19 September 2013

Border Crossings

If diasporic subjects "have no linear history," as Renée Green states, then let this performance serve as a challenge to retrace my fragmented identity and sense of place. 

I was born and raised in Chicago, IL and thus by logical standards can never truly be a tourist in my own lands. Or can I? I can perform the rituals of tourism and thus see my city through costume lenses. Yesterday, I went on a trolley tour of my home town and learned some incredible things about the fine metropolis that raised me.

My tour guide John, was a novice historian who knew everything you could ever want to know about this great city. He is an older man from the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago's south side.

John spent almost ten years digging up the history of the Logan memorial on S. Michigan which, as he discovered, still holds the tomb of Union general, Logan. John said it took him that long to find a Chicago Park District worker who knew the facts. Now that's dedication. We wondered if Logan Square, the neighborhood I grew up in, might also be named after this individual.

John's friend passed him these old glass bottles that were manufactured in the Wacker bottling factories. Wacker Drive takes its name from this particular wealthy business man. The bottles were dug up from the construction of The Art Institute's modern wing! 

Look, the native ethnographer, in his natural habitat. What a splendid sight. Note his smile and posture, quite indicative of a Chicagoan, proud of his roots.

1 comment:

Kellin Smith said...

Hey! :)

We just launched Chicago bookoo - it's a massive online yard sale for Chicago and surrounding areas.- Thousands of people buying and selling used stuff from each other, in a fun, family-friendly way! :)

We're getting the word out to some local bloggers, and would like to send you a free bookoo t-shirt (no strings attached!). If you would like a free t-shirt, will you send me an email at kellin@bookoo.com with your address and shirt size? I'll get it out to you right away!

Check out the website: