Pop Culture Artifact: “Sharp Objects”

sharp-objects-hbo-e1531037116539 (1)One example of pop culture that I find extra compelling at the moment is the “Sharp Objects” series on HBO which is based on the novel by Gillian Flynn.  Having read the bestselling author’s book I was interested to see how the HBO series would measure up and how the plot development, casting, and production would be approached.  Casting in this [particular circumstance was definitely an appeal for me, having always admired Amy Adams, work and the rest of the cast in this particular series. I have enjoyed waiting to finish a book before I go to see the movie in the past for “Gone Girl” which is also by Gillian Flynn and my personal favorite, “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins.  The phenomena of basing movies off of novels and series such as “Harry Potter” by J.K. Rowling is something that I have always been a big fan of and has never stopped interesting me.  I believe that having read a book before or after seeing the film version of it is a way to connect even deeper with the work, the author, and other fans; I believe that it is supplementary and beneficial to the overall viewing experience and it is interesting to me to see which parts are left out of the movie or modified and to what degree.

I agree with the inclusivity policy and agree to follow it for the duration of this class.


The Hotel Zachary- The Newest Addition to the Wrigleyville Family

By Bridget Guyon and Pauline Kochou

The Hotel Zachary is Wrigleyville’s newest addition to the infamous Chicago neighborhood. Home of the Chicago Cubs, and a major hub of bars and parties, Wrigleyville has a long-standing reputation of rowdy, uncontrollable behavior.

So how does an upscale boutique hotel like Hotel Zachary fit in with Wrigleyville and all of its antics?


Many partygoers were notably upset when they realized that McDonald’s had been torn down in order to make room for the new hotel. Considering that McDonalds is cost effective and typically open late, it was understandable that when everyone’s go-to restaurant for drunk food at 3 in the morning closed down, that there were many people who weren’t exactly looking forward to the opening of the hotel.

Luckily, McDonald’s owns the land where the Hotel Zachary was built. Part of the deal for the building of the hotel was that there would be a McDonald’s in the hotel. Open 24 hours and fully equipped with a modern design and self checkout stations, the brand new McDonalds has not disappointed Wrigley patrons.

Not only is the Hotel Zachary, as well as its attached establishments, polished and brand new, but it is literally right across the street from Wrigley Field – a few steps out the door and you’re already at the game, in addition to the view of the stadium from the hotel itself. Along with the new lustrous look, the ground floor contains several brand new restaurants, a bank, and a bar.

With a total of 173 rooms, which includes 20 suites, the Hotel Zachary also has a 24 hour gym available for their guests and overnight parking as well. As of March 30, 2018 this is the first hotel that is run by the Ricketts family (owners of the Chicago Cubs and Hickory Street Capital) and have gone above and beyond with the upscale quality of the hotel, while still remaining true to the culture and spirit of the city of Chicago. They announced their intent of building the hotel in September of 2016, and managed to open their doors just shy of two years later.

The Hotel Zachary while construction was still underway.

Toussaint Stevens, who supervises the front door, offered a tour of the hotel and explained the history behind it, and how it fits in the Wrigleyville neighborhood.

“Business has been great since we’ve opened,” he said. “This is a Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) hotel, so many Chicago travelers that are members have chosen to stay here, especially with the great location in Wrigleyville.”

The most notable thing once you walk in through the doors of the Hotel Zachary, is the grand staircase that houses two large portraits of Zachary Taylor Davis, the Chicago architect that inspired the building and name of the hotel, and his wife Alma.


On the second floor is another sophisticated bar and eating area, along with a great long table where guests and non-guests may utilize for studying or business purposes and an outdoor patio area with a grand fireplace and direct view of Wrigley Field.


The second floor is also home to the Alma Room; a dining room dedicated to the wife of Zachary Davis. The dining room is typically booked and reserved for exclusive special events. The Alma Room is also home to the original china owned by the Davis family and is put on glass display. There is also a beautiful canvas painting with parts of a love letter from Alma to Davis that is on the wall, with the words “Love, Alma” written in neon lights. Click here for an exclusive 360 panorama view of the Alma Room.


According to Stevens, The Hotel Zachary has a very respectable and polished demeanor. Stevens even made sure to emphasize that all of the leather in the hotel was designed specifically to look like the inside of a baseball glove, staying true to baseball and Chicago culture. Stevens also mentioned, “Families with children, and even fans of the opposing teams stay here.”

However, although a beautiful establishment, there was still the question of how this brand new suave hotel fit in to the party culture in Wrigleyville. When asked if the craziness has ever made its way into the hotel, Stevens replied by saying, “That stuff usually stays outside, closer to the bars in the area. People come inside and see what kind of place this is and know that this isn’t the place for that type of behavior.”

Ben Gulino, the general manager of Old Crow Smokehouse located down the street from the Hotel Zachary, expressed having initial apprehensions over the construction of the hotel but mainly the restaurants that were being built along with it saying, “ Most bars in the area were worried about losing business to the new establishments and being outperformed by them.”  

However, they haven’t seen a significant decrease on overall sales and have learned that the restaurants in the hotel offer a different environment and attract a different crowd than that of the older bars on Clark Street.

It is not an exaggeration that the Hotel Zachary is an upscale establishment, despite the reputation of the rest of the neighborhood. Stevens explained that on a non-game day a room can cost about $200 and up per night. Game days are usually about $350-375 and up per night.

Though it was great to get an inside perspective from Stevens, an external perspective is also critical when considering the overall effect of the hotel. Long time resident of the area, Lisa Abolt has owned her home on Marshfield and Roscoe for over a decade. Lisa was very optimistic about the new Hotel. Abolt and her family recently went to the Hotel Zachary for drinks shortly after it had opened it doors, “The hotel is just absolutely fabulous, and it’s in a great location that really fits in to the realm of a World Series winning team.”

Abolt mentioned that she was unsure of how the hotel would fit in with the neighborhood at first but after visiting and seeing the type of establishment that was created, she became a fan.  Abolt believes that the Hotel Zachary in fact brings a classy vibe to “a dive-bar ridden area and that people will now have the option be able to enjoy something other than $3 Bud Lights.”

In addition to the brand new Mcdonald’s, there are several new dining establishments; Big Star, Smoke Daddy, Mordecai, even a West Town Bakery. Guests and neighborhood locals have been provided with access to more upscale and quality dining options. With the addition of the Hotel Zachary and all that has come along with it, Wrigley is sure to see an influx of tourism, from people all around the world, and even those who call Chicago their home.

To reserve your stay at the Hotel Zachary, visit their official website here.

10 of Chicago’s Oldest and Most Prominent Cemeteries

Chicago has a rich and interesting past when it comes to burying and digging up it’s deceased.  Chicago and the Chicago-land area’s cemeteries are the resting places of many famous people including Muddy Waters, Al Capone, and Emmet Till, just to name a few.  In addition to the rich burial history, many of the cemeteries themselves are thought to be haunted and even cursed by old spirits.  And aside from the gravesites and hauntings, many of the cemeteries are known for their scenic landscapes, famous architecture, and beautiful mausoleums and headstones.


The Kardashians’ Search Interest on Google Trends

Kim Kardashian Posts Photo of Hair in Cornrows

Months after being slammed for appearing skin tones darker for her KKW beauty line promo, the Keeping Up with the Kardashian’s star took to social media today posting photos of her hair in braids while referencing Bo Derek, whom famously wore cornrows in the 1979 film, 10.  In response, people have taken to Twitter to criticize the reality TV star turned beauty mogul over the cultural appropriation of the hairstyle.

According to Google Trends analysis on Kim Kardashian, Bo Derek, and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, it appears that the topic gained initial search interest after Kim Kardashian posted the first controversial photo on her Snapchat.  As you follow the interest over time graph on Google Trends, you can see that there is a positive correlation between the rise in news articles and search interest.  Moreover, search interest by subregion in the United States indicates that it is anything short of a trending topic with 48 out of the 50 states showing at least a 55 out of 100 on the search interest scale.

Some of the trending queries displayed on Google Trends include Beyonce, Blue Ivy, Sofia Richie, Scott Disick, and Amber Rose.

Kylie Jenner Pregnancy vs. Khloe Kardashian Pregnancy via Google Trends

With the increase of speculation over Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy and sister, Khloe Kardashian’s pregnancy announcement with boyfriend Tristan Thompson- the two reality TV star sisters have been the topic of interest in the news and on social media.  Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy speculation started in September after rumors emerged that the makeup mogul was in hiding due to pregnancy, thus spurring search interest.  Shortly after, entrepreneur, Khloe Kardashian, had similar rumors begin to emerge- also causing a spark in search interest.

Although the two sisters are both extremely prominent in the public eye and in the tabloids, according to Google Trends analysis on the comparison between Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy and Khloe Kardashian’s pregnancy, search interest over Kylie Jenner’s Pregnancy dominates that over sister Khloe’s.

As the graphics on Google Trends show: search interest regarding Khloe Kardashian’s pregnancy has stayed fairly moderate since initial rumors, with the largest spike in search interest peaking at a humble 25 out of 100 when her pregnancy was officially announced in December.  On the contrary, Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy search interest displays two extreme spikes in interest on the graph.  Both spikes peak well over 25, the first at 92 and the second hitting the 100 cap.  The first occurred shortly after rumors began and the second started just a few days ago as suspicious pictures and new information surfaced regarding her possible pregnancy.

Overall, search interest in Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy trumps that of Khloe Kardashians by a landslide.  Not only is the search interest in Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy more popular but Google Trends shows that is more widespread as well-  occurring in more countries and at a higher volume.

Gov. Pat Quinn talks MAP Grants

Pat Quinn photo

Gov. Pat Quinn talks about MAP grants at DePaul University. (Photo by Josclynn Brandon)

Editor’s note: This story was originally posted on Dec. 12, 2012 and is housed at RedLineProject.org. It’s been repurposed with permission for this assignment:

By Bob Smith

Gov. Pat Quinn visited DePaul University’s Loop campus on Wednesday to discuss how pension reform is harming the Monetary Award Program (MAP) college scholarships and access to higher education in Illinois

“This is so important to our state, not only in the past, but certainly now and in the future,” Quinn said.
“We want everyone to have the opportunity to go to college that has the ability to go to college.”

MAP grants are need-based college scholarships that allow merit students who are in need across the state and do not need to be repaid by the student. Quinn said that due to cutbacks and having to pay more money in the pension amount, almost 18,000 students lost their MAP grant scholarships this year.

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