Category Chicago

Staycation with the garage murals of Evanston

We are taking a vacation, which is really a staycation. This, of course, we’ve done before, but not the kind of staycation where we can’t go to performances or crowded places, public transportation is scary and a global pandemic is peaking in the Midwest. Oh, and after a golden, balmy fall, the weather turned chilly […]

There are no lava lamps inside St. Joseph the Betrothed Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church

The bus to the church took us to the farthest western border of Chicago, meandering through a maze of dead mall parking lots and past a concrete replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. It felt like we were traveling, well, as close to traveling as feasible without a car, during a pandemic. I had […]

The mystery of the giant corn painting at the Haitian American Museum of Chicago

Elsie Hernandez, the founder and president of the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, wants you to know some crucial facts about Haiti: The French, in typical colonialist fashion, plundered the resources of Haiti using the labor of enslaved Africans to make themselves rich. The enslaved people of Haiti defeated the French, and by liberating themselves, […]

Chad falls in with a biker gang at Chicago’s Leather Archives & Museum

It was the mid 90’s and I was on a train in Chicago. This was a novel experience, since I had only recently arrived from a much smaller town. Seated across from me was husky, bearded man, heavily accessorized with leather straps. No, wait, not just one man; the train was full of men with […]

The mid-century modern intelligence quotient

We’re still in a quarantine in Chicago but restrictions have loosened up a bit—Quarantine Lite™ I guess you’d call it. I’ve ventured on a few train and bus rides and yesterday I was able to visit my family (from a safe distance) for the first time in four months. On top of that, I got […]

The cultural heritage practices of my people

  Before traveling to a new place, I like to study the cultural heritage practices of the people who live there—you know, like ceremonies marking the start of harvest season or maybe puppetry performed to ancient poetry.  Now that I’m in a quarantine with no opportunity to travel in the foreseeable future, I thought this […]

Home sweet Monster Tudor home

In 2014 someone tried to steal my apartment building. Her name was Tanya, a petite and nonthreatening-looking woman who had briefly owned a unit in the building that was foreclosed on in the 90’s.  One day she showed up in our lobby with a locksmith and he was already mid-way through changing our door and […]

Pandemic fear infrastructure in Rogers Park, Chicago

We’ve been in a quarantine lock-down for six weeks in Chicago.  While all my friends seem to be spending their time cleaning and organizing their homes, crafting, learning new languages and growing sourdough starters, it turns out that in quarantine I am still a slob.  So rather than magically transforming into a more productive person, […]

Quarantined travelers: these alleys are for you

I don’t own a car and I haven’t been on public transportation in over a month.  So I walk. I love walking and I especially love walking with HOB, though of course during this time of pandemic-avoidance walking comes with terms and conditions; no access to parks or the lakefront, we are advised to wear […]

Chicago’s north side bungalows: architecture for social distancing

Post WWI in Chicago, this was the dream: move out from crowded downtown apartment buildings to far flung neighborhoods, into bungalows. There are bungalow districts all over Chicago.  I live near the West Ridge Bungalow District and these photos are from the blocks around Talman and Arthur streets. (Pro tip #1: if you happen to […]