#887: Harley and the Pickles

February 9th, 2018 § permalink

Last night, I received a comment on my portfolio site from a student named Harley.

Harley was reading about 1920s bohemian hot spot The Dil Pickle Club for the Chicago Metro History Fair, a project of the Chicago History Museum that turns students in grades six to 12 into historians by making them research and present on Chicago and Illinois history. She or he (Harley like a 1990s villainess or like an 1890s vice admiral?) had come across a blog post of mine about the club and wanted to know where one could find out more about the Pickles.

First, Harley, I’m impressed. I never would have reached out to anyone for a project at that age. That level of initiative will carry you far in life.

Second, it’ll carry you a lot farther if next time you remember to leave some contact information.

So rather than try to track down a lone schoolkid somewhere in northeast Illinois, here’s a story directed at one person, but on a snowlocked morning meant for all. Here’s a quick and dirty guide for finding out what you want to know about Chicago history, including about one of the weirdest, wildest clubs the city ever knew. » Read the rest of this entry «

#886: Welcome to 2008

February 7th, 2018 § permalink

The bar lets you bring in food from the greasy spoon next door, so I got a hamburger on a pita, which is apparently something that exists.

The place was designed for the young, the beer pong table and oversized Jenga tower attested, but at this early hour it was inhabited by the old. The guys at the bar talking wildly and broadly to pack in as much mock drunkness and youth as possible before their wives call them home for supper, old. The white-haired drinker at the end of the bar, silent but for the occasional gloomy sigh as he stared into nothing, real old.

And the bartender was old, thick Chicago accent that caused me to code switch into my own Chik-kahgo Guy ever so slightly as I ordered a beer to wash down my pita-meat.

I nestled by a window to watch snow glimmer over neon and sexless forms wrapped in scarf and hood hustle down the sidewalk. This was it. This was the place. This mixture of old men in a young bar, of desperation on a poor slip of a rich neighborhood, this sandwich ne’er before seen in my lifetime was a perfect, patented, ready-made 1,001 Chicago Afternoons story.

But first I just need to check something on my phone.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#877: Finishing Moves

January 17th, 2018 § permalink

“D-F-HP.”

“D-F-HP?”

“D-F-HP.”

“D-F-HP… D-F-HP… D-F-HP!”

And with that I spit molten acid all over my friend. » Read the rest of this entry «

#848: The Last War Dance

November 10th, 2017 § permalink

Chicago’s last war dance started by the Wrigley Building, then headed west along the riverbank past Trump Tower, Marina City, and The 3D Printer Experience. » Read the rest of this entry «

#845: Julie’s Angles

November 3rd, 2017 § permalink

The bed is problematic.  » Read the rest of this entry «

#819: Tour de Chicago – A Warhellride to the Goddess

July 21st, 2017 § permalink

When I was in Paris, you were cycling through 184 years of Chicago newspaper history.

When I was exploring Le Puy-en-Velay, you went 9.3 miles into the LGBTQ community.

While I was in Marseilles, you took your bike down our endangered lakefront.

My wife and I are following the Tour de France. You’re taking the Tour de Chicago. And for your last stage, a one-mile jaunt down LaSalle Street.

This one’s going to get weird. » 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 «

#791: How We Live Now

May 17th, 2017 § permalink

This is it, right? This is how we live?

We live in sunsets now, and warm nights of sushi and wine on patios. We live in texts from friends letting us know of impromptu get-togethers after.

That’s it, right? Life’s like this forever now? » Read the rest of this entry «

#790: In the Newsroom

May 15th, 2017 § permalink

I’m typing now. Everyone is.

A sales guy in the corner is chattering away. Two of the production guys were hushed-toning it about a color separation detail, but that got resolved and they walked away from each other.

Now it’s just you, me and the clicking and clacking of a dozen keyboards. » Read the rest of this entry «

#788: Native Water

May 10th, 2017 § permalink

I can’t in good faith pretend the story I want to tell about Chicago today is in Chicago.

I can’t pretend I’m that parochial or have that much dedicated bandwidth to focus solely on the municipal jurisdiction that provides my garbage pickup and blog title.

I can’t pretend my thoughts aren’t focused on a president who fired the head of the agency investigating his cronies, of media blackouts at the highest levels, of threats against comedians and criminal charges for laughing at the attorney general, of whatever atrocity will be revealed by the time I finish this sentence.

So I went to the river. » Read the rest of this entry «

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