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Recently we invited 826CHI students into our office, and asked them to help us out with an unusual project. One that involved The Stars. The Chicago Public Schools students usually attend after-school tutoring at 826CHI, a local nonprofit, but our request was a little different from typical homework. We asked them to comment on celebrity style. If they didn’t, we explained, celebrities would never know what they looked like. So below, kids in grades 2–8 share their fashion-related thoughts on Mindy Kaling, Erykah Badu, Adrien Brody, and more. Spoiler: someone’s hair looks like river stones. But whose? Sammy Thomann (Grade 7) on Mindy Kaling The first thing that I like about this dress is that the colors work well together. The dark blue complements the light red. I also like that her hair looks really good. There are a few things I would change about this dress. I would make the top plain red and sleeveless, and the skirt wouldn’t have any ruffles or blue. I’d add some triangles of blue to the top on the sides and a skinny blue belt. The dress would come to knee length and the shoes would be plain dark blue. I’d lower the waistline of the skirt so it’s at her actual waist. Jazmin Campos (Grade 4) on Tilda Swinton This outfit is a hit. I like some parts of the outfit, but not all of them. I like how it is sewn together. The shapes on the shirt look like the outline of a ghost. While I don’t love the color gray, I like the gold sheen that reflects off of the gray. It is gold like a stinky, shiny goldfish. The pants are too long and she might trip and break a bone, even though she looks very tall like a giraffe. I don’t think I would wear it because it’s a bit too long. This outfit looks like it came from the future, where they will invent crazy hair. Her hair looks styled upwards. It looks like a closed flower blossom. She looks like she is going to a dinner party at a fancy restaurant, like Gourdanois, with other nice people. Or maybe she is the daughter of someone famous, but we don’t know who yet. We’ll have to wait and see! Maricarmen Gomez (Grade 7) on Erykah Badu Erykah Badu’s outfit is oversized, especially her sweater, her hat, and her earrings. The sweater is shaped like a cereal box, it’s the color of milk and looks like it is coated with sugary cereal. Her hat looks like a pencil eraser stuck on a giant dinner plate; maybe she traveled back in time and stole it from Abraham Lincoln and then painted it beige. The jumpsuit reminds me of a black manatee with its head chopped off. Speaking of the ocean, her earrings look like skinned fish. Katie Moy (Grade 3) on Will Ferrell I like this money suit. Will Ferrell looks like a millionaire. When other people wear this suit, they might be able to pretend that they’re a millionaire, too—maybe at Halloween, or a costume party. (But not when it’s too dark out. My mom told me not to wear black on Halloween. Some of this suit is black, but not much. It’s more greenish, because of the money.) Other people might think this costume is weird. Based on the background, it looks like someone was taking a picture, so maybe he was in a contest to see who’s the silliest, and the prize was taking his picture and posting it so he could be rich and famous. Of course, people might not like a money suit. If they’re poor, they might feel really hurt. It might seem like he’s bragging about being rich. But they should calm down and just pretend they’re rich, too. After all, the money is fake. Lily Gedney Merritt & Marcellus Finklea (Grade 8) on Chloe Sevigny Chloe Sevigny’s gold guitar dress is an interesting thing to wear to an event. Her dress is black and gold, which is usually a nice color combination, but I think if you’re going to wear gold, you should wear a lot to show people that you’re fancy. The small bit of gold on her dress is in the shape of a guitar with a scaly texture. The scales probably sound like jingle bells when she struts down the red carpet. The dress would look nicer if the guitar was lower so it didn’t look like it was stabbing her. Her shoes don’t match her outfit. They look like sandals she would wear while shooting a movie on the beach. Madison Grant (Grade 6) on Rihanna I think the floral pattern on Rihanna’s dress is composed of too many different colors and textures. The fishnet tights and the sparkly, black boots clash with the dress. Also, her hair is the same color as vodka sauce. Rihanna’s outfit would be more stylish if she ditched the poofy part of the skirt and extended the pattern below into a knee-length skirt. Or, she could have worn a crimson top with a milk-white skirt or black shorts. Iggy Azalea has a better sense of style because she coordinates her clothes with her shoes, and she does not dye her hair to go with her outfit. Claire Murphy (Grade 2) on Emma Watson I don't really like it because it's itchy. She cut her hair; I don't like it. I sort of like the jewelry. I wouldn't wear a dress like this to a party. It's gray like an elephant. The top is really tight. The bottom is really loose and puffy. She's wearing this dress at a party. She's wearing high heels; maybe the dress was a little bit too long so she put on high heels. There are 500 layers. There are sparkles. It would be hard to move. It would be hard to walk. It is probably really hot. It would taste like you couldn't chew it; you would have to cut it. It would make a puffy sound like fur. It smells like nothing. Rudy Fraher (Grade 3) on Adrien Brody His hairstyle is slicked like river stones. I like that. I also like that his jacket looks like it was stolen from a giant's closet while the giant was asleep. I like the color of the pants and jacket because they're brown like a dog, which is the opposite of my stuffed puppy, Webkinz. I like how the jacket looks like it's smooth and how it's shiny. I think Adrien Brody was polishing his shoes and then he went overboard and polished his pants and he said "Ooh, that looks good. I think I'll try that on my jacket." I don't like the shirt. Lady Gaga is a silly name. I like the shoes. They look very comfortable. I like comfortable shoes, but it depends on the kind of person you are: a stylish person or just an ordinary person who likes comfy shoes. Shop for computers, clothes, and markers in our Back to School shop. Illustrations: Jennifer Jackson, Groupon; Photo: Elisabeth Mikottis, GrouponRead More
A Chicago punk rocker offers a rough-edged alternative to Barney. Kids learn, parents rejoice, everyone wins. Three experiences prepared Dr. Paul Crowe for his current musical venture: earning a PhD in developmental psychology, becoming a father, and opening for Dee Dee and Marky Ramone. Shake it all together like a bottle of punk-rock baby formula and you wind up with Crowe’s alter-ego: Crusty Booger. Crowe—or Crusty, rather—is the frontman of the Boogers, a band that describes itself as “the Wiggles’ worst nightmare.” Their power-chord-heavy brand of rock draws as much from Crowe’s years in dingy punk clubs as it does from his recent background in childhood development. Though unconventional, to say the least, the combination has racked up awards and earned the Boogers praise from NPR’s All Things Considered. Though they might sound rough around the edges, the band’s call-and-response songs wouldn’t be out of place in a classroom. They help kids master conversational skills, teach them how words are built through rhyming, and encourage them to dance with a speedy, steady tempo. But the biggest perk for parents may be that the sound strays far, faraway from the sugary-sweet confections offered by other children’s artists. This is undoubtedly rock-and-roll—but instead of “I Wanna Be Sedated,” you get “I Just Wanna Play.” (Sunday, March 2, at 12 p.m. All ages, naturally. $6; get tickets here) Photo: Peter WochniakRead More
You don’t have to be 5 years old to get breathless at the sight of a towering fir tree cutting through the winter darkness with a thousand points of light. In honor of this centuries-old tradition, we’ve compiled five festive ways to light up a cold winter’s night. 1. Lights + Animals You’ll find dazzling light displays at both Lincoln Park Zoo (2001 N. Clark St.) and Brookfield Zoo (8400 31st St., Brookfield). Lincoln Park’s ZooLights twinkle to a soundtrack each night, and Brookfield’s Holiday Magic event counters with a laser light show plus more than one million bulbs that form a luminous display some polar bears may confuse for the northern lights. At both nighttime events, you’ll find live ice carving, entertainment, and, of course, critters big and small. Admission to ZooLights is free, but cars must pay a parking fee of $20. Brookfield Zoo admission fees ($15 for adults; $10.50 for kids aged 3–11) and parking fees ($10) apply. 2. Lights + Plants The Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe) offers a treasure trove of holiday delights, not the least of which is a display of more than 750,000 lights strung throughout the trees that light the path to Wonderland. Inside Wonderland, kids will find an intricate holiday train, known as the Wonderland Express, chugging its way through a detailed model of Chicago landmarks. A 40-foot fir tree, brought in via helicopter, stands guard outside Wonderland, serving as a helpful air-traffic control tower for lost flying reindeer. Wonderland admission ($12 for adults; $10 for kids aged 3–12) and parking fees ($25+) apply. 3. Lights + History As the former home of a General Electric founder, it’s no surprise that historic Cuneo Mansion & Gardens (1350 N. Milwaukee Ave., Vernon Hills) shines extra brightly around the holidays. The turn-of-the-century estate—owned by Loyola University—partners with the Village of Vernon Hills each year to illuminate its 97 acres with a drive-through Winter Wonderland display. Cars pass under dozens of bright archways flanked by animated displays of light-up animals, trees, and toys, all accompanied by music streamed by a local radio station. Admission costs $5 per car Monday–Thursday, $10 per car Friday–Sunday; cash only. 4. Lights + Beer Known most of the year for its well-executed pub fare, signature cocktails, and innovative “layered” draft beers, Butch McGuire’s (20 W. Division St.) transforms into a twinkling wonderland come December. The electric spectacle takes over the entire restaurant, with strings of lights dripping from every inch of the ceiling and a platoon of toy soldiers standing guard over the bar, awaiting a beer delivery from the model train running overhead. 5. Lights + Giant Toys A giant biplane, tall ship, and locomotive take over North School Park each year as just three of the majestic light sculptures that form Arlington Heights’ holiday display (Arlington Heights Rd. and Eastman St.). More than 70,000 lights make up the city’s 22nd annual display, whose theme is classic children’s toys such as dump trucks, teddy bears, dreidels, and hopelessly tangled Slinkys. Admission is free. Photos courtesy of Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Botanic Garden, Cuneo Mansion, and Butch McGuire's.Read More
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