Street Smart Chicago

Dispirited: How I lost my religion to a pedophiliac priest

Essays & Commentary, Wicker Park No Comments »

By Tom Lynchnewcitycoverpriest-copy

A couple weeks ago I received a CD at Newcity’s office, out of the blue, a compilation disc of local artists performing covers of Catholic hymns. “Crosswalk,” it’s called, and features bands like Office, The M’s, Canasta and The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. The idea intrigued me immediately—when I took a closer look at its cover and realized that the purpose of the comp is to benefit victims of priestly sexual abuse, plus has sponsors like Wicker Park institutions Reckless Records, Earwax, The Silver Room and Moonshine, my eyebrows could not have raised any higher.

I grew up on the Northwest Side of Chicago, near O’Hare, a neighborhood technically labeled Dunning, though not many still use the term. Surrounded by Park Ridge and Norridge to the north, River Grove and Elmwood Park to the south and the Des Plaines River to the west, the relatively serene neighborhood has always had an abundance of city employees and their families: policemen, firemen, school teachers. Most Irish, but with a good amount of Italian and Polish. Growing up, there was even another Lynch family  just a  few doors down from us. My father is a Chicago policeman, and now my parents have several policeman neighbors lined up all next to each other down the block, creating what some jokingly call “Copland.”

As kids, we felt safe. Rarely did any element of real danger enter our naïve and, in retrospect, severely innocent worlds Read the rest of this entry »

Worldwide Pants-less: Skybar hosts a trouser-banned party

Events, Lincoln Park, Love & Sex, Pride No Comments »

GoddesShe-01-bigThe time-honored tradition of The Fourth Annual “No Pants Party” makes Lincoln Park’s Skybar transform into a girls-for-girls paradise. From the sidewalk looking up to the second-floor window, two very scantily clad young ladies—with no more than pink lingerie and white fluffy boots—shake what their mammas gave them and hope their fathers aren’t aware of it.

A skinny, mustachioed hipster in maroon boxer shorts and suspenders dances to the muffled beats from inside the bar next to the uncomfortable valet attendants. Sunday at Skybar is designated Gay Night, and tonight is no different. Chicago’s strong and vibrant lesbian community is out in full force making the best of their last few hours of the weekend before returning to the Monday morning grind. The place looks like a normal party with loud house music and strobe lights until the adorable—and unfortunately unattainable—waitress, wearing American Apparel briefs, strolls over. She’s holding trays of fluorescent shooters, claiming they have the elixir for a time you’re sure to forget in the morning, only to remember as your head falls below the rim of the toilet upon crawling out of bed. Of course she didn’t actually say that, but we all know the result of glow-in-the-dark booze.           Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

 1 Barack Obama
The president delivered a stirring speech on healthcare forum and raised national support for the cause. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): To the thug who stole my Chevy Malibu from its parking place while I was recording an album in San Francisco back in 1991: I forgive you. To the lovely and talented Artemisia, who couldn’t bring herself to fall in love with me as we partied at the Burning Man festival back in 2001: I forgive you. To the agent who helped my writing career so much but also cheated me out of thousands of dollars: I forgive you. To any Aries readers who hate it when I refer to my personal life in their horoscopes, and would much rather I confine myself to talking about them: I forgive you, and recommend that you engage in a more thorough and profound version of the cleansing I just illustrated. Read the rest of this entry »

Garage Barrage: Pilsen hosts a community sale

Events, Pilsen No Comments »

garage-sale-signs-326x400In a vacant lot at 18th and Peoria in Pilsen sit about eight tables covered with some used, some antique and even some newer items. It’s a Sunday afternoon and this is the first of three Pilsen Community Garage Sales put on by the Pilsen Community Farmer’s Market.

Each Sunday throughout September, this lot will serve as the gathering point for residents of the Pilsen neighborhood looking to sell or trade. There are tables set up to sell jewelry and other accessories, books, children’s clothes and toys and, of course, a couple of tables feature a little bit of everything from antique dishes to a Bruce Springsteen record, an old game of Po-Ke-No and more.

Some old clothes sit atop a blanket on the ground while small samples of artwork sit on top of artist Joanna Archetti’s table.   Read the rest of this entry »

Race Review: Chicago Half Marathon (September 13, 2009)

Hyde Park, Running No Comments »

finish10What does it mean when it’s easier to run 13.1 miles than it is to get to the starting line? When the race is the Chicago Half Marathon, with 20,000 runners arriving in Jackson Park, not far from the proposed epicenter of the 2016 Olympics, and the CTA seems to be running less buses on the one route that will take folks to the parking-challenged area, it doesn’t bode well for the city’s global aspirations. Oh well, maybe they handled the U2 concert that night better, since the bus rerouting for that event was reasonably well communicated. Never mind that Soldier Field is easily accessible via multiple modes of public transit and offers ample parking. Thankfully the race started late, as cars emptied their passengers a mile away, and hundreds of runners converged on the starting line after the appointed time. Many even had time to pee in the parking lot of the nearby Chicago Park District building, till the park workers starting shooing runners away. Too bad the portable toilets were completely inaccessible from the west side of the starting mass.

It was that kind of day, where the scale always threatened to overwhelm the event, but in the end never did. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Green Day

Green No Comments »

The state of Illinois has officially resolved to designate September 15 as Carbon Day, a day on which the state will urge people to take steps towards reducing their carbon footprint.  On this same day, the first annual Carbon Day festival will be held at Grove Five in Lincoln Park at Clark and Armitage. This year’s theme is carbon-neutral transportation and infrastructure. The festival will feature interactive demonstrations on different ways to be carbon-neutral, including tree planting, composting and solar energy. “It’s not hard to be more eco-conscious,” says the event’s  coordinator, Brae Hatteway. “We are geared towards giving individuals what they need to take a more proactive role in having a sustainable lifestyle.” Chicago’s own The Giving Tree Band will headline the festival, which corresponds with the release of their new, completely carbon-neutral album, “Great Possessions.” The festival will also feature Cobalt & the Hired Guns.

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Jay Cutler
Led his Bears to a 3-1 record in the preseason and received extensive attention for his sharp photoshoot in Michigan Avenue magazine. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I don’t think I’m being unduly optimistic when I speculate that you’re on the verge of achieving a ringing victory over your bad self. What makes me so confident that this development is in the works? Well, in recent weeks you have been dealing more forthrightly and intelligently with the lowest aspects of your character. You have also become more fully aware of the difference between your out-and-out unregenerate qualities and the unripe aspects of your character that may someday become very beautiful. There’s a second sign that you’re close to transforming one of the most negative things about you: You have almost figured out the truth about a murky curse that you internalized some time ago. When you finally identify it, you will know intuitively how to banish it forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall Forward 2009

Events, Food & Drink, Lit, Museums, News etc., Politics, Running No Comments »

Newcitycover1We like the way culture upends the universe’s metaphors. Mother Nature might be in the autumn of her year, but the arts are alive with the spirit of new birth.

Labor Day ushers out what meteorologists like to call meteorological summer, making schoolkids go back to school, closing beaches far too soon, and forcing outdoor festivals to sound their last notes, but it gushes in a deluge of culture too magnificent for even the most ardent of arts lovers to fully appreciate. The full richness of our city comes alive in the fall, even when the Bears don’t have a messiah behind center. Read the rest of this entry »