Hype, hope, haters & honorary Chicagoans #AtoZChallenge

ChicagoAs in years past, this month I’m participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. 2016 marks my fifth anniversary, so to celebrate, I’m hosting Friday Blog-Ins here in San Diego; you can find out more info about where we’re meeting each week on my A to Z Challenge page.

My monthly theme is Chicago From A to Z, so stay tuned from Monday to Saturday for new posts on the Windy City. Or sign up for my mailing list (delivered weekly, on Fridays) so you don’t miss a thing!


I recently read an article in Chicago Magazine that offered a few tips to people looking to promote Chicago, rather than dwelling on some of its negative images. One of the suggestions was to tap famous Chicagoans to produce some “Go Chicago” commercials, in the vein of California’s “Visit California” commercials.

Their main point was that Chicagoans are a little tired of hearing about Oprah and Michael Jordan again and again. Don’t people know that John Cusack, Vince Vaughn and Harrison Ford are from (and currently live in) Chicago, too?


Anyway, that got me thinking…

Honorary Chicagoans

What about making a list of Honorary Chicagoans? I mean, if universities offer honorary degrees, and cities are tired of handing out giant ceremonial keys, I think a nice “Honorary Chicagoan” plaque or button or statuette would be a cool way to get people fired up about visiting the city.

Here are some folks I’d nominate for the honor:

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  • Grumpy Cat – because inside every “Midwest nice” person is one very Grumpy Cat
  • Justin Trudeau – hey, if the Queen of England can buy a condo in Chicago, why not the Prime Minister of Canada? Besides, now that he and Obama are BFFs, they’re clearly going to be spending a lot of time hanging in Chicago once the POTUS has finished his second term, right?
  • Ani Difranco – because while she may not be a Pretty Girl, she certainly ain’t Shy; in fact, she’s 32 Flavors (a reference that Ferris Bueller fans are sure to understand) and Chicago could use more folk singers that kick as much ass as this Righteous Babe
  • Christian Bale – because Gotham is obviously Chicago, so the Batman should get honorary status (and show up occasionally to dissuade people from engaging in gun violence by bending their firearms…)
  • Tim Curry – because if we’re going to nominate superheroes, then we should also nominate the ultimate film villain (and, c’mon, Dr. Frank-N-Furter alone earns the man mad props)
  • Roxane Gay – because this Bad Feminist lives in Illinois and is both bookish and badass


And one posthumous honoree: Salvador Dalí – because we can all use a little more surrealism in our lives.

A Salvador Dalí postcard I recently received from a friend visiting Spain
A Salvador Dalí postcard I recently received from a friend visiting Spain

Chicago celeb short list

Not that Chicago doesn’t already have plenty of celebrities to boast about!

Here are a few more celebs who were born in Chicago and/or currently call the city home:

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  • Gillian Anderson
  • Jennifer Beals
  • James Belushi
  • Hannibal Buress
  • Sandra Cisneros
  • Diablo Cody
  • Common
  • Billy Corgan
  • Joan Cusack
  • Dave Eggers
  • The dudes in Fall Out Boy
  • Lupe Fiasco
  • Hugh Hefner
  • Jennifer Hudson
  • Kim Novak
  • Dan Savage
  • Mr. T
  • Kanye West
  • Billy Zane


That ought to keep you occupied for a while, right?

Additional Resources

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Name your noms!

Who’s a hero or cool cat you’d nominate as an Honorary Chicagoan?

Giveaway: San Diego from A to Z

Want to read the book I wrote last April, based on my A to Z posts about San Diego? I’m giving away two paperback copies of San Diego From A to Z over at Goodreads, so click here and enter to win! AND I’m giving away one free ebook copy every day until the end of April to a random commenter here on the blog. Leave a comment every day for another chance to win!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

San Diego from A to Z by Laura Roberts

San Diego from A to Z

by Laura Roberts

Giveaway ends April 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway