Street Smart Chicago

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Jody Weis
The police superintendent received some good news for a change when three of his officers on trial for the Jefferson Tap brawl were acquitted. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): When they pray, Muslims face the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Every mosque around the world typically has a niche that shows the precise direction of that holy place. Recently, however, worshipers have discovered that many of the older mosques in Mecca itself have niches that aren’t pointing the right way. They’re concerned that the prayers they’ve dispatched in the past weren’t aimed correctly. Is it possible that there’s a comparable scenario in your life, Aries? Might you be filled with righteous intentions, but not quite delivering them to the correct location? If so, this is an excellent time to make adjustments. Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Preview: S.L. Wisenberg

Hyde Park, Lit, Literary Venues No Comments »

RECOMMENDED1587298023

Adapting her blog to full-fledged book, local author S.L. Wisenberg transforms her illness memoir into a fiercely engaging and often very, very funny account of her battle with breast cancer. The title, “The Adventures of Cancer Bitch,” should be the first clue that Wisenberg wasn’t prepared to linger in an overly sentimental region and play to readers’ fears and Lifetime-movie expectations. She claimed “Bitch,” she writes, because “Babe was too young and Vixen was already taken.” Presented in a diary format, the piece is, at its core, a 160-page staring match Wisenberg has with herself. Doctors, diagnosis, medication, chemo, surgery—sure, it’s in there. The most devastating offerings aren’t found in the cold facts that are beaten into our bodies by health magazines and prescription-pill commercials, but rather under blog entries with titles like “How Not To Tell Your Class About Your Breast Cancer.” (Wisenberg, Jewish, deftly adapts the wit of Woody Allen as well.) But, like the best of the savage memoirs, it’s doused in hope, and as readers, we share a most important reward in the end: life. (Tom Lynch)

S.L. Wisenberg discusses “Adventures of Cancer Bitch” May 6 at 57th Street Books, 1301 East 57th, (773)684-1300, at 6pm. Free.

411: It’s a Mystery

Events, Lit, Literary Venues, News etc. No Comments »

catherine-oconnell-photoThe newest installment from Chicago- and Aspen-based author Catherine O’Connell is “Well Read and Dead,” a continuation from the story of heroine Pauline Cook in “Well Bred and Dead.” Pauline experiences new locales and people in the second novel, while still upholding her persona O’Connell affectionately refers to as “a snob with a heart.” O’Connell’s main inspirations for “Well Read” include her experience in wine trade, her friendship with David Grafton (whose death influenced her first novel) and her life in Aspen. “Well Read and Dead” is no flake piece of chick lit. “The novel gives me the opportunity to write a murder mystery while underneath the surface it is also a satirical piece,” O’Connell says. Elements of high society are present; however there are issues that stray from glitz and glamour. “I always have messages [in my writing] if readers want to find them.” O’Connell touches on societal issues in “Well Read” and the concept that there is “‘no one better than I, and no one lesser than I.’ I like to show that they’re all the same.” She reads from the book Thursday at Book Cellar.

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, Museums, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Joel Quenneville
The Blackhawks coach guided his team to the NHL semifinals, the first time for this squad since 1996. Hockey in Chicago. Who knew? Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do a little,” said the writer Sydney Smith. While this is always good advice, it’s especially apt for you right now. You’re in a phase when giant leaps of faith are irrelevant, and fast, massive accomplishments are impossible. This is the season of incremental progress; a time when painstaking attention to detail is your best strategy. Inch by inch, Aries. Hour by hour. Read the rest of this entry »

Rebel Rebel: My dad owns The Alley. So what?

Lakeview, Wrigleyville 4 Comments »

By Alexis Thomascover

My first job was as proprietor of a lemonade stand at the corner of Belmont and Clark, an intersection of smut, littered with empty PBR cans, Dunkin’ Donuts-stained napkins and transsexuals in ripped fishnet pantyhose. It was the epicenter of the counter-cultural lifestyle. If you lived in Chicago, dyed your hair blue and believed punk rock could save the world, you’ve probably spent some time at Belmont and Clark.

My dad owns The Alley, an alternative-lifestyles store that sells everything from neon-colored sex toys, leather jackets, pins, one-hitters, spiked collars and bondage gear to Doc Martens.

Saturday mornings, dad and I packed Dixie cups and pitchers of Crystal Light lemonade into the back of his Cadillac hearse. The hearse was decked out in Alley decals and for ten years was his main ride. He drove it throughout Chicago neighborhoods promoting his store and lifestyle.

I’d sit on the corner as dad watched the foot traffic of Cubs fans, punks and everyone in between. But no one bought lemonade from me. Instead, their eyes crossed and noses wrinkled as they looked at me like an orphan misplaced by her parents before a show at The Vic and a whiskey sour at L&L Tavern.

Kids with mohawks and leather jackets sat next to my lemonade stand with their jelly donuts and cigarettes. Skinheads, oi punks, riot grrrls, ’77 punks and metalheads crowded into tight circles and broke into the kind of fights that were all fists and snot and blood.

Just as I was about to give up on my lemonade stand, my dad yelled over the walkie-talkies in the store, “You all better go out there and buy some lemonade from Alexis when you’re on break!”

The Alley rescued my business from bankruptcy as every employee handed over a dollar for my lemonade. By the end of the day I had made ten dollars.

The Belmont and Clark I knew at 8 years old got lost in the rubble of punk rock’s Armageddon. And before punk could revive itself, gentrification filled its void. Today, the Belmont and Clark I knew is an abandoned history. Read the rest of this entry »

Not for Squares: Everyone loves Logan Square

Events, Logan Square, News etc. No Comments »

moxieMention a neighborhood association benefit event and usually the first thing that comes to mind is some stuffy sit-down dinner and silent auction. This is definitely not the case when the Logan Square Neighborhood Association plans a shindig. The “I Love Logan Square” party, complete with salsa lessons and lucha libre sightings, is downright lively.

The party, which is held at Milwaukee Avenue’s Elastic Arts, allows Logan Square residents to mingle with neighbors while raising additional funding for the community. “We wanted to have an event that would introduce new people in the neighborhood to the organization,” says Bridget Murphy, a member of the LSNA who helped organize the event. “The LSNA works very holistically; we organize around affordable housing, education, immigration, keeping good jobs in the neighborhood, you name it.” 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 Mike Quigley
As of press time, the former Cook County Commissioner was to be sworn in as U.S. congressman. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Astrology and Tarot cards are my favorite divinatory tools, but I also get a lot of use out of magnetic poetry kits. These are boxes full of evocative words and symbols in the form of refrigerator magnets. Sometimes after analyzing your astrological omens, I’ll close my eyes, beam a question out into the ethers, and pluck a few magnets at random from one of my poetry kits. I just did that for you. “What are the keys to unlocking the enormous reserves of energy that are potentially available for Aries folks right now?” I asked. Here’s the message that came: “swooping orgasms & laughing tears.” (Or it could also be arranged this way: “laughing orgasms & swooping tears.”) Read the rest of this entry »