The DePaul | Lincoln Park Neighborhood of Chicago
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DePaul Street Coordinates: 2200 N to 2600 N
800 W to 1400 W
In heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park community, DePaul is located in the between Halsted Street and Southport Avenue (westward), & Webster and Wrightwood Avenues (south > north). The neighborhood is known and named for DePaul University and boasts a dense housing variety (single family limestone mansions, brick two-flats, condo conversions, new construction, student rentals, investment properties) and an endless selection of restaurants, cafes, theater, and cultural activities. Each July, DePaul is also ground zero for the annual Sheffield Garden Walk. Transportation nearby: trains (Red Line, Brown Line, Purple Line), buses (CTA) and a healthy flow of taxi cabs, livery, and Uber options.
R.I.P Chico Banks, Chicago B.L.U.E.S. Great
I stopped in for an icy shot of Blues this past weekend at, where else?... B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted Street. It's been my favorite live musical joint ever since parking my own U-Haul sideways in a Chicago alley one snowy December night some 13 years ago and unloading once and for all. Whenever things aren't low down, dirty, or tattered enough in my own life as a Chicago realtor, I just pop into B.L.U.E.S. for a reminder of how sad it really can be. On this
One man was missing though; in mortal body anyway. And if Chicago guitar legend Chico Banks was indeed in the room, which I believe he just may have been, it was in spirit and memory only. The audience learned from an overwrought Carlos Johnson that the 47 year old virtuoso had just unexpectantly passed away. Johnson gave a checkerboard bluesman's eulogy to a now hushed crowd, raised his snifter to the Heavens, took a sip of cognac, then immediately ripped into a 15 minute jam that tore the wallboards from the studs. And I mean that. Each musician in the tightly wound quartet tore...it...up. The dude on keys, the brother on bass, the monster on drums, and CJ out in front. Shredded it. I raised my own club soda from a stool against the wall in back and silently toasted Life in general. I got the fix I subconsciously came cruising for.
Women were crying. Men were choking. Big Time Sarah was howling on the floor. The crowd was emersed, swallowed by the sound and the soul of the Blues. And not the weak ass, watered down swill they serve up across the street at Kingston Mines but the real deal. The kind that comes out indigo when you cut. The kind that pumped through the veins of Chico Banks until a few days ago.
I snapped the shot of Carlos Johnson above (but I did not shoot the deputy)
A few years back, Mona and I attended a reception and screening of Chicago Writer/Director Steve Conrad's The Promotion starring Chicago actors John C. Reilly, Fred Armisen, and local art legend, man of letters and Facebook 'friend,' Tony Fitzpatrick). Sponsored by the Midwest Independent Film Festival, a Producer's Panel, headed by long time local movie mainstay Steve Jones, kicked off the non-socializing part of the night at 6:30 followed by the 85 minute semi-dark comedy. Conrad and Jones then held a brief Q &A before everyone, several hundred independent
The beauty of this sweet and funny film, for me, was not so much the clever dialogue and intelligent performances from a variety of local actors but the presence of the various Chicago settings in the frames; a south side grocery store at Greenwood and 55th Street, several vacant lots in gentrifying areas with new construction projects and crafty shots of the skyline in the rack-focused background (not the usual stock footage of the Sears, Hancock, Lakefront, Navy Pier, etc ...), interior settings of 1920's brick apartment dwellings and two-flats, and of course...the cadre of Chicago 'extras' on the street (and in the parking lot--rent the DVD which comes out this week and you'll see what I mean. Hilarious.).
The first Tuesday of every month a different independent film from Chicago (and the other Midwestern states) is featured. My suggestion though, is to inquire about passes in advance. At the ticket booth I was told there was only one ticket left and I reluctantly forked over $10 for it at the urging of my wife. "Don't worry. I'll get in," she promised as she wandered up to the guy standing behind the velvet VIP rope. A few minutes later she was back with a ticket of her own.
"How did you manage that?" I asked.
"I told them my husband was a writer. He asked me 'who's your husband?' I said Geno Petro. He looked down at his paperwork and said 'he's not on the list. What's his name?' I said Geno Petro...okay, maybe he's just a blogger. Anyway, he gave me a ticket for free."
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NEARBY DEPAUL NEIGHBORHOODS
Geno Petro | CHICAGO REALTOR®