Pleasant House used to be in Bridgeport but is now in Pilsen. They serve savory pies, so of course I was a regular at the old location—a cramped converted pizza shop next to Maria’s Bar at 31st & Morgan. In fact, I did a painting of the intersection where the shop used to be as a Kickstarter reward a few years back. The new place is a couple doors down from the Skylark, so I often see people who work there on Sunday nights after they’re done with their shift. The first time I ever walked in there, my friend Brian (who was a bartender at Nightwood, the restaurant which occupied this storefront previously), was at the bar as if he’d been there the whole time, just waiting for the doors to open again.
Unlike their old spot, this space is opulent, and they spent a goodly sum redecorating, down to actual old-world-style plaster walls. For the first few months they were open, a series of black-and-white photos decorated those walls, but the last few times I’ve come in all but one or two had been removed. Tuesday, the day after I hung my bar paintings show up in Humboldt Park, I asked Iggy, between bites of mushroom-and-kale pie, who was in charge of the artwork. After a series of emails with Art, the owner, I was back the following morning to hang a bunch of my pictures.
I chose all black-and-white pieces which I think go best with the decor of the place. Because they serve beer, I hung a bunch of bar-themed illustrations from Hack near the taps. Most of what I brought were portraits. You’ll find the one of Henry Miller I did last summer for The Scofield, but also the one of my friend Claire from years ago, as well as the one of the old grizzled cabbie who told me about the sci-fi epic he’d been writing for years while we were waiting to pick up late-night drinkers at The Continental.
The great thing about hanging old things in new places is that they sometimes get a bit of new life to them from the novel surroundings. They certainly have a better chance at survival in a room which fills and refills with people every day than on the walls or in the closets of my apartment, where the only person who will look at them will likely destroy them sooner or later.
It feels good and right to have them out of the house.
So these are the places around town where you can currently look at my paintings and drawings:
1.) Hume Chicago
2.) Pleasant House
3.) Jackalope Coffee
4.) Gold Star Bar
5.) Flying Saucer
7.) Bernice’s Tavern
p.s. I saw a great production of a Brecht play set in 30s Chicago, written in 40s Germany, but all about the US today.