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Old 08-06-2014, 03:32 PM
 
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Good gosh, where'd all the old timers go? Old Town circa 1969-1977 was Chicago's version of Haight Ashbury: tacky, small shops along Welles and North, stretching approximately 3 blocks at best, from Second City to the south end near the Bijou Theater. Two steps past that was the start of the north side ghetto; park anything there and that 8 track was probably gone; if it was a cassette deck, absolutely gone.

InSanity was the black light poster shop in Piper's Alley; It featured an expensive (what? Thousand dollar?) black light room where you could see your future purchases illuminated as well as the white underwear of the girls glowing away… provided they wore any. Along with a fake mustache/hat shop outside of it, there was Second city next door and Earl of Old town across the street where one could, a few years later, see Jim Belushi bussing tables while trying his damnedest to do comedy at Second City.

The movie theaters in Piper's Alley was the Aardvark (saw "You Are What You Eat" there; later, it was split down to include a micro theater, the Termite, which showed porn (I recall seeing a bad slice of porn of a girl trying to arouse a massive pig called "Patty's Pig."

Down Welles, you could find a cigar shop, a fudge shop, across the street would open Bizarre Bizarre, a collection of small shops in one location. you could buy bootleg LPs in the back shop as well as cut-outs and rarities (I bought the boxed set Beatles Alpha Omega there for $7). Incense was everywhere; sandal shops, leather bags, leather hats, fringe vests and yeah, copies of the Seed.

The Bijou originally opened with a Marx Bros film and quickly became a gay hangout. In between the head shops (where I'd scrounge for underground comics), Barbara's Bookstore and a few straighter stores, a few topless or "caged girls dancing" joints popped up as you went south a couple of blocks toward Cabrini Green housing projects. There was a line of demarkation that separated the white hippie community from the slums of high-rise black housing; wander too far and a white kid was either really dumb or really lost.

I regularly rode my bike down to Old Town (North Avenue) along the Clybourn corridor, a long, long stretch of abandoned and ramshackle warehouses and factories either closed or filthy. At night, don't go there unless on a bus, if that.

Years after its popularity was fading, Barbara's Bookstore hosted a Chicago 7 reunion signing there. In a row were most of the riot's players, with a cookbook or something pedestrian. I approached Abbie Hoffman with my copy of SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE and said hi, I was a member of the SDS from…

"Yeah? so what?" and they had a chuckle. He was only signing copies of his books for sale there and then, so I picked up a reprint of TEAL THIS BOOK, got it signed and told him off before quickly leaving. Hoffmann killed himself shortly after; I'd always wondered if my put-down added to his decision to self-whack; perhaps it was that he came out of hiding not a martyr nor a hero, just some guy who ould do a little time and set up in a typical house somewhere, realizing that Nick von Hoffmann's quote about becoming the people our parents warned us about was supplanted by simply becoming everything he once slandered.

I've saved a few of those original posters from InSanity, the underground comics, old Seeds, and yeah, even Abbie's signed book for no particular reason other than to prove I was, really, there.
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Old 08-06-2014, 04:48 PM
 
4,885 posts, read 5,311,985 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Older'nDirt View Post
We'd be down half way to Hollywood by our "tree!" ...drinking?

Then there was the black Cuban, Roberto was his name I think, who'd tell you he swam to the U.S. all the way from Cuba. One day we had to go in the water after him when he almost drowned! I he may have been telling stories on how he got here!
Oh yes, the tree but it drinking wasn't the primary source of entertainment . Vaguely, recall the Cuban
guy. Do you remember a guy named Dan who was always there and was the old timer (well to us he
was since he was about 24)?
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Old 08-06-2014, 06:37 PM
Status: "And just like that, Covid was gone." (set 5 days ago)
 
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Mark Braun - good times, good times what you said reflected a time that was simpler. Nice reminiscing

I wish I had kept my copies of The Seed. wow you are one lucky person!!!! Keep those ,, they are valuable. For sentimenality or money, but they have historic value.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:21 AM
 
28,461 posts, read 76,254,813 times
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Default Oh yes very different times ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by ChicagoMeO View Post
Mark Braun - good times, good times what you said reflected a time that was simpler. Nice reminiscing

I wish I had kept my copies of The Seed. wow you are one lucky person!!!! Keep those ,, they are valuable. For sentimenality or money, but they have historic value.
Not sure I would call that era "simpler" -- I remember things being rather complicated : City photos of Martin Luther King to Smithsonian - redeyechicago.com


Ther were no shortage of folks on the northside that would have pelted Dr. King with rocks back then either. People that are scared of change often react in ways that in hindsight were not "good times" at all...
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Old 08-08-2014, 07:07 AM
Status: "And just like that, Covid was gone." (set 5 days ago)
 
8,147 posts, read 7,044,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
Not sure I would call that era "simpler" -- I remember things being rather complicated : City photos of Martin Luther King to Smithsonian - redeyechicago.com


There were no shortage of folks on the northside that would have pelted Dr. King with rocks back then either. People that are scared of change often react in ways that in hindsight were not "good times" at all...
Yes, that happened outside of Pipers Alley, and for some people in the city, we were sheltered from all that, as it didn't touch my neighborhood, school, environment, etc. even though my high school was integrated, it was so normal, no problems. We only saw that what you speak of on TV.

And since we are talking about Pipers Alley, that made it that much more magical, our little magical world that was not touched by all the crises on tv. Isn't it nice to have such a place? Just think if all that war zone would have been more like Pipers Alley of 1968. The flower children back then had a good plan, well until the drugs screwed it up. But still, some of it was good, very good.
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Old 08-08-2014, 09:59 AM
 
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I don't know what little fantasy land you lived in but things were not all "peace and love" at Waller High, which was the attendance area that covered Old Town back then. It was not "peacefully integrated" by any stretch of the imagination --

CRIME, GUNS, AND VIDEOTAPE: School Shootings and Bullying

Chicago CORP Gang, Cabrini Green gangs
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Old 08-08-2014, 11:41 AM
Status: "And just like that, Covid was gone." (set 5 days ago)
 
8,147 posts, read 7,044,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
I don't know what little fantasy land you lived in but things were not all "peace and love" at Waller High, which was the attendance area that covered Old Town back then. It was not "peacefully integrated" by any stretch of the imagination --

CRIME, GUNS, AND VIDEOTAPE: School Shootings and Bullying

Chicago CORP Gang, Cabrini Green gangs
Well then, I supposed I did live a sheltered life. Believe it or not it WAS Possible to live in a virtually crime free neighborhood back in my childhood where we could actually go to sleep with our outside doors unlocked and no fear. and no, I did not encounter any problems from Waller High, nor did I know about them, so of course I would develop an attitude that everything was rosy, because it was for me.

I am sorry for others that were going thru stuff, as I only give my life example, surely not mean to rub it into anyone who was going thru a rougher time.

when I visited Old Town, I remember that I walked/hitchhiked up to Fullerton, walked south toward a bit past North Avenue, then when that area started turning sketchy past that XXX theatre, that was when me and my best friend walked back. so yeah, it was truly a magical place for me and all the others who traipsed thru the bohemian stores and such like that. Cant help that I didn't have crime happen to me when I was a teen.
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Old 08-09-2014, 09:14 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 12,813,436 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
I don't know what little fantasy land you lived in but things were not all "peace and love" at Waller High, which was the attendance area that covered Old Town back then. It was not "peacefully integrated" by any stretch of the imagination --
CRIME, GUNS, AND VIDEOTAPE: School Shootings and Bullying
Chicago CORP Gang, Cabrini Green gangs
I was at Waller when that happened. It was a completely isolated incident, and everyone thought that guy was crazy. That year things were otherwise calm, and kids were trying to be accepting of other races. It was going into the Summer of Love, and there were lots of hippies at Waller, as it was only a few blocks away from Wells Street. Waller was about 1/3 white, 1/3 black and 1/3 "other". Kids tended to stick with their own race, but in those days many people did, mostly unconsciously. But I never saw any racial tension at school then. In fact, people were actually very polite to each other, even though few had any knowledge of the cultural norms of other races. Segregation was still a nationwide issue then, and in Chicago, particularly so, and some would say, it still is.

The Lincoln Park area even then was probably, outside of Hyde Park, the most liberal area of the city. People were trying to be high-minded and not prejudiced. Wells St. was almost exclusively white, and it was the Chicago Police Department, at the request of retailers (so it was rumored) who kept it so, not the hippies.

Here's a previous post of mine that elucidates the scene:

Quote:
Originally Posted by nightlysparrow View Post
In the 1960's and early 1970's there was a psychological race barrier along Clark Street between Division and North Avenue that was unofficially but firmly enforced by the police. Black people walking at night did not cross east of Clark Street. If they did, they were stopped and questioned. Even the L subway stop at Clark & Division was mostly white. Only a few blocks east was the Playboy Mansion (among other mansions), and the Gold Coast, with ladies in sequins and men in tuxedos enjoying the nightlife.

I lived at Astor & Division as a teen, and fearlessly but vigilantly walked and took the L at night, and never had any scary incidents, but as a white person, I never crossed Clark going west, either. Cabrini Green had a wide sphere of negative influence, but it was nevertheless contained at the time.
This invisible barrier extended to Wells St., between Goethe Street and North Avenue.

And as to the Cabrini Green link you provided, Cabrini kids went to Wells High School, not Waller. Wells was a pit and had terrible gang problems. Wells and Waller, never the twain did meet, except at basketball games. Waller was rumored to have some gang influence, but all I ever saw were mostly dropouts or expelled boys who still hung around, but the cops kept them about a block away from the school.
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:06 AM
Status: "And just like that, Covid was gone." (set 5 days ago)
 
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nighlysparrow - wow good to hear the story from one who's been there.

When i was young, there was a time that you lived in a neighborhood, if you lived close to the high school, you walked.

And for fun we did go hitchhike (didn't get in any trouble) to Pipers Alley to walk around and see the people and stores. We were isolated from whatever crimes that happened in surrounding areas because that was not our world. No need to go there one iota. We went to the beach, Oak Park radio station, etc. But like i said above, when we got to a certain street where that Bijou Theatre was, we could see the street ahead change and it looked kinda foreboding (looking back i think it was the houses/streets were beginning to look dilapidated or scarey or something, and something about the flavor in the air changed, so we turned back. That was when that area was not developed into what it is now.

I am glad for that time. I am sorry for those going thru a bad time, but I can only talk about my experience.
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Old 09-27-2014, 10:40 PM
 
566 posts, read 971,383 times
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Was just @"pipers alley". Yech. Not the quaint place I recall of the 70 s
Goodbye yesterday. Hello yuck.
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