Street Smart Chicago

Games Over: A wake at Daley Plaza

Loop, News etc., Politics No Comments »

853755_47726595Barely a foot outside the office on my way to Daley Plaza to hear the final Olympics announcement, and Chicago is shockingly eliminated in the first round of voting. There will be no Games on the Lake.

This is what dashed dreams look like. The Olympic supporters still mingle and sway in the Loop, either in disbelief of Chicago’s quick dismissal or simply weary of returning back to work. Orange everywhere—the Chicago Olympic ad campaign, the 2016 logo, on banners, t-shirts, signs and pamphlets. Some optimistic sign-sporters have altered theirs to Chicago 2020, a “there’s always next year” glow of disappointment and acceptance on their drizzle-pecked faces. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Answer Us

Loop, News etc., Politics No Comments »

October 7 marks the eighth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. As such, an antiwar protest will be held at 5pm by the Chicago division of the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition at the Chicago Water Tower. Formed at a very poignant time in U.S. history, September 14, 2001, the coalition is a national grassroots organization that has been holding demonstrations to end war for eight years now. “A majority of people in the country are against the war. The point is that the money we’re spending on this war should be going to people that really need it,” says John Beacham, coordinator of the protest. “No one understood the reason we went to Iraq. Now it seems Afghanistan is a similar situation. Our message is that it’s the people that are going to stop the war.”

Race Review: Elvis is Alive 5K (August 6, 2009)

Loop, Running No Comments »

With the surging popularity of the sport of running, it’s inevitable that events will fill in every niche imaginable. Ergo, a run for the inner (or outer) Elvis in all of us. With an evening start, do-it-yourself timing, a low entry fee and a substantial number of participants in some variant of costume, runners came out for a party and made one. Sure, the 2,000 or so of us crammed the lakefront path at times, but whenever you got cranky about getting cut off, here comes another Elvis, in her sideburns and jumpsuit, to make you laugh. Even the boats in the lake got in the spirit, serenading runners with acoustic renditions of the King’s tunes. At the finish line, the usual assortment of runners’ replenishments, plus Mr. Presley’s favorite, peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches. Then beer and a stellar impersonator, Joe Elvis, putting on a concert in the twilight, with the city gleaming behind him. Before long, everybody was dancin to the jailhouse rock. (Brian Hieggelke)

The Fleet Feet Sports Elvis is Alive 5K takes place each August.

Fowl Play: Rubber duckies race for the prize

Events, Loop, News etc. No Comments »

Just-DuckyThirty thousand rubber duckies are dumped off the Columbus Street bridge. No, it’s not a garbage spill, although somebody does have to clean them up and take them to Cincinnati.

The dump truck’s deposit begins the Windy City Rubber Ducky Derby, a fundraiser for Special Olympics Illinois. With a five-dollar donation, people have adopted the ducks now “racing” with the help of a police-boat hose pushing them along. The ducks show no sense of urgency, seeming to go in every direction except the finish line, and the pace is more agonizing than exciting, but about forty minutes later the winning ducks are fished out of the water, only a quarter of the way to the Michigan Avenue bridge. Read the rest of this entry »

Local News: Fight Big Media at a sandwich shop

City Life, Loop, News etc. 1 Comment »

Passionate discussion resonates from one of the tables Friday night at Cosi on Michigan Avenue. Five guys—Mike, Michael, Mitchell, Jerry and Jack—sit at the table with a small piece of white paper inserted in one of the card holders that says “Fight Big Media Meetup is Here.” Mitchell Szczepanczyk, the Chicago Fight Big Media group moderator for the past four years, has his laptop open so he can be ready to announce breaking news or to research more information on discussion topics.

They’ve just finished talking about Walter Cronkite’s death Read the rest of this entry »

Knit Together, Right Now: World Wide Knit in Public storms the Cultural Center

Events, Loop No Comments »

moxie1Today seems to be a day for birthday-suit-wearing bike riders (World Naked Bike Ride) and the undead (Chicago Zombie March) but, also, crafters dedicated to public displays of knitting, as the World Wide Knit In Public-Chicago commences. Thanks to Mother Nature, the knitters have to move their festivities from Millennium Park to the Chicago Cultural Center. “Rain will not stop knitters,” says Natalia Uribe Wilson, an organizer. Read the rest of this entry »

Feathered Friends: Pillow Fight Day visits the Art Institute

Events, Loop, Museums, News etc. No Comments »

pillowThe Art Institute of Chicago has no idea what is about to hit it—a massive pillow fight, to be exact. Unbeknownst to most of the museum’s staff, the Chicago Pillow Fight Club has organized an event in honor of International Pillow Fight Day in front of their building.

Chicago’s Second Annual Pillow Fight could easily be quashed by the Art Institute’s security guards, but not if the event’s participants have anything to say about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Plaza of Protest: No time for games downtown

Loop, News etc., Politics No Comments »

No Games Chicago defines itself as a diverse group of citizens who have come together to oppose the Chicago bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and the protest today at Federal Plaza proves it.

Buttoned-up types in suits shout with others in layered skirts paired with high-heeled boots. A PTA President speaks just before Illinois’ first death-row exonerate Perry Cobb takes the makeshift stage and just after Green Party candidate Matt Reichel, a contender for Rahm Emanuel’s seat, does. All kinds of conscientious objectors spice up the scene, weaving through protestors, peddling their pro-Socialist pamphlets and anti-War on Terror packets. Read the rest of this entry »

Run, Junk Food, Run: The Wacky 5K Run hits the Loop

Loop No Comments »

moxieIt’s 9:30am and a crowd is already beginning to gather for the eighteenth annual Wacky 5K Run. Participants are moving around staying warm in the frigid temperatures, howling wind and swirling snow.

The Wacky 5K Run is just a little bit wacky. The race, named so because it used to be run on a portion of Lower Wacker Drive, is now wacky for a different reason. Its participants are encouraged to dress as their favorite snack foods, for the event that, this year, marks the end of National Snack Food Month as well as benefiting the Blind Service Association. But there aren’t that many people dressed as food. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry/Field Museum

Loop, Museums No Comments »


With the Grainger Hall of Gems under renovation, the Field Museum has partnered with the National Jewelry Institute to present this one-room teaser chronicling the ancient bling of the Near and Middle East. The 130-piece exhibition, upstairs in the intimate Kimball and Brooker Gallery, bridges the gap between “then” and “now.” The entire exhibit has the feel of a small, sparsely lit display on Jeweler’s Row; one can’t help but coo at the rings and necklaces, partly hoping some are available for purchase. Gold, glazed quartz, ruby, garnet, shells and filigree—ancient jewelers, much like their modern counterparts, understood the human need to flaunt gemstones and precious metals as beautiful adornment. The Islamic world’s history of Muslim expansion is punctuated with earrings and bangles festooned with elaborate geometry, granulation and goldworking. Hammered gold and twisted wire bedecked the people of the Levant, while the crossroads of Mesopotamia utilized blue lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and Egyptian faience. The Greek writer Herodotus wrote, “Of all the troops, the Persians were adorned with the greatest magnificence…they glittered all over with gold,” reminding us that people have always adorned themselves with stunning jewelry, a fact that hasn’t changed much in the last 5,000 years. (Laura Hawbaker)

“Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization” runs at the Field Museum, 1400 South Lake Shore, (312)922-9410, through July 5.