Street Smart Chicago

Reading Preview: Greg Kot/57th Street Books

Hyde Park, Lit, Literary Venues No Comments »

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Honestly, do you really need to hear once more that the music industry is, uh, changing? That much you already know. What you might not know is exactly how artists developed new ways to funnel their music to the public, how fans themselves became mouth-to-mouth (or file to file) distributors and live music has become even more essential in the marketplace. In essence, how boomboxes and CD players gave way to laptops and the Internet. Chicago Tribune music critic and co-host of “Sound Opinions” Greg Kot chronicles this progression in his new book, “Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music,” which hits shelves this week. To achieve a greater understanding of where exactly the music business is at the present-plus, with all probability, where it’s headed-Kot’s analysis can work as a textbook. Now if I could just figure out how to open this .rar file…(Tom Lynch)

Greg Kot discusses “Ripped” May 27 at 57th Street Books, 1301 East 57th, (773)684-1300, at 6pm. Free.

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The fleas infesting dogs’ skin have greater leaping power than the fleas on cats. Why do you think that is, Aries? Maybe you should use your waxing brainpower to get to the bottom of this great mystery. Just kidding! While it is true that in the coming weeks you will have unusual skill in deciphering enigmas and clarifying ambiguities, I think you should direct that skill to really important matters that will improve your life for months to come—not to trivial questions like fleas’ jumping abilities. Read the rest of this entry »

Wild and Wooly: Blimey, the Tweed Ride is a smashing good show

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picture-092Kentucky Derby Day, and a pair of southern belles in floppy derby hats stagger tipsily on high heels from the Metra station at Ashland and Cortland. Just west, forty bicyclists, nattily attired in vintage woolen formal wear and mounted on English steeds, combine alternative transportation, fashion and alcohol in a far more dignified manner.

It’s Winston’s Tweed Ride, a tour of former speakeasies that celebrates booze, bicycles and Brits, hosted by the group British Bicycles of Chicago. The jaunt was inspired by January’s Tweed Run in London, where dozens of fixed-gear and single-speed enthusiasts donned dashing duds for a leisurely pedal from Saville Row, famous for its traditional “bespoke” custom clothing.

“This is a civilized ride hearkening back to the wonderful times of 1930s bike-touring,” says Chicago organizer Garth Katner, splendidly dressed in britches, sports jacket, bowtie and fedora. Read the rest of this entry »

Reading Preview: Aleksandar Hemon

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We knew he was good, but did we know he was this good? The Bosnian-born, Chicago-based author of “The Question of Bruno,” “Nowhere Man” and last year’s National Book Award-finalist “The Lazarus Project”—a staggering work, indeed—returns, rather quickly, with “Love and Obstacles,” a book of short stories that sees its release this week. A collection of eight tales with a linking narrator-yes, a man who immigrated from Yugoslavia to the United States-the book moves chronologically as Hemon’s unique use of prose paints a picture of man who’s path to adulthood cuts through stirring and unsettling world politics. Some of these stories have already appeared in The New Yorker; some see publication for the first time in this assembly. The speedy arrival of “Love and Obstacles” after the praise heaped upon “Lazarus” indicates Hemon’s willingness to become the face of the current Chicago literary scene, and right now, I don’t think we could ask for a better representative. (Tom Lynch)

Aleksandar Hemon discusses “Love and Obstacles” May 17 at Book Cellar, 4736-38 N. Lincoln, (773)293-2665, at 3pm. Free.

The Nerd Herd: Get social, get nerdy at Risque Cafe

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Lakeview’s Risque Cafe has been transformed into a techie paradise. “Weird Science” and “War Games” play on flat-screens above the bar and copies of Wired are carefully fanned out on each table. Attendants imbibe Goose Island and wax poetic about Twitter. One would expect nothing less from the Chicago Nerd Social Club. Read the rest of this entry »

411: A Black Hole No Longer

-Neighborhood/Suburb, Logan Square, News etc., Northwest Side No Comments »

The newly formed Northwest Chicago Historical Society is currently looking for volunteers to help build their organization. A volunteer meeting will be held at the Chicago Public Library – Logan Square Branch, 3030 W. Fullerton, on May 14 at 7:30. The Northwest Chicago Historical Society-which is an extension of the Jefferson Park Historical Society-is hoping to have their organization up and running by early 2010. The group is open to any and all volunteers interested in preserving the history of the city’s Northwest Side. “At this point, we don’t know what people are going to want to volunteer for,” Dan Pogorzelski, one of the group’s organizers, says. Some of the specific areas that they would like assistance in include event planning, newsletter production and ad sales. The organization was founded in order to highlight the Northwest Side’s amazing history through preserving photos and stories before they are forgotten. “To quote one of my professors, ‘Anywhere west of the Chicago River is a black hole of Chicago history,'” Pogorzelski says. “Which makes it even more imperative to collect these stories and histories. The Northwest Chicago Historical Society will also host a meeting on May 27 at the Jefferson Park Library, 5363 W. Lawrence, and June 6 at the Eden Evangelical Lutheran Church, 5051 W. Gunnison.

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Joel Quenneville
The Blackhawks coach guided his team to its first appearance in the Western Conference Finals since 1995. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology, News etc. No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Some people will never learn anything because they understand everything too soon,” wrote Alexander Pope. Most of us have been guilty of that sin: jumping to conclusions so quickly that we don’t bother to keep listening for the full revelation. My sense is that this behavior has become even more common in recent years because we’re inundated by fragments of slapdash information mixed with blips of superficial analysis and echoed hearsay. But please avoid falling prey to the syndrome in the coming week, Aries. More than ever before, you need to gather raw data thoroughly, weigh the evidence with great deliberation, and come to careful understandings. Read the rest of this entry »

The Writing Type: The Big Read encourages more Bradbury

Events, Lit, News etc., South Loop No Comments »

bradburyphoto1Columbia College’s Hokin Annex echoes with the sounds of manual typewriters furiously clacking away. The school’s library is hosting the first ever “I Wanna Write Like Ray: The Typewriter Olympics” as one of many citywide The Big Read events.

The contest celebrates Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451″ by allowing students to revive the methods that he used to type the novel’s manuscript and to have their own work compiled into a book. Bradbury’s masterpiece was written on a metered typewriter—which needed to be fed a dime every half hour—in a basement at UCLA. Read the rest of this entry »

Secret’s Out: Frank Warren visits the Windy City

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Imagine your deepest, darkest secret. Maybe its emotional, maybe it’s embarrassing. Now, imagine that secret being on display on the Internet anonymously, scribbled on a postcard, or anything else, for that matter. Welcome to the world of Postsecret. As Frank Warren, the creator of the blog juggernaut Postsecret.com, visits DePaul University, a mix of diehard fans and people lured in by curiosity attend. “I’m not sure who Frank Warren is or what his Postsecret project is about, but my friends told me I would find it interesting,” says Alyssa Wieting, a freshman at DePaul. Read the rest of this entry »