Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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, November 29

Gapers Block

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R / June 21, 2012 3:50 PM

I am never a fan. They're dirty and crowded with drunk folk, and it's always too much of a hassle to buy the tickets needed to get food, etc.

What really gets me is the "suggested" mandatory donation to get in. I know it's illegal to require $ for entry (thus the "suggested" part) but I wish there could be some honesty. You're not letting me in unless I cough up five bucks, I get it.

Andrew Huff / June 21, 2012 4:08 PM

Yeah, the "suggested donation" is a farce. Can't we just create an ordinance that gives streetfests a pass on whatever law the admission fee would violate?

A lot of neighborhood festivals are carbon copies of each other, but the ones that differentiate I think are worthwhile. Northcenter's Ribfest comes to mind. The food isn't generic grilled stuff like so many of them are.

flange / June 21, 2012 4:19 PM

i've never once been challenged about paying the "donation." i haven't paid it in years and years -- whenever it was revealed that it actually was a donation. i'm always surprised to see a line of people who want to pay, and i love zooming past them.

ribfest may be marginally different than some of the others, but it's one of the biggest clusterfucks among street fairs, and the last time i was there (whatever year the asylum street spankers played), almost every vendor was out of food. it really sucked.

vise77 / June 22, 2012 9:26 AM

We lost more of our dwindling faith in humanity when the drunken trixies on the condo balcony decided to start spraying people via water guns on the sidewalks at Do Division a few weeks ago. At first we though it was bird pee, but when it kept happening, an onlooker rolled his eyes and told us this had been going on all day. More was lost when I spied what looked like a Big 10 reunion of fake tans and pretentious male hairdos at the building across the street. The drunken people there stacking up their empties in the skinny gutter, as though gravity wouldn't eventually prevail and send glass falling toward the people on the sidewalk below. Indeed, the physics experiment did take place.

But then we went to Andersonville, on a beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon, and though it was crowded as usual for Midsommerfest, every one seemed polite. No one was elbowing me in stupid struggles for street-fest turf; nor did I feel any of the electric-charge tension that one often feels when some people drink too much too early in the day and then set out to prove themselves. It all felt as easy going as the run-of-the-mill but fun Jamaican band that was playing near Reza's. And then we came upon the puppet man, entertaining children and their parents, and all the childless adults standing in back. That's when our faith in a humanity enjoyed a well needed rebound, and that's when we realized that we shouldn't swear off Chicago street fests, not quite yet.

Charles / June 22, 2012 9:59 AM

They can get a little ridiculous, and I'm not a big fan of deep fried 'everything' for the sake of deep frying it, but it's nice to have them to go to - I would have liked to have gone to Mole de Mayo this year, guess there's always next year. The suggested donation/I need to stamp your hand or you can't get in/make shift gates thing is garbage.

Jason / June 22, 2012 3:37 PM

depends on whether or not they have dunk tanks and air castles.

Andy / June 23, 2012 10:47 AM

I only attend street fests in one of two conditions: A) It's literally down the block from where I live (Andersonville Midsommerfest) or B) they've booked some decent bands that I'd like to see. Even then, I can usually only tolerate them for a few hours at most before the drunken crowds start to get on my nerves.

maardvark / June 23, 2012 5:43 PM

I'll agree that the festivals that actually have a decent theme or the ones that are extremely convenient are the best. Also, going to ones in neighborhoods that are populated primarily by true adults (i.e., 30-and-ups) is a good strategy. Also, never ever EVER ever EVER go after dark, unless there's some band that you're desperate to hear. If you walk through in midafternoon, the sloppiness will be down, and the good vendors will still have food.

Spook / June 23, 2012 10:40 PM

Whelp, the fact that you can’t buy Shea Butter from street festivals any more is truly indicative of their sad decline, along with the rest of city.

Truth be told, the only festival remotely interesting these days is the African/Caribbean International Festival. The irony is that it’s held smack dab center in the hood, right in Washington Park. But the mandatory twenty-dollar admission fee, (ten dollars for children) prices the real neighborhood out. This makes me uncomfortable participating any more.

But, there’s a silver lining!

Frankly, I'm more thrilled (than when the album Thriller was released) that good old Vise77’s faith in humanity was replenished by the simple act of wondering both sides, yonder and back, the main street of Chicago's self proclaimed "Little Evanston", and grooving along to a Reggae band that also does yard work for, and supplies organic/ free range weed to, the locals.

Indeed, I can picture that faithful and uniquely Andersonvillian, beautiful, sunny Saturday afternoon, and see old Vise 77 smiling wistfully as the childless adults with great reverence and humility, moved to the back of the puppet show, out of respect for the pink well outfitted and properly sheltered precious gifts and resources to the world, accompanied by their generous parents.

Funny, Old Vice-A-Reno 77 aka Old Hickory’s “moment of street festival clarity” reminds me of that part in C.S. Lewis's “The Screw Tape Letters, when the Devil Wormwood’s “patient” at the last minute slips away from his Hellish grip and eternal damnation with “a sudden clearing of his eyes…as if a scab had fallen from an old sore”

p.s. if any one’s interested in The Screw Tape Letters there is a Bookstore in Andersonville, called Privileged White Women and their Children First, although I’m not sure if they carry it in stock

Cheryl / June 24, 2012 7:12 PM

I saw the best Foghat tribute band ever at One of Those Damn Things on Roscoe a couple of years ago. Or maybe it was last year. Anyway I found out days later it was Foghat playing all that Foghat music!

dominick Sanchetti / June 24, 2012 7:43 PM

Spook, my faith in humanity enjoyed a "well needed rebound" when I read your comments about Old Vice-A-Reno 77! Thank you!

vise77 / June 25, 2012 8:55 AM

I suppose you are trying to make fun of me, Spook, because ... well, hell if I know, as I can't really penetrate your dense blog brilliance. Sorry. Anyway, have a wonderful day--you and my still-functioning Gapers Block stalker who apparently was really waiting for his/her opportunity to ... well, I don't know the purpose of that, either. I hope my response to you both provides you the expected level of entertainment this morning. I aim to please.

Spook / June 25, 2012 1:56 PM

Now see, why you gotta go wild n' out Viceroy????

We just happy you found yo niche in Andersonville.

So Keep On the Sunny Side :-)

Mike / June 26, 2012 9:46 AM

I don't go to MidRetroOnSommarRibfestAroundTheBlock. It's a mediocre, traveling festival with the same bands that goes to different neighborhoods. I'm disappointed that Folk and Roots has been killed because it was in a park, there were lots of families, and the money actually went to a worthy cause.

I'm amazed that anyone pays a "suggested" entry fee (that in most cases just goes to the chamber of commerce) at the misleading gauntlets to go into these things. It's a public street ... just walk through. They won't say anything because they can't. About ten years ago, I remember the owner of The Alley posted signs encouraging people not to pay to get into whatever street fest is held over there.

Brian Williams / June 26, 2012 8:57 PM

Wow, vise77, you are the epitome of a self-important blowhard! And I feel certain you please no one on this planet nearly as much as you please yourself. (Your comments are more telling than you imagine!)

vise77 / June 27, 2012 8:35 AM

Thanks for the good cheer, Brian Williams. And for taking time out of your busy day to spread the sunshine. Yes, I do please myself. Few other people have the skills to do so.

(Do you get paid by the exclamation point?)

Brian Williams / June 27, 2012 8:19 PM

Hey ol' viceroy! Do you get paid for each unintentionally ignorant comment you make? (If so, you are a rich man!!!!!!!!!)
Seriously, do you realie you are an objectionable human being? (Just curioous.)

sarah / June 27, 2012 9:57 PM

Hey everybody! Can we just forget about vise77? Yes, his comments are objectionable, but let us please move on.
And what about this idea of limiting everyone to one comment? Seems necessary at this point.

Andrew Huff / June 27, 2012 11:59 PM

Down below the comment field, it says this: "Please respect each other. We reserve the right to delete any comments borne out of douchebaggery or that deal in asshattery."

Please quit with the trolling. Dominick Sanchetti/Brian Williams/whatever your real name is, your IP address has been noted, and will be banned if you persist.

vise77 / June 28, 2012 8:23 AM

"Hey everybody! Can we just forget about vise77? Yes, his comments are objectionable, but let us please move on."

How, exactly? I made a freaking long-winded comment about how I ended up liking a freaking street fair in Andersonville. For Buddha's sake, I even tossed some love toward the puppet man.

Blogs--more than a decade of enabling the mob mentality for those too lazy and/or stupid to take to the streets.

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