March 25, 2007


First all day bike excursion of the year. It feels like 100 years, condenced into five hours, a la Raintree County. I went to the car-laundry to get quarters and dudes were playing Frankie Beverly and R. super loud in line. Then I took the quarters to the gas station with the air hose for my bike tire. There was solitary dude there polishing his rims to ultra-loud R. as well. Post pump, I aimed towards United Center. The mega-block where they tore down the projects is slated to become a massive condo development; not sure if it's yuppie or CHA development. I liked that section of town best because it was half empty. Empty since that whole stretch burned in race riots 30-plus years ago. I wonder what it will be like when that block goes from empty to 200 bedrooms. Where will they park?

I turned down the wrong way street and had to be on the side walk and there was a grip of ladies in hats leaving the big church to obstacle around.

I turned down Washington, and two or three blocks below Ashland, I heard a drum corps banging away. I turned the corner to see whats going on and it's a uniformed jr high marching band loitering against a wall. Banging, tooting, sharing ear buds.
(Dreams do come true)
I got to the corner and stared at them a little, wondering why they are here and when I turn to look the opp. direction, all I could see--for blocks-- were blue and white floats, other marching bands and roughly 500 kiddos in traditional Greek outfits; pom pom shoes, tunics, embroidered vests. It was the Hellenic pride parade (my guess), and every Greek Orthodox school, parish, club, bank and community organization is out in their special outfits, milling and waiting for the parade to start, so they can get up on their floats. The traffic cop told me it started in an hour--I had time to get to the library and back and see it. I got to the library and hustled back as fast as I could. I wound up seeing the whole parade! Best part: the freedom fighters/resistance militia people who I think were part of a re-enactment society that had to do with a genocide in 1921 or occupation of Greece that I know nothing about. They wore super tight black outfits with bullet belts; like they were in From Ashes Rise.

I biked from there through the meat packing district, past Mr. City and Bee Jay Meat Market (whoa), then past the ADM mill, past a pile of curious CDs (Connells, Poi Dog Pondering) in a tunnel. Then on a crooked street up towards Wicker Crotch, I saw a dude eat shit on his bike and almost get mushed by a black Mercedes. He was ok. I gagged when he showed me his wound, which looked like a split banana, had already bruised and had gravel embedded in it. I went up towards the crotch and it was mayhem. Shirtless Wrigleyville style bros in wrap arounds yelling like they own the world, frost n' tip ladies and dudes in major vehichles were out in surplus numbers; also, an unnamed emo celebrity driving a black H3. Exiting the Walgreens, a young lady with a hair-down skaterbangs mohawk walked past me and smiled a huge giddy smile. She was wearing a super tight skirt with the tops of her stockings peaking out from underneath, her shirt read "I FUCKED YOUR BOYFRIEND" in old english lettering. She flounced like she'd taken walking lessons from Mr. Jay from Top Model. And I swear to gosh, it was the most disturbing thing I saw all day. Watching her tug down her skirt every couple steps, I felt like her mom. Then I just wanted to like, throw a burka over her like a Spidey net, and take her home and lecture her about how even though high school rebellion is a must, there is pletny of time coming up--her college years--in which to give it all away and dress like the dorm slut, and even be the dorm slut if she wants. I prayed that she is just in some Distillers style hardcore band and on her way to go play a show somewhere.

I feel like the world is coursening faster than I can handle sometimes.

Then! I saw JR on the street and we agreed to stencil Bayard Rustin t shirts later on.

Then, I saw on the wee median, the kid that played the organ all summer long--he was back out, now with an accordian. I requested "Moon River" and he said he didn't know how to play any songs at all. He was just out on the corner making people happy with the accordian, it's a mission, since he got arrested for playing the organ. He told me he's really doing it because, "obviously, this is the last summer that Wicker Park is going to really be Wicker Park, because, well, Filter is leaving"--apparently that will really seal the gentrification deal for him. Up until that point, I was thinking, I should do a story on his tender all-summer accordian initiative, until I heard that was his reason. His nostalgia for "the Wicker Park of two years ago" was enough to turn my stomach. (Wicker Park hasn;t been Wicker Park since they stopped finding bodies in the alleys c. 99. Boo Hoo, the cool shopping area is not very cool anymore! Tell it to the kids in Cabrini.)

I sped off, towards ice cream, towards home. I passed a "free" sale that had two toy xylophones and bunch of reel to real tapes each labeled "Comedy 1976" with a different month and two afrocentric candle holders. I didn't take anything, but appreciated the variety, to be sure.

When I got hom the neighborhood kids were on the corner unison-yelling "Honk!... Honk!... Honk!" --duetting along with a car alarm.

Posted by Jessica at March 25, 2007 06:44 PM | TrackBack