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Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In his novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” Milan Kundera says that the brain has “a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful.” In the coming days, it will be especially important for you to tap into this power spot in your own grey matter, Aries. You need to activate and stir up the feelings of enchantment that are stored there. Doing so will make you fully alert and available for the new delights that will be swirling in your vicinity. The operative principle is like attracts like. Read the rest of this entry »

Race Review: Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle (March 30, 2014)

News etc., Running No Comments »

RECOMMENDED RACE

Shamrock Shuffle starting line/Photo: Zach Freeman

Shamrock Shuffle starting line/Photo: Zach Freeman

Breakdown:  The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is often called out as being the start of Chicago’s running season due both to its size and its placement in the calendar. Some years Chicago’s fickle weather patterns can make this claim seem a bit dubious despite the large crowds of runners and running teams participating, but Sunday morning as the sun rose and temperatures rose with it (all the way to the mid-fifties!), it was evident that racing season in Chicago had officially begun.

As race announcers made sure to inform runners before, during and after the race, the Shamrock Shuffle is the largest 8K in the world (in fact, it’s one of the largest racing events in the world) and corralling more than 30,000 runners is never an easy task. But organizers seem to have gotten this massive race coordination down to a science and all the moving parts fell into place perfectly throughout the event. The further division of the racing field into three waves (up from two last year) allowed for a bit more space on the course and a more steady stream of runners throughout the morning.

The course gives runners a taste of the Chicago Marathon experience, following part of the course and letting them experience the joys (and pains) of jostling for position in such a crowded field. The post-race party around the Buckingham Fountain featured a live band, a free beer for each runner over twenty-one and plenty of sunshine. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): I have coined a new word just for your horoscope this week. It’s “zex,” short for “zen sex.” Zex is a kind of sex in which your mind is at rest, empty of all thoughts. You breathe slowly and calmly, move slowly and calmly, grunt and moan slowly and calmly. You are completely detached from the sensual pleasure you are experiencing. You have no goals other than the intention to be free of all goals. Zex is the ONLY variety of sex I recommend for you right now, Aries. APRIL FOOL! I lied. Zex may be fine to practice at any other time, but not these days. The style of sex you need most is exuberant, unbridled, expansive, and even zany. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Demons

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By Ines Vuckovic. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

vuckovicdemonscomic

Dime Stories: Hooray for Pedro!

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By Tony Fitzpatrick

Pedro Vélez

Pedro Vélez

I don’t often pay any attention to the Whitney Biennial—to me it has always been like prom night in the art world. It also seemed hopelessly stacked in favor of New York  artists and my friends used to refer to it as the “New York Biennial.” When I read that two of the curators, this year would be Chicagoans, I was a little interested but not much. Both Anthony Elms and Michelle Grabner are eminently qualified choices and wound up doing a great job but at first—again  it is at the other end of the pool for me—I’m in a different art world. In fact, it’s debatable whether I’m really in at all anymore, but this is a different story.

What is edifying to me was a view of the list. For the first time that I can ever remember, the list of artists for the Whitney Biennial actually seemed like a survey of American art. It felt democratic and everyone was represented—in particular, Chicagoans, and not the usual suspects. It does my heart good to see Dawoud Bey in this show. For years he has made a dignified, relentless and ever more fascinating body of work. He has also been a mentor, confidant and luminous example of what is possible for an artist in Chicago. Read the rest of this entry »

Checkerboard City: Death of a Pedestrian

Checkerboard City, News etc., Old Town No Comments »
The crash site at Division/LaSalle. Photo: John Greenfield

The crash site at Division/LaSalle. Photo: John Greenfield

By John Greenfield

The killing of Northwestern University law student Jesse Bradley, thirty-two, in March 2012 was a perfect storm of factors all too common in Chicago pedestrian deaths. Bradley was fatally struck while crossing an overly wide street, by an intoxicated, speeding driver without a valid license, who fled the scene.  Two years after the deadly crash, motorist Bianca Garcia, twenty-one at the time, is about to be sentenced.

“My son was so smart and so loving, just a good, good kid,” says his mother Colleen, speaking from her home in Georgia. She described him as a shy, quiet person with a dry sense of humor. Having completed a couple years of challenging studies at Northwestern, he’d taken off two terms and was working at a Gold Coast Starbucks, where he’d learned to become much more outgoing by chatting with customers. He was set to finish school that summer and planned to work in business law. Bradley lived in an apartment at 1140 North LaSalle, just south of the intersection where he was killed. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “When you plant seeds in the garden, you don’t dig them up every day to see if they have sprouted yet,” says Buddhist nun Thubten Chodron. “You simply water them and clear away the weeds; you know that the seeds will grow in time.” That’s sound advice for you, Aries. You are almost ready to plant the metaphorical seeds that you will be cultivating in the coming months. Having faith should be a key element in your plans for them. You’ve got to find a way to shut down any tendencies you might have to be an impatient control freak. Your job is simply to give your seeds a good start and provide them with the persistent follow-up care they will need. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.” So says a character in Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “The Unconsoled.” At this juncture in your life story, Aries, it might be healing for you to make a similar declaration. Now is an excellent moment to say a final goodbye to plot twists that you wished would have happened but never did. To do so will free up stuck energy that will then become available for future projects. You may even awaken to exciting possibilities you haven’t imagined yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Where I Work, Part Two

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By Alex Nall. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Nall_Where I Work2_WEB

Votes for Sale: How More Money in Politics Might Make Illinois—and America—A Better Place

Politics No Comments »

3.6.14NewcityCover_webBy Brian Hieggelke

American politics is broken. By just about any measure, we are collectively disenchanted with both the system as it exists, and the people we elect through that system to carry on its business. Particularly disheartening, money has become the defining force in shaping our political character. In Illinois, we’ll be holding a primary on Tuesday, March 18, wherein the highest-profile election will be the race for the Republican nomination for governor. The putative front-runner in that campaign is billionaire Bruce Rauner who, not coincidentally, is one of the richest men in America.

A few weeks ago, I met E. Glen Weyl at a cocktail party and heard about his quadratic voting idea for the first time. A simple idea on the surface—allow the buying of votes, but with the provision that the cost of each vote is squared as you increase in number, with all the proceeds redistributed equally to all voters—it also seems simply absurd at first. After all, money in politics is the problem, not the solution, right? But as he explained its implications—the reductive influence of wealth given the power of exponential pricing, the positive implications for the “tyranny of the majority” and so forth—I became intrigued. Why are we so blindly attached to a way of conducting democracy that was conjured up hundreds of years ago, in a time far removed from most of today’s concerns and technological capabilities? If the system is broke, why aren’t we trying to fix it? That’s what our Founding Fathers would have done.

Weyl is a rising young star in the University of Chicago economics department. Just twenty-eight years old, he achieved his first notoriety for finishing Princeton as the valedictorian of his undergraduate class while simultaneously finishing all the coursework for his PhD, which was awarded a year later. His partner in this idea is Eric Posner, a professor in the University of Chicago Law School who, among other things, is a regular contributor to Slate magazine. And yes, Posner’s father is Judge Richard Posner, the celebrated jurist and scholar. Read the rest of this entry »