Demond Drummer by Englewood’s Halsted/63rd Green Line Station/Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
Most Chicagoans associate Englewood with poverty and crime, but local advocates and activists see it as a neighborhood with untapped potential, with excellent access to public transportation being one of the keys to its future success. “From the beginning, Englewood was designed to be a transportation and retail hub, and that does not come up often enough in the conversation,” says Demond Drummer, a resident who works for the Teamwork Englewood community development organization.
Greater Englewood is a predominantly African-American area, roughly bounded by Garfield, Western, 79th and State. It includes two Green Line stations, three Red Line Stops, Metra’s Rock Island Main Line (although trains no longer stop here), and multiple bus routes. The New Era Trail proposal would turn a nearly two-mile, dormant rail corridor into an elevated greenway along 59th between Hoyne and Lowe. The city is also considering building bus rapid transit on Ashland, which would create yet another travel option. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): The writer Oliver Burkeman has some advice that would be helpful for you Aries folks to hear right now: “When you assume your current preferences won’t alter, you’ll make bad decisions: embarking on a career or marriage, say, not with a view to its durability, but solely based on how it makes you feel now.” I am most definitely not predicting that you are about to make the kind of bad decision Burkeman refers to. I’m sure my warning here in this horoscope will derail any temptation you might have to make short-sighted moves. Read the rest of this entry »
Start Early 10K runners/Photo: Zach Freeman
Breakdown: Despite the race’s name, the Start Early 5K & 10K Run/Walk, now in its sixteenth year, didn’t start until 10am this morning, when it kicked off with a one-mile pledge walk, followed by the 5K at 10:15am and the 10K at 10:20am. That’s because, obviously, “Start Early” doesn’t refer to race times but to the beneficiary of the race. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and the Chicago chapter of Prevent Child Abuse America coordinates this event to raise both funds and public awareness for their cause.
This morning, with the grass at the southwest corner of Columbus and Balbo saturated from earlier rain and the temperature sticking in the mid-thirties with dark clouds threatening rain and/or snow (a light snow ended up winning out), a late start was welcome. Both the 5K and 10K runs took place almost entirely on public paths, running through Museum Campus and along the Lakeshore Trail. The poor weather kept the trails from being too crowded with other runners but getting back to the finish line for the 10K became a game of navigating a slew of families heading to the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium. Read the rest of this entry »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
Los Angeles is rather beautiful at night—kind of a fleet dark animal festooned with signs and lights, as well as the never-ending roar of the automobile. It used to be hard for me to think of it as a city. It always seemed more like an endless labyrinth of smaller towns, a web of connected tribes—strip-mall-type architecture has not helped the place at all. But then you get these breathtaking views of the place lit up at night, which you can see from Laurel Canyon or Mulholland Drive, and you finally understand that the sprawl must be taken as a whole to be understood at all.
Therein lay the beauty of the place. My favorite ride in LA is Sunset Boulevard from the Pacific Coast Highway all the way downtown—in this thirty-mile stretch one can realize the American story, circumstance and appetite in a kind of shorthand. One goes from the Penthouse to the outhouse and back in a minute. One minute you’re in tony Bel Air and a few short minutes later you find yourself among the walking wounded of East Hollywood. You roll by SkyBar and the Whiskey A Go-Go, where young men in hair bands, twenty years past the expiration date of this musical idiom, are still playing gigs to try and jump-start a dream. The cynical may dismiss and laugh at them, but I find them weirdly heroic if a little naive. Read the rest of this entry »
1839 McMillan bicycle, the first with pedals/Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
The new exhibit “The Art of the Bicycle” at the Museum of Science and Industry does a fine job of tracing the evolution of the bike from the dandy horse, a primitive wooden contraption pushed along with one’s feet, to today’s high-tech steeds. While last year’s terrific “Bikes! The Green Revolution” show at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum celebrated cycling culture in general and the Chicago scene in particular, the MSI’s exhibit focuses on the history of the machines themselves. It features nine rarely seen historic bikes from the museum’s collection, newly restored for the show, plus a gaggle of modern rides.
“For 200 years people have continuously reinvented the bicycle,” reads the intro to the exhibit. “With each new decade new designs and technologies improved the popular machine, making riding safer, more reliable and more fun.” Amusement was probably one of the main motivations when German Baron Karl von Drais built the first verifiable dandy horse, a pedal-less, steerable, two-wheeled vehicle he dubbed the Laufmaschine (“running machine”) for cruising around his large garden. A 1931 replica of an 1818 Draisienne, as the French called it, is on display, and the clunky, green-and-gold vehicle looks like it would be a blast to scoot down the Lakefront Trail. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): German theologian Martin Luther (1483-1546) was a central figure in the rebellion against the Catholic Church that led to the Protestant Reformation. You’ll never guess where he was when he was struck by the epiphany that became the core axiom of his new religion. I’ll tell you: He was sitting on the toilet in the Wittenberg Monastery. The Holy Spirit gave him the crucial knowledge then and there, or so he testified. In this spirit, Aries, keep a very open mind about where you will be and what you will be doing when your illuminations arrive this week. Read the rest of this entry »
Shamrock Shuffle starting line/Photo: Zach Freeman
Breakdown: Seeing as the 8K isn’t a particularly common race distance, holding the title of “World’s Largest 8K” might sound like a questionable claim to fame to some, but the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, often cited as the start of Chicago’s running season, is no small shakes. With a sold-out capacity of 40,000 runners, the Shamrock Shuffle is not only one of Chicago’s largest racing events, but ranks up there with the largest racing events in the world.
For the second year in a row, race organizers took the wise, though somewhat controversial (last year, at least) step of separating runners out with two start times (8:30am and 9:15am), effectively fielding two races with 20,000 participants each rather than one gigantic field. And for the second year in a row the decision proved beneficial. Though it’s certainly preferable to be a part of the first wave, it’s always preferable to have more open space on the course. Additionally, corrals were easy to get into and the two waves were clearly delineated by the color of the running bibs. Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
1-1/2 oz gin
3/4 oz applejack
1/4 oz lemon juice
1-2 dashes of grenadine
1 egg white
maraschino cherry for garnish
Voila, the Pink Lady! A perfectly wretched cocktail first made in the 1930s, designed with the idea of separating young women from their virtue.
I knew a prim and pert girl in high school named Elizabeth who would leave heel marks on the ceiling after two of these abominations… followed by twenty or so minutes of ruinous projectile vomiting. Two Pink Ladies would induce nymphomania and nausea with equal ferocity. She was nicknamed “The Puker.”
I’ve noticed that these kinds of cocktails have come back into vogue. Bars now have “beer programs” and “sommeliers.” Fuck me—the game of drinking has gone to hell since I quit.
Read the rest of this entry »
Raised bike lane in Copenhagen/Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
I’m a huge fan of the city’s efforts to get a total of 100 miles of protected bike lanes (which put a physical barrier between cyclists and moving traffic) and buffered bike lanes (conventional bike lanes with extra dead space striped on either side) by 2015. Protected lanes are crucial if we’re going to significantly boost Chicago’s bike mode share because they attract the so-called “interested but concerned” demographic, folks who would like to try urban cycling but are worried about getting hit by cars. The Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) deserves major kudos for installing 11.4 miles of protected and 18.65 miles of buffered lanes in the last two years.
That said, there are some issues with Chicago-style protected lanes, created by moving the parking lane to the left of the bike lane, which is delineated by flexible plastic posts, so that the parked cars serve as the barrier. For example, this configuration makes it harder for right-turning drivers to see cyclists, which can result in the dreaded “right hook” crash. It’s common for motor vehicles, especially cabs and delivery trucks, to drive and park in protected lanes. And curbside asphalt tends to be in worse shape than the rest of the road and often has poor drainage, as demonstrated by the slush-filled puddles in the Dearborn Street protected lanes this winter.
European-style raised bicycle lanes, elevated a few inches above street level and sometimes located an inch or two below the sidewalk, could solve all of these problems. Also called grade-separated lanes, these facilities are the norm in cities like Amsterdam and Copenhagen, which each have more than seventeen times our bike mode share. Chicago’s Bike 2015 Plan, published in 2006, called for testing grade-separated lanes in two or three locations by 2010, but nothing ever came of this recommendation. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Art cannot be modern,” said Austrian painter Egon Schiele. “Art is primordially eternal.” I love that idea. Not all of the artifacts called “art” fit that scrupulous definition, of course. Katy Perry’s music and the film “Wreck It Ralph” may have some entertainment value, but they’re not primordially eternal. I bring this up, Aries, because I think you have entered a particularly wild and timeless phase of your own development. Whether or not you are literally an artist, you have a mandate to create your life story as a primordially eternal work of art. Read the rest of this entry »