The greatest parts about January are the numerous, wonderful opportunities that allow you to break any and all New Year’s resolutions you’ve set for yourself!

Let’s share our lists!

Mason Johnson’s Amazing List Of Resolutions He Will Inevitably Give Up On!

  • Do more pull-ups
  • Eat fewer Fruit Roll-Ups
  • Recite fewer Wu-Tang Clan lyrics (the ironic-white-kid-rapping thing isn’t funny anymore)

The list seems modest enough and fairly easy to accomplish. I can’t wait to fail at them. You don’t tend to fail your resolutions by staying in though (unless you’re a loser who has no friends and your resolution is to “go out more”). It’s going out, having fun, being cool and popular (like me), that makes you cheat on the tenets you set for yourself every January 1st.

So, to help you fail, here’s a list of cool events. You’re welcome.

(credit: Chicago Zine Fest)

Facebook Event Page
CBS Event Page
Januart 6th

Chicago Zine Fest (, which will take place March 9th & 10th, is a festival that celebrates small press publishing. For those of you who might want to support these kinds of awesome, artistic endeavors, or just want to have a good night, check out this musically-enhanced benefit. Presented by DIYCHI, A Benefit for Chicago Zine Fest will features bands like Into It. Over It, Creaturely Features, Gunshy and more!

(credit: Wu-Tang Clan)

CBS Event Page
January 8th

Well, there goes one of my resolutions. Check out the Congress Theatre on January 8th to see RZA, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, U-God, and Inspectah Deck teach you that Wu-Tang Clan ain’t nothin’ to… mess with.


Tomorrow Never Knows Festival

Taking place at Schuba’s, The Hideout, Metro, Smart Bar, and Lincoln Hall
January 11th – January 15th
WXRT’s Event Page

A festival in January??? Are they crrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaazzzzy?!?!?


And, you know, maybe that’s not such a bad thing. In Fact, maybe that’s a good thing. A bunch of great shows at a bunch of great venues in the middle of January just might be what you (and I) need.

So go see The Walkmen, Group Love, Glass Candy Chromatics, Theophilus London, Two Gallants, Tycho, Like Pioneers, Kate Simko, Canon Blue and many, many more great bands.

(credit: Louder Than A Bomb)

Louder Than A Bomb Inaugural Reading

January 13th
$10 GA, $5 students

Young Chicago Authors and the West Side School for the Desperate have co-organized the inaugural Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam. Louder Than a Bomb, for those of you not in the know, is the youth poetry organization that allows teams of young poets from many of Chicago-land’s high schools to compete in high-octane wordsmithing! It’s pretty cool. This particular slam will focus on some of the west side’s most talented teenagers. It will also feature a performance by professional goof-ball, Robbie Q. Telfer.

Words are cool.

(credit: Susie Kirkwood)

January 13th-February 12th

Curious Theatre Branch organizes Rhino Fest, a multi-arts festival, every year. Located in the cozy Prop Thtr, most of Rhino Fest is made of plays, and when I say plays, I mean in the cool, entertaining, often funny kinda way. Not in the stuffy, you gotta put on nice pants kinda way. Not to say that the shows aren’t as thoughtful and as well put together as what you will see at, say, the Goodman or Chicago Theatre. Just to say that the show produced at Rhino Fest are created by the kind of geniuses who have a better understanding of me and you, normal people – these are the kinds of writers, directors and actors you’d actually want to have a conversation with at a party as you drink crappy beer.

It’s not all plays at Rhino Fest though. They also have multiple other visual endeavors, along with readings. One of my personal favorites this year is going to be the Ray’s Tap reading on January 14th. The theme is True Manliness and is hosted by all-star weirdo/young-curmudgeon Chris Bower with performances by literary heroes Natalie Edwards, Ian Belknap, Matt Test, Dave Snyder, Daniel Shapiro, Kristin Lueke, Lindsay Hunter, Margaret Chapman, Scott Whitehair, Robbie Q. Telfer, Kyle Beachy, Daniel Shapiro and Tim Racine.


Facebook Event Page
CBS Chicago Event Page
January 15h

There truly is nothing else like Come Home Chicago. It consists of a bunch of great writers who all individually tell the story of this city we choose to live in. Some are reporters, others are fiction writers, and occasionally you have the local politician or historian to pull all the threads together. All of this takes place inside of Underground Wonder Bar, a Chicago staple that keeps alive the legend of the piano bar. It’s a fun, awesome crazy event and there are very few other things I’d rather devote my time to.

Performing on January 15th are Stuart Dybek, 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno, Rick Kogan, J.C. Gabel, Christine Sneed, Docs Delorean, Viki Gonia, Mark Madsen, and possibly a few other talented individuals. The event is hosted by, and was birthed by, Matt Martin and Don De Grazia. What a beautiful love child they made!


Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival

January 21st & 28th

January has more festivals than I realized. Take THAT seasonal depression!

Anyway, come see some heavyweights in the bluegrass and blues scene perform at the Congress Theatre and the Auditorium Theatre.

Bands: Del McCoury Band, Drive-By Truckers, Dawes, David Grisman Quintet, The Giving Tree Band, Van Ghost, Joe Pug, paper Thick Walls, Jeff Austin and many more!

Wanna tell me about an event coming up? Then email me at!
Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago