Two for Two: Logan Square

After a really wonderful time away (see here), it honestly wasn’t until I was on the plane back to the U.S. that I started thinking about, you know, being back in the U.S. That first week was fairly chill (as have been the subsequent weeks, too). I may get into that side of things in a future post, but for now I want to focus on much more important matters: food.

As it happened, I had two separate plans for the weekend after I returned. One, a chance to catch up over dinner before a friend jetted off on her own travels. The other, brunch with my cousin who’d been feeding my cat, so I could get my keys back and check out a local gallery he was interested in.

Both occasions took us to Logan Square, that hip, quickly-gentrifying neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side. Indeed, when I moved back to the city two years ago and inquired with locals what neighborhood might be the closes to my dear Williamsburg, to a person they all said Logan Square.

And they’re not entirely wrong. On the cusp of becoming so cool it’s not cool anymore, Logan Square is just north of the famed Wicker Park, that hipster bastion of yesteryear (you know, like 2010). Everyone who can’t afford it these days is going just a few stops up the Blue Line to Logan Square, with its tree-lined boulevards, indie coffee shops, brick two-flats and great restaurants.

I don’t get to this trendy area as often as I’d like. For one, I’m off an entirely different train line. And also, my natural state is solo Netflix bingeing from my couch. (Kidding…I think.) My point is, I was glad for the excuse to enjoy good food with great company at new-to-me spots.

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Maybe Watch This: A United Kingdom

In 2014, director Amma Asante – former actress turned filmmaker – hit the scene in a big way with one of the most underrated films of that year, Belle. Actually her sophomore feature, she’d previously been named Most Promising Newcomer at the BAFTAs in 2005, a prescient prediction.

This week, Asante returns with her latest film, A United Kingdom, the true story of a ground-breaking, continent-crossing interracial marriage built around a top-caliber cast that ultimately saves it from slipping into risky Hallmark-movie-schmaltz territory.

It’s 1947 and David Oyelowo and Rosemund Pike are Seretse Khama and Ruth William Khama, the heir to the throne of Bechuanaland (later Botswana) and his white British wife, an office clerk he meets at a missionary dance, respectively. Falling fast in love, the two would go on to defy their families and their governments in their vow to each other and, just as neighboring South Africa sought to write Apartheid into law, they’d ultimately change the fate of their nations and do their part to nudge global racial politics towards equality.

Seriously.

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Maybe Watch This: The Founder

There’s a family story I’ve heard at holidays and cookouts since I was a kid. A joke, really. And that’s the story that my great grandmother went to high school with Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s. Had she played her cards differently, we might all be in very different circumstances today. Imagine! Heirs to the Golden Arches!

Revisiting the story after seeing The Founder, the film version of how Kroc (Michael Keaton) ushered McDonald’s from a single burger joint to, well, world domination, it’s clear the whole Boyle clan dodged a bullet.

The Founder has been on my radar for at least six months now, and for a brief moment it was slated to hit theaters in time for awards consideration. Delaying a film’s release until January is never a good sign, and after seeing the film I can understand why the studio made the move. Though its parts, on paper, should add up to a compelling if conflicted biopic…they just don’t.

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