looking for the essence of rock music, the Bottle is an amazing place to see a show.

NOW WHAT: Tickets are still available for $10 here. I’m going to be there, so if you see me, please buy me a beer.


Generacion Suicida @ Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave., 8:00 PM

WHAT: LA punk outfit Generacion Suicida appears for the first time in Chicago, alongside a bill of local punkers.

SO WHAT: If anarchy and nihilism uplift your mood in spite of capitalism and oppression, come see the LA bandGeneracion Suicida debut songs from their new album Sombras. Local punk groups RumoresAutonomy, and the new band Objects will perform with raw, raucous, and raunchy punk music inspired from music made in garages.
NOW WHAT: Behind the butchery and deli at the Chop Shop lies an event space called the 1st Ward — an apt locale for hardcore music. The 18+ show starts rather early, and tickets, which are available here, cost between $8 and $10.
Tim Kinsella and JR Nelson @ Chicago Athletic Association Drawing Room, 12 S. Michigan Ave., 2:00 PM
WHAT: Two local literary heavyweights hang out a fancy hotel.
SO WHAT: Featherproof may generally be considered Curbside Splendor’s little sibling, but that just means they’ve got more going on than they get credit for. Hosted by Tim Kinsella (Publisher at Featherproof, novelist, musician) and joined by JR Nelson (Gossip Wolf, Myopic Books), this new storytelling series promises to explore the underbelly of Chicago’s music and lit scenes.

NOW WHAT: Spend a Sunday afternoon getting cultured, then head to the Game Room for some delicious drinks and free table games.

You can catch our full list of weekend events on our calendar page, but why would you do that? This is the perfect sequence of events.

Zach Blumenfeld
Zach Blumenfeld

Zach graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2015 and, seeking to put off law school, began writing about music and pop culture. Now he's hooked on concert reviews and the Chicago music scene and thinks he could be doing this for a while. Follow his random thoughts on Twitter @zachblumy

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