New Year’s Eve: A 'Rager' for Some, Reflection for Others

By Casey Cora on December 31, 2012 11:54pm | Updated on January 1, 2013 3:34pm

WRIGLEYVILLE — The revelry on New Year’s Eve is a time to look back on the year, whether bad or good.

For Courtney Chesi, 29, of Buena Park, her professional life as a college admissions worker soared while her personal life soured.

“I’m excited for it to get better. It better get better,” she said while sipping drinks at the bar of Trader Todd’s, a North Side karaoke hangout at 3216 N. Sheffield Ave.

That’s where Don Gibb — better known as Ogre from the Revenge of the Nerds series — was holding court.

Gibb said he’s been visiting his friend Todd Hyatt, namesake of Trader Todd’s, nearly once a year since they met on a film shoot in Chicago about 15 years ago.

“I’m here to cause a little havoc,” he said.

But the havoc would have to wait. Instead of guzzling brew from a trophy, the burly actor sipped Miller Lites, shook hands and posed for pictures.

All across Wrigleyville, groups of college kids tumbled out of bars and shivered under awnings while having a smoke. Others waited for swelling lines swelled outside of the stretch of the area’s abundant clubs.

Inside Sheffield’s Chicago, 3258 N. Sheffield Ave. patrons were already elbow to elbow at the bars and DJ Cowboy’s dance floor just after 9:30 p.m. Bartender T.J. Kerber, 27, of Lakeview, said it wasn’t the staff’s “first rodeo.”

“Once the bar gets going, we’ll be alright,” he said.

One group of suburban twenty-somethings got a relatively late start at 9:30 p.m. while heading into Redmond's Ale House, 3358 N. Sheffield Ave.

“I’m wrapping up one chapter of my life and trying to make a good one going forward,” said Jay McCarthy, 21, of Arlington Heights, a senior at Duke University

A special show by Leftover Salmon, a Colorado-based bluegrass jam band, brought college students Liz Schmit, 20, and Charlie Bezouska, 21, to the Vic Theater.

Asked to reflect about the previous year, Bezouska, a Colorado University anthropology major, didn’t hesitate to answer.

“2012?” he asked. “It was a rager.”

After the countdown at Berlin, the raucous LGBT club known for pulsing house music and drag queens, health care worker Cara Allen, 33, made her way outside, clutched her cell phone and lit a cigarette.

“2012 sucked,” she said, adding that it was the year her father died. “2013 everyone says in unlucky. But it’s lucky, you know?”

Allen, 32, then began dialing her phone.

She called her mom to wish her a happy new year.

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