Consummate dilettantism!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pilsen + Fuck the Hood

We went to Pilsen today. Pilsen is a Latino neighborhood in Chicago. I decided to go there because everyone was going downtown, and as I had already been there on several occasions, I thought that Pilsen would be a more unique choice. As it turns out, it was a very, very good choice.

We (I and few friends) went to a good Mexican restaurant and thence a bakery, wherein we enjoyed some very tasty pastries. Spotting this utterly phantasmagoric street art, we went and took pictures. At this point it should be noted that Pilsen isn't a touristy place; it's a bit ghetto, especially as you progress farther from the train station. At a lovely, decorated square between a church and a school, we happened to see a group of men filming what appeared to be a music video. We stopped and stared for a while, until one of them, who seemed to speak Spanish and French and English fluently, came over and began talking with us. He was an interesting and somewhat philosophical man, and invited us to follow the group. We did, and in doing so of course ventured into the poorer and less flashy part of Pilsen. (What made the situation odder was the presence of a strange, well-dressed man who followed and talked with us. His sudden disappearance was, or seemed, suspect.) But when we caught up to the group, we were actually invited to participate in the video! We immediately consented (how often do such opportunities arise?), and participated in a few takes with these very friendly hip-hop artists. We held up our middle fingers to the camera and, grim-faced, mouthed "fuck the hood," the name of the song being filmed. It's a good song (albeit obviously profane) with a good message. Listen to it here. It was, to say the least, a tremendously enlightening experience. That there is such beauty, culture, and warmth (we were happily greeted by random strangers) to be found in the "ghetto" is not something of which many people are cognizant. I only now realize just how stifling and sterile a suburb can be. Safer, of course, but in safety lies a removal of some of that which makes life worth living. One must move beyond one's comfort zone to experience cool, unadulterated shit.

I will inform you when the video is completed!

1 comment:

  1. yes! Pilsen was certainly the hood to fuck!

    I'm using this as evidence that I'm going to start reading your blog, by the way! Don't bother looking at mine, though...I never publish anything I write!