By Jessica Burg
This past year, I came upon an important unforeseen life lesson all because, despite my efforts, my life did not change the way I thought it was supposed to.
One lazy afternoon just after Christmas, I was sitting at my kitchen table waiting for leftovers to reheat when my phone rang. Jason, my new boss and part owner of the Logan Square restaurant I’d helped open in November, was calling. I greeted him vivaciously, assuming my help was needed in some way. By now I was used to the chaos that followed our trial-and-error system of operations, scheduling and menu changes and last-minute mandatory meetings. I’d made a point to arrive early, help out in any way and remain positive for every shift. It was important because this job meant more than an hourly wage plus tips. It was the first move in my plan to change my life. That was until Jason bashfully said, “You don’t need to come in Monday. Blah blah blah. It isn’t working out. I’m trying really hard to make it sound as though I’m not firing you, but you’re fired.” Read the rest of this entry »
By Tony Fitzpatrick
Tone… I can’t go in there wit’cha. The joint creeps me out. I walked down the hallway and there’s nothing but Wicca broads, goth bitches, and gypsy types. The joint is crawling with dangerous-looking snatch… I’m too fucking high for this… The whole place gives me the willies.”–The late Ricky Vee, on a New Year’s Eve at the Limelight, 1987 Chicago
Some time around 1985, New Yorker (by way of Canada) Peter Gatien blew into town and opened a Chicago franchise of the Limelight, the notoriously cool New York nightclub that attracted such downtown luminaries as Blondie, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and a host of other famous and near-famous denizens of the downtown, Lower East Side demimonde.
In New York, the club was fabulously cool and featured art by Julian Schnabel, Basquiat, Kenny Scharf and others who were hot during the mid-eighties. The Limelight in New York was a less avaricious and toxic place than Studio 54. Oh, it had a VIP room like 54—it was just full of cooler VIPs than Barry Manilow, Sylvester Stallone and Liza Minnelli, who were your dipshit-cousin-from-Long-Island’s VIPs. Read the rest of this entry »
Boarding the #9 bus in Brainerd/Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
As I type this, it’s fourteen degrees in Chicago and snow is falling fast, but the battle over the future of Ashland Avenue is heating up. The city has put forth a bold plan to reconfigure the street by implementing bus rapid transit. Two of the four travel lanes will be converted to dedicated lanes for high-speed, center-running buses that will pick up passengers from platform stations in the median, providing an El train-like experience.
Scores of businesses and organizations, plus more than 2,500 individuals, have signed on to endorse the plan, and Alderman Ameya Pawar is an enthusiastic supporter, but there’s also fierce opposition. The Ashland-Western Coalition, an opposition group led by Roger Romanelli, is trying to kill the project, and they’ve received more than their fair share of mainstream media coverage. Aldermen George Cardenas and Scott Waguespack have also become outspoken naysayers.
But what do people who actually ride the #9 Ashland bus on a regular basis think of the proposal? In early October, my blogging partner Steven Vance and I set out to walk the entire planned BRT route, from 95th to Irving Park, buttonholing CTA customers along the way to get their take. Let’s return to that still-balmy Monday to see what they said. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): You can blame it on the coming full moon. You can blame it on the gorgeous storm or the epic dream or the haunting song or the suffering you’re struggling to vanquish. All I ask is that you don’t blame it on the alcohol. OK? If you’re going to do wild and brave and unexpected things, make sure they are rooted in your vigorous response to primal rhythms, not in a drunken surrender to weakness or ignorance. I’m all for you losing your oppressive self-control, but not the healthy kind of self-control. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Deep bronzes and smoky cinnamons and dark chocolates will be your lucky colors in 2014. Mellow mahoganies and resonant russets will work well for you, too. They will all be part of life’s conspiracy to get you to slow down, deepen your perspective, and slip into the sweetest groove ever. In this spirit, I urge you to nestle and cuddle and caress more than usual in the coming months. If you aren’t totally clear on where home is, either in the external world or inside your heart, devote yourself to finding it. Hone your emotional intelligence. Explore your roots. On a regular basis, remember your reasons for loving life. Stay in close touch with the sources that feed your wild soul. Read the rest of this entry »
By Kevin Budnik. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Edmund Kean (1789-1833) was one of the most famous British actors of his time. But a contemporary, the poet Samuel Coleridge, was frustrated by Kean’s inconsistency, regarding him as a great artist who on occasion lapsed into histrionics. “To see him act,” said Coleridge, “is like reading Shakespeare by flashes of lightning.” Now and then I get that feeling about you, Aries. You have bursts of brilliance that you sometimes don’t follow up on. You’re like a superstar who loses your concentration. But I’ve got a strong feeling that in 2014 you will at least partially overcome this tendency. Your word of power will be consistency. Read the rest of this entry »
Cover by David Alvarado
1. As a rejection of the end-of-the-year-list obsession in the media in Newcity’s early days, we decided to do Top 5s, instead of the usual Top 10s, and keep the lists minimal in exposition.
2. Critics would be forced to make hard choices rather than the waffling namby-pamby approach so irritating in other media (honorable mentions, etc. etc.).
3. Our critics figured out how to get around the brevity issue by creating multiple permutations of lists for their fields.
4. Somewhere along the line we added the miscellaneous lists because they’re funny and, well, we like randomness.
5. And so, eventually, our minimalist intentions became the celebration of excess you see today, nearly a hundred lists to keep your mind sharp during the brain-deadening onslaught of the holidays. See you in 2014.
—Brian Hieggelke Read the rest of this entry »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
He stayed upwind of the doe, and exhaled slowly, without sound. He’d have liked to have gotten closer but, as far as he could tell, she’d not caught on to any of his scent yet. From this distance, eighty yards or so, the wind might play hell with the flight of the arrow. He wanted a clean kill; he didn’t want the doe to suffer unnecessarily. One through the ribcage would end it quickly. All vital organs right there—heart, liver, lungs (any one of them would do) would put meat in the refrigerator for a winter or so. His family wouldn’t be hungry—job or not.
He only hunted for meat. Food on the table. He never understood trophy-hunters and kind of regarded them the same way he thought of the guys who drove Porsches and joined the country clubs—always needing to prove they had some sack. It reminded him of the line in “Full Metal Jacket” when R. Lee Ermey asks one pathetic recruit: “What’s the matter numb-nuts? Didn’t Mommy HUG you enough?”
He laughed to himself for a second and then thought, “Say this for the assholes, at least they’re not out here, tromping through the slush, looking to kill their dinner. Fuck me.”
He sighted the arrow almost at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
Young Bronzeville residents at the Cargo Bike Roll Call/Photo: Steven Vance
By John Greenfield
In the early twentieth century, Chicago’s Bronzeville community, aka the Black Metropolis, was home to African-American innovators and barrier breakers in business, music, art, literature and other fields. Now the neighborhood is ground zero for another first, the Go Bronzeville travel demand management program. This campaign, launched in September by the Chicago Department of Transportation, offers free resources, events and support for residents who want to make more trips via walking, biking, transit and car-sharing, instead of driving alone.
TDM programs in other U.S. cities have helped lower the number of single-occupancy car trips, saving participants time and money while improving their health, as well as fighting traffic jams and lowering emissions. CDOT is using federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement funds to conduct campaigns in five different Chicago communities. Read the rest of this entry »