#403: The Keyboard Player

November 24th, 2014 § permalink

“Feliz Navidad!” he sang into the microphone positioned above the keyboard in the fifth-filled Mexican restaurant on Western. “Feliz Navidad y prospero año y felicidad… y Lazo’s Tacos!”

He chuckled a bit at his own joke, which was ignored by the smattering of people choosing to nosh on Sunday night Mexican food rather than wander the light, dripping rain outdoors. » Read the rest of this entry «

#402: The Job Hunt

November 21st, 2014 § permalink

Two ticket takers on the Metra stood in the divot where the stairs lead down to the still-closed outer door. They had been talking for about 10 minutes about a co-worker who died two years before retirement.

One was older, fatter, black and patient. The other was younger, taller, wiry and white. The younger one looked around with fight in his eyes, as if every person, ticket, metal wall and announcement voice was making him angrier.

They were leaning back on the partition walls, facing each other.

“What would you do if you didn’t have to do anything?” the older one asked. » Read the rest of this entry «

#401: The Worst Commute Olympics

November 19th, 2014 § permalink

Somehow, walking down the street covered in blood was not the worst commute my office saw yesterday morning. » Read the rest of this entry «

#400: Lady Ginger Tells You What It’s Like, Part 2

November 17th, 2014 § permalink

A few weeks ago, burlesque dancer Lady Ginger went through her emotional preparation for taking off her clothes in front of a room full of strangers.

Now she’s back to tell you a little more. » Read the rest of this entry «

#399: The Wind

November 14th, 2014 § permalink

Shh. Listen. » Read the rest of this entry «

#398: The Steelworker’s Mermaid

November 12th, 2014 § permalink

On Lake Michigan at 41st Street Beach, a mermaid suns herself by the water.

Carved in stone, she stretches, her arms thrown back, her hair trickling out in rivulets from a peaceful, strong face. Both on and part of a limestone boulder that once kept the lake and land separate, the mermaid acts as resting spot for weary joggers, curiosity for beach-bound children.

And for 14 years, no one knew where it came from. » Read the rest of this entry «

#397: The Steelworker’s Art

November 10th, 2014 § permalink

“They just closed the damn door,” Roman Villareal said as his great-grandchildren laughed through the studio.

“One shift went out, the next shift was coming. And everyone who was coming in, they wouldn’t let you in, not even to get your stuff out of your box or nothing. They slammed the lock on there,” he said.

“That was the last time the men went into the steel mill.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#396: A Splash of History

November 7th, 2014 § permalink

On Michigan Avenue, where the skittering, milling tourists and shoppers pause for a moment for selfies by the river, there is a stone-faced building made of history.

Part of that is literal, as the Tribune Tower is dappled on the sides with rocks pulled from the Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, Hagia Sophia, Angkor Wat, even the Berlin Wall and the World Trade Center.

But the gray Gothic building of gargoyles and buttresses seems itself a massive stone, inset in a bustling, modern, mall-swathed downtown of glass and steel and TRUMP, there to remind a city of its past.

And I peed there. » Read the rest of this entry «

#395: JesseWhite.com

November 5th, 2014 § permalink

A sunny Sunday pre-election. A walk down Damen with a cup of coffee in hand. And dozens of “Re-Elect Jesse White Secretary of State” yard signs popping up along a fence like partisan wildflowers.

A bit of background: » Read the rest of this entry «

#394: Lily Be’s Coming for You

November 3rd, 2014 § permalink

“I give an example all the time,” she says to me as we sit on the back porch, sipping beer and watching her two dogs chase each other up and down the darkened lawn. “A guy gets shot in my neighborhood.” » Read the rest of this entry «

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