Pugilism in Pilsen, Part IV

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. This is the final part of a four part story.  Read PART I hereRead PART II hereRead PART III hereRead PART IV here.

1350 West 19th St. The place where a moped rally turned into a crust punk fight club.

1350 West 19th St. The place where a moped rally turned into a crust punk fight club.

Once the sun goes down anything goes in Pilsen. I learned that firsthand the summer of 2011.

Zoey, my girlfriend at the time, was a crust punk that was into protesting for workers rights and salting for labor unions. She had a lot of activist friends living in the Humboldt Park and Pilsen neighborhoods because of the low rent and lack of police patrols. For instance, she had friends that lived in a house in Humboldt Park that had seven roommates, a few dogs, cats, a jellyfish, turtle and a chicken coop in the backyard. The progenitor of these chickens was purchased from a hispanic neighbor a few doors over that sold live poultry and fresh produce out of his back yard.

One sweltering summer weekend we were invited by some of her friends to a backyard show in the Little Village neighborhood that borders Pilsen to the west. At the time I was living at an apartment in Old Irving Park, so we hopped on my Vespa and hauled ass down Western Avenue to the show. Upon arrival, we were witness to the first salvo in the unrelenting weirdness that would prevail throughout the night. Continue reading

Pugilism in Pilsen, Part II

Ladies and gentlemen: the story you are about to hear is true. Some of the names have been changed to protect the innocent. This is the second part of a four part story.  Read PART I hereRead PART II hereRead PART III hereRead PART IV here.

Pilsen wasn’t always a bastion of Mexican culture in Chicago. It was Czech, specifically Bohemien. The neighborhood’s namesake comes from the city of Pilzen in western Bohemia in the Czech Republic. Chicago, around 1915, had the largest population of Bohemians outside of Prague. Most of them lived in Pilsen. Continue reading