Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

mirror bit

No one ever told me that Poltergeist III is a great film—quite the opposite. Whenever the 1988 movie comes up (which rarely happens), it’s usually because someone wants to point out how Heather O’Rourke, who played little Carol Anne Freeling, died during its making, a tragic incident that contributed to the superstition that the Poltergeist franchise is cursed. Otherwise, the movie is maligned, the same way that Poltergeist II: The Other Side is maligned.

Well, I can’t really defend Poltergeist II, which is mostly a mediocre retread of the original 1982 classic, dignified only by Julian Beck’s performance as the evil Reverend Kane. But Poltergeist III, while exceedingly different from the first film, is a classic in its own right, and deserving of greater recognition.

Here’s why.


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After lifting weights at UIC, I hurried to the Loop to catch a screening of Iron Man 3 at the River East 21. Actually, I wanted to see Star Trek Into Dorkness, but the Reader had given me the wrong times, and IM3 was the next non-3D screening.

So I watched that. (Brief review: I thought it the best of all the recent Marvel movies.) Emerging from the theater, I discovered that I’d just dodged a sudden downpour. After grabbing an iced latte at Fox & Obel, I walked along the lake, listening to a Magic podcast and worrying that the storm to the south might overtake me:

Lake Michigan 1 (30 May 13)

Lake Michigan 2 (30 May 13)

Lake Michigan 3 (30 May 13)

But it swung out east, over the lake, and I got to see some pretty lightning. (Nature trumps superhero movies.)

When I reached North Avenue Beach I headed into Lincoln Park where I ate supermarket sushi and got a haircut, then headed home.

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[I was tagged for this little masquerade twice, by Jeff Bursey and Jeremy M. Davies. So here is my contribution.]

What is the working title of the book?

“The Gloop, or The Least I Can Do.”

Where did the idea come from for the book?


What genre does your book fall under?

Post-apocalyptic science-fiction horror.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I like how this question comes before the synopsis. Well, I’ve always thought Morrissey would make a brilliant actor, so Morrissey.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

“A misanthropic old man lectures a young student on the nature of the world before it its destruction by the Gloop.” By “world” I mean “Chicago c. 2013.”

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

One week.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Barry N. Malzberg, J. R. R. Tolkien, zombie flicks, nightmares.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

In includes pornographic parodies of Tolkien and zombie flicks.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?


My tagged writers are:

Barry N. Malzberg, J. R. R. Tolkien, Morrissey.

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At the late Kim’s Video in NYC, where I spent a not-insignificant amount of time in the late 1990s:

Album version after the jump (it’s from her 2010 debut Strange Cacti).


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A while back, I posted at Big Other a picture of a bust of Chicago’s first permanent resident. A few people have contacted me since then, asking if they could use the picture in various projects. Alas, I stole it from the internet, and have no rights to it. (Sorry, internet.)

But in an effort to try and balance out my karma, yesterday I swung by the statue and took a few photos with my phone. I won’t claim that they are exceptional, but if anyone wants to use them, you’re welcome to them.

Jean Baptiste Point du Sable 01(More after the jump.)


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Photograph by Martin Schoeller

Photograph by Martin Schoeller

I’ve had my pocket picked. It happened a few years ago in downtown Chicago (the Loop). As I was leaving a sushi place, two men walked over to me. One stepped in front of me and one stepped behind me. The man in front paused in the doorway, dropping the smoothie he was carrying. He apologized and fumbled with the cup, as though trying to mop up the mess. The other man pressed up behind me, as though he hadn’t been paying attention, and was trying to walk through the door. He was carrying his coat over his arm, I remember. I noticed him but my attention was focused on the man in front of me. That guy apologized again, then hurried out the door. The second man pushed past me, and took off in the opposite direction. A few moments later, I realized that my wallet was missing. I hesitated, wondering if I’d left it inside the place. I looked back. By the time I decided I really had been robbed, both men were gone.

The two guys were pretty clumsy, I think (how repeatable is that M.O.?), but I was sufficiently distracted by them, and they got me easily. And this despite the fact they were memorable—I noticed them the second I entered the place, two middle-aged men in nice suits. (They were also black, and when I realized my wallet was missing, I at once chastised myself for thinking that they had stolen it—white liberal guilt in action. Hence my looking back into the place to see if I’d left my wallet on the counter.)

I was reminded of this experience because I recently read Adam Green’s excellent article on Apollo Robbins in The New Yorker. The two of them also made a wonderful short video in which Robbins demonstrates his craft. Many things described in both the article and video rang true for me. The primary tool used in robbing me was directing my attention away from my personal possessions. I also know now (from the article) that the first man was the “stall” or the “stick,” while the second was both the “shade” and the “tool.” (And there might have been even more men operating as part of that outfit, such as a “duke man,” who gets handed the wallet so the other men are clean.)

As for what happened to me and my wallet after the robbery …


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