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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Monday, March 4

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Wrestling Wed Oct 28 2015

Freelance Wrestling Showcasing Talent Halloween Eve

When I mention to friends that I still watch and very much enjoy WWE and pro wrestling, I get the snide remark of "you know it's fake right?" This used to drive me crazy, but I just shake it off and say, "you know that Game of Thrones is fake right?" Professional wrestling is entertainment and a great show. It's a mix of stage theatrics and pure athleticism that I will never achieve in my lifetime. There are many independent wrestling organizations throughout the country, but Chicago is home to a local organization, Freelance Wrestling.

Nick Almendurez wears many hats for Freelance. He is the founder, owner, matchmaker, social media guru and even a talent, going by the ring name Marvelous Matt Knicks, who is part of the tag team the Four Star Heroes with Chris Castro. Freelance has a show coming up on Friday, October 30 at The Abbey Pub, "Walk Among Us". Almendurez was nice enough to chat with me to give an insight into how a wrestling show is set up and what fans can expect to see on the 30th.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Zois

Chicago Wed Jan 23 2013

Preview: Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers Competition

All alone this Valentine's Day weekend, or looking to do something different with your mate? Then head over to the Logan Square Auditorium on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10pm, for CLLAW XV, and take in some pressed-flesh competition. Tickets are just $25, which gets you in to cheer on the brash beauties of the Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers, and offer your future special someone a cocktail at the three-hour open bar ($10 without the drink package). Your heart will throb as you root on the likes of Lumberjack Jill as she looks to defend her title.


Not to mention, a portion of the CLLAW XV proceeds will benefit Girls Rock! Chicago, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering girls' creative expression, positive self-esteem and community awareness through rock music.

While you're there, impress your date and purchase a few CLLAWBUX to offer the referees some "inspiration" in deciding the outcome of your favorite arm wrestler. So whether you're a "Calamity Pain" fan, or want to root on "Bust Your Tooth" Bluth to go all the way, you'll be sure to feel the love from all of these ladies in what's sure to be a fun night of blood, sweat and beers.

Logan Square Auditorium is located at 2539 N. Kedzie Ave., 2nd floor.

Jim Crago / Comments (1)

Wrestling Mon Mar 21 2011

Brawls, Babes & Booze With the Mud Queens


Viaduct Theatre, 2010 / Photo by Sara Murphy

Probably the best story you'll hear about the Mud Queens of Chicago comes from a show about a year ago at Reggie's, the South State Street club that was the first venue to allow the dirtiest, rowdiest girl wrestlers in town back a second time.

The crowd at Reggie's had seen this before, or at least many of them had, at one makeshift art space or another since Meg Bell first gathered her ragtag bunch of punk/feminist wrestlers in 2004. They were ready, or at least many of them were, for brawling babes and loud rock and roll and a wall-to-wall mess of mud and beer that would make you instantly regret bringing any piece of clothing you wanted to wear again.

<< Monday, 8 p.m., Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western ($15) >>

But nobody was ready for that night's incarnation of Gladys Nightmare, Jen Anderson's zombie prom queen character. This time she was a pregnant zombie prom queen, carrying underneath her dress a baby doll wrapped in pantyhose, covered in spaghetti sauce.

And yet, that wasn't the crazy part. That came when Gladys' opponent, Betty Rage, made a similarly spectacular entrance, ripping the "baby" out and swinging it over her head a few times before flinging it into the crowd.

She might, one wrestler recalled, have chewed on the "umbilical cord" a bit first.

Some audience members loved it. Some hated it -- including a few of the other Mud Queens. But it's a safe bet that no one forgot it.

mud queens overheard.jpg

Humboldt Park, 2009 / Photo by Rob Karlic

That kind of unforgettable show was what Meg Bell (a.k.a., The Folsom Prison Manhandler) was seeking and struggling to find after moving to Chicago in 2002. Tiring of indie rock shows and their casual-nod patrons, she found inspiration after seeing a theater company jello-wrestle as characters from the plays they'd performed that season.

"It was the first show I'd seen in Chicago where people just let loose," she said.

The Mud Queens achieve that effect, as their declaration of purpose explains, by creating:

... an event that smacks all the pretentious "hipness" across the face and brings back the true nature of fun: DIRT. This is not the stoic, introspective form of Chicago culture. This is the mud-slinging, hootin' and hollerin' kind of culture that is the Mud Queens of Chicago.

As such, live music has been a key part of the experience since the early shows in warehouses and loading docks and friends' lofts. Local bands precede the wrestlers on stage, and a riff-raff collective known as the Mud Queens Band improvises during the bouts.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Reedy

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