#765: Graves of Michigan Avenue

March 17th, 2017 § permalink

I don’t think the Fine Arts Building intended to house a company that hosts corporate team-building retreats where you escape from a room full of zombies.

But it does.

I don’t think the Chicago Musical College intended to become the home of a college bookstore with windows stacked with alumni hoodies, Harry Potter play scripts and zen-themed coloring books for adults.

But it has. » Read the rest of this entry «

#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 «

#697: The Woman in the Dick Tracy Hat

October 10th, 2016 § permalink

Here’s the story, all its parts:

I was sitting in a leafy spot by the federal prison parking garage, waiting for a tour group for the walking tours I run.

Across the street, a lady walked by with a Dick Tracy-style yellow fedora. She had a milk crate slung in front of her. When she passed a beggar, she pulled a plastic-wrapped sandwich out of the crate. He looked at her, she looked at him, and he took the sandwich.

She kept walking south and I lost her behind an SUV at the stoplight.

That’s it. That’s all. And wow.

Wow. » Read the rest of this entry «

#631: Uncle Bathhouse

May 9th, 2016 § permalink

“Bathhouse John Coughlin was my great, great uncle,” she wrote. “Nothing to be proud of, I know.”

I’ve received several interesting letters since starting the corruption walking tour. Some are old friends letting me know they heard me on the radio and “Miss yer face.” One man wrote about his fears the demolition of his childhood home was a land scam.

And then there was Bathhouse Coughlin’s great-great niece, letting me know what the family had been up to. » Read the rest of this entry «

#606: A Most Difficult Chicago Trivia Quiz – The Answers

March 11th, 2016 § permalink

On Wednesday, I put out an incredibly difficult Chicago trivia quiz.

The purpose, aside from the fact I’ve been all coughing and bronchial and wanted a story I could write from my sickbed, was to get people to explore certain sites I like, including this one, Atlas Obscura, the Chicago Collections Consortium, the Chicago History Museum, Mysterious Chicago and Curious City.

So I made the quiz goldanged impossible. (And Curious City, that thing we talked about? It’s handled.)

From the Fool Killer submarine to park bats to Iroquois Theater Assistant Chief Usher Archie Guerin, here are the answers you didn’t get to the 1,001 Chicago Afternoons Really Difficult Trivia Quiz. » Read the rest of this entry «

#605: A Most Difficult Chicago Trivia Quiz

March 9th, 2016 § permalink

You might know the Iroquois Theater Fire happened in 1903, but do you know the name of the assistant chief usher called to testify after?

Sure, you know that the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction was at the U of C campus, but do you know what sport the room was originally made for? » Read the rest of this entry «

#595: Media’s Rest

February 15th, 2016 § permalink

Innovation. Luxury. Sleek design.

These were some of the watchwords at the Chicago Auto Show’s media center.

In my pre-blog newspaper days, I was no stranger to the event media center. These are little rooms, tents or other quiet spots where reporters covering everything from auto shows to music festivals can get away from the throng and commit the hard-hitting acts of journalism you can only get from local reporters covering auto shows and music festivals.

If you want some quiet, a cup of lukewarm coffee and a spot to transcribe a 5-year-old saying “I liked it. It was fun.” an event’s media center is where you want to be. » Read the rest of this entry «

#409: The Words

December 8th, 2014 § permalink

He said the piece of paper had always protected him, but now he was stepping out from behind it. He read about Wrigleyville.

She said she would read her piece off the phone, as the kids do. She read about Austin.

Another he read from his book about Pilsen and Heart of Chicago. » Read the rest of this entry «

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