By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Irish poet Richard Brinsley Sheridan didn’t confine his lyrical wit to well-crafted poems on the printed page. He used it to say things that would advance his practical ambitions. For example, when he first met the woman who would eventually become his wife, he said to her, “Why don’t you come into my garden? I would like my roses to see you.” That’s the kind of persuasive power I hope you will summon in the coming days, Aries. According to my analysis of the omens, you should have it in abundance. So what’s the best use of this mojo? Is there anything you would really like to sell? What new resources do you want to bring into your sphere? Who do you want to convince? Read the rest of this entry »
Runnin’ With the Horses 5K/Photo: Zach Freeman
Breakdown: Starting in the parking lot and finishing at the actual finish line that the horses cross at the Balmoral Park horse track in Crete, Illinois, the Runnin’ With the Horses 5K is one of a kind when it comes to Chicago-area races.
The first quarter mile of the course takes place in the parking lot outside the track, but things quickly get more exciting as runners take a sharp left and head through the outdoor spectating area, passing through the middle of the crowd before circling the perimeter of the track and then entering the horse track itself for roughly the last mile and a half. The gravel of the track provides an ideal running surface and race horses warming up only yards away makes for a memorable racing experience.
After the run there’s plenty of water and Gatorade on hand, but the real treat is a voucher good for three beers at the Brewhaha Beer Festival, where an impressive selection of domestic and microbrewery offerings await, along with a live band and a chance to place a wager on the night’s races. Yesterday’s race marked the fifth annual running of the race and the largest field yet (around 250 total runners). I’m guessing the distance from Chicago is keeping entries low, but it’s well worth the drive. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kevin Budnik. Edited by Ivan Brunetti. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
When I was a kid, and in a hurry to assert my masculinity, I made stupid remarks about gay people and indulged in the unfocused and thoughtlessly cruel bigotry of my peers. In other words, before I actually knew anyone who was gay. What I did not know is that there were gay people all around me and these remarks, however offhand, said a great deal more about me than anyone else. The words callow and stupid come to mind.
Thankfully, I came up in the world of art where there was no shortage of gay folks who wanted precisely the same things in life that I did. It opened my eyes and made me regret the stupidity and ignorance I’d harbored. A good many of these people were heroic: Dr. Ron Sable, the Chicago physician who was one of the first activists on the frontlines of the AIDS crisis in the mid-eighties, Larry Kramer, who loudly refused to let gay Americans become marginalized as lesser citizens, Danny Sotomayor, the late cartoonist and ACT UP activist—these were brave people who I was fortunate enough to have known and, in the face of their struggle, they made the rest of America change with them. The gay and lesbian community still struggles with ridiculous and arcane and draconian laws that other Americans stopped having to address a long time ago.
The right to marry, really? The religious right claims that gay marriage is a threat to the institution of marriage. These bigots helped stall the vote for the Marriage Equality Act, just this past week in Illinois. Read the rest of this entry »
Rob Reid, Mike Filipski and Elisa Addlesperger on the 2900 block of North Elston.
By John Greenfield
I’ve walked the whole length of eleven Chicago streets in order to experience aspects of local geography, architecture and culture that I might have overlooked using faster modes. So when Rob Reid, who writes the history blog Avondale Time Machine, invited me to join him and friends to hike all 9.5 miles of Elston Avenue last month, I couldn’t refuse.
The street’s namesake was Daniel Elston, a London merchant who immigrated to Chicago in the early 1800s. By 1830 he’d bought a 160-acre parcel in River West, located along a crooked wagon road. The multitalented settler established several businesses—making soap, candles, bricks, beer and whiskey—he also served as a school inspector and alderman.
While Elston was first living by the thoroughfare that would later bear his name, it was a plank toll road owned by Amos Snell, who charged travelers two-and-a-half cents per mile to use it. Displeased with this, local farmers staged a Boston Tea Party of sorts—they dressed up like Indians, chopped down the toll gates and burned them. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): The longest natural arch in the world is the Fairy Bridge in Guangxi Province, China. Made of limestone, this 400-foot-wide span crosses over the Buliu River. No one outside of China knew about it until 2009, when an American explorer spied it on Google Earth. Let’s make the Fairy Bridge your metaphor of the month, Aries. Judging by the astrological omens, I suspect there’s a good chance you will soon find something like a natural, previously hidden bridge. In other words, be alert for a link between things you didn’t know were connected. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Back in the 1920s, the governor of Texas was determined to forbid the teaching of foreign languages in public schools. To bolster her case, she called on the Bible. “If English was good enough for Jesus Christ,” she said, “it’s good enough for us.” She was dead serious. I suspect you may soon have to deal with that kind of garbled thinking, Aries. And it may be impossible to simply ignore it, since the people wielding it may have some influence on your life. So what’s the best way to deal with it? Here’s what I advise: Be amused. Quell your rage. Stay calm. And methodically gather the cool, clear evidence about what is really true. Read the rest of this entry »
Ridge Run 5K/Photo: Zach Freeman
Breakdown: This morning’s race in Beverly’s Ridge Park marked thirty-six years for the Ridge Run, Chicago’s oldest 10K event. And for a Chicago transplant who has probably spent only a few hours south of 60th Street in the past five years, the Southwest Side neighborhood of Beverly (also known as Beverly Hills, I’m told) sounded like a distant and mysterious suburban land until I ran through its streets this morning (twice).
See, the Ridge Run has a unique (as far as I know) option for racers. while many races provide more than one distance option at their event, the Ridge Run offers a 10K at 8am followed by a 5K at 9:30, and gives runners the option of registering and running both distances in a single morning (it’s called the Ridge Run Challenge, and I highly recommend it).
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Photo: Brian Hieggelke
Breakdown: A “Superfan” of Da Bears fantasy; in fact, so many Superfan types were in the race I half expected to see someone chowing on an Italian sausage-and-beef combo while running the course. With 17,500 runners, congestion is an occasional problem except when running on Lake Shore Drive, and the wave start is a welcome component, but those of us in the last corrals did not start till nearly a half hour after our appointed starting time. But that minor quibble is more than offset by a beautiful course culminating in one of the most singular finish lines anywhere, a highly organized operation, and a better-than-average after-party featuring the still-running alt rockers Soul Asylum. I biked over, since the starting line is a mile or so south of the “usual” Grant Park spots, and that proved to be the perfect way to get there and back quickly and easily. Read the rest of this entry »
By Nick Drnaso. Edited by Ivan Brunetti. (Click on image to enlarge.)
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