Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Old 8th District

The new 8th District cop house is big and practical, I'm sure. But on the outside, it looks like a new library, so of course I took no photos of it. I'd been in the old joint several times, visiting my dad. No, really. Visiting my dad. There was a pay phone just past the front door, then you did this half-turn as you walked up a few more steps, and then you had to be grilled by the watch commander. The empty parking lot looks sad. This is at 63rd & St. Louis, about halfway between Pulaski & Kedzie in our wonderful grid-pattern city. As I took thr photo of the parking lot, I saw the house with the wind vane at 63rd Place & Homan, a zig zag through the lot got me there. Another few blocks towards Kedzie I found this cool building--I'm sure the architecturally-inclined amongst you could tell me if that's Art Deco or not--and I took a far shot as well as one of the upper floor. That's a building to have a private detective's office slash apartment back in the 1950s.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Lois Lane Has Fetishes (And So Does Joe Shuster)

What a crazy dame she was during the Weisinger era, am I right, Bob? But the coolest thing is the fetish art by Joe Shuster, who created Superman along with Jerry Siegel. Sure looks like Lois putting the whip to Clark Kent on the cover.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cheap Seats

Tomorrow the Cubs come back to Wrigley Field for the end of the season. Two things my dad will watch, the Cubs and the Weather Channel. Better than some people who watch Fox News 24/7. The photos I've posted are taken twenty years apart. The ticket is for the first night game, which happened to be a rain out. The night games played a big part of why the signage and the rooftop bleachers kept growing. And still are. The last time I was actually at a Cubs game was in August 1986, a month before my dad had his first stroke. Before they added walls around the outfield, I was able to get off the el at Addison and sit there, watching the game and writing in my commonplace book. Often quite windy, but now all you can see is a sliver of the field. For me, this week is the end of summer, and I'll watch some of the game tomorrow with my dad in a detached, sleepy sort of way. The shadows are sharper, the afternoon sky almost orange.

An aside. I've made several posts about Telstar, not just the song by the Tornadoes, but the entry about the Telstar three-fold I received from Marty Mundt and after a few weeks, encased it in Mylar and sent it along to Capcom. I happened to be reading up on it yesterday, and this is what made me throw this entry together tonight. Telstar was set to transmit an address from President Kennedy for a few brief moments--this was July of 1962--and to fill the void, a few seconds of a ball game between the Cubs and Phillies aired. Then JFK. And, a few hours later, a nuclear explosion in the stratosphere, code-named Starfish Prime, fried all of Telstar's circuits. Our government at work. They actually make the Cubs look good.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Went Wrong?

Keeping this short as my keyboard's messing up, low on batteries. Actually got a lot done by handwriting, not typing. I had a bunch of photos I wanted scanned, and was able to complete that task as well. (I will let the spell-checker fix the words, as the n and c are not working. If that were the only problem, the space bar often does not work.) So I came across one I took of my dad circa 1980 or so, in the basement of our old house. I like that there are three of him in the photo. The reflection and the framed shot, which was taken in the parking lot of Old Chicago. That was a failed indoor amusement park, but you can still see the interior in the 1977 film THE FURY. So, there's my dad and then there's me. What went wrong?

Friday, September 25, 2009

63rd Street Skins of Buildings

I don't even know what they sell in the building with the Indian standing guard on the rooftop at the NW corner of 63rd & Pulaski. The eye care center is still down the next storefront, and there had been a cigar store there for decades. I believe it was a White Owl store, unless that brad of cigar is as common as, say, Old Style signs. Before I moved to Burbank, it had already turned into half tobacco sop/half crappy figurines in the windows. I have taken the opportunity to show how, if taken at the right angle, it looks as if the Indian has L'il Kaw-liga out for a visit.

The huge building on the NE side of the intersection is one of my favorite buildings, and I was always hypnotized on summer nights as I watched cheap window fans cranking silently in the upper windows. The third photo shows that First Lawn Bank was its anchor, but that had closed in the early 90s. I've written about an incident involving my dad, back when he was a cop, which occurred in this building. The story is called "This Old Man Came Rolling Home." The short end: an old guy died ad the neighbors called the police after a few days of not seeing him, my dad and a few other cops from the 8th found a paper about five days old, and the crime scene evidence showed that the guy likely fell and died in the bathroom. The funny (as in peculiar) thing was that the guy had two Dobermans, and they seemed quite content. That was because they ate the old man. Along with other bags of food in the pantry. The clincher was when one of the cops found a thigh bone hidden behind a couch cushion. The apartment is a few windows to the left of the shoe store sign, maybe three stories up.

I kept walking towards the viaduct at Central Park, to take photos of the old station house, and I'll post those tomorrow, along with pictures of what had been Traxx. I passed this bungalow where the owners seemed to have gone overboard with the lawn statues.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Rest of The Roll

Mind you, this roll was developed a few days before the next, which has the great photos of 63rd Street. The photos go all the way back to the comic convention, which was the first week of August. So let's just get this over with. It was creepy seeing Superman & Supergirl never separating, seeing as how they are cousins. There's a girl from Sin City, then The Black Cat & Spider-Man, whose penis seems to be just smaller than his nose. The other two photos are from when I went by Marty Mundt for some free books. I dropped the camera and got this kinda neat blurry deal, and the scary Christmas decorations are on the apartment next door. Tomorrow its on to 63rd...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sit With Me, Spit With Me

Before I go back to photos from 63rd, I have a few more from the so-called 'Black Helicopter' roll. Whenever I'm done having lunch with Greg, or if I'm in the Loop too early to head up to the Twilight Tales readings, I'll stop by Graham Cracker Comics and then walk across Michigan Avenue. The Cloud Gate sculpture, where that fellow went unconscious back in May, is north, but right there are these two wonderful waterfalls made out of spitting faces. Kind of. We've had a better summer this month than in all of real summer, and there were lots of people feeling the spray of the water in the wind. I'll sit away from the area if I am writing, otherwise I'll just take it like the rest of them.The faces are there all year round, and obviously do not spit in the winter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cemetery Melodrama & Tony's Car

New batch of photos, most from 63rd Street. This time around, between Pulaski and Kedzie. I'll get to a few of those during the week, but I am posting shots of the car in front of Tony's Western Wear. I would drive around in that thing. Until the cops pulled me over, I would scoot around in circles. The top photo is an oddity, though. The day I had lunch with Greg, I saw the cops in Evergreen Park talking with the bus driver. Looking out the window, I saw this lady pushing the stroller around somewhat aimlessly. Never made the news, the scene made me sad, mostly because I knew it wouldn't make the news, pure and simple. If it bleeds, it leads, and this wasn't one of those stories.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday Night Studs, Stags, and, ah, Shafts

Just clearing out some of the S's in my Pulp Fiction folder. Not much else to say here...

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Aladdin Ruins

I'm currently involved with a project called HOLLOWPOINT, with John Kewley, my co-writer on @JOYMOTEL. Set in 1965 LA and Chicago, I have to dredge up some period photos for reference. We used to have this massive amusement park called Riverview right in the middle of the north side. I have memories of the joint, thought it was demolished when I was eight. We never had a lot of dough, but it was a cheap day just to walk around. The highlight for almost everyone was Aladdin's Castle, with a maze of oddities, a rolling floor, a hall of mirrors, and such. But I came across the damnedest photo of the ruins. Aladdin himself was dismantled just about last, the front of it was simply wood, maybe acting as a sound baffler for the people who lived in the two flats across the street. The last ride I was aware of that was dismantled was the parachute ride, because in the early 70s you could still see the black monolith from the Tri-State Tollway. Didn't expect to be writing about Riverview tonight, but that one photo really did it for me...

Yes, That Was Me With the Dharma Initiative Cookies Walking Through the Deserted Subway and State and Lake

It's late and there's much more narrative I could add about my trip home and a chance meeting with an old friend as I was within steps of crossing the street to Sheffield Avenue. Tonight I went to what quite a few people, including Erika Olsen, the organizer on the Chicago end, was going to be a modest get-together of a bunch of people who enjoy the TV series LOST. Well, there were close to a hundred people at this thing, I talked with a woman from Charlotte and two guys from Grand Rapids, several others. The weather was amazingly well-behaved for late September, I was never cold in the least, not even that close to the lake in an open ended tavern. I wore my Omaha Streets & Sanitation shirt for warmth (the shirt has ZERO ventilation), and as I walked around, trying to find a place to sit, several people thought I had a cool Dharma logo shirt on. I never even thought of that and the damn show has been on since 2004. Anyhow, for once, I had an entirely enjoyable Friday night.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Do Not Attempt To Adjust Your Television...

...we control your surroundings. Or however the theme from Outer Limits went. Yesterday I went downtown to have lunch with Greg and talk about LOST, as he and Darcie have finally watched "The Incident". We joked about the helicopters in email, and there one was as I walked to the bus at 9:45. Then, in the Monroe Street subway, I looked for a phone, because I was early and wanted to pass it on to Greg that I was moseying around. Two phones did not work, more the norm here than not. And yet the phones still remain, some just the shells. The last one on the left worked, and as you can see, Donnie Rumsfeld must have gotten to the phone just before mwe to put that sticker on the receiver. Next thing you know, I'll see Rod Serling, David Janssen, and Bobby the Mitch chain smoking away, asking me why I won't accept that I'm part of the happy undead.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fullerton Beach

A week or so I rambled a bit on how hard it is to hang around the Loop at night, that was the night Twilight Tales was at the Fullerton Beach bistro, and instead of the Red Line, Mike and I took the Clark Street bus back downtown. I'm amazed at how well these photos came out, I took just these three, and the only photo I took in the Loop was of the Chicago Theater, where I then went underground to grab the Red Line there. It is so easy to take for granted that I live so close to a lake.