Monday, May 30, 2016

Street Art In Chicago, Wabash Art Corridor's Big Walls Project

This spring ChiTownView has been exploring some of Chicago's public art offerings with the focus has been on three areas. Cemetery art in particular historic Gracelandcemetery and gangster heaven Mt. Carmel in suburban Hillside. The Driehaus Museum of Stained Glass which is a beautiful collection of Comfort Tiffany art glass at Navy Pier. The latest and most extensive exploration has been Columbia College's Wabash Art Corridor and it's Big Walls project. This has transformed the blank walls of Chicago's south loop into an outdoor gallery of street art.

So far I've posted six videos featuring more than a dozen different murals scattered from the heart of downtown to Roosevelt Rd. The largest and most impressive work is located in the heart of the loop. It is Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra's eight story high mural of blues giant Muddy Waters. You'll find it by standing at the corner of State and Washington and looking south.

Chicago's El trains rumble down Wabash before turning left and heading down Van Buren thus marking the “official” start of the south loop. At this corner you will find two more murals by “Almost Full” by Italian street artist Never2501 and “Penny For Your Thoughts” by Morley who is based in L.A. 

Continue south down Wabash you pass the Magnificent Auditorium Theater cross Congress Parkway and a block south you will find yourself almost surrounded by a cluster of five murals. Their are two works that have been worked into a multi-story parking garage.
“Drowning In The City” faces south and is by Chicagoan Ruben AguirreThe west wall of the garage has a collaboration (I think) by Lady Lucx & Sarah Stewart.

On the other side of Wabash we find three more murals around a parking lot. Banksy collaborator Ben Eine "Harmony". "Moose Bubblegum Bubble" by Jacob Watts"The Provocateurs" by Retna

That's half the clips for more visit the ChiTownView playlist that covers the area south of the loop.

I've also created a google map that locates the murals along with other places in the south loop I've explored.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Rufus Jones For President w/ Sammy Davis Jr. 1933, Stranger Than Trump

This years presidential race has been offered us the surrealistic experience of the Donald Trump campaign.  From the moment he came gliding down the escalator with Neil Young's "Rockin In The Free World" blasting in the background I thought this will be entertaining. I haven't been disappointed. I was lucky enough to be at his Chicago rally that he chickened out of when he discovered most of the audience was there to jeer not cheer.

It took some looking but I've found a Presidential campaign that's even more bizarre. Of course it's fictional what I'm talking about is a short film from 1933 entitled "Rufus Jones For President". It tells the story of a seven year old Rufus who is played by a very young Sammy Davis Jr. (in his first film) who becomes President.

It all takes place in a daydream that his "mammy" played by blues singer Ethel Waters is having. It is a musical fantasy played for laughs with LOTS of racial stereotyping but is still worth watching. There are a number of songs including; Underneath The Harlem Moon, I'll Be Glad When Your Dead You Rascal You and The Great Day's Come. It's great entertainment once you get past the racism. Kind of like the Trump campaign.

Directed by Roy Mack who was a prolific director of shorts with more than 200 titles credited to him.
Written By A. Dorian Otvas & Cyrus Ward
Starring Ethel Waters & Sammy Davis Jr. with The Will Vodery Girls as the dancing ensemble, Russell Wooding as the Leader of vocal ensemble and The Russell Wooding's Jubilee Singers appearing as the vocal ensemble
Music by Cliff Hess
Cinematography by Edwin B. DuPar

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Vintage Las Vegas Neon Signs At Night, Polaroid Photos & Video

As someone with a deep passion for neon signs Las Vegas is like Mecca for me.One of my three trips took place in the mid 1980's. While there I took some Polaroid photos with my SX-70 and as part of an over all house cleaning have now put them up for sale. They will be on eBay until the early June then the once the auctions are done remaining photos will go on my Facebook store. Those wishing to explore more of the bygone look of Las Vegas should check out the site InOldLasVegas.

The neon elements of this Circus Circus sign still survives.
 The Dunes closed in 1993 it was located where New York New York and Monte Carlo now stand.
 The Flamingo sign is another survivor.
 It just wouldn't be Vegas without this iconic Glitter Gulch Cowgirl sign.
 Another survivor but Binion's Horseshoe is just  Binion's now.
 The Riviera was at one time owned by Chicago crime boss Tony Accardo and was one of the more storied casinos. It closed in 2015 though this sign has been gone since the 1990's
The Silver Slipper is R.I.P. since 2008
And here is some home movie footage shot during the early 1960's. I've added some music from Partners In Rhyme which is a great site for royalty free music.


I've also done a previous post that has video footage neon signs at night from the 1930's and some from Reno in the 1950's.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chicago's Great Outdoor Sculpture Park, Graceland Cemetery

I recently paid a couple of visits to Graceland Cemetery on Chicago's north side not far from Wrigley Field. It opened in 1860 a time that this area was was the far northern limits of the city. Graceland is a beautiful sculpture garden that is the final resting place for many of the cities most iconic names like;

Potter Palmer

George Pullman

Marshall Field

And many others. I've been out there a couple of times this spring and shot a lot of pictures and video. Among the odder memorials I've come across are a pyramid final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen.

There's William Hulbert the man who created the Chicago Cubs first dynasty when they were called the White Stockings. Click here to learn more about this fascinating man.

And what cemetery doesn't have a few supernatural legends? This clip tells the story of Gracelands "ghosts".

The centerpiece of the graveyard is a small lake that is surrounded with many of the more notable tombs. In the middle of the lake is a small island that is the final resting place of architect Daniel Burnham and his family.

If you'd like to see more of this historic graveyard visit ChiTownView and scroll through our recent videos we have many more for your viewing enjoyment.