Street Smart Chicago

Greaser Girls: Fixing a New Biker Identity

City Life, Ukrainian Village No Comments »
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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 »

The Musical Martial Art: Capoeira, where you get serenaded while you kick ass

Education/Training, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

By David Wicik

Anyone who has seen the ultra-sleek heist sequel “Ocean’s Twelve” will no doubt remember the flamboyant scene when Vincent Cassel’s character, the Night Fox, dances his way through a blue-laser security grid—as if the standard red laser just wasn’t hip enough for the Ocean’s palette. What you might not know, however, is that Cassel’s moves weren’t gleaned from watching the “Step Up” series like a Billy Blanks training video, but that the performance was actually an exhibition of the actor’s own training in Capoeira, a centuries-old Brazilian martial arts style. And while Capoeira might not be able to teach you how to dodge lasers (then again, maybe it could), the practice carries the potential to enrich your life in many ways.

But before you start googling “Capoeira gym,” you should understand that Capoeira is not like any other martial art form, in fact, calling it a martial art is kind of like saying that Chinese culture is fried rice and dim sum. Instructor Bambu, whose real name is Steven Kolhouse, of Grupo Axé Capoeira explains that Capoeira includes certain martial elements, but that this aspect is part of a much larger cultural fabric which also comprises acrobatics, music and dance. As Kolhouse points out, “we teach a full art form, a full culture,” which is echoed by the saying of one great mestre (master) of the art, that “Capoeira is everything the mouth eats.” Read the rest of this entry »

411 Seven Days in Chicago: Doggie Bar

City Life, Events, News etc., Ukrainian Village No Comments »

Dog lover Melissa Cecola has had it with the “no dogs allowed” regulation. She has decided that it’s time that man’s best friend had a place of his own to dine in style. That’s why Cecola opened Ukrainian Village’s Spotland Yard, a dog boutique and “barkista,” where your furry friend can replenish and refresh with functional organic shakes, coffees and teas, such as the vitamin-infused “Doggie Java” for plus-sized dogs with restricted diets or the “Down Dog Lemon Serenity Drink” to calm Fido’s nerves on the way to the vet. Cecola hopes the café will inspire more young people to be more active and aware when purchasing foods for their pets. “With the recent pet-food scares, it’s more important than ever that owners are feeding their dogs properly,” Cecola says. The dog café also will offer a bakery case of brownies, biscuits and birthday cakes and even a dessert menu of frozen treats for those hot and humid temperatures. “I thought there was a need for this in the neighborhood,” Cecola says. “Everyone has dogs and they love them like their kids and this allows them to give treats in a healthy way.” Spotland Yard is hosting an official opening party Saturday that will benefit PAWS Chicago and feature a puppy available for adoption.

Know Your Rights: Super Tuesday upon us

Essays & Commentary, Politics, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

The Tuesday 10am civil-defense siren ends. Along the sidewalk, a dragged snow shovel is nails to chalkboard. Time to vote.

Twenty-four states have primaries right now, Super Tuesday’s nationwide lotto pick, presidential pick-one.  A California grownup Facebooks she “is bom chicka wa wa for Obama.” Another friend emails he’s weary of dynasty, having lived his entire adult life under the rule of a Bush or Clinton. Early voting held the appeal of one more item checked off a list, but as a contentious friend snapped on Monday night with her cracker-barrel alacrity, “You could have thrown your vote away.”
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Bohemian Rhapsody: University of Chicago profs study the migration of hipsters and other urban phenomena

Andersonville, Bridgeport, Bucktown, City Life, Edgewater, Humboldt Park, Hyde Park, Irving Park, Kenwood, Lakeview, Lincoln Square, Little Village, Logan Square, News etc., North Center, Pilsen, Roscoe Village, South Shore, Ukrainian Village, Uptown, Washington Park, Wicker Park, Wrigleyville No Comments »

By Sean Redmond

Entering Wicker Park by the Blue Line, you emerge into the intersection of Damen, North and Milwaukee to a long-familiar sight. There’s the Double Door across the street, Flash Taco and, until just recently, the façade of Filter, Wicker Park’s former hipster coffeehouse extraordinaire. These staples, like many along these primary roadways, fade into the background with repeated visits; yes, you know you can find Reckless Records and American Apparel and the venues and art galleries in the surrounding area, but getting where you want to go requires little thought once you’re situated enough to put your eyes to the sidewalk and your feet into autopilot. But then one day, you get off the train and, surprise, the boarded-up shell of Filter is replaced with an expansive Bank of America, and your mind jolts back into motion. Suddenly, a wave of thoughts bursts forth: “Man, there are a lot of banks in the area,”or “Wicker Park really is getting commercialized,” or  “Maybe I need to start spending more time in Logan Square.”
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Butts Out: Calling it quits at Rainbo Club

City Life, Essays & Commentary, Ukrainian Village, Wicker Park No Comments »

A lifetime second-hand smoker bellies up to the bar of Rainbo Club. You’re a smoker, the woman beside him reassures him, “You smoke as much as anyone in here including that beat-up leather jacket. The buzz won’t be the same, I guarantee you.”
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Shades of Graze: Foraging in the Ukrainian Village Dominick’s

City Life, Essays & Commentary, Ukrainian Village No Comments »

When the Whole Foods on Ashland near Belmont opened a few years ago, a friend took to calling it “Whole Cruise,” and found himself meeting women of a certain age when he lingered near brie, cambozola and mimolette. Similar sensations emanate from the Dominick’s on Chicago near Damen. The foot traffic along the street has increased exponentially since it opened, all manner of class, color and race represented. The surrounding populace has upscaled, and this clean-gleam replacement for the dinky Edmar’s, once an A&P, functions as a feast of love, a horny cornucopia, as well.
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