Patio Theater 2011


©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

For the longest time, I feared that the Patio would be torn down. It had been closed for years until someone bought and rehabbed it in 2011. It now regularly plays recent films and has a loyal neighborhood following. I’m glad that it’s been resurrected because I hate when they tear down these beautiful, old movie palaces.

The Aragon 1994


©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

This is the photo that EVERYONE in my class seemed to rave about. The composition, the lighting, etc. etc. To tell you the truth, it was a fluke. I was standing by the EL doors as the train entered the Lawrence Ave. station. I looked out the window and The Aragon caught my eye–I have a thing for old theater signs. Just as the train was about to depart the station, I quickly snapped two shots. This is one of them. As much as I’ll admit that this shot was a fluke, It did define this project. Views of the city, or simply, Urban Views.

Gentrification– Wicker Park, 1994


©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

To some, gentrification meant purging the past and allowing a brighter future. To others, it meant higher rents and long time residents finding new places to live. Wicker Park first drew in artists looking for work/live spaces for cheap. With that, they brought stability and hope to an area once known for hypodermic needles on the sidewalks and prostitutes on the street corners. Unfortunately, these artists found themselves ousted by the Yuppies who came to the Around The Coyote festival every year. The large poster to the left of the frame says it all.

As a side note, that wall is now an Italian restaurant and the Firehouse where that meeting was held is now a Potbelly’s sandwich shop. “Give a shit”.

Damen Ave. Blue Line Station 1994


©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

In 1994, Wicker Park was already the ‘hot’ new area in the city. It was the heart of Chicago’s music scene, and a flourishing art community. Change was evident everywhere . In the two years since I started to come down here, more and more places were popping up. Anything from vintage clothing stores, to bars, to coffee shops. It was an exciting time for this neighborhood, once a pretty rough area in the city.

900 Block Of Belmont Looking West 1994


©2013. Mike Priorie. All Rights Reserved.

I started hanging out in the Belmont and Clark area (known as Lake View) around 1989. I was into the whole New Wave/Post-Punk scene and would go to a teen night club called Medusa’s which was about two blocks from where this photo was taken. Across the street from here is a Dunk in Donuts which was affectionately known as Punk-in Donuts due to the crowds of teen Punk Rockers who would congregate there when Medusa’s let out.

When this photo was taken in ’94, the area had gentrified immensely. Medusa’s was gone (It became a Real Estate office) and Kokomo’s Caffe was soon to be history. Slowly the grit and the bad ass charm that was Belmont and Clark of the eighties was becoming more upscale with the influx of Yuppies moving there. Rents in the area doubled by the end of the decade. It looks so different today, but occasionally I’ll catch a fragment of something that harkens to the days of my youth when black was the only color I ever wore.

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