Announcing our summer 2012 issue!
As we barrel toward the unofficial start of summer (yes, Memorial Day weekend is almost upon us), our new issue should be hitting subscribers' mailboxes and stores everywhere. So this is the time when we crow about our new work—starting with our cool feature about Chicagoland playgrounds—and give you a glimpse into some of the inner workings at TOCK Central. Now, our staffers take you behind the scenes:
“Our summer fashion shoot almost came to a grinding halt when our Shoreline Sightseeing boat was about to take off, and one of the models and her mom still hadn't arrived. Adding to the dilemma, one little guy very abruptly decided he was not going to participate either. That left us with only three models. Fortunately, just before the gangplank was yanked, our model arrived and eventually, after a phone call from dad, our man Everett (pictured first in the slideshow) decided he was up to the task afterall. Plenty of sunshine and an unseasonably warm day made the shoot a resounding success."
—associate editor Martina Sheehan
“In this issue, we started a new recurring feature in our Eating section that we think will be a big hit: Copyright, in which we reveal a secret recipe from a fave local eatery. We started out with a few cupcake places on our short list, two of which we were certain would accommodate us with a recipe, but never heard back from either of them. Needless to say, cupcakes have never left me feeling such anxiety, since we were fast approaching deadline. But then, while walking around my Lakeview ’hood, I stumbled upon Phoebe's Cupcakes. I walked in and introduced myself to the owner, who happened to be baking that day.
“When I told her about the story (and my anxiety), she didn't hesitate. She gave us a great recipe and added a summer food twist to an already delicious cupcake. The next day, I walked in to get a batch of cupcakes for our photo shoot—and Phoebe also handed me one to enjoy while on my way to work. It was the most satisfying bite I've had in a long time.”
—editorial assistant Matt De La Peña
“We decided to take a ‘This many’ approach, a.k.a ‘by the numbers,’ for my article about the upcoming transit of Venus, a twice-in-a-lifetime (if you're lucky) spectacle happening June 5. There's a wealth of information in the world about the phenomenon—including a very authoritative website (run by Indiana astronomer Chuck Bueter, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing), officials at the Adler Planetarium and the recently published books Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens by Andrea Wulf and Transit of Venus: 1631 to the Present by Nick Lomb—which made doing research both simple and fun.
“But one statistic eluded me: Based on Chicago weather records of Junes past, what are the odds that June 5 will be overcast? (Such an outcome would, of course, ruin the rare chance to witness Venus by day.) Naturally I contacted beloved WGN weather wizard Tom Skilling. He referred me to the man he calls Cook County's ‘keeper of the sunshine files,’ National Weather Service observer Frank Wachowski, who told me that, based on the past 30 years of record-keeping, June and August share ranking as Chicago's second-sunniest month (after the leader of the pack, July). Curious about the exact statistic that any given day in June will be sunny in Chicago? You'll have to read the article to find out.”
—associate editor Web Behrens
“The Kids team invited a bunch of magicians to visit us and perform on camera. Only one of them needed a volunteer, and they recruited me. Listen, with this magic trick, I knew exactly what was coming: You pick a card from a deck, the magician (Brett Schneider) shows you a blank card and puts it into your hand ... and presto-change-o, the blank card becomes your card. As an all-around skeptic, I was sure I'd figure it out halfway through the trick. I mean, I wasn't born yesterday, right?
“But as you can see from the video, he somehow still blindsided me. In fact, if you check the video at 2:43, I almost swear. I believe my exact words are "Holy shuh," and then I realize the video's going up on the Kids site. Whoops! Sorry I almost ruined your kid-friendly video, Brett the magician. Now, will you explain that trick to me?”
—Time Out Chicago online editor Ruth Welte
“How many sweets can you eat in just over two weeks? A lot, as it turns out. Like many magazine stories do, our Sweet Summer Treats pull-out, featuring 25 delicious items you have to try this summer, came together pretty last minute. There were shakes at lunch and cones after dinner on the same night, several times. (You try promising you'll only take a couple of sips of a Scooter's Boston milkshake when it tastes so crazygood!) A gaggle of hopped-up kids practically did laps around the block after we tackled the 25-scoop Royal George at Margie's. I watched chocolate leak down my arm and onto my white shirt while holding a Buddy Bar from Dairy Star in one hand while taking a picture of it with another. That was on a solo mission when, to my astonishment, I couldn't get anyone in my family to join me. They were ice-creamed out!
“This assignment's been done for a while—now my problem is that I know where to get the the sweetest treats in every corner of the city, and I have no will power.”
—editor Judy Sutton Taylor
“For this year's Sweet Summer Treats poster (as with last year's), we brought in our favorite food stylist, Lisa Benitez Kuehl. She stacked seven (!) Cookie Bar ice-cream sandwiches (can you guess which three were fake ice cream?), which balanced just long enough for me to get the shots I needed—then triumphantly fell into a beautiful heap! (See photo above.)”
—photo editor Nicole Radja