#910: The Thrilla That’s Municipal-ah

April 4th, 2018

Shortly before 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 5, down a thin flight of stairs lit by a security bulb, you’re going to knock on a door.

A hatch on the door will slide open. A pair of eyes will glare through.

“Password,” the eyes will say, or maybe they’ll just keep glaring, waiting for you to say what’s next.

You’ll say it. If you get it right, the door will open. Then the history begins.

Tomorrow night, I’ll be taking part in Chicago History 101: The Speakeasy Series, hosted by Patti Swanson of Chicago for Chicagoans, a pay-what-you-can nonprofit walking tour company designed to get locals more involved with their city.

Since November, the also-pay-what-you-can Speakeasy Series (suggested donation $10-$20) has brought local historians, tour guides and experts on this, that and the other to the Room 13 Speakeasy in Lakeview to learn about topics from Chicago’s bar culture to its history of segregation, from the old Great Central Market to queer history and the development of the skyscraper.

Tomorrow night is the last of the 2017-18 Speakeasy Series. It’s going to be a debate. And I’m in it.

We’re going to face off about such topics of note as:

  • Should we tear down the Thompson Center?
  • Are Chicago mob tours exploitative?
  • Should we preserve/protect ethnic enclave neighborhoods?
  • Should we re-reverse the river?

And the combatants in this Chicagoan scuffle, this Confrontation with Source Citation, this Battle Royale Municipale, this TIF-funded Thunderdome will be:

Tickets are still available. As mentioned, it’s pay-what-you-can, but you can’t get that password without RSVPing first.

It’s a great venue with some killer cocktails, so show up in your retro-chic finest and let’s get this Debate About Illinois State going! (OK, not all teases can be “Thrilla in Manilla” level good.)

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