Street Smart Chicago

Race Review: Ravenswood Run (April 27, 2014)

-Neighborhood/Suburb, Lincoln Square, News etc., Running No Comments »

RECOMMENDED RACE

Runners finishing the 18th annual Ravenswood Run/Photo: Zach Freeman

Runners finishing the eighteenth annual Ravenswood Run/Photo: Zach Freeman

Breakdown:  Just before the starting gun went off on the eighteenth annual Ravenswood Run—a neighborhood favorite that, judging by the fact that it sold out last week, clearly attracts runners from all over the city—Fleet Feet owner Dave Zimmer reminded the roughly 3,000 runners gathered at the starting line just north of Wilson and Hermitage that it’s been a “brutal, brutal Chicago winter.” He wasn’t trying to drudge up bad memories. In fact he was merely reiterating what a representative from All Saints’ Episcopal Church had just stated moments before in a pre-race prayer: “It’s been a long, hard, cold winter. And apparently it’s not done!” But both of these statements were code for something Chicago runners need little reminder of: “It may be forty-five degrees, but hey—it ain’t negative twenty!”

And it certainly ain’t. Forty-five may sound cold when you’re standing around, but for running it’s fairly ideal. And, despite a small chance of rain, the sky held out and allowed for nice cloud cover without the bothersome precipitation that often comes with it. With a course that snaked through neighborhoods in both Ravenswood and Lincoln Square—and even up Lincoln through the iconic Lincoln Square strip between Leland and Lawrence—the Ravenswood Run is as much a race as a celebration of neighborhood and neighborliness, as proven by the many spectators standing outside their houses sipping coffee and cheering on the runners.

A sense of camaraderie is one of the harder aspects to control for when putting on a race with so many participants, but this one manages to represent both the “neighborhood” aspect of its subtitle (Ravenswood Run: A Neighborhood 5K) and the high quality and organization of a big Chicago 5K. Weather is a big factor in any race and today’s weather certainly played into the success of this annual event but it’s the solid neighborhood vibe that’s kept people coming back for eighteen years. Read the rest of this entry »

Partners and Companions: Life Spent in the Care of “Hill Street Blues”

Chicago History, Media No Comments »

hill street-orig castBy Martin Northway

Pink Floyd’s “Money” was haunting the airwaves, Neil Diamond’s “Love on the Rocks” was making the soon-to-divorce lonelier still, and Barbra Streisand’s “Woman in Love” and John Lennon’s “(Just Like) Starting Over” only intensified our despair.

These remain my “divorce songs.” Hearing them instantly summons memories of the winter of my discontent, separated from my wife and two children. I am propelled back into the offices I shared with a business colleague, clandestinely bivouacked until early mornings when I broke camp like a Scout, erasing evidence of my nighttime residency accompanied by my radio sound track.

I finally rented a flat, and friends began stepping up, extending me tender mercies. One such was Lynne. We had worked together at the newspaper in our small but bustling county seat deep in Southern Indiana hill country. On the TV she had seen trailers for a promising new cop drama. She knew of my ties to Chicago during college and my early working years, and though “Hill Street Blues” was supposedly set in a generic northern city, its production links to the Windy City were not cleverly hidden. Read the rest of this entry »

Perception vs. Reality: The Sex Workers Outreach Project Reaches Out to the Public

Love & Sex 1 Comment »
Two Cassandras

Two Cassandras

By Michael Workman

Late March and it’s still like walking through a meat locker outside, cold enough that the fabric of my jacket stiffens as I lumber and linger outside the cab, tussling with the straps of my camera bag and satchel. Too many straps. Finally I get sorted as the cab pulls off, and I raise my gaze, take a moment to study the unassuming gray corporate slab of a building where the Sex Workers Outreach Project meeting is taking place at the Test Positive Aware Network (or TPAN) offices.

I’m in Uptown, a short hike down the avenue from the Green Mill. I’ve only ever been in the neighborhood for events, music and poetry mainly, and tonight it’s activism. I’ve known of SWOP for years, but didn’t feel qualified to attend any of the group’s private membership events, but they are holding their first-ever public event. It’s called, “Understanding Sex Work and Allyship” and I’m curious what this national organization will contribute to the public dialogue about at-present forms of outlawed sexuality, and afterward, find myself reflecting on the social support system they wish to foster, their institutional outreach efforts. And they represent their constituencies well. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): If for some inexplicable reason you are not simmering with new ideas about how you could drum up more money, I don’t know what to tell you—except that maybe your mother lied to you about exactly when you were born. The astrological omens are virtually unequivocal: If you are a true Aries, you are now being invited, teased and even tugged to increase your cash flow and bolster your financial knowhow. If you can’t ferret out at least one opportunity to get richer quicker, you might really be a Pisces or Taurus. And my name is Jay Z. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Kaiju Conundrum

Linework No Comments »

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

ScelfoM_Kaiju_WEB2

Dime Stories: Some Etiquette Tips from Tony

Dime Stories No Comments »
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

There is a fancy-schmancy health club to which some very prominent Chicagoans belong. It is full of upscale lawyers, doctors, business-types, and famous athletes. It offers yoga, swimming, tennis, racquetball, squash—yes, Old Chap, squash—handball, boxing, Pilates (whatever the fuck that is) and spinning, which as far as I can tell means riding a stationary bike real fast to a really shitty disco soundtrack while  some very fit goof yells at you from his bike. In other words, this place is the goods. It also has all manner of  treadmills, elliptical machines and a weight room.

I only use the pool. I get in the slow lanes with the stroke victims, non-swimmers, fat guys and people who’ve just had heart attacks. I’m overweight, but I’m not like Orca-fat, and my goal is not to get fit or buff. My goal is to not fucking die.

Many of my friends there make full use of the place. Their workout is complex and varied: a half hour of cardio on the bike or the treadmill, fifteen minutes on the elliptical machine, a spin class (Really? Somebody has to TEACH you how to peddle a stationary bike?) and then thirty minutes of laps in the pool. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: Training for the Big Game

Checkerboard City, Green, Transit, West Loop No Comments »
The United Center, as seen from the Pink Line. Photo: John Greenfield

The United Center, as seen from a Pink Line car. Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

Every time I take the Pink Line to Pilsen and gaze out the window at the United Center, I’m struck by the apparent stupidity of train service that goes right past Chicago’s largest sports and music arena, but doesn’t stop there. The nearest existing stations, the Blue Line’s Illinois Medical District stop to the south, and the Pink and Green lines’ Ashland-Lake stop to the northeast, are both roughly twelve-minute walks to the stadium, long enough to discourage train use. But a new Pink station near Madison and Paulina would be a four-minute hop, skip and jump to the front doors.

As it is, the land use around the arena encourages driving to Bulls, Blackhawks and Bruce Springsteen events. While Wrigley Field, next door to the Addison Red stop, is surrounded by bars and restaurants where fans can spend money after games, the House That Jordan Built sits in a vast moat of parking lots. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): It’s Compensation Week. If you have in the past suffered from injustice, it’s an excellent time to go in quest of restitution. If you have been deprived of the  beauty you need to thrive, now is the time to get filled up. Wherever your life has been out of balance, you have the power to create more harmony. Don’t be shy about seeking redress. Ask people to make amends. Pursue restorations. But don’t, under any circumstances, lust for revenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Freedom is the most important kind of joy you can seek right now. It’s also the most important subject to study and think about, as well as the most important skill to hone. I advise you to make sure that freedom is flowing through your brain and welling up in your heart and spiraling through your loins. Write synonyms for “freedom” on your arm with a felt-tip pen: liberation, emancipation, independence, leeway, spaciousness, carte blanche, self-determination, dispensation. Here’s one more tip: Connect yourself with people who love and cultivate the same type of freedom you do. Read the rest of this entry »

Race Review: Chi Town Half Marathon & 10K (April 6, 2014)

Lincoln Park, News etc., Running No Comments »

RECOMMENDED RACE

Finish line of the Chi Town Half Marathon & 10K/Photo: Zach Freeman

Finish line of the Chi Town Half Marathon & 10K/Photo: Zach Freeman

Breakdown:  The little patch of trail between Diversey Harbor and North Cannon Drive across the street from the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum hosts its fair share of running events throughout the year. And it’s no wonder: it’s in easily accessible Lincoln Park and offers a quick route to the Lakefront Trail—a big requirement for smaller races looking to make use of open trail space. On Sunday, All Community Events put the familiar space to good use for their Chi Town Half Marathon & 10K event.

Just around 1,200 runners showed up at the starting line (with a little more than half opting for the half marathon). The relatively small field allowed for organizers to start both events simultaneously—not a bad idea considering that the courses were identical for the first five-and-a-half miles (though it did lead to some crowding at the start, and a bottleneck right before the starting line). After circling Diversey Harbor once and heading north for a second round, 10K runners turned off and headed back to basecamp and the finish line while half marathoners went as far north as Foster.

Luckily, some lovely spring weather sweetened the event with sunny skies and temperatures in the forties helping runners enjoy the course. The Chi Town Half Marathon & 10K is a fairly no-frills event on the lakefront but the course was clear, the volunteers were smiling and the chip-timing worked (with printed leaderboards being posted as runners were coming in). A cover band played hits from the nineties to keep things lively. Read the rest of this entry »