Beginning at threewalls and ending in a walking tour of the West Loop.
In the early 20th century, Chicago was a major railway hub, and Madison Street, or “The Main Stem,” was home to anywhere from 30,000 to 75,000 transient men. Dr. Ben Reitman—”king of the hobos” and Emma Goldman’s lover – would lead tours of the area, pointing out “slave markets” (employment agencies), flophouses, saloons, and soup kitchens.
This October, Paul Durica of Pocket Guide to Hell will re-create Reitman’s tour. We’ll stroll down the original sites of the Rufus Dawes Hotel, the Proletarian bookstore, the Industrial Workers of the World Headquarters, and more. We’ll learn the Hobo Code, how to make Mulligan Stew, and the secret of the Big Rock Candy Mountain—we’ll be visited by some real-life hobos, buskers, and radicals, too.
Musician Jamie Albert will join us on all three tours.
This tour includes a Special Magic Lantern Lecture, meeting at threewalls before heading out.
The Public Culture Lecture Series, co-organized by Randall Szott and InCUBATE, seeks to highlight examinations and enactments of public culture. Rather than following a preformed idea of what public culture actually is, the series treats it as an open question and invites attendees to explore the question with us. A variety of people and practices are drawn on to present the ways that the notion of “the public” emerges in their work and/or informs it. Past iterations of the series have included: a lecture on lyceums in nineteenth century America, a guided eating tour of the Maxwell Street Market, a group workshop on storytelling as an everyday art, and an artist-led tour of the Loop’s Pedway system.