Even after a decade of rapid gentrification (and a few decades of gradual gentrification before that), Pilsen is still Chicago’s best neighborhood. Hands down. No contest. It is the home of the Skylark, the Egg Palace, Cafe Jumping Bean, Southkore Records, a handful of vintage shops, and a shit ton of galleries, bodegas, taquerias, greasy spoons, ice cream parlors, and large scale murals that take up entire sides of houses and apartment complexes. I might just be a little sentimental because I just moved out of the hood a couple months ago and I kinda miss it.
Long before I moved in, before I started coming out to punk and hardcore shows here, and before all my friends started building collectives and opening spaces, my parents used to take me to art shows here. Not the bright Podmajersky complexes that line Halsted, but these ittle galleries in people’s houses and apartments, where there would be kids and dogs and old hippies running around.
Ache was a lot like that. It was held in the 2nd Floor Gallery, literally a 2 bedroom apartment on the 2nd floor of a building on 18th, with pink and yellow walls riddled with nail holes. As late as an hour before they opened the doors, Gigi Deluxe’s daughter was sitting at a table having tea with a sculpture of a manticore, while a living statue pregamed it with shots a room over. A tide of people ebbed and flowed from the official gallery crawl as Peter Propaganda, V8, and RobotPanicMusic provided music.