Neighborhood News: More than a century of entertainment at Lakeview’s Vic Theatre

Photo of the front of the Vic Theatre in Chicago, IL

Last weekend, I came back to a vintage venue in Lakeview where I spent a lot of time when I lived on the North Side, The Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield Avenue.

Memories flooded as I walked up the stairs to a balcony I remembered well…I used to go to dance at ‘The Vic,’ then known as Clubland, in the mid-80’s, catch a double feature and an adult beverage for $10 in the 90’s, and most recently, attended a kickass concert by Herb Alpertand his wife, Lani Hall

But as I found out, The Vic Theatre has been entertaining Chicagoans for more than a century. 

Through The Decades… 

According to theEncyclopedia of Chicago History, from 1900 to the 1920s, Chicago enjoyed an explosion of popular culture. Movies, amusement parks, vaudeville, cabarets, dance halls, and music deeply influenced the Jazz Age. 

The Victoria Theater,  according to The Vic’s website, was one of those entertainment venues, opened in 1912 as an alternative to the more expensive fare playing in Chicago’s notorious downtown venues, and built to host vaudeville and touring stage shows. The luxurious, five-story vaudeville house held 1,550 polished mahogany seats, and the lobby floor and staircases were set in Italian marble, according to their website. The theater was designed by John E.O. Pridmore, an immigrant from England who came to the United States in 1880 and eventually settled in Chicago in 1883 at the age of 16. Handmade English quarry tile lined the walls.

Decline and Rebirth

The Victoria Theatre, or ‘The Vic”– as it’s now known – would prove to be one of the more adaptable and resilient buildings in town. As their website notes, the eventual decline of touring vaudeville shows in the 1920s led to the sale of the building to new owners who, in an attempt to cater to a recent influx of German immigrants to the neighborhood, changed the name to The German Theater and began presenting German operettas. The end of the 1920s coincided with the onset of The Great Depression. During the Depression and beyond, the  Plasterers Institute kept the space in operating condition during otherwise lean years. 

But until the 1980’s, the venue alternatively stood vacant, then was a movie theater, showing X-rated, Spanish, and Indian movies, and in 1984, was turned into a dance club venue called Clubland. 

Rebirthed for a new generation 

In November 1988, Michael Butler produced the musical “Hair” at The Vic to celebrate the show’s 20th anniversary. The production ran until February 1989. In the mid-1990s, on nights without a concert booking, Brew & View was added showing second-run and cult films which allowed customers to enjoy pizza and cocktails while watching films. This incarnation of The Vic lasted more than 20 years. 

Today.. An eclectic mix for all 

In 2000, Jam Productions took over management and vowed to book “all kinds of acts.” A short list of those who have performed include Jerry Seinfeld, Kenny G, John Prine, Pat Metheny, 10,000 Maniacs, Laura Nyro, Bonnie Raitt, Johnny Winter, Basia, Louie Anderson, Lyle Lovett, Richard Lewis, Randy Newman, David Crosby, Joan Baez, Billy Squier, Meat Loaf, Todd Rundgren, They Might Be Giants, Joan Armatrading, Dead Can Dance, and Sonic Youth. For upcoming performances and tickets, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: For Fall Comfort Food, Nothing Beats Cheesie’s Pub & Grub in Lakeview and Wicker Park!

Grilled Cheese Sandwich with spinach and tomato

The first day of fall is Saturday, September 23—the same day as the autumn equinox. For me and mine, nothing says “Cozy fall meal” more than a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup! 

In Chicago’s Lakeview and Wicker Park neighborhoods, no one delivers on the promise of a gooey, cheesy grilled sandwich better than Cheesie’s Pub & Grub

My family and I happened on Cheesie’s while looking for a place to eat before seeing Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at theVic Theatre. We asked one of the security guards where we could get a quick bite. He recommended Cheesie’s, right around the corner from the Lakeview location. The friendly staff seated us immediately. It’s a super-casual, kid-friendly, bustling spot with lots of memorabilia on the walls—vintage ads, sports posters, etc. And it’s the home base in Chicago for Michigan State Spartans and San Francisco 49ers football.

The menu was inspired by owner Chris Johnston’s “terrible eating habits and love for foods he grew up on: mac-n-cheese, chicken tenders, French fries, and grilled cheese.”

A word of caution for those new to the digital age: there are no paper menus. You access the menu through a scanner at your table. The staff will pull you through it if you don’t have a child 25 years old or younger to help! 

I highly recommend The Caprese, the sandwich I tried. It’s a great caprese combination of gooey mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil, cracked black pepper and fresh basil on toasted sourdough, and served w/creamy pesto mayo dipping sauce. I felt no need to dip, though I’m sure it was great. I just enjoyed the layered succulence of the squeaky cheese, ripe heirloom tomatoes, and basil, set off by the fresh sourdough bread. 

My sister from another mister ordered a dessert item that works just as well as a main course—their Deep Fried PB&J Uncrustable. The deep-frying gave the creamy peanut butter an extra richness and savory flavor you can’t find in a regular Uncrustable, and it’s set off by the sweetness of the jelly. The sandwich is complete when topped with powdered sugar and served with chocolate dipping sauce.

My 96-year-old mother waxed rhapsodic about The OG– ablendof American and Cheddar cheese spread on Texas toast, served with their Tomato Soup dip. The tomato soup is a tangy accoutrement to the cheese blend. 

Finally, for those with a lactose intolerance, there’s always moist Chicken Tenders. They’re huge… my 18-year-old actually had a few that fried together in cooking, but that wasn’t the only one in the basket, so they were satisfied. Chicken Tenders are served with your your choice of dipping sauce. They also got an order of tater tots, which rounded out the meal nicely.

Cheesy’s is open for weekend brunch, trivia nights and has drink specials seven days/nights a week. 

Mine isn’t the only rave review:

“It’s a no-brainer. Come here!” said a Google reviewer. “They’re open late to. Great sandwiches, soups and appetizers. I picked up The Melt this time around with Cheese Curds. Everything was made to order and delicious. The server was awesome and answered all our questions. I’ll have to come back for their trivia nights!”

Cheesie’s Pub & Grub-Lakeview is located at 958 W. Belmont Avenue, while their Wicker Park location is at 1365 N. Milwaukee Avenue. Their hours and menu vary by location. For hours, menus and other information, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Common Home Repair Mistakes

A young man holding a smoking electrical cable after electrical accident with dirty burnt face

Everything you would ever want to do in your home now has a video on You Tube. It’s all well and good until you make a mistake, and it winds up costing you more in the long run. Here are a few tips to help with that DIY project. 

Make sure you use the right tools. Using wrong or improperly sized tools can be downright dangerous, not just to your project. There are many home improvement and hardware stores that will rent tools and even offer classes and advice for DIY projects. 

Be careful with the surroundings. You would hate to install a ceiling fan and discover too late your ladder scratched your beautiful hardwood floor! There are inexpensive ladder covers or you can make your own with pool noodles. For large room projects like painting, drop cloths are good if the room is carpeted. Use rosin paper and painters’ tape to cover hard surface floors. If you are doing a dusty job like drywall, it’s a good idea to seal off the room with plastic and duct tape. You will be surprised at how much of that dust will permeate through the house if you don’t take precautions. It can wreak havoc with your HVAC system. 

Always make sure to properly turn off the electric or water supply when working on these systems. It seems like a chore with your busy schedule to figure out which circuit in the electrical panel needs to be off to change that light fixture, but it’s definitely worth it. Unless you want an exorbitant repair bill, or worse, cashing in on your life insurance!

Prep before painting. Painting is one of the least expensive projects and can really transform a room but if you don’t prepare properly it can result in a big mess. Especially if you are painting over old glossy paint. Fix any imperfections and sand well. Use a high-quality primer and your project will have beautiful long-lasting results. 

Be careful when nailing or drilling into a wall. It can be a disaster if you drill into an electrical cable or cause a water or gas leak. Invest in a stud finder. This will ensure proper attachment and if you have one that detects electricity also it will prevent injury. If you feel any resistance, stop! You most likely hit a pipe or metal strapping around electric cables. Always measure when using fasteners, especially on floors and ceilings. Using too long of ones can protrude through. 

Finally, be careful when replacing water pipes. We know plumbers are crazy expensive, but you can run into real trouble here. Plastic pipe is sometimes not rated properly for hot water. Mixing galvanized pipe with copper can cause a corrosive reaction that will cause more problems than the one you are fixing. So go into those DIY projects prepared with as much knowledge as you can find. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

5 Reasons Why Not Staging Your Vacant Home is a Mistake

Image of a living area with a side table, rug, and no sofa

The goal of every seller is to sell their home quickly, and for top dollar. Nobody wants to have to pay carrying costs while waiting for the right buyer to come along. The home has to be presented in the most attractive light possible, which is why home staging can work wonders. But a vacant home will do little to showcase the house in a positive light. And the less interest it garners, the longer it will linger on the market.

Here are 5 reasons why leaving your home vacant without having it staged before it hits the market can be a costly mistake.

1. There is Zero Emotional Connection With the Home

An empty house seems cold and barren. It’s not welcoming and inviting in the way that fully furnished and decorated homes are. It echoes, and can even give off a creepy feeling, especially if all the walls are white.

People aren’t just looking for a house – they’re buying into a lifestyle. Buying real estate is most likely the biggest expense anyone will ever make in life. It’s a huge decision that people won’t just jump into right away without some careful thought and consideration. It’s got to feel right to them; they need to essentially fall in love with the house, which is precisely what the goal of home staging is.

It’s crucial for sellers to get the buyers to establish an emotional connection with the home to boost their motivation to buy. A vacant house just doesn’t do that. It’s lifeless and dull, and does nothing to tap into a buyer’s emotions.

2. The Imperfections of the Home Are Magnified 

Furniture and decor have an amazing way of covering up or distracting attention away from any flaws of a home. These decorative elements keep the buyer’s eyes too busy to catch any defects that might exist. When a home is furnished, buyers will able to focus on the positive features of the home and visualize how they can use the space. If all they’re able to look at is bare walls, floors and ceilings, any flaws will actually be magnified instead of camouflaged.

Any scuff marks on the wall, stains on the carpet, scratches on the hardwood floor, outdated light fixtures, gaps between floor tiles, and even ugly switch plates will be noticed. In addition, all the rooms in the house can appear smaller than they actually are without the presence of properly positioned furniture to show how to maximize the space.

3. Buyers Won’t Have a Clear Vision for the Space

Most buyers aren’t able to visualize how a space can be used without it being presented to them on a silver platter. Having a vacant home on the market leaves you with a lot of potential interest lost. If the home isn’t furnished to show exactly what each room’s purpose is, buyers will more likely go home and totally forget whether or not the house had all the specific rooms they need (a third bedroom, a den, a dining room, a home office, etc), or if the home had the necessary amount of space needed for all their furniture and belongings.

It can take a lot longer to sell a vacant home because buyers are often unsure if they can perform their regular routines and activities in the house. This problem is even further magnified if the house is small or has awkward layouts that make furnishing more challenging. Without furniture and decor, buyers will not be able to visualize how the space can work for them.

4. Buyers Can’t Judge the Room’s Size Without Furniture

Buyers will only be able to get a sense of the size of the space if the rooms are furnished. Otherwise, they’ll just be asking themselves a bunch of questions that should have already been answered for them through the home’s furniture arrangement.

Where will the TV go? Will our corner sofa fit in here? Where is the dining area? Is this a bedroom or an office? Buyers will be asking themselves these questions – and more – when they’re staring at vacant rooms. Instead, when the home is properly staged, these queries won’t have to be pondered.

5. The House Won’t Show Well in Photos

One of the most important factors that go into effectively marketing a home for sale is the appeal of the photos. After all, photos online or in print are often the first visual that buyers will get of your home, so you want to make a good first impression to get them to actually book a showing.

But a vacant home doesn’t show nearly as well in photos compared to homes that are staged. You have to make your home stand out and shine. You’ve got to give it a nice packaging to catch a buyer’s attention. Otherwise, you risk having your home linger on the market with minimal interest, while other homes in the area that are staged and furnished get snatched up.

Bottom Line

The longer your home sits on the market, the more carrying costs you’ll have to flip the bill for. And the longer it lingers, the more ‘stale’ the listing will get. If your home is vacant, do yourself a favor and speak with a realtor who can recommend a reputable and professional home stager who can temporarily furnish the place to make it look as visually appealing as possible, and thereby attract the masses.

Stats have proven that staged homes sell faster and for more money, so why wouldn’t you want to benefit from that yourself?

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Kicking Off Another Fall Season!

A humorous vector drawing of a beer festival

Chicagoans will be kicking off the unofficial start of yet another fall season this weekend with some new fall festivities and other events sure to please everyone!

Kick off another fall season with an all new, adults-only evening at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Oktoberfest at the Zoo this Saturday (6:30 p.m.-10 p.m.) in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.  Get ready to enjoy the local German band Die Musikmeisters live on the Main Mall or dance the night away on the South Lawn with a live DJ playing pop and party hits.  Plus, pop-up bars serving beers and other adult beverages will be set up throughout the zoo, while concession stands serve up giant pretzels, bratwursts and other zoo food to quell your hunger.  And of course, there’s more such as lawn games, after-hours access to the zoo’s gardens and animal habitats, and more!  There’s no better way to take a break than to spend a well-deserved night out with your friends!

Another all new, adults-only evening taking place at Lincoln Park Zoo is Oksoberfest this Sunday (6 p.m.-9 p.m.) which is a non-alcoholic version of Germany’s Oktoberfest.  Unlimited samples of non-alcoholic beers and zero-proof craft cocktails will be served along with a special menu featuring bratwurst, jumbo soft pretzels, and other German treats for purchase.  Plus, live polka music from The Dirndolls, other entertainment, lawn games, and more will complete your evening – just without the booze.  Willkommen zum Oksoberfest!

Come join us at Chicago’s first sober friendly Bavarian Block Party this Saturday (12 p.m.-10 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.-8 p.m.) at Washington Boulevard and Sangamon Street in the West Loop neighborhood.  This event features German foods like brats and soft pretzels, plus non-alcoholic beer and mocktails, a regular bar offering a variety of German beers, and an amazing lineup of Oompah music provided by German polka bands as well as local rock and pop groups, kids’ activities, and more!  Don’t forget to don your Lederhosen and your Dirndl!

For those who aren’t quite ready to kick off the fall season yet, head on over to Gallagher Way in the Wrigleyville neighborhood for its weekend events:

Saturday’s event (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) is the Bags Brawl 2023 offering $3,000 in payouts at the biggest and best cornhole tournament in Chicago!  The tournament will have two phases and all teams are guaranteed a minimum of 5 games.  Show us what you’ve got!

Sunday’s event (11 a.m.-3 p.m.) is the Bringin’ Trashy Back Market which showcases artisan vendors that have transformed blast-from-the-past trash into one-of-a-kind wonders.  This is a free, all-ages, dog-friendly event presented by Nowhere Collective.  Plus, enjoy tacos from Big Star, live jams by School of Rock, and other waste-away activities and crafts.  And you thought you couldn’t be dazzled by debris!

Take a stroll down Ravenswood Avenue from Lawrence Avenue to Irving Park Road for the 21st annual Ravenswood ArtWalk this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-6 p.m.).  This local festival features open studios and galleries, an outdoor arts market featuring 60+ local makers, two stages of live music, pop-up performances, food trucks, a pop-up beer garden, kids’ activities, and much more!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago

Neighborhood News: Uptown’s Graceland Cemetery a graveyard of Chicago history

Photo of the St. Boniface Cemetery in Chicago

“An Oasis of Art, Architecture, and Landscape Design since 1860”

Graceland Cemetery website 

There are few structures in the Midwest that double as an arboretum and a final resting place for hundreds of prominent Chicagoans. Set on 121 acres of prime Chicago real estate, Uptown’s Graceland Cemetery,  4001 N. Clark Street, provides a visceral memorial to Chicago’s growth and history as a city and urban oasis. 

Designed by visionary landscape architects, including O.C. Simonds, Graceland, according to its website, both serves as a glimpse into the past and a beautiful place for the future.

For 163 years, the cemetery, located just north of Wrigley Field, has been the final resting place of the architects who designed Chicago, including Daniel Burnham, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, business executives Marshall Field, Potter and Bertha Palmer, George Pullman, and several sports stars, including, appropriately, ‘Mr. Cub’ Ernie Banks

The most beautiful grave site, according to L Stop Tours, is located in the middle of the cemetery on a small island overlooking a tranquil pond. A simple plaque on a rock commemorates the final resting spot of Daniel H. Burnham, ‘The Architect of Chicago,’ and his wife.

History of Graceland 

According to their website, Graceland Cemetery was established in 1860 by Thomas Bryan, a lawyer with a successful Chicago practice. He purchased its original 80 acres and received a perpetual charter from Illinois in 1861, and soon hired prominent landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland to plan its park-like ambiance. 

It began with a plan, they say, by landscape architect Cleveland, which, in the 1870’s, saw the cemetery’s paths and plots uniformly sodded, and the fenced and curbed plot boundaries eliminated. William Le Baron Jenney, a renowned architect but less well known for his landscape work, contributed significantly with his design and engineering input. This helped created the Victorian park style atmosphere that soon was enhanced by Ossian Simonds. When Graceland grew to its present size, Simonds’ innovative design used native plants to create the cemetery’s pastoral landscape.

According to Wikipedia sources, many of the cemetery’s tombs are of great architectural or artistic interest, including the Getty Tomb, the Martin Ryerson Mausoleum (both designed by architect Louis Sullivan), and the Schoenhofen Pyramid Mausoleum. They say that The industrialist Pullman was buried at night, in a lead-lined coffin within an elaborately reinforced steel-and-concrete vault, to prevent his body from being exhumed and desecrated by labor activists. 


The Cemetery Is open to all, and its architectural masterpieces, local history and beauty are “the magnets that attract people to Graceland.”   In the Spring and Summer, they are open Monday-Friday from 8am –6pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9am–4pm. In the Fall and Winter, Cemetery Gate Hours are Monday through Friday, 8am–4pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9am –4pm. For more information, click here

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Restaurant Review: For Black Restaurant Week Midwest, Dozzy’s Grill makes its mark in River North

An assortment of traditional West African food dishes

Black Restaurant Week Midwest runs from September 10-24 as “part of a nationwide effort to boost the visibility of and support for Black-owned eateries,” as reported by Block Club Chicago. 

Please note that this event is unaffiliated with Chicago BLACK Restaurant Week, which runs February 11-25, 2024, and is sponsored separately by a local organization. 

Black Restaurant Week Midwest’s fourth annual campaign is an opportunity to focus attention on the many black-owned restaurants, food trucks, and other vendors providing delectable edibles throughout Chicago. 

According to their website, Black Restaurant Week® Midwest was founded in 2016 by Warren Luckett, Falayn Ferrell, and Derek Robinson, the week is dedicated to celebrating the flavors of African-American, African, and Caribbean cuisine nationwide.

You can see a full list of participants by clicking here

One participating restaurant, relatively new to the Chicago scene, is River North’s Dozzy’s Grill. Chef and owner Dozzy Ibekwe has brought the flavors of West African soul food to a much wider, eclectic audience in River North. 

I was fortunate to experience Dozzy’s Grill as they catered a conference I attended recently. If you haven’t had his fresh take on West African cuisine, I urge everyone to visit Dozzy’s River North storefront location. 

For example, I never thought oranges and red onion would be compatible in a salad, but combined as an AFROBEET SALAD, it is. When paired with organic red beets, cherry tomatoes, fennel, toasted walnuts, and an orange paprika vinaigrette, it’s a tasty mix as each flavor unfolds, one right after the other.  Pair the salad with a traditional JOLLOF RICE, which is long grain rice in tomato sauce. PERI PERI CHICKEN, a chicken thigh bathed in a Peri Peri Sauce, a hot pepper that’s a close relative of the tabasco pepper. When I’m in the mood, I mix the jollof rice and peri peri chicken together for a tomatoey, savory, hot bite. For dessert, a yummy NYANGBO CHOCOLATE MINI CUPCAKE is made with single-origin Ghanaian chocolate, gold dust, and Calabash nutmeg. 

Several other Google reviewers agree with me. 

“I’ve had Dozzy’s Grill on several occasions,” said a recent reviewer. “Being Burundian, it’s always great seeing fellow Africans showcasing the culture through food. Dozzy’s Grill is an experience.”

“We recently had Dozzy’s Grill cater our company luncheon. I cannot compliment them enough for going above and beyond with providing us the most delicious lunch,” wrote another. “From the Peri Peri Chicken to the fried plantains, every menu suggestion provided was extremely flavorful and delight to all. They should be a ‘must try’ on anyone’s list.

Dozzy’s Grill is located at 736 N. Clark Street. They are open Monday-Wednesday, 11am–5pm, Thursday, 11am–9pm, and Friday, 9am–9pm. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday. For information, reservations, and hours, click here. 

Alison Moran-Powers and Dean’s Team Chicago

Chicago Home and Lifestyles – Good planting time

Close up of growing grass

Early fall is the best time for planting many things in your landscape. From trees to shrubs to grass, the falls’ moderate day temperatures and cool nights are perfect to plant and get a head start before the long winter. Landscape planted in the fall will be established and will take off in the spring. Trimming needs to be done soon so any new growth has time to harden off before freezing temperatures. 

For trees and shrubs this is also the time to find bargains at the garden center. Most places want to clear out as much inventory as possible and will often have products reduced 40% or more. Don’t worry too much about how beautiful a tree or shrub may be. Check that the root ball looks healthy, and the growing points are undamaged. Plant according to instructions and make sure to water thoroughly weekly until the ground freezes. Lay an open house a foot away from the trunk and water for at least two hours. This is good for established trees and shrubs too because it gives them a good amount of water before the ground freezes. 

Fall weather is also best for growing grass. Lawns stress out in hot weather, so fall is a good time to replenish grass depleted in the hot summer. Choose grass seed according to the sun exposure. Kentucky Blue Grass is preferable, but you need a minimum of 6 hours of sun per day. If your yard is mostly shady use a mixture made for shade. Throw the seed out in a sweeping motion. Put out more than you think as our bird friends will consume at least 25%. Keep moist, sprinkling daily till it germinates, between 7-14 days. Then water weekly till the ground freezes. We usually get enough rain in the fall but not always. You should also pay attention under trees where it often stays dryer even in relevant downpours. Augment as needed. 

Kathleen Weaver-Zech and Dean’s Team Chicago

No Credit? How to Build it From the Ground Up

Woman hand holding credit cards and using smartphone for shopping online with payment on internet banking

Having poor credit isn’t a good thing, but neither is having no credit at all. Getting approved for a mortgage – or any other type of loan, for that matter – is pretty much an impossible feat if the lender has nothing to go on. How will your lender know if you’ll be good for the money if you don’t have a history of responsible repayment? While you may be avoiding debt like the plague, you’re also failing to build up any sort of credit whatsoever.

If you currently have no credit, here are a few ways to build it up from scratch.

Apply For a Secured Credit Card

You may have been paying for everything in cash up to now, but it’s time to get some credit on the books, and you can easily start by applying for a secured credit card. These types of credit cards are backed by a cash deposit that you make upfront, which essentially acts as your credit limit. That means you must have money in your account equivalent to your credit line. If you want to spend $500 on your card, for example, you need $500 in your account to cover that amount.

Like a typical credit card, monthly payments are made, and interest is incurred if you don’t pay your balance off in full and on time. Every purchase you make with the card is deducted from your remaining balance. That initial $500 stays as is, and is used as collateral if you don’t make your payments.

Using a secured credit card will help you build up enough credit to be eligible for a traditional credit card.

Take Out a Loan With a Credible Co-Signer

You likely won’t be approved for a loan on your own without any credit, but you have a good chance of approval if you can get a co-signer on your loan application. The key is to make sure that the co-signer already has excellent credit. Basically, the co-signer agrees to cover the loan amount in the event that you don’t make your payments. That’s the guarantee that a lender would get with a co-signer.

By taking out a small loan in this manner, you’ll have an opportunity to prove your ability to make regular payments in full and on time. Just make sure you’ve got the income and the discipline necessary to comfortably make your loan payments, or you’ll be putting your co-signer in a very precarious position.

Add Yourself as an Authorized User on Another Person’s Credit Card

Ask a close friend or family member if they would be willing to allow you to be added as an authorized user on his or her credit card. This will allow you to use that person’s credit card without being legally responsible to pay for the charges, and you’ll be building credit at the same time. The other person really needs to have full trust in you, so make sure you’re up for the task before you ask and agree to put your name down as an authorized user.

Before you take this route, however, you should first make sure that the credit card company sends authorized user activity information to the credit bureaus. If it doesn’t, there’s no point continuing with this option.

Apply For a Credit Builder Loan

This type of loan is specifically designed to help people build credit, as all payment activity is reported to the credit bureaus. They are small loans made by some credit unions and community banks which basically act as a type of forced savings.

The money borrowed is deposited in a savings account by the lender, and can’t be accessed until you fully repay the loan. Once the loan term expires, you get the money, as well as a good credit score.

The Bottom Line

The key here is to make sure the credit you build is a good one. Be sure to make all payments on time and in full, and keep your credit card debt low. Don’t open too many accounts within a short period of time, and get a copy of your credit report once a year to see if there are any mistakes or discrepancies on there that could be bringing you credit score down. There’s no point in trying to build credit if you’re just going to be irresponsible with your efforts. A bad credit score is just as bad as no credit at all.

THIS WEEKEND IN CHICAGO – Enjoying Summer’s Remaining Weekends!

Retro styled smiled funny sun cartoon character on walk

Are you ready to give the remaining summer weekends all you’ve got?  I hope so because there’s only two more weekends after this one before autumn officially arrives!  So, let’s see what the city and its various neighborhoods have planned for us.

Returning to its home in Grant Park (301 S. Columbus Dr.) in The Loop, and now being held in September instead of the first weekend of July, the Taste of Chicago takes place this Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.  This annual food and music festival will feature over 35 vendors and 15 food trucks showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s culinary offerings along with world-class musical performances.  Plus, there are many other activities featured some of which include:  the Lifeway Foods Family Village where there’s plenty of kid-friendly fun activities for the little ones; for the adults, there’s the Chicago Sings Karaoke with a grand prize of $500 to the crowned winner; and the annual Eli’s Cheesecake Birthday Celebration beginning with performances and ending with the arrival and cutting of the 1,000-pound Eli’s Cheesecake, and a free piece of cake being offered to attendees while supplies last!

Celebrate Chicago’s diverse communities at the 4th annual World Dumpling Fest this Saturday (12 p.m.-7 p.m.) on Milwaukee Avenue at Logan Square Park (3150 W. Logan Blvd.) in the Logan Square neighborhood.  This fest features diverse cultural dumplings from over 10 vendors that include Chinese bao, pierogi, Haitian doumbrey, empanadas, Filipino lumpia, and many other dumplings.  Plus, artists will perform a variety of dances and music from different cultural traditions on the main stage such as Korean drumming, South Asian dance, Puerto Rican bomba dancers, and others!

The much-anticipated 3rd annual Chicago Brew Fest returns this Saturday (1 p.m.-5 p.m.) at the Irish American Heritage Center (4626 N. Knox Ave.) in the Albany Park neighborhood.  This fest serves up the city’s finest and best craft beers and ciders along with BBQ provided by Chicago’s favorite Soul & Smoke for an unforgettable day of indulging!

The largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest takes place this Saturday and Sunday (10 a.m.-6 p.m.) with the 38th annual Printers Row Lit Fest spanning five blocks on Dearborn Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Polk Street, and Polk Street from State to Clark Streets.  This huge outdoor book market not only features selected offerings from over 100 booksellers representing tattered to “hot off the press,” and newly published, but also offers talks with the artists and authors!

One of the premier fine art outdoor festivals being held this Saturday and Sunday (11 a.m.-7 p.m.) is the 18th annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts along Broadway Street from Belmont Avenue to Hawthorne Place in the Lakeview neighborhood.  Over 120-juried artists will be featuring original paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry, and more.  Plus, the festival includes live music on multiple stages, wine, beer and food vendors, an interactive garden oasis, a Kidzone to keep the little ones entertained, and much more!

Finally, the annual PAWS Chicago 5K takes place this Saturday (7:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m.) at Montrose Harbor, Grove 16 (4400 N. Lake Shore Dr.) in the Uptown neighborhood.  Both dogs and their humans will make their way along a lakefront course to raise money in support of this local no-kill animal shelter.  After crossing the finish line, it’s time to enjoy live entertainment that includes a dog agility course and a doggy oasis with pools for cooling off!  And, if you don’t have a dog, there will be plenty around for you to pet, or maybe, even to adopt!!

Sue Moss and Dean’s Team Chicago