Clean Up


Lush Walls Rise to Fight a Blanket of Pollution

Published: April 9, 2012

“The main priority for vertical gardens is to transform the city,” said Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, 30, the architect who designed the sculptures. “It’s a way to intervene in the environment.”

 Rodrigo Cruz for The New York Times
A vertical garden at the Restaurant Padrinos
is one of three eco-sculptures installed
by a nonprofit group in Mexico City’s efforts
to improve its notoriously bad air.

Adrienne Rich, poet

ADRIENNE RICH, 1929-2012

A Poet of Unswerving Vision at the Forefront of Feminism

Published: March 28, 2012

Art, Ms. Rich added, “means nothing if it simply decorates the dinner table of power which holds it hostage.” ….

For all her verbal prowess, for all her prolific output, Ms. Rich retained a dexterous command of the plain, pithy utterance. In a 1984 speech she summed up her reason for writing — and, by loud unspoken implication, her reason for being — in just seven words.

What she and her sisters-in-arms were fighting to achieve, she said, was simply this: “the creation of a society without domination.”


These examples of storefront installations are all along the 1800 block of S Halsted St in Pilsen. As opposed to having empty or papered over spaces addressing the street, the owner gets good relations, artists get exposure and the street becomes a gallery.

more art

from across the street art

origamic art

art detail

More Ladders

I’ve been searching to see if anyone has done anything closer to my proposal of flaneuristic ladders in the streets than Yoko Ono.  Not too much is coming up….  Below I’ve listed the more “successful” ladder queries.

Search Query: “Ladder in the street”

These two are not afraid to take their ladder out in public, but I think they’re just en route to something tall.  (Clearly what the little guy  needed to reach has already been reached).

A very cool street performer.  Completely stationary for long periods of time balanced on a ladder with a piece of framing on your shoulder… nothing to sneeze at, certainly, but still not the interactive and flanueristic idea.

Search Query: “Ladder sitting”

Mostly people seem to sit on ladders only when they’re stumped about paint swatches or wallpaper peeling.  But all of those have clear watermarks on them, so are not pictured above.  I have, by the way, done the lazy sourcing job of linking back to the source with a click on each photo.

Challenges to the Ladders in Chicago Movement stand thus:

  1. I do not own any ladders.
  2. Am I able to assure someone lending me a ladder that it will not be stolen?  I presume that I will be observing at an inconspicuous distance, but I’m hardly intimidating to someone(s) who can carry a ladder.
  3. Should the first two be adequately met, how should one avoid being sued?  Or having the city lawfully steal/confiscate the ladder(s)?
  4. Least of the worries, but where should they be?  In ‘rented’ parking spaces a la Rebar, or in or out of the way of pedestrian traffic?

A thought struck me while I was standing on a ladder today at the Graham Resource Center (moving chairs, not paint swatches).  I noticed that the ladder that lives in the library actually belongs to the shop, and I recalled that the shop has a whole hoard that are generally chained up, much like bicycles.  Why not chain up a bicycle at bicycle racks around the city?  Maybe I’d even leave it folded on the ground but with enough slack to be stood up.

Honestly, officer, I just needed a place to park my ladder while I stepped into Star$s for some coffee!

A Bright Idea

Came across this from a link on my facebook.  Pretty neat, and proof that you do not need a lot of resources to improve peoples’ lives, especially when you are living in an area that is not heavily regulated.

And don’t worry, it’s mostly pictures, not text-heavy.  Enjoy.

31st Street stencil

This stencil is on a plywood barrier on 31st  where the road passes over the railroad tracks just west of Lake Shore Drive (see map for location; x marks spot.)  This site will be in sight of the soon-to-come protected bike lane on 31st.  Only this single panel carries a message; the others seem (to me) eager to join in the dialogue.

looking & being taxed

You are looking at Chicago and being taxed for it.

For those interested in modern rockabilly

Some traditions never die. They just go into hiding in Montreal or San Franciso.