Monday, August 30, 2010

63rd Street Viaduct

Yep. That was the dividing line. Whites would keep those black people on the other side of Damen. That yellow viaduct looked a lot bigger when I saw it as a kid, in the dead of winter. A few blocks east is Ashland, where I took the other shots. Several of the Bethel church are of a story unto itself. Damen to Western, white flight is a funny and stupid thing. Our old neighborhood, 85th & Pulaski, went from white to black in eight years. And now they are being pushed away from the Mexicans.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Been awhile since I posted on 1111, right?

Well, Sid sends me a link to Jon Stewart running that Ferengi-looking guy from Texas, Gohmert, and, well, you can see the C-Span time stamp. I'm posting photos to a shared Chicago account on Flickr, 2 shots a day. Well, damn. Then I went to the Printers Ball with Ileana on July 31st and not only did my photos, as uploaded to Flickr, turn out to be **** in size, but dig the crazy cigarette machine. I know its cheating a bit, but take out all the zeros in the middle. I'd been putting this off, but Ferengi Gohmert tipped the scale.

Skull Rainbows, Asian Girls, and Dwarf Strippers

My August 28th entry for Storytellers Unplugged
Skull Rainbows, Asian Girls, and Pregnant Dwarf Strippers
Wayne Allen Sallee
28 August 2010

I’m still reveling in our incredible summer, which is still producing 90 degree temperatures and, for the first time since high school, I have actually walked the shores of the North Avenue Beach and Fullerton Parkway, the latter where my mom and dad hung out in the 1940s, before the museums and the bike paths and twenty dollar for four hour parking lots. I have written nearly 70K on my novel, Proactive Contrition, because of our heat, staying awake until 3 AM makes me feel immortal as I listen to Stan Getz and Max Roach, only rarely having my concentration broken by verbal confrontations between the crack house people and the Polish Insane Popes gang members who live across the street from each other. Ah, the suburbs of Hell.

This whole thing with the mosque being built near the “hallowed ground” of Ground Zero? All I’d really like to know is who owned the property and who then soled it, start yapping at them. Everyone seems to have forgotten the Murrah Building in 1995. I suppose it is because Timothy McVeigh was white and from the US and not some Muslim with a gripe. I’m pissed that Ground Zero is an empty lot going on a decade, and the same goes for the spot where Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. Anyhow: that’s my political statement for the year, thank you for listening.

You guys like my wacky anecdotes, right? Well, last Friday I had an opportunity to attempt a blind date “meet” with a nice Asian girl who is 31, coffee, jazz club, yea me. Then she emails me and said to meet by the Macy’s at 6:30 PM. She must think I have a mobile device, but I’m at home and it is 5:23 PM. Fine. I’ll try, what man wouldn’t? I’m at the bus stop, a cab pulls up. The guy says he’s off duty, he is shirtless, shoeless, and has about eight teeth. And likely younger than the Asian girl. Hit the Orange Line el train at 5:47, not bad considering this guy had the scent of Pabst Blue Ribbon coming out of his ears. I’m off the train at the first stop, by this giant eye sculpture on Van Buren (look some shots up on my Flickr account, wayneallensallee, and prepare to be creeped out) and run seven blocks north. 6:37 PM. And, oddly enough, there are Asian women everywhere, many of them looking at a man selling CDs of harmonic music from a huge black box. Now, the girl was being coy but I told her I’d be wearing a blue shirt with an atom on it (yea, Salvation Army), and I swear she made eye contact with me. I think a bit taller than me, black dress, carrying some hardcover book. It was her, I doubt anyone else would stare, thinking, hey, that’s the shirt I just gave to the Salvation Army! That guy must be a hobo! Well, she scurried away, perhaps worried that I was ready to drop dead from old age. But, let me tell you, this is the last time I look for dates in the Pennysaver.

Last month, I flew my niece Ashley down to Kentucky for the Fourcastle concert, kind of like our Lollapalooza, only much more organized. She’s my godchild, and will turn 18 one month from tomorrow, and though no one else in my family will admit it, I pretty much got her to break up with her douche of a boyfriend, a future Maury Povich candidate. The first day, we walked up to an old Civil War museum, one guy had actually fought in the Revolutionary War, and the sad thing was that you could leave the plot of land, walk down a dirt path, and be at the loading dock of a Wal-Mart. That night, I bought a copy of The Crazies for Ash, and we watched it and were pleasantly creeped out. I recommend the film, and I was impressed by the camera angles. She slept on the couch and I had this heavy Korean blanket–one of my cousins married a gal when he was in the Army–which is about as heavy as those plastic bibs the dental assistant tosses on you before you get x-rays. Come morning, I was folding the blanket, And the sheer weight of it made me fart like the tugboat at midnight. I’ve never seen my niece’s eyes wider (until, a month later when I told her group of friends that I got a hernia after getting a lap dance once). I don’t think I’ll pass gas like that until my bloated dead body is found one day and a rookie cop picks my corpse up the wrong way. So the next day she is at the concert, and what do I do? I go down to the strip clubs with my cousin Danny, the ones near the Ohio River, the better to eat you with. I love downtown Louisville, because we don’t really have one. It was in the high 80s at three in the morning, the girls just hung outside, smoking. As I’m putting a dollar bill into this girl’s g-string, she mentions–at that exact moment–having danced to the song that was playing while at pep rallies in middle school. I wanted to smash my bottler of generic 7-Up and jam the shards deep into my throat. A few years back, I saw a dwarf stripper. And she was about eight months pregnant. I thought if she had a Swiffer on her, she could have dusted the joint. But there is a melancholy moment to be had here. As I said, the girls could stand outside in their I Dream of Jeanie costumes, and this one girl had come outside because a bunch of college kiddies had shown up. My cousin Danny vouched for me being a good guy, plus “Doc Chicago” would have a lot in common with someone who was born in Mount Prospect, out by O’Hare. We talked about how the Loop had changed, our ex-Gov. Rod. The girl told me she was afraid of strangers, i.e., the frat guys. Here’s why: her father had shot her in the head in 1988. She showed me the huge crease which is covered by her long, blond hair. A part of her ear missing. And then we went on talking until the sun came up, lights in apartments going on as people readied themselves for work. An overweight black guy rode by us on a bicycle with a stack of newspapers. And separate lives continued into another day.

I never did get around to Skull Rainbow. That ’s because of me going off on tangents, as I do throughout the novel, but the gist of it was that, long ago, Sid Williams and I actually wrote a story while at the World Horror Convention in Nashville, 1991. The setting was the Crown Plaza and we even included the infamous Huddle House restaurant, a dubious title at best. Sid has his own stories from his days as the entertainment reporter for a Louisiana newspaper, and how every week this teenager would call his extension to ask which episode of The Incredible Hulk was airing that Friday. Better than Airwolf, at least. But CrossRoads Press will be offering Sid and I the chance to have our four co-written stories together for the first time, in audio form.

And that’s that from my listening station out here in Burbank, just five blocks from the beautifully crappy and extremely bigoted Southwest side of Chicago. Everyone have a safe Labor Day, and when next we meet, I will be have outlived Rod Serling.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pleasure Lake

See the bottom photo? I'm at 111th & Roberts Road, and need to walk down to 107th. I'm in Hickory Hills or Palos Park, I dunno. I pass the slop to the left, then the slop to the right (there were two more bridges with nothing but trees in view), and then I see the sign for Pleasure Lake. Ladies and Gentlemen, I again welcome you to the south suburbs of Chicago.

Monday, August 23, 2010

I know I've been fast and loose with these posts lately, but I'm really in the groove with the novel, 66K and counting. So what we have here tonight is yet another slap in the face by the pay phone industry, a pigeon asking me what I intend to do about it, Klitz's Bakery at 63rd & California ready to become history and The Marquette Bank at 63rd & Western flat out lying when it said it was 100 degrees last Friday.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

California Wash Sign 2009, 2010

Glad I was able to get that first shot. The two (well, three) photos were taken just under ten months apart.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Otto V. Stransky & Son Funeral Parlor

What a neat sign and, I tell you, there are places where you just don't know if the place is closed or what. This place is at about 51st & Western, I got off the el and decided to walk south a few blocks. The funeral home was as cool looking as it got, past that were some newer businesses and then apartment buildings. I like to think that this old place still has secrets and that's why the property isn't up for sale.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

One thing I find strange about California Avenue is that it will narrow to what amounts to a residential street, buses going north or south. All buildings are two or three flats and stop just short of Cook County Jail, at 26th Street. (Cermak Road is 23rd Street.) I posted the shot of the cleaners because of the ornamentation. I'll assume that the building might have been a VFW hall. And in answer to Bad Boys Bad Boys, What You Gonna Do? You go to New Happy Chop Suey, of course.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Pouring A Drink.wmv

More Photos: Cermak & California

There were lots of painted doors like this in my old neighborhood and the back porches were just like the one i posted here, visible from the el tracks. I love that that red door leads to nowhere.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Carmak Road

On one of the days I left Holy Cross Hospital, I took the California bus to Cermak, which is a decent artery that is about 2300 South. In fact, the borders of my Chinatown photos show the tail end of Cermak. I took a ton of photos, most are on my Flickr page. Cermak is the heart of the Mexican neighborhood of the Southwest side, and I found it interesting to see a toy store next to a pawn shop, that freakish hair salon display, and--right in the middle of the block, no  real sign or anything--a bus terminal with a Chicago-Mexico route. Being used to Greyhound, it just seemed odd, more like people lining up for an outing to a casino in Michigan City.

Oh, and dig that mortgage place. They must have been doing great business.