About

POCKET GUIDE TO HELL TOURS – true crime, labor history, peanuts
“Chicago is a pocket edition of hell.” “Hell is a pocket edition of Chicago.”

PAUL DURICA, owner and sole proprietor (est. 2008, Chicago IL)

 “I am reminded of how I used to feel when I read Agatha Christie novels back-to-back at the age of thirteen: shivery and captivated and thrilled.” – Meera Sethi
“Combines research and showmanship … Unique.” – University of Chicago
 featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Reader, Vice Magazine, The Huffington Post

 #1 Tour of 2009, TimeOut Chicago

TOURS: Crime of the Century: Leopold & Loeb and the Murder of Bobby Franks, The Working Man’s Guide to the World’s Columbian Exposition, The Secret History of the University of Chicago, Haymarket, Ben Reitman’s Hobohemia, The Mysteries and Natural Wonders of Bridgeport, Fort Dearborn Memorial Walk

 TALKS: History of Chicago Print, Hallelujah! I’m a Bum, The 57th Street Art Colony, Dreiser’s Sister Emma

 REENACTMENTS: The Mystery of Al Capone’s Vaults, The Battle of the Halsted Viaduct, The 1915 Parade of the Unemployed, The 125th Anniversary Haymarket Reenactment, The Whitechapel Club, The Hobo College, The Compass Players, The Spectatorium, Behind the Scenes With the Mediums, Studs’ Place Revisited, Ben Hecht’s House Party, Like a Secondhand Sea

 PARTNERSHIPS: Dil Pickle Club, Mess Hall, Home Gallery, The University of Chicago English Department, The University of Chicago Alumni Office, Poetry Foundation & Printers’ Ball, The Encyclopedia Show, The Hyde Park Historical Society, reconstruction room, Theatre Seven, Paper Machete, c(tas), Proximity Magazine, Ever-So-Secret Order of the Lamprey, Alana Bailey Brand Posters, The Jane Addams Hull House Museum, the Illinois Labor History Society, Fulton River District Association, Haymarket Pub & Brewery, Chicago History Museum, The Scherer Center for the Study of American Culture, Homeroom, The Chicagoan, Gallery 400, threewalls, The Newberry Library, The Hideout, ChicagoPublishes, Chicago Humanities Festival, Version Arts Festival, Victory Gardens Theatre

 Pocket Guide to Hell Tours, coined after a quip from a visiting British labor leader around 1900, believes that in telling the story of Chicago, one is also telling other larger stories—of life in a city, of the nineteenth century, of America.

These are guerilla walking tours, open to everyone but geared especially towards those who live in the city and want to know more about it. All involve a strong narrative and primary research – from scrapbooks to interviews to newspapers – and all focus on some aspect of labor history, social justice, or true crime. All put accessibility first.

Everyone is an educator – participants are invited to challenge the stories told, to tell their own, and to help create the experience – sometimes even in costume! Props, peanuts, popcorn, music, poetry, and jokes are all part of the deal. Reenactments often include pyrotechnics and toys, and talks use a portable light projector. More than 175 people attend each tour series and reenactment.

Paul Durica is a writer and graduate student who founded Pocket Guide to Hell tours in Hyde Park in 2008. To learn about upcoming tours, email pocketguidetohell@gmail.com, call 773 822 9379, or friend “Ben Reitman” on Facebook. Paul’s scheduled tours are economical – suggested donation only – and he is also open to recreating past tours with groups for a fee or in collaboration. Hope to see you soon!

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