wanderlust: chicago


while the bands are warming up, you’ll be chilling at these chicago hotspots.

The bands might be front and center of any music festival (as they should be!), but let's be honest: one of the major perks of festival season is the excuse to travel. So if you're heading to Lollapalooza this weekend, don't forget to explore all the awesome spots Chicago has to offer outside of Grant Park. From retro coffee shops to colorful after-party venues, our NYLON city guide hits some of the less obvious Windy City must-sees (no offense to Cloud Gate). So go ahead and map out your fueling stations, because you're going to need the energy...especially when you're fist pumping to The Cure. 

833 W. Randolph St. 
Serious Stones fans will recognize Nellcote as the name of Keith Richard's mansion in the South of France, where The Rolling Stones lived the high life while recordingExile on Main Street. The eponymous restaurant flaunts adventurous yet affordable dishes such as black truffle pizza, chilled squid ink strozzapreti and seasonal gelato. Finally, some satisfaction! 

26 East Congress Parkway 
Not trying to venture too far from Grant Park? At the corner of Congress and Wabash, Cafecito offers up some tasty and cheap Cuban sandwiches. Located just two blocks away from the Lolla entrance, you won't even have to miss out on the music. 

Little Goat 
820 W Randolph St. 
It might take three months to get a reservation at Chi-town hotspot Girl and the Goat, but don't worry— its sister diner is more of a walk-in-and-sit-down kind of place. Bask under their sunroof as you enjoy crumpets with chorizo, crab dip, and pork belly pancakes. Now, would you like almond, soy, or goat milk with that?

Headquarters Beercade 
950 W Wolfram St
Beercade? Yup, you read that right. Lined with old-school arcade games and an extensive selection of craft beers on tap (not to mention house-made beef jerky!), the HQ rivals them all. 

The Flat Iron
1565 N Milwaukee Ave 
With three pool tables, a killer jukebox and artwork by 10 different local artists, The Flat Iron is a little slice of history of the surrounding Chicago community. Open till 4 am, it's the perfect place to load up on libations post- Lolla shows.

The Wormhole Coffee
1462 N Milwaukee Ave 
For your quintessential artsy coffee shop, make a pit stop at The Wormhole. The time travel-themed decor and array of baked goods make this Wicker Park cafe a must-try. I've heard the Rocket Sauce is to die for. 

Lincoln Hall
2424 N Lincoln Ave 
Considering Haim and St. Lucia are slated to perform their Lollapalooza after-shows here, this cozy spot will be packed to the brim on Saturday night. The acoustics are great and the atmosphere is intimate; there's really no better way to experience your favorite bands. 

The Hideout 
1354 West Wabansia 
This old house-turned-music venue not only has a badass history (it's been around since pre-Prohibition days!), but unbeatable drink prices to boot. 

Reckless Records 
1532 N. Milwaukee Ave 
A few doors down from the actual High Fidelity set, this record store has an equally extensive vinyl selection and the same vibe as the classic flick— well, minus Jack Black. 

Myopic Books 
1564 N. Milwaukee Ave 
Just down the street from Reckless is of the largest and oldest book stores in Chicago. Myopic carries just about every genre imaginable, and, as a bonus, is surrounded by great shopping. Located just off the Damen Blue Line, it's also near Big Star and Antique Taco, two taco shacks perfect for those late-night munchies. 

Nail polish is for novices

Fashion label The Blonds is known for its high-intensity looks that you'd only wear if you wanted to stand out (and who doesn't?). For its runway shows, wild press-on nails are the beauty step that can't be missed. So, since the brand has partnered with CND since it was founded, we thought it best to get prepped for the show with Jan Arnold, CND's co-founder.

See why you should take your nail look from a zero to a 10, in the video above.

Shot by Charlotte Prager
Edited by Gretta Wilson
Produced by Alexandra Hsie
Production Assistant: Polina Buchak
Featuring Jan Arnold of CND Nails and The Blonds



Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures.

It would've been nice if someone said the word "fat"

Back in November, Rebel Wilson claimed to be the first plus-sized lead in a romantic comedy when she appeared on Ellen to talk about her role in Isn't It Romantic. Wilson was not only wrong, but she was—even if inadvertently—erasing the work of Black plus-size actresses like Queen Latifah and Mo'Nique, both of whom have expansive resumes that include romantic comedies.

Wilson's comment isn't the first example of white women taking up a little too much space in the fat acceptance ethos. It's actually quite common. But there is a reason why women like Wilson—women who are blonde, pretty, successful, and white—get put front and center in calls for body positivity. In the same way that feminism—the movement from which body positivity was born—has often failed to address how gender intersects with other identities like race and class; so, too, has body positivity been championed as a cause for otherwise privileged women. And that's why it's no surprise that Isn't It Romantic, which aspires to be both a spot-on mockery of rom-coms and a celebration of body positivity, is actually a perfect example of how very white both the movie genre and the body positivity movement tend to be.

In the film, Wilson plays Natalie, an architect based in New York, who is single and plus-sized—the archetypal rom-com underdog. Very early on in the movie, she endures the double humiliation of both being hit by a runaway food cart and then accosted by its owner for not stopping it with her "cement truck"-like body. At work, Natalie is similarly disrespected: The office manager hands off troubleshooting tasks to Natalie; another colleague always tasks Natalie to throw out his trash; her assistant Whitney (Betty Gilpin) won't stop watching movies (rom-coms, naturally) while in the office; and Natalie is so afraid to present her ideas for more innovative parking garage designs that she isn't even widely known in the firm as an architect, and is treated like an intern.

But is Natalie just a doormat? Or is it that she isn't asking for what she wants? And isn't very nice about not getting it? If Natalie's life is any example, the bar on suffering is set pretty low for white women. In her personal life, Natalie lives alone with her dog, and seems to be pretty well-off, financially; her best friend is actually her slacker assistant, Whitney, and she's close with another coworker, Josh (Adam Devine), who gives Natalie constant emotional support. She's decidedly anti-romantic, having been told by her mother from a young age that there's no such thing as real-life fairy tales; she's level-headed and practical. But also, she's filled with self-loathing. This leads her to be crass, sarcastic, and disconnected from people. And it was this last part that was hard for me. As a fat Black woman who grew up broke, does not have an assistant, and would get fired if I didn't do my job well, it was hard, if not impossible, to root for her.

For Natalie, though, everything changes when she bangs her head while fighting off a mugger. Her mundane life is tinted through rosy rom-com glasses. Suddenly, all the things that sucked about her life are gone, and everything is beautiful and perfect. But was her life so bad before? It didn't really seem to be.

And yet, looking around the theater at the mostly white, female audience, I accepted that my feelings didn't seem to be shared. But that almost seems to be by design; this feels like a movie for a white, female audience. There is only one person of color in the movie who even has a name: It's Isabelle (Priyanka Chopra), who shows up about halfway through the film—after everything has been rom-com filtered—as a yoga ambassador and swimsuit model. But a name is all Isabella has. A supporting character at best, she doesn't have any connection to anyone other than her white boyfriend, and is sketchily drawn. We learn nothing of her familial or ethnic background, and, even when she is shown at her wedding, there is nobody from her family celebrating with her. This huge oversight is particularly bizarre, given that Natalie has already bemoaned the lack of diversity in romantic films.

Another huge oversight? The presence of the word "fat." I don't think I heard it used a single time. Natalie only references her weight indirectly, by commenting on the appearance of straight-sized women; when talking about her own body, the word "fat" is replaced with "girl like me." But by ignoring this aspect of herself, and refusing to address it head-on, Natalie is succumbing to the same fatphobia that shapes her world, whether she identifies it as being a problem or not.

Before her life becomes a rom-com, Natalie feels invisible at work and in the world. Some of this is certainly her fault, but fatphobia is also at play. Fatphobia chips away at the humanity of fat people from different angles. It means that Natalie gets used to being dehumanized; she doesn't expect others to have empathy for her when she's physically hurt, because they don't value her body. And it's no coincidence that Natalie's fantasy world includes a magically bigger apartment with unlimited clothing options, because discrimination against fat people isn't just a matter aesthetics and preferences—it affects everything from our ability to dress ourselves to our ability to make and save money, since there's a price to pay for being fat, even if it's just having to pay more to travel. Just as much as gender and race intersect with fat bodies, so, too, do economics and class.

I knew I could count on a plus-sized white comedian to take down a genre of films that prioritized thin women. But I ventured to see if Wilson could go further than that, and challenge what it means to be white and well-off and fat in the process; it isn't just about taking down rom-coms but about doing so in a way that isn't just a mouthpiece for white feminist values. But, in the end, that isn't what happened. Isn't It Romantic is fine, but it needed to do more than target an audience of girls who are 10 to 30 pounds overweight and still too jolted by the word "fat" to ever apply it to themselves, so they go for acceptable alternatives, like curvy, plus-sized—or thicc, if they're hip. But I'm not afraid to say I'm fat, I'm just disappointed I will be waiting even longer to see a realistic reflection of that experience onscreen.

Isn't It Romantic is in theaters now.