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

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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
Click to enlargeLife_is_comic_11_final

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 »

Free Will Astrology: Week of January 7, 2016

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): John Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. His novel “Of Mice and Men” helped win him the award, but it required extra persistence. When he’d almost finished the manuscript, he went out on a date with his wife. While they were gone, his puppy Toby ripped his precious pages into confetti. As mad as he was, he didn’t punish the dog, but got busy on a rewrite. Later he considered the possibility that Toby had served as a helpful literary critic. The new edition of “Of Mice and Men” was Steinbeck’s breakout book. I’m guessing that in recent months you have received comparable assistance, Aries—although you may not realize it was assistance until later this year. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of December 31, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): John Koenig is an artist who invents new words. Here’s one that’s applicable to your journey in 2016: “keyframe.” Koenig defines it as being a seemingly mundane phase of your life that is in fact a turning point. Major plot twists in your big story arrive half-hidden amidst a stream of innocuous events. They don’t come about through “a series of jolting epiphanies,” Koenig says, but rather “by tiny imperceptible differences between one ordinary day and the next.” In revealing this secret, I hope I’ve alerted you to the importance of acting with maximum integrity and excellence in your everyday routine. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of December 24, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): The raw materials you have at your disposal in 2016 may sometimes seem limited. You might not have access to all the tools you wish you did. You could be tempted to feel envy about the vaster resources other people can draw on. But I honestly don’t think these apparent inhibitions will put you at a disadvantage. Within your smaller range of options, there will be all the possibilities you need. In fact, the constraints could stimulate your creativity in ways that would have never occurred if you’d had more options. Read the rest of this entry »

Life Is Beautiful: Teen Dream

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By David Alvarado
Click to enlarge
Life_is_comic_10

The Power of Hospitality: An Interview with Chicago’s Advocate for Giving Syrian Refugees a Second Chance

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Suzanne Akhras Sahloul (center) at the Syrian Community Network #RefugeesWelcome Thanksgiving dinner in Evanston/ Photo: Syrian Community Network

Suzanne Akhras Sahloul (center) at the Syrian Community Network #RefugeesWelcome Thanksgiving dinner in Evanston/ Photo: Syrian Community Network

By Sarah Conway

The world is witness to the largest refugee crisis since World War II. More than four million Syrians have fled their country and nearly eight million are displaced internally, mired in a violent and unending civil war. Each year Illinois welcomes 2,000 refugees from around the world and is prime to lead in the refugee resettlement crisis. While the Obama administration and state and conservative leaders spar over plans to resettle at least 10,000 Syrian refugees into the U.S. by the end of fiscal year 2016, 131 Syrian refugees have already started their new lives in Illinois. More than two-thirds of those resettled are now Chicagoans.

Suzanne Akhras Sahloul, a local activist, recently founded the Syrian Community Network nonprofit to help newly arrived Syrian refugees successfully transition to life in America. Since January 2015, Suzanne has been on the ground running. She leads efforts to fight rising xenophobia and anti-refugee rhetoric through advocacy with local and national political leaders, as well as to help families in their transition to life in Chicago. “I wish there were thirty-six hours in a day,” she says. Read the rest of this entry »