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December 07, 2009


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Elsita :)

Wow Billy, this is kind of amazing. I'm always learning new things from you. Such place should still be alive with branches all over the world. But in these times ideas don't matter as much as before. What's happening?
Elsi :)

Marguerite Horberg

slim brundrage would be the janitor and host. I remember one of my favorite visits to the old st. regis hotel some twenty years ago + a night at the complex billed " are poets pansies?" Every time i see a pansy i think of a poet! they were still around until fairly recently. last friday i went to a book signing at rick strilky's - he is restoring the tavern club murals by edgar miller/ book release was new beautifully produced tome on Miller - another ghost from that great unheralded chicago history of self made iconoclasts


How COOL! There's that beautiful link (spectrum?) between crazy & genius, which is sadly undervalued in our society. It also makes me think of Joe Gould aka "Professor Seagull," and some of those other great NY characters profiled by Joseph Mitchell.

John Arends

Fascinating story, William! You've gotten me jazzed, once again, about Chicago and the culture-shaping through-line still vibrating here. The Second City took root on the same street, same block as "the Complex" in 1959. Alumni from those early years include Ed Asner, Elaine May, Shelley Berman, Alan Alda, Paul Mazursky and Mike Nichols. Elsewhere in the neighborhood, the poet-songwriters of the 60s and 70s -- Bonnie Koloc, John Prine, Steve Goodman and all the others -- gathered at the Earl to cast nets around those ideas, still nascent in the air, and transform them into stories and anthems.

As for the poets, today, every Sunday night at the Green Mill, at Broadway and Lawrence, the original Poetry Slam is hosted by founder Marc Smith. A pony-tailed throwback and soulmate of the beats, Marc often riffs on Sandburg's work, backed up by an avant-garde jazz trio -- The Pong Unit. While not of Studs Terkelian stature, Marc has managed to create yet another "playground" for ideas and art, for crazies and cranks, for poets and "pansies" and people who think.

Thank you for ratcheting up my hometown pride a few more notches!

Green Playground Solutions

Great posting!Keep sharing such good stuff.

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