Street Smart Chicago

Perception vs. Reality: The Sex Workers Outreach Project Reaches Out to the Public

Love & Sex 1 Comment »
Two Cassandras

Two Cassandras

By Michael Workman

Late March and it’s still like walking through a meat locker outside, cold enough that the fabric of my jacket stiffens as I lumber and linger outside the cab, tussling with the straps of my camera bag and satchel. Too many straps. Finally I get sorted as the cab pulls off, and I raise my gaze, take a moment to study the unassuming gray corporate slab of a building where the Sex Workers Outreach Project meeting is taking place at the Test Positive Aware Network (or TPAN) offices.

I’m in Uptown, a short hike down the avenue from the Green Mill. I’ve only ever been in the neighborhood for events, music and poetry mainly, and tonight it’s activism. I’ve known of SWOP for years, but didn’t feel qualified to attend any of the group’s private membership events, but they are holding their first-ever public event. It’s called, “Understanding Sex Work and Allyship” and I’m curious what this national organization will contribute to the public dialogue about at-present forms of outlawed sexuality, and afterward, find myself reflecting on the social support system they wish to foster, their institutional outreach efforts. And they represent their constituencies well. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If for some inexplicable reason you are not simmering with new ideas about how you could drum up more money, I don’t know what to tell you—except that maybe your mother lied to you about exactly when you were born. The astrological omens are virtually unequivocal: If you are a true Aries, you are now being invited, teased and even tugged to increase your cash flow and bolster your financial knowhow. If you can’t ferret out at least one opportunity to get richer quicker, you might really be a Pisces or Taurus. And my name is Jay Z. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Kaiju Conundrum

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

ScelfoM_Kaiju_WEB2

Dime Stories: Some Etiquette Tips from Tony

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

There is a fancy-schmancy health club to which some very prominent Chicagoans belong. It is full of upscale lawyers, doctors, business-types, and famous athletes. It offers yoga, swimming, tennis, racquetball, squash—yes, Old Chap, squash—handball, boxing, Pilates (whatever the fuck that is) and spinning, which as far as I can tell means riding a stationary bike real fast to a really shitty disco soundtrack while  some very fit goof yells at you from his bike. In other words, this place is the goods. It also has all manner of  treadmills, elliptical machines and a weight room.

I only use the pool. I get in the slow lanes with the stroke victims, non-swimmers, fat guys and people who’ve just had heart attacks. I’m overweight, but I’m not like Orca-fat, and my goal is not to get fit or buff. My goal is to not fucking die.

Many of my friends there make full use of the place. Their workout is complex and varied: a half hour of cardio on the bike or the treadmill, fifteen minutes on the elliptical machine, a spin class (Really? Somebody has to TEACH you how to peddle a stationary bike?) and then thirty minutes of laps in the pool. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s Compensation Week. If you have in the past suffered from injustice, it’s an excellent time to go in quest of restitution. If you have been deprived of the  beauty you need to thrive, now is the time to get filled up. Wherever your life has been out of balance, you have the power to create more harmony. Don’t be shy about seeking redress. Ask people to make amends. Pursue restorations. But don’t, under any circumstances, lust for revenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Freedom is the most important kind of joy you can seek right now. It’s also the most important subject to study and think about, as well as the most important skill to hone. I advise you to make sure that freedom is flowing through your brain and welling up in your heart and spiraling through your loins. Write synonyms for “freedom” on your arm with a felt-tip pen: liberation, emancipation, independence, leeway, spaciousness, carte blanche, self-determination, dispensation. Here’s one more tip: Connect yourself with people who love and cultivate the same type of freedom you do. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Fang

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By Grant Reynolds. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)
FANGcolor_WEB1

Dime Stories: Tony World

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

When kids are in high school, doodles usually adorn every surface of their textbooks—at least they did on mine. I loved scribbling on the back of my tablet, or in the margins of my history book, or just on looseleaf and in notebooks. Anything was better than listening to the teacher and taking notes on whatever useless drivel they were going on about. I could be drawing anything: hotrods, planes, Rat Fink, giant dicks, monsters, birds, tits, monkey heads and always band logos and comics—a character named “Bong-Man” and word balloons containing thoughtful utterances like “Shimmy-Shimmy beat my meat,” “Transistor Sister” and “Maggot-Brain.”

I had a lot on my mind.

What I’ve most enjoyed about making my “Lunch Drawings” is just how much they remind me of those drawings I made trying to escape the mind-numbing dog-shit they tried to teach me in school. With very few exceptions, my teachers talked like rolls of toilet paper. One bloodless, colorless factoid after the next, until I had annihilation fantasies about blowing up my high school. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In his novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera says that the brain has “a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” In the coming days, it will be especially important for you to tap into this power spot in your own grey matter, Aries. You need to activate and stir up the feelings of enchantment that are stored there. Doing so will make you fully alert and available for the new delights that will be swirling in your vicinity. The operative principle is like attracts like. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have coined a new word just for your horoscope this week. It’s “zex,” short for “zen sex.” Zex is a kind of sex in which your mind is at rest, empty of all thoughts. You breathe slowly and calmly, move slowly and calmly, grunt and moan slowly and calmly. You are completely detached from the sensual pleasure you are experiencing. You have no goals other than the intention to be free of all goals. Zex is the ONLY variety of sex I recommend for you right now, Aries. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Zex may be fine to practice at any other time, but not these days. The style of sex you need most is exuberant, unbridled, expansive, and even zany. Read the rest of this entry »