Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Timely Photograph

I took this fun photo of longtime local Paul, his dog Zelda, and a 39-month calendar featuring folk art images of Barack Obama just a few hours before the president's big State of the Union address last night, which I missed because I was reading tarot cards at caffe de luca. 

More on the calender in the next Pipeline...  As for our president, even if he were doing a better job I still wouldn't want to stare at him or any politician on my wall each month. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Five New Comedic Shows in Feb. @ Gorilla Tango

For Immediate Release:
Press Contact: Kelly Williams @ 773.598.4549,
Audience Contact: Gorilla Tango Theatre @ 773.598.4549,
Kill Date: February 28, 2010

Five Comedic Shows open at GTT in February!

Chicago, IL (February 1 – 27, 2010): Four new shows will be opening up at Gorilla Tango Theatre in February! KEYMASTER/GATEKEEPER, the premiere sketch show by improvisational duo Bamifazi, runs Mondays at 8pm, February 1 – 15, 2010 (tickets are $10); F.A.T. PEOPLE, the female sketch duo of Kimberly Franck and Natasha Hansen explores what it means to be ‘F.A.T’, on Wednesday at 9:30pm, February 3 – 10, 2010 (tickets are $10); ABOUT THE GREATEST PORNO, EVER!! returns to the GTT stage after its successful run this past November, performing Tuesdays at 8pm, February 02 – 23, 2010 (tickets are $10); and TGIF RAW, where "Serious and Dramatic Actors" take on the transcripts from early 90's TGIF shows in this dark comedy which runs Saturdays at 11:30pm, February 6 – 27, 2010 (tickets are $12). All shows perform at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago 60647; to purchase tickets call 773-598-4549 or visit

Keymaster/Gatekeeper is the premiere sketch show of Bamifazi, the new improvisational duo formed by Chicago improvisers Luciana Bonifazi and Tom Bambara. The show opens with a few suggestions from the audience that will fuel an evening of hilarious conversations between some of Bamifazi’s favorite characters. Audiences should also expect an appearance by the ever-popular Sheldon & Rachel stars of the Chicago based web series of the same name. Mondays at 8pm, February 1 – 15, 2010 (tickets are $10).
Below is a link to the publicity photo for this show:; L-R, Luciana Bonifazi & Tom Bambara

F.A.T. What does that even mean?? Come find out, as Kimberly Franck and Natasha Hansen explore what it means to be F.A.T. From a gospel song about baking, to a new kind of workout video, these ladies address social issues, as well as share personal experiences. Different improv teams will open for them each week. Wednesday at 9:30pm, February 3 – 10, 2010 (tickets are $10).
Below is a link to the publicity photo for this show:; L-R, Natasha Hansen & Kimberly Franck

The Greatest Porno, EVER!! follows ordinary people whose lives are irrevocably altered upon the arrival of an underground tape that portrays the act of carnal gymnastics in a manner so disgusting it's oddly arousing...and in some cases, deadly. Bachelorette parties and adult film aficionados alike won't want to miss the sexiest, yet sickest show in town.... Tuesdays at 8pm, February 02 – 23, 2010 (tickets are $10).

This February, sitcoms from the early 1990s are getting RAW in the hands of  “serious and dramatic” actors. Heralded as “deeper than Shakespeare” and “way more serious than ‘August: Osage County’”, this workshop production will make you “Thank God It’s Funny”. Drawing from the wealth of human experience, this dangerous troupe of actors portray characters such as Steve Urkel, Balki Bartokomous, and ‘lil Michelle Tanner with the depth and rawness they deserve. [Warning: This dark improvised comedy contains harsh language and inappropriate material.] Directed by Lauren Maul. Saturdays at 11:30pm, February 6 – 27, 2010 (tickets are $12).
Below is a link to the publicity photo for this show:; additional photos and photo ID available upon request.

(from the WPB/SSA #33 newsletter) 

Gorilla Tango Theater Presents - Circus Cats of Chicago

Come to the special-one-day only-Valentine show staring the Cupid Cats, Chicago's only trained domestic cat show. The fantastic felines will ride skateboards, roll barrels, ring bells, push carts, walk the high wire, climb ropes, and jump through hoops! Don't miss your chance to meet them live and in Purrson. See: for more. The show will run at the Gorilla Tango Theater (1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue) at 4pm & 5:30pm on Saturday February 13. Tickets are $15; call (773) 598-4549 for reservations.

For more information on any of the above shows or to schedule a review or interview, please contact Kelly Williams at 773.598-4549 or
Gorilla Tango Theatre (GTT) is a year-round theatrical venue where audiences of all ages can consistently go to see a wide variety of talented artists. GTT exists to provide artists with an opportunity to produce their work in professional environment. GTT was created by Second City- and IO-Chicago-trained Dan Abbate and boasts an 80-seat performance space. GTT Chicago is conveniently located at the intersection of Western and Milwaukee in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood. Easily accessible by public transportation, GTT is steps away from the Western Blue Line stop and the #49 Western, #73 Armitage and #56 Milwaukee buses. Street parking is readily available.  With shows for both children and adults, all GTT performances are on a rating system, similar to the one used in movie theatres. GTT offers a variety of affordable beer and wine for purchase. Consult the website for rating information, tickets, and details.
1919 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago, IL 60647 – 773.598.4549

Sunday, January 24, 2010

the lovely ladies of g boutique & a few items

The fictional 'Wicker Tim' and 'Buck Lily' plan to celebrate Valentine's Day in style this year, and they're calling upon a variety of very real and local resources to help them out during a sponsored content serial story spanning three weekly issues. 
More on this in Tuesday's Pipeline, aka part one, but for now here are a few images snapped inside G Boutique at 2131 N. Damen. 

challenge yourself

This week I only had a day or so in which to take pictures.  Thankfully a few people submitted photos at my request, or allowed me to use their camera to take a picture of them, and then emailed the photo to me.  

Realizing my camera wasn't going to come back from the repair shop in time, I did end up purchasing a back-up. As for quality, while I don't consider myself to be a real photographer, I do see the difference between images shot on a $500 camera vs. one that costs $150. 

This was one of the first pictures I took with the spare while waiting at a red light near Damen and Fullerton.

A 'for lease' building with peeling paint, an inspiring billboard, a sky as gray as the tone of the day, somehow it all kind of felt like Chicago. And home. 

CAPS schedule

Residents that are concerned about crime should be aware of upcoming Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) meetings, which run from 7 to 8 PM on various days of the month. There are eight beats within Wicker Park Bucktown.

Unsure of your district and beat? Me too. Click on this link, and go to the box on the right side of the home page, and enter in your address to find your beat.

Beat 1312 meets on the second Tuesday of every month at St Helen's Church, 2301 W. Augusta in the basement.

Beat 1322 meets on the first Wednesday of every month at the 13th District, 937 N. Wood.

Beat 1323 meets on the third Wednesday of every month at the Northwest Settlement House, 1012 N. Noble, 2nd Floor.

Beat 1424 meets the second Wednesday of every month at the Wicker Park Fieldhouse, 1425 N. Damen.

Beat 1431 meets the first Thursday of every odd-numbered month at the 14th District, 2150 N. California.

Beat 1432 meets the third Thursday of every month at Holstein Park, 2200 N. Oakley.

Beat 1433 meets the second Thursday of every even-numbered month at Pulaski Park, 1419 W. Blackhawk.

Beat 1434 meets the second Monday of every month at the Bucktown Wicker Park Library Branch, 1701 N. Milwaukee

Friday, January 22, 2010

WHACK: The Tonya Harding & Nancy Kerrigan Story

More on this in Tuesday's Pipeline, maybe like a review or as close as I can come to writing one, but for now I'll just say that it's difficult to resist a musical with trash talking lyrics set to Disney style music, so check out WHACK at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milw. if you can. 

I saw WHACK last night, and it was exactly what I needed: a good laugh, and a reminder that women can be bitches to each other, to their legally blind (Nancy) and gin-drinking-insult- slurring (Tonya) mothers, to their ex-husbands-now-boyfriend as was the case with "skanky Tonya Hard-on" (Nancy's take on Tonya) and to just about everyone else when they're on a ruthless quest for Olympic gold as Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were in the 1994 Olympics. 

Pictured (photo courtesy of Kelly Williams of Gorilla Tango and the show's writer) are the legs of Leslie Nesbit as Nancy, left, and Cassie Cushman and her fist as Tonya. 

Click on image to see the full pic. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Volunteer Opportunities at the Creative Lounge

Do you like fashion and design? The Toyota Creative Lounge at six corners is looking for volunteers. Click on the image to enlarge the form.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Piano Lessons

CLICK on POSTER to Enlarge It. 

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Meet Shay of Casa De Soul

For small business owners like Kennedy of Casa de Soul, finding a good person to join your team is crucial given that it's not as easy to blend in with the crowd if there's only a few of you working behind the scenes. 

Per Kennedy, Shay initially came into his store to stare at a leather shoulder bag on display. She popped in and out on a few other occasions to look at the bag, and even offered to work behind the counter in exchange for it.  

"Hiring is a weird thing for me," Kennedy said. "As a small shop, you want that organic fit. Sometimes a resume is great, but personality wise that person might not be a good fit."

As for the bag, after all that deliberation Shay, who has a background in fashion, decided it was too big. She did however get the job...  

Concerts for Kids @ Beat Kitchen, Subterranean

Concerts for Kids Rock the Younger Set at Beat Kitchen and Subterranean 

 January 7, 2009 – Chicago, IL – Ever want to take your kids to a bar for some live music? Well, here's
your chance. Every Sunday at Beat Kitchen in Chicago's Roscoe Village neighborhood is an 
early show called "Concerts for Kids" featuring some of the City's most popular children's 
 music artists. After the 50 minute show, there are craft projects provided by Unicoi Art 
 Studio ( Come early and enjoy Beat Kitchen's specialty pizzas or order 
 from their brunch menu. It's a great way to spend a chilly Sunday afternoon.
What: Concerts for Kids
Where: Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, Chicago 
When: Every Sunday at noon, doors open at 11:00 a..m. 
Phone: 773-281-4444 
Tickets: $5/person 

2010 Beat Kitchen Concerts for Kids Winter Lineup:
Jan 24: Human Tim + Robot Tim
Jan 31: Shana Sings!
Feb 14: Mary Macaroni
Feb 21: Karen 4 Kids
Feb 28: Jeanie B! and The
Jelly Beans
Mar 7: Little Miss Ann Band
Visit for updates to the lineup and more information.
“Concerts for Kids” now has a Bucktown/Wicker Park location - Subterranean. Families can 
come to Subterranean for a rockin' good time, kid-style, one Saturday a month.. Neighborhood 
children's store, Psychobaby (, will add crazy, cool activities to go along with the music. Plus, each show will be presented by a neighborhood elementary school group.

What:Concerts for Kids
Where: Subterranean's Lounge, 2011 West North Avenue , Chicago 
When: One Saturday a month at 3pm, doors open at 2:30pm

2010 Subterranean Concerts for Kids Winter Lineup:
Jan 30: Little Miss Ann with Burr Elementary School
Feb 27: Laura Doherty, with A.N. Pritzker Elementary School

Visit for updates to the lineup and more information.
(Photos from Beat Kitchen concerts courtesy of Julie Dickinson) 

Monday, January 11, 2010

500 Days of Summer: A Movie Review by Joe


By the 75 minute mark, when Joseph Gordon Levitt, as Tom, makes a speech about how shallow and meaningless greeting cards are, as a metaphor for interpersonal communication, 500 DAYS OF SUMMER has already spanned a year in the intertwined lives of Tom and Summer, two cute and pleasant "indies" who are just trying to make it in sunny and clean Los Angeles, a city populated mainly by white office workers who go to cool bars, neighborhood cafes, and independent video/record shops, and can somehow afford specious downtown apartments with amazing views, despite their 9-5 jobs. Marc Webb tried to make a film about "real people" with "real issues" living in a "real city," but ended up creating what is perhaps the most superficial Hollywood film since David Fincher's THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON.

Tom meets Summer at the greeting card company where they both work. Tom believes in the concept of "true love" and decides that Summer must be "the one." He soon finds out, much to his dismay, that Summer doesn't believe in love at all, but, as cute little indies do, they soon become friends with benefits, though Tom feels that their relationship means more than that. So they argue and eventually Summer quits her job and goes away, and Tom gets sad. Then they meet again, but Summer still just wants to be friends. Then it turns out she's gotten married. Tom gets sad. But, as happy endings have it, he might have also just found another "the one."

500DOS is the kind of movie that makes 20 something couples and the married middle aged feel good about themselves because it reinforces their romantic sentiments. Tom is a starry-eyed and love-struck hero who's "manipulated" by a mean woman who claims not to believe in romance, until she suddenly gets married because she found "the one." If we are supposed to sympathize with Tom or his plight, director Marc Webb does a terrible job of manipulating the viewer's emotions towards him, simply because he's so shallow. He's all emotions but no insight. He's a face without a brain. Of course, whether this lack of characterization is intentional or not, I don't know, but I'd imagine it isn't.

Summer, at least, seems to be glassy eyed and cold as part of her charm. That's just the way she is and Zooey Deschanel is to be commended for pulling off a perfect caricature of a dull and jaded hipster. Again, how much of that can be credited to the writing and directing, as opposed to Zooey's good acting, I don't know, but I'll bet on the latter.

The world Webb creates isn't the "real world," and maybe it's not supposed to be; after all, the film does feature a random musical number 30 minutes in, and the people in it are hardly "real people." They don't even feel like badly drawn characters. They're nothing. They talk about fluff, in fluffy ways, and fluffy settings. Kalvin Henely made a tremendously important point about how Webb treats the films "real world" setting, downtown Los Angeles: a place which, in reality, is full of thousands of the homeless, drunks, immigrants, push-cart vendors, and beggars, as if it were a tranquil all-American suburb, free of socio-economic blight. The people we see traversing the streets in Webb's downtown are not "real people," but a visual ethnic cleansing of reality. Same goes for Tom and Summer's "relationship." It's not real, or at all authentic seeming, except maybe in a structural sense, just as Webb makes the downtown structures an important visual marker throughout the film while ignoring their character. Tom and Summer's discussions and interactions with each other are as superficial as Webb's white-washing of the gritty urban center of Los Angeles.

500DOS comes the same year as SPREAD, the first American film by contemporary British auteur David Mackenzie, and follows a similar, though reversed narrative, in which a young playboy who doesn't believe in love finds it in a woman involved in his same profession. Set in the contrasting worlds of the L.A.'s ultra rich and the city's working class, SPREAD focuses on superficial people in a very real environment. It presents characters who are superficial, but for that very reason, also fascinating. Ashton Kutcher is Nicky. Just Nicky. No last name is ever given, but we learn more about him through his trying not to be emotional than we learn about Tom Hansen, whose full name and life story is told, as he tries to sway us to feel sorry for him over the course of 95 minutes.

Both Webb and Mackenzie are interested in depicting what they believe areexaggerations of "real life", but Webb opts for dream-like simplicity while Mackenzie's characters, despite being stuck in their own heads, have lives which are firmly grounded in a believeable environment. Both 500DOS and SPREAD are also obsessed with nuances and the importance of "moments" in life. In SPREAD, Nicky eventually decides that he wants love, but the girl he's chosen discredits his plea as a momentary interest and states that Nicky is unable to foresee the implausibility of their relationship. In 500DOS, everything is placed on the moment, but talked about in terns of what it will mean in the future. Summer wants to remain free and Tom wants to settle into marital bliss. They both speak about the present, but it seems that their interests are never with what's actually going on, but rather an idealizing of what could be. But where Webb fails and Mackenzie succeeds is that Mackenzie is able to divorce himself from his characters and let his film be about the environment in which they exist and how they interact with it. Webb is clearly very connected to his characters (a supposed-to-be-funny opening title implies just that) and consequently takes sides, pitting Tom against Heather, essentially saying that his views of relationships are valid and reasonable while hers are dishonest (as implied by her ultimately getting married).

At one point in 500DOS, Summer tells Tom something she "never told anyone before," which, to Tom, means that she trusts him as a lover and not "just a friend." This scene is supposed to imply Summer's closeness with Tom; a realistic closeness at that, and one of the few genuine seeming moments throughout the film. At one point in SPREAD, Nicky, who's life and lifestyle have been destroyed, calls his mother for help. Their call is cut off and the line goes dead. This single scene is the only moment at which Nicky truly breaks down and doesn't employ his wall of shallowness. As a result, we actually feel for him. That's never the case in 500DOS because all of our presumed emotional responses are handed to us by cute one-liners, or catchy songs. The film never allows its characters to develop and, what few emotions they are supposed to have are explained to us by a third person narrator.

SPREAD's Los Angeles is mass of isolated freeways and rich mansions, separated by neighborhoods full of ordinary people. In 500DOS, everyone is a bit extraordinary. They're "quirky" or "eccentric." They sing and dance in the street. SPREAD travels from expensive clubs to Beverly Hills, to Echo Park. 500DOS never leaves downtown, but it never really goes downtown either. It looks at it from hills, rooftops, etc. It talks about it, but never in real terms, only how it could be "better," as Tom comments.

SPREAD and 500DOS both end on what are supposed to be downers, punctuated by the potential for hope. Nicky, after being rejected by his lover, gets a day job, maybe his first. Tom, after being rejected by Summer, decides to pursue his dream of being an architect. Both characters' lives, and assumptions about relationships, have been altered. Nicky sees life as and endless cycle but Tom doesn't seem to have given up on his plan to find "the one." 500DOS closes as Tom finds a new girl, implying that things might work out better this time, maybe.

All contents copyright 2009 Joe Rubin.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Today's Motivation to Keep on Keeping On

"Your linkedin profile impressed me, to write organize and sell an enewsletter on your own is something not many people could pull off!"

Shoot me now.  Off to go "pull it off" so I can avoid being an "out of the box" thinking cubicle bound sales rep making a difference to no one. 

I want to do what feels real, and if I have to fight tooth and nail to do what feels real I will. 

Hey Alisa,


Allow me to introduce myself, my name is XXX XXX. I am the director of sales for the IT division here at XXX. My division is responsible for selling our email based lead generation products to marketing decision makers at technology companies throughout the US.


The good news is, even in this terrible economy, I am growing and hiring some new sales representatives. I like out of the box thinkers, and people who refuse to settle for less than the best. Your linkedin profile impressed me, to write organize and sell an enewsletter on your own is something not many people could pull off!


That being said, I would love to talk a bit more about the position and your experience and see if coming in for an interview is something that would be a fit for both of us?


Feel free to email me, or give me a call at the number below.


Look forward to hearing from you soon!

Adventures in Spacelifting

About four months ago I was at a silent auction hosted by the Wicker Women blog, and bid on a spacelifting session with Dina of Littlerock Renovation Coaching.

Spacelifting means making the most of the space you already have, and rearranging objects- furniture, art, books, plants, etc.- to create a better energy flow.

More on this in Tuesday's Pipeline, but for now I cannot express how much of a convert I am to spacelifting! Though I'd written a feature story on feng shui back in 1997 as a reporter for The Sun newspapers and shadowed a woman in Lemont as her home was revitalized by feng shui, I had never thought it was something that I could benefit from. My small apartment was in my somewhat stubborn opinion cozy as-is.

Now that Dina encouraged me to make better use of things like prints leftover from previous tenants, which were otherwise almost non-visible, pictured here behind Dina, and black & white photography by friends showcased in odd places like my bathroom ("If it's in your bathroom you only see it twice a day"), I am seeing as well as feeling the impact of these minor changes which together make a big difference.

Though I love all the changes, my favorite suggestion which Dina implemented was making use of a trunk which was purchased at a garage sale many years ago and holds sentimental value. The trunk now serves as a stand for my record collection. The counter was cleared of plants to create an actual eating area, and the kitchen table which was given to me by a friend that moved away a few months back is set in front of a window and holds plants instead of whatever junk I used to throw onto it.

It's amazing what just a little bit of rearranging can do!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

LENSWORK- An exhibition celebrating the art of photography


LENSWORK - An exhibition celebrating the art of photography.
Featuring work by Julian Gordon, Jennifer Bisbing, & Michael E Smith.
Press preview Thursday January 21, 2010
Opening reception Friday January 22, 2010
In January and February, three of the Coalition Gallery’s artists will be featured in LENSWORK – An exhibition celebrating the art of photography. 
Curator Susan Aurinko celebrates the diversity of the photographic medium by bringing together three artists who work in very different ways. 
Julian Gordon creates large scale photo mosaics made from smaller prints reassembled to present the enlarged image.  Jennifer Bisbing is exploring quiet still moments in her weed series; capturing the atmospheric effects of fog, twilight and dawn as the vehicle for her expression.  Bisbing is also known for her project Wicker Women that benefits CAWC (Connections for Abused Women and their Children).  Michael E. Smith explores the themes of the conflicts between man and nature, urban decay, light, time and location.
Aurinko’s curation of this exhibit will no doubt be closely connected to her own experience as a photographer with a wide range of subjects and techniques, and her depth of experience.
The Coalition Gallery is the cooperative gallery created by The Chicago Artists’ Coalition in July of 2009.  A panel of 3 judges reviewed over 300 applicants and selected 21 artists whose work will be featured in the gallery for one year.  Curator Susan Aurinko set the gallery’s show calendar and created the themes for each featured exhibition.
The exhibition LENSWORK continues through Saturday February 20, 2010
Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Friday from Noon to 7pm,
Saturday from noon to 5pm, or by appointment. Ph (773) 772-2386.
(open until 8pm on the first Friday of each month)
Coalition Gallery



2010 W. Pierce Ave

Julian Gordon

Chicago, IL 60622

Jennifer Bisbing


Michael E. Smith 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Saturday a.m. figure drawing @ Flat Iron

Flat Iron Artists' Association,
in partnership with JB ArtWorks studio gallery,
will host
on-going, non-instructed, drop-in sessions
with professional models
Figure Drawing
Saturdays, 9:45a-12:45p commencing January 2, 2010
$10 participation fee ($50 & $100 discount punch cards available)
Please join us!
Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N Milwaukee Av, Chicago
Kevin Lahvic studio 222
Inquiries: or (630) 606-5375
* space limited; please arrive early and ready-to-go 9:45a *

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Year in Photos

Changes to The Pipeline in 2010

Bad news: During "staycation" the hard drive on my computer died. Everything was erased.  I was also without a computer for about five days. 

Good news:  I needed a break from all things electronic, and the down-time couldn't have come at a more perfect time!  It was an awesome few days, and a reminder that some of life's best and most peaceful moments are experienced off-the-grid and in the company of friends and loved ones. 

With that, uh, said, I am very happy to be back "on the grid," too. My next off-the-grid adventure will hopefully be sparked by will and not technical failure!

Everything that was on my computer was saved to an external Time Machine back-up drive, including a few thousand locally shot photos dating back to 2005. 

In Tuesday's issue there will be the following (I hope) improvements to the weekly Pipeline. 

1)  I decided that the blogroll need not contain blogs expressing religious beliefs of any kind or links to blogs for home-based MLM ventures like Mary Kay, Arbonne, and others.  All of the blogs on my blogroll are there free of charge, and I do it to help small businesses and creative folks maybe gain a little bit of extra visibility.  While I am fully aware that we are all struggling in these hard times-- and I am right there in the trenches as I constantly solicit sponsorships to keep The Pipeline going-- I think those that are selling MLM products should either pay for the visibility through a sponsorship, or use another media source. 

2) I separated the blogroll into three parts, with the first containing links to local media sources, followed by community organizations, and thirdly small business and resident blogs.  A few readers mentioned to me that when jumbled all together it is kind of difficult to read, thus I hope this newer look is a bit cleaner. 

3) We've ceased both printing of the newsletter and distribution. Sponsorship dollars from a key funder which represented about half of the funding received over the past four months has expired, and I do not yet know if there will be any future funding. The only thing calming the voices in my head are the many awesome testimonials from readers which were included in the recap, so thank you to any readers that wrote in! You rock!!!!!!! 

The $2520 in funding was in the form of a community grant over a period of mid-September to mid-December.  I am very grateful to both the funders of the grant and to the chamber and small businesses who helped to support The Pipeline. Without their support there would be no Pipeline.  

4) The Pipeline now has a live web site at  Months ago a friend told me he wanted to assist with creating a page for the newsletter, and I had all but forgotten about it until he called out of the blue last week. He said something- I paraphrase- like,  "Your issues expire after four weeks and you have no record anywhere of months of writing. Nothing you've written exists anywhere."  Hmm, point taken!

For me, the process of writing is the most enjoyable part of doing it, and it's one of the reasons I don't have many printed clips saved over the years. I'm often too busy creating new content or planning for future content to think about how to preserve stuff already written. Plus, I tend to hate things I've written when I see them weeks or years later. Not all things, but over time I will read something I wrote in the past and want to change it. I will cringe at how I sound in a certain sentence or two or three. Additionally, a web site implies "commitment."

 Perhaps on some odd level I liked the fact that what I wrote disappeared so quickly. This lack of archiving didn't and still doesn't bother me as I am comforted by the fact that The Pipeline is read most on the day that it comes out and it is more of a time sensitive newsletter.  OK, enough therapy. If anyone cares, I DO have a site now, and it will be basic. If somebody does want to read an issue from weeks or months past they can do so. This also means that when I meet strangers or potential new sponsors and they ask what my web site is I can refer them to an actual site. The home page of Chicago-Pipeline will feature whatever the most recent weekly issue is, and on the left hand side there will be links to past issues.  I might abandon Streets of Wicker or find a way to host this Streets of Wicker blog on Chicago-Pipeline, though first I must figure out how to run and use an html program and do the things I just mentioned. 

I will continue to retain the main strength of The Pipeline as a weekly product because readers have personally told me that they look forward to seeing it in their in-box and they like the fact it always comes out around the same time each week. As a creature of habit, I like the weekly routine and production schedule too.  A goal in 2010 is to see if I can make The Pipeline sustainable.  It seems like "sustainable" is the new buzzword in business. The truth is that it's just a euphemism for "profitability," and in a challenging time like this it's better to just shoot for keeping afloat, i.e, sustaining oneself vs. that big profit pie in the sky. I just want to do what I love and to be able to afford a roof over my head, health insurance, and food. Despite having produced The Pipeline for 10 months I am not close to this goal, though I see it fully realized off in the horizon. I have to see it. If I don't I am wasting time that could be better spent by believing in myself and in The Pipeline. 
Though some days are better than others, I am hoping that if I keep doing what I love to do and tell the stories that ring true to me, they will ring true to others and thus be worthy of being supported through sponsorship and continued readership. If stray from this path, or produce a substandard and/or inauthentic product, I will lose funders and readers. Thus, I remain true to my convictions.
4) 2010 will be a year of "No."  It's okay to say no to requests, and I will be doing more of that in 2010, and not responding to every email though I appreciate each email as most of the time I do end up including what is sent or at least mentioning it. Until I can inch closer to sustainability I may have to cut certain things out of the newsletter due to time.  In Tuesday's issue I will request feedback from readers on what they would like to see less of content wise, and why.  Whenever I whine to anyone that will listen about how much time I put into the Pipeline, a common response is to "Write faster!" In fact my mother told me I "just need to write faster."  Rest assured I am dancing- er, I mean, writing- as fast as I can these days.  I will just write about less things in 2010 but with more focus, i.e. quality over quantity. Scouring the media for links and shout outs will remain as is, since it's a popular part of the newsletter as are original images which will continue to be a big part of The Pipeline. 

5) Beginning on Tuesday will be the start of The Angel Club! There are two businesses signed up to be year round angels.  Angel is a cheesy word and I may change the name from angels to something else. If you'd like to join the Pipeline Angel's Club there will be more details on how to go about doing this in Tuesday's issue.  
Why all the changes? Why now? Putting the pressure on myself to put out the newsletter each Tuesday meant that I didn't necessarily have time to make improvements as I was going, thus I was aware of the small things that I wanted to do, yet lacking the time to implement them I just kept putting changes off. 

Of all the changes, I am most excited about the web site.  I am also weirdly eager about buckling down in a few hours and working on the first issue of 2010.  I am happy to be back in the swing of things and looking forward to 2010. After all this eating and lounging around there is no better time for me to hit the streets again even if it is freezing outside.  

I hope everyone had a great holiday and New Year's.  Pictured is a bar of "Hope Soap" spotted at Macy's which I did not buy because it was very expensive for just a bar of soap, and the more I write about local shops in WPB and personally know the very awesome store owners who work at local shops the less I can justify spending money at Macy's. Every dollar matters. To someone.