Deloris Lucas and Victor Maurice Flemings Sr. at Rosebud Farm Stand/Photo: John Greenfield
By John Greenfield
“Altgeld Gardens is really secluded,” Active Transportation Alliance community liaison Cynthia Bell recently told me. “It’s like its own city.” The area, which includes the housing project of the same name, plus the Concordia Place, Riverside Village and Golden Gate subdivisions, is located by a bend in the Calumet River on the Far South Side, surrounded by industrial land and isolated from other neighborhoods.
Bell has been assisting the local Safety Transportation Advisory Council, residents who want to improve conditions for walking, biking and transit use. “They have a lot of issues with the built environment, like missing sidewalks and crosswalks,” she said. “They’re really underserved.”
Deloris Lucas, a former Chicago Public Schools employee and longtime Golden Gate resident who’s spearheading the council, has been working hard to change that. In particular, she’s upset that 130th Street, the interstate-like roadway that walls in the community from the north, has no sidewalk. That forces people walking to Rosebud Farm Stand, the area’s only source for fresh produce and healthy groceries, from the west, to trudge along a narrow, muddy dirt trail by the side of the road. The store is located at 525 East 130th. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): “I have complete faith in the continued absurdity of whatever’s going on,” says satirical news commentator Jon Stewart. That’s a healthy attitude. To do his work, he needs a never-ending supply of stories about people doing crazy, corrupt and hypocritical things. I’m sure this subject matter makes him sad and angry. But it also stimulates him to come up with funny ideas that entertain and educate his audience—and earns him a very good income. I invite you to try his approach, Aries. Have faith that the absurdity you experience can be used to your advantage. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Zach Freeman
Breakdown: “The show will go on!” the race director’s voice booms excitedly from the speakers as groups of runners huddle together under various overhangs and race tents, delaying their inevitable exposure to the pouring rain. It’s just before 8am on Saturday morning and it has been raining steadily for hours with no signs of letting up. And still, almost seven-hundred runners are gathered in Chinatown Square to tackle the Chinatown 5K. Briefly, the rain does lighten just before the official start, but then it comes back full force within a few minutes, making for a very wet street race.
But despite the weather—or, perhaps, because of it—a jovial atmosphere permeates the entire race, with more starting-line chatter and looks of excitement than I’ve seen at any race outside of an obstacle run (where the joviality is almost more important than the run itself). “Maybe we don’t even need to put water in the cups!” remarks the race director, describing the water stations along the course. She’s not far from the truth. I’m completely soaked within seconds of checking my gear (along with my precious umbrella) and approaching the starting line. Read the rest of this entry »
By Megan Kirby
In Baltimore, look for a girl with blue hair in a Batman t-shirt. In Washington DC, find the red balloon at the coffee shop. In London, seek out the table with the Cthulhu plushie perched on the edge. You’ve found the Awkward Army.
These are fans of massively popular advice blog Captain Awkward, and they are meeting up worldwide. The Captain herself, Chicago-based filmmaker Jennifer Peepas, never expected such an active global audience. Today, self-proclaimed “Awkwarders” plan meet-ups in coffee shops and ice cream parlors from Boston to Tokyo, gathering with coloring books or knitting projects or stacks of fiction and graphic novels for impromptu book clubs—essentially, getting together to just hang out.
When Peepas first launched Captain Awkward in January 2011, she just hoped she’d have enough readers to never have to fabricate a reader question herself. Now, she gets so many emails that she can’t answer all of them. At the end of 2013, Captain Awkward’s page views hovered just under eleven million. As of March 2014, 557 reader questions have been answered. (Everything from “How do I deal with my abusive family” to “My crush might be a furry.”) Posts garner hundreds of comments with readers’ advice and stories (and tangents about books, TV shows, vacation plans and any other topic). The most dedicated Awkwarders even started a fan-run forum, Friends of Captain Awkward, to keep up with conversations off comment threads. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): What are the sources that heal and nourish you? Where do you go to renew yourself? Who are the people and animals that treat you the best and are most likely to boost your energy? I suggest that in the coming week you give special attention to these founts of love and beauty. Treat them with the respect and reverence they deserve. Express your gratitude and bestow blessings on them. It’s the perfect time for you to summon an outpouring of generosity as you feed what feeds you. Read the rest of this entry »
By Max Clarke. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick
By Tony Fitzpatrick
Anthony Potenzo believes a good joint must have rules. That there are unwritten rules which most sentient, sane, bar regulars understand without explanation—the barroom social contract: “Y’know, stuff you don’t have to explain to anyone except the drool-cases and mutants,” he says. “You know what I’m sayin’? Stuff that people who walk upright already understand.”
And then there are the rules you have to write down and spell out. You notice that the people who have to read the posted rules? Their lips are moving while they read them. Hell, their lips move when they read the comics or a grocery list. Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Velazquez and Ray Arroyo/Photo: Active Trans
By John Greenfield
Last September, the Chicago Department of Transportation launched the Go Bronzeville transportation demand program in the historic Near South neighborhood otherwise known as the Black Metropolis. The initiative provided resources for residents interested in getting around their community and the city on foot, bike, transit and car-sharing, with the goal of reducing the number of drive-alone trips.
Many of the people who participated in the free workshops, walking tours and bike rides found that using active transportation helped save them money, improved their health and gave them new opportunities to spend time with their family, friends and neighbors. Now, CDOT plans to run TDM programs in another four neighborhoods, at a cost of about $250,000 per community, mostly funded by federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement grants.
Pilsen, the largely Mexican-American community located three miles southwest of the Loop, was a logical choice for the next location, according to CDOT deputy commissioner Sean Wiedel. The area is well served by transit, including several CTA bus routes, the Pink Line and Metra’s BNSF line, and it has nearly a dozen Divvy bike-share stations. The Go Pilsen program debuted on June 4. Portland, Oregon-based Alta Planning + Design helped design the program, and the Active Transportation Alliance’s Maggie Melin is coordinating it on the local level. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): Would you like your savings account to grow? Then deposit money into it on a consistent basis. Would you like to feel good and have a lot of physical energy? Eat healthy food, sleep as much as you need to, and exercise regularly. Do you want people to see the best in you and give you the benefit of the doubt? See the best in them and give them the benefit of the doubt. Would you love to accomplish your most important goal? Decide what you want more than anything else and focus on it with relaxed intensity. Yes, Aries, life really is that simple—or at least it is right now. If you want to attain interesting success, be a master of the obvious. Read the rest of this entry »
By Rob Brezsny
ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to an astrologer named Astrolocherry (astrolocherry.tumblr.com), Aries is the sign of the freedom fighter, the explorer, the daredevil and the adventurer. That’s all true; I agree with her. But here’s an important caveat. As you get older, it’s your duty to harness all that hot energy on behalf of the softer, slower, more tender parts of your life. The coming weeks will offer you a great opportunity to work on that challenge. To get started, imagine how you can be a freedom fighter, explorer, daredevil and adventurer in service to your home, family and community. Read the rest of this entry »