Street Smart Chicago

Life Is Beautiful: Teen Dream

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By David Alvarado
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Free Will Astrology: Week of February 4, 2016

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The Bible’s Book of Exodus tells the story of the time Moses almost met God. “Show me your glory, please,” the prophet says to his deity, who’s hiding. “You cannot see my face,” God replies, “but I will show you my back parts.” That’s good enough for Moses. He agrees. I hope that you, too, will be satisfied with a tantalizingly partial epiphany, Aries. I’m pretty sure that if you ask nicely, you can get a glimpse of a splendor that’s as meaningful to you as God was to Moses. It may only be the “back parts,” but that should still stir you and enrich you. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: The Avenue of American Stories

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Jan and Brian Hieggelke (with their daughter Erica) show their new publication to Mayor Harold Washington at the South Loop Street Fair, 1986/Photo: Robb Perea

Jan and Brian Hieggelke (with their daughter Erica) show their new publication to Mayor Harold Washington at the South Loop Street Fair, 1986/Photo: Robb Perea

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Chicago is never more beautiful or dangerous than it is at night.

The workman-like, bustling, endless hustle of daylight becomes a fleet and sleek animal at night. Dressed in lights and stars, come-hither reds, yellows and greens—the dirty carpet sky leans back and reveals a skyline of glittering skyscrapers like gangsters dressed in diamonds. It whispers,”We’re bigger than you” and, “There are more of us than there are of you” and still, “We’ve already won.”

On occasion, I ride the Chicago Avenue bus from downtown to Damen and this ride is always a miracle of languages and sights if not smells. The CTA buses lurch along like tired old mutts ambling from one skinny tree to the next. At night you can see the five stars lit up in neon from the new bar with the old-style signage as well as the endless taco joints and pink horse of Alcala’s Western Wear. This is my favorite street in Chicago, one where you are as likely to hear Polish and Ukrainian as you do English. It is a street about business—small business—nail joints, drugstores, tattoo parlors and cut-rate furniture. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago 2046: Visions for a new city

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All photos @jasonmpeterson Jason M Peterson is the chief creative officer of Havas North America and a Chicago-based photographer.

All photos @jasonmpeterson/Jason M Peterson is the chief creative officer of Havas North America and a Chicago-based photographer.

This issue marks Newcity’s thirtieth anniversary.

Back when we published our first issue, “30” in journalism meant the end, as in the end of a story, a typographical cue sent from writer to editor. It was a  tradition dating back, it is believed, to the era of the telegraph when a similar code told the operator a message had ended. Accordingly, the number has some foreboding metaphorical qualities for a publisher, especially in these times. But I am pleased to report that while the typographic usage is now dead, print continues to thrive at Newcity.

And so this issue is not a nostalgic look back. Instead, we asked thirty writers, cultural and community leaders to envision the city thirty years hence. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 28, 2016

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Do you know Emily Brontë’s novel “Wuthering Heights”? At one point, the heroine Catherine tells her friend about Edgar, a man she’s interested in. “He wanted all to lie in an ecstasy of peace,” Catherine says, “and I wanted all to sparkle and dance in a glorious jubilee. I said his heaven would be only half alive; and he said mine would be drunk: I said I should fall asleep in his; and he said he could not breathe in mine.” If you’re a typical Aries, you’re more aligned with Catherine than with Edgar. But I’m hoping you might consider making a temporary compromise in the coming weeks. “At last, we agreed to try both,” Catherine concluded, “and then we kissed each other and were friends.” Read the rest of this entry »

A Lot You Got to Holler, Episode 2: Cabrini-Green Dreams and Nightmares

Architecture, Chicago History, City Life, Gold Coast/Near North, News etc. 1 Comment »

Cabrini-Green in Demolition

Episode 2: Cabrini-Green Dreams and Nightmares

Depending on who’s telling the tale, the Cabrini-Green housing projects on Chicago’s Near North Side are either patient-zero for urban dysfunction and decay, or a humble high-rise utopia, Corbusier’s Radiant City with soul. But at the end of the day it was home to 15,000 people. Cabrini-Green was mostly demolished by 2011, but its legacy both haunts, or enriches, the city, depending on who you ask. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 21, 2016

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The next four weeks could potentially be a Golden Age of Friendship… a State of Grace for Your Web of Connections… a Lucky Streak for Collaborative Efforts. What can you do to ensure that these cosmic tendencies will actually be fulfilled? Try this: Deepen and refine your approach to schmoozing. Figure out what favors would be most fun for you to bestow, and bestow them. Don’t socialize aimlessly with random gadabouts, but rather gravitate toward people with whom you share high ideals and strong intentions. Read the rest of this entry »

Life Is Beautiful: Teen Dream

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By David Alvarado
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Free Will Astrology: Week of January 14, 2016

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You love autonomy. You specialize in getting the freedom and sovereignty you require. You are naturally skilled at securing your independence from influences that might constrain your imagination and limit your self-expression. But here’s a sticking point: If you want the power to help shape group processes, you must give up some of your autonomy. In order to motivate allies to work toward shared goals, you need to practice the art of interdependence. The next test of your ability to do this is coming right up. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: Mr. Mayor, Step Down

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

The harpy eagle, the largest eagle in the Americas, lives high above the jungle canopy in Central and South America, at the top of the food chain. Centuries ago the Incas and the Mayans worshiped these birds. They can pretty much eat whatever they want. It doesn’t matter if you are a sloth, a howler monkey, a small deer or a dog. Once a harpy sees you, God forgot you.

In the city of Chicago, we lost 450-plus people to gunfire in 2015. Politicians, real estate developers and cops are pretty much at the top of the food chain. As evidenced this year, the cops can pretty much kill whoever they want and the politicians will rationalize it and provide cover. It is a city of killers. But unlike the harpy eagle, the city devours its own.

It must be empowering to be so confident that no amount of vitriol and discouragement can blunt the luster of one’s bright self image. Our mayor seems to be one of those cock-eyed optimists who thought the people standing out in front of his house were there to welcome him home from Cuba. It brings to mind a kid happily wading through a barn full of horse-shit thinking,”All of this horse pucky!?! There MUST be a Pony in here somewhere!!!”

It is either this or the wee one is impossibly tone-deaf, which isn’t likely. He’s never drawn a dumb breath in his life, unlike his predecessor, whose lips moved when he read the comics. Read the rest of this entry »