Chicago Sightseeing (Part 3): So Long, Logan Square

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To close this sightseeing tour, I want to point out the pleasures of one particular neighborhood of a very ‘hood-centric city like Chicago. Namely, Logan Square — my place of residence as a grad student and city dweller. Here are some of my highlights of living near the roundabout. [flickr id=”7583913966″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]

The Logan Square Book Exchange is a wonderful little quirk of LS, on the corner next to a trio of restaurants (Dunlay’s, Johnny’s, and Lula Cafe…all good eats). It may be my inner bookworm talking, but the Book Exchange is on par with the wardrobe to Narnia during the daily grind. I walk by this glorified paper stand almost every day just to peek inside to see what someone has left for another reader. The process is simple: if you see something you like, take it, and if you have something to give, leave it. I’ve traded Salinger for Leonard, Bradbury for Strunk & White, Harper Lee for Tolstoy. It’s a small thing, this literary outpost, but I’m glad it’s there.

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From literary to cinematic, anybody who’s anybody in this neighborhood knows about The Logan Theater. When I moved here three years ago, the ticket price was the same as the number of screens at The Logan — $4 (the multiplexes must be following the same rule with $12 or $15 prices…!). The price has upped a little ($2 is nothin’!) but on account of the major renovations it underwent over the past six months. The Theater is a modern-vintage gem, the antidote to the big-box twenty-screen monsters downtown.  Heck, they have a concession stand and a bar to have drinks…that you can even bring into your movie. Now that’s a movie-going experience.

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What has kept me in Logan Square has also been the budding art scene. Slowly, art galleries and festivals have popped up close to the roundabout, drawing crowds. Even rogue installation work infiltrates the streets. From these knitted tree-warmers to the Monopoly game pieces from the Bored collective, there’s always a bizarre, head-scratching art piece waiting to be discovered.

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There’s so much more to tell you. I wish I had the time…but you see, this is my apartment building. We’ve been walking around LS, and you didn’t even realize how late in the day it was getting. A couple more things, you say? Ok, all right. Uncharted Books is the new local bookstore on Milwaukee that is a must-see. La Puebla is the 24-hour Mexican Restaurant that has served me wet burritos and horchata for the past three years. Cafe Con Leche has satisfied my Miami yearnings with large cups of their titular drink. And I haven’t even mentioned the Farmer’s Market, have I? Where you can get everything from Michigan peaches to fresh baked breads to grass-fed beef? If I had all night, I’d talk well into it…except, I’m packing up my place and heading out of here.

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I’ve been holding off until the right time to say it. This is my last blog, Prospective Student, as your Graduate Student Ambassador for the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA program. I know, I’m bummed out too. The best thing to do is to focus on the good stuff, right? We had a blast, you and I. From the very first blog post, I told you that this was how I saw the Interdisciplinary Arts & Media MFA program, Columbia College Chicago, and even Chicago itself. It’s your turn. No need to ask where is Interdisciplinary Arts & Media? anymore. Now you know!

Take the reins! Throw caution to the wind! Keep calm and carry on! Chest out, back straight, eyes to the horizon! All of that and more!

You’re ready, aren’t you? Of course you are. I know it. Let me shake your hand before I see you off. You can tell a lot by a person’s grip, and I see you’re going to be just fine.

It’s been an honor and privilege to write for you, Prospective Student. I hope you’ve had at least half as much fun reading me as I have had writing you. This painting of mine is off the wall…the very one I used as a background for my profile pic!…and is going in the moving truck. Everything comes back around, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, I’m just moving to another part of the city — if you want to talk, find me on my artist website or A Simple Cereal.

…I’m saying goodbye to you, and to the Logan Square I’ve loved for three years. It’s hard, but it’s right, and we’ll both be fine. You know we will. All right, all right, big hug…there now, all good. I’ll see you when I see you. Good luck.

And so long.

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