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  1. My wife, painter Kyle Gallup, was scheduled to be part of a three-artist show in Chicago, a city we have always enjoyed visiting, so we planned a full week there, with a few days before and after the opening. The week before we left, I shared the details on my blog, The Great Gray Bridge.
  2. Monday morning, Sept 21
  3. We flew Southwest from LaGuardia to Midway airport, a very convenient connection.
  4. I began visiting Chicago regularly in the late '70s. My close Franconia College chum, the late Robert Henry Adams, became a fine art dealer there following our school years. Most years between 1978-1985, I traveled from Cleveland, where I ran Undercover Books, to spend the week between Christmas and New Year's with Rob, then later with his wife Sandra, and their sons Sam and Jesse. I'd always stay with them in their house. Several of those years, we drove an hour out of town to Rob's mom's house on Lake Michigan, for a country Christmas. The weather was often horrible but even during the craziest Chicago storms, we braved frozen pipes and cars that wouldn't start, to have a great time. Rob and Sandra also had a fun circle of friends which made every holiday season, and their annual New Year's Eve parties, great occasions. Here's Rob in the back room at his gallery, Robert Henry Adams Fine Art.
  5. In that circle of friends was Stan Klein, who like me grew up in Cleveland. We didn't know each other as kids, but in Chicago quickly found we shared a kind of civic DNA, having grown up on Ghoulardi, and our tales-of-woe sports teams. Stan ran frame shops when we met, and also created his own very intriguing drawings. Over the years that followed, we kept in touch, a friendship that didn't lapse even after Rob died at age 46 in 2001. About five years ago, Stan and Chicago artist and author Tony Fitzpatrick established Firecat Projects, a ground floor gallery on Damen Ave, in a space that was once Fitzpatrick's studio. Here are works by Stan, then Tony, including the latter signing his latest book, Dime Stories.
  6. Tony Fitzpatrick by Rick Lobes
    Tony Fitzpatrick by Rick Lobes
  7. On their website, Stan and Tony explain, "We operate on a nontraditional model, giving artists total control over their time spent with Firecat, and taking no commission from artist sales. Instead, Firecat's goal is wholesome in striving to promote artistic growth within the community and furthering individual longevity as creators. As such, Firecat must be creative in generating funds; the production of plays, book sales, posters, and T-shirts are just some of the ways we are able to help support artists in their careers. By supporting Firecat through our publication and production efforts, you are also supporting dozens of artists in their individual careers."
  8. Stan had invited Kyle to show in the gallery a few years ago, and so she had ample time to focus on getting work ready for the exhibit, which would be up from Sept 25-Oct 17. In August 2014, Kyle had a chance to see the space when we visited Chicago, a trip we made on Amtrak that I also chronicled on Storify. Like last summer, when we'd accepted Stan's offer of hospitality, we elected to stay at his apartment our first few nights in town. At the end of Day I, as dusk turned in to night, I got this iPhone shot of the sky and the intersection known locally as "Six Corners," which brings together several major streets—Milwaukee Ave, North Ave, and Damen Ave. Crossing this intersection is an urban challenge, with wide, angular crossings, more complex than even the most tangled intersections in NYC.

  9. Tuesday, Sept 22
  10. This day happened to be my birthday, and we began it by taking a long walk along a new urban path built over a disused rail bed that runs through Bucktown, known as the Bloomingdale Trail, or the 606. Like NYC's High Line, this Chicago trail offers great views of the city all along its length.
  11. The rail ties of the "L" tracks make shadows like orange teeth.
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