#940: The Sleepy Magician

June 13th, 2018 § permalink

“People ask why I bring my bag,” the magician said, gently tapping the toiletry kit he had set on the stage’s lone chair. “It’s just some personal possessions in case I get deported.”

The joke was, of course, found in the color of the magician’s skin and the sing-song Tapatío accent with which he charmed the crowd. It was a dark joke told lightly. It was masterful.

It wouldn’t be the last time the sleepy magician amazed. » Read the rest of this entry «

#842: Quizmaster D

September 13th, 2017 § permalink

Do people know DeKalb produced barbed wire?

Who has a clue what the second-biggest city in the state was before Rockford?

What is a reasonable amount of Cheap Trick lyrics to expect people to know? Like, all of them or just most? » Read the rest of this entry «

#817: Tour de Chicago – LGBTQ Landmarks

July 17th, 2017 § permalink

For those of you who missed Friday’s story, the missus and I are backpacking through France following the Tour de France for our honeymoon. If everything went according to plan, we’re currently in a little town called Le Puy-en-Velay.

Since I don’t want to miss a moment of this, I loaded up the site before we left with Le Tour de Chicago, four bike routes through famous sites in the city’s history. I’m not posting these as thought exercises — get out there and explore this city.

We rode through Chicago’s newspaper history on Friday, and later this week will learn about lakefront encroachment and something I’m just calling “A Warhellride to the Goddess.”

Today’s bike tour is going to go through some of the spots connected to Chicago’s gay and lesbian community » Read the rest of this entry «

#796: To the Breakfast-Eaters

May 29th, 2017 § permalink

Her hair was as radioactively blue as the pile of berries on her pancakes was red.

She sat at a table for four alone at the bustling Andersonville breakfast spot. She smiled wan but warm at the server when he brought her the massive pile of pancakes, whipped cream, berry compote and streusel crumbs.

Then she delicately picked up a fork with her right hand and, as a slow, peaceful smile lit on her face, she picked at the pile of warmth and fluff. She picked at a book with her left. » Read the rest of this entry «

#766: What I’m Looking For

March 20th, 2017 § permalink

The two-headed calf stared at us as we walked in the door, or at least one head did. » Read the rest of this entry «

#500: Return of the 499

July 8th, 2015 § permalink

500. Half a thou. D, to the ancient Romans. As close to the halfway point of the project as an odd-numbered goal allows.

So what should I write this milestone story about?

I decided to toss that question to the folks who made up the first 499, asking the people who got me this far how I should kick off the second half. » Read the rest of this entry «

#387: Öl the Young Dudes: The Swedish Beer Scene Hits Chicago

October 17th, 2014 § permalink

Tiny souvenir glasses in hand, the crowd joked, laughed, flirted, mingled and networked over herring and little meatballs.

And beer. » Read the rest of this entry «

#309: The Entrepreneurs

April 18th, 2014 § permalink

We used to work in newspapers, he and I. We talked about it.

We used to work in newspapers, he and I. We talk about it. » Read the rest of this entry «

#118: Chicago by Poster

January 28th, 2013 § permalink

“Most people don’t look up in this neighborhood,” he said. “But if you look up, right above the Swedish American Museum is a water tower with the Swedish flag on it. The neighborhood was a Swedish neighborhood. There’s still a Swedish bakery and there’s a deli and it’s still definitely part of the neighborhood today.”

“This is my neighborhood,” he said, giving the poster an unintentional tap with his finger before he the print marked Andersonville at the bottom of the pile on our table. » Read the rest of this entry «

#66: The Kitties Dance to Country

September 28th, 2012 § permalink

Along that North Clark Street strip of brunch bistros, lesbian bars and Swedish bakeries, two kitties danced to Cajun-tinged country.

“It’s kind of making my ends meet right now,” the puppeteer told me later as he took a swig from a bottle of water. » Read the rest of this entry «

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