Page 203 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
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Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 183
             Chicago at best is a strange, artless place. Southern Blacks moving North
             don’t move to Chicago. They move to 63rd and Cottage Grove in  Chicago.
             Displaced Southern Whites locate around Belmont or Argyle in Chicago
             and prey nights on the homosexuals cruising solitary in middle Lincoln
             Park. “The Patch,” an Irish gang that grows out of the Catholic basketball
             courts up around Loyola Avenue, is neither as feisty nor as infamous as
             the militant Afro-American “Blackstone Rangers,” but the Patch spawns
             more police vocations than any other gang in Chicago.
                The “People’s Park” at Halsted and Armitage is rocks since its neigh-
             borhood sponsor was murdered late last summer. He and his wife were
             killed while a friend of mine [the 2007 MacArthur Fellowship “Genius
             Award” writer, Stuart Dybek] sat studying late and deep next door. The
             next morning the detectives wondered why he had heard nothing; and he
             looked out on the play-yard swings of the children with the dead parents
             and said again, no, he had heard nothing.
                The Spanish-American “Young Lords” gang continues making into
             a daycare center the local Protestant church emptied by the changing
             neighborhood. The Coven, a diabolical rock music group, can be reached
             c/o Dunwich, 25 East Chestnut, Chicago.
                WITCH (Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell)
             has its main national headquarters for the Women’s Liberation Front in
             Chicago. And the blue-and-white cop cars are everywhere, sudden and
             tough, keeping all these parts and pieces in tight control.

             No matter what the fine line between police protection and police state,
             the Chicago fact is clear that the city’s population is divided. Some sup-
             port the police as protection against the lawless; others say the police
             themselves are the lawless. Fear and over-reaction are the tunes they’re
             fiddling in the city that has once already burned.
                One side or the other over-reacted outside the Hilton Hotel dur-
             ing the 1968 Democratic Convention as the riot and the police beating
             of innocent conventioneers was televised live to the hippie chant “The
             Whole World Is Watching.” Since then, more and more dissatisfied ordi-
             nary people have been dropping out. Haskell Wexler’s beautiful Medium
             Cool — a film about how art might explain a riotous society — could not
             find an audience in Chicago where Wexler famously filmed it in Lincoln
             Park during the police riot at the Democratic Convention.
                The  Chicago Sun-Times liberal film critic, Roger Ebert, gave Wexler’s
             film four reviews trying to hype it as a must-see. As a socially respon-
             sible critic, Ebert knows how art can clarify a confusing social situation.

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
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