Monthly Archives: January 2012

Chicago Architects Reimagine Neighborhoods

Reposted from the Venue Cricket blog.  Venue Cricket will help you find your next Chicago event venue!

Stop by the Chicago Architecture Foundation at 224 South Michigan Ave and get inspired byChicago Architects Reimagine Neighborhoods. This exhibition puts the city’s leading architects on display as they creatively redesign neighborhoods to modernize the city, bring communities together, and develop industry. Also on display here is the Chicago Model City, pictured below.

Check out these six examples of how Chicago could be, symbolically displayed around the model of Chicago as it now stands:

#1 SuperElevated

John Ronan proposes a plan to modernize the public transportation system. Ronan suggests a suspended monorail, which would be faster and quieter than today’s L. The top of the monorail structure would provide space for walkers, runners, and bikers. The ground level below the monorail would feature a public plaza with street performers and other entertainment.

#2 Roscoe Village

Doug Garofalo and Xavier Vendrell observe that this neighborhood has wide streets but little traffic flow and suggest that the sidewalks be expanded for pedestrians. Smaller streets could be completely cleared from cars, which would be moved to the alleys. Garages could then be converted into businesses or demolished and turned into gardens and green spaces.

#3 The New Neighborly

Today the Near West Side is a dead zone, undeveloped due to a giant parking lot that spoils the neighborhood. Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen want to replace the asphalt with a material that people enjoy standing on. The space could then be used for other purposes and converted into a dense parking area when needed.

#4 Pilsen Textile Incubator

Patricia Saldana Natke wants to use the empty warehouses of this neighborhood to transform it into a center for garment manufacturing and fashion. The plan leverages the skills for textile and fine art that the residents of this community already have to bring new economic life to the area.

#5 Midway Loop

Ross Wimer envisions Midway as a destination for neighborhood residents and visitors, who could eat dinner at the airport as they watch the planes take off. To accomplish this, Wimer wants to make the airport more accessible by connecting it to the L. He also suggests tearing down the wall that stands as a sound and visual barrier and replacing it with a modern building designed to capture sound.

#6 The Peace Train
Jeanne Gang proposes building a youth center at the Addison station. This structure would bring together children and teens from diverse neighborhoods and encourage them to build friendships, participate in activities, and engage in public service. The shape of this center would evoke Wrigley field, which is not inwardly focused like many stadiums but rather spills its energy out into the city.

Trend Following Strategy

Ran a  simple back test on EUR/USD daily prices from June 9 1998 to now using a simple trend following strategy.

Starting Equity: $10000


Enter long/short positon when price is at a 20 day high/low. Liquidate position when price is at a 10 day low/high.  Stop loss set at current price -/+ 2 times the average true range of the past 14 days. Size position by a risk of 3% of account equity.


Ending Equity: $21002.37

Total trades: 123
Total long trades: 59
Total short trades: 64
Total winning long trades: 31
Total winning short trades: 29

A 110% return in 13.5 years. That’s about annual return of 5.7%, excluding commissions and slippage. That’s not bad.

For reference, S&P500 returned 15.26% during the same period.

2008 performance:

Long 15659.6810306093 at 1.4749 on 20080104. STP at 1.448514286. Equity 13773.0621668294
STP 15659.6810306093 at 1.448514286 on 20080121. Equity 13359.8703018246
Long 18182.5836311578 at 1.4972 on 20080226. STP at 1.475157142. Equity 13359.8703018246
Closed 18182.5836311578 at 1.5681 on 20080424. Return 9.64938394104796%. Equity 14649.0154812736
Short 12581.9762811434 at 1.5592 on 20080425. STP at 1.594128572. Equity 14649.0154812736
STP 12581.9762811434 at 1.594128572 on 20080711. Equity 14209.5450168354
Short 16642.5232585075 at 1.5588 on 20080729. STP at 1.584414286. Equity 14209.5450168354
Closed 16642.5232585075 at 1.4323 on 20080917. Return 14.815950754981% Equity 16314.8242090366
Long 9626.6171006968 at 1.4772 on 20080922. STP at 1.426357142. Equity 16314.8242090366
STP 9626.6171006968 at 1.426357142 on 20080930. Equity 15825.3794827655
Short 8708.93520430527 at 1.3817 on 20081002. STP at 1.436214286. Equity 15825.3794827655
Closed 8708.93520430527 at 1.2979 on 20081104. Return 4.61163519595578% Equity 16555.1882528863
Short 8321.18130624339 at 1.2487 on 20081119. STP at 1.308385714. Equity 16555.1882528863
STP 8321.18130624339 at 1.308385714 on 20081211. Equity 16058.5326052997
Long 10991.8246517133 at 1.3375 on 20081212. STP at 1.293671428. Equity 16058.5326052997
Closed 10991.8246517133 at 1.3852 on 20090102. Return 3.26499343852682%. Equity 16582.8426411864


Exploring Chicago Arts District: January 2nd Fridays

Originally posted on Venue Cricket blog!

On the second Friday of every month, the artists of Chicago’s Arts District open their doors to the public.  This community, which displays so many varieties of creativity, is the very definition of a hidden gem.  Spanning just a few contiguous blocks around 18th and South Halste­­d, the art walk offers a new surprise at every door.  And in some cases, the door even opens into an artist’s home.  With an unassuming bed tucked in the corner, the visitor is reminded that he has been given the rare privilege of entering the place where the artist lives and breathes his work.

Strangely, a visitor wandering into the same neighborhood on any other day of the month will be struck by its ghost town feel.  With all of the galleries and creative spaces locked down, only a few window displays hint at the spirit of the community.  Giant unoccupied spaces, easily spotted thanks to their full glass facades, serve as a reminder of the artist’s struggle and the recent exodus from this area.  However, behind many of the closed doors the creative process continues, and once a month the neighborhood comes alive.

Chicago Arts District - January 2nd Fridays

  1. The art walk is well attended, but not crowded.  Freshly fallen snow gives S. Halsted a magical quality.
  2. To get relief from the cold, stop by Whisky Ginger, a charming vintage shop.  The owners, Stevie and Dan, greet visitors at the door, offering them cups of hot toddies (warm whisky drinks, of course).  The engaged couple lives right behind the chalkboard, which they thought up as a creative solution to separate the two spaces.
  3. The Chicago Art Department presents “Fight Club”, a boxing photo exhibit complete with live boxing to set the mood.
  4. Rooms Gallery features “She Who Will be Slapped”.  With a look of deep despondency, the lead actress from the dramatic film projecting on the wall sits perfectly still before the audience.
  5. Black Cloud Gallery showcases the nonprofit Architecture for Humanity.  This fun exhibit features retro view finder reels and ping pong balls (which are piled up to represent donations that guests have left for the organization).
  6. Bryan Sperry Studio displays a room full of robotic creatures.  Each sculpture is unique in design, color, and facial expression.  The figures are so detailed that they almost feel alive, perhaps an extra terrestrial species.
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Galleries, Car Dealerships, Churches, and Other Local Establishments Add a New Revenue Stream to Their Businesses by Making Their Venues Available for Private Events After Regular Business Hours

CHICAGO, IL – January 10, 2012 – Chicago startup, Venue Cricket, is providing a means for local businesses to turn themselves into event venues. With the economy still growing at a sluggish pace, businesses are looking for additional revenue streams and have taken the opportunity to heart. The site allows anyone with an event space to create a profile complete with photos, descriptive information, and an availability calendar. Users of the site can then filter venues according to their criteria and book their chosen venues online.

“Many of the venues we are working with have periodically held events in the past, and have been looking for ways to do so more frequently and systematically. Until now these businesses did not have cost effective ways of establishing themselves as event venues on a larger scale,” said Dmitry Grekov, CTO and Co-Founder. “At the same time, event hosts generally turned to conventional venues like hotels, simply because it would take much more leg work to find the more interesting but lesser known spaces.”

As most event hosts know, the venue booking process can be a painful one. Unlike most other industries, which have been reshaped by the internet, booking a venue still requires event hosts to make lists of potential options and call each one to determine availability and pricing. Venue Cricket’s mission is to change that by providing a convenient search and book tool.

Venue Cricket is the brain child of CEO and Co-Founder Ella Lief, who graduated with an Economics major from Harvard University in 2007. She first noticed the problem when she was organizing a Chicago alumni event. “Finding an interesting venue that could accommodate the group turned out to be a real challenge. I was surprised that there were no websites similar to Expedia but tailored for the venue search,” says Lief. “The issue came up again when I was booking a venue for a conference I was planning. I wanted to rent an auditorium from a school or University and could not find any resource online that would help me do the job.”



Ella Lief

(312) 772-2522