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 III

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 third part of a four part story. Read PART I hereRead PART II hereRead PART III hereRead PART IV here.

For decades Pilsen has been supportive of artists. Most of the amazing murals that decorate the area were painted by people who live in the neighborhood. Like the working class Bohemian and Mexican families, artists came to the neighborhood because of the affordable homes and the supportive community.

Pilsen Mural 12

Pilsen Mural 12 (Photo credit: Atelier Teee)

However it wasn’t until the beginning of the 21st century that a huge influx of middle class twenty-somethings began moving into the area. Most of them were students going to college in the city and had recently discovered Pilsen’s affordability and proximity to the loop. As the years went by more and more millennial scenesters moved into Pilsen and unwittingly began gentrifying the area. As editor of Adentro de Pilsen I was witness to the latest cycle of urban renewal that had already claimed Lincoln Park in the 1970’s and Wick Park in the 1980’s. Continue reading