Street Smart Chicago

Save The Sun-Times: How I’d Keep Chicago A Two-Newspaper Town

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By Brian Hieggelke

One of the last conversations I had with the beloved Chicago writer Andrew Patner took place after running into him as I was coming out of an event. I mentioned to him that I was thinking about writing a story about how, hypothetically,  I would save the Sun-Times, and he strongly encouraged me to write it. The newspaper was something dear to his heart.

I decided that it was some kind of karmic intervention that the morning after the one-year anniversary of Andrew’s unexpected death brought a surprise announcement—that Michael Ferro, the principal owner of the Sun-Times since 2011, and the man credited with turning Jenny McCarthy into a columnist, was buying a substantial stake in Tribune Publishing and taking on the role of non-executive chairman. Simultaneously, he was stepping out of his controlling role at the Sun-Times parent company, the cringingly named Wrapports. A seismic shift roiled the quicksand of local media. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 11, 2016

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “Love is a fire,” declared Aries actress Joan Crawford. “But whether it’s going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.” I disagree with her conclusion. There are practical steps you can take to ensure that love’s fire warms but doesn’t burn. Start with these strategies: Suffuse your libido with compassion. Imbue your romantic fervor with empathy. Instill your animal passions and instinctual longings with affectionate tenderness. If you catch your sexual urges driving you toward narcissists who are no damn good for you, firmly redirect those sexual urges toward emotionally intelligent, self-responsible beauties. Read the rest of this entry »

Dime Stories: I Feel Your Bern

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By Tony Fitzpatrick

Well the Iowa clown car has emptied and the good news is the only candidate who seems remotely presidential damn near ran the table. Two days ago, the pundits and talking heads on cable and network news were saying that if Bernie Sanders got twenty percent he’d be exceeding expectations. As usual the pundits have underestimated the appeal of Senator Sanders. I don’t understand why; considering the collection of dolts, dumbbells, dimwits and simpletons on the GOP side of the ballot, this should be a cakewalk if you are a sentient voter whose head does not glow in the dark. The Republicans elevated the truly loathsome Ted Cruz to the top of their ticket, though he didn’t beat Donald Trump by much—it seems the evangelical voters liked Cruz more. The real horse to watch in that race is Marco Rubio, who stealthily crept into third place in the derby of mental defectives. 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 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 »