Billy Goat

Goat.png

Cheeseborger Cheeseborger Cheeseborger, no fries, no Pepsi, Coke. That is the sound that echoes throughout the small, cozy tavern wrought with Chicago history. It was a personal mission of mine upon moving to Chicago that I would locate and visit the tavern responsible for one of John Belushi’s most iconic Saturday Night Live sketch. Boy, does it live up to the hype. The cheeseburgers or simple and traditional but in all of the best ways, they speak for themselves, no frills, just quality. Glancing around the room it is clear that this place is a tourist destination and it’s not hard to differentiate the out-of-towners from the regulars. I spot an older man, well into his sixties I would imagine, perched towards the back of the restaurant nursing what looks to be a glass of gin while everyone else in joint sucks pints from the tap. Looking at this man is almost like peering through a window to a different time, like he’s crawled out from one of the many pictures and framed newspaper clippings that clutter the walls. For a moment I entertain the idea of approaching the man and maybe striking up a conversation, but he doesn’t appear to be in the mood for company.

I cannot say for certain what it was that caused me to fixate on this one old man sitting alone in this crowded bar, but when he pulled out a pack of Marlboro reds and made his way outside. I finished my drink and decided I too, could go for a smoke. I abandon the company of my roommate and head outside into the surprisingly mild Chicago weather. I step outside, light my cigarette and notice the same old man still standing outside. I say nothing though we are just a few feet apart when eventually he breaks the silence. “Don’t you know these damn things’ll kill ya?” I chuckle for a moment, and shrug it off, “yeah I guess so” I reply, “I’m not to worried about it.” This is by no means the first time I’d be hassled about being a smoker, even from strangers, but it is the first time I’d been hassled by another smoker I’d never met. He continued asking me how old I was, I lied and said I was 21, he was 67. We bantered for a bit as he told me about how great the Billy Goat was way back when, I eagerly listened.

Eventually he finished his smoke, said goodbye and we parted ways. I never caught his name or learned his occupation, but he felt like the face of a Chicago I would never know. I returned to the slight discomfort of the green cushioned chair and the company of my friend, as we enjoyed a few more rounds before heading home. I clumsily stammered into an Uber my roommate had called before passing out in the back seat, not my proudest moment, but it seemed to conclude my night rather well. Luckily I remembered enough of the important parts to ink this dispatch.  (COS/Zac Polston)

HER CHICAGO CANVAS…

Maria awakened before the sun, tired and swollen from recalling what her life had been. Places, faces, names, and races bled through her memory like ink on white fabric before settling into unfamiliar shapes. She paced back and forth reflecting on her vision, values and mission before picking up a paintbrush and softly dabbing the ends of her brush into berry blue and rose red.

chi

Her choice of colors might seem odd, but you could tell by her face that they were significant, despite her struggle to manifest their importance on canvas. She stood there stuck, clueless, with no imagery.

(A tear fell)

In need of emotion, Maria let it run with hope that it would spark her creativity. She traced the path of the droplet as it ran pass her right nostril to the end of her right cheek, only to settle on the bottom of her chin where it dangled until another tear pushed it way.

Looking out the nearest window, she was distracted by long shadows and silhouettes of tall Chicago buildings and the rich colors of sunrise that outlined them. Maria questioned what she’d once been told about the sun being male, and the moon his companion. She couldn’t fathom anyone but a woman nurturing such an entrance and exit, without fail, in such magnificence.

Maria shrugged off the folklore, dismissively, as if she had decoded a simple mystery. Maria watched the sun complete its mural before giving in to the ever-present urge to be outside. Jacket on and shoes on feet, Maria ventured the streets of her new canvas. She was seeing Chicago for the first time in several days, as if being led by puppet strings with a tacit purpose. Driven by an inner whisper that she trusted, but couldn’t identify, Maria found her way back inside to tend to her business at hand.chi1

She pulled and rolled out her base with force, then began matching pieces of her work together with some sort of primal understanding she didn’t know she had until then. Her mind was locked on a speckled ovular shape, neglecting the berry blue and rose red, surprised by how the specks changed from grey to vibrant orange and yellow the closer she got to completing her project.

Before Maria completed her work, she carefully placed one last woven twig amongst the painting. She stepped back to admire her creation then proceeded to climb inside it to live in its everlasting beauty.

(COS/Ta’One Walker)

 

We Really Don’t Have to Smile

We are living nearly 100 years after women were granted the right to vote, but there still seems to be little sex equality. To the most socially unaware, walking down the street indicates that women are dying to be examined like garments of clothing at a high end boutique. Too fat, too skinny, too this, too that. When she hits the sweet spot for someone, oh boy they must not hold their tongue. It is perfectly appropriate to scream out of car windows or stop a woman in her tracks to tell her she is beautiful, sexy or a super smokin’ hot piece of ass. Instead, it is also warranted to let a girl know she is extremely ugly or shout something negative about her body because her actions were not centered around their convenience. If she dares to dislike these comments, and even goes as far to tell them this, there are three viable options. The first is to tell her she is really sexy when she’s mad, and remind her that feisty girls are a turn on. Additionally, mending a wounded ego can easily be accomplished by insulting her. If they feel so compelled, they may also offer her advice for how to react better to the next man. A great starter is “you know you’re prettier when you smile instead of act like a bitch!” Women should remember that harassment must be met with warm and welcoming arms.

womandontsmile

DNAInfo, Artwork: Tatyana Fazlalizadeh

We are left to wonder if people like these are simply ungrounded and uneducated. Perhaps they sincerely do not understand that their opinion on someone’s sexuality is neither wanted nor important. For those people, here’s a news flash: Women are not on this earth to satisfy men. On the other hand, it is also appropriate to wonder if their intentions are much darker than that. This exception lies mostly in times of impending danger. When a man disrespects a ‘no’ or continues to advance closer, there is a distinct surge of terror that takes over her heart. It beats like a wild bird hurling its body against the cage, desperately trying to break free. “You’re trained for this,” she thinks. Women are taught at a young age how to deal with these types of situations, because it is inevitable that the time will come. For eighteenth birthdays it is not uncommon to receive pepper spray as a gift because, you know, just in case. Repeatedly they are told to be aware of their surroundings and not put themselves in danger. Spreading the idea that these encounters are caused by something women are doing wrong places blame on the victims instead of on the perpetrators. Is society really more comfortable with teaching women how to protect themselves instead of teaching men how to be respectful? This is part of the reason self-doubt and yearning to please is instilled in young girls. If a man does not protect you, the alternate is for them to hurt you.

The character in Clowes’ Ghost Story is a great example of an interaction with a man she clearly does not want to be talking to. She tells her friend, “He talked to me for like two hours. He’s a total nut! He kept talking about himself” and describes him as a “grisly old con man”. Despite this, she entertains him for the two uninteresting and uncomfortable hours that he wants to talk. He even goes as far as to ask her exact birth date. She gives him this incredibly specific information, forsaking being comfortable in lieu of upsetting the strange character.

2016-11-20

Daniel Clowes, Ghost World

I can, unfortunately, imagine why she responds this way. Many of my friends tell me similar stories every day. I catch myself in parallel situations each week like it’s a customary part of my existence. The goal is simply to get out of the situation unscathed, attempting to not “upset the beast.” Regularly that means disregarding your mental health, because let’s face it; no one wants to talk to someone who is asking too many questions while shamelessly staring at your boobs. Yet if you don’t oblige, the result could be much scarier.

Another set of powerful comics by Sarah Becan exemplifies how objectifying women can destroy a woman’s mind and feelings of security. I really appreciate the way she illustrates and incorporates self doubt in her comics. By creating a recurring “smoky head monster,” she offers personification to the self-deprecation we all experience. In many instances, it works beautifully to show how quickly an outside interference can bring all of that negativity rushing back. In one of her comics, the character is ruminating about Facebook photos that make her feel insecure. After she reassures herself that her body is not an object to be judged, a man honks at her and shouts “get off the road you fuckin’ fat ass!” Almost immediately that dark little monster crawls back around her shoulders.

2014-11-05-return

Sarah Becan, I Think You’re Sauceome

In another comic, she talks about the social pressures heavily placed on women. She addresses the dark ghost after it harasses her about being “pretty” while applying makeup, saying,

2016-04-14-not-pretty

Sarah Becan, I Think You’re Sauceome

Those words are my very sentiments. It is not fair to the people who identify as female to live in a constant state of fear, gripping our pepper spray as we run to our cars in dark parking lots, wishing we had eyes in the back of our head. Our bodies are not products. We are not for sale and we are not created as objects vying for approving judgment. My existence is worth just as much as every other human being on this earth. If my sex and the way I dress doesn’t convey that, I suggest that you take a closer look at yourself instead. (Bella Crum/CoS Student)

Looking In, Looking Back

Unknown-2.jpeg

Childhood may very well lay within the straightedge sharp boxes of comics better than anyplace else, save for the very childhood spots that spark so much fear and wonder in us to gin with. Chris Ware captures the world of a very lonely little boy growing up literally in the shadows of Chicago’s 1893 World Fair, and we are allowed intimate peeks at his most vulnerable moments as though the black pencil borders of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth were the very frame of his bedroom window.

Comic strip writers know how to pack one hell of an emotional punch, they’re picky about their words, but choose wisely, and they understand that empty can have just as much meaning as full. Take the dreamy, winterscape wonderland panel, in which figures ice skate all about the foreground while evergreen trees trail upwards in the background. Much of this panel is mere white space, but its suggestion is a great expanse of snow, fun, and possibility. We feel, tangibly, the boy’s hopefulness, the brightness of his dreams, the endless potential that is palpable to this child, to the child within ourselves.

There is no white space like the comic white space in written literature. It simply isn’t possible in strictly prose form. Here, with the graphic medium, we dive into the snowbank in search of that misshapen lump of lead because the key is our visual empathy. Ware has crafted a series of panels that harken us back to youthful familiarity, often of a dark variety, that we cannot help but to identify with and imaginatively inhabit.

The Chicago depicted in this excerpt of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth looks little like the Chicago we know today. Yet we see traces of the Carl Sandburg poem, we see origins of now noted landmarks, and the architecture of the Gilded Age whose influence still resonates today. Clues lead us this way, deliberately placed by Ware throughout, but there is something too to not quite recognizing this unfamiliar, archaic world. It further evokes the feelings of childhood, when the world before us is big and strange, curiosity drives us ahead, and with every turn of the page comes something new and unsuspected. Perhaps this is why the comic book is the perfect looking glass for youth. (Brendan Eathorne/ City of Stories Student)

Seeing With My Own Eyes

http://www.trbimg.com/img-563b7c26/turbine/ct-prj-slaughterhouse-dominic-pacyga-chicago-stockyards-20151105

As I look out onto the vividly bright horizon, I watch as the sun drowns into the
blood-orange descent of another day, I remind myself of how lucky I am to be here.
Chicago is a beautiful city that roars; I describe the city to others, who have not been
fortunate enough to experience its unique essence as a misbehaving young adult
celebrating their twenty-first birthday at an open bar. The days are filled with avoiding
eye contact with other civilians on the streets and when riding public transportation,
however, the nights are filled with bright, flashing neon lights, food, and laughter. Much
like Jurgis and O na in The Jungle, written by Upton Sinclair, I immigrated to Chicago
and found that living i n a town of th ree to five million people isn’t as easy as others make it out to be. Jurgis is young, energetic, and in debt, much like myself. In 1904, Sinclair spent seven weeks working undercover in Chicago’s meatpacking industry to research for The Jungle, which seems to act as a political expose that addresses the conditions and the lives of poor immigrants. After my reading of Sinclair’s The Jungle, I went out to find one of these Meatpacking Factories to see if I could get some sort of inspiration to write this response. I boarded the Red Line train from Harrison; I got off the train at forty-seventh. Bus forty-three took me directly to the front gate of the Chicago Union Stockyard. The tall limestone structure topped with an ox skull, it’s thought to represent “Sherman,” a prize-winning bull named after John B. Sherman, a founder of the Union Stock Yard. When I arrived, I found a nice cedar bench residing under a large oak tree and sat down to re-read The Jungle. As I looked at the gate that once held the largest meatpacking facility in the upper midwest, I could only imagine the horrors defined by Sinclair, “There would be meat stored in great piles in rooms, and the water from leaky roofs would drip over it, and thousands of rats would race about on it.” (Jonathan Ochocki/ CoS Student)

https://i0.wp.com/unionstockyards.weebly.com/uploads/2/4/2/4/24240587/9576397_orig.png

Terkel

http://www.trbimg.com/img-57c885bc/turbine/ct-studs-terkel-biography-kogan-sidewalks-ae-0904-20160901

“Getting urbanized. I like this term. It means you have to learn the ropes,” opens Terkel before delving into his own transplant struggle with moving to the city. Born in native Nebraska as a Native American child, it was a complete contrast of worlds and to cross over proved to be somewhat of a learning curve, “just like a person moving out from prairie country into the woods.” He describes the extent of his urbanization by his trouble going to sleep without the city’s noise lingering in the night’s air, because silence is simply not found within the Chicago city limits at any time of the day. It may not be pleasant but one could, “at least feel confident that perhaps fifty paychecks a year,” would cover any troubles we as Americans encounter.

Being an American is something Terkel tackles throughout this article, delving into the business side of the country’s systematic labor work and economy. Dating back to the 1887, the Allotment Act the government had passed drove a wedge between the Native American populous, severely opening a gap of Indian youth who felt that they had no identity. If one did not become a farmer overnight but also could not stay true to their ancestor’s lifestyle and tradition, what are they to become? What pride can an individual hold if they know not who they are?

Like Terkel writes, I am very fortunate to have grown up inside the city scape setting since a youth. Many Mexican children are brought onto American soil after there are conceived in their home countries; this situation itself is already a dilemma for their acceptance and compatibility in American society. It becomes necessary to know one’s roots to have a foundation to build character upon, and this makes me eternally grateful that I also had the opportunity to visit my parent’s home country of Mexico growing up, often twice a year whenever school holiday breaks allowed us to trek back to the motherland.

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.10494.1313661755!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/gallery_1200/gal-deaths-06-jpg.jpg

Terkel also mentions in the beginning of this article how it is an absolute necessity to have some sort of goal to aspire towards when living in the city and to not have one might drive someone “mad.” I find this reality impacting so many troubled youth, wandering through the city aimlessly and with no real ambition. Simply satisfied with having superficial meals in our stomachs and being fed the latest pop culture, many know not of their greater purpose not only in the city but on this Earth. When one is stripped of all historical knowledge and ethnic awareness then they consume everything plated in front of them; a Native American knew exactly what they were consuming because they hunted and preserved their game. The notion here is that one should never be satisfied with where they are and who they are told to be. There is a poem by  Keorapetse Kgositsile that ties this idealism I’m trying to draw together with a few powerful words. It goes:

“Though you remain

Convinced

To be alive

You must have somewhere

To go

Your destination remains

Elusive.” (Isidro Pacheco/ CoS Student)

Gato in the City

picture1a

So, it’s once again time to write my dispatch and I am sitting down staring at my computer trying to figure out what to write about and talking to my mom on the phone about what I should write about. And, then my mom says, “Anna, you’ve had tons of experiences. What about the crazy adventure you went on to get Gato?” And, I look down and he’s sleeping on my bed right next to me and I knew that that was what I was going to write about. So, here we go.

Last month, one of my apartment mates came into my room and said “we really want to talk to you about something, can you come out into the living room.” So I shut my laptop and went to our living room. Both of my apartment mates were sitting down, it looked like an intervention. Then they announced that they wanted to get a therapy kitten for my roommate, and would I like to go to the shelter with them to pick it out? I was totally against the idea; but, they were going to get a kitten whether I liked it or not. So, if I went, at least I could be involved in the picking. So, we took the Red Line to Grand and walked to The Chicago Anti Cruelty Society. We got there late so it was kinda dark and not very lively. We signed in and went into the cat room, we walked in and saw crates just full of kittens and cats, mostly kittens. We saw two that we really liked and took them to the playroom. After playing with the kittens forever and finally deciding on one, the adoption time had ended. So, we needed to come back the next day. But, when my roommate and her boyfriend went back the next day, the kitten was gone; actually all of the kittens were gone. I had warned them that kittens go fast and they needed to get there early. So back to the drawing board. I got on my computer and called many a shelter until I found one with three kittens. Then the following Thursday my roommate and I went there. We got on the Red Line again, and since my roommate was the navigator, I honestly don’t know where we got off.  (I looked later, and I think it should have been North Claybourne).  Anyway, we started walking. After walking for about 15 minutes we realized we were going in the wrong direction, so we turned around (after cursing at google maps), and started to walk the other way. We passed through Germantown, with families outside and kids on swings, while my roommate described the yearly apple festival that happens there. She had gone with her boyfriend. We walked through large shopping areas where people were so busy and hurried, and then through neighborhoods of small apartments, expensive small boutiques, and newly wealthy twenty somethings (maybe Bucktown). Finally we were at the shelter! But, turns out you need to be 20 to even touch a kitten at the place. So after looking for two seconds, we left, disappointed. But not so disappointed we didn’t enjoy the walk back through the neighborhoods back to the Red Line stop.

picture2a

Back at our apartment, we called The Anti Cruelty Society to see if they had gotten any more kittens, they did. So that day my roommates and I made a pact that we were going to make sure we were coming home with a 2 month old kitten (the age they put them up for adoption) the next day. We were going to get there early, and make a decision. I was the first to get there. The others were running late and I wanted to make sure there were some kittens left. So, I once again hopped on the Red Line road to Grand and started to walk. But, because I am directionally challenged, I immediately got lost. I was turning right then left then right again, I felt like one of those mice you put in a maze to see if they can get out, it was so annoying. So, I finally just took my best guess and turned around and just walk strait. There is a plus to getting annoyed and lost though, it forces you to look. I just kept looking up from my phone to make sure I was on the right street, looking a street addresses to see where I was. So, I got a good look at what turns out to be the River North neighborhood.

There were people everywhere, tourists, natives, families, business men, vendors, etc. Everywhere I looked it was just a wall of people with hands full of shopping bags, briefcases or strollers. Each side of the street was just full of shops, grocery stores, restaurants and people were just packed in the door way like a bunch of sardines. There were men and women set up on the streets trying to sell stuff and ask for money. One guy asked me if I was thinking about remodeling my kitchen and if I would consider bla-bla-bla company for the job. Now, why you would ask an 18 year old college student with a backpack if she was thinking about remodeling her kitchen is beyond my understanding; but, it was so interesting to see this environment versus the quiet street corners of Germantown and the swanky boutiques near the other shelter. The last time I came to The Anti Animal Cruelty Society I hadn’t seen all this because it was very late and the streets had gone dormant.

picture3a

While taking in the sights, thank gosh, it turned out I went the right way. I had walked straight to the shelter. I walked in and, just like on the sidewalk, there were tons of people inside,  as well as a symphony of barking, meowing, the screaming and laughing of children, and the ringing and picking-up of phone calls –, “hello Anti Animal Cruelty Society this is blank speaking how can I help you?” There were young couples looking for a small pet, big families wanting to get their first pet or replace one, and in my case a silly trio of teenage girls with a roommate that needed a therapy animal. I signed-in my group and just decided to stare for a while. There was this massive platform, and huge and small dogs were walking crossing it in every direction to either get groomed or see their new family. It was like a doggy highway leading to all the essential doggy spots above the lobby area. And there was a staff member directing the doggy highway so nothing collided. There was a garden outside where families were playing with the dogs from the shelter. And, I hadn’t notice on the first trip just how pretty the shelter’s lobby was. It was, full of cut outs of all different kinds of animals, bright yet soft colors, and all these cool arches. I finally snapped out of it, and went into the cat room. Once again (no surprise given everyone’s lateness) there were only a couple kittens left. I rapidly texted my roommate, saying you need to hurry up there’s almost no one left. So, they stepped on it, and before I knew it we were looking at and playing with kittens.

picture5a

But, there was one kitten that my roommate kept drifting toward his name was Ernie, and I knew he was coming home with her. So I didn’t see the point in sticking around playing with other cats, and I left. I went back to my dorm and started doing my homework. About half an hour later, I hear laughing. I go outside into the living room, and I see nothing. I thought don’t tell me they left without a kitten again. Then I look again, and there is the two month old kitten named Ernie (I’m thinking I knew it). He’s running around like a madman. He was so cute. How can you not instantly fall in love with a kitten (well maybe if you’re allergic you don’t). Only problem, we all hated the name Ernie. So, he needed a new name. Everyone except my roommate and her boyfriend said don’t pick Gato  (which, of course, means cat in Spanish), it so cliché and unimaginative. But, my roommate is Mexican and her boyfriend is Austrian, and they thought that the whole language, play on words thing was great. So, they picked the name anyway. So we have a cat named Gato. Getting him meant doing a lot of  “L” riding, and getting lost.  But, it was worth it. I saw a lot more of Chicago, and it turns out having a cat is kind of nice. Gato has now left my bed, and I hear the bell on his collar in the hall. A sound I kinda like. But, no dogs named Perro. (Anna Paliga/ CoS Student)

Chicago

picture1p

In the wake of the elections and the political climate we are descending into everyone is on edge and worrying about what to say or not say. people are posting on Facebook complaining about who won, shaming people who pose their opinion, and trying to cope with the results of the election. In the midst of all this people are eagerly awaiting tracks and albums from their favorite punk bands in response to the political goings on.

My band decided we needed to take a stance on what was going on right now and with a gig coming up at a Vans shoe store we decided, that would be our opportunity. We walked to the  gig and in doing so encountered a group of protestors chanting and marching through the streets. We talked to a few of them about why they were protesting, they all had the same message, “we aren’t protesting the results, we are doing this to show that we are not going to stand for any injustices under his presidency.” after a few minutes we depart, tonight we are going to debut a new song about the south side of Chicago.

We arrive at the store and get set up for the gig the performer before us did a spoken word performance about Trump and her view of him through the eyes of a black gay woman student in college. Now it’s our turn, we step up and Gardner says a few things about the song, people start to nod their heads as we prepare to start. As the song progresses people start to stop their conversations and look towards us, Gardner’s voice starts to build and we follow suit until finally the climax of the song where he turns to us and tells us to stop playing. He steps off the stage and looks around at the thirty or forty people crowded in this little store, the silence is deafening, at long last he opens his mouth and starts talking about this election. Stating that it doesn’t matter who won or lost because none of that changes the fact there are still people struggling to make ends meet in our very town. It isn’t us versus them it’s us versus ourselves and us versus violence. As he talks phones are drawn and recording him the manager and employees of the store are following everyone’s lead. As I watch him speak I realize that we aren’t witnessing just someone talking, this man has been shaped by Chicago, he breathes and bleeds Chicago. I’ve never seen a city shape someone the way that Chicago shapes our youth and the way our youth shape Chicago. Chicago is more than a city, Chicago is a way of life. (Patrick Tomlin/ CoS Student)

Clothes and Curiosity

This past weekend, I left the world of crazy politicians, Harambe memes and nervous Cubs fans as I knew it, and I went back in time to the 1900’s where the jewelry was flashy and the style was classy. My best friend came along with me for the journey, and now I cannot wait to bring other friends on the same adventure.

picture1m

I was home for the weekend to visit my high school and other friends in the area. My best friend Christy and I were hanging out Saturday, and she told me she found this store that she wanted to take me to. All she told me was that is was an antique store. Our favorite thing to do is shop, so it didn’t take much convincing for me to put the car in drive and head on over to Antique and Resale Shoppe on Harlem and Touhy. From the outside, it didn’t seem like much. It looked small and had some colored paper with various items as it’s window display. Once we walked in though, I was transported to the 20’s through the 70’s. There were shelves everywhere. So much so that my light coat and scarf sometimes knocked things over on the shelves and tables. There were pictures wall to wall, cases with jewelry and other items, small racks layered in thousands of pearls, and aisles that completely filled the small establishment. The shop was pretty empty with customers, but so crowded with stuff my eyes didn’t know where to land. As we listened to the smooth jazz playing from the radio, Christy and I went up and down the tiny aisles in awe of all the treasures.

picture2m

You can find anything at this store. There are piles of gold and pearly jewelry, diamond hair combs, old horns, family photos, and various clothing items. The great thing about this store is their authenticity. There is nothing modern there. Everything is truly vintage and simply beautiful. It was as if every story your grandparents told you came to life in this store. As I went up and down the aisles trying to find somewhere for my eye to land, I kept imagining the stories behind some of the objects. There were old mirrors with delicate gold handles that I imagined only the classiest lady to use while pinching her cheeks. There were bins of old family photos to be looked through as well. The people in the pictures didn’t have names, and they ranged from portraits to nude photos that you can only imagine were sent from sea to shining sea during the war. There were also old lighters and knives that I could see being passed down from my grandpa to his kids. One of my favorite sections was this set of glass drawers that had everything from old watches to novelty pins. It is organized so perfectly, yet it looks so busy. I also enjoy this one little section in the back of store that is for women. The clothes are organized by event, not size. You decide if you are going to dress as a lady in red, or perhaps you need an outfit for “an affair to remember”. There are old gloves, hats, feathers and lingerie as well. Then in the men’s section there are bow ties, suspenders and dress shoes. On my way to a degree in fashion design, my heart melted as I saw clothes that embodies high class and sophistication. Me being in my army jacket from target with ripped boots and plastic Forever 21 sunglasses, I yearned to try on everything they had.

picture3m

This is the kind of store you stumble upon by accident, which is exactly what Christy did, and then you leave with a whole new attitude. Seeing this shop decked out from ceiling to floor in vintage jewels and objects, I couldn’t help but think of my grandma. I saw photos of men at war and thought about how my grandpa would send her pictures from when he was stationed in Korea. I saw fur stoles and classic pearls and dresses and imagined women being escorted by handsome men to parties and nightclubs where you leave with romance and not regret. Every inch of the store was filled with memories dancing around the aisles. I think the things I appreciated most were the jewels and clothes that were in near perfect condition. The women who run the store have an eye for quality and they keep their standards high. Everything is clean and well taken care of. Learning about the fashion industry, I now know that people today buy things on the cheap so that they can keep up with trends, they don’t buy things for their quality or style. Then, after 3 washes the soft touch of the fabric goes away and those items sit in our closets until they are eventually discarded or thrown in metal donation bins. Back when our grandparents were young, clothing and other accessories were big purchases. Things were bought for their incredible quality and classic style, and they were meant to last. Those things were then taken care of with great pride, and the lasted for decades before being handed down. People didn’t just buy things to have temporarily like we do today. Now, those things hang neatly on hangers waiting to be purchased and given new life all over again. There was so much more appreciation for how things were made in the early 1900’s and it shows in its quality years later. My grandma would tell me stories of her mother’s jewelry and how she still has some of her favorite pieces. The whole time we were in this antique shop, I felt like I was in her attic watching her and other people’s life story unfold right in front of me. It was as if I was super little again playing with her old costume jewelry and silk slips and scarves.

picture4m

I did not expect much from this store when I first saw it. I thought it would be a dingy overpriced antique store, but I was so wrong. This tiny shop is now home to hundreds of memories and stories that just sing when you glide your hand down a rack of clothes or when you flip through old pictures and postcards. The chaos of the aisles makes for quite the ride, and Christy and I spent half of our time yelling from across the store “come look at this!” By the time we left, a couple hours had passed and we felt a sense of nostalgia for an era we only dream of living in. I cannot wait to back into the store because I know I only saw a small fraction of the inventory. I would encourage everyone to take a visit to the Antique and Resale Shoppe, and I hope that one of these weekends I’ll get to take my grandma along with me. (Maria Varela/ CoS Student)

Cultivating In The Midst Of West Town

picture1j

Cultivating in the midst of West Town, between the intersections of West Chicago Avenue & Grand and Ashland & Augusta Boulevard lies the Ukrainian Village. A quiet city-hybrid suburb with a peaceful population and empty shops, filled with nothing but memories of the booming town before. How did I wind up here? The detour was about 45 minutes out of my regular commute. I was following this man; wait, hold up, it was for a class assignment. “Go around the city and observe an individual, transcribe their defining traits to create a character for a fiction film.” So, basically it was my homework to around the city and stalk someone. When I found him he was sleeping, contorted in a small wheelchair, residing between a small hipster coffee shop and the building where someone had tried to solicit money from me the night before. The man had long grey hair and wore a large oversized camouflage jacket; he seemed interesting enough. I tossed five bucks into the sixty-four ounce Seven-Eleven Slurpee cup wedged in the spokes of the wheel. I observed him through the tinted glass windows of the coffee shop while drinking some shit, overpriced pour-over they offered me. I was on my way out of the door, he woke up just before I had given up. I watched as he tried to solicit money from passing citizens. The craft, he nailed down to a science, he only confronted the business men and the groups of women; they seemed to be the only ones to give into his tactics. From the looks of it he made around twenty to thirty dollars in the span of an hour. The time was getting late, the sun began to make it’s blood-orange descent into another day. He tried several times to get onto the 66 bus towards Oakley. I pushed him onto the bus and paid the two dollar fee for his transit. He didn’t seem to appreciative, considering he yelled at me for assisting him with his wheelchair. Another thing to write down, a defining character trait: Independence. I rode past several bus stops, glancing out the scratched-up vandalized window of the bus, I noticed a few interesting shops and restaurants. By now, it was around eight. The homeless man I assisted onto the bus was asleep and I had enough textual information to script a fictional character. I requested the bus stop around the LaSalle Station for the Blue Line. From the moment I stepped foot off the bus I was attacked by the rich aroma of chocolate and fresh baked bread; It was the type of smell that could bring cholesterol to your nose. The sun had finally drowned below the horizon, leaving only a pink pastel borealis in the evening sky. I proceeded to walk up and down the streets, trying to discern where the sweet smells were residing. Chasing the aroma lead me to a bakery called Ann’s, a brushed grey cobblestone exterior welcomed the hungry customers. I had walked into the belly of the beast, when you open the door the scent of sugar and pastries puts you into a hypnotic diabetic trance. The disrespect displayed from the owners of the bakery towards their employees and customers was somewhat rectified by the deliciousness of their baked goods. I left the shop and started walking West, through the rest of the Ukrainian Village. You would think that the streets would be empty around 9:30 at night, but the Village couldn’t have been more alive. Young children, romantic couples, senior citizens, and the business type were all brought together by the same commonalities; friendly intimacy and the love of food. I ate at a small table near the center of the restaurant. The waitress had a beautiful scandinavian accent, which felt a little odd considering I was dining at a Ukrainian Kitchen, Tryzub. Without looking at a menu, I asked for her to bring me the Chef’s Special. What a risky move on my part, I have only had Ukranian food only a few times, I had no idea what I had just asked for. Twenty minutes later, she serves me a small soup platter with two chicken legs protruding from the lid. I uncovered the dish, Chicken Paprikash. You’re joking, right? The Chef of a Ukrainian Kitchen’s prize dish is of Hungarian descent. I can tell you with the utmost certainty that it was the best Paprikash that I have ever had, in my life. The Chef’s ample use of paprika, subtle hints of onions and eggs, made it an incredibly well rounded dish. I sent my regards to the Chef and went on my way towards the Blue Line trains back Home. I had an amazing caloric filled night, riveted with laughter, good food, and connecting with plenty of nice people from the Ukrainian Village. If you ever find yourself on the Blue Line trains towards O’Hare, or just wondering where to spend your night out; Visit the nice people of the Ukrainian Village, laughter and good food awaits. (Jonathan Ochocki/ CoS Student)