Street Smart Chicago

Knit Together, Right Now: World Wide Knit in Public storms the Cultural Center

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moxie1Today seems to be a day for birthday-suit-wearing bike riders (World Naked Bike Ride) and the undead (Chicago Zombie March) but, also, crafters dedicated to public displays of knitting, as the World Wide Knit In Public-Chicago commences. Thanks to Mother Nature, the knitters have to move their festivities from Millennium Park to the Chicago Cultural Center. “Rain will not stop knitters,” says Natalia Uribe Wilson, an organizer. Read the rest of this entry »

Feathered Friends: Pillow Fight Day visits the Art Institute

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pillowThe Art Institute of Chicago has no idea what is about to hit it—a massive pillow fight, to be exact. Unbeknownst to most of the museum’s staff, the Chicago Pillow Fight Club has organized an event in honor of International Pillow Fight Day in front of their building.

Chicago’s Second Annual Pillow Fight could easily be quashed by the Art Institute’s security guards, but not if the event’s participants have anything to say about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Plaza of Protest: No time for games downtown

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No Games Chicago defines itself as a diverse group of citizens who have come together to oppose the Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and the protest today at Federal Plaza proves it.

Buttoned-up types in suits shout with others in layered skirts paired with high-heeled boots. A PTA President speaks just before Illinois’ first death-row exonerate Perry Cobb takes the makeshift stage and just after Green Party candidate Matt Reichel, a contender for Rahm Emanuel’s seat, does. All kinds of conscientious objectors spice up the scene, weaving through protestors, peddling their pro-Socialist pamphlets and anti-War on Terror packets. Read the rest of this entry »

Run, Junk Food, Run: The Wacky 5K Run hits the Loop

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moxieIt’s 9:30am and a crowd is already beginning to gather for the eighteenth annual Wacky 5K Run. Participants are moving around staying warm in the frigid temperatures, howling wind and swirling snow.

The Wacky 5K Run is just a little bit wacky. The race, named so because it used to be run on a portion of Lower Wacker Drive, is now wacky for a different reason. Its participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite snack foods, for the event that, this year, marks the end of National Snack Food Month as well as benefiting the Blind Service Association. But there aren’t that many people dressed as food. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry/Field Museum

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RECOMMENDED

With the Grainger Hall of Gems under renovation, the Field Museum has partnered with the National Jewelry Institute to present this one-room teaser chronicling the ancient bling of the Near and Middle East. The 130-piece exhibition, upstairs in the intimate Kimball and Brooker Gallery, bridges the gap between “then” and “now.” The entire exhibit has the feel of a small, sparsely lit display on Jeweler’s Row; one can’t help but coo at the rings and necklaces, partly hoping some are available for purchase. Gold, glazed quartz, ruby, garnet, shells and filigree—ancient jewelers, much like their modern counterparts, understood the human need to flaunt gemstones and precious metals as beautiful adornment. The Islamic world’s history of Muslim expansion is punctuated with earrings and bangles festooned with elaborate geometry, granulation and goldworking. Hammered gold and twisted wire bedecked the people of the Levant, while the crossroads of Mesopotamia utilized blue lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and Egyptian faience. The Greek writer Herodotus wrote, “Of all the troops, the Persians were adorned with the greatest magnificence…they glittered all over with gold,” reminding us that people have always adorned themselves with stunning jewelry, a fact that hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years. (Laura Hawbaker)

“Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization” runs at the Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore, (312)922-9410, through July 5.

411: City Within a City

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Big Building, Big Issues
Three years ago, when photographer and software engineer Steven Dahlman moved to Chicago, he knew where he wanted to live: Marina City. “I was just mesmerized by the building,” he recalls. Since then the twin beehives have provided him with more than just shelter. The iconic complex is the subject of his upcoming book, “City Within a City,” as well as of his Web site, marinacityonline.com. About a year ago, Dahlman’s friend and fellow Marina City resident Michael Michalak got involved in the site, which has become an independent voice often at odds with the Marina Towers Condominium Association. Sources of conflict have included the possible historic landmarking of the buildings, control of intellectual property rights and the choice of commercial tenants for the lower floors. “If it wasn’t for them, I probably wouldn’t have a Web site,” Dahlman laughs. “I didn’t want to be reporting lost kitties. Thanks to the homeowners association I have a lot to write about.”

Rise Up: Zombies march Millennium Park

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Oh, the horror! Zombies, zombies everywhere! The dead have risen in Millennium Park and the only food that can give these pasty-white corpses any sustenance are the brains of these poor, unsuspecting tourists. Except for these four female teenage zombies, who are snacking on peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches and Sunny Delight.
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Have a Car-Free Summer: Two If By Sea, a pair of ways to take the river

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For office workers who need to get from downtown Metra stations to their jobs elsewhere in the Loop, a ride on a water taxi provides a pause that refreshes.

“It’s so peaceful,” say Patrick Giordano, an attorney who practices energy law. “And the environmental benefits are very important.”

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Avian vs. Skyscraper: Andy Seifert watches those who watch out for the birds

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By Andy Seifert

Cornered.

“Do you wanna go peacefully, or do you want the handcuffs?” the advancing man slyly inquires to the adversary he’s been chasing around for almost an hour now, approaching the culprit with a Clint Eastwood-like swagger.

The culprit—a white-throated sparrow—looks ahead, unflinchingly, even as the situation worsens. A month ago, he was likely basking in the warmth near the Gulf Coast; now, he’s holed up in a Chicago convenience store, perched atop the ledge over the cashier’s counter, and watching two nets slowly progress to his seemingly inescapable corner. His end is coming, inch by inch, unless he can figure something out, fast. He should have never left Texas.

And that’s when the sparrow takes action, darting off toward the back of the store like a Steve Nash drive to the hoop, narrowly skirting between the ceiling and the fruitless reaches of the nets, and barely missing the Slim Jims and Lays potato chips on the way to the magazine rack.

“It really rapidly becomes like the ‘Night at the Opera’ in situations like this,” says the Eastwood character—John Gronkowski’s his real name. While the bird may have succeeded in creating a Marx Brothers-worthy slapstick comedy in a convenience store at 7am, it’s not doing itself any favors. Gronkowski isn’t there to hurt him. He’s there to save him.

Gronkowski is one of a select group of bird lovers who have volunteered to patrol Chicago’s Loop during the early morning, before even the financial district has its coffee. Their mission: help any bird in trouble, most notably the ones that migrate in the spring and fall through downtown Chicago and whose navigation systems sometimes send them bearing down, head-first, into the glass and steel walls of a skyscraper or a high-rise, an accident that leaves the bird injured and often dead.
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Museum review: Museum of Modern Ice

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While calling it the Museum of Modern Ice may be something of a misnomer, this vibrant exhibition in the heart of Chicago’s Millennium Park is nevertheless quite delightful. Canadian artist Gordon Halloran installed what is the centerpiece of this “museum,” a spectacular ninety-five-foot-long ice wall that has been wonderfully colored using the artist’s own special technique. The ice wall serves as the perfect contrast to the other landmarks situated in the park, specifically the Pritzker Pavilion and the Cloud Gate sculpture which are directly behind and in front of the ice wall, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »