boiMAG.com - Happy Holidays

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COVER

Gabby Badu - Performer, Entertainer

VIEW boiMAGazine ONLINE at: www.boiMAG.com BOI Magazine, Inc. © 2000−2021. All rights reserved





COVER FEATURE Interview with Gabby Badu

Hello Gabby, where are you originally from? I am originally from Acapulco Guerrero Mexico Hola Gabby, ¿de dónde eres originalmente? Soy originaria de Acapulco Guerrero México. How did you get started in the entertainment business? Since my childhood I always was attracted to the show, I liked to sing, dance, imitate artists of my age, then little by little I took it as something with which I could live my whole life, becoming more professional every day. At first I worked in several night clubs in Acapulco City, then I had the opportunity to move to Chicago where the owner of La Cueva Nightclub gave me the chance to be part of the cast with Miss Ketty’s show, from there Circuit Night Club and since then several nightclubs around Chicago and suburbs. ¿Cómo te iniciaste en el negocio del entretenimiento? Desde mi niñez siempre tuve actitudes para el espectáculo me gustaba cantar bailar imitar a los artistas de mi edad después poco a poco lo fui tomando como algo con el que podría vivir toda mi vida haciéndome cada día más profesional. Al principio trabaje en varios centros nocturnos en la ciudad de Acapulco, luego tuve la oportunidad de cambiar mi residencia a la ciudad de Chicago, donde el propietario de La Cueva Nightclub me dio mi primera oportunidad en esta ciudad, de ahi se me abrieron las puertas de Circuit Nightclub y desde entonces en varios Clubs Nocturnos de la Ciudad de Chicago y Suburbios. What exactly do you do, or what type of entertainment do you provide?

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I like to try to do a little bit of everything, what I like the most is characterizations of Latin and some american artists. I do a wide variety like hosting, comedy, singing and some dance during my shows. ¿Qué hace exactamente o qué tipo de entretenimiento ofrece? Me gusta y trato de hacer de todo,lo que más manejo es caracterizaciones de artistas latinos y algunos americanos, mezclo la conducción la comedia el canto y algo de baile para mi espectáculo. Do you have any other achievements or goals? Like every artist I want to learn more every day and my goal is to have a legal status in this country, this would help me a lot to grow as an artist because I could visit cities or states in which I don’t have any presence so people could enjoy my shows. I think that would be all for me. ¿Tiene otros logros u objetivos? Cómo todo artista deseo aprender cada día más y mi meta es llegar a tener un estado legal en este país, ya que con esto me ayudaría mucho para crecer como artista, ya que podría visitar ciudades o estados en los cuales no tengo mucha presencia y así la gente podría disfrutar de mi espectáculo, creo que eso sería todo para mí. Anything you would like our readers to know about you? I would like them to know that I am on all social media networks as Gaby Badu Oficial so they can find out about the places where I perform. They can enjoy my show at Papagallos Club, 1621 S Laramie Ave, Cicero, Friday-Sunday with great guest performers weekly. ¿Algo que le gustaría que nuestros lectores supieran sobre usted? Me gustaría que supieran que estoy en todas las redes sociales como Gaby Badu Oficial y se enteren de los lugares donde me presento Y que pueden disfrutar de mi espectáculo en el Club Papagallos 1621 S Laramie Ave de viernes a domingo con grandes invitados cada semana.


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ASTEROID 2018-AH A large asteroid the size of the Washington Monument is heading for Earth in late December that, if it impacts, would cause devastation far greater than an atomic bomb, according to NASA’s asteroid tracker. Known as 2018-AH, this asteroid is estimated to be about 190 meters (620 ft) wide and is set to pass by the Earth on December 27. The asteroid is unlikely to hit the planet, however, expected to pass by at a distance of more than 4.5 million kilometers. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and the Moon is around 384,000 km. about a twelfth of that. 2018-AH is a sub-kilometer asteroid, classified as near-Earth object of the Apollo group. It was first observed on January 4, 2018, by the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) on Mauna Loa and quickly followed-up by many other surveys, with precovery observations found from Pan-STARRS and PTF from the day previous. It is the largest known asteroid to pass so close to Earth since the 2002-JE9 asteroid in 1971, and until 2001-WN5 asteroid in 2028, although it was only discovered two days after its closest approach on January 2, 2018. The Tunguska asteroid was likely of a similar size, if not slightly smaller. The asteroid only has an observation arc of 46 days and has not been observed since February 2018. Being a short arc object that has not been observed for years generates an uncertainty that is relatively large. Between December 2431, 2021 it will make an Earth approach of between 1-8 million km.

But what would happen if an asteroid the size of 2018-AH struck the Earth? Ordinarily, it can be difficult to accurately guess, as size often varies. But in this case, astronomers happen to have a very good idea of exactly how destructive it would be, because something like this happened before. THE LAST time a large asteroid struck the planet was in 2013 in Russia, when a 17-meter asteroid exploded in the atmosphere. But the last impact from an asteroid this big was in 1908 above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in Russia, in what has now become known as the Tunguska event. This asteroid is believed to have been around the same size as 2018-AH, if not smaller. When the asteroid exploded in the air several kilometers above the area, it produced a massive 12 megaton explosion, causing widespread destruction for thousands of kilometers. That would make it about 800 times more powerful than “Little Boy,” the approximately 15-kiloton atomic bomb detonated during World War II over Hiroshima, and 600 times more than “Fat Man,” the 20-kiloton one detonated over Nagasaki three days later. boiMAG.com 13



ASK CHAD Business Marketing Q&A

Dear Chad, I have a retail shop that sells various merchandise. I was approached by a vendor to put in a Bitcoin ATM machine. I’m considering it, but not sure about it since I’m not up on the latest trends. From, Jason C Hello Jason, Anytime you are going to consider new currency, especially if you are not familiar with how it works, can be scary. Make sure you do your research on Bitcoin so that you not only understand how it works, but how to make it work for other areas of your business. There may be other expenses associated with your business that you can offset once you start taking this form of payment. This has the potential to help strengthen and grow your business in the future and help cut your cash/credit expenses down. This also shows a younger generation of potential customers that you are willing to make changes to better serve their needs. Dear Chad, The cost of doing business is going up, which means it’s been getting harder and harder to compete with the big boys like Amazon, including online shopping. Many retailers have recently closed because they don’t have the consumer support that they once had several years ago. My question is, how do us small guys in the off-line retail business compete? Price wise and getting people to shopping local? From, Sylvia M Hello Sylvia, Unfortunately this is only going to continue to get worse for small retailers. E-commerce will be the key to most businesses success in the coming years and beyond. With e-commerce you are able to reach a much broader audience that will only entice more customers and their potential buying decisions. E-commerce helps on loss

prevention and fraud for a business. Look at some of your distributors. You might even get away with more flexibility on having a large inventory which may help to lower your pricing so that you can stay more competitive with that of your competitors. No different than you have had to compete with brick big box stores and mortar stores such as Walmart, Target and Meijer. You have to bring that same level of energy to the table and then some when dealing with online shopping. I also recommend that you work on strengthening the message behind your companies mission statement. This will help you standout and be seen amongst that of your competitors. While some of the pricing may be hard to match or beat, figure out creative ways to get that average ticket up to make up for some of those items you may not be as profitable on. Create custom campaigns that cater to your clientele basis. This is your chance to show why you are worth that extra 10% up-charge. Dear Chad, Is handing out flyers still a thing or is it all digital now? I don’t see many flyers out there like I used to. I’m thinking about doing a flyer to promote my business, but can I get enough traction from it and is it worth the cost? From, Nick R Hello Nick, Our society is vastly changing, We want everything now and easily accessible. Brochures, flyers and rack cards can still be useful, but only if you are in front of the right people. As we go into the winter months I would recommend having digital copies of each of your promotions to easily send out to any marketing mailing lists you may have curated over the years. These can also be beneficial to share on your social platforms and website. Keep in mind that when printing anything there is a cost involved so by utilizing the same format in digital the sky is the limit to not only your reach, but also the number of copies you have. This can literally save you thousands of dollars that can be repurposed into other channels of marketing. Chad Brittian is an experienced industry professional and CEO of NVS Design, Inc. To consult Chad for any of your business needs, call 877-578-2045 (Ext. 700) or email him at chad@nvsdesigns.com. www.2nvs.com

To submit your question to Ask Chad, email him at: AskChad@boiMAG.com

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TUNING IN

Christmas with Chuck, Erta Ale and Niser by Nicky Roland That time of year is once again upon us when we eat too much, drink too much, sleep too little and try to reconcile our differences with family to come together and celebrate the holidays. This time of year can be especially difficult for those of us that feel alone, ostracized, or who have lost loved ones, which is all the more reason to connect with the ones you love and get back to the core pillars that unite this vibrant community. Peace, love, compassion, and understanding.

come together and permeate through this track to make it one of the best releases of the season. Fireside chat with Erta Ale We’ve featured numerous artists from across the globe over the past year, and I’m ashamed to say that I have not yet interviewed or written about one of the greatest of our era, Erta Ale. Erta is an all-around superstar DJ, House, and Techno producer, musician, and artist; he is one of a handful of new artists to feature on the recent Jackmaster 7 album from legendary Chicago House label, DJ International, and head of his own label, Solenoid Records.

Q:

Erta, thanks for taking the time to chat with me today. As a starting point, I really want to give our readers a feel for the man behind the music. There’s a quote in your bio “Without a sense of risk there is no art and maybe there is no life.” that I absolutely adore. It sums up your approach to life, music, and DJ’ing perfectly. Could you take a minute to explain to our readers what this means, in terms of your approach to performances, production, and your general modus operandi? Merry Me Christmas It’s this sentiment that brings us a new Christmas release from the legend, the creator of the gospel of House, the one and only reverend Chuck Roberts. Chuck’s new song, Merry Me Christmas is a thumping, uplifting banger, meant to remind us of who we are. Captain Christmas (AKA Jack) is the resident DJ at the North Pole, and after the strain of the last couple of years, Santa has decided to let Cap take some time-out to bring his message of love to the world. We can’t waste another minute, tomorrow is full of uncertainty, but love and family can truly be a catalyst for happiness, especially at this time of the year. Merry Me Christmas was released on December 8th, so by the time you read this, it will be available on all major distribution platforms. If you’re looking for some Christmas Cheer to pep up your holidays, be sure to pump this one up good and loud. Not only is the track a masterpiece, the sentiment behind it, combined with Chuck’s unmistakable voice, style, and huge heart all

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A:

Hi Nicky and thanks for having me here.

Well, that sentence really reflects my way of producing music and playing. Since 2013 I quit using my laptop to create music and this choice adds a lot of risk in my approach for sure. Firstly, all my productions in the last ten years came from jamming in my studio, which means that I can’t rely on already made grooves and especially I can’t edit with software like Ableton for example. I have to record a lot of live sessions at the studio before reaching the final track. I want to be clear on this: I’m not working like this because I think that in the end the quality of my productions are better than a track produced only with a DAW, it’s not about that. For me it’s more about reproducing the feeling of playing an instrument (in this sense several instruments all together). It’s like playing with an ensemble. I grew up as a classical musician. For me, having rehearsals with a group of people and trying to achieve a great performance is the basis of my idea of making music and when you play an instrument live, the risk of making mistakes is always there. This makes me enjoy playing music, That’s it.


The same thing applies to when I’m DJing. I love to play records where is more challenging than using CDJs or a laptop to create smooth transitions but also when I use the CDJs I like to be creative with that, putting CUE in the middle of the track, creating unplanned loops, multilayer using 3 CDJs and stuff like that.

Q:

When did you first start making music and what was the spark that ignited the fire?

A:

I have always loved music since I can remember. But I started playing an instrument kind of late, I was fifteen when I had my first electric guitar.

Q:

Who/what were some of your earliest influences?

A:

Like most of the guys in the 80s/early 90s I started with Rock music, then Hard Rock and Metal But every couple of years I was in love with a new genre. When I was 19 I studied some Jazz then I switched on piano and classical music. Following this, I wanted to deeply understand the grammar of music and I moved to Rome to study composition in the Conservatory of Music.

Q:

When did you first hear House/Techno music?

A:

I remember in my town where I grew up there was a Disco Club and a lot of guys were DJing but at that time I didn’t really understand House music and the concept of DJing, for me that was not “real playing”. Only when I moved to Berlin did I finally understand that I was made for this music. It’s strange how things sometimes happen.

Q:

Were you bitten immediately, or did it take a while before you got the bug?

A:

It took a really long time I guess. As I said, only when I moved to Berlin in 2007 did I totally fall in love with electronic music. For sure I always liked going to dance but also in Rome there was not the same Club-Culture that you can see here in Berlin. I still don’t like Italian “Discoteche”.

Q:

Who are your current top three producers/ DJs and why?

A:

Lately I’m discovering a lot of incredible Italian producers. As I said there is no real club culture in Italy but a lot of incredible

producers. I love the Italian Voodoos & Taboos, we.amps who are also producing a lot of amazing stuff for my Solenoid Records label, and I also love Driss Bennis, the boss of Casa Voyager from Marocco. Those guys are original and for me really fresh.

Q:

You’ve traveled and played in a lot of different locations/countries, what has been your favorite so far?

A:

In Europe, I really love Amsterdam and the Church Club. I’m having so many intense experiences there. Playing at Church Club is something that you cannot explain easily. And I’m also looking forward to being back soon in South Africa. I love Johannesburg and Kitcheners, one of the oldest bars in the city. But everything can be canceled because of the Pandemic, It’s a nightmare without an end.

Q:

Do you have any plans to play in the US in the coming year (a pitstop in Chicago would be awesome)?

A:

Yes for sure. I already wanted to go to New York and Chicago, I fixed a couple of Gigs in 2019 but suddenly everything was canceled, we know why. Now I’m getting new contacts and proposals but right now we are uncertain about everything. But yes, I hope to be there soon.

Q:

If you could have your dream collaboration with any artist from any period of time, who would it be any why?

A:

Wow, any period of time it’s a big thing. As I said till now I loved a lot of kinds of music, not just electronic dance music. My biggest loves from the past are for sure Frank Zappa, Prince, James Brown. I can’t even imagine “collaborating” with such amazing talent but for sure I would love to be with them in the same room and watch them play and perform. I saw Prince live one time in Milan and it was just incredible. I could put Prince at the same level as Mozart, without a doubt.

Q:

What does the year ahead hold for you? Any new releases, collaborations, or online events we should look out for? Continued >>

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TUNING IN Continued...

A:

Right now I’m really concentrating on Solenoid Records. We are already planning the next 3 releases. The next one is coming out at the end of March. A new “only vinyl” release that will be my personal homage to the progressive house sound of the early 90s. I’m really excited for that. Then we will have a solo EP from we.amps. As for gigs, I really don’t know what we are going through this winter. We are not having good news right now here in Europe. A lot of Clubs are closing again. I don’t know what to think.

Q:

And as always, I’ll finish on the following question…If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

A:

Right now I would like to say: no covid, please! But actually, there are more important things to achieve: there is still so much racism, intolerance, patriotism, stupidity, and inequality to name but a few. It sounds cliche but I think now more than ever we have to be together as humans and love each other like brothers. We have to face really important changes in the future and we have to be connected, not divided by old ideology. I’d like to extend a big thanks to Erta for taking time out to chat with me and sharing some insight into his process, musical passion, and giving us a glance into the depth and beauty of his soul. If you’re not familiar with his work, it’s time to get educated. Do a search and take a listen, Erta is truly a one-of-a-kind artist, destined for greatness.

Stocking Stuffers You may remember my feature a few months back on the rising star of the LGBTQ electro scene, Niser. Niser recently released his first album on CD to celebrate his first year in digital along with his first foray into a physical product line. If you’re still looking for some goodies to pop under the tree, or you’re just looking to treat yourself, head over to bit.ly/NiserStore and take a peek at what’s on offer. On that note, that’s a wrap from me. Wishing you all a happy, loving and glorious holiday season from the bottom of my heart. Peace and love be with you. Nicky Roland is a house music producer originally from the UK, now based in Denver, CO Find me on Spotify and on Twitter @nickyrolandmusic

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HEALTH & WELLness Addiction: What Is It?

by: Dr. Charla Waxman BS, MBA, EdD

Director of Business Development

21 million Americans have an addiction. About 20% of people who live with depression or anxiety also have an addiction to substances. (This is called a co-occurring disorder.) Nearly 74 of people who are addicted, some research indicates up to 90%, began their addiction (especially to alcohol) before the age of 18. Addiction is many things, and addiction can occur with many things. In this article, we will be looking at Substance use as a disorder, an addiction. Addiction to substances is a chronic brain condition. This condition involves an area of the brain that is directly related to its reward system and processes. It is a complex disorder involving not just the brain but one’s environment, family history, trauma and other kinds of life experiences. Using substances at a younger age and the substance’s impact on a developing brain can also lead to addiction and destructive use. At younger ages peer interest in use may create personal interest and lead to use, abuse, and addiction to substances. Part of what makes substance use addiction so complex is the number of substances that can create misuse and abuse and lead to addiction. Each of us is so unique in our physical make-up, in our genetics, environment, and life experiences that there is no real way to determine our ability to tolerate a substance in a way that will or will not become problem use for us. Here is a sampling of some of the substances that are often used alone or with others in this grouping and can lead to addiction: alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, stimulants, sedatives, opioids, hallucinogens, methamphetamines, and inhalants. New derivatives of these appear and new street drugs are developed all of the time and further increase danger of misuse, abuse, and addiction.

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Addiction is most often characterized by compulsive use and a desire to use regardless of harm or hurtful consequences. Although symptoms of addiction are different person to person, there are some effects that are a predictable part of addictive substance use: Substance use increases, pleasure of use is reduced, but an ability to reduce or stop consumption is unsuccessful. Work, school, home and relationship routines and responsibilities begin to suffer. Consequences of use: physical, emotional, and mental does not reduce use of substances.

The idea of finding, obtaining, and using the substance becomes an obsession and takes precedence over anything else. The substance begins to feel like the best way to deal with everything. In addition, to using substances illegally, other unlawful behaviors may occur to obtain the substance (s). Avoiding people and activities that were enjoyable before substances such as nonusing friends, hobbies or interests, the substance substitutes for all. Lying about use or hiding substances. Despite all its complexities, addiction is treatable. At Lake Behavioral Hospital we pride ourselves in our expert care related to co-occurring disorders: both a mental illness and a substance abuse condition. Our inpatient and intensive outpatient and partial hospital teams can provide the very best in treatment for these complicated addiction disorders. Both teens (13 and up) and adults (including seniors) will receive the assistance they need to be better and feel better. Evidence-based programs will be utilized to create successful outcomes. Please call with any questions you may have and certainly call for a free level of care assessment 24/7/365. By appointment or walk-in, we are here to help. You can call 855-990-1900 anytime.





Signs and symptoms of the holiday blues are varied and everyone is different, but consider the following:

by: Dr. Charla Waxman BS, MBA, EdD

Director of Business Development

Here Come the Holidays…. Here Come the Holiday Blues The holidays are here. What an inspirational, and joy-filled time of the year... for some. Others feel the tension begin to build, crescendoing with depression, anxiety, anger, sadness; a whole host of complex feelings that seem incongruent with the very idea of a holiday. Don’t think for a minute that the holiday blues are made up by some generally unhappy complainers. The holiday blues are very real. Beginning just before Thanksgiving and ending sometime around New Year’s Day, the holiday blues are a temporary time of additional life stress that can bring on some pretty high levels of emotional discomfort and distress. According to NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness, the causes of the holiday blues are many, but often focus on additional stress, high expectations of productivity and positive outcomes, and memories of holidays past. A survey cited by a NAMI article indicates that 64% of us indicate that the holidays affect us in some way and 24% of us say we are affected a lot by the holidays. NAMI also reminds us that although the holiday blues are temporary, even short term issues can lead to long term difficulties, especially if not explored and not taken seriously.

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1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Fear of failing in the coming year Changes in appetite Sleeping problems Moodiness and general irritability Exhaustion Increased use of substances or gambling 7. Isolation or avoiding behaviors 8. Overspending 9. Intense feelings of depression, anxiety or anger 10. Feeling disconnected and unable to focus 11. Expecting too much of oneself and others 12. Loss of enjoyment 13. Lost in painful memories Try not to let the holidays get the best of you. Do your best to give yourself a break. Be honest about your feelings. Get support. Listen to feedback from friends. Spend time with friends and family that make you feel good. Engage in enriching activities. Pay attention to negative thinking and feelings. Eat well. Exercise. Try not to give into excess. Most of all, if the negative thoughts, feelings and actions seem to stick around after the holidays, Get some help. Connect to places like: 1-800-273 TALK, NAMI, Alcoholics Anonymous, Gambler’s Anonymous and never forget faith based communities who always stand ready to help. You won’t have to look too hard to find places in your community that provide mental health support. You can get through the holiday blues. You really can. If you or someone you love are struggling during the holidays, please don’t hesitate to call our team of caring professionals. Assessments are free and will help you learn about what level of care will help you feel better. Call us today or anytime; 24/7/365, at 855-990-1900.


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There are a number of trends that will define the holiday season this year, as well as a whole host of challenges and opportunities that will mean retailers must stay constantly on top of things in the lead up to the end of 2021.

Online vs In-store: Trends Pushing Customer Behaviors The increase in e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down and online sales are expected to be high this holiday season. In July 2021 global e-commerce sales were 24% higher than in 2019, comprising a 35% increase in the Americas, 18% in EMEA and 22% in Asia Pacific. Brick and mortar shops have traditionally been at war with online retailers. Recently, however, the two have put aside their weapons and begun working in harmony. One interesting pandemic consequence was the role reversal of online and instore shopping, since being in a physical store was not allowed, digital shopping adapted to help consumers replicate the in-store experience at home. Customers enjoyed features such as augmented reality fitting rooms and customised virtual recommendations from sales associates via retailers’ increasingly sophisticated apps and websites. Shops, on the other hand, became the site of one of 2020’s biggest retail trends, Buy Online Pick Up in Store.

Curbside Pickup and ‘Buy Online Pickup In Store’ (BOPIS)

Convenience has always been a priority for consumers, a fact that has been reinforced by the lasting popularity of the curbside pickup and BOPIS pandemic trends. As restrictions limited in-store shopping throughout 2020, Click and Collect sales almost doubled last year compared to 2019. The trend is predicted to keep growing in 2021 even as pandemic restrictions ease,

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as consumers continue with their newly developed shopping habits. National Retail Federation data showed that 70% of customers said that this style of shopping improved their experience as it was more convenient. As a consequence, however, consumers are often extending their holiday purchasing until just days before Christmas, with last-minute gift buying peaking on December 23 of last year, putting extra pressure on retailers to have their websites running smoothly and their logistics ready to adapt. With a new reality blossoming, both online and in-store shopping have an important part to play in the customer experience. With pandemic consequences still having serious effects, customer behaviour is reflecting the unpredictability of the times and, as a result, having an omnichannel strategy is increasingly vital for retailers.

The ‘Phygital’ Trend

The 2021 holiday season is expected to show an increase in the ‘phygital’ retail trend, aka using technology to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds, primarily via omnichannel experiences. Incorporating ‘phygital’ technology in-store allows customers to have the best of both worlds: the convenience of online shopping combined with great in-store experiences, and is being employed by some of the key industry players as a strategy to get customers back into shops. Examples of the new technology include in-store QR codes to help customers learn more about the products in-store, smart self-checkout, which allows them to skip paying with a cashier altogether, online inventory checks and even queue monitors, which let people book their spot in the line to pay before they’ve even entered the store.



CHICAGO

A Winter Itinerary Merry Magnificent Mile & More! Day 1

Begin your adventure to the Windy City by heading to the Museum of Science and Industry for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, the museum’s beloved annual celebration. In the midst of a miniature forest, you’ll find a grand, four-story tree, decorated to represent holiday traditions from around the globe. Just get tickets ahead of time. You’ll find holiday cheer galore once you return to the heart of the city, especially when perusing the holiday windows at Macy’s on State Street. Be sure to head to the seventh floor to get a glimpse of the famous Great Tree at the Walnut Room, and if you’re hungry, stay for lunch. A Chicago landmark since 1907, the classic restaurant is a holiday tradition for many in its own right, you can still order Mrs. Hering’s famous chicken pot pie, which dates all the way back to 1890. Just make a reservation in advance. You could always opt for a different iconic food. If you’re in the mood for pizza, stop for some deep dish at Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s, two of the city’s most legendary pizza joints. Following your indoor warm-up, venture over to The Art Institute of Chicago for a photo op with the famous lions decked out in their holiday wreaths, before walking to Millennium Park to see the City of Chicago Christmas Tree. Secure a selfie at The Bean, then lace up your skates at the Maggie Daley Park for a unique winter experience. Skating with family and friends across this winding, ice-covered path with the city skyline as a backdrop is sure to result in cherished memories. Just remember to make reservations beforehand. When it gets dark, head down the Chicago Riverwalk to catch Art on the MART, a 25-story video installation that takes over the side of the Merchandise Mart. During the holiday season, you can expect Nutcracker-inspired projections by Joffrey Ballet and an inspirational tribute to Chicago’s jazz legacy. The nights are getting longer, but that just gives you more reason to embrace holiday light shows! Navy Pier is brightening the winter season with Light Up The Lake, a holiday festival that boasts kiddie train rides, Santa’s Merry Main Street, and Chicagoland’s biggest indoor light garden. Get your tickets in advance, they include a ride on the heated Centennial Wheel, giving you a stunning view of the lights across the city. For dinner, cozy up in the Fulton Market area, where you’ll have trouble choosing between the throng of amazing restaurants within striking distance. Local favorites like the Publican and Duck Duck Goat are always a great choice, and Au Cheval burgers routinely win national awards. For a relaxing, overnight stay, check into one of several iconic hotels on Michigan Avenue. Having hosted numerous presidents, celebrities and other notorious characters over the years, The Drake is one of the city’s most historic destinations. Or book a room at the InterContinental Chicago, an architectural gem with a rich history of its own.

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Day 2

Start today with more holiday shopping on The Magnificent Mile, home to a few of Chicago’s most famous retail destinations, such as the Shops at North Bridge, the American Girl Place, and Burberry. While you shop, enjoy the illuminated tree lights decorating the length of Michigan Avenue. For an afternoon treat, stop into the five-story Starbucks Reserve Chicago Roastery, the world’s largest Starbucks, and warm up with a hot beverage before heading over to Garrett Popcorn Shops for more holiday treats. Craving something sweet? On the ground floor of the historic Wrigley Building, you’ll come across Ghirardelli, the perfect place to grab a hot chocolate to go. If you’re itching to escape the cold, the American Writers Museum is a short walk away. Here, you can engage in a cultural exploration of America’s most impactful writers, browsing dynamic exhibitions. Alternatively, the kids will love popping into The Dr. Seuss Experience at Water Tower Place. This immersive experience will spark creativity through the imaginative worlds created in nine different Dr. Seuss books. If you haven’t filled up on holiday treats, make your way to the Loop for a sweet and savory dish at Nutella Cafe Chicago. Or, be spoiled for choice at the expansive Aster Hall food court, with the city’s most popular restaurants. For a true Chicago holiday tradition, catch a matinee performance of The Nutcracker by Joffrey Ballet. Children and adults alike will be enchanted by the sights and songs of this acclaimed Christmas Eve story. Youngsters in the group might instead prefer to see their favorite movie come to life on stage, in which case, you can’t go wrong with Disney’s Frozen the Musical. Once darkness falls, gravitate toward the light. Grab tickets to ZooLights, a popular annual tradition at Lincoln Park Zoo. Every year, the animals stay up late as the zoo gets decked out with millions of holiday lights. If you’d rather see multiple attractions, the Chicago Holiday Lights Segway Tour is sure to keep the holiday spirit flowing with a gliding, guided tour of the best light displays in the city. It’s time to sit back, relax, and refuel. Chances are, frequent Chicago visitors are familiar with The Cheesecake Factory and Grand Lux Cafe. However, If you’re not quite ready to retire for the evening, head up to Butch McGuire’s. One of Chicago’s most illustrious pubs any time of year, this place is arguably unmatched in holiday spirit and jovial decor once winter rolls around. Mingle with fellow revelers, crank festive tunes in the jukebox, and dance off all the sweet treats you nibbled earlier in the day.

Day 3

Begin getaway day at Lou Mitchell’s, the epitome of a nostalgic city diner. Situated at the start of Route 66, it’s known for its award-winning breakfast dishes and the tasty diner donut holes that customers keep coming back for more. Roasted nuts, fresh pretzels, sausages and hot spiced wine awaits you at the traditional German Christkindlmarket. This unique outdoor market is a wellknown destination for festive gifts and holiday cheer, so soak in the family-friendly atmosphere and see what charming ornaments and treasures you can discover. If you get hungry as you stroll the market, grab lunch from one of the food vendors before you head back home.

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by Jack Santo

“Smart” really just used to mean connected, like smartphones, smart TVs, and the many other smart devices were really just the same old toys but connected to the internet. Today, “smart” increasingly means powered by artificial intelligence (AI) generally machine learning algorithms, and capable of helping us in increasingly innovative ways. Smart cars use facial recognition algorithms to detect whether we are paying attention to the road and alert us if we’re getting tired. Smart-phones use AI algorithms to do everything from maintain call quality to help us take better pictures, and of course, they are packed with apps that use AI to help us do just about anything. Even smart toilets are on their way, capable of helping to diagnose gastrointestinal issues by using computer vision to analyze stool samples!

AI has permeated the tools we use to carry out everyday work – from the ubiquitous voice assistants to language translation and tools that allow us to extract structured data from pictures, whiteboard scribblings, and hand-written notes. It also powers much of the robotic process automation that has enabled workloads to be lightened in admin, logistics, accounting, and HR departments. Whatever your industry or job function, you’re likely to find there’s an AI-powered solution designed to make your life easier. This broad trend encompasses AI, the internet of things (IoT), and newly emerging super-fast networks like 5G, all of which are coming together to augment us with capabilities we didn’t have just a few years ago. This highlights the fact that on a longer timescale than the one we are specifically looking at here, the most impactful trend of all will be convergence. Growing data volumes, faster network and processor speeds, and the “democratization” of data (more on this below) are coming together and will affect society in a way that is much more than the sum of their parts.

Another increasingly powerful driver will be the ongoing democratization of data and technology. In recent years an entire industry has emerged which aims to put the skills and tools necessary for tech-led innovation in the hands of as large a proportion of society as possible, regardless of their expertise or experience. Cloud solutions for storage, network and processing mean costs, and risks of setting up expensive infrastructure in order to try out new ideas are heavily mitigated. Hybrid solutions, for when public cloud services aren’t entirely appropriate, for example when dealing with very private or valuable data, have matured to the point where a “best of both worlds” solution is possible. Innovation has been curtailed in some areas by the skills crisis, which sounds like a problem but has been a driver behind the explosion of self-service and “do-it-yourself” solutions. Not every company needs to hire an army of computer geniuses to build their own “digital brain” when they can simply lease one for the work they need doing. Ready-built AI solutions exist for everything from marketing to HR, project management, and planning and design of production processes. In 2022 we will continue to see companies deploying AI and IoT infrastructure without owning a single server or proprietary piece of cognitive code. No-code interfaces will become more popular as a lack of programming knowledge, or a detailed understanding of statistics and data structures, will cease to become a barrier to bringing a world-changing idea into reality. OpenAI – a research group founded by Elon Musk and funded by, among others, Microsoft, recently unveiled Codex, a programming model that can generate code from natural, spoken human language. As technology like this matures – which we will start to see in 2022 – and converges with the possibilities offered by cloud infrastructure, our innovation and imagination will less frequently be held back by a lack of either resources or technical skills.

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