Kevin T. Stein Reader

Kevin T. Stein

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Photographic record of a Chinese toy factory

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By Kevin T. Stein in New Photography on Wednesday 12 September 2012

Unhappy faces. Workers asleep under benches. The gauzy memories of too much lead in the paint. Interestingly, despite the close-up nature of the work, none of the employees (mostly women) shown in this photographic log of a Chinese toy factory assembly line wear glasses. Or smiles. Okay, one or two have half-smiles.

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Mitch O’Connell’s comic blog

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By Kevin T. Stein in Cool Websites on Sunday 19 August 2012

Long considered the art world’s Clown Prince of Crime — actually, that’s totally made up — Mitch O’Connell combines a Lichtenstein-like philosophy with Dick Dale’s surfer sensibility. No, really. O’Connell’s versatility, ranging in styles from the graphic to the realistic, combined with a sense of humor best described as “fart joke mod,” make the truly cerebral nature of his work that much more entertaining.

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Creative prints designed by Binth

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By Kevin T. Stein in New Design on Thursday 9 August 2012

You know that place you’ve driven past a million times, but there’s never been parking, or the gelato shop’s pull was just too strong? Well, put down the cup and spoon, and get yourself to the wonderfully simple yet playfully styled Binth. With many of the cards, art, and other knick knacks creatively designed in the store’s back office by German transplant, Suzanna Bierwirth, and design director, Brad, the pieces available are simple enough for a child’s room, but sophisticated enough for an office. It’s one of those places you wished you had opened yourself.

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Yearbook: eclectic repurposed designs in Chicago

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By Kevin T. Stein in New Design on Thursday 9 August 2012

It’s Sunday. You’re fifteen minutes west of downtown Chicago. And you’ve realized your life is a hollow, empty shell that can only be made right with a desk-top anvil, a sculling oar, and some Foolish Crow Habanero Hot Sauce. Fortunately, you’re also in River Forest, and the newly opened Yearbook has everything you need.

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Vivid Braille: new fashion by Brock Willsey

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By Kevin T. Stein in New Fashion on Thursday 9 August 2012

Brock Willsey is not a character from the ‘Venture Brothers’, though he’s built like Brock Sampson and does come from the badlands of Detroit. Instead of taking on international supervillains, Willsey decided his passion lie with fashion and fashion design, both passions he displays at his elite store on Damen avenue, near the famous Six Corners in Bucktown/Wicker Park. Willsey calls his shop Vivid Braille, because one of the things he’s most interested in is not just the look of the shirts and other items he designs, but also how they feel. In addition to a very attractive and masculine line of button-downs, there is also jewelry made from found objects like vacuum tubes, and t-shirts silk-screened right there in the store.

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Best coffee in Chicago? The La Colombe Cafe

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By Kevin T. Stein in Cool Travel on Wednesday 1 August 2012

Warehouse district! Restaurant corridor! Warehouse district! Restaurant corridor! Either way you look at it, Randolph and Halsted in Chicago is one of the best areas to store your … whatever, or find the newest and best places in the city to eat. But even better than that, you can spend a long and quiet afternoon sipping what is undoubtedly the best coffee you’ve ever tasted served by the friendly and eclectic staff.

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The Macabre and Beautifully Grotesque: a Facebook page

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By Kevin T. Stein in New Art on Thursday 19 July 2012

Facebook. Love it. Hate it. Think what’s-his-name is the douche of the half-century. Whatever the view, it seems the ubiquitous tepid blue and lowercase type is here to stay. With that in mind, the important question is: ‘Where can I find really disturbing paintings and photos of things man was not meant to know?’

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Chicago’s Bittersweet Cafe serves tasty works of art

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By Kevin T. Stein in Cool Travel on Thursday 19 July 2012

Is rap music ‘music’? Is pop art ‘art’? Here’s another insoluble: suppose a pastry chef uses flour, water, sugar, chocolate, frosting, and other yummy fixins to create a cake. When the cake is presented, is it a piece of art?

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North End of the World: a book by Dave Hunsaker

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By Kevin T. Stein in New Products on Thursday 19 July 2012

Other than reading the classics adapted to comic books – you know the ones, where Romeo jumps from a rooftop with flaming sword into Juliette’s mandroid-guarded sleep chamber – the odds of finding much in graphic novels that could be considered anything other than ‘sordid’ is pretty slim (not impossible, just slim). Acclaimed visual and […]

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Rotofuji Gallery: the funnest place in Chicago

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By Kevin T. Stein in Cool Travel on Thursday 19 July 2012

According to Krusty the Klown, the funnest place on Earth is Tijuana. But the funnest place in Chicago is the Rotofugi Gallery. Whether you pronounce is with a hard ‘g’ or a ‘j’, the Rotofugi Gallery is the city’s focal point for all things vinyl toy, low brow, and otherwise disrespectful.

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