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The Chicago Green Office Challenge: Encouraging Sustainability in Business

Chicago Green Office Challenge logo

by Andrew DeCanniere

Earlier this month I found out about the City of Chicago's "Chicago Green Office Challenge," designed to engage the City of Chicago's business community and encourage them to consider what they could do to operate in a more environmentally conscious manner. Last week I had a chance to speak with Alex Moree of the Delta Institute, to learn more about the program.

Andrew DeCanniere: I just recently learned of the “Chicago Green Office Challenge” myself, and I’m sure that there are many other people who haven’t heard of it, or perhaps — like myself — just learned of its existence. Perhaps you could give us a bit of background. What is it? How did it come to be? And, for that matter, what’s the City’s motivation for putting this kind of a program in place?

Alex Moree: I would say it has a little bit of a fun and funny history. It began in 2008, as a City of Chicago program. The Department of Environment and the City of Chicago were working on it with a non-profit called ICLEI. They previously had an office in Chicago, and I actually used to work for them. They are headquartered in California and closed their Chicago office. They are an environmentally focused non-profit that works specifically with local governments — so cities and counties and some rural areas — on sustainability programs. They were talking with the City of Chicago about ways to engage commercial offices, because the City didn’t previously have a really robust program for that, and they wanted to develop one.

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Deanna Devore

by Lindsey Shaw

I stand with my pen and paper on the venue floor, having carved out an area for one. There are fleeting moments in the beginning of the set I’m reviewing where I get a little self-conscious about not having an entourage of fellow fans and friends standing by. There are groups around me — they’ve ostensibly purchased show tickets weeks in advance after coordinating the outing through a string of e-mails. But why let my lack of camaraderie spoil a show? After all, I'm not a 15-year-old that worries about such things.

Shortly before Deanna Devore sings, I’m hit on by another solo attendee, and he chats me up until he sees the headliner walk by and implores my pardon as he ditches our encounter to chase another, perhaps more celebrity-worthy, tryst. Men. Alone once again, I hear Deanna croon, "If you’ve had a change of heart," in a sultry voice to an upbeat, electro-pop tune, "and now someone else gets the best of you." One may assume such love lyrics are soaked in whatever broke the musician’s heart, but this is not the case when it comes to an artist like Deanna Devore.

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SONS OF THE SILENT AGE: Interview With Chris Connelly


Written and interviewed by: Neil Miller, Jr.

Chris Connelly has remained an enigmatic presence in the music world for over 20 years now. Here in modern-day Chicago, we know him as a head honcho at Reckless Records and an avant-garde, jack-of-all-trades musician who can toy with any genre he'd like and end up with beyond stellar results. But in his past, we remember him most as one of the core members of Chicago's own Ministry and Revolting Cocks. Both were projects helmed by frontman Al Jourgenson, but Connelly was just as much of an integral part of both bands, their respective side projects PTP and Acid Horse, and the industrial music scene in general (he did sing lead on Ministry's "So What," which is arguably the most popular favorite amongst hardcore fans). He's released work on the seminal Wax Trax! label and worked with other artists such as KMFDM, Pigface, The Damage Manual, and released an enrapturing collaboration with Bill Rieflin (if you haven't heard Largo, you should get on that). Beyond this, he also penned a memoir of his time in the music industry: Concrete, Bulletproof, Invisible, and Fried: My Life As A Revolting Cock.

A busy guy he may be, but not so much that he can't partner up with friend and collaborator Matt Walker and Garbage vocalist Shirley Manson to get together and play a night full of David Bowie songs at the Metro on January 11th. Billed as The Sons of the Silent Age (the title of one of the best songs from Bowie's Heroes), this collective will be performing on this particular night to benefit The Pablove Foundation: an organization whose mission is to "fund pediatric cancer research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and improve the quality of life for children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs."

We had a quick email chat with Chris about the event and his affinity for Bowie (which we at UR Chicago share whole-heartedly), which you can read below.

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12 Days of Porn & Chicken | Interview with SRTB 

To people outside the event promotion industry, it is a common misconception that throwing a party is an easy, fun task that any functioning alcoholic with a decent amount of Facebook friends can pull off. Yes, it can definitely be fun, but easy? Not in the slightest. Remember your high school prom? Yeah, neither do I, but remember how your high school had a prom committee that would spend up to an ENTIRE year planning it? Well, try to imagine throwing a party for hundreds of increasingly fickle and demanding adults amidst a sea of competition in one of the biggest cities in the country EVERY SINGLE WEEK.

Parties and the promoters that throw them can come and go in the blink of an eye. Competition always gets nasty, and the continual effort required to keep things fresh and people interested is not for the faint of heart. That is why after two very successful years of a weekly residency (Porn & Chicken) plus rotating monthly parties (Shut Up and Dance, Salon and Cosmetology industry nights) and an ambitious holiday marathon run to end the year (12 Days of Porn & Chicken), we decided to pick the brains of the SRTB (So Ready to Bang) crew, who seem to have partying down to a science.

Surprisingly, we learned that even though this crew is known for their no-holds-barred partying, it's their positive attitude, hard work, and focus that have helped them rise above the crowd. You might not be into "bangers" or nights of insanity (possibly mixed with regret), but you got to hand it to these crazy kids — they know what they are doing. Respect knuckles all around. - Chess Hubbard

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Stardust Celebrates Four Years | Interview with Scott Cramer

Scott Cramer (front and center) and half of his crew | photo by Danyel Duncan of

Stardust, a weekly gala that takes place every Thursday at the legendary Berlin Nightclub, celebrates its fourth anniversary this year with some big upcoming parties. We talked to Scott Cramer, the man behind this successful residency, and Cramer PR about the party, his other endeavors, and his experience as a promoter in Chicago.

UR Chicago: First off, congratulations on FOUR YEARS of your Stardust residency! A four-year residency is a LONG time, and for a weekly? Nearly unheard of! How did you initially come up with the idea for Stardust? Why the name Stardust? Does it have a special meaning?

Scott Cramer: Well, funny you asked that. We’re almost sure it was born at an after hours in a teepee at a Rainbow gathering somewhere on a farm, with a few hippies and this goth gal. Anyhow, Paula Abdul straight up now told us....  Stardust. Ever since then it's just kind of been this thing we do every Thursday with our chums.

UR: Berlin has such a long and vibrant history and is one of our favorite clubs in Chicago. How important is a venue for a party and did you have Berlin in mind when planning Stardust?

SC: The venue is definitely a vital part. Berlin is amazing because you can let your hair down or spray it six feet in the air, and you will still be welcomed warmly. It's probably the only space we have been to that anyone and everyone can truly be themselves.

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