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Showing posts from March, 2020

Art and Trade Fairs

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Recently I came across the news that Chicago’s Old St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church is no longer hosting its World’s Largest Block Party. The 35-year-old, two-day festival of music and food drew thousands of people to the business district where Old St. Patrick’s Church is located. The pastor, the Rev. Tom Hurley, says that the "summer event environment in Chicago is more competitive than it was 35 years ago and more difficult for the 175-year-old church to navigate.
I have always had mixed feelings about the art and trade fairs that pop up like mushrooms in Chicago and its suburbs, in fact all over the country, every summer. On one side, I am proud of the tradition and the cultural heritage they offer to their audience,but on the other hand I am frustrated by the overwhelming corporate presence in them. They all look the same and they have lost the local flavor they carried in the past. Around twenty years back, each fair was different than the others, and it represented the…

My 'Hood

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           I was the fourth child, a son, born to parents that fought every evening as if it were a ritual without which they couldn't go to bed. My father left us when I was seven. My mother did her best to make ends meet, but it was obvious that three jobs, paying minimum wage, were killing her. When I was twelve, my two older brothers were killed—One by a rival gang and the other by police. The grief soon killed my mother. My elder sister, who had been paying the bills with some help from the state, disappeared a year later. Some says she was a victim of sex trafficking, but I never came to know what had happened to her. There was nobody to pay the bills so I came to live on the streets.   Every night, I took the last green train and slept on it; then I went to my 'hood in the morning.


Photo by Paul G             In my 'hood, guns were everywhere.  I just needed to find an allegiance with a gang. I joined my brothers' gang. I wanted to kill the ones who had killed my …