Chicago’s Men of the Year

Mj 618_348_meet our chicago men of the year
Photograph by Jeff Schear

To celebrate the opening of the annual Men's Journal Pop Up Shop on December 5th, we invited a few hundred guests to join us in our 3,000 square foot space in Chicago's downtown River North neighborhood (it's at 55 East Grand St, and still open till the 22nd so please swing by!). Our guests threw back seasonal cocktails and perused a selection of Gear of the Year award-winners and other editor-selected holiday gifts before raising their glasses to toast our Chicago Men of the Year: Comedian and TV host Steve Harvey; actor-artist Billy Zane; Cleveland Indians second basemen Jason Kipnis, and Fall Out Boy member Pete Wentz. Each of the accomplished Chicagoans exemplifies 'Men's Journal''s pursuit of a life lived adventurously. And each had his own unique outlook on success, Chicago, and holiday cheer.

"The key to my success is that I care about every single minute of the day," said Steve Harvey as he tested out the Gear of the Year-winning Roll Recovery R8 massager, as well as some of the latest from Tommy Bahama. "I don't have minutes of my day that I'm not accounting for – I love life, I wake up early and I plan."

Jason Kipnis attacks life with the same type of tenacity. Explaining that he travels as much as possible in the offseason, Kipnis recalled a recent trip to the Grand Cayman Islands and his plans to hit Aspen for ski season before heading to Puerto Rico with his girlfriend. "I recently started spending money more on experiences and less on possessions," says Kipnis, who ended the 2013 season with 17 homeruns. "Once I looked at things that way I've been a lot happier." Despite playing for Cleveland, Kipnis says that when he's stateside he spends most of his time at Chicago's United Center, where he's a devout supporter of the Blackhawks and Bulls.

In describing his affinity for Chicago, it made sense that Billy Zane, who is not only an actor but an accomplished artist (his recent work was displayed at Art Basel and in London) leans more towards Chicago's aesthetics than its athletics. His favorite area? "The block of stately homes of Astor Street near Lake Michigan," he says. "That block is extraordinary. You go from these classic, beautiful, almost Victorian-era structures to these Mid-century '60s high-rise, mod, Don Draper buildings." Asked about his holiday wish list Zane gracefully put aside any desires of his own for a new easel or perhaps a subscription to Architectural Digest in favor of a simpler request: "I'm expecting a daughter, and I'd love for her to not be born on Christmas. This is for her sake, so she enjoys a little bit of breath and space between the holidays and her own birthday."

Pete Wentz, whose band Fallout Boy released another best selling album in 2013, and also played the Presidential Inauguration, shared Zane's attraction to Chicago's allure: "The skyline is different than any other one around," said Wentz, who spent most of the evening toying with the smartphone-controlled Sphero Ball. "Plus I love it because it's a big city with a small town attitude, which you don't get there anywhere else." And when he's not touring with Fallout Boy, Wentz spends time at his two favorite spots: Angels and Kings (which is the bar he owns), and his mom's place, understandably: "She makes the best French toast. And she does my laundry."

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