By Mason Johnson

I never thought I’d say this, but it looks like the liberal myth of “global warming” might actually be true.

You win this time, commies.

You could sit around your house complainin’ about melting ice caps and cryin’ for those poor polar bears …

… Or you could go out and enjoy the fact that it’s a million degrees above normal in Chicago.

If given the chance, polar bears would totally eat your brains out in instant. Shed no tears for those beasts!

Anyway, here are my top five events for December. Go to them. That’s the point of this article.

Cole's patrons laugh at something AWESOME on the Cole's stage (Credit: Mason Johnson)

Cole’s patrons laugh at something AWESOME on the Cole’s stage (Credit: Mason Johnson)

Dan Shapiro’s Rigged Open Mic December 9th

Cole’s Bar
2338 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 6064
Facebook Event

Every second Sunday of the month, local comedian Dan Shapiro hosts the most awkward open mic in the city. Though mostly stand-up, he also welcomes stories and poetry.

Sounds to me like some sort of secret Marxist meeting-grounds.

Regardless, Dan’s show is notable not only because of how funny it is (there’s plenty of funny shows in this city), but also because of how unique it is. Other shows don’t quite shed the common sense of what “is” and “isn’t” popular in comedy like Dan’s show. Dan and his performers go against form, and it’s nice.

Seven Sins December 11th

Café Mustache
2313 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 6064
Facebook Event


This is the premier of a new storytelling series (whatever that means) that seems worth checking out. How do I know? How is it possible to conclude this is worthwhile when there has yet to be a single show?

The people, man. Everyone involved in this first show has proven how awesome they are elsewhere. Host Angela Vela has destroyed every open mic in the city. Keith Ecker, who co-hosts Essay Fiesta and Guts & Glory (two of the best shows in the city), has never failed to make an audience laugh whenever I’ve seen him read (plus, he often includes a lesson along with his laughs). Similarly, all the other performers are top notch, so don’t miss Ryan Duke, Erin Kahoa, Meghan Lamb (Dark of the Male, Light of the Female), Robyn Pennacchia (Sunday Night Sex Show), and Jeff Hansen.

Personally, it’s against my moral code to laugh, which is why I won’t be attending this. But if you enjoy having a good time and laughing, you should go.

Sufjan Stevens performs on his banjo during his concert on October 9, 2006 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California.  (Credit: Karl Walter/Getty Images)

Sufjan Stevens performs on his banjo during his concert on October 9, 2006 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. (Credit: Karl Walter/Getty Images)

XRT Holiday Concert for the Kids starring Sufjan Stevens December 15

3730 North Clark St.
Chicago, Il 60613
XRT Event Page

Sufjan Stevens (pronounced Soof-jan Steevinz) is worshiped as an indie-folk-rock-whatever God by a lot of people. Probably cause he’s so darn talented. Stevens, around these here parts, is most known for his album Illinois, a lo-fi love-letter to, well, Illinois.

Also, this show is for charity! What’s better than providing needy children with toys? I mean, I don’t believe in charity, I think a man (or child) should drag himself up by his bootstraps, but even I see the worth here.

Write Club in action (credit: Evan Hanover)

Write Club in action! (credit: Evan Hanover)

Write Club’s War on Christmas December 28

The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave.
Chicago, Il
Hideout Event Page

Imagine Fight Club, but instead of a shirtless Brad Pitt and mindless violence you have a bunch of nerds telling you hilarious stories for the sake of charity.


Writers are paired up and each assigned an opposing theme as they go head to head, each having 7-minutes to read their stories. The competitive aspect along with the time limit combine to ensure you get the best out of everyone in the show. And you really do get the best when you go to Write Club, which features some of the greatest writers IN THE WORLD (or, at the very least, in Chicago). Host Ian Belknap may be surly, but he’s entertainingly surly, the perfect host to something this intense.

December 28th’s show features Robbie Q. Telfer (hilariously-geeky-poet co-host of Encyclopedia Show), Megan Stielstra (intimidatingly-awesome-in-the-best-kind-of-way literary director of 2nd Story), Jen Ellison, Lisa Buscani, and Mike O’Connell.

The themes going head to head in this show are: Give VS Receive, Naughty VS Nice and Santa VS Jesus.

You might want to buy tickets ahead of time, Write Club does sellout on occasion. Don’t let the price scare you away, remember, it’s for charity!

(Credit: Christkindlmarket Chicago)

(Credit: Christkindlmarket Chicago)

Christkindlmarket November 20th – December 24th

Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington St.
Chicago, Il 60602

This holiday market is full of love and good feelings and glühwein. Lots and lots of tasty glühwein. There’s no better family friendly event downtown where you can see a giant menorah AND a giant tree in one place (just make sure not to give the kids any glühwein, that sorta takes away from the family friendly part).

Plus, it’s a great place for dates for those of you smart enough to have avoided having kids. Every single time I’ve taken a date to the Christkindlmarket, I’ve either “hit it out of the ball park” or gotten slapped – either result I’m perfectly fine with.

For those of you who don’t know, “hitting it out of the ballpark” is my euphemism for being slapped and then dumped.

Have an event coming up you want me to know about? Mention it in the comments section! Maybe I’ll go or write about it or none of the above!

Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago