Set in Downtown Chicago, the building that houses The Publishing House is rather unassuming. But similar to entering the land of Narnia through a wooden wardrobe, the property’s big blue door transports you to a new world, one which takes the shape of a charming bed and breakfast that’s a haven of quirky décor, patterned wallpaper and two perfectly behaved pugs, Angus and Louie. Save the enchantment and mythical beasts, The Publishing House offers a magical atmosphere, coupled with hospitality fit for the kings and queens of Narnia.
The hotel’s 11 en-suite rooms have each been adorned with an eclectic style that is inspired by the co-owner’s worldly travels. In the Meno Room you will find subtle mustache-patterned wallpaper in a charming alcove, while in the Sinclair Room you can’t miss the impressive Randy the Ram head suspended on the wall.
As for the hospitality, co-owners and husband-wife duo Kimberly Lowery and Shawn Uldridge couldn’t be a better match for this boutique bed and breakfast. They offer their guests daily homemade breakfast, delicious freshly baked muffins, coffee and tea. “We go through so many French Presses of coffee a day,” Shawn says when I ask about how they find the energy to make it through a day. The couple also provides each guest’s bathroom with Malin and Goetz products, fluffy robes and a smart TV: you feel as though you’re at home, but better.
While I tour the property that is covered in vintage books, colorful lamps and whimsical furniture, Shawn tells me how they actually have a lot of locals staying at the moment. “A woman was getting her floors redone in her home in Chicago, so she needed a place to stay locally,” he says. “She loved it so much she ended up extending her staycation for an extra few days!”
Below, Shawn Uldridge lets us in on the West Loop hotel’s history, his preferred room in the building and his favorite piece of furniture in Chicago’s perfectly accessorized Publishing House.
What’s the most requested room?
The Everleigh Suite
The Publishing House B&B
What makes it so special?
Like all rooms, the Everleigh Suite is furnished with vintage finds from all over the United States. For this room, we found a 1960’s corner couch in a thrift store in Massachusetts and refurbished it locally in gorgeous teal velour that just screams, “sit on me!” People love to stay in Everleigh because it has a strong style yet is soft and feminine. Also, the claw foot tub and steam shower don’t hurt matters, either!
The Everleigh Suite Bathroom
What is the rate?
$ 299 – $ 399 +tax, depending on the time of year.
The Audrey Room
What room is your personal favorite?
The Carmen is our favorite room. It has developed a natural Texan feel to it all on its own, with desert-dust red oak panels, cow skin floor rugs and a Texas Longhorn adorning the wall. Carmen has great city views of Chicago, too.
The Carmen Room
Any fun facts about the hotel or rooms?
The building has a long history dating back to 1909–for thirty years the largest hologram Museum and lab in North America operated here. We’re also privy to the fact that one of the finest casket showrooms in the mid-west had its caskets built in the basement in the 1950’s!
Demi Lovato recently gave us a fire Summer anthem with the release of «Sorry Not Sorry,» and now we have the perfect music video to go along with it. Since the song is a big «screw you» to anyone who’s ever done her wrong, Lovato decides to throw the world’s best house party to further show her haters exactly what they’re missing. In addition to the singer looking unbelievable, she also casually hangs out with Paris Hilton, Jamie Foxx, and Wiz Khalifa. Between the foam, red solo cups, and the police showing up at the end, this really makes us miss those out-of-control house parties back in high school.
McDonald’s has super sized screens for you to order
Hate walking into a fast-food joint and having to talk to some moron who never gets your order right? McDonald’s has you covered. Look at these giant order screens. Bigger than at the airports. Bigger than the order screens at Wawa. Big, big, big! You know who’s going to love this news? The anti-$ 15 minimum wage crowd is going to love this news. They’ve been waiting on this for a long time. They’ve been waiting for lazy McDonald’s workers to get replaced by machines. It’s all happening, people. There will come a time where humans won’t touch your food at fast-food joints. They’ll be at home bitching on Facebook.
Numbers from :
Lonzo Ball tonight: 36 pts, 11 ast, 8 reb, 5 stl; last Laker with 30/10/5/5 in regular-season game was Magic Johnson (Dec. 1987 vs Warriors)
First of all, everything that’s been reported about the meeting between Don Jr., Kushner, and Manafort, and the Russia has been confirmed by the email. No one inside the White House has denied any of the reporting about that meeting. Don Jr. did downplay the significance of the meeting on Hannity last night, but there’s no made up sources here. However, there is a leak, or many leaks inside the White House.
That, in fact, is what is consuming the White House at the moment. Multiple outlet have reported that everyone is pointing fingers. Everyone is suspicious. Nobody knows who is ratting out who. We do, however, know that the White House helped to draft Don Jr.’s statement last Saturday and that Trump signed off on it, only to have the lie blow up in their faces a couple of days later.
WHOA. Don Jr.'s false statement Sat. was drafted by WH aides & seen by Trump. This wasn't Jr being dopey. This was an attempted WH cover-up.
We also know that Trump is fuming about his long-time lawyer, Marc E. Kasowitz, and that the feeling is mutual. There’s some speculation that Kasowitz may resign, and there are yet more leaks suggesting that Kasowitz doesn’t like Kushner, who is whispering in Trump’s ear in an effort not to save the Presidency, but to save himself. (Side note: Kasowitz hasn’t even applied for security clearance, because he knows he won’t get it because of a history of problems with alcohol, and that after a stint in rehab, he’s drinking again. Apparently, he also has a history of making his co-workers uncomfortable. Could he be the source?)
Kushner, by the way, is in a shit ton of trouble, as the only person currently in the White House who was part of that meeting with the Russian lawyer. It’s yet another meeting with Russians that he failed to disclose, and when the media gets tired of beating up on the dumb son, they’re going to turn to the dumb son-in-law. Kushner knows it, so he’s trying to protect himself. Apparently, he thinks if he can just solve Middle East peace, then all will be forgiven.
Things, however, may get rockier for Kushner, because the campaign’s digital operation is now coming under scrutiny:
Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation — overseen by Jared Kushner — helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Congressional and Justice Department investigators are focusing on whether Trump’s campaign pointed Russian cyber operatives to certain voting jurisdictions in key states — areas where Trump’s digital team and Republican operatives were spotting unexpected weakness in voter support for Hillary Clinton, according to several people familiar with the parallel inquiries.
If any of that bears fruit, that’s the ball game.
The fact that Kushner is on the hot seat has many speculating that the leak inside the White House is Stephen Bannon, who is no friend of Kushner. Joe Scarborough — who quit the Republican party today — is advancing this particular theory as a way to push Kushner out. I’m not convinced, because this does a lot more damage than simply push out Kushner; it cripples Trump’s presidency. But then again, Bannon just wants to watch the world burn, so this very well could be his work.
We do know that this email may have originated with Kushner’s legal team, who found it doing document review. Maybe it was someone within Kushner’s legal team who leaked it. Or maybe Sean Spicer or Reince Preibus or one of Trump’s lackeys who is sick and tired of being thrown under the bus decided to seek revenge. What we do know is that everything that’s coming out about this scandal is coming from someone close to the President, and none of these people seem to like each other very much (and there’s yet another round of speculation suggesting that Preibus may be ousted, and that it’s what Melania wants).
Sources also say that Kushner has lost his swagger, and that he and his team are worried about the three meetings he held and failed to disclose before applying for his security clearance. There is even a tiny bit of speculation that Kushner and Ivanka may leave by the fall.
Meanwhile, Trump — who we haven’t seen since Saturday, and who is apparently inside the White House fuming and raging at advisors and the media (his latest tweet notwithstanding). However, he is not blaming son, who he is defending on Twitter this a.m. — and as Glenn Thrush points out, defending his son keeps the media from asking how much Trump knew.
A somewhat sensitive point but an important one: keeping focus on Jr. diverts question of what Trump himself knew https://t.co/cLRugK0CXY
Trump, meanwhile, has almost no allies left aside from Sean Hannity. His relationship with Congressional Republicans has changed. They’re not exactly calling for Trump’s head, but they’re no longer defending him. I saw Trey Gowdy — once an ardent Trump defender — raging at the White House for this mess yesterday. Aside from a white supremacist like Steve King, the Republicans are not going along with Don Jr.s’ «It was no big deal» defense. This is a big deal.
My favorite theory on the leaks, however, suggests that all of this is coming from Putin himself, who is trying to put the fear of God into Trump. There’s some interesting evidence for that, and the conclusion that these guys provide is compelling, although it’s probably bullshit:
While it might be tempting to imagine the President is suddenly a target of the same Russian machine that he thought was an ace up his sleeve, this appears more like a warning shot. As we have explained before, the President has often believed he can manipulate Putin and has attempted to straddle both sides of the fence. Even while placating Russian interests the President has often insisted, with full sincerity, that he will be able to utilize Putin to achieve the President’s own goals. These lofty ambitions have included such foolish beliefs that the President could convince Putin to essentially change loyalties against Syria, and to become involved in pressuring North Korea to halt their weapons program. And while Secretary Tillerson has been tight lipped about the recent G20 meeting between Presidents Trump and Putin we know understand that he feels President Trump’s performance was a somewhat embarrassing mix between clumsy attempts at peacocking and obtusely misreading Putin’s refined reserve as weakness. It appears that an unimpressed Putin is sending a signal about who’s in charge. Comply, or be destroyed.
This is probably not over yet, either, because on Hannity, Trump Jr. admitted that yes, he «probably met with other people from Russia.»
Finally, the second best Chris certainly has thoughts:
Ken and Kelly Downs are blaming Magnolia Reality, the company owned by HGTV’s Fixer Uppers stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, for tricking them into purchasing a home in a really shitty Waco, Texas neighborhood. How shitty you ask? Well for one thing, a drunk driver somehow managed to give Bo and Luke Duke a run for their money and do some serious damage to their home, nicknamed The Three Little Pigs House.
The yard is built up several feet, and he hit the embankment of the yard, apparently went airborne, and like a lot of older homes, this house was built up off the ground, so he cleared the rest of the yard. He didn’t hurt the hedges, but he took out the railing on the porch and went right into the window of the front room and hit an interior wall that might be a load-bearing wall.
That’s some next level drunk driving. Luckily the homeowners, Ken and Kelly Downs, were not injured. They were sleeping in an adjacent bedroom at the time of the accident. Ironically, they were probably saved by a design choice made by the Gainses.
In the home renovation by “Fixer Upper’s” Chip and Joanna Gaines, a brick fireplace had been relocated in the office and likely was what stopped the car. The next room the car would have hit, was the bedroom where they were sleeping when the crash happened, Kelly Downs said.
The Three Little Pigs house was saved by a brick wall? Levels, man! According to the Downses, drunk drivers aren’t the only menace in the Waco neighborhood. Kelly Downs also said, “It’s like the Wild West here.”
While the Downses encountered some problems with their home after moving in, the neighborhood had issues they did not expect: late-night noise from nearby bars, suspicious activity and push-back, some of it anti-“Fixer Upper,” from local residents when they complained to police.
It seems many local residents are not here for these TV types coming in and running up property taxes. According to People, The Downses specifically moved to Waco in order to live in a Magnolia designed property. To make matters worse, The Downses, along with many Fixer Upper buyers, are renting their homes on sites like VRBO and Airbnb. And people are buying it! As anyone who watches that shiplap porn of a show knows, Waco is becoming an actual tourist destination, because fans of the show really want to stay in a famous house they’ve seen on TV. No wonder then, that Kelly says “We have been intimidated and harassed,” and that “There’s a big problem here. It’s not safe”.
There are a few things that every red-blooded American should probably know. 1) Don’t Mess with Texas. Texas has made this VERY clear. Texas does not condone this sort of Hollywood fuckery! 2.) Waco is famous for one thing, and it’s not southern hospitality. I’m sure there are some lovely parts of Waco, but apparently the Three Little Pigs House neighborhood is not one of them. 3.) Location, location, location! What type of dim bulb buys a house without first researching the neighborhood it’s in? You can’t blame anybody but your damn self for that. Besides, the rule is buy the worst house on the best block not the worst house on the worst block and bring a TV crew.
In case you missed last night’s big development from the NYTimes, there is an email now where Russia offers to collude with the Trump campaign, and Don Jr. is like, «Yes, let’s do it!»
Is it proof of collusion? It’s proof that there was an attempt at collusion. The Mens rea was there, and now we’ve also learned, according to the Russian lawyer tied to the Kremlin, that Trump’s people reached out to her, actively attempting to collude. She was actually summoned to Trump Tower. As she said, «They were desperate» for dirt on Hillary.
We now know that, as far back as June 2016, at least Kushner, Manafort, and Trump Jr. were actively seeking dirt on Hillary from the Russians.
For what it’s worth, Trump and Reince Priebus were also in Trump Tower on the day of the meeting. Right now, Trump’s only statement re: the matter has come from his outside counsel, who says that Trump wasn’t in the meeting and didn’t know about the meeting. Uh huh. Meanwhile, Trump is tweeting up a storm this morning, but he hasn’t mentioned anything about this latest development. There’s no defense of his son. He’s radio silent. In fact, so far, no one in the White House has disputed any of the reporting, although their story has changed from, «It was a nothing burger,» to there’s nothing wrong with getting oppo research from a foreign enemy. The White House has not yet defended this latest revelation.
As Morning Joe pointed out this morning, it’s also worth noting that we only know what the media knows. Imagine what Bob Mueller already knows. There are a lot of dots, and when you start to connect them all, I’m pretty sure it looks like this.
Maybe my favorite part of this story, however, is that there is someone in the White House or the Justice Department who is actively trying to fuck Don Jr. Someone has a vendetta against Jr. They’re releasing this information one bit at a time, letting Don Jr. defend himself, and then releasing another bit of information that contradicts the defense. It’s been beautifully orchestrated, and according to the one of the reporters on this story at the NYTimes, he is «still reporting,» which means that more information may be coming. It’s also worth nothing that Joe Scarborough thinks it’s Steve Bannon doing the leaking in an effort to get Kushner and Don Jr. out of the way, but he might also inadvertently get his boss out of the way, too.
What’s missing at the moment is the dagger in the heart: Did Donald Trump know about the email? Did he know about the meeting? Trump Jr. knew before the intelligence community that the Russians were actively trying to get Trump elected; presumably, that information made its way from Trump Jr. to his father, which suggest that Donny Trash knew all along. That, of course, is the only way to make sense of Trump’s relationship with Putin. It’s the only way to make sense of the fact that Trump is actively trying to water down the sanctions bill against Russia that was voted on 97-2 in the Senate that is currently stuck in the House.
This is not rocket science. It’s simply a matter of finding all the evidence to prove what is so obvious on its face.
Here’s a reminder to those in the White House:
I cannot say this strongly or sincerely enough. If you work in the White House, you need to have a plan in place for retaining a lawyer.
Not for nothing, but Kushner is up to his neck in this, too. This is at least the fourth meeting with a Russian that he failed to disclose when he sought security clearances, and yet, he still receives intelligence briefings. That’s baffling. And if Trump Jr. knew the Russians were actively working for Trump, then Kushner obviously knew, as well as Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort. It’s a stretch to believe that Trump didn’t know what his son, his son-in-law, and his campaign manager already knew.
In the short term, there’s also the matter of witness tampering:
WITNESS TAMPERING is where this goes next. NYT: "Goldstone spoke to the Trump Org over the weekend, before giving his account to the media."
We have barely even mentioned Rob Goldstone, the music producer who arranged this meeting between Trump Jr. and the Russian lawyer. Goldstone is someone involved with the Trump family dating back to … you guessed it, the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant in Russia. He was kind enough to check in on the day that he met Trump Jr. in Trump Tower, and there are plenty of pictures of him with the Trump family.
Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Jason Mantzoukas (in what is essentially a co-lead role) topline The House, which also features basically 50 percent of all your favorite sitcom actors: Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Rob Huebel, both leads from Playing House, Cedric Yarbrough from Speechless, Michaela Watkins, Steve Zissis (Togetherness), Sam Richardson (Veep), Andrea Savage, Randall Park, and even Jeremy Renner, in what is a glorified cameo.
How could a movie with a cast this funny be so impossibly terrible?
I don’t know, but it really is. It’s basically a bad Katie Dippold movie (Ghostbusters, The Heat) that gradually morphs into a bad David Wain movie. It contains an semi-amusing high-concept premise — two suburban parents (Ferrell and Poehler) decide to open a casino with their best friend (Mantzoukas) in an effort to pay for the daughter’s college tuition — but it completely fritters it away. It starts out as a small casino, becomes increasingly elaborate, and by the end of the movie, the whole setup is completely untethered from reality as Poehler and Ferrell turn into comedic versions of The Goodfellas, the mob gets involved, and the whole thing culminates in a showdown with a crooked city councilor (Kroll).
That description actually makes it sound better than it is. Trust me, it’s not. I mean, it’s not a movie without the occasional laugh (there is a hilarious fight between Lennon Parham and Andrea Savage, for instance), but it largely feels improvised by actors who have been held hostage. You’d think with the freedom of an R-rating and Mantzoukas, Ferrell and Poehler riffing for an hour-and-a-half in a home-made casino that The House could not fail. But it does. Badly. It’s a one-joke movie that runs on entirely too long and still manages to go nowhere. It is genuinely one of the worst films of 2017, all the more a shame because it could have been a huge break-out film for Mantzoukas.
Spoilers for seasons one and two. But seriously, you should be caught up by now. It’s been two years.
When future generations of TV viewers look back at our time, there’s a very good chance that they’ll think of Playing House the way we think of Leave It To Beaver. And that’s a very good thing. But that’s all a lot to unpack. Let’s start small.
Playing House is the most functional show on TV (nice, Em. Way to start small). By «functional» I specifically mean Emma and Maggie have an exemplary relationship built on honest and open communication, and a willingness to let the other see them at their most vulnerable. Basically #squadgoals. They are the best. After I plowed through the entire third season this weekend (all of season three is available OnDemand or through USA’s website. Get on it), I started a rewatch of seasons one and two. Everything I remembered about the show being great was still there, but what I’d forgotten was that Emma and Maggie are really good at fighting with each other. They do this totally bizarre thing where when one is upset with the other, they tell them that they are upset and why. And then, get this, they talk to each other about the problem, and try to resolve the issue without hurting the other’s feelings. It’s completely foreign to to me.
And it’s what makes the show able to tackle darker content without becoming dark itself. I’m not averse to a dark show. But as we here at Pajiba are fond of pointing out, darkness does not equal depth. Conversely, lightness does not equal insubstantial. The fact that the show doesn’t center on an anti-hero isn’t a fault. Prestige TV should not mean specifically that a show makes you feel icky for watching the irrevocable slide into soul crushing dysfunction and depravity. Playing House has depth, it has substance, and it has meaningful plots. But it also feels good to watch. It feels, and I can’t believe I’m using this a compliment, nice. The fact that you know everything will be neatly resolved at the end of the episode isn’t a function of a manufactured story-line, but because the show is about the process of interpersonal issues.
Now, yes, there is an extent to which the show whitewashes (literally in some cases, the show is set in Connecticut after all) some of the more difficult emotions that would accompany a lot of the stories. It’s be hard to imagine Bruce and Maggie would transition from couple to friends as easily as they did. Or that Emma and her mother would be able to resolve their years long estrangement without some level of hard feelings. Because, by and large, family members aren’t estranged without some level of dysfunction. In those ways, it’s an idealized version of problems that normal families face. Hence the comparison to Leave It To Beaver. And I’m OK with that. What you’re talking about then is a show that’s funny and entertaining while being emotionally heavy yet somehow still optimistic. They’re basically telling us, «Yeah, you’ll have some pretty serious problems. Here’s how you can work through them,» and they do so while throwing Bosephus. They’re throwing some much needed light into an entirely too dark world. Bless them for that.
Emily Chambers will be spending her long holiday emulating Emma by drinking white wine. She might tweet about it. You can follow her here.
Jane Davis isn’t introduced in the fifth season of House of Cards until its seventh episode. But from the delivery of her first line (“It’s been a long time,” crooned while shaking Claire Underwood’s hand) she becomes the show’s most captivating and mysterious character since the introduction of Jimmi Simpson’s Gavin…
Hey, quick question. Do you guys remember 2015? That was way back when Trump was still a joke, and not an incomprehensible, living nightmare? Back before Republicans were writing secret bills to take away healthcare from millions of people, despite the fact that their constituents desperately don’t want this bill to pass? Back before the horror show of modern politics didn’t find a way to worm itself into every single goddamn topic? Back, you might say, before we were brittle?
That’s right. Tonight is the premiere of season three of Playing House: Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves: The Return of Emma and Maggie. Or it’s very possible that USA is sticking with the original name Playing House. We’ll have to double check. The important thing is the show is amazing, it’s back, and I’m here to refresh you on just exactly what’s going on:
— Emma and Maggie are best friends, played by real life best friends Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham.
— Maggie has a baby, Charlotte. Emma is helping Maggie raise Charlotte after Maggie kicked her cheating husband to the curb (the father, Bruce, is actually very present in Charlotte’s life, and he and Maggie have reached a comfortable place in their relationship as mostly friends. It’s rather complex, and kind of beautiful).
— Emma and high-school-sweetheart Mark, played by Keegan-Michael Key, are going to start boning again after Mark’s recent divorce. Literally every single person wants this to happen.
That’s all you need to know. There are other highlights and characters, but in terms of plot points, that’s it. Especially because season three will incorporate Jessica St. Clair’s real life battle with breast cancer into Emma’s storyline. As standard American sitcoms are wont to do. There’s also a new love interest for Maggie (which means, luckily, Emma can stop creating serial-killer-basement-dating-rooms), but the show is refusing to tell us who he is (we can unfortunately eliminate Jason Mantzoukas, who’s already appeared on the show, but guesses as to the mystery actor are welcome in the comments).
So season three might not be as light and breezy as previous season, but it should still be hilarious. And either way, it will still be significantly better than reality.