Street Smart Chicago

Linework: Puberty Song

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

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Dime Stories: Mayor Garcia?

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

A funny thing happened on the way to the coronation of Rahm. People started to remember their street not being plowed, the furious murder rate, the shuttering of schools and the indifference signaled to our poorest citizens. Yep they remembered. Unlike four years ago, Rahm now had a record to run on and a great many people find this record wanting. Good on you Chicago.

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is woefully underfunded he does not have one-tenth of what Rahm has; but with a lot of help from Bob Fioretti and Willie Wilson, he had enough to force this race into a runoff.

Mark my words Garcia is infinitely more likable than Rahm—he doesn’t carry himself like a smug, condescending automaton. There is a real human being in there who, four years after becoming a citizen, ran for office because he believed freedom demanded participation. He came in with Harold Washington and for a time helped change the way people thought about Chicago politics. Even with the seventies porn-‘stache, Chuy is capable of a genuine smile that isn’t just politics. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: A Walk on the Wild Side

Bicycling, Bucktown, Checkerboard City, Green, Transit No Comments »
Rebecca Geissler and Tim Garibay. Photo: Katharine Rovinsky

Rebecca Geissler and Tim Garibay/Photo: Katharine Rovinsky

By John Greenfield

As someone who’s pedaled three sides of the Continental United States, I can tell you that traveling cross-country by human power is an amazing way to see this great land of ours. You experience the geography and the people in a totally different manner than you would rushing by at eighty miles per hour.

Two young Chicago urban planners will soon be traveling coast-to-coast in an even more intimate way than I did. This April, Rebecca Geissler and Tim Garibay, both twenty-seven, will embark on an epic walking trip from the Golden Gate Bridge to Coney Island. They expect that, hiking about thirty miles a day, they’ll complete the roughly 3,300-mile pilgrimage in four or five months.

“I’ve secretly always wanted to run away from home,” she explains. “Not in a negative sense, but I think it’s going to be very liberating to drop everything and go out and see what happens.” Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 5, 2015

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): To depict what lay beyond the limits of the known world, medieval mapmakers sometimes drew pictures of dragons and sea serpents. Their images conveyed the sense that these territories were uncharted and perhaps risky to explore. There were no actual beasties out there, of course. I think it’s possible you’re facing a comparable situation. The frontier realm you are wandering through may seem to harbor real dragons, but I’m guessing they are all of the imaginary variety. That’s not to say you should entirely let down your guard. Mix some craftiness in with your courage. Beware of your mind playing tricks. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 26, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Lately your life reminds me of the action film “Speed,” starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. In that story, a criminal has rigged a passenger bus to explode if its speed drops below fifty miles per hour. In your story, you seem to be acting as if you, too, will self-destruct if you stop moving at a frantic pace. I’m here to tell you that nothing bad will happen if you slow down. Just the opposite, in fact. As you clear your schedule of its excessive things-to-do, as you leisurely explore the wonders of doing nothing in particular, I bet you will experience a soothing flood of healing pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: New Ideas for Winter Holidays

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

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Dime Stories: The Real Face of Obamacare

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Chances are, the most defining achievement of the Obama administration is the passage of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. “ObamaCare.” After a long battle, the bill that was eventually passed was gutted by Republicans and Democrats alike. The point is that it passed. The reactionary among us want you to equate ObamaCare with a black, yellow or brown face when, truth be told, the greatest beneficiaries of ObamaCare are white baby boomers.

As much quarrel as I have with Guantanamo, drones and the continuous warfare, I must admit to anyone who will listen that Barack Obama saved my life. Without the Affordable Care Act, I would not be here. And I am sure it warms the cockles of your heart to know that my ample white ass was able to purchase health insurance. The true face of ObamaCare is ME. Male, mid-fifties, overweight, with one pre-existing condition that excluded me from the luxury of being able to buy “normal people” health insurance…. anywhere. I went for nearly two years without any health insurance. Insurance companies are particularly offensive to me because they pretend to give a fuck about you. I don’t know who to hate more, big pharma or insurance companies. Big pharma at least admits they are pigs and are in it for the money. What is odious about the insurance industry is that they pretend to care about you and yours: Right… I got your “good neighbor” right here, swinging. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: Take This Job and Shovel

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"Every Day I'm Shoveling" Photo: Active Trans

“Every Day I’m Shoveling”/Photo: Active Trans

By John Greenfield

After Mother Nature dumped 19.3 inches of snow on us earlier this month, many viewed Chicago as a post-apocalyptic hellscape, but I felt the city became something of a utopia. Drivers were forced to slow down to sensible speeds, and folks helped out neighbors and strangers in numerous ways. The main sour note was the reappearance of “dibs,” the selfish practice of reserving dug-out parking spaces with old junk.

The day after the blizzard, I found cross-country skiing to be the most efficient way to get around. As I shushed down the middle of unplowed side streets from my home to the library to band practice and back, I encountered five different stuck motorists. Helping them push their marooned automobiles out of the snow’s clutches gave me a warm feeling inside.

However, not everyone can strap on a pair of skis to avoid trudging through the white stuff on uncleared sidewalks. When property owners neglect their civic duty by failing to shovel in a timely manner, it creates a significant barrier for people with disabilities, seniors and young kids, and a major annoyance for the rest of us.

Active Transportation Alliance director Ron Burke pointed out in a recent blog post that heavy snowfalls make it obvious most cities prioritize driving over walking and biking. Ever since Mayor Michael Bilandic lost reelection in the wake of a 1979 blizzard that paralyzed Chicago, local mayors have generally done a bang-up job of getting the streets plowed for drivers.

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Free Will Astrology: Week of February 19, 2015

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There are many different facets to your intelligence, and each matures at a different rate. So for example, your ability to think symbolically may evolve more slowly than your ability to think abstractly. Your wisdom about why humans act the way they do may ripen more rapidly than your insight into your own emotions. In the coming weeks, I expect one particular aspect of your intelligence to be undergoing a growth spurt: your knowledge of what your body needs and how to give it what it needs. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 12, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I hope you have someone in your life to whom you can send the following love note, and if you don’t, I trust you will locate that someone no later than August 1: “I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.” (This passage is borrowed from author Jonathan Safran Foer’s book “Everything Is Illuminated.”) Read the rest of this entry »