Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Cloud Gate Photos

Two weeks back I mentioned helping the man who had the seizure. Here are the photos in the proper order, the first being a shot with the Trump Tower in the background. Then I'm up close, doing the carnival mirror photo. The man was on the opposite side of the other person in this photo, but he was still standing with his cousins while I took the photo (trying to set it where I was the only one there, and I'll likely crop the photo soon). Then, here he is on the ground, after the cops and paramedics arrived. The two black girls had said the stricken man was their cousin, and they were terrified. I don't necessarily blame anyone for their inactivity, as before the proper help arrived, I was there with that fellow from Greece, a tourist. And yet it seems surreal, a man prone on the ground and, feet away, people photographing the sculpture, that one kid in the last photo mugging for the camera. I do believe that for the jaded Chicagoans there, it was more, hmnn, black guy in tattered clothes on the ground, seizures=drugs, because of course, that has to be it. I'll go on record, because I pretty much know which homeless people are grifters or (as Nelson Algren called them) stewbums, and I'll ignore them when it comes to handouts. That said, I don't care who it is, if they are on the ground having seizures or bleeding, I'm gonna help. Me and a tourist from Greece.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

And No Jury Would Convict Her

That third image is from Bobak's, by the way. I suppose I could write a haiku based on the first three photos, but if Betty White did indeed shoot me, I doubt if it would even go to trial. Because she is a better vigilante than she lets on.

Karma Goodness & Vampire Bunnies

Here is my April 28th entry for STORYTELLERS UNPLUGGED

Karma Goodness & Vampire Bunnies
Wayne Allen Sallee

I received an email from Amazon, just a few days after I had placed a few orders with them, it was a refund with the reason stated as “karma goodness.” This was the very first time I had purchased something from Amazon, I didn’t even know you had to register with them first, doh. I had made some money from my current writing job, and two back to back royalty checks allowed me to have more money than I have honestly ever had at one time. And so I used some of the dough to stock up on a few of my books that I’m down to my one reading copy, as I had sold several books when I was unemployed in 05 and 06. One of the books was my first collection, With Wounds Still Wet, and I grabbed a few copies of Getting Lost, which has a glossary I wrote for the television series, and Love In Vein, because people always want that book as it has my story involves strychnine enemas. I had to write an erotic vampire story and, yes, to me vampire eroticism=strychnine you know whats, because really, a story about a masochist who then can’t feel pain because he is turned into a vampire would make him do drastic things. And, yes, it is a love story.

So I get this refund, and her’s the dilly-o. This fellow Dave McIntosh was actually selling from his own collection, and thought it pretty strange that I was buying my own collection, so he gave me a chin nod on it. (I’ve got his address, and I’m still trying to figure out what to send him, besides the extra Shamwow I have). Well, the next day, I get an email from this other fellow about my purchase. Turns out he’s an editor and he invited me to be in an anthology centering around all the 2012 hoo-hah. So there I am thinking, ok, Amazon is, like, magic. Well, maybe more like Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur on Bewitched. A week passed, I had more copies of The Holy Terror, and I get another email, not from Amazon, but from an independent film maker in Los Angeles by way of Louisville. A name was thrown around but I’m not saying because 1/ the whole jinx thing and 2/ I’m not even certain I know the guy. All I’ll say is, it’s not Kurt Russell. And that is a bit of a disappointment to me. I’ve always wanted to get in good with that guy.

But what about the paying it forward part, you are asking. Two weeks back, I was downtown having lunch with Greg Loudon, then walked around Millennium Park taking photos. There is this magnificent sculpture, Cloud Gate, which most everyone calls the Bean. Because they are idiots. So there I was, taking a few photos, one with a decent reflection of the new Trump Tower curving like a robot finger behind me. Next to me is a black fellow and two young girls. As I am taking the photo, the man is reflected also, and through the lens of my disposable camera , I see him fall to the ground. Just crumple. One girl says he is their cousin and has seizures, but not epilepsy. It was our first hot day here, maybe 75 degrees. The guy’s lips were chapped and his legs just started bouncing off the concrete. Another fellow, a Greek tourist I later learned, came by and we held him down. Neither with cell phones, so I was doing the old fashioned “Is there a doctor here? Call 911!” Which, of course meant that I was ignored. I held his head up, the two girls were scared totally shitless, and turned his head to the left. Blood or cherry drink spilled from his lips. And then a cop on a bicycle showed up and called an ambulance. Sadly, that’s the end of the story. I have no clue what happened to the fellow, but I think I’ll always remember the look on the two girls’ faces as they clung to each other.

I mentioned royalty checks a few paragraphs up. The two big checks I get twice a year are for, well, vampire stories. One is more a novella. But I hate vampires, though they have finally been overshadowed by zombies. Yea, there’s Twilight and Anita Blake, but Permuted Press has a half dozen zombie novels on display at Borders. I got to thinking about those Somalia pirates–actually, I’ll bet we see piracy up and down the Mississippi soon, which is fine, as long as only the bad guys get hurt–and then recalled that there is a young adult series called Vampirates, which was a name I came up with in the 90s but filed it under goofy. One of my nieces told me of a book to buy her, Bunnicula. I thought about it, then said, no, can’t be. But there it was, a hardcover collecting the first three books about, yes, a vampire bunny. Who does good, not evil. So let the vampires stay on the bookshelves, I’m getting too old to question why there aren’t a bunch of werewolf novels out there. Yea, yea, Wayne, go ahead, write one yourself. Hello, Mr. Agent, I’ll have that werewolf novel for you, an updated version of Dog Day Afternoon, sometime around 2012. What’s that you say? Oh, right. That’s the year all the doomsday books will be out. Thank you, Mayan civilization. You ask me, I think the Mayans were vampires.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April, 1968

I should post this before April actually ends. I don't recall much of the riots after King died, we had moved from Humboldt Park to Ashburn in 1966. What I DO remember is June of 1968, when the Democratic Convention was here and my father and all of his cop friends were mixed up in all kinds of stuff in Grant Park. It was a tough two-three months here. The cops have batons now that are longer, lighter, and I guess hollow. I have the one my father had in the 60s and 70s. Short, much lighter wood, and damn solid. And my father had to swing it at quite a few people 31 years back. I realize that quite a few cops are bastards now, and I certainly believe that my father and his partners did their best, considering they were all on the job four or five years tops.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Words & Shapes

My post headings have been showing little imagination of late. A few blocks from the vinegar factory I found the beginnings of a new building. Then there were the two small storefronts next to the Salvation Army Thrift Store near my house. I took a few shots of various holes in each set of walls, this is the best one. Lastly, I just found the graffiti kind of odd, yet matching the general color scheme of the construction site. Sometimes I wish I knew how to describe how my brain works that I find these odd angles and color schemes. But I can't.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm Not Just Needed For My Brains

Doing much better today, everyone. I had emailed someone and mentioned that these how the shots felt back in the mid-80s. So maybe it was back to Old School (instead of Government Experiments 101) and my body is just to, ah, old to recall what old school felt like. I am indeed in much better shape than I was in the 80s and 90s, what I'm feeling now is just middle age stuff. Most of you have known me for decades, if only by phone or in print. Charles saw what my contorted body looked like in 1991. Sid saw my arm when it was still shattered, the thing with putting part of my hip into the forearm months in the future. So yea, I'm past that. Back to writing, no more waking hallucinations that last for six to eight hours.

And looking through the classifieds, I found a job that I don't even need a resume for. I wonder if I'll be needed as some kind of deterrent should the crime clown with the comic book knives shows up at the carnival side show...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Grab & Gulp, 1993

Two days later and I still feel like I've been beaten with rubber hoses because of those four injections from the masochists of Madison Street. Quite seriously, I go in and out of fugues where I feel as if I'm brain-damaged. I'm slowly getting to the point where I can type for extended periods of time. A few more visits to that place and I'll be like my friend here from 1993. You stop hearing from me, again, quite seriously, assume I've found legitimate health care.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Oh, The Places You'll Go

Do I have that Dr. Seuss title correct? Maybe if the book was written by Norman Bates. Here are some of the pages you might see in such a book. The cigar store Indian is at 63rd, the nameless hotel at 54th, then you switch buses at 31st. There's a bar called Tit's around 25th, the elevated tracks are at 23rd (one of my all time favorite photos, I took it in 1987). And then there's a building right off of Pulaski and Madison Street, which is Zero Street. After this you are officially northside. Look close, there's a man's body on the sidewalk there (this photo is circa 1990). I went and got my anti-inflammatory shots there today, its what you do when you don't have health insurance in this city.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Cloud Gate Incident

I was downtown today, it was in the high 60s. I enjoy writing in my commonplace book in the area around Cloud Gate, near the Art Institute. I enjoy background noise as I write, not the noise you get while on an el train, but noise in general. But before I had a chance to sit down, I walked around the bean-shaped sculpture, I think I started because I wanted to see the Trump Tower reflected in it, which you can't see in the 2008 photos I've posted. Here's where it got weird and almost tragic. I thought to take a photo of me at an angle where I looked about two feet tall, and as I'm taking the photo, a black teenage guy crumples to the ground. For all I know, the image is in my camera now. It was me and an Arab guy, me with no cell phone but a voice, so I yelled for a doctor or for someone to call 911. The guy had two younger girl cousins who were petrified. They said he wasn't diabetic, he just had seizures. His lips were dry, we turned his head to the left and he started coughing up blood. I don't really fault anybody because the way we were huddled, well, we could have been handling camera gear or even posing a photo. Its hard to explain, but in that area, you can see where it wasn't a don't get me involved attitude. A cop showed up and called for an ambulance, this took all of three minutes but it seemed like an hour. I hope the guy is well, and that the cousins know that people watch out for others. And I complain about my problems.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mitchum Shamwow Diorama

I'm assuming most of you had never expected to see those three words used together. And yet there they are. You see, I have purchased a box of Shamwow, and earlier tonight I realized that--right on the front of the box--there is an illustration that demonstrates how Max Cady could wipe blood stains away from a murder scene in CAPE FEAR. Also, as I am always Googling for more images of Mitch for my other blog, I came across the one from RIVER OF NO RETURN a few days back. Maybe its my having no depth perception, but doesn't this photo look more like a miniature model set, seriously? Probably just me, right? But, tell me Max Cady couldn't have used some Shamwow back in the day...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Photos That Scare Me

49th & Pulaski, Eat & Dance The Polka!

Capcom, I have no idea why Julie London is there, and as everyone seems to agree, Dan Duryea needs $53 for that call girl. Me, I'm thinking he needs the cabbage to go to a doc to be treated for an STD. Rich Nebula-winner Chwedyk emailed me and said that the green guy is indeed Doctor Solar, Man of The Atom, but face it, it looks like one of those phones from the future we always hear about. But "we" I mean me and my various aliases, Jonny Algiers, the Scarlet Corgi of 1966, Marlboro Spartacus Mitchum, those guys. Oh, and Thelonius Mel. He's new.

OK. Just before the Orange Line hits Pulaski Station at 51st Street, there's a cool patch of businesses going northward. This area is Archer Heights, the biggest Polish area left in Chicago, with many of the younger Polish folks moving to Burbank. So, if you can dig it, this building with the EAT sign has been closed for years. Yet, the sign remains. Further down is the Romantic Club, owned by people who have no intention whatsoever of having anyone repaint their sign. Again, been there forever. Polka music all the time, doors open in the summer. The kind of place writers like to write about. That's all for now, gang. I'm heading west into the black.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Can't A Guy Just Answer The Phone?

And, really, why is $53.00 a matter of life or death for Dan Duryea? There will be a quiz.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

48th & Oakley,McKinley Park

These are the two-flats I was looking for before I became mesmerized with the vinegar factory. I agree with Dave, I never really thought there were vinegar factories anywhere, I don't know why. There is a massive aloe factory further north on Western, it makes everything smell like soap.

The buildings I saw from the train were the ones with three different colors, then I came across the one by the alley, then the one with the cat in the window and the alien spaceship on the roof. My favorite is the walled up building with the crooked tree in front. Look at that tiny bit of plastic in the grass, you'd think someone would have taken it and flung it somewhere, I mean, what's it shielding? I wanted to wander more, even take photos of Wheatland Tube, but I needed to get that train and get to Midway, the end of the line. The buses suck on Saturday, I miss one, its an hour until the next one.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Two-Flats & Vinegar Vats

Last Saturday I was downtown and on the way home I got off the el at the Western stop. There was a specific set of apartment buildings I wanted to take photos of, at 49th between Western and Oakley. Well, I walked towards Oakley, and I could see the massive yellow Wheatland Tube Building further north; I'm walking east now, trying to catch which block these apartments are on. I'll post those tomorrow, but I never ever knew there was a vinegar factory right where the el tracks bend west again. Well, here it is, vats and all. I even took a photo of the apartments that were on the opposite side of the street. The buildings I was looking for were on 48th, so my walking down the wrong street was a bit of a happy accident. Except for the odor of vinegar.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Richard Schiedt Died Yestrerday

If you just count people from generation or the one before, this man's name and/or face was known by thousands of people. Most of you have known for many years how the core of THE HOLY TERROR came from the prologue that I based on the Our Lady of Angels fire on December 1st, 1958. It's the reason the word 'holy' is in the title itself, and when I attended St. Fidelus at Haddon and Washtenaw for kindergarten and first grade, quite a few of my classmates had an older brother or sister who had died in the OLA fire. Thhere's that infamous photo of Scheidt carrying dead Jimmy Janjkowski through the front hallway. He had retired to Oak Lawn in the 90s, so today I put on my graveyard suit, took the bus to 95th and walked a mile to a funeral parlor that really needs to have a shorter name. I walked to the casket and looked at the face of the guy I have my entire life seen in black and white. James Minnick died about a decade ago. Scheidt was 81, and I really don't believe any of the firemen on the scene that day are left. The firemen are all gone and they've taken the ghosts with them.