Scout, Annie Byrne and Lauren Wiscomb at BFF Bikes. Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
Let’s Go Ride a Bike blogger Dottie Brackett once gave a presentation on women’s cycling where she recommended Dutch-style bikes with upright bars, fenders, chain guards and skirt guards as being practical for commuting in nice clothes—save for one clothing item. “I can wear any kind of skirt on this and be fine, except for a pencil skirt,” she said. “So I don’t wear pencil skirts.”
However, the Holy Grail of a bikeable pencil skirt is now available at BFF Bikes, Chicago’s first female-focused bicycle store, which opened on March 15 at 2113 West Armitage in Bucktown. Last week co-owner Annie Byrne showed me how the stylish black garment, made by Seattle-based Iva Jean, works. “When you open the zipper in the back, it converts from a pencil skirt to an A-line skirt so you can get full leg extension while pedaling without having to hitch it up,” she explains. Then she dumps a bottle of water over the high-tech fabric. “It rolls right off it like Teflon.”
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By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): In his novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera says that the brain has “a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” In the coming days, it will be especially important for you to tap into this power spot in your own grey matter, Aries. You need to activate and stir up the feelings of enchantment that are stored there. Doing so will make you fully alert and available for the new delights that will be swirling in your vicinity. The operative principle is like attracts like. Read the rest of this entry »
Shamrock Shuffle starting line/Photo: Zach Freeman
Breakdown: The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is often called out as being the start of Chicago’s running season due both to its size and its placement in the calendar. Some years Chicago’s fickle weather patterns can make this claim seem a bit dubious despite the large crowds of runners and running teams participating, but Sunday morning as the sun rose and temperatures rose with it (all the way to the mid-fifties!), it was evident that racing season in Chicago had officially begun.
As race announcers made sure to inform runners before, during and after the race, the Shamrock Shuffle is the largest 8K in the world (in fact, it’s one of the largest racing events in the world) and corralling more than 30,000 runners is never an easy task. But organizers seem to have gotten this massive race coordination down to a science and all the moving parts fell into place perfectly throughout the event. The further division of the racing field into three waves (up from two last year) allowed for a bit more space on the course and a more steady stream of runners throughout the morning.
The course gives runners a taste of the Chicago Marathon experience, following part of the course and letting them experience the joys (and pains) of jostling for position in such a crowded field. The post-race party around the Buckingham Fountain featured a live band, a free beer for each runner over twenty-one and plenty of sunshine. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have coined a new word just for your horoscope this week. It’s “zex,” short for “zen sex.” Zex is a kind of sex in which your mind is at rest, empty of all thoughts. You breathe slowly and calmly, move slowly and calmly, grunt and moan slowly and calmly. You are completely detached from the sensual pleasure you are experiencing. You have no goals other than the intention to be free of all goals. Zex is the ONLY variety of sex I recommend for you right now, Aries. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Zex may be fine to practice at any other time, but not these days. The style of sex you need most is exuberant, unbridled, expansive, and even zany. Read the rest of this entry »
By Ines Vuckovic. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)
By Tony Fitzpatrick
I don’t often pay any attention to the Whitney Biennial—to me it has always been like prom night in the art world. It also seemed hopelessly stacked in favor of New York artists and my friends used to refer to it as the “New York Biennial.” When I read that two of the curators, this year would be Chicagoans, I was a little interested but not much. Both Anthony Elms and Michelle Grabner are eminently qualified choices and wound up doing a great job but at first—again it is at the other end of the pool for me—I’m in a different art world. In fact, it’s debatable whether I’m really in at all anymore, but this is a different story.
What is edifying to me was a view of the list. For the first time that I can ever remember, the list of artists for the Whitney Biennial actually seemed like a survey of American art. It felt democratic and everyone was represented—in particular, Chicagoans, and not the usual suspects. It does my heart good to see Dawoud Bey in this show. For years he has made a dignified, relentless and ever more fascinating body of work. He has also been a mentor, confidant and luminous example of what is possible for an artist in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »
The crash site at Division/LaSalle. Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
The killing of Northwestern University law student Jesse Bradley, thirty-two, in March 2012 was a perfect storm of factors all too common in Chicago pedestrian deaths. Bradley was fatally struck while crossing an overly wide street, by an intoxicated, speeding driver without a valid license, who fled the scene. Two years after the deadly crash, motorist Bianca Garcia, twenty-one at the time, is about to be sentenced.
“My son was so smart and so loving, just a good, good kid,” says his mother Colleen, speaking from her home in Georgia. She described him as a shy, quiet person with a dry sense of humor. Having completed a couple years of challenging studies at Northwestern, he’d taken off two terms and was working at a Gold Coast Starbucks, where he’d learned to become much more outgoing by chatting with customers. He was set to finish school that summer and planned to work in business law. Bradley lived in an apartment at 1140 North LaSalle, just south of the intersection where he was killed. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet,” says Buddhist nun Thubten Chodron. “You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time.” That’s sound advice for you, Aries. You are almost ready to plant the metaphorical seeds that you will be cultivating in the coming months. Having faith should be a key element in your plans for them. You’ve got to find a way to shut down any tendencies you might have to be an impatient control freak. Your job is simply to give your seeds a good start and provide them with the persistent follow-up care they will need. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” So says a character in Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “The Unconsoled.” At this juncture in your life story, Aries, it might be healing for you to make a similar declaration. Now is an excellent moment to say a final goodbye to plot twists that you wished would have happened but never did. To do so will free up stuck energy that will then become available for future projects. You may even awaken to exciting possibilities you haven’t imagined yet. Read the rest of this entry »
By Alex Nall. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)