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Studs Terkel

Studs’ Place: Episode II

On SundayNov. 10 at 7 PM at the Hideout (1354 W Wabansia), we’ll be performing Studs’ Place: Episode 2. Suggested Donation $10.
Studs’ Place takes as its inspiration the classic early 1950s Studs Terkel TV show which combined one-page scenarios with improvised scenes to tell stories about everyday life.
With the action occurring in the front of the Hideout and the audience watching the “broadcast” on a screen in the back,Studs’ Place replicates the experience of early live television.
Following the episode, stick around for a Bill Savage interview with Tim Samuelson about the history of the Hideout and the Mary Brogger Haymarket monument and a musical performance by the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Young Stracke All-Stars.
Studs’ Place kicks off Let’s Getting Working: Chicago Celebrates Studs Terkel, a year-long series of programs that will culminate in a three-day Studs Terkel festival at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts in May 2014.
TimeOut Chicago says Studs’ Place is one of the 10 things to do this week in Chicago.
The Pit - Pocket Guide to Hell



Follow & Support The PIT on our special event microsite!

Pocket Guide to Hell presents The PIT, a free and fun historical reenactment, on Sunday, October 20, 2013 at 3PM at the Chicago Board of Trade (141 W. Jackson) as part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago event.

The PIT takes a scene from Frank Norris’s 1903 novel The Pit and the form of a sports event, an idea suggested by Bertolt Brecht, to explain the history, development, and impact of futures contracts trading on Chicago.

While 1890s futures traders jostle for dominance in the wheat pit, play-by-play announcer Alex Keefe (WBEZ) and color commentators Tim Samuelson (Chicago’s cultural historian) and Mike Gorham (IIT) narrate the action. Pit Reporter Niala Boodhoo (WBEZ) interviews both the traders and the public as the corner in wheat collapses.

Brass Inferno’s Justin Amolsch provides a marching band accompaniment while chef Maggie Hennessy sells commodity-based concessions.

The 1890s traders are played by volunteers from SlowFood Chicago, Northwestern University Press, Archeworks, The Hideout, Public Media Institute, Paddy Long’s, Civic Lab, MAKE magazine, and Architecture for Humanity.

Leading up to The PIT is a Wednesday, October 2nd fundraiser at 6 PM at the Hideout (1354 W Wabansia) where the classic Parker Brothers card game The Pit (as seen on TV’s Freaks and Geeks) is going to be played tournament-style for prizes donated by Chicago Architecture Foundation, Northwestern University Press, and hand-signals historian and trader Ryan Carlson. MAKE magazine hosts an interview with Time Samuelson by Adam Burke after the tournament.

Pocket Guide to Hell, started in 2008 by Paul Durica, is a series of free walks, talks, and reenactments dealing with Chicago’s history. It has been featured in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post, and The Atlantic Cities among other places. See for information about past and upcoming programs.


Paul Durica, 773-822-9379,

Ingrid Gladys Haftel, 206-851-0891,

The PIT: A Fundraiser

The PIT Tournament and Fundraiser
Come play PIT tournament-style to help raise funds for Pocket Guide to Hell’s next reenactment!
Corner the market in the fast and fun Parker Brothers game as seen on TV’s  Freaks and Geeks! Top traders will win prizes donated by the Chicago Architecture FoundationNorthwestern University Press, and CME trader Ryan Carlson! Eat FOOD based on the commodities being traded! 
Stick around for an interview with Chicago’s cultural historian, Tim Samuelson, hosted by Adam Burke and MAKE magazine. Send a text to our stock ticker. 
Facebook invite here!
All proceeds go toward Pocket Guide to Hell’s next reenactment, The Pit, on Sunday, Oct. 20, 3PM at the Chicago Board of Trade, part of Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House event. Pocket Guide to Hell is a series of free and interactive walks, talks, and reenactments dealing with Chicago history (
The Pit Tournament and Fundraiser
Wednesday, October 2, from 6-8 PM
The Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia
$5-10 suggested donation
Chicago Children's Television Show

Chicago Children’s TV Show

Ladies and gentlemen, and children everywhere, your Chicago Children’s TV Show* is on again, with more laughs, thrills, and chills for your television entertainment!

Sunday, April 14, 2013
3 PM for kids and families
5 PM for everyone
Gallery Cabaret (2020 N Oakley)

Revisit the history of such Chicago treasures as Kukla, Fran, & Ollie; Super Circus; Garfield Goose & Friends; Elmer the Elephant and others as we celebrate the past and present of locally-produced children’s programming!

With appearances by contemporary children’s programmers Chic-A-Go-Go, Barrel of Monkeys, Elephant & Worm, and Adventure Sandwich!

Music by the Old Town School of Folk Music’s Young Stracke All-Stars and Prof. Justin Amolsch’s Big Brass Band! Acrobatics by performers from Aloft Loft!

Cartoons by Chicago artists Lilli Carre, Drew Dir, and Emily Kuehn!

Prizes for children and adults by Busy Beaver Button Co.; Derek Erdman; Kathleen Judge; Poetry; Victory Gardens Theater; Uncle Fun; Hansen Mansion; Barrel of Monkeys; Wee Hairy Beasties; Elephant & Worm; Drinking & Writing Theater; and the Chicago History Museum!

Starring August Sasaki, Fred Sasaki, Kenneth Morrison, Martin Billheimer, and Jerry Boyle! Directed by Meredith Milliron. Set design by Sarah Crawford. Tech assistance by Ben Chandler and Nick Fraccaro. Makeup design by Brittany Bodley.

Chicago Children’s TV Show is the second installment of the Chicago Television Project and was preceded in November by Studs’ Place. The second installment will look at locally produced children’s programming, once rich and varied but now largely non-existent.

Audience members will learn about Kukla, Fran, & Ollie; Garfield Goose & Friends; Super Circus, and other locally-produced children’s programs beloved by many Chicagoans. The “new” episode will highlight the work of individuals in the city committed to producing fun and engaging programming for children. The Chicago Television Project has the generous support of the Propeller Fund.

*formerly Bozo’s Circus, until stopped by the estate of the World’s Most Litigious Clown!

Chicago Children's Television Sbow

The First Ward Ball

Your friends at Pocket Guide of Hell cordially invite you to Bathhouse John and Hinky Dink Kenna’s 1908 First Ward Ball!

We’ll have dancing, drink, and political mischief!Music by Meredith Axelrod, John Gieger, Jamie Albert, and Spears and Gears!

Performances by the Chicago Poetry Bordello, Rob Cruz, Bill Savage, Scott Priz, and all your favorite Gaslight Era Historical Figures!

Costume contest and raffles of exciting prizes!

Dance with the Everleigh Sisters!

Rig an election with Johnny Powers!

Keep the transit system in municipal hands by fighting Charles Yerkes!It’ll be a lollapalooza!

Suggested donation at the door of only $10! March 17th at Chicago’s very own Hideout!

3 hours of political mayhem, music, and fun.

12-14--First Ward Ball



Studs’ Place

The Chicago Television Project: Studs’ Place

 Pocket Guide to Hell presents Studs’ Place, a live performance of a new episode of the classic Studs Terkel television show, at the Hideout (1354 W Wabansia) on Sunday, November 11, 2012, at 7 PM. There is a $7-10 suggested donation.

In the early 1950s, broadcaster and oral historian Studs Terkel starred in Studs’ Place, one of the first television shows produced in Chicago.  Working from a one-page scenario and with a cast consisting of Chet Roble, Beverly Younger, and future co-founder of the Old Town of School of Folk Music Win Stracke, Terkel largely improvised the episodes, which were all set at the eponymous diner and dealt with everyday life in the city. The episodes highlighted the musical talents of Roble and Stracke and served as an inspiration for later Chicago improvisation groups like the Compass Players and Second City.

In honor of the yearlong Studs Terkel centennial, Pocket Guide to Hell is producing a new episode of Studs’ Place, set in 2012 but making use of character types and scenarios from the original series. The episode will be performed in the front bar of the Hideout but projected before an audience seated in the back, simulating the effect of watching a live television broadcast.

Meredith Milliron (Barrel of Monkeys) directs a cast that includes John Geiger, Roger Payton, Scott M. Priz, Chris Rathjen, Nick Wagner, and Rachel Wilson. Special guest stars include Bill Savage, and Alison Cuddy.

The performance will be followed by short talks on the Chicago School of Televsion by the Museum of Broadcast Communication’s Walter Podrazik; on Media Burn’s efforts to restore original episodes of Studs’ Place by Sara Chapman and Tom Weinberg; and on Win Stracke and the founding of the Old Town School of Folk Music by musician Mark Dvorak.

Studs’ Place is the first installment of the Chicago Television Project and will be followed in April by Bozo’s Circus. Pocket Guide to Hell is a series of interactive walks, talks, and reenactments dealing with Chicago’s past. Recent events include the Studs Terkel 100th Birthday Party at the Newberry, Behind the Scenes with the Mediums at the Chicago Cultural Center, and The Compass Players Revisited at Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap.

“Studs’ Place Revisited,” directed by Meredith Milliron

Studs' Place

Paul Durica at Studs' Place Revisited

Studs Place Screening

Studs Place Meredith Milliron

Studs Place Cast

Studs Place Scott Priz

Atlas Obscura Field Trip Day

Join Atlas Obscura‘s Field Trip in Wicker Park for a day of exploration, revealing the lost wonders, secret places, and little-known history of the Bohemians, Anarchists, and troublemakers of the “Polish Gold Coast.”

Field Trip Day is dedicated to the art of wandering and discovery through exploration. Come and see Wicker Park for the first time or with new eyes,  through a series of on-site installations, challenges, and quests.

Alongside the working class Poles and Puerto Ricans in Wicker Park have lived those who couldn’t fit in: the Haymarket anarchists; novelist Nelson Algren; cult musician Wesley Willis; and every shade of bohemian and artist. Take a walk on the wild side through the working class bars, chic boutiques, and legendary music halls to discover the stories that make up this eclectic neighborhood.

Together we’ll find hidden places, discover secret histories, and learn skills long forgotten.

There are no right choices, no wrong turns – but there are treasures to be uncovered just out of sight.

Meet at Quimby’s, 1854 W North Avenue, at 3:00 PM. Check in at the tent. Wander from 3:00-6:00 PM and at 6:00 come to the after-party at the legendary Phyllis Musical Inn, 1800 W Division.
Be sure to bring your smartphone, bring a bike, and wear comfortable shoes. You’ll be wandering and discovering hidden wonders all afternoon, and then partying with us at the Phyllis Musical Inn – with food from Podhalanka – into the night!

When: Saturday, September 29, 3pm-8pm or later
Where: Check in between 3-3:30 pm in front of Quimby’s Bookstore at 1854 W North Avenue. Look for the Field Trip tent! Party starts at 6:00 at Phyllis Musical Inn
Who: Just like in grade school, Field Trips are best with buddies – so grab your friends and sign up as a team.
Also: Bikes are recommended for maximum ground coverage
Bring: Your RSVP printout, smartphone, water and your friends
Besides a ton of adventure? Get ready to play poker alongside alongside a dead award-wining novelist, join a funeral procession for men killed in the fight for the eight-hour workday, take in a burlesque act in an old-time bar or perform yourself in a scene from a John Cusack classic. On Sept 29th in Wicker Park, Chicago grab a protest sign and stop being polite and start getting real.

This is not a tour. There is no guide. It is discovery, pure & simple.

Participants should RSVP at

Fort Dearborn Memorial Walk

Fort Dearborn 200th Anniversary Memorial Walk
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
7 PM
360 N Michigan
London Guarantee Building

On August 15, 1812 the 54 soldiers under the command of Nathan Heald, as well
as a dozen militiamen, 9 women, and 18 children, left Fort Dearborn on a forced
evacuation to Fort Wayne in Indiana.

They followed the coastline of Lake Michigan, making it about a mile and a half
before being attacked by a band of Potawatomi. In the resulting conflict, which
lasted 15 minutes, 26 soldiers died, the entire militia was wiped out, and 7 of the
women and 12 of the children lost their lives. The survivors were taken prisoner.

The Fort Dearborn Massacre, as it was then called, is a founding act of violence in
Chicago history. It is memorialized in plaques on the sidewalk, on the Michigan
Avenue Bridge House, and as the last star added to the Chicago flag in 1939.

Wednesday, April 15, 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the conflict. Violence
continues to mar Chicago’s story. In July 38 people died as a result of gunfire, and
the homicide rate in Chicago in 2012 exceeds the number of American military
deaths in Afghanistan during the same period.

On the 200th anniversary, I will walk the original path from Fort Dearborn to the site
of the conflict. Along the way, I will pause to talk about the city’s problematic past
but also to discuss its present.

The route is 2.2 miles. Bring comfortable shoes and hydration. There will be
periodic stops. The event is FREE.

Fort Deaborn Memorial Walk

Ben Hecht’s House Party

Pocket Guide to Hell and the Op Shop invite you to attend a 1920s literary salon held in the actual house once occupied by Ben Hecht, author of The Front Page, A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago, and Scarface.

The salon will be held on Wednesday, June 27, 2012 from 7-9pm at 5210 S Kenwood Avenue in Hyde Park.

The house will soon be a private residence once more, so consider this a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Join Ben Hecht and other members of the Chicago Renaissance, like Carl Sandburg, Vachel Lindsay, and Margaret Anderson, as they read from their work. Past writers and editors will be portrayed by contemporaries in the Chicago scene, including David Durstewitz, JC Gabel, Caroline Picard, Kathleen Rooney, Martin Seay, and others.

Northwestern University’ Bill Savage will deliver a short lecture on Hecht and the Chicago literary world of the 1920s.

Susan Golland will perform a magic lantern slideshow with an actual magic lantern!

Period appropriate refreshments will be provided by Tara Lane, the chef at Hull House, formerly of Blackbird and Avec.

With period music by Aaron Cohen, editor at Downbeat, and Curtis Meyers.

And a Bohemian Costume Contest with prizes courtesy of Poetry, The Chicagoan, The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, and Chicago Publishes!

Space is limited so please RSVP to by Monday, June 25. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for students. All proceeds go to the cost of food, drink, music, and performers.

Ben Hecht's House Party

Like a Secondhand Sea

Pocket Guide to Hell presents “Like a Secondhand Sea,” a FREE and interactive historical reenactment that uses costumes, props, and over seventy performers to tell the story of how human contact has altered Chicago’s waterways in 3 parts: Marquette & Joliet (1673), Streeterville (1886), and the River Reversal (1892-1900).

Sunday, July 15, Noon

Park across from the River East Arts Center (435 E Illinois)

FREE bowlers and squirt guns and Streeterville currency to the first 100 participantsTintype photos by Chris Olsen and paper silhouettes by Nina Nightingale!

To volunteer to play a policeman in the raid on Streeterville, please email

With performances by Jon LangfordJustin Amolsch’s brass band, and the Chicago Poetry Bordello. With special appearances by Tim SamuelsonRich CahanAlison CuddyDick Bales, Tim Tuten, Kevin Robinson, and Water Reclamations District Commissioner Debra Shore. With poster by Edie Fake and handbill by Lyra Hill.

Second Hand Sea Poster by Edie Fake

Photos by Karen Rettig:

Secondhand Sea Tintype Photographer

Secondhand Sea - the French Voyagers Meet Ma and Cap Streeter

Secondhand Sea - Poetry Bordello

Secondhand Sea - Streeterville Performers

Secondhand Sea - Raid on Streeterville

Secondhand Sea - Raid on Streeterville

Secondhand Sea - Raid on Streeterville

Secondhand Sea - River Reversal Dedication Ceremony