Street Smart Chicago

Best of Chicago 2014

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Cover by Jay R

Cover by Jay Ryan

Best of Chicago 2014 is out today. Nothing compares to this issue in print, so look for a copy today, before they’re all gone. (We have this handy map of locations if you don’t already have a favorite spot.)

Over the course of today, Thursday, October 30, we’ll be posting each of the approximately two-hundred items online at our Best of Chicago site (, so make sure you spend some time there, too. We’ve got years of archives there, enough for you to spend, oh, a year or more, taking in the Best of Chicago.

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 30, 2014

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If you live in Gaza, you don’t have easy access to Kentucky Fried Chicken. The closest KFC restaurant is thirty-five miles away in the Egyptian city of El-Arish. But there was a time when you could pay smugglers to bring it to you via one of the underground tunnels that linked Egypt to Gaza. Each delivery took four hours and required the help of two taxis, a hand cart, and a motorbike. (Alas, Egypt destroyed most of the tunnels in early 2014.) I recommend, Aries, that you be as determined and resourceful to make your longed-for connections as the KFC lovers in Gaza were. Halloween costume suggestion: smuggler, bootlegger, drug-dealer, black-marketeer. Read the rest of this entry »

Race Review: Pumpkins in the Park 5K (October 25, 2014)

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Runners nearing the finish line at the Pumpkins in the Park 5K/Photo: Zach Freeman

Runners nearing the finish line at the Pumpkins in the Park 5K/Photo: Zach Freeman


Breakdown:  If ever a race was designed for family-friendliness, the Pumpkins in the Park 5K—with its early afternoon timing, costume contest, trick-or-treating and various distances for young runners—is it. Kicking off at the southwest end of Lincoln Park at 4pm on Saturday, roughly 1,400 runners made their way around the South Field House and the various softball fields before heading north on the west side of the Rowing Lagoon. I’ve been in costume-themed races before but Saturday’s race was awash in them: Batmans (Batmen?), bananas, Gumbys and many more made up a surprising percentage of the participants. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: A Change of Heart and of Mind

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Almost a year ago I decided to move to New Orleans. It was the day before Christmas Eve and my pipes had broken. I’d heard of this happening to other people and knew that it probably sucked but I was unprepared for the freezing filthy water and slimy primordial shit that filled the basement when it happened. Luckily I’m Irish, which means at any given time in my life, I’m related to seven or eight drunken plumbers. They live for this shit—overtime out the ass and other costs due to the fact it is forty below zero. Yeah, it was that day. It was colder than a nun’s ass on Good Friday.

I called the closest plumber and he fixed it skippy quick—it took four hours but it was worth it and I’d have paid anything. Between this, the shoveling, the falling down the front steps and damned near breaking my ample Irish ass, I’d decided I’d had it: Fuck Winter. Fuck Emanuel. Fuck Dibs. Fuck Snow. Fuck Slush. Fuck Mormons ringing your doorbell trying to talk Jesus to you. Fuck it all. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 23, 2014

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of numerous whales and other ancient sea creatures. I’m detecting a metaphorically comparable anomaly in your vicinity, Aries. A seemingly arid, empty part of your life harbors buried secrets that are available for you to explore. If you follow the clues, you may discover rich pickings that will inspire you to revise your history. Read the rest of this entry »

The Social Media Yada Yada

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Who has time to read websites anymore? All the cool kids in town are too busy reading print magazines (or are we mistaken here?). Luckily you can find us on the same social platforms that every other blog, publication and laundromat in town are on—so be sure to check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

If you’re like us and don’t want to succumb to your worst Candy Crush impulses every morning commute, you can stay on top of Newcity’s newest stories by liking our Facebook page and following our Twitter feed.

Also, the polls are now open for our legendary Best of Chicago issue – have you voted?

Linework: Breathing in the 21st Century

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

Nall_Breathing21st Century_WEB2

Dime Stories: Some Thoughts on Crazy Horse

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

“Crazy Horse’s vision first took him to the South, where in Lakota spirituality one goes upon death. He was brought back and was taken to the West in the direction of the Wakiyans, or Thunder Beings…” —Wikipedia entry about Crazy Horse

I haven’t a fucking clue as to what the above quote is supposed to mean. Nor, I suspect, am I meant to. Native American and Indian lore wasn’t written for me. Still, the idea of a “Thunder Being” sounded powerful and poetic to me. As a kid I was scared by thunder and thought of it as something that walked the earth; a giant of some kind.  As I grew older, I rather liked it. It seemed something that nature had in its back pocket anytime it wanted to let us know who (or what) was in charge. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: 95 Problems

Beverly, Checkerboard City, Green, Southeast Side, Transit No Comments »
Memorials to the people who died in the Oak Lawn car crash. Photo: John Greenfield

Memorials to the people who died in the Oak Lawn car crash/Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

“I avoid 95th Street as much as possible for my safety and sanity,” Beverly resident and transportation advocate Anne Alt told me, in the wake of a horrific multi-car crash on the massive road earlier this month. This senseless disaster in west-suburban Oak Lawn injured almost a dozen people and killed three, including two nuns.

On Sunday, October 5, at around 4:30pm, a man noticed retired contractor Edward Carthans, eighty-one, slumped over the steering wheel of his pickup, police said. Carthans refused help and instead sped west on 95th, colliding with three cars at Keeler. He kept driving, blew a red light at Cicero, and then veered into the eastbound lanes, causing an eleven-car pile-up. After his truck became airborne, he was killed, along with Sister Jean Stickney, eighty-six, and Sister Kab Kyoung Kim, forty-eight, who were driving home from a shopping trip. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of October 16, 2014

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): New York City’s Diamond District is home to over 2,000 businesses that buy and sell jewelry. Throughout the years, many people have lost bits of treasure here. Valuable bits of gold and gems have fallen off broken necklaces, earrings, watches, and other accessories. Now an enterprising man named Raffi Stepnanian is cashing in. Using tweezers and a butter knife, he mines for the rich pickings that are packed in the mud of sidewalk cracks and gutters. “The percentage of gold out here on the street is greater than the amount of gold you would find in a mine,” he says. I’d love to see you get inspired by his efforts, Aries. Dig for treasure in unlikely places where no one else would deign to look. Read the rest of this entry »