Street Smart Chicago

Free Will Astrology: Week of August 21, 2014

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): An American named Kevin Shelley accomplished a feat worthy of inclusion in the “Guinness Book of World Records.” While wearing a blue satin martial arts outfit, he smashed forty-six wooden toilet seats over his head in just one minute. Some observers may be inclined to dismiss his efforts as frivolous and ridiculous. But I admire how he playfully mocked his own competitiveness while fully expressing his competitiveness. He satirized his ego’s drive to be first and best even as he achieved the goal of being first and best. I recommend you try something similar. You’re entering a phase when you’ll be wise to add a bit of humility to your bold self-presentation. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Patrol

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By Raziel Puma. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Patrol_RazielPuma_WEB

The Metra-Politan Perimeter Ride: A 300-Mile Pedal Around the Edge of Chicagoland

Bicycling, Transit 1 Comment »
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Stopping for provisions in west-suburban Elburn/Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

I confess that I’m obsessed with pedaling the perimeters of things. For years, I led the Chicago Perimeter Ride, a hundred-mile bicycle tour of the rim of the city, stopping to admire goofy commercial architecture landmarks, from the Eyecare Indian in Westlawn, to the giant fiberglass wieners of Superdawg in Norwood Park. I’ve cycled the circumference of Lake Michigan and the state of Illinois, and I’ve got a Land of Lincoln tattoo on my scrawny left shoulder as proof of the latter. I’ve biked three sides of the continental U.S., and some day I hope to complete the circuit by cycling from Key West, Florida, to Bar Harbor, Maine.

Since my journalistic wheelhouse is local transportation issues, it recently occurred to me that I should pedal the perimeter of Chicagoland, as a way to wrap my head around our vast region, and meditate on the urban planning challenges we face. But how best to define the Chicago metro area? There are a number of different definitions of the region, with one of the broadest being the Chicago Metropolitan Statistical Area, originally designated by the U.S. Census Bureau in 1950. Along with Cook and the collar counties, it includes swaths of southeast Wisconsin and northwest Indiana, for a total population of 9,522,434, making this the third-largest MSA by population in the nation.

Somewhat arbitrarily, I opted to define the perimeter of the region as being a route connecting the endpoints of the Metra commuter rail system’s eleven lines. This would allow me to skip the nastier industrial sections of the Hoosier State, since Metra doesn’t serve Indiana, while justifying an excursion across the Cheddar Curtain to quirky Kenosha, Wisconsin, one of my favorite nearby cities. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: The Nation of Facebook, The Pornography of Grief

Dime Stories 1 Comment »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Something odd often happens in the toneless and contrarian public square of Facebook. In fact I shouldn’t say “odd” because it always happens. Express an opinion, a thought, an observation and the trolls come out—like gremlins barreling out of a psychic clown car, they come rolling out full of indignation and venom and the kind of puffery one can work up from behind the safety of a locked door and a computer screen. And they are ready to stack asses.

I’d been watching the sad, brutal footage from Gaza over the weekend and like everyone else was horrified at the sight of shroud after bloody shroud of Palestinian children being lined up like so much lumber. A skip down to CNN and I caught Benjamin Netanyahu admonishing Secretary of State John Kerry, “Not to ever second guess him again.”

This pissed me off. Kerry merely urged restraint and rightly criticized the brutality inflicted upon Palestinian non-combatants—mainly children. He was suggesting that Israel had made its point and called for a cease-fire. Netanyahu was offended and decided to bitch-slap Kerry on the world stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: No Longer Marooned

Checkerboard City, Green, Hyde Park No Comments »
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The new promenade on 58th, across the street from Robie House/Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

I’ve long thought that the gray, Gothic confines of the University of Chicago were designed as a fortress against the outside world. However, in recent years, the school has made an effort to physically open up its grounds to the rest of the Hyde Park community, as well as to connect various parts of the campus that had previously seemed remote, by creating better spaces for pedestrians.

Several construction projects have improved connectivity and made it safer and more pleasant to walk across the 211-acre campus. Meanwhile, sections of roadway have been converted into attractive walkways and plazas, which encourage spontaneous interactions between students, employees and neighborhood folks. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of August 14, 2014

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Researchers in Peru have recently tracked down many previously unknown varieties of wild cacao plants. What that means is that there are exotic kinds of chocolate that you and I have never dreamed of, and they will be commercially available within a few years. As delicious as your Chocolove XOXOX Extra Strong Dark candy bar may taste to you now, you will eventually journey further into a new frontier of ecstatic delectability. I propose that we use this theme as a metaphor for the work you have ahead of you right now. It is time for you to make good things even better—to take fun diversions and transform them into experiences that engender transcendent bliss. Turn “yes” into “YESSSS!!!!” Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of August 7, 2014

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Don’t just be smart and articulate, Aries. Dare to be wildly wise and prone to unruly observations. Don’t merely be kind and well-behaved. Explore the mysteries of healing through benevolent mischief. Don’t buy into the all-too-serious trances. Break up the monotony with your unpredictable play and funny curiosity. Don’t simply go along with the stories everyone seems to believe in as if they were the Truth and the Way. Question every assumption; rebel against every foregone conclusion; propose amusing plot twists that send the narratives off on interesting tangents. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Don’t Send UR Dog 2 Work

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By Zelda Galewski. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

ZeldaDogComic_WEB

Lollapalooza’s Green Street: The Official Guide to the Festival’s Face of Social Responsibility 2014

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For Newcity’s coverage of the music of Lollapalooza, click here.

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Landing in Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park on August 1, 2 and 3, Lollapalooza hosts 137 bands, eight stages, and 100,000 fans for a weekend to remember. Situated in the heart of the festivities, Green Street keeps the Festival’s values of social responsibility and environmental stewardship at its core. Home of a curated art market, non-profit organizations, farm-to-festival fare, and environmental efforts, Green Street provides an experience unique to Lollapalooza.

In between sets, shop the Greet Street Art Market where you’ll find treasures ranging from music inspired paintings to upcycled accessories to ethically traded international artwork. Swing by the Lolla Farmers Market to enjoy small-batch, homegrown Chicago flavors. Visit Syd Rocks to see how a lady in high school is clearing the path for others suffering from a rare blood disease. Join the sixteen potentially life saving matches from Lollapalooza attendees who registered with Love Hope Strength’s bone marrow database. Discover environmental practices around the globe from The Lexicon of Sustainability’s pop-up art show.

Minimizing Lollapalooza’s environmental impact has been a mission since its inaugural year in 1991. Over the past seven years, Lollapalooza’s producers and fans offset 16.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide (the work of 1.7 million young trees in a year). More than one million water bottles have been avoided through free water filling stations since 2010.  Returning for its tenth year, The Rock & Recycle Program invites thousands of fans each year to be rewarded for joining waste diversion efforts. Now expanded to Chile, Brazil and Argentina, the flags of Lollapalooza’s hosting countries fly high over Green Street as we celebrate international efforts to maintain environmental programs around the globe.

Take a few moments to get inspired by some of the excellent causes in Green Street, and make a contribution to the world straight from Lollapalooza this weekend.

Enjoy the show!

—Emily Stengel, Green Street Producer

Newcity has partnered with Lollapalooza to produce this official guide to Green Street

What Makes Lollapalooza Green

Aldeas Verdes: How Lollapalooza Exports its Green Spirit to its South American Sister Festivals

Lollapalooza Green Street: Art Market

Lollapalooza Green Street: Lolla Cares

Lollapalooza Green Street: Farmers Market

What Makes Lollapalooza Green

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Part of the Official Guide to Lollapalooza’s Green Street

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Waste Diversion
Waste diversion is aggressively practiced both backstage and front-of-house with an incentive program for fans, hundreds of recycling bins, composting stations in the picnic areas, and a team of hired professionals and volunteers. Please help divert waste from the landfill by selecting the correct bin before tossing your waste away. You can reduce your waste by refilling your water container at one of the six CamelBak Filling Stations. Over the past four years, Lollapalooza fans poured enough water to fill over a million water bottles! Read the rest of this entry »