Street Smart Chicago

Best of Chicago 2009: The results are in

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111209 BoC155 items + 75 you voted for. Check it out at http://best.newcity.com

And how about this cover, from Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi of Sonnenzimmer, who were recently profiled in our art column, Eye Exam. And Sonnenzimmer discusses the story behind this cover, here.

And, finally, be sure to check out Fred Sasaki’s, um, ode to the Best head waiter on our Resto site.

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): A whitewash happens when you use deceit to cover up the messy facts about a situation. A blackwash is just the opposite: It’s when you invoke candor as you reveal complications that have previously been veiled. According to my analysis of the astrological omens, the coming weeks will be prime time to enjoy a jubilee of blackwashing. But I suggest that you proceed gently. Remember that not all hidden information is a sign of malfeasance or evil intentions. Sometimes the truth is so paradoxical and nuanced, it’s hard to get it completely out in the open all at once. And sometimes people are motivated to keep things secret mostly because they’re afraid to cause pain. Read the rest of this entry »

Race Review: Hot Chocolate 15K/5K (November 1, 2009)

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HC09_15kstartPeople get into running for many reasons—health, competition, even insanity I’m often told—but it’s hard to argue with the logic of running for the sake of indulgence. No wonder then that the Hot Chocolate 15K/5K has almost instantly become one of Chicago’s larger races, tripling in size to nearly 12,000 runners in this, its second year. Not surprisingly, the 15K field is quite a bit smaller than the 5K, but the distance is a perfect return to running for those who’ve done the Chicago Marathon three weeks earlier and need a stick or a carrot to get going again. But all runners in this race are unified in their pursuit of chocolate, which is delivered to racers through a rather tasty chocolate-fountain fondue (watching the staff madly unwrapping Hershey’s Kisses to feed the thing was something of an astonishing site) and through a conceptually terrific hot-chocolate booth. (And if we don’t talk about the assorted “trick-or-treat”-style candy-bar distributors near the finish line, those calories won’t count, so we won’t.) Read the rest of this entry »

Last chance to vote for the Best of Chicago

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The polls close at midnight on Wednesday so sharpen your mental pencil and get over to http://newcity.bestofchicago.sgizmo.com to get started!

Food for Thought: Critical Massers do lunch with the Holocaust Memorial Museum

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IMG_5749A gorgeous Indian summer morning and I’m frantically zipping around the Loop on my bicycle. A guy I know from Critical Mass, a member of the powerful Pritzer family, scored me a seat at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s fourteenth annual Chicago luncheon, but I can’t remember which hotel is hosting the event.

It’s the largest fundraiser for the D.C. museum, which educates millions worldwide about the WWII tragedy and raises awareness of modern-day issues of intolerance and genocide, like the crisis in Darfur. While I certainly support the cause, I’ll admit that what I remember most from my museum visit a few years ago was thinking the Nazis had excellent graphic design.

Now late, I hammer south on Michigan from the Hyatt to the Hilton, then check email at a Kinko’s. Argh, the luncheon is north across the river at the Sheraton.

I arrive sweaty and winded to find a huge ballroom packed with more than 2,000 attendees, a sea of black suits and skirts. My table’s full of sharply dressed Critical Massers, mostly members of the “Tribe,” as we Jews like to call ourselves. The food’s terrific—a Japanese-inspired plate of teriyaki salmon, soba with edamame and sunomono salad—and it’s kosher. This stuff could give kosher Chinese a run for its money. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

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This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Tom Ricketts
The Ricketts family officially became owners of the Cubs and Tom’s comments to the press received nearly unanimous praise. Read the rest of this entry »

Yeah Brother! Being at Borders with The Hulkster

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hulk-hogan-ripping-shirtWhen Hulk Hogan is slated to appear at the Michigan Avenue Borders to sign his new hardcover, “My Life Outside The Ring,” fans line up outside as early as 6:30am to catch a glimpse of their god. Chris, the first in line, has not only already purchased fifteen copies of the memoir, but flew all the way down from Edmonton to stand in The Hulkster’s presence. “He’s The Hulk and nothing is going to break him,” he says of the wrestler’s recent reality-show-beamed travails. Will, a fan since 1983, is wearing a sleeveless shirt, displaying his Hulk tattoo surrounded by inked signatures of all his wrestling idols.

By Hulk’s side stands the Don King of wrestling, “The Mouth of the South” Jimmy Hart, clad in a sport coat, Chuck Taylors and dark shades to complement his jet-black mullet. When The Real American walks out, the only sound in the room is the thunderous chant of “Hulk, Hulk, Hulk,” with fists in the air as the wrestling rock star enters. A fan near the front of the line who comes dressed as his hero, calls at him to tear off his shirt in the fashion that made him famous. The Hulk can’t resist the photo op as his huge sun-drenched hands rip the cotton material from the fan’s chest. Yeah brother! (Jonathan Kaplan)

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There was a time when wetlands were considered dismal and unproductive. At best they were thought to be a waste of space, and at worst stinky breeding grounds for insect pests. For over 200 years, many marshes, bogs and swamps were filled with dirt and transformed into places suitable for farms, houses and recreational areas. But all that has changed in the last thirty years. Science has rehabilitated the reputation of wetlands, showing how crucial they are. They clean toxins from water, help control floods and soil erosion, and are home to more biological diversity than any other ecosystem. The coming weeks would be an excellent time for you to make a comparable conversion, Aries. Something you once demeaned or underestimated could become an inspirational catalyst. Read the rest of this entry »

See Your Flesh and Eat It Too: The Undead Dance

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By Jonathan Kaplan

A particularly sexy shot from "Zombie Strippers" (2008)

A particularly sexy shot from "Zombie Strippers" (2008)

What better way to celebrate the most fear-provoking of holidays then with hot naked women covered in blood? John LaFamboy agrees wholeheartedly when he and the rest of his crew in Zombie Army Productions decided to put on tonight’s brain-devouring event, “Night of the Stripping Dead.”

Normally I wouldn’t venture out to a gentleman’s club because it’s jut not my thing and I really don’t have the cash to throw around on girls pretending to like me for the length of one song, but when I heard “zombie strippers,” I made a justified exception. The Admiral Theater is considered to be the best of the best when it comes to skin joints in the city and I must say, it was surprisingly classy. As I sit in a white leopard arm chair in the VIP section of the club watching these ladies gyrate to the goth-industrial tunes blasting over the speaker, covered in lacerations, impaling wounds and glow-in-the-dark nipple rings, I feel less like a creepy old man standing behind the fence of a middle-school playground and more like a necromantic luster of the lifeless. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Flame of Business

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A University of Illinois at Chicago student is gaining national recognition in the business world this year. Saeb Ahsan, a 21-year-old senior finance major at UIC, is one of only five students across the country in the running to win Entrepreneur magazine’s College Entrepreneur of 2009 contest. Ahsan’s entry is the Flux Collection, a company that creates wearable art, transforming paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings—many from emerging local artists—into t-shirts. “Being selected among the top five college entrepreneurs has been a huge honor for my whole team and me,” says Ahsan. “I’ve been a fan of Entrepreneur since I was 18. I’m very excited because the Flux Collection has built momentum within the local art community with the help [of the magazine].” The winner, to be announced in January, will receive $5,000 in start-up capital, a profile in January’s “Entrepreneur” and a trip to Miami for an awards luncheon.