Street Smart Chicago

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I expect that you will soon stumble upon a key secret to your next masterpiece. And I’ll be surprised if you don’t discover a healing agent that will be effective in correcting an old mistake. In fact, Aries, I prophesy that in the coming week, you will have a sense that you’re doing the smart thing at least 90 percent of the time. Sorry: I’m afraid to say that I have no sad, bad, or mad news to deliver. If you’re the type of person who thrives on cynicism, your immediate future may be pretty boring. If you’re on the fence about the question of whether life is a gorgeous feast or a chaotic mess, your ability to deal with outbreaks of goodness will be supremely tested. 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 Mark Buehrle
The White Sox starter became the eighteenth pitcher in baseball history to throw a perfect game, an achievement that even earned him a spot on Letterman. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Boy Crazy

City Life, Logan Square, News etc. 1 Comment »

Approaching cute guys just got a little easier. Cara Higgins and Sarah Rodriguez have created, a blog that posts pictures of cute boys seen around Chicago along with a little information about each one—name, age and where they were seen, for example. In the beginning, Higgins would take pictures from her phone of guys walking around her Logan Square neighborhood and then post them to Twitter or Facebook. From that, she and Rodriguez decided to create a blog for it. “When we started it was very hard for both of us to do because we would get really shy about it,” Higgins says. “Guys are way more embarrassed than we are,” Rodriguez adds. “They’ll be all smiley and shy and ‘I don’t know’ and we have to open them up.” Anyone who sees a site-worthy boy can submit a picture and some basic information. The site has gained popularity mostly through word of mouth, one of the things Rodriguez says she loves about it. “It’s nice that we have something that’s unique and Chicago-based,” Higgins says. “We were both born and raised here…and we’ve always come back to Chicago because it’s our home.”

411: Roll With It

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William Kelly, executive producer of William Kelly’s “Sportsaholic” on Comcast Sportsnet and producer and host of “Upscale TV,” might soon add “sports-team owner” to his resume. Kelly is currently in negotiations to purchase the Windy City Rollers, the all-female Chicago flat-track roller derby league. Kelly first got the idea during a “Sportsaholic” segment about WCR. He hopes to use the show and everything they do online and through social networking to promote the league. In addition, Kelly says he wants to take “Sportsaholic” national in order to bring national attention to WCR. He would like to see the league expand to other cities as well as do some exhibitions internationally. Although nothing has been made official, Kelly says the negotiations are going “extremely well” and he and his staff are pursuing this 100 percent. “I think roller derby is a sport that has unlimited potential,” Kelly says, likening it to MMA. “I assure you this is an actual sport and the people who compete are great athletes.”

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Are you a gelatinous pool of longing yet? Are you a perfumed garden of madly blooming purple explosions? Are you throbbing and gooey and half-nauseous with that delicious sickness some people called love? If not, I don’t know what to tell you. By all astrological reckoning your gut should be swarming with drunk butterflies and the clouds should be taking on the shapes of mating horses. If you’re not half-drowning in these symptoms, I implore you to find a way to pry open the floodgates. Read the rest of this entry »

Smoke ‘Em Out: Wicker Park Fest crams into Milwaukee Avenue

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This was a mistake.

Enter the north end gate of the Wicker Park Fest Sunday evening and you’re immediately slammed with crowd, seemingly herded to no place at all as Milwaukee Avenue boasts an endless sea of patrons. Moved this year from its usual Damen Avenue home, the event’s suffocated by restaurant patios on the sidewalks, food and beer tents in the middle of the road and a centrally located stage, where local pop-punk quartet Smoking Popes explodes into “Midnight Moon.”

Can’t enjoy it, though. Strollers are out and the crowd gets beefier. A young girl with a bicycle struggles to maneuver through the titanic mound of flesh and beer-stink, only to slightly jar into a bearded fellow. “Excuse me,” she offers. He notices her sleeve tattoos. “Yeah, excuse you,” he elegantly retorts. “Good luck getting a job ever.” Nice guy.

Poor Myopic Books is raped; the Sunday night poetry series seems intimidated by the street noise seeping in from outside. The air is tense.

Exit after twenty minutes. Just past the gates outside Violet Hour, an altercation erupts. In the confusion of mass exodus and poorly planned detours, a cabbie has cut off some bicyclists. He yells from the car, “What the fuck you say?”

“Yellow Cab…move the fuck on!”

He peels out south past the park, waits for an opening, and whips a u-turn, heading back to fight some more.

Time to get the hell out of here. (Tom Lynch)

Love at First Byte: Six writers, a dating site and a weekend…

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newcitydatingserviceDuring the site’s highly advertised “free weekend,” six Newcity writers decided to sign up for online dating service, sister site to, and each write about our experiences. Launched in 2006 and featuring the famed scientific personality test created by Dr. Helen Fisher, the Web site has more than five million members and helps set up more than 15,000 dates a week. We liked our chances.

First you take the personality quiz, which asks you an abundant amount of questions pertaining to personal preference and background. You’re assigned two of the four possible personality types: explorer, builder, negotiator, director.

You write a description of yourself for your public profile and include a headline, comparable to an outgoing message on Facebook or a headline on MySpace. Once everything is submitted—including a photo of yourself—you receive “matches” from the service, from which you indicate the ones in which you’re interested. (You archive your various rejections.) Meanwhile, your profile is being sent out to members, and they indicate if they’re interested in you. If you’re both interested, you take additional steps—which include comparing “relationship essentials,” like if it’s important to you that your partner loves pets, and an additional “Short Answers” portion—until finally there’s an email exchange, and from there you go. Needless to say, the testing and screening process is rather intensive.

We chose because we imagined its free weekend would inspire some fresh, new profiles, maybe even people who were first-timers to something like this. Also because the commercial advertising the event was constantly on MSNBC while we were trying to watch our Rachel Maddow.

To Where You Are

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onlinedatingilloWhen I discussed the idea with my girlfriend Sarah, we agreed it would be an interesting exercise to both sign up on the site, compare our test results, inspect our matches together and, finally, see if we are actually matched up through the service.

Why we thought this was a good idea, I’ll never know.

I’m not as hard on online dating services as others; everyone knows it’s difficult in the singles sphere anyway, even if you do have the time to frequent events and bars. We’re all getting older, and the more time passes, the more difficult it feels to meet people. Plus, I have some friends who’ve had great success with sites just like, and hey, they seem really happy and have met some great people, so whatever works. Read the rest of this entry »

Romance Profiling

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The topic came up a few weeks ago, when a friend mentioned he met his last wife and current, very foxy girlfriend via online personals. I was stunned that the flirtatious, compelling, mischievous fellow who befriended me on the Metra platform would need or choose to sift through profile pages for a date. At any rate, the pump was primed, the process legitimized and the assignment timely. Sure, what the hell? I’ll give it a shot.

I logged in, agonized over a photo and headline (odd, considering this was just for kicks) and jotted a few notes on the personality test administered by the site. What struck me most was how clinical the whole process was; after determining my personality type—incidentally, a more accurate measure than my astrological sign or the free online Briggs-Meyers tests I was hooked on two years ago—I indicated the desirability of certain traits and habits on grids and slide rules. This was scientifically calibrated navel-gazing—even the color scheme of the site was institutional white. Read the rest of this entry »

The Perfect Match

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When my girlfriend came home almost an hour late from work one day last week, I greeted her by saying, “Don’t worry, I’m just signing up for a dating site.” She gave me a look of shock/confusion, like she couldn’t believe I was calling it quits—it was only the first time she was late and it wasn’t even her fault. But I explained it was for an experiment.

I’d never used a dating site before, unless you count making a fake profile to trick my friend Kevin in college into thinking he had a stalker or helping my straight friend Sarah find a non-douchey “meat and potatoes” kind of guy in Bloomington-Normal (no luck).

Signing up for was as excruciating as an actual chemistry test. It was high school all over again, but instead of multiple choice and equations, it was: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly agree.

Instead of straightforward questions, there were statements such as, “You enjoy the company of others.” I was stumped on whether to agree or strongly agree. Or maybe I should disagree? I mean, does it make me co-dependent if I like being around people? But I don’t want to be considered anti-social. I’m just selective. Read the rest of this entry »