Street Smart Chicago

Linework: Acquaintancing

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

ACQUAINTANCING_web

Dime Stories: A Night in Tokyo

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Some years ago, I visited Tokyo with the filmmaker John McNaughton. It was one of those experiences that has stayed with me and opened my mind to Asian literature and art, and broadened my view of the world. It also made me aware of the long lens with which the East and the West view each other. How little we know of each other and, oddly how alike we are. These are some of the thoughts I still have about this trip.

Li Po has been the best-known Chinese poet in Asia for about the last thousand years. He was a huge influence on the haiku poets, and is credited with being the seminal influence in the idiomatic languages of poetry and specifically, haiku. He was one of those wandering, searching poets who worshipped nature. Much like the Japanese haiku monk and poet Basho, who would be born a thousand years later, he was so great a poet that there are volumes of poems by other poets proclaiming their devotion to him—

Today I laid bare before you
all things stored in my heart. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When the path ahead divides in two, Aries, I am hoping you can work some magic that will allow you to take both ways at once. If you do master this riddle, if you can creatively figure out how to split yourself without doing any harm, I have a strong suspicion that the two paths will once again come together no later than August 1, possibly before. But due to a curious quirk in the laws of life, the two forks will never again converge if you follow just one of them now. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Fireworks displays excite the eyes and lift the spirit. But the smoke and dust they produce can harm the lungs with residues of heavy metals. The toxic chemicals they release may pollute streams and lakes and even groundwater. So is there any alternative? Not yet. No one has come up with a more benign variety of fireworks. But if it happens soon, I bet it will be due to the efforts of an enterprising Aries researcher. Your tribe is entering a phase when you will have good ideas about how to make risky fun safer, how to ensure vigorous adventures are healthy, and how to maintain constructive relationships with exciting influences. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Letters to Skye

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

Skye_WEB

Dime Stories:  The Art World—An Occupied One-Percent Country

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The Art Racket_3001By Tony Fitzpatrick

A funny thing happened at Sotheby’s a few years ago. The consumers in the rarified art marketplace met Occupy Wall Street. I wasn’t there, but from what I’ve gleaned from those who were, the OWS crowd showed up in support of Sotheby’s striking art handlers, Local 814 Teamsters. The august auction giant beefed up the security and escorted the bigwigs in under guard—and, as Dennis Miller once said, “It was the sharpest bit of choreography since the Oswald prison-transfer.”

The auction folk were shocked—shocked I say!—to realize that the art market, too, is considered a valve in the malignant heart of the One Percent. If you notice, I didn’t say “art world,” though one can make a fairly decent case that many of its inhabitants are also the dreaded One Percent. And you know what? The OWS folks are right: the OWS people as well as Local 814, the Teamsters striking at Sotheby’s for a living wage (or I should say a living in New York wage), could not have picked a better target than that atmosphere and that activity—the goosing, cajoling and casual brutality of the market mentality, i.e. rich imbeciles measuring their worth in the reflective glow of  art.

And the art world should get its head out of its ass and ask itself just how the fuck it got there. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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 By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Dear Astrologer: We Aries people have an intense fire burning inside us. It’s an honor and a privilege. We’re lucky to be animated with such a generous share of the big energy that gives life to all of nature. But sometimes the fire gets too wild and strong for us. We can’t manage it. It gets out of our control. That’s how I’m feeling lately. These beloved flames that normally move me and excite me are now the very thing that’s making me crazy. What to do? —Aries.” Dear Aries: Learn from what firefighters do to fight forest fires. They use digging tools to create wide strips of dirt around the fire, removing all the flammable brush and wood debris. When the fire reaches this path, it’s deprived of fuel. Close your eyes and visualize that scene. Read the rest of this entry »

Partners and Companions: Life Spent in the Care of “Hill Street Blues”

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hill street-orig castBy Martin Northway

Pink Floyd’s “Money” was haunting the airwaves, Neil Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks” was making the soon-to-divorce lonelier still, and Barbra Streisand’s “Woman in Love” and John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over” only intensified our despair.

These remain my “divorce songs.” Hearing them instantly summons memories of the winter of my discontent, separated from my wife and two children. I am propelled back into the offices I shared with a business colleague, clandestinely bivouacked until early mornings when I broke camp like a Scout, erasing evidence of my nighttime residency accompanied by my radio sound track.

I finally rented a flat, and friends began stepping up, extending me tender mercies. One such was Lynne. We had worked together at the newspaper in our small but bustling county seat deep in Southern Indiana hill country. On the TV she had seen trailers for a promising new cop drama. She knew of my ties to Chicago during college and my early working years, and though “Hill Street Blues” was supposedly set in a generic northern city, its production links to the Windy City were not cleverly hidden. Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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 »