Lunch Drawing #20 Kid Satellite of Love (Magic Cat for Lou Reed) by Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
Everybody has something to say about the passing of Lou Reed. The past couple of days have yielded an outpouring of love for the man that quite honestly might have surprised even him. Particularly from music journalists, some who never had a kind word for him in life, who have written fawning eulogies that say a good deal more about themselves than they do about Lou. It is a curious thing.
And right about now? He is probably laughing his ass off. One of the things I treasure the most in this life is that Lou Reed was my friend and, for more than twenty years, we shared meals, dirty jokes, stories and a lot of friends.
People would often complain to me that Lou was rude or nasty to journalists, but I never once saw this. I can believe he could be formidable and thorny with some in the ink racket. Do I condone this? Yeah, every goddamned bit of it. When some asshole with a notepad decides to make a punchline out of you, the last goddamned thing you are obligated to do is help them. So if Lou messed up their hair a little bit, good for him. Read the rest of this entry »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
Few memories evoke as much giddy joy for me as Halloween. For me and the collection of miscreants, juvenile delinquents and future felons that comprised my peer group, Halloween meant that we owed our community some smashed pumpkins, obscene renderings, trees full of toilet paper and, of course, the odd flaming bag of dog shit on the front stoop. Halloween untethered us. It was the day we more resembled the beasts we were to become. Halloween was the day we handed some of the horse shit back to the adults. Halloween was AC/DC, a monster sugar buzz, stolen liquor (in my case, my father’s fifth of Jim Beam) and getting some payback.
My friend, Rick, made a full-scale dummy so lifelike that when it was hurled from the top of a building into oncoming traffic, you honestly thought some poor dildo had fallen or jumped to his death. The “body” was loaded with mushy pumpkins to assure a fairly decent spray of guts upon impact with the car. It was a hoot. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Once when I was hiking through Maui’s rain forest, I spied a majestic purple honohono flower sprouting from a rotting log. As I bent down close, I inhaled the merged aromas of moldering wood and sweet floral fragrance. Let’s make this scene your metaphor of the week, Aries. Here’s why: A part of your life that is in the throes of decay can serve as host for a magnificent bloom. What has been lost to you may become the source of fertility. Halloween costume suggestion: a garbage man or cleaning maid wearing a crown of roses. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I’m greedy,” says painter David Hockney, “but I’m not greedy for money—I think that can be a burden—I’m greedy for an exciting life.” According to my analysis, Aries, the cosmos is now giving you the go-ahead to cultivate Hockney’s style of greed. As you head out in quest of adventure, here’s an important piece of advice to keep in mind. Make sure you formulate an intention to seek out thrills that educate and inspire you rather than those that scare you and damage you. It’s up to you which kind you attract. Read the rest of this entry »
By Matthew Novak. Edited by Ivan Brunetti. (Click on image to enlarge.)
By Tristan Deerman*
Four years ago, I wrote a piece on heroin use for Newcity. Since then, I moved to New York, hit rock bottom, and returned to Chicago.
Much has developed over the past four years. While I was in New York, a major heroin bust (the Dana Bostic ring on the West Side) was responsible for making my old dope spot disappear. In fact, when I came back to Chicago, I went directly from O’Hare to the West Side via the Blue Line, straight to the old “clear bag” spot and found no one there. But within several minutes someone walked me to another spot and I was all set.
Since then, I have been all over the West Side countless times. I’ve been arrested, robbed, beaten up, almost arrested again, and had a gun stuck in my belly in broad daylight—all in less than two years. I have a better feel for how the local markets work. A small amount has been written, mostly by Alex Kotlowitz and Lance Williams, about how the local black gangs have been disintegrating into smaller cooperatives, where profits matter more than the color of your flag. (Meanwhile the Hispanic gangs are said to be where the black gangs were twenty years ago, fighting over territory and colors.) Unfortunately this has resulted in lower-purity heroin for Chicago users, relative to East Coast markets. On the East Coast, the bigger distributors have increased their impact on the retail markets in an effort to boost profits. In Chicago, the efforts to boost profits simply result in dealers doing more stepping on the bags (diluting the product) as each player in the supply chain tries to extract the maximum value from his segment. New York City distributors have become more vertically integrated, so when a large buyer on the East Coast makes, say, a $150,000 purchase of heroin, it is often delivered to him already bagged up and in bundles (bundles out east are what jabs are here in Chicago, that is a dozen single doses, known as blows). This decreases the likelihood that dealers lower down on the chain will step on the product in the East Coast, so it has the bonus effect of increasing quality control all the way down the chain of command. Read the rest of this entry »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
There were no horses on the American continent until about the 1680s or so. The Spaniards brought them and in no time they became one of the most ubiquitous animals in the new world. As went the American experiment, so went horses. As a beast of labor, transportation and food source when things got lean, the horse has served us well.
For years they were slaughtered for dog food and sundry other industrial uses as well—brushes, hides and various gluing compounds. It seems that there is no bottom to the ugly cruelties we can levy on the equine species.
The history of our own city is also rich with the labor of horses. In the stockyards, horses rounded up cattle and drove them into pens, and to the slaughterhouse. Horses helped build bridges and roads as well as canals.
Our city’s first police force, enforced the law from horseback—and in many cases, to this day, still do. Just watch on those rare occasions when one of our sports teams wins a championship. The corner of Clark and Division has more horses and cops than a John Wayne movie. Read the rest of this entry »
Crossing an offramp at Addison/Photo: John Greenfield
The Illinois Department of Transportation isn’t all bad, but it sure seems that way sometimes. Earlier this year, my blogging partner Steven Vance broke the story that IDOT has been blocking the Chicago Department of Transportation from installing protected bike lanes on state-jurisdiction roads. The motives behind the ban aren’t clear yet, but documents the Active Transportation Alliance obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request suggest that, contrary to the state’s explanation, concern for safety isn’t one of them.
Also this year, IDOT rammed the Circle Interchange Expansion through the regional planning process. The project will make room for more cars in the West Loop’s “spaghetti bowl” junction of the Ryan, the Ike and the Kennedy. While this $475 million boondoggle promises to do little to relieve congestion, it will discourage transit use, and its three flyover ramps will degrade the pedestrian environment and lower property values. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
While there are a large number of races taking place in Chicago throughout the year in various northern sections of the city (Lincoln Park, Montrose Harbor and Grant Park come to mind) aside from the two popular halfs (Chicago Half Marathon and the Chicago 13.1 Marathon), there aren’t a lot of racing opportunities south of Museum Campus. The rather lengthily titled University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children’s Hospital RBC Race for the Kids 5K Run, starting and finishing on the University of Chicago campus, provides just such an opportunity. And though it might be a hike for non-South Siders to get to, it’s worth the trip.
With a reported 1,500 participants registered this year (though only 729 ultimately competed and finished—perhaps because of the slightly chilly, rainy Sunday morning), the University of Chicago quad (at 58th Street between University and Ellis) was packed with runners before the race. Setting up base camp in the midst of the impressively historic academic buildings in this location provided an air of illustriousness to the proceedings and a clear boundary for the vendor tents. Read the rest of this entry »