Street Smart Chicago

Education 2010: Odds and Ends

Education/Training No Comments »

Kendall College’s Spice Up Your Life Program
Spice Up Your Life’s rotating course menu extends a hand to those seeking skills in the culinary arts but aren’t on a professional track. Current offerings include a class inspired by Julie Powell’s blog-turned-book-turned-movie “Julie & Julia” ($85). In the tale, Powell tackles Julia Child’s 524-recipe tome, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” in a year. Along the same ethos, the class will complete five multilayered recipes in just three hours, including Coq Au Vin (Chicken in Red Wine Sauce), Crème Brulee (Burnt Custard), and the very French Mousseline De Poission, Blanche Neige (Fish Mousse-With Shellfish and chaud-froid sauce). In Sushi 101 students learn the finer points of finicky sushi rice, culminating in a spicy Ahi tuna and avocado Maki ($65). In Bread Baking 101, snuff out memories of Wonderbread hibernating in the cabinet by mastering classic baguettes, sourdough, foccacia and Challah.
For more information visit Read the rest of this entry »

American Weekend: Chicago Bears, Chicago Bars

Essays & Commentary, News etc., Sports No Comments »


Liars Club, Saturday night, frigid waves of gusty wind keep smokers indoors and the room itself relatively empty. A smattering of dancers shuffle to “Single Ladies” on the floor; something old, 1970s-tinted, is on the television mounted near the ceiling. The bar, dark as a cave as always, becomes paralyzed by new chills each time someone walks through the door, the unreal air having the advantage of surprise. DJ walks a tightrope between Jay-Z, Stones, Rick-fucking-Springfield. He wants to tell her that he loves her but the point is probably moot.

This is a weekend of moot points, as the NFL’s regular season comes to a close and only twelve teams advance to the postseason, the Chicago Bears not one of them. Last April, the Bears traded for Jay Cutler in what was easily one of the biggest and most ambitious deals the franchise ever made. Hopes soared to alarming levels: Would the team make the playoffs for the first time since its Super Bowl run in 2006? The Bears finished 7-9, the team’s worst record since 2004. For fans, disbelief turned to disappointment, which quickly deformed into distaste and resentment. This JC was no messiah, after all.

A familiar guitar note, a D chord. Tom Petty? “Well she was an American Girl…” Enthusiasts flood the floor and move and shake. The night united. An American song, an American bar, as American as cold beer and football. Even the losers get lucky some time. (Tom Lynch)

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Lovie Smith

After weeks of media discussion, the Bears coach will return next season. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): According to my reading of the astrological omens, it’ll be a hair-on-fire kind of week for you—and yet also a heart-in-repose kind of week. In other words, you have the potential to be fierce and relaxed, vigorously ambitious and sublimely poised. In fact, this might be one of those rare times when you can be both a justice-dispensing warrior and an enlightenment-seeking magician. Want to turn water into wine when the pressure’s on? Find the pearl of great price in the heat of the battle? Feats like these are quite possible. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): One of my favorite landscape painters makes a livable wage from selling her art. She has had many gallery showings and has garnered much critical acclaim. That’s the good news. The bad news is that she feels obligated to keep churning out more landscape paintings—even when her muse nudges her to take a detour into, say, abstract expressionism or surrealistic portraits. Galleries don’t want anything from her except the stuff that has made her semi-famous. “Sometimes I fantasize about creating a series of ‘Sock Puppet Monkeys Playing Poker,'” she told me. If she were an Aries, I’d advise her to do what I think you should do in 2010: Listen to what your version of the sock puppet monkeys are urging you to do. Read the rest of this entry »

Newcity’s Top 5 of Everything 2009: City Life and Pop Culture

Bicycling, Events, News etc. No Comments »

Top 5 Local TV Media Moments45730943-15085940
ABC-7’s Judy Hsu gives birth on the shoulder of the Ike.

WGN weather-bard Tom Skilling defies the age-old wisdom of the Farmer’s Almanac. The venerable publication calls for a rough winter, but Channel 9’s meteorological merlin says the 2009-2010 winter will likely be El Nino-induced milder than usual.

CBS 2 goes all A&E, recruiting Bill Kurtis to do shorty Cold Case Files.

NBC blunders Bob Sirrott’s contract and lets a Chicago media legend slip away.

CLTV’s Garrard McLendon shows poise and divine-fueled gumption after the double murder of his parents.
—Sam Weller Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): What influences do you really, really need to say goodbye to? The next six months will provide you with ample motivation and opportunity to finally bid those farewells. What long-term cycle really, really needs to be drawn to a close, no more hemming and hawing, all loose ends tied up and all mixed signals clarified? Again, the time between now and the middle of June will bring you the necessary inspiration to make it happen. But it’ll take deep thought and sustained work and an expanded sense of humor, so get started soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Big Bang: Newcity’s Guide to New Years Eve 2009

Events, Food & Drink, Holidays, News etc. No Comments »

BARS, NIGHTCLUBS, HOTELS AND MOREist2_4331566-champagne-toast

Listen to DJ Arkitek spin as you take advantage of a premium open bar and appetizers. There’ll be a chance to win prizes and a champagne toast, too. 1856 W. North, (773)772-5500.

Alhambra Palace
This two-floor, five-room spot is hosting an extravagant party from 9pm-1am with entertainment provided by DJs Shawn Edwards, Tony Tone, Ryan Pollano and others. For $75-$100, guests can get their drink on for four hours with a top-shelf open bar and fill up on an appetizer buffet. Additional information can be found at 1240 W. Randolph, (312)666-9555.

Angels & Kings
The DJ duo The Fabulous Ladies of Fitness will make an appearance alongside additional guest DJs as guests enjoy snacks, a dessert bar, a champagne toast and a souvenir champagne glass. 710 N. Clark, (312)482-8600.

Angels and Mariachis
Tables range from $50-$100 and the party package (10pm-1am) includes an all-you-can-eat taco bar, sangria, beer, margaritas, cocktails and a midnight champagne toast. Bottle service is also available for $50-$300. 1721 W. Division, (773)227-7772. Read the rest of this entry »

Open Your Dreams: Texas Fred gives everyone their fifteen minutes

Bucktown, Events No Comments »

microphoneIn Bucktown on Sunday nights at a squat side-street building with loud antics and a giant graffitied mural along one side, everybody gets their fifteen minutes. Texas Fred hosts the open mic every week at Gallery Cabaret while portraits of Picasso, Joyce, Poe and Shaw look down upon those at the bar. With shoulder-length white hair and wire-rimmed glasses, Texas Fred seems to have ignored every year since 1969. He announces each performer and delivers dusty anecdotes about hitchhiking with a voice rough from what could be the build-up of pot resin in his throat.

Fifteen minutes or three songs, whichever comes first. Pitcher after pitcher of Leinie’s, the Gallery’s special, is spent composing the perfect set list, while a middle-aged single mother is trying her hand at stand-up comedy and isn’t nearly as bad as the spoken-word poet that preceded her. Read the rest of this entry »

Santa’s Upgrade: Doors open on the left at North Pole

Events, Holidays No Comments »

widget_aTT7mKmDHkNQHp8FolyGWZHuddling under the heat lamps at the Brown Line stop at Damen, four rosy-cheeked little girls and three parents chat excitedly as they wait for the holiday train. A distant rumbling signals the arrival of yet another false alarm.

At 6:36pm, the train finally pulls in, just a few minutes behind schedule to the sound of cheers and screams. “Oh my gosh! It has so many lights on it,” one of the girls shrieks with delight.

Indeed, the CTA has gone all-out. The outside of the car is coated in Christmas bulbs, flickering and flashing ceaselessly. Between cars is a giant float, complete with sleigh, Christmas trees, a brick house (presumably Santa’s) and free candy. Inside, people mill around in wonderment, gazing up at the red and green fluorescent lights that bathe the car in an oddly eerie glow. The seats are reupholstered with red and green Santas, and the poles we normally grip with a single finger, like Captain Hook during rush hour, are wrapped in a candy-cane stripe. “Let It Snow” streams from the speakers. Wide-eyed toddlers clutch their parents, at once amazed and terrified. It’s like being in a Christmas-themed dream. Read the rest of this entry »