An open invitation to show new Chicagoan Darren Bailey around town


Darren, Darren, Darren… the Hancock? Oh good? Was Trump Tower too expensive? Not that it’s a bad place, notice. People live there. But you know elevators, don’t you? Cables snap, people get stuck, and that 84-story plunge… best not to think about it. I understand the problem is under control now, for the most part.

You’re moving to Chicago… what? As a show of courage? You said, to immerse yourself in the culture. Fair enough, let’s go. You can’t just spend the next…er…eight weeks rushing from Hancock’s entrance, surrounded by a phalanx of Xenia Junior College linemen in a pair of waiting black SUVs. What does this prove?

Nothing erodes fear like experience. We have to take you downtown, to the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. Founded by teachers, you know. Come on, I’ll take you, and even pick up admission (ote-nay oo-tay eaders-ray: ission-admay is ee-fray). Then lunch at 5 Rabanitos. I love this place. Or “5 radishes” in Spanish. See? You are already learning!

We won’t limit ourselves to just one part of the city either. We’ll take the L, we’ll walk through Bronzeville, fearless. Over the past 35 years, I’ve traveled pretty much all over town. From South Avenue O, just steps from the Indiana border, to the streets below Lower Wacker Drive. And let me tell you a secret: you can go anywhere in Chicago. Its good. Back when there were high rise social housing projects – the Robert Taylor Homes, Cabrini-Green – I visited them all. The night. Do you know who lived there? Not demons with pitchforks. People. People who work. Women lugging groceries. Some places are more dangerous, some less so, but my personal rule is: if people can live there, I can visit them. I never got shot once.

We can do something fun, rack them up at Chris’s Billiards on North Milwaukee Avenue – they filmed “The Color of Money” there, you must have seen it. Or if it’s a sin for your brand of performative Christianity, we can visit the Art Institute; I can point you quickly to paintings of nekkid ladies, though one can linger by Monet’s haystacks, and some crucified Christs. You will feel at home.

Think about optics! You, standing within reach of real Chicagoans, fearless. It will bring them back to Xenia. And heck, maybe we’ll get along. I met Donald Trump, you know, I interviewed him at the time and attended his speech in Granite City. I understand the allure and do not condemn you, in particular, for drinking from that chalice and trading your soul for the flash of approval his nod in your direction brought. I’m sure you’re sorry, or you will be. We can talk about it. If you want to stick your finger in my sternum while forcefully scolding me, we’ll photograph it and put it on the front page. I want you to be happy while you’re here.

If you’re a smoker, I’ll bring a couple Rocky Patel Vintage 1990s – I just bought half a dozen – and we can light them up.

You know how to reach the paper. Say the word, and I’ll come up with a plan, so you can check out Rick Steves and see what you’re getting into, maybe buy one of those travel wallets that clips to your belt and slips into your pants to more peace of mind. disturbs. We’ll walk down Devon Avenue, pop into Tahoora Sweets – my wife loves their hot tea. Come on, live a little. What do you have to lose? Or rather, you’re going to lose anyway. Might as well see the place from here. You are in Chicago now. Make the most.


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