Street Smart Chicago

411: The Prom is Dead

News etc., River North No Comments »

There’s mindless entertainment, and then there’s brain-dead entertainment. Zombie Prom 2010 is proud to be the latter. After a successful test run last year, Zombie Army Productions has teamed up with Q101 and Elevate Chicago to “make Zombie Prom one of the premier dark events in Chicago,” says founder John LaFlamboy, stressing that it’s not just for horror aficionados but “for everyone.” True to its name, there’ll be free prom pictures, a prom king and queen contest, and a DJ. Unlike the often-fraught high-school version, though, the goal of this prom is decidedly unserious fun. “We’re all just putting on makeup like clowns and having a good time,” LaFlamboy says. Just in case, he’s booked “an eighties zombie cover band just to make sure that none of us take ourselves too seriously.” Getting decked out—costumes and makeup are mandatory, with makeovers available onsite for $10—gives partygoers permission to loosen up, or, in LaFlamboy’s words, “just have fun and be ridiculous and act like an idiot.” (Rachel Sugar)

Zombie Prom 2010, May 21, Vision Nightclub, 640 N. Dearborn. 9pm-4am with free dinner buffet from 9pm-10:30pm. $20 at the door. Costumes and make up mandatory, onsite makeovers available $10.

Confessions from the Welfare State: Lessons learned, and offered, along the American way

Brighton Park, Essays & Commentary, Politics 1 Comment »

By Frank Pulaski

We sat in the restaurant, Huck Finn’s, almost every morning sitting in the restaurant from nine till noon, my father Frank and his friends, George the Greek and Jimmy Figgs, and my uncle Tom, mocking the idea that the world’s highest ideal was work. That work was the gold standard of virtue in society. It was as if you were with escaped convicts, runaways from the labor force. Their eyes were always bloodshot and tearful. Woeful may be a better word. They’d sneak little hits of whiskey into black coffee, watching workers cross the bridge on the way to their jobs. Sometimes, when the restaurant phone rang for a long time, the Greek enacted a little drama. He pretended to answer the phone. Then like magic we were supposed to imagine that we were on break, sitting in the basement of Ford Motor Company, playing cards and drinking whiskey. If you used your imagination, you could almost hear the assembly line roaring overhead, spitting out cars and profits.

The Greek: Hello, yeah, George, right…Hey Frank it’s for you…
Frank: Who is it?
The Greek: It’s Mr. Ford.
Frank: Tell Ford I’m busy. What’s he want?
The Greek: Mr. Ford, Frank says he’s busy, no, Figgs is taking a shit… Can I take a message? Yeah… right… yeah…. Frank, Mr. Ford says he needs more cars… He wants us to get upstairs and crank up the assembly line…
Frank: Yeah, well you tell Ford that if he wants more cars that he can come down here and build them his fucking self.
The Greek: Mr. Ford, Frank says he ain’t gonna do it. If you want more cars, you gotta come down here and build them your fucking self! Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange No Comments »

This week’s biggest gainers:

1 Lee DeWyze
Making the case for “Idol” chatter with forty thousand or so fans.

2 Antti Niemi
Shark killer. Heh-heh. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): All of us have gaps in our education. You and I and everyone else alive have dank pockets of ignorance that diminish our humanity and musty pits of naivete that prevent us from seeing truths that are obvious to others. We all lack certain skills that hold us back from being more fulfilled in our chosen fields. That’s the bad news, Aries. The good news is that the gaps in your education will be up for review in the coming weeks—which means that it’ll be an excellent time to make plans to fill them. Here’s a good way to get started: Be aggressive in identifying the things that you don’t even know you don’t know. Read the rest of this entry »

Sabre Rattling: Getting the thrust of the action at the Midwest Fencing Academy

Sauganash, Sports No Comments »

Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” is playing faintly in the basement of the Polish National Alliance in Sauganash. It’s an odd song to accompany the action in the room. The ceiling is low and wrapped in wires and fluorescent lighting, and kids are running laps. When they finish running, they talk about “South Park,” about Facebook, about the time they spilled an adult’s wine glass in Marcel’s basement.

Coach returns. “Hey come on. Okay stretching. Starting footwork in two minutes. Why is nobody here?” Attendance is decidedly low on Cinco de Mayo at the Midwest Fencing Academy. Oh well. It gives Coach Hristo Etropolski more one-on-one time with his young fencers. Born in Bulgaria, Coach Hristo began fencing at 13 and now coaches sabre weapon fencing to boys and girls of all ages and skill levels. He’s sent fencers off to full fencing scholarships at Ivy League schools, and he will be taking competitors to the the U.S. Summer National Championships in Atlanta this July. Everything in fencing, Hristo says, “has to do with balance and control.” His coaching style too is one of balance and control: balancing work with fun for the young fencers and controlling each fencer’s progress with individual coaching attention he says are key tenets of his academy. Read the rest of this entry »

Chicago Hype Exchange: Charting the capricious contours of celebrity

Chicago Hype Exchange No Comments »

This week’s biggest gainers:

1 Jon Michael Hill
Or should it be Jon “Tony” Hill after the nominations?

2 Gigi Pritzker
“Million Dollar Quartet” might be chump change for your family, but a Tony nom? Priceless. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): What happens when someone “sells out”? Typically, it refers to a person who overrides her highest artistic standards or her soul’s mandates in order to make a bundle of money. But I want to enlarge the definition to encompass any behavior that seeks popular appeal at the expense of authenticity, or any action that sacrifices integrity for the sake of gaining power. I think you have to be especially on guard against this lapse in the coming days, Aries—not only in yourself but also in those you’re close to. Read the rest of this entry »

411: Dutch Treat on Wheels

Bicycling No Comments »

Gazelle Toer Populair

After a few wrong turns, spring has made it to Chicago. Commence springtime activities: an outdoor meal on a sidewalk patio, daygames cheering on two mediocre hometown ball clubs, riding the Lakefront Trail with the Netherlands Consulate General of Chicago. Wait, what was the last one? Why it’s the Go Green Go Dutch Go Bike! event, which is coming to Chicago for the first time this Saturday. The ride began in Canada in 2007 when the Consulate General of the Netherlands in Toronto organized the event to promote the health and environmental benefits of riding a bike. Chicago’s Go Green Go Dutch Go Bike! is also sponsored by the Active Transportation Alliance in Chicago, which puts on the annual Bike the Drive on a carless Lake Shore Drive. Margo O’Hara of Active Trans says that the event encapsulates the mission of their organization. “Our goal is to reduce crashes in half and work towards having half of all trips in Chicago be biking or walking,” O’Hara says. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology

Free Will Astrology No Comments »

By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Hip-hop music definitely needs to include more tuba playing. I think that’s what’s missing from it. Likewise, the sport of skateboarding would benefit from having more dogs and monkeys that can master its complexities; the state of journalism could be improved by including more babies as reporters; and you Aries folks would significantly upgrade your life by learning how to play the game of cricket. (If you believe everything I just said, you’ll be equally gullible when a little voice in your head tries to convince you to seek out things you don’t really need or adopt behavior that doesn’t suit you.) Read the rest of this entry »

Potter’s Fields: The now-real sport of Quidditch thrives on campus

Sports No Comments »

Quidditch is a full-contact sport. Within fifteen seconds of the opening whistle at Loyola University’s championship match, an athlete had already landed face first in the dirt; at the semifinals the night before, one player had to be taken away in an ambulance. “It’s basically rugby with brooms, ” says Bohrs Hoff, a Loyola senior and Quidditch fan. In J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” universe, in which wizarding Britain has the same relationship with Quidditch as Texas has with football, the brooms are for flying on. In this world, they serve as bristling phallic symbols of intimidation. For a made-up game based on a children’s fantasy series, Quidditch is surprisingly badass.

The championship match between the Yarbling Yetis and Team Voldemort marks the triumphant end of Loyola’s first Quidditch season. Though the group is not recognized by the university, enough students play to make up five teams, the biggest of which has sixteen players. They join dozens of other college groups who play a version of the sport adapted from the Potter books and movies. More than sixty spectators have gathered on this wet afternoon to watch the game, and the Yetis are heavily favored. Their cheering section makes a noise between a yodel and a gurgle, presumably the yarble. Read the rest of this entry »