Archive for April, 2009

Posted as CC licensed so you can download them and use them for non-commercial purposes.

Brain, Brilliancy and Bohemia

Dill Pickle Club

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Eye Exam: A Night in Bohemia (Newcity)

Remembering Chicago’s Hobohemian Era (gapersblock)

Brains, Brilliancy, Bohemia (flavorpill)

Chicago Reader listing

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Beginning with an OPENING RECEPTION – Saturday, April 4th at 7:00 pm,  Mess Hall will feature

Brains, Brillancy, Bohemia:
Art & Politics in Jazz-Age Chicago

Many events are scheduled around this show, which features posters, prints, publications and films about The Dill Pickle Club and other early break outs of the Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor. You can find a full description of the events at the exhibition blog/ site:

For a brief summary, read on:

Brains, Brilliancy, Bohemia: Art & Politics in Jazz-Age Chicago Mess Hall, 6932 North Glenwood Ave., Chicago, IL 60626 April 4 – April 14 | Tues-Friday 1PM-5PM | Sat 12-6 (Sunday hours have been canceled)

The first exhibition focusing on hobohemian culture,  Brains, Brilliancy, Bohemia presents photocopies from Chicago’s ill-forgotten radical nightclub, The Dill Pickle Club, hobo gatherings, a documentary on “Clap Doctor” Ben Reitman and 1910s-20s ephemera, providing a timely look at the origin of American counterculture and working class art leading up to the Great Depression.

In a video installation will be Marc Moscato’s The More Things Stay the Same, a short documentary examining the life and world of Dr. Ben Reitman (1879-1942), known in his day as “the Clap Doctor”, “King of the Hoboes” and “the most vulgar man in America.”  Also included in the exhibition are photocopies from 1910s pulp novels by A-No. 1 Tramp (Leon Ray Livingston), illustrations by Ernie Bushmiller, Franklin McMahon and Herman Rosse, and photos and ephemera from the Ben Reitman and Hull House collections at the University of Illinois.

All events to take place at Mess Hall and are free.

Saturday, April 4, 7PM
Exhibition Opening
Join us for the opening, a screening of the short The More Things Stay the Same, an old-time banjo romp with Damien Fosse and a rousing sing-a-long of I.W.W. and hobo songs.

Friday, April 10, 8PM
Who is Bozo Texino? Film Screening
A chronicle of the search for the source of a ubiquitous and mythic rail graffiti – a simple sketch of a character with an infinity-shaped hat and the scrawled moniker, “Bozo Texino” – a drawing seen on railcars for over 80 years.

Saturday, April 11, 8PM
Dil Pickle Club
Step high, stoop low and leave your dignity outside for a night of poetry, stories, music, art, pornography and conversation featuring Theaster Gates, Paul Durica, and Searah Deysach. Co-sponsored by Stop Smiling Magazine.

The exhibition will have an accompanying 76-page catalog/ pamphlet that features an essay, an unpublished piece by Dr. Ben Reitman, reprints of Dill Pickle Club materials and a letterpress cover.

Friday, April 3, 12PM
Lecture at “Make and Bake” DIY lecture series University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Monday, April 6, 1PM
Lecture in Alternative Curatorial Practices class School of the Art Institute at Chicago
Chicago, IL

Tuesday, April 7, 7PM
Lecture and screening
North Central College
Naperville, IL

Friday, April 10, 1PM
Lecture at School of the Art Institute at Chicago Chicago, IL
(not open to the public)

Sunday, April 12, 12PM
InCUBATE Chicago Sunday Soup Lecture
The Orientation Center
2129 N. Rockwell
Chicago, IL

Plans are in the works for future exhibition showings. After its run at Mess Hall, Brains will be travellin’ on down to the NFO XPO at this year’s Version Fest at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, April 25-26 (Chicago, IL). A show will also take place in Portland in the coming months. For more info you can contact Marc Moscato at  www.marcmoscato.com / p: 503.235.2159

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Diverse mix of people honor ‘Mess Hall’ cultural center

…”There is a sense of freedom not only that you don’t have to pay (to enter), but also it’s a free flowing atmosphere,” says Sergei Telis, a Roger Park resident.  “You can meet neighbors that are interested in art and it’s laid back and fun.”

…Amy Partridge, another Mess Hall key holder, says the center allows people with unconventional dreams to blossom.

“It allows people to really try new things and experiment with new forms of community building new forms of art making new forms of discussion and critique,” says Partridge. “It really allows for experimentation because there is not a lot of stake. No one has a monetary investment that needs some kind of pay back.”

…Valencia tries to offer an encompassing concept of Mess Hall: “Regardless of experience, economic level, education level, race, sexual orientation, Mess Hall is a common place where we can engage critically with culture and produce culture.”


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