Basil Hayden’s & Winter Session at Warby Parker’s Annex

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Earlier this year, my good friends Roy Katz and Tanya Fleisher at Winter Session asked me to bring Basil Hayden’s to a party at Warby Parker’s Annex in New York’s Meatpacking District. The coolest dude, Fedora’s Fernando Trujillo tended bar.

For the complete rundown, head over to Whiskey. Among Other Things….

Basil Hayden’s: Whiskey Among Other Things

I’ve been tapped to travel and write for the brand new website for Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, Basil Hayden’s, We’re calling it “Whiskey Among Other Things.”
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DIY Business Association

Thanks to Meghan Keedy, Amy Cuevas Schroeder, and all the folks at the DIY Business Association for the lengthy feature.

As my business partner Joe Gannon says, I’ve got a few “irons in the fire.” Hopefully, that never changes, but it’d be nice to have one of them turn out really sharp (Is that what happens to iron after you remove it from the fire?).

The 900 Shops

Ryan M. Beshel, Public Relations Coordinator for Chicago’s shops at 900 North Michigan, reached out recently, asking me to pick out some of my favorite things from their stores for their holiday season’s“Must Give Gift Guide.” You can download my picks, along with Abe’s Market’s Ari Bendersky, Pure Wow’s Amalie Drury, A Perfect Event’s Debi Lilly, and Chicago Parent’s Elizabeth Diffin.

Thanks for the opportunity, Ryan.

The New York Times

Over the weekend, I was quoted in an article in The New York Times, the Old Gray Lady. Fortunately, owing to it being a holiday weekend, I was able to witness firsthand the reaction of several family members. My parents, old and graying themselves, excitedly grabbed for their reading glasses the minute they learned the news. As she finished the piece, my mother simply laughed a little and shook her head in disbelief. My father asked, “What does it say that it took leaving New York for you to appear in the Times?” He was half-right in his asking (more on that in a minute). My great-aunt, a retired nun and one of the smartest people I know, said, “I guess I should be paying closer attention to men’s suits.” Of course, I assured her she absolutely shouldn’t, or I would begin to question her intelligence. My aunt and uncle gave a resounding “Oh, cool!” at breakfast that morning.

As I walked the mile-or-so to the nearest Starbucks to pick up a couple copies (Why is Starbucks is the only place in the Midwest to carry The New York Times?), I thought about what it meant to have my picture taken for The New York Times. Friends of mine, close ones even, have appeared several times in this paper-among-papers. I thought about them. After they appeared, my impression of them remained the same. But these were great people receiving great attention for doing or saying great things. Why was I tapped to talk about slim suits? I wear one. I know a bit about construction of suits. I am a champion of one Chicago suit maker in particular. But, I’m a fairly regular guy, who — yeah — I wear a suit, or at least a suit jacket a lot, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert. On my walk, I thought to myself that I hope this doesn’t change peoples’ impression of me.

And I suppose it’s fitting that I was as gussied up as I was appearing in the paper this time around. That’s right. I appeared in the paper one other time.
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The Ballad of S.E. Kiser

A couple weeks ago, my friend Michael Kiser asked me to play his great-great-uncle, noted Chicago poet S.E. Kiser, at a beergathering called the Mash Tun Festival. To learn more about S.E. and see some hysterical photos of my performance go to Good Beer Hunting.

Tonight in Nashville: Support the Belcourt Theatre’s nD Festival

A. Micah Smith will have this poster for sale tonight at Imogene + Willie.

Joe Gannon and I will be there, partying hard, dancing to the tunes of Shelly Colvin, drinking plenty of Yazoo Brew.

It’s tonight, Thursday September 13th at Imogene + Willie from 6-8 pm and it’s all in support of The Belcourt Theatre’s nD Fest. We’ll be set up flea market-style with some new T-shirts, new Kamp Kits, and some other fresh goods from Buckshot Sonny’s. The market will feature the wares of Billy Reid, Emil Erwin, A. Micah Smith, Otis James, and others. Get thee to Imogene + Willie.

Get your tickets here.

Bow Truss Coffee Roasters Presents: Max Wastler’s All Plaidout

I’m just a regular ol’ coffee drinker, like so many of us, but lately, it’s begun to define me. From my home office at Heritage General Store to one of the first questions asked of me in a blog post for Crain’s Chicago business journal, to this: my very own roast, you might as well call me Juan Valdez.

Thanks to Kelsey, Monique, and all the folks at Bow Truss Coffee, whose roastery is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from my apartment in Chicago, I was given the unique opportunity to go through a killer tasting of all the roasts being produced at their facilities. I can tell you one thing, it’s damn good coffee. And if I were to tell you two things, don’t drink all the coffee they put in front of you during a tasting. I didn’t sleep for a week.

The Yirgacheffe I picked out is such a unique drink. It’s super sweet, like dessert in a mug. I can’t wait to pour it over a big bowl of ice cream.

Buy your own bag of the All Plaidout Roast, available now for a limited time at Bow Truss Coffee Roasters.

Visit their blog post on the subject to learn of my mother’s love of Sanka and of my Uncle Bobby, frappuccino pusher.

Real Men Swear

I made it.

The Kamp Kit

Has this ever happened to you?

That thing your mom gave you, that thing you took to summer camp with you, that thing your brother stole from you, that thing you found hiding behind a pile of rubber Smurfs and plastic wind-up jumping frog figurines underneath the bathroom sink which you shared with your brother, that thing you dusted off and carried with you to college, that thing you stuffed in a backpack when you lived on trains in England and Ireland for a year, that thing you took to your first apartment in New York, that thing that always came with you when you left town, that thing your girlfriend laughed at because it looks like it came out of a Caboodle, that thing you called on when you just needed a place to put your toothbrush and a stick of deodorant, that thing which saw you through that really tough time when you were barely making ends meet and your Caboodle-loving girlfriend had dumped you, that thing that was there for you in good times, too, in great times like that week-long camping trip you took to the Gunks when you forgot that thing in a port-o-potty but your friends, understanding your inexplicable connection to that thing turned around and drove the hour back so that you could retrieve that thing, that thing, that favorite thing of yours which broke or tore or somehow failed you in a critical moment, for the final time and though you’d rigged it, repaired it, duct-taped it, done everything you could to it, you finally determined it’s time to say “goodbye” to that thing.

Well that happened to me.
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