Street Smart Chicago

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

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This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Jay Cutler
The Bears QB tossed two more touchdown passes against the Lions; he also ran for a TD, diving into the end zone. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The poet Stephen Mallarmé wrote the following in a letter to a friend: “I don’t know which of my internal climates I should explore in order to find you and meet you.” I love that passage. It alludes to one of the central facts about the nature of reality: The quality of your consciousness is crucial in determining whether you’ll be able to attract the resources that are essential to your dreams coming true. In order to get what you want, you have to work on yourself at least as hard as you work on the world around you. This is always true, of course, but it’s especially true for you now, Aries. Read the rest of this entry »

The Last Ride: Kiddieland gives the public its final weekend

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2970394560_553f4b337fWe are seeing a disappearing act in our midst. The wholesome summer safe havens of childhood amusement parks are closing left and right. Another casualty can be checked off the list as the magical landmark of Chicago must call it quits. Kiddieland brought smiles to children and adults alike since first opening its doors in 1929 and served its community well for those eighty-one years. As the oldest amusement park in the Chicago area, the reminiscence alone is reason enough to shed a sentimental tear as it closes its gates on September 27.

The Kiddieland Limited Locomotive, featuring the last steam engine running in Chicago, will soon become a ghost train as it rides the rails one last time on this sunny Sunday afternoon. Along with the Limited, all the rides are free of charge with ticket purchase on the sad, last day of a true Chicago pastime. The Tilt-a-Whirl will stop spinning, the Little Dipper won’t dip and the beloved Log Jammer will jam no more. Tom, a Kiddieland employee from 1967 to 1969, says, “I feel bad about the park closing. I’ve come here all my life. I worked here, came here and it’s the last park in Chicago.” Others share Tom’s feeling, like Mary, who has been coming here since she was a little girl, as she waits nearly an hour with her grandchildren to enjoy the experience one last time. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Answer Us

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October 7 marks the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. As such, an antiwar protest will be held at 5pm by the Chicago division of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition at the Chicago Water Tower. Formed at a very poignant time in U.S. history, September 14, 2001, the coalition is a national grassroots organization that has been holding demonstrations to end war for eight years now. “A majority of people in the country are against the war. The point is that the money we’re spending on this war should be going to people that really need it,” says John Beacham, coordinator of the protest. “No one understood the reason we went to Iraq. Now it seems Afghanistan is a similar situation. Our message is that it’s the people that are going to stop the war.”

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Mayor Daley
The mayor got his Copenhagen wish—President Obama will be in attendance. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Is the electron a wave or a particle? Physicists had to conduct thousands of experiments to arrive at the definitive answer, which is that it’s both. In other words, the solution to one of the fundamental questions about the nature of reality is a paradox. I think this strongly suggests that the correct response to many other riddles about the ultimate truth might be two seemingly opposing explanations. Could the Unitarians and Buddhists both be right? Socialists and capitalists? Mystics and scientists? In the upcoming days, Aries, you will be offered lots of practice in adopting this approach as you deal with a personal dilemma that’s very much akin to “Is the electron a wave or a particle?” Read the rest of this entry »

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

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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

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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

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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)

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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.