Earlier this year, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police Special Operations Unit was first tipped off about a business owner, Carlos Barraza, who was possibly selling counterfeit goods. Dos Hermanos, Barraza’s business, is a beauty and cosmetics wholesaler. Barraza was accused of selling counterfeit VapoRub to stores in Illinois and Wisconsin. A tip sent to Procter & Gamble, the company that owns VapoRub, prompted the company to send a private investigator to the area to determine whether or not the product was being sold at the stores. According to a press release provided by Cook County Sheriff’s Office, police executed a search warrant on Nov. 16 and confiscated 2,000 containers of fake VapoRub from the Dos Hermanos store in Bedford Park, Ill. Bedford Park is about a 40-minute drive south from Chicago.
“Consumers should be cautious about buying branded goods from outlets that are unfamiliar,” Sheriff Thomas J. Dart said in the press release. “Buy branded goods from sources that you know and trust and where your consumer rights will be protected. Consumers who suspect an item is counterfeit should contact the retailer where they made the purchase.
Barraza is facing charges of violating the Trademark Counterfeiting Act, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman. The Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984 states that “‘whoever intentionally traffics or attempts to traffic in goods and services and knowingly uses a counterfeit mark on or in connection with such goods or services’ shall be guilty of a felony,” according to the Offices of the United States Attorneys. However, the penalty for violating trademarks is handled on a case-by-case basis, as stated by the Offices of the United States Attorneys.
Procter & Gamble didn’t respond to our request for comment by the time this story was published.
If you don’t have Chicago on your bucket list, you’re sleeping on the vibrant metropolis.
The city has an enviable lakefront that runs 18.5 miles along the city skyline, a museum campus (and a number of other art and educational institutions nearby) that you could visit for years and still find something new, and dining options that run the gamut from Michelin-starred to hole-in-the-wall mom and pop shops.
If that’s not enough to get your there, this might be:
For $2.25, you can take the CTA train into the city.
Whether you’re flying into O’Hare or Midway, each airport offers a direct route into downtown Chicago. From there, you can easily transfer to any of the other train lines, buses or Metra (servicing the suburbs) to get where you’re going and oftentimes, get downtown just as fast as driving. Save yourself the headache of traffic and trying to find your rideshare—as well as cash—by taking the train into the city. Once you’re there, hop into a cab or transfer like a local.
Speakeasies and Cocktail Bars Aren’t Just a Fad
They’re a historical part of the city. In 1921, the bar now known as The Green Door Tavern opened as a restaurant. Over the years, the restaurant was sold and renamed the Green Door Tavern. During prohibition, a green door would let people know that they could find a speakeasy inside. According to the Green Door Tavern’s website, many of the original fixtures found at the bar are from the 1920s. It’s easy to get caught up in the history of the first floor, but if you keep walking towards the back, and take the steps into the basement—you’ll find a woman with an iPad next to a bookshelf. Leave your name, head back upstairs and wait for The Drifter to call you. Once IDs are checked (again) you’ll find yourself in a tiny room that feels like you’ve stepped into an old-timey circus. Tarot cards are used as drink menus, you can play drink roulette by selecting a $10 fortune cookie that contains your drink order and every hour a different performer takes the stage. It’s easy to imagine one of Al Capone’s cronies posted at the bar grabbing a drink between jobs.
But The Drifter isn’t the only speakeasy worth visiting. In Wicker Park, The Violet Hour, considered the birthplace of artisan cocktails in Chicago, is worth the wait. Just be sure to follow the house rules.
Comedians Are Made in The Second City
Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mike Meyers, Steve Carrell, Chris Farley, John Candy and most of the funniest names in entertainment came out of world-renowned The Second City, a comedy club, theater and school of improvisation.
To date, it has not produced a Latinx show on its mainstage (a disappointing trend in entertainment). However, actress/producer Vanessa Garcia is working to change that with “La Carne Asada 2: The Seasoning,” performed inside the venue’s Judy’s Beat Lounge. The sketch show for Latinos by Latinos is performed mostly in Spanish with deeply Latino characters and tropes. It sold-out its summer show dates and recently added new fall dates.
Garcia was inspired to write a sequel to last year’s sold-out run of La Carne Asada after a conversation that implied that Latinx content was not headlining stage material. With that in mind, the show is a statement about quality Latinx-centric and minority-centric content being as entertaining, engaging and mainstream as any headline show.
It’s a Magical Place—No Really, Magicians Are As Common As Bartenders
In a profile piece on magicians for Chicago, Kevin writes about how the art of magic is taught mostly from books, and Midwest Magic in the suburbs is one of the largest magic shops in the world. It’s no wonder there’s been an uptick in magic-themed venues and entertainment. For an intimate, upscale experience head to the Magic Parlour at the Palmer House Hilton. In one of the gilded rooms, you’ll see close-hand magic performed by Dennis Watkins.
To see several acts in one place, head north to the Magic Lounge. The entrance is marked by a sign that reads ‘laundromat.’ Walk inside and start enjoying your night with a drink at the bar where a raised platform features a magician while you wait for your show to begin. Once ushered into the seated venue, various magicians will rove the aisles to keep guests entertained before the start of the first act.
Latino fans will get a kick out of Luis Carreon. The award-winning magician peppers his act with jokes that riff on Mexican culture.
It’s A Sports Fan’s Dream
Between the Cubs and Sox (MLB) rivalry, Bears (NFL), Bulls (an NBA franchise synonymous with Michael Jordan and six league titles), the Sky (WNBA) and three recent titles between the Blackhawks (NHL), sports are an integral part of the city’s DNA—and that’s just the professional teams found within the city limits. Head to the suburbs if you want to see the Red Stars (MLS) play. It’s worth the drive considering four members of the Women’s World Cup Championship team play for the local league. The Chicago Fire, the men’s team, also plays at the same venue.
Even if you prefer a different type of entertainment, you’re not really experiencing the city if you don’t have some kind of sports encounter. Worst case scenario, you can eat really well since all the stadiums have local dining options in-stadium—like Big Star at the United Center where the Bulls and Hawks play— which is also across the street from the Cubs’ Wrigley Field.
Since the midterm elections, there’s no doubt there’s a new breed of politicians in charge on Capitol Hill. Some have labeled these new politicians as the “Freshman Four, or “The Squad,” and it’s made up of Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. They mean business, they stand up to President Donald Trump, and, clearly, they intimidate right-wing conservatives because they’re always on the defense. Republican lawmakers seem to consist of mostly white males. But, who is to blame for not re-energizing the conservatives? Trump, perhaps? Not necessarily. Looks like there’s at least one potential lawmaker who seeks to be in office as well, and she’s not white nor male.
Catalina Lauf, a young Latina, is aiming to run for office despite having no experience in politics.
Lauf, a former Trump administration adviser, is seeking to take down the current the Democratic incumbent Lauren Underwood and retake the state’s 14th Congressional District in Chicago, Illinois. Like Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Underwood also unseated a Republican in the midterm elections.
There are a lot of similarities between Lauf and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, but make no mistake, these two Latinas are starkly different.
For starters like the majority of Republicans, Lauf is a pro-Trump supporter and believes everyone on the left is basically a hater who doesn’t understand what Trump is trying to do.
“He’s not a racist,” Lauf told “Fox & Friends” this weekend. “People like my mom and my grandmother and many other Hispanic-Americans who have come here legally feel so insulted by that, because they did it the right way. And there’s a process for it. And you should be a law-abiding citizen. President Trump is doing his best to protect this country, and we should be enforcing immigration laws.”
The 26-year-old, who is half Guatemalan and half German, said she doesn’t ultimately care if people compare her to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. As long as voters know what makes her different from her.
“I’m not anti-anyone, I’m pro-America,” Lauf said on Fox on Monday. “But if there’s a contrast” [with her] it’s that I’m driven by a love for my country, not a hate for everything it stands for.”
So what does she stand for anyway? Peace, unity, and the American way. Her slogan is “Latina by heart, American first.”
“Today, angry voices seek to divide us by skin color, economic class, and where we come from. They use envy and bitterness, trying to convince us to surrender our personal freedoms for the false promises of socialism,” Lauf narrates in her campaign video. She also makes it clear that politicians like the four freshmen are making this country and terrible place.
Lauf went on to say that the “Four Freshmen” are running on a theme that aims to break up what America is all about. “They forget that America is an idea, an idea that we are all created equal and that what we have in common is far more powerful than any of our differences,” Lauf said on Fox News. As to her policies, she said that she’s a big supporter of small business. “I’m a very big proponent of entrepreneurship and small business and that’s a big platform of mine. My district has a lot of small business owners and we need to ensure we’re creating an environment that really fosters that growth,” she added on Fox & Friends.
Does she have a chance to take back the Republican seat? Perhaps.
As we said, Democrat Lauren Underwood already took the seat from the Republican vote, and Lauf said she is certain her district is Republican at heart. She also said that Underwood is making pathetic attempts at trying to be part of the Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s squad by posing extremely left-sided policies.
“I plan to offer a counter to that message, one that doesn’t tear others down, but lifts all of us up,” she said. “A message that focuses on what brings us together, not our differences, and how that commonality will help us get things done for our constituents and preserve the promise of the American Dream.”
At the end of the day, it all comes down to donations. Underwood raised $4 million in campaign funds for her winning election. Lauf needs to bring in more if she truly wants a chance. We just have to see how badly Republicans want this newbie in their corner.