Street Smart Chicago

Race Review: Chicago Half Marathon (September 13, 2009)

Hyde Park, Running No Comments »

finish10What does it mean when it’s easier to run 13.1 miles than it is to get to the starting line? When the race is the Chicago Half Marathon, with 20,000 runners arriving in Jackson Park, not far from the proposed epicenter of the 2016 Olympics, and the CTA seems to be running less buses on the one route that will take folks to the parking-challenged area, it doesn’t bode well for the city’s global aspirations. Oh well, maybe they handled the U2 concert that night better, since the bus rerouting for that event was reasonably well communicated. Never mind that Soldier Field is easily accessible via multiple modes of public transit and offers ample parking. Thankfully the race started late, as cars emptied their passengers a mile away, and hundreds of runners converged on the starting line after the appointed time. Many even had time to pee in the parking lot of the nearby Chicago Park District building, till the park workers starting shooing runners away. Too bad the portable toilets were completely inaccessible from the west side of the starting mass.

It was that kind of day, where the scale always threatened to overwhelm the event, but in the end never did. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Green Day

Green No Comments »

The state of Illinois has officially resolved to designate September 15 as Carbon Day, a day on which the state will urge people to take steps towards reducing their carbon footprint.  On this same day, the first annual Carbon Day festival will be held at Grove Five in Lincoln Park at Clark and Armitage. This year’s theme is carbon-neutral transportation and infrastructure. The festival will feature interactive demonstrations on different ways to be carbon-neutral, including tree planting, composting and solar energy. “It’s not hard to be more eco-conscious,” says the event’s  coordinator, Brae Hatteway. “We are geared towards giving individuals what they need to take a more proactive role in having a sustainable lifestyle.” Chicago’s own The Giving Tree Band will headline the festival, which corresponds with the release of their new, completely carbon-neutral album, “Great Possessions.” The festival will also feature Cobalt & the Hired Guns.

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the Capricious Contours of Celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange, News etc. No Comments »

This Week’s Biggest Gainers

1 Jay Cutler
Led his Bears to a 3-1 record in the preseason and received extensive attention for his sharp photoshoot in Michigan Avenue magazine. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I don’t think I’m being unduly optimistic when I speculate that you’re on the verge of achieving a ringing victory over your bad self. What makes me so confident that this development is in the works? Well, in recent weeks you have been dealing more forthrightly and intelligently with the lowest aspects of your character. You have also become more fully aware of the difference between your out-and-out unregenerate qualities and the unripe aspects of your character that may someday become very beautiful. There’s a second sign that you’re close to transforming one of the most negative things about you: You have almost figured out the truth about a murky curse that you internalized some time ago. When you finally identify it, you will know intuitively how to banish it forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Fall Forward 2009

Events, Food & Drink, Lit, Museums, News etc., Politics, Running No Comments »

Newcitycover1We like the way culture upends the universe’s metaphors. Mother Nature might be in the autumn of her year, but the arts are alive with the spirit of new birth.

Labor Day ushers out what meteorologists like to call meteorological summer, making schoolkids go back to school, closing beaches far too soon, and forcing outdoor festivals to sound their last notes, but it gushes in a deluge of culture too magnificent for even the most ardent of arts lovers to fully appreciate. The full richness of our city comes alive in the fall, even when the Bears don’t have a messiah behind center. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Your assignment is to get angry in the most unique, brilliant and constructive way possible. Merely being annoyed and muttering generic curses will definitely not be sufficient. Nor will it work for you to get consumed in knee-jerk rage or to be peeved about the same old boring targets that everyone reacts to. What the cosmos needs from you this week, Aries, is a controlled explosion of liberated, compassionate, laser-sharp fury that will fuel your ingenious drive to change everything for the better. Read the rest of this entry »

Yoga-ga: Is America’s favorite spiritual pastime sellling its soul?

Essays & Commentary, News etc. No Comments »

By Monica Westinnewcity_yoga_flat

The 2009 Illinois Yoga Asana Championship just took place, for the second year in a row, at Navy Pier. When I first heard about it, the competition troubled me. After all, isn’t yoga supposed to be about our own path to development, done at our own pace and with a sense of higher consciousness rather than egocentric comparisons with others? I asked to cover the event hoping to know why enlightened yogis would want to sit around judging each other’s asanas (postures).

The competition is also a good starting point from which to consider the explosion of yoga in America, which doesn’t show any signs of slowing down soon, what its popularity might mean, and if our wholehearted inclusion of yoga in the new American lifestyle has robbed the practice of something in the process. One thing I learned while researching this article is that yoga message boards are some of the most charged and sometimes inflammatory I’ve read, and arguments about the relative purity of various practices are the easiest to find. Have we corrupted yoga so that the postures done in a 105-degree room, or in the yoga gym class we’re taking (that promises to strengthen our core and give us a tough workout more than a higher level of spirituality), are no longer yoga? What about yoga with the advertisement of a glass of wine afterward, even though strict yogis are teetotalers? Okay then, what about doggie yoga, where you hold your dog in poses that you do together? At some point, is yoga simply being used as a brand to get people to buy a new product? Read the rest of this entry »

Just for the Spell of It: The pastimes of drinking and spelling converge

Events, South Loop No Comments »

alphabetTransamoeba Gallery occupies a large room with wooden floors that looks like what’s behind the curtain of a stage: red swiveling chairs, large white cabinets and walls painted forest green with mirrors, photos, paintings, cell phones and cameras nailed, glued and screwed to the wall. On a large screen an image from a projector reads “1st Semi-Periodic United Drunken Spelling Bee of America for All,” or SPUDSBAA, as some of the competitors have come to call it.

“I’ve seen others have drunken spelling bees before,” says contest judge and event coordinator Mary Bowman on the bee’s origin. “I really like spelling and I wanted people to come. Honestly if I had it my way there wouldn’t be any drinking, but I think nobody would come without being able to drink.” 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 Ricketts Family
Their deal to buy the Cubs was finalized and now waits MLB and goat approval. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): What I wish for you this week is that you won’t be satisfied with mediocre truths; that you’ll be a fussy perfectionist focused on cutting out waste, fraud and delusion; that you’ll be itchy to know more about the unacknowledged games that are being played. Frustration, I hope, will be your holy fuel. Unsweetened lemonade, I trust, will be your rejuvenating drink. These are blessings, Aries, not curses! I pray that you’ll pick one of your scabs until it bleeds so the healing process can start over—the right way this time. Read the rest of this entry »