#709: Vote Like a Champ in Just Six Steps

November 7th, 2016 § permalink

Voting is like improv comedy: The fact you’re unprepared is only amusing to you.

For the rest of us, those who take more than one stab at existence and who tire of any activity with a cover and two-drink minimum to watch state school theater majors laugh harder at their own jokes than the audience ever will, we like to be a little more prepared.

So in the vein of my Bare Minimum Voting Guide from the primary, a six-step plan that will get you voting like a champ in no time. * » Read the rest of this entry «

#699: Open 24 Hours

October 14th, 2016 § permalink

The girl was pretty, young, big light blue glassy eyes.

The glassiness wasn’t from tiredness. She was too young to be tired. She was tired of, not tired in general.

She was tired of work, she was tired of being in a crisp white shirt and a black Golden Nugget Pancake House Family Restaurant apron. She was tired of being in a diner completely empty but for staff and a lanky boy with long, ratty hair waiting for her in a closed-off section.

But no, she wasn’t tired. She was just tired of. » Read the rest of this entry «

#689: “Dhoom 3” vs. “City That Never Sleeps” – What’s the Daffiest Chicago Movie?

September 21st, 2016 § permalink

One year and 198 stories ago, I reviewed 1953’s “City That Never Sleeps,” a cinematic world of crooked cops, gangster magicians, the handyman from “Newhart” and a character named, I kid you not, Little Stubby.

It was the single silliest, most ridiculous and just plain most daffy Chicago-based movie I had ever seen.

Until Sunday. » Read the rest of this entry «

#634: Streetlight Manifesto

May 16th, 2016 § permalink

The line of punk rockers snaked back and forth along the barricade of candy Walgreens uses to file the customers.

Past the gamut of Snickers and other impulse buys, the line of punks continued back through half the Walgreens, petering out by the premade turkey sandwiches.

“Did a show just let out?” I asked four sweaty white teens whose brand-new Streetlight Manifesto T-shirts hung limply over their scrawn. » Read the rest of this entry «

#608: Political Action Committee

March 16th, 2016 § permalink

Before the polls opened, before the sun rose, they arrived.

Brought by pick-up by a man with slicked-back hair who kept calling one of them by the wrong name, the four yawned their way into the defunct Polish-language parish school to fill out poll watcher forms, then to the trucks for signs.

Signs after signs.

Signs for the committeeman they were paid to electioneer for, signs for his slate, his friends, aligned political candidates in races from local judicial seats to Congress. Paid for by different “Friends of” and “Citizens for” groups, but delivered from the same truck by the same four men who would spend the next 13 hours standing outside a closed parish school. » Read the rest of this entry «

#597: Australia, Perfect Sandwiches and the Semi-Simpson Bar

February 19th, 2016 § permalink

He was from Australia, he said. He missed beaches.

He and his friends used to cut class to head to the beaches of New South Wales. They would cut class, then head to the store, buy fresh bread and some meat. They would make sandwiches to eat as they swam and sunned themselves.

He’s a chef now. He works at a downtown fancy place, one so fancy the name’s not a real English word. He makes his living among the highest end of cuisine, but the only food he waxed poetic about when we talked were the sandwiches he and friends a world and lifetime away made on hooky days at the beach.

Oh, and he loves fucking bitches.

“I love fucking bitches!” he yelled as the bar dog whined at a newcomer and the bartender pretended not to see that the Aussie was flagging for shots. » Read the rest of this entry «

#583: The Dojo, Part 3 – How BRAVEMONK Got His Name

January 18th, 2016 § permalink

It’s B-R-A-V-E-M-O-N-K. All capitals. One word.

“In the world that we operate in, for me, the names are very important,” the breakdancer said. “In the institutional world, your PhD is your credentials, right? When someone has their doctorate or their PhD, they take it as disrespect when you don’t address them as doctor. It’s like you devalue their training and their expertise.

“And the names in this forum are earned. If you have a wack name, it’s either going to change at some point, or you’re not just going to be relevant. People will look at you as a joke.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#581: The Podcast Cometh

January 13th, 2016 § permalink

Listen… » Read the rest of this entry «

#564: The Dojo, Part 2 – Release

December 4th, 2015 § permalink

The Dojo is the nickname. It’s an apartment, yes, but through the rotating tenants all involved in Chicago’s breaking, popping and hip-hop dance community, it has become an artist colony, a practice space, a hub of up-and-coming and established dancers promoting and supporting each other’s training.

Yeah, it’s sort of a dojo.

Last week, we heard the story of B-Boy ManOfGod, who recently moved from The Dojo to Hong Kong.

Today, here’s the story of Dojo resident Aaron Gray, AKA Release. » Read the rest of this entry «

#560: The Dojo, Part 1 – ManOfGod

November 25th, 2015 § permalink

The apartment, by nickname that stuck, is called “The Dojo.”

A second-story flat above a storefront, it has over the last decade through friends of friends and other connections been home and practice space for a rotating group of dancers connected with Chicago’s breakdancing community.

Intermittently over the next several weeks, we will be hearing the stories of several Dojo residents, past and present, about how they came to the apartment and to lives embracing hip-hop dance.

For B-Boy ManOfGod, who recently moved from The Dojo to Hong Kong, it started with a fused spine. » Read the rest of this entry «

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