Sunday, January 31, 2010


Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

"Jabberwocky," Lewis Carroll

[Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Saturday, January 30, 2010

seeing snatches and staticky fragments

He approached the screen and stood about a foot away, seeing snatches and staticky fragments, flurries of trembling light. He walked around the screen several times. The gallery was empty now and he was able to stand at various angles and points of separation. He walked backwards looking, always, at the screen. He understood completely why the film was projected without sound. It had to be silent. It had to engage the individual at a depth beyond the usual assumptions, the things he supposes and presumes and takes for granted.

"Point Omega," Don DeLillo

[State Street west of Lake Street, now site of WIT Hotel]

Thursday, January 28, 2010

working did to the trouble what gin did to the pain

"I am not sure what more I could tell you about these pieces. I could tell you that I liked doing some of them more than others, but that all of them were hard for me to do, and took more time than perhaps they were worth; that there is always a point in the writing of a piece when I sit in a room literally papered with false starts and cannot put one word after another and imagine that I have suffered a small stroke, leaving me apparently undamaged but actually aphasic. I was in fact as sick as I have ever been when I was writing "Slouching Towards Bethlehem"; the pain kept me awake at night and so for twenty and twenty-one hours a day I drank gin-and-hot-water to blunt the pain and took Dexedrine to blunt the gin and wrote the piece. (I would like you to believe that I kept working out of some real professionalism, to meet the deadline, but that would not be entirely true; I did have a deadline, but it was also a troubled time, and working did to the trouble what gin did to the pain.) What else is there to tell? I am bad at interviewing people. I avoid situations in which I have to talk to anyone's press agent. (This precludes doing pieces on most actors, a bonus in itself.) I do not like to make telephone calls, and would not like to count the mornings I have sat on some Best Western motel bed somewhere and tried to force myself to put through the call to the assistant district attorney. My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does. That is one last thing to remember: writers are always selling somebody out."

"Slouching Towards Bethlehem," Joan Didion

[Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

they help to photograph thought

They say that I have a passion for 'camera angles'... To me the camera represents the eye of a person, through whose mind one is watching the events on the screen. It must follow characters at times into difficult places, as it crashed through the reeds and pools in Sunrise at the heels of the Boy, rushing to keep his tryst with the Woman of the City. It must whirl and peep and move from place to place as swiftly as thought itself, when it is necessary to exaggerate for the audience the idea or emotion that is uppermost in the mind of the character. I think the films of the future will use more and more of these 'camera angles,' or as I prefer to call them these 'dramatic angles'. They help to photograph thought.

~ F. W. Murnau

[Chicago Avenue at Winchester Street]

Monday, January 25, 2010

don't give a damn

I want everything we do to be beautiful. I don’t give a damn whether the client understands that that’s worth anything, or that the client thinks it’s worth anything, or whether it is worth anything. It’s worth it to me. It’s the way I want to live my life. I want to make beautiful things, even if nobody cares.

~ Saul Bass

[Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Sunday, January 24, 2010

relating a person to the whole world

Juxtaposing a person with an environment that is boundless, collating him with a countless number of people passing by close to him and far away, relating a person to the whole world, that is the meaning of cinema.

~ Andrei Tarkovsky

[Damen Avenue below Augusta Boulevard]

Saturday, January 23, 2010

if they would only purr

"Your Red Majesty shouldn't purr so loud,' Alice said, rubbing her eyes, and addressing the kitten, respectfully, yet with some severity. 'You woke me out of oh! such a nice dream! And you've been along with me, Kitty—all through the Looking-glass world. Did you know it, dear?'It is a very inconvenient habit of kittens (Alice had once made the remark) that, whatever you say to them, they always purr. 'If they would only purr for "yes," and mew for "no," or any rule of that sort,' she had said, 'so that one could keep up a conversation! But how can you talk with a person if they always say the same thing?' On this occasion the kitten only purred: and it was impossible to guess whether it meant 'yes' or 'no.'

"Alice Through The Looking Glass," Lewis Carroll

[Damen Avenue below Division Street]

Friday, January 22, 2010

adore explosions

All poets adore explosions, thunderstorms, tornadoes, conflagrations, ruins, scenes of spectacular carnage. The poetic imagination is not at all a desirable quality in a statesman.
"The Poet & The City," W. H. Auden

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Thursday, January 21, 2010

authentic primitive

Mingus seemed to be enjoying himself and we played an entire set. The most important night of my musical life, because I no longer had to think of myself as an impostor. If Charles Mingus got up to play with me, I must have been doing something right. I was no genius, but I was a musician. He had freed me, in a way. And there was a lesson in it, too. You don't have to be great to play jazz. It's okay if you're not great—good, strong, interesting music can be created by even a mediocre instrumentalist.

A year or so later, in another club, Mingus and I split a bottle of his favorite Pouilly-Fuissé after he had, once again, sat in with me. "What's going on, Charlie? You're the best bassist in the world and I'm a putzer."

"You are," he said expansively, "an authentic primitive. That is true." He leaned forward and lowered his voice. "But you swing."

"Dogs Bark, But The Caravan Rolls On," Frank Conroy

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

all around in the dark

Then it don't matter. I'll be all around in the dark. I'll be everywhere. Wherever you can look and wherever there's a fight so hungry people can eat, I'll be there. Wherever there's a cop beatin' up a guy, I'll be there. I'll be in the way guys yell when they're mad. I'll be in the way kids laugh when they're hungry and they know supper's ready, and when the people are eatin' the stuff they raise and livin' in the houses they build... I'll be there, too.

"The Grapes of Wrath," adapted by Nunnally Johnson from John Steinbeck

[Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

At what precise moment had Peru...

From the doorway of La Crónica Santiago looks at the Avenida Tacna without love: cars, uneven and faded buildings, the gaudy skeletons of posters floating in the mist, the gray midday. At what precise moment had Peru fucked itself up? The newsboys weave in and out among the vehicles halted by the red light on Wilson, and he starts to walk slowly toward Colemena... He was like Peru, Zavalita was, he'd fucked himself up somewhere along the line. He thinks: when? ... He thinks: there's no solution. He sees a long line at the taxi stop for Miraflores, he crosses the square, and there's Norwin, hello, at a table at the Zela Bar, have a seat, Zavalito, fondling a chilcano and having his shoes shined, he invites him to have a drink. He doesn't look drunk yet and Santiago sits down.

"Conversation in the Cathedral," Maria Vargas Llosa

[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

you cannot read me like an open book

Unrhymed, unrhythmical, the chatter goes:
Yet no one hear his own remarks as prose.
Beneath each topic tunelessly discussed
The ground-bass is reciprocal mistrust.
The names in fashion shuttling to and fro
Yield, when deciphered, messages of woe.
You cannot read me like an open book.
I’m more myself than you will ever look.

Will no one listen to my little song?

A howl for recognition, shrill with fear,
Shakes the jam-packed apartment, but each ear
Is listening to its hearing, so none hear.

"At the Party," W.H. Auden

[Chicago Avenue at Damen Avenue]

Monday, January 18, 2010

the strength of a majority is illusory

Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion—and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion—while truth again reverts to a new minority.

~ Soren Kierkegaard

[Chicago Avenue west of Winchester Street]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

to show people

Anything I've ever accomplished as a writer, as somebody doing TV, anything I've ever done in life, down to, like, cleaning up my room, has been accomplished because I was going to show people that they were fucked up, wrong, and that I was the fucking center of the universe and the sooner they got hip to that, the happier they would all be.

~ David Simon
[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

that still happens

I’m going to go next door and borrow a cup of sugar.
I don’t need a cup of sugar
I just need to know that still happens
because once it stops
we’re lost.

~ Dallas Clayton

[Division Street east of Leavitt Street; Damen Avenue above Chicago Avenue]

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

gaudy day

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

~ George Gordon Byron.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

woke on a sudden manhattan


...hometown alleys too,
who faded out in vast sordid movies, were shifted in dreams, woke on a sudden Manhattan, and picked themselves up out of basements hung-over with heartless Tokay and horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices...

"Howl," Allen Ginsberg

[Ukrainian Village]

Friday, January 8, 2010

collector's passion

Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories.

~ Walter Benjamin.

[Damen Avenue at Thomas Street]

Thursday, January 7, 2010

fairly shrewd idea

What two lovers do in bed is no one’s business but their own. One may have a fairly shrewd idea of what does go on, but I would not dream of putting it on paper. People have a right to privacy.

~ Graham Greene

[Chicago Avenue east of Damen Avenue]

Monday, January 4, 2010



[Damen Avenue above Haddon Street]

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Le progrès, c’est le paganisme des imbéciles.

~ Charles Baudelaire

[Damen Avenue below Thomas Street]

About Me

Chicago, Illinois, United States