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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Wednesday, July 24

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Film Tue Jul 14 2015

Documentary Peeks Inside Ash's Magic Shop

Freelance writer and documentarian (and past GB contributor) Brian Gersten takes you inside Ash's Magic Shop, one of the few remaining magic shops in the city, in his new documentary The Amazing Mr. Ash.

Gersten shared how the documentary came to be:

There are certain locations or places that demand our attention whenever we see them. They call out to us. They seduce us like a mythological siren. Whatever the reason may be, there seems to be specific locations that remain with us in our lives. For me, Ash's Magic Shop is one of those places.

Like many Chicagoans, I have driven past the corner of Argyle and Western Avenue countless times. It's a stretch of road that has been etched into my brain since childhood. While the majority of the neighborhood is made up of residential buildings with neutral colors, there is one shop that sticks out like a bloody thumb. The bright red fa├žade of Ash's Magic Shop screams out for attention.

After years of passing by the shop, I grew curious. Who was this Ash character? What kinds of things did he sell in his shop? What was his story? One day I decided I would investigate. I parked the car and journeyed inside the shop. My brief visit ultimately turned into a year-long documentary odyssey with the famous Mr. Ash.

See more of Gersten's work on Vimeo and his website.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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