Street Smart Chicago

Unhappy Birthday: The murder of young artist J-Def is not the end of his story

News etc., Pilsen No Comments »

By Jane Leydermanjeff_clouds

Bikers in black leather vests lead the screaming crowd—their revving engines drawing stares from the pedestrians and residents going about their Sundays in Pilsen. Behind them, protesters wheel a pink casket—empty except for a mirror—through the streets.

The boy walking next to me smiles as he clutches onto his mother with one hand, holding a “make grilled cheese, not war” sign in the other. “Stop killing our friends!” he screams, then again, “Stop killing our friends!”

They all march with one agenda: to reclaim their neighborhood from gang-related violence—to say, as one protester’s sign reads, “Stop the violence in Pilsen. Give me a chance to grow up.”

The latest victim of gang violence is Jeff Abbey Maldanado, Jr., killed in a case of mistaken identity two weeks earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

On the Hunt: The Urban Assault Ride takes Chicago

Bicycling, Green, News etc. No Comments »

DSC_1991_AjApproximately 500 people are gathered in and around the lot of Murphy’s Bleachers on a clear Sunday morning. At 9am, the 250 pairs of bikers take off on a three-hour scavenger hunt around Chicago. This Urban Assault Ride, started by Josh Kravetz in Austin, Texas in 2003, is one of ten that takes place throughout the country.

The five checkpoint sites for the race were listed on the UAR Web site months ago, Kravetz says. At each checkpoint, the partners have to work together to complete an obstacle course. Once completed, the team receives a colored bead from a staff member. The bead is then placed on a necklace chain, given out before the race, for safekeeping. There are also two mystery checkpoints that bikers can ride to for bonus.

“It’s a really cool way to get people out in the city on bikes,” he says. “We took it to big cities where bikes play a big role.” Read the rest of this entry »

We Can Be Heroes: Center on Halsted hosts a low-key Comicon

Events, Lakeview, News etc. No Comments »

What kind of a comic-book convention is this? There aren’t any geeks dressed in Dragonball Z costumes, no signs of Lou Ferrigno or Adam West aimlessly wandering the aisles giving out their John Hancock’s for minimal fees. There are some oddballs crowding around a table of DC back issues like famished vultures, but other than the guy with the bad goatee wearing a red satin cape tied around his neck, this looks pretty low key. Apparently, for the organizers of this year’s Windy City Comicon, that is the goal.

“We wanted this to be a very creator-driven show along with a good shopping experience,” says Chris, the co-promoter of today’s convention. This is a hardcore comic lover’s event. There are more than seventy-five artists and creators strewn around the modestly sized room in the Center on Halsted, most of which are locally based. Thomas of Century Guild says this reminds him of what cons were like in the seventies, when it was all about the comic book and not the commercial aspect of it all. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Business Intuit(ion)

News etc. No Comments »

Drinks_Over_Dearborn_Showroom2-250x187As part of the ongoing Love A Local Business campaign, The Intuit Small Business United Blog is giving away a large number of $1,000 grants to small businesses around the country. Intuit urges people to nominate their favorite small businesses for the opportunity to receive the grant.  In a recent giveaway, Chicago’s own liquor boutique Drinks Over Dearborn was awarded a grant. “Small businesses are what connect and support communities,” says grant recipient Kyle McHugh. “Despite what you read, ‘Ma and Pa’ businesses are what drive the country. To be idealistic about it, [running your own business] is the American dream. It’s the ability to be your own boss and be independent.” The campaign still has a number of grants to give out, so nominate your favorite small business today.

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Jay Cutler
Now that’s more like it—the Bears QB led his team past the Steelers, tossing two touchdown passes. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Jonathan Lee Riches is renowned for filing numerous lawsuits in U.S courts. Some of his targets are actual living people, like Martha Stewart, George W. Bush and Steve Jobs. But he has also gone after defendants like Nostradamus, Che Guevara, the Eiffel Tower, the ex-planet Pluto, the Holy Grail, the Appalachian Trail and the Garden of Eden. This would be a good time for you to draw inspiration from his example. I don’t mean that you should become a litigious fanatic, but rather that you should seek redress and vindication from those people, places, and things that have not had your highest interests in mind. This could take the form of a humorous message, a compassionate prank or an odd gift. Remember, too, that old saying: Success is the best revenge. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »