By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): This is an indelicate oracle. If you’re offended by the mention of bodily functions in a prophetic context you should STOP READING NOW. Still here? OK. I was walking through my neighborhood when I spied an older woman standing over her aged Yorkshire Terrier next to a bush. The dog was in discomfort, squatting and shivering but unable to relieve himself. “He’s having trouble getting his business done,” his owner confided in me. “He’s been struggling for ten minutes.” I felt a rush of sympathy for the distressed creature. With a flourish of my hand, I said, “More power to you, little one. May you purge your burden.” The dog instantly defecated. Shrieking her approval, the woman exclaimed, “It’s like you waved a magic wand!” Now I am invoking my wizardry in your behalf, Aries, although in a less literal way: More power to you. May you purge your psychological burden. Read the rest of this entry »
Crystal Kimmey and Kamaca Reavis
By Charlie Puckett
Tucked away in a Ukrainian Village alley off of Bishop Street, there are two women in a garage full of horsepower attracting askance glances and stares of jealousy alike. If you are a Ukrainian Villager, chances are you’ve never seen the garage or met Kamaca Reavis and Crystal Kimmey, but you’ve probably heard the engines of their vintage vehicles splitting apart a quiet afternoon, or you’ve heard a friend say, “I saw the craziest thing today walking down Chicago Avenue.” The spectacle your friend’s talking about could have been Reavis and Kimmey and their eight-year-old son idling in one of their vintage BMW sidecar motorcycles at a stoplight.
If your friend was staring, and Kimmey saw it, she may have said this to her son: “Seamus, sweetie, ask that nice man if he doesn’t like the color of my dress or if he’s constipated.” When that eight-year-old kid in a Star Wars X-Wing helmet leaned over in the sidecar to ask the question, that’s the moment your friend probably had his constipation relieved and whispered desperate supplications for the light to turn green. That’s just the kind of neutral response Kimmey is used to throwing out there before she shifts into first and rips away. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Sometimes you quit games too early, Aries. You run away and dive into a new amusement before you have gotten all the benefits you can out of the old amusement. But I don’t think that will be your problem in the coming days. You seem more committed than usual to the ongoing process. You’re not going to bolt. That’s a good thing. This process is worth your devotion. But I also believe that right now you may need to say no to a small part of it. You’ve got to be clear that there’s something about it you don’t like and want to change. If you fail to deal with this doubt now, you might suddenly quit and run away somewhere down the line. Be proactive now and you won’t be rash later. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kevin Budnik. Edited by Ivan Brunetti. (Click on image to enlarge.)
By Tony Fitzpatrick
All the birds of the air
fell a-sighing and a-sobbing,
when they heard the bell toll
for poor Cock Robin.
– English Rhyme
The name Cock Robin has its origin in this morose little poem written around 1744, for children. Leave it to the English to imbue a perfectly lovely bird with a truly horrid fate. A million laughs in “Jolly Olde.”
The Cock Robin I am familiar with was the name of a chain of hamburger and ice cream fast-food joints that were all over the western suburbs when I was growing up. The two I remember the best were in Lombard and Villa Park.
As a kid, I preferred their burgers to McDonald’s or Burger King, which is not to say that they were good; they were gut-bombs of the rankest order. When you are a kid though, they seem to taste good because you are a walking garbage disposal with a monster metabolism. Today? I wouldn’t eat one. They were kind of like bigger versions of sliders–the kind of burger you should just take home and throw in the toilet. Me and my brother got a huge charge out of the fact that a restaurant had the word “cock” in it and, like every other eleven-year-old, we’d look for excuses to say it in front of teachers, especially nuns. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Are you good at haggling? Do you maybe even enjoy the challenge of negotiating for a better price, of angling for a fairer deal? The coming week will be a favorable time to make extensive use of this skill. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, you will thrive on having friendly arguments with just about everyone, from your buddies to your significant other to your mommy to God Herself. Everywhere you go, I encourage you to engage in lively discussions as you hammer out compromises that will serve you well. Be cheerful and adaptable and forceful. Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
I have to laugh when I hear the code words the Tea Party brain trust bandies about. “Loud Tribesman” was Newt Gingrich’s euphemism for the “what-can-we-say-besides-n-word” code that identifies this large, scary and vocal American street gang. It is what they are. They come to our President’s speeches strapped. They engage in a just-above-the-white-linen-and-hood rhetoric that aims to point out at every juncture that Barack Obama is black, and they “got” theirs. The huge, angry, and incredibly entitled white middle class is their target. In fact, I’m their target audience.
Among other white guys, I do notice a more disheartening and cavalier use of the n-word. When I point out it isn’t acceptable, the conversation halts and I get the hurt look of betrayal back in exchange. It is a careful meter of “us and them.” There is this feeling out there in white America that people of color have reached the promised land; that all of the inequities of 400 years of pigment-based subjugation and oppression have suddenly gone away. Such are the petty delusions of the Tea Party folk. Oh that, and the idea that they are the only ones in America paying too much in income tax. Welcome to the big world, whitey. They didn’t seem to mind taking this fucking when George W. Bush was creating the biggest deficit in the history of the Republic.
My favorite playwright right now is probably one you’ve not heard of unless you live in Chicago. J. Nicole Brooks was born on Chicago’s West Side and grew up tough with a single mom on the South Side. Besides plays, she writes a withering blog called “Close Captioning for the Jive Impaired.” In it she skewers white racists, black racists, rappers, the vain, the rich and the richly deserving–there is nothing PC or out of range for her bitterly funny barbs. It is a destination blog. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): I’ve got a good feeling about your relationship with intimacy in the coming weeks. Judging from the astrological omens, I think you will have a good instinct about how to drum up interesting fun with your most important allies. You’ll just naturally know what to do to make your collaborative efforts synergistic. So by all means cash in on this potential. Don’t just sit back and hope for the best; rather, call on your imagination to provide you with original ideas about how to make it all happen. Read the rest of this entry »
Near the beginning of my third year in the College, I quit the football team and, days or weeks later, wandered for the first time into the Smart Museum. Though I did not notice it at the time, my life changed profoundly, and on the spot. I’d never been inside an art museum; as the son of a physicist teaching in the suburbs, our family visits to Chicago had always been bound for the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum or, most likely, Gino’s East Pizzeria. On display at the Smart that day were the watercolors of Wassily Kandinsky. I can’t explain what, but something fundamentally connected for me in viewing that exhibition. Before long, this econ-major-cum-MBA student was squeezing in as many classes as he could in art history, even convincing Professor Joel Snyder to spend a quarter conducting an independent study course in photography with me before I left for Wall Street. My wife Jan (AB ’85) and I started spending much of our free time in galleries and museums. An interest in all the other arts you’ll see covered in the pages of Newcity soon followed, and a year into my to-be-short-lived Goldman Sachs career, Jan, my brother Brent (AB ’88) and I started this publication. My life’s work connects in a direct line to that afternoon in the Smart Museum back in 1981. Read the rest of this entry »
U2 at U Chicago, April 11, 1981/Photos: Paul Sandberg
By Bart Lazar, AB ’82
Music can be a great diversion, punctuate life’s experiences or be a life’s work. New students at UChicago or new residents in Hyde Park should not eliminate music from life’s major food groups.
WHPK 88.5FM, the university’s and community’s radio outlet, is definitely worth many listens. The music includes indie, rock, folk, blues, jazz, dusties, R&B, classical and live bands, and the hosts are as diverse as the music, including a mix of current undergraduates, graduates, alumni and community members. In today’s world of computer-programmed commercial and Internet radio outlets, it is refreshing to hear an actual human being presenting music and/or information that he/she cares passionately about.
My first day of orientation week, I walked up the elbowed steps of the Reynolds Club and ran into the station’s program director hanging around talking. I told him I had been a DJ in high school and was interested in continuing. He said “great, how would you like Friday afternoon?” Read the rest of this entry »