Wednesday, November 25, 2015

4635 Broadway Begins Its Renovation

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Thank you to reader BR, who noticed that 4635-4641 North Broadway has scaffolding up and a dumpster in front, so presumably construction is beginning on the rehab of the building's residential and retail spaces. This takes place more than two years after Mike Krueger of Lakepointe Properties presented his plan for the building. Lakepointe is the developer of the building at Broadway and Clifton where 42 grams and Spoil Me Salon and Spa are located, and recently began work rehabbing the residential floors of the Bank of America building at Lawrence and Broadway.

This building has had a sad recent history. It was owned by a notorious slumlord until 2012, when it went into foreclosure. During that time, the City placed it on the Drug & Gang Building list and it was in Housing Court. In 2011, it was the site of an armed fugitive barricade situation that brought the SWAT team out and necessitated the closure of the Red Line. Let's hope this rehab brings happier days to the 1905 building. We are eager to see what happens.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Uptown United's Having A Party (But You Need To RSVP)

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From Uptown United:

"Greetings! Join Uptown United, Business Partners - the Chamber for Uptown, and Bridgeview Bank in celebrating the holiday season, as well as our organizations' many accomplishments this year.

Enjoy complementary food & libation and great company!

This year's party will be a special send-off for Associate Director/SSA Administrator Wally Rozak. Join us in celebrating and recognizing Wally's dedication and service to Uptown. The speaking program will begin around 6:00pm.

Please bring a canned good (or a few!) to contribute to our collection box.

This is a free event. Please register in order for us to have a head count.

We hope to see you there!"

December 8th Buena Park Meeting Will Include Vote on 931-933 Belle Plaine Proposal

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The next General Meeting of Buena Park Neighbors will be held on Tuesday, December 8th. Please note the location (Brennemann School, 4251 Clarendon) and earlier start time (6pm).

This is an opportunity to meet new neighbors and talk about neighborhood issues and businesses. The agenda is:
  • 6pm - Holiday Cheer - Join us to meet neighbors and mingle.
  • 6:30pm - Meeting Begins
  • Representatives from Brennemann School will welcome us and introduce the school's toy drive. Please bring a toy to share for a child between 3-14 years old.
  • Buena Park Neighbors - President Lisa von Drehle will update us on the neighborhood and Membership Drive.
  • Lakeview Pantry Introduction - Please bring warm hats, coats and gloves to donate for its clients.
  • Chicago Police Department CAPS Liaison Jason Clark - Sgt. Clark will update us on safety and take your questions.
  • Alderman Cappleman - The Alderman will update us on the state of the ward and answer questions.
Buena Park Neighbors is a 46th Ward neighborhood association of more than 200 residents, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations in the nationally registered Buena Park Historic District. Our mission is to improve the quality of life for everyone in Buena Park.

Crew Open Thanksgiving Evening For Football

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Whether you'll have had enough of those people with whom you share DNA, or if you're looking for a little company to watch the Bears take on their arch-rivals the Packers,

Crew Bar + Grill (4804 North Broadway) will open at 6pm on Thanksgiving for football, beer, and Bears. "Snag a turkey burger with sweet potato fries and cranberry barbecue sauce, a sweet slice of pumpkin pie and a draft beer for $20."  Kickoff is at 7:30pm.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Metropolitan Planning Council Is Proud Of What Stewart School Workshops Accomplished

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The Metropolitan Planning Council, which led the community input process regarding re-use of Stewart School, today sent this email to participants in the 2014 workshops:
"Metropolitan Planning Council is happy to announce that Chicago Public Schools has chosen a proposal from Morningside Group that takes into account the Uptown community's input while generating the highest bid. These recommendations included:
  • Converting the Stewart School building into residential units with enhanced community amenities and public spaces on the western plaza
  • Adding retail, cafĂ© or restaurant space on the ground floor
  • Constructing a building on the former parking lot to provide additional rental housing with affordable units
Read more about the process and the proposal for Stewart School.

Thank you for being part of this process and helping shape the future of Stewart School and Uptown. Metropolitan Planning Council thanks Ald. Cappleman and his staff for their leadership and follow-through."
A little link-digging led us to a copy of the Decision made by the Board of Education, which includes that the conclusions drawn from the community input process are required to be part of the deed to the school property.
The City or [Public Building Commission], as necessary, shall include a restrictive covenant in the deed stating that the property must be used as a mixed-use development incorporating all of the following: (1) residential units; (2) retail and/or restaurant space; (3) a community plaza or town square; and (4) one or more of the following community programs: community gardens, dedicated space for a farmers market, community theater space, youth educational or recreational programming or job training. The deed for the Property will include this restriction. Title to the property will revert back to the City of Chicago ... if this restriction is breached without the prior written consent of the Board's Chief Operating Officer.
Good work, all!  You can see the CPS Decision here, and the UU's previous stories about the MDC process and the sale of the school building here.

"Jazz Night In America" Meets Sabertooth, Uptown's Longest-Running Show

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NPR visited the legendary Green Mill Jazz Club, and spilled the beans on one of Uptown's best experiences: the midnight shows by Sabertooth on Saturdays.  They start at the same time each week, but the show could go until 4am, it could go until dawn. Sabertooth is a group of studio musicians who've been showing up for 23 years, and there's usually a guest musician who's playing another gig in town who joins them. Cheap cover charge, and always a great evening for those who enjoy jazz and the nightlife.

For a video of the performance, and a tour of the Green Mill's legendary tunnels, click here.

If you're having a problem seeing the video or hearing the radio report, check it out on the NPR page Jazz Night In America, here.

Oops, It Did It Again

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The reader who sent these photos in says, "Lawrence Red Line ate a tractor trailer for breakfast. Apparently they are very high in fiber. This happened around 7 this morning and impeded traffic up and down Lawrence."  Gotta feel for the driver, who absolutely didn't intend to start the week this way.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Drink Up and Raise Funds For School Supplies At Fat Cat

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From the event page:  "Please join Friends of the 46th Ward Schools for a fundraiser in support of 46th Ward students at Brennemann, Courtenay, Disney, Greeley, McCutcheon, and Uplift. Win raffle prizes and make a donation to Friends of the 46th Ward schools. Proceeds will be used to purchase needed supplies for 46th Ward schools."

Don't forget that Fot46WS is also collecting hats and mittens for school kids. It's cold out there!

Rock On... First Ascent Climbing Gym Holds Grand Opening Celebration On December 12

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Soon to open on the second floor of the former Border's building, they've been at work transforming a bookstore into a center for boulder climbing, yoga and fitness.  Check out the website explaining more about what they do, and how you can be part of it.

According to the Facebook Grand Opening page, most of the Grand Opening events will take place at the Avondale location, near Elston and Kedzie.  There will be climbing there, as well as food trucks, ziplining, and face painting.  The Uptown event will take place Saturday evening, December 12:
SATURDAY 9 pm - Midnight @ FA: Uptown.  Grand Opening Celebration at First Ascent Climbing: Uptown. Come enjoy food, friends, and music in our brand new space. (No climbing during this time - get your climbs in during the day!)

You can check out the whole schedule here, both locations. Above is a peek at what the Uptown location will look like.  More photos are its Facebook page.

Save The Date: Winter Walk On Wilson & Christmas Tree Lighting

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Visit any of these local businesses between 5pm - 7pm on Friday, December 4!
Live Music, Sweet Treats, Santa and more!
  • Everybody's Coffee - 935 W. Wilson
  • Palla's Grill - 4570 N. Broadway
  • Aardvark Insurance - 1228 W. Wilson
  • Baker & Nosh - 1303 W. Wilson
  • Public Barber - 1319 W. Wilson
  • Heritage Outpost - 1325 W. Wilson
Be sure to stop by BAKER & NOSH for the tree-lighting ceremony at 7pm.  

Featuring performances by:
  • Irish Music School of Chicago
  • Uplift Community High School Band
  • The Chicago Artist's Chorale
Visit for more info!

Story Time For the Kids, Today At 4pm

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Saturday, November 21, 2015

First Snowfall

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A night view of Clarendon and Sheridan from Friday. 
Thank to to reader Claire for sending it in.

"Snow was falling,
so much like stars
filling the dark trees
that one could easily imagine
its reason for being was nothing more
than prettiness.” 
― Mary Oliver

Friday, November 20, 2015

Foster/Sheridan Building Sells For $21.6 Million

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More big investment in the area. The Kopley Group has sold its building at 5200 North Sheridan, on the Uptown/Edgewater border, for $21.6 million. It was sold to Spirit Bascom Ventures, LLC, which says in the press release that it intends "to reposition the asset with a full rehab and renovation program including unit renovation, additional resident amenities and establishing retail tenancy."

The building, which dates back to 1924 and started life as an apartment hotel, has 233 units, mostly studios and one-bedrooms. There is also approximately 9,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor.

Commercial real estate broker KIG CRE handled the transaction.

Join Positive Loitering Tonight, 7pm-8pm

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The weather's getting wintry, but we just confirmed that the positive loiterers will be out again tonight. Come by and say hi.

From Uptown Chicago Commission:

"Please join your neighbors tonight for an hour of Positive Loitering from 7-8 PM.  Our location this evening will be in front of 4613 N Broadway (across the street from the Broadway entrance of the Wilson Red Line stop). Stop by for a few minutes or stay for the full hour. Bring a friend, bring a new neighbor, stop by on a dog walk, just come out!

As always, the 19th District Police are aware of our presence and encourage participation.  See you tonight!"

Well-Loved Papa Ray's Manager Ends His Life; What You Can Do

We got a heart-breaking note from the owner of Papa Ray's entitled "Papa Ray's has a heavy heart." Please read it and please remember that there is help out there. And if you can spare a couple bucks to help out Wilvy's family in this terrible time, that would be greatly appreciated, too.

"Wilvy Ramos, the very first employee at the Uptown location, has ended the struggle with his depression and sadness. Wilvy decided to end his life just this past Saturday. We here at Papa Ray's couldn't be more heartbroken. You can tell something isn't right when you walk thru the door. We loved him very much. He was employed with us for the last 5 years.

I'm writing to tell you this info two reasons.
  • Wilvy was loved very much by so many here in Uptown and by so many of our customers. We would actually tease him about having "fans" like a rock-star. The ones we have told have expressed their desires to help raise money and show support for his family. Wilvy was the breadwinner in his family, leaving behind his wife, mother and sister. So please send any donations to or go to and search for The-Wilvy-Ramos-Memorial-Fund
Please give what you can. If you ever met Wilvy, odds are he made you laugh. His family really needs the help of his neighbors and friends.
  • The second reason I am writing is because this is a very serious issue. 
  • Please, tell those that you love that you do in fact love them. Tell them everyday.
  • Nobody should have to live secretly in pain. Please reach out if you are struggling with depression. 
  • Please, if suicide is ever the answer for you, please give someone you love the opportunity to change your mind. 
  • If not someone you love, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. 
  • If all else fails, come on in to Papa Ray's and ask for me the owner, Matt. I will lend you my ear and help you try to find a solution. There is always a better way, always. We will find it together.
Thank You,

Matt Villareal, Owner
Papa Ray's Pizza & Wings
4757 N. Sheridan Rd."

May you have finally found peace, Wilvy Ramos.

Santa's On The Red Line Saturday


Too cool! The CTA's Holiday Train is making an early run along the Red Line on Saturday evening! We'll print the schedule below, but don't worry if you miss it. It'll be back along the Red and Purple Lines on December 15th through 22nd.

Saturday, November 21:
  • Southbound: Argyle 4:57, Lawrence 4:59, Wilson 5:00, and Sheridan 5:02
  • Northbound: Sheridan 7:23, Wilson 7:25, Lawrence 7:26, and Argyle 7:28

Snow To Fall Friday Night and Saturday

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We really hate to have to post this, but according to all reports, we're getting several inches of snow tonight, up to 10 inches in parts of the city and 'burbs. The Chicago Weather Center says that Uptown and other lakefront communities may avoid the worst of it, though. "Amounts could vary from 6-inches or more to 2 to 4-inches in the Loop and along the immediate lakefront."

So here's the annual drill:

The End of an Era: Shake Rattle & Read Gives Notice Of Ric's Retirement


If you haven't been to Shake Rattle & Read, right next to the Uptown Theater, you need to get over there. No, really, you need to get over there.  Ric Addy announced on the store's Facebook page yesterday that he will be retiring next year and this piece of iconic Uptown will be closing after 60 years, probably mid-summer 2016.
“It’s time,” Ric said. “At age 64, and after 30 years in the same location, I’m looking for new adventures. I need to take time to go see the rest of the world and be with my family and friends in Michigan and Florida. I’ll miss all of my friends in Chicago, but I won’t miss the winters.”
Unfortunately, you can't catch him today, as there's a follow-up note saying he's been admitted to the hospital for an emergency procedure, but you can leave him a note. The store is still open, as it always is, noon to 6pm.

From playing with his band, the Pogo Ponies; to holding court and telling great stories; to having deeply discounted annual sales; to sponsoring bands in the store; to being on the board of Business Partners/The Chamber for Uptown; to Shake Rattle & Read's always interesting window displays, Ric is an Uptown legend and it's really hard to imagine how it will be without him.

But he's given the store and this community his life and deserves some warm winters, some travel, and some relaxation. Here's to Ric and a helluva victory lap. Let's let him know how much his presence is and has been appreciated.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Renderings Released Of Pensacola Place Proposal

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Brininstool + Lynch (h/t to Curbed Chicago)
Curbed Chicago has a complete rundown of the plans to build townhomes on top of the Jewel and World Gym at Broadway and Montrose and update the exterior of the development. The proposal goes before the Chicago Plan Commission today and if approved, construction could begin as early as next spring. Read more at Curbed...

#TBT -- Uptown Funk Goes Retro

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Inspired Cards For The Holidays Help Support Local Non-Profit

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With snow in the forecast, and FM stations already playing 24/7 Christmas music, many readers are already thinking about sending holiday greetings. As in years past, we hope you consider getting your cards from one of Uptown's best-regarded non-profit organizations, Inspiration Corporation, which provides services for individuals and families dealing with homelessness and poverty.

While Inspiration offer services all over the city, it was founded in Uptown and maintains its main office and wonderful restaurant, Inspiration Kitchens, here.  It sells holiday cards every year to support its fine programs, each year featuring a new cool design and success stories from its clientèle.

This year's design is featured above, and this is what they have to say about the cards:
"Inspiration Corporation is selling our custom-designed, annual holiday cards again! Purchase a pack today and share an inspirational story with your friends and family for the holidays.

These cards are the new design for 2015 by local artist Amber Favorite of a.favorite design. 100% of the proceeds support Inspiration Corporation’s programs.

A pack of 10 cards is only $15!

Cards are blank on the inside and feature one of three success stories from a participant on the back.

Cards can be purchased here:"

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

New Hair Salon To Hold Grand Opening At Somerset Place On Friday

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The first retail business in decades will open at Somerset Place, 5009 North Sheridan, next week. Uptown resident (and Uptown Update reader) Edward Steinbeigle will hold a grand opening for his new salon, Alchemia Art of Hair, at 5pm on Friday, November 20th.  Ald. Osterman and Uptown United President Sara Dinges will be on hand for the ribbon cutting, and you're invited to drop by and check it out.

Edward has had a home studio nearby, but looks forward to beginning to a new, larger operation, which will officially open to the public after the weekend.  He's been a stylist in several downtown salons and for several television shows, but welcomes the opportunity to hang out his own shingle.

Some newer residents may not know that the Somerset was opened in the 1920s as one of the city's finest apartment hotels and housed many shops and amenities. In 1972, it became an assisted living residence. So Alchemia represents not only the first retail to open on the site in many of our lifetimes, but is also a salute back to some of the amenities provided during the Somerset's original run.

Welcome, Alchemia, and thank you, Edward Steinbeigle, for putting your faith in Uptown.

Wilson Closed Next Week For (Wait For It) ... Platform Work

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We're getting a platform! It's not going to look like the rendering for a couple years yet, but the CTA is starting the process of installing a new platform for the rehabbed Red/Purple Line Wilson station next week.

Monday, November 23rd through Wednesday, November 25th, Wilson will be closed to vehicular traffic between Broadway and Clifton between 9am and 4pm. Pedestrians will still have access to the area.

  • Wilson Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic but open to pedestrian traffic
  • Limits of operation will be between Wilson & Broadway to Wilson & Clifton
  • Station entrance at Wilson will remain in operation
  • Bus #78 will be rerouted and will not stop at Wilson
  • Service drive for Truman College will remain accessible
  • There will be dust/noise while work is being performed

Chase Park Sponsors Kids' Turkey Trot On Saturday

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"Don't miss your chance to bring home Thanksgiving dinner from the annual Chase Park Turkey Trot! Participants will race around the Chase Park track to win a turkey (first prize) or a pie (second prize). This free event is open to children of all ages, and prizes will be given for first and second place finishers in each age group (13-18, 8-12, 7 and under)."

Jewel-Osco Collecting For Local Residents' Thanksgiving Meals

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If you'd like to help people here in the Uptown area to be able to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal, you can do so by making a donation at the Jewel at Broadway and Montrose.  There are signs like this at the checkouts:
Thanksgiving is coming and that means it is time for turkey dinners. Unfortunately there are still a large number of our neighbors and friends that will be without a Thanksgiving Dinner due to economic hardship. For the last few years Jewel-Osco has been proud to get involved with local churches and food pantries to deliver dinners to thousands of families within our communities.  This year our store will be delivering all proceeds collected to St. Mary's of the Lake.

That means that all of your donation dollars remain local. It is truly wonderful to see how caring our customers and associates really are. There are so many families that would have gone without last year for Thanksgiving if it had not been for this program.

Please consider giving today. All donation amounts are greatly needed and appreciated. You can elect to either deposit cash into our collection cup or we can conveniently add it to your bill and you can pay with credit or debit.

If you feel like you want to share the gift of an entire dinner for a family in need, the donation amount is $50.00.

Thank you for your continued support. Together we can make a difference in many people's lives this holiday season.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Battered Beauty Meets The Wrecking Ball on Irving Park Road

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This evening (click to enlarge)
Summer 2014 (Google Streetview) (click to enlarge)
Well, that didn't take long. Last week a permit was issued for the demolition of the one-story building at 927-929 W Irving Park Road, which dated back to 1919, but was aging poorly. By this evening, all was gone except the front wall.  (You can see what it looks like from the back on Curbed Chicago).

Most recently, 927 West Irving was the home of Asian Delight restaurant. When it closed during the summer of 2014, it joined the 929 side in having its doors and windows covered with plywood. We never were inside the building, but even from the outside, you could see the west half (929) noticeably sagging and pulling away from 927 half. We love vintage architecture, but sometimes buildings are just too far gone to save, and that appears to have been the case here.  Someone who posted on the Forgotten Chicago Facebook page went into the rubble this week and liberated some of the decorative terra cotta ornamentation.

We were hoping that the property wasn't yet another victim of "Thorek Flats," the process by which Thorek Hospital is methodically acquiring properties near it, tearing down the buildings, and leaving the lots undeveloped and empty for years.  So we did a little research.

According to the wrecking permit, the owner is a company called 927 W Irving, Inc. and its principal is Dave Gassman.  He's the developer who plans to redo the 3800 block of Broadway, and who built a new rental building at 4520 North Beacon. Since he's a developer, rather than a land banker, we look forward to seeing what happens on that portion of Irving Park Road.

BYOB With Spoil Me

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Party at Adel's! On Friday, November 20th, bring a bottle (your choice) and a blowdryer and head over to Spoil Me Salon for an evening of styling tips and fun.

Remember that Spoil Me is right in the middle of the construction zone for the Wilson L, and could really use as many customers as possible at this time. We can't think of a better opportunity than Friday.

Model Railroad Club To Hold Open House On Sunday

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"A Metroliner is preparing to take off at Georgetown." (From the club's website.)
While we're watching the big railroad construction project at Wilson and Broadway, you're invited to take a look at another railroad world, this one in miniature, this Sunday, November 22. The Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club invites you to its biannual open house, to be held 1pm-4pm in the lower level of the Clarendon Park Field House, 4501 North Clarendon. Parking is available in the lot south of the field house (enter on Clarendon opposite Agatite).

"After a long day this Union Pacific freight is about to enter Georgetown for a crew change before continuing." (From the club's website.)
The club's website, at, says, "Most people won't get the opportunity to run a local freight, operate an important passenger train at full speed with farms whizzing by or get to perform switching at a busy rail yard. At the Garfield-Clarendon Model Railroad Club you can escape the world you know to a magical snapshot in time, hand-crafted, hand-operated and always different."

We've been to a previous open house and it's really a unique and entertaining time.

Edgewater Man Identified As Park Suicide Victim

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A man whose body was found hanging from a tree in the park next to Lake Shore Drive on Monday has been identified as Abdela M. Hagaito of Edgewater. A woman traveling north on the Drive saw something not right in the park, south of the Foster exit, and called 9-1-1 to report it. Police arrived on the scene at 7:50am and taped off the area near the soccer fields with yellow tape, which was reported to us by several readers.

A death investigation is underway; Mr. Hagaito's death is initially presumed to be suicide.

We never know what's going through people's minds and what they're capable of. What we do know is that a family in a neighboring community has lost a loved one and is grieving.

If you know someone you think may be suicidal, please give them the number of the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, which is open 24/7.  It is 1 (800) 273-8255.  The website is  One thing Uptown has in abundance is social services. Help is close by.

Our thoughts are with those who are mourning the loss of a family member and friend.

Got A Story To Tell? Tonight's Your Chance

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The monthly storytelling series continues on Tuesday, November 17th at Uptown Underground, 4713 North Broadway. It's the second event in a series that will take place on the third Tuesday of each month.

No experience is necessary for this open mic evening.  Bring your stories or fiction (no poems, please).  Everyone gets no more than seven minutes to tell their tales.  Arrive at 7pm to sign up for a spot, and the storytelling begins at 7:30pm.  It won't go past 9:30pm.

All ages are welcome, and it's free.

Want to know more?  Visit the website here, and start getting ready to enlighten and entertain.