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Transcripts for The Long Dream

Below are the transcripts for video works featured in The Long Dream.



Birth Death Breath

By Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning with Steve Dawson

The Breath Song



Am I… Where… Am I, Am I here, Was I where, Was I there, Why, Air, Am I, Am I here,
Air, Why, Air, There, Am there, There, Why, You, Where, What am I, How breath, What

are you, Why air, Are you me, Where, Are we one, Was I there, Are we where, Am I

here, Are you me, What am I, Am I you, What are you, Are we two, Are you me, Why

are you, Why are we… Here, Why are we here, Air, Breath,
How can it be, How are we now, What does it mean, Were we before, How are we now,

Where were we before, Were we before, Where were we then, What does it mean,

Where were we before, Where are we now, We are, Was I… alive, We are…
Air, No air, Are you going, No Breath, Are you leaving, Where are you going, Air are you

going, Why are you going, Where will you be, Was I where, Was I alive, Was I, Are you

leaving, Will you be alone, Will we be alone, Where is your breath, Where will we be,

Where is your air, Where will you go, Where will you be,
He will not survive,
We will not survive,
I will not survive, Where am I going, Where will I be, Air, Where am I, Am I, Where, Air,

Breath, Breathe, Air

  • Music: Steve Dawson
  • Lyrics: Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning
  • Singers: Kara Hetz as the first snowman with Jenny Bienemann, Steve Dawson and Alton Smith
  • I Am Alive

    Awake, blinded, flooded, Everything is gratitude.

    Overtaken and dumbfounded, Ripped open to the world.
    Humbled. Here. I am alive

  • Music: Steve Dawson
  • Lyrics: Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning
  • Singer: Steve Dawson
  • Camo Duck’s Song

    A dream it might seem, were I not the dreamer

    I'm wondering who I am
    And what might be my place here
    A duck, with the power of speech and song
    And who is dressed in camo.

    I wish I knew whose hand
    Inflated me from nothing
    For he could tell me my purpose here
    And why I'm dressed in camo.

    Fawns and cubs, kittens and chicks
    Here in our nests and dens
    In the glow of the evening light
    Sweetly caroling through the night
    Worry not little duck — you are one of us.

    I'm still as in the dark
    As when I sang the first verse
    Who put me into this outdoor scene?
    And why the hell is it Christmas?

    I'm wondering who I am
    These clothes don't suit my species
    Where do I belong?
    A hunting cap may be...
    Au courant
    But what the hell am I hunting?

    We're the masters of the woodland
    We shoot things, because we can
    Thanks to us life's wond'rous pageant
    Never gets out of hand
    Shooting trophies, shooting meat
    Sometimes shooting our own feet
    Brother birdie, don't be nerdy
    Join our predator elite.

    A hunter's cap and camo
    One who sees and is also seen
    A body given breath by an invisible hand
    Compelled to yet helpless to understand — Good God —
    To coin a phrase —
    Good God!

    Worry not, little duckling!

    To hunt and then to hide
    To be both strong and gentle
    To feel and to inflict distress
    I guess that's why I was put here.

    Let’s go with that explanation.

  • Music: Robbie Fulks
  • Lyrics: Jeanne Dunning and Robbie Fulks
  • Singers: Robbie Fulks as Camo Duck
  • The Woodland Chorus: Robbie Fulks, Alton Smith, Diane Christiansen, Jeanne Dunning
  • The Hunters Chorus: Robbie Fulks, Alton Smith, Bill Brickey, Diane Christiansen.
  • But I Know

    Still I don’t know how I’m here but I know

    I am the blue owl floating over winter fields
    I am the marksman with the owl in my sites
    I am the goose winging home to my nest
    I am the hunter, my gun towards the sky

    Still I don’t know why I’m here but I know

    I am the snowman who melted in spring
    I am the sun who melted the snow
    I am the air that becomes the song
    I am the singer who sings as I rise

    Still I don’t know what I am but I know

    I am the light that comes from inside
    I am one with the breath that I breathe
    I am awakened from wherever I was
    I am open to all I receive

  • Music: Diane Christiansen and Steve Dawson
  • Lyrics: Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning
  • Singer: Renaldo Domino
  • Birth Death Light Self Breath

    I see the deathless nature of my self/Death

    We see now, the world is not solid,
    It flows… and vibrates.
    Matter is not itself
    But a condensation of energy.
    All is a mirage on a plain in the heat of summer,
    Melting into a limitless ocean of light.

    Free from darkness, we are luminosity.
    Rays of light radiate from us.
    May this light merge with the immortal light.
    May this breath merge with the immortal breath.

    The lyrics to this song draw from the poetry of Thich Nhat Hanh.

  • Music: Steve Dawson
  • Lyrics: Diane Christiansen and Jeanne Dunning
  • Singer: Blue Snowman: Steve Dawson with Diane Christiansen, Alton Smith, Jenny Bienemann, Kara Hetz and Bill Brickey
  • I am alive but aching, Why did I survive?
    Here. Fragile. Grateful. Impermanent.
    The genuine heart of sadness Is hearing all the tides,
    The world is breathing me.
    Pulsilating light blinks open my soul,
    I feel something moving within me
    A large yellow nose-like projection
    Some alien accessory fixed to my head
    I see the birth of the breath/Birth
    I know that I breathe/Breath
    I honor the breath/Breath
    I see the death of the breath/Death
    I see the light/Light
    I honor the light/Light
    I see the birthless nature of light/Birth
    I see the deathless nature of light/Death
    I see my self/Self
    I honor my self/Self
    I see the birthless nature of my self/Birth

DEXTER MAYS: Dear Mr. Belafonte, my name is Dexter Mays. I represent an organization known as The BAR: Brothers Also Read. We are simply a group of African American men who love to read. One of our goals is to share that love of reading with our younger brothers. We just completed your book, your autobiography, My Song. We were all deeply inspired by its story. It would be such an honor, sir, if you could join us this Monday, May the first, at 10:30 on the Mildred Gaddis radio program right here in Detroit, Michigan. And when I say "join us" I mean obviously to call in. That phone number is area code 313-568-1200. We'll be discussing your book in great detail, but of course the insights that you could share with us would be… priceless. Again, thank you for living the life that you've lived, sir. Thank you for inspiring so many. And God bless you for all that you have done.


ANNOUNCER: …the Black National Anthem. Please rise and [indistinguishable over sound of crowd and music] together as we bring the beautiful Black [indistinguishable over sound of crowd] flag on to the arena floor.


SINGER: Lift ev’ry voice and sing

'Til earth and heaven ring

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the list’ning skies

Let it resound high as the rolling sea


[a machine whirring]

MALE 1:Would you tie me up, actually?

[footsteps, whispers, a door opening and closing]


[a packet of matches opening]

[a match is lit and crackles]

[the flame is snuffed out]


[a busy street in the distance]


[heavy rainfall]

[a crowd at a beach]

MALE 2:I got you.

CHILD 1: You got me?

MALE 2: All right, sir, your turn. Let me see you swim, bro. You got this. You got this.

CHILD 1:Are you recording him?

MALE 2:I believe in you, bro.

CHILD 1:Yeah, you believe it. Watch me swim.

MALE 2:I’m watching you swim. Go for it. That’s how you swole, baby.

CHILD 2: It’s in my nose.

MALE 2:Wait, that was you swimming?

CHILD 1:You swim in water.


ANNOUNCER 1: Oh yeah, they're on board now!

ANNOUNCER 2: How about this one, you wanna do another one right now?

ANNOUNCER 1: Oh yeah, let's do another one!


RECORDED SINGER: But don’t tell my heart

My achy breaky heart

I just don’t think he’d understand

And if you tell my heart

My achy breaky heart

ANNOUNCER: Fourteen, three, plus ten.

CROWD: He might blow up and kill this man

ANNOUNCER 1: Stop it right there, Tom! [indistinguishable over crowd.] Thank everybody here for the [indistinguishable over crowd] virus.


ANNOUNCER 2: Yeah, we’ll keep that going and we’re gonna get everybody vaccinated here.

ANNOUNCER 2: Everybody in town is gonna get vaccinated?

ANNOUNCER 1: Yeah, everybody except for the police department.

ANNOUNCER 2: Why wouldn’t the police department get—vaccinated?

ANNOUNCER 1: I heard they can’t catch anything.

[laughter and noise from the crowd]

[country music]

ANNOUNCER 2: [indistinguishable over crowd] Alright, let's go to our next [indistinguishable over crowd] Joseph [indistinguishable over crowd] from Williamsport, Indiana.

[light posts hum]

[announcer fades in the distance over the noise of the crowd, footsteps, light post hum, and music]

MALE 3:My wife will love this shit.

MALE 4: Man, this shit wild. Where’d y’all come from?

MALE 5:Huh?

MALE 4:Where’d y’all come from?


[a crowd cheering, with music underneath, clapping and yelling]

[skittering electronic music from a small portable speaker underneath cheering]


[large bells ring out in a melody]


[a cat meows several times]

MALE 6:What’s wrong, Muddy? Hmm? What’s wrong?

[cat continues to meow over the person speaking]

MALE 6:You okay? You sure?

[The cat moves towards the speaker, continuing to meow.]

MALE 6:Wait a minute, now. I don’t know you like that, my brother. You seem cool. Just—Just stay right there.

[a dog barks in the distance]


[fingertips trace over a cassette tape box, investigating it, opening it]

FEMALE 1:The entire amount that is collected goes all to the artists so the artists can, that way, buy more supplies and do as they need to do to continue to advance their art. So, on their behalf, I would like you to, I encourage you to, to support our artists. This is also a way for new collectors to get some very valuable art into their collections for $5. Come on now. Help me with this. And the artists, would you step this way please?

FEMALE 2: Here she comes.

[applause and cheers]

FEMALE 1:This is my stalwart and I will let her tell you about herself better than I can…. And about her pieces.

[noise of people whispering to each other, moving in their chairs]

FEMALE 3:Okay. The two pieces that I brought today, this is one of them. It's called [indistinguishable over the noise of the crowd] Number 12. Can you hear me okay? Can you hear me okay? Okay. Now, this—

[a fan whir]

[Sound of a person speaking in the distance]

FEMALE 4: I don’t like ‘bye-bye.’ I plan on seeing you again.

MALE 7: Alright. No ‘bye.’


Alex Inglizian combines unconventional materials, including a pine cone, a compressed air spray can, and even a bottle of hand sanitizer, to create a tonal and resonant performance.

In a performance reminiscent of shadow puppets, dancer and choreographer Ayako Kato’s hands move in time to Jason Roebke’s sparse bass rhythms.

This dramatic and fast-paced performance of “Love in the Form of Sacred Outrage” combines the talents of violist Melanie Dyer, violinist Gwen Laster, and cellist Ken Filiano.

Over the sound of gently splashing water, cellists Lia Kohl and Katinka Kleijn slap, shake out, and rub pairs of rubber cleaning gloves over their instruments without ever actually playing the strings.

Rob Mazurek’s performance begins with a series of taps and chimes, building into a lush soundscape of electronic tones which resembles the calls of birds and animals in a forest.

YAW weaves together story and song, combining a story of discrimination against the artist’s young son, visuals of the trickster figure Anansi, and Adinkra symbols from Africa, with vocals and rhythmic beats.

Hamid Drake and Michael Zerang’s performance begins with a dramatic clash of symbols and a repeated recorded audio clip of “Keep your hands where I can see them.” The performance builds into rhythmic drumming with vocals from Drake.

Smooth saxophone notes combine with violin, guitar, and drums in this improvisational and upbeat performance from Chicago quintet Marker.

Damon Locks and Ben LaMar Gay begin by playing a staticky and distorted audio clip that repeats and eventually resolves into, “The government or the class in power has always sought to divide the people.” As the words become clearer and then fade again, Locks and Gay layer more audio clips with tonal beats and the clear notes of a trumpet.

This video incorporates ambient music and German voiceover.

A door squeaks open, then a second, screen door open, squeaking loudly. Wind chimes play.

A siren in the distance and a reverb of a musical tone echoing in the space. The siren in the distance sounds like a police car. There is the light patter of rain. The reverb echoes. It swells and gets very loud then fades back.

A car passes by, another siren begins far away, and a swell of the reverb echoing.

Birds chirp in the background.

Rain is hitting a surface.

An animal chirps.

Thunder in the distance.

The musical tone swells louder.

Another, different tone rises and falls into the distance.

Rain noise rain hitting a roof. Wind chimes play on the left side.

The siren fades away; it sounds very distant.

Sounds of a busy road in the distance with cars passing.

A car passes close.

Lots of rain plopping on a roof and splashing in puddles.

Another siren begins in the distance.

A car passes quite close while the siren is still going.

Rain still plopping.

The wind chimes play again on the left.

Rain still falling, and a train horn sounds as it passes.


Cars drive through puddles in the distance.

A bird chirps. A car horn honks.

Rhythmic clicking, then rustling.

Wind chimes play as a very noisy engine passes by.

More wind chimes, some rustling, and then the screen door closes. The inner door squeaks shut.


SPEAKER 1: I'm getting ready to play like we were 12. [birdsong, dog barking]

SPEAKER 2: It’s just us here, right?

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: You sure?

SPEAKER 3: Yeah.

SPEAKER 2: I guess I’ll begin . . . with the easiest of the questions.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: And it’s will you—

SPEAKER 4: I look down at the camera.

SPEAKER 2: be honest? I mean, we haven’t—we haven’t seen each other in 15 years.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: And I just want you to be honest. Will you be honest?

SPEAKER 4: Okay, and when I go back up, you’re gonna smile at me.

SPEAKER 2: What are you doing with your life right now?

SPEAKER 3: Working, enjoying life, fixing my house up.

SPEAKER 2: Do you enjoy what you do?

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: Is there a reason why you enjoy it? Do you think when it’s all said and done, you’ll actually regret it?


SPEAKER 2: Because you get something out of it.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: And what is that?

SPEAKER 3: Fulfillment.

SPEAKER 2: Every day?

SPEAKER 3: For the most part.


SPEAKER 1: I’m gonna shoot you.

Speaker 5: No, I'm gonna shoot you.

SPEAKER 2: But why?

SPEAKER 3: Why do I get fulfillment?

SPEAKER 2: Yeah.

SPEAKER 3: Make a difference in someone’s life.

SPEAKER 2: Being a cop?

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: Being a good cop, not a bad cop?

SPEAKER 3: Yeah.

SPEAKER 2: Do the others accept you?

SPEAKER 3: Yeah.

SPEAKER 2: How do you know?

SPEAKER 3: Because they actually talk to me, acknowledge me.

SPEAKER 2: And they respect you? [sounds of water splashing]

SPEAKER 3: Yeah.

SPEAKER 2: How do you know?

SPEAKER 3: How do they respect me?

SPEAKER 2: Uh-huh.

SPEAKER 3: I’m pretty sure I would know if they didn’t respect me by the way they talk to me and interact with me. Like you said tonight, you were surprised that the guy would be so willing to help me out, try to find a charge for that call.

SPEAKER 2: What call?

SPEAKER 3: The one where the 24-year-old was sending pics of himself to a 13-year-old.

SPEAKER 2: How did that make you feel?

SPEAKER 3: The call? Or the person that helped me.

SPEAKER 2: The fact that that happened.

SPEAKER 3: It happens every day.

SPEAKER 2: Well, it was your first call of the day.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm. [water splashes] I mean, I've had worse calls. Granted, it does make me feel sad for that 13-year-old that, you know, they're the ones that that, you know, that they have to reach out to a 24-year-old to feel something special, and not someone their own age.

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, I mean, everyone wants to get older, but some of my best memories were with people that were my age. [water splashes]

SPEAKER 3: Right, exactly.

SPEAKER 2: We’re the same age.

SPEAKER 3: Roughly, give or take a couple years.

SPEAKER 2: Give me a memory you have of us from before.

SPEAKER 3: What, when we were in daycare?

SPEAKER 2: Yeah.

SPEAKER 3: When you talked about watching Queer as Folk.

SPEAKER 2: I don’t know if that ever happened.

SPEAKER 3: But it did.

SPEAKER 2: What was it about?

SPEAKER 3: It was about you getting [child laughs]—I won't say getting excited, but you liking to see this episode where a guy had a constant erection and having the doctor and get it fixed, and it showed the guys penis in like a silhouette, and you talked about how you, like, how you liked to watch that episode because you got to see this, like, penis.

SPEAKER 2: I said all of this? How old was I when I said all of this?

SPEAKER 3: Like, eight, nine, maybe 10. It was—we were in middle school.

SPEAKER 2: It might have been before that. I think, if it did happen, I don’t know, I guess I’m thinking about when I learned what it meant to be gay.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: And I found it to be dangerous or something that was bad, right? And it—and it wasn’t because I knew it was bad. It’s because someone told me that it was bad.

SPEAKER 3: Who told you it was bad?

SPEAKER 2: They did, you know, the—

SPEAKER 3: Who’s they?

SPEAKER 2:The boys at school told me they—you learn what the word "faggot" is, play games like "spear the queer." It's way different than when I was four. When I four, I played, like, weird little games with weird little boys. I still have memories.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: Of Jerry and Tom and all of these little boys who it was just like [crosstalk]

SPEAKER 3: Show each other penises and?

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, that sounds weird.

SPEAKER 3: Who doesn’t wanna see each other’s penises?

SPEAKER 2: Grown-ass men do that now. Where are going?

Speaker 6: Hey, Cliff, they tell me you have pelican snowball on the University Miller _____.

SPEAKER 2: I’m sorry, where are we going?

SPEAKER 3: To attempt to locate.

Speaker 6: 10-4.

SPEAKER 2: And what is—what is that?

SPEAKER 3: We’re just trying to look for somebody.

SPEAKER 2: Who . . . fled a scene?

SPEAKER 3: We’re looking for a guy who is apparently soliciting sex from a 13-year-old.

SPEAKER 2: Okay.

SPEAKER 3: He’s 24.

SPEAKER 2: Last seen in this neighborhood?

SPEAKER 3: Apparently he lives here.

SPEAKER 2: Okay. Are you going to knock on their door, maybe?

SPEAKER 3: I am.

SPEAKER 2: All right.

SPEAKER 3:You’re going to have to stop recording before we get there.

SPEAKER 2: I’m gonna have to stop?


SPEAKER 2: Okay.

SPEAKER 3: Just so, like, if you include this in something, his address isn’t— doesn’t come back.

SPEAKER 2: Okay. What—tell me when to stop recording. Video or audio, too?

SPEAKER 3: Both.

SPEAKER 2: Okay.

SPEAKER 3: Any call that we go on is considered, like, private.

SPEAKER 2: Okay.

SPEAKER 3: So, like I said earlier, you're not gonna be able to record any type of accident scene, anything—anything that you record, that can be considered evidence. So, let's say this guy's, like, "Yeah, I met this girl for sex, blah, blah, blah. She told me she was 18." And then I arrest him, and we take him to jail. Whatever you recorded or is videoed or took a picture of will be considered evidence.

SPEAKER 2: Will be considered evidence.

SPEAKER 3: Right, and so they can potentially not only take your memory card, but take your recorder and your camera as evidence.

SPEAKER 2: Interesting.


SPEAKER 2: I mean, I mean, it seems like, "duh," to me.

SPEAKER 3: Right.

SPEAKER 2: Like, that makes a lot of sense.

SPEAKER 3: And so, that’s the biggest thing, so, just go ahead and turn it off, and then we can turn it back on when we get inside—or get back in the car.

SPEAKER 2: That’s tough for me to be okay with it.

SPEAKER 3: When people are not accepting that you’re Black? Or, having an issue because you’re Black?

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, yeah, I do. I struggle with it every day, I think.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: And I don’t know how to—

SPEAKER 3: Cope?

SPEAKER 2: Oh, I have many ways to cope, right? Like, there’s all these things we do. I made it to 26 by coping, right?

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: I don’t know the best way to cope. I don’t know the best thing to do. I’m still—I’m still figuring it out. I still navigate this on a daily basis.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: Like, you know, I have been pulled over by the cops before for mostly nothing.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: I have also been approached, uh . . . by cops in an aggressive manner.

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 2: And in light of some of the things that have happened recently, I—I worry. I’m still here, though, right?

SPEAKER 3: Yeah.

SPEAKER 2: So, I don’t know if that says anything or not. Does it?

SPEAKER 3: It should.


SPEAKER 2: Do they accept you?

SPEAKER 3: Mm-hmm.


SPEAKER 3: Why do they accept me?

SPEAKER 2: Mm-hmm. How do you know?

SPEAKER 3: Because they would—whether they would realize it or not, they would treat me differently.

SPEAKER 2: And you don’t think they treat you differently?

SPEAKER 3: No. And if they do, that’s their issue.

SPEAKER 2: Do you take pride in being gay?

SPEAKER 3: Yeah, why wouldn’t I?

SPEAKER 2: I hope you would. How do you feel about the space we’re in right now?

SPEAKER 3: It's a little cramped. [water splashes]

SPEAKER 2: You could use a bigger bathtub.

SPEAKER 3: I could. Could you a bigger bathroom as well.

SPEAKER 2: But I mean . . . now we’re close.

SPEAKER 3: At what cost? Comfort?

SPEAKER 2: Well, everyone wants to be comfortable these days.

SPEAKER 3: Who wouldn’t? I mean, would you rather be comfortable the rest of your life, or uncomfortable?

SPEAKER 2: Uncomfortable.

SPEAKER 3: Not in the sense of, you know, your life, but the sense of, you know, when you sit down, there’s always something stabbing you in the back.

SPEAKER 2: I think society at large is far too comfortable with everything happening in their world. They don’t make them-themselves uncomfortable enough.

SPEAKER 3: Well, that’s different than what I’m talk—I’m talking about.

SPEAKER 2: Well, maybe not so much.

SPEAKER 3: Well, if I could change having a faucet in my back I would.

SPEAKER 2: But maybe that faucet in your back is your reminder—

SPEAKER 3: To get a bigger bathtub one day?

SPEAKER 2: You can if it stays in your back, then you need a bigger bathtub.

SPEAKER 4: Okay, three, two, one, go.

SPEAKER 2: The next day, too. And you have to keep changing, which is not a bad thing.

SPEAKER 3: It isn’t, but it’s detrimental to my pocketbook.

SPEAKER 2: Well, if we’re talking about money. There’s a lot of different routes you can go with this conversation.

SPEAKER 4: Okay, so I’m just gonna—

SPEAKER 3: Why don't we go to what you want from me. [sounds of water sprinkling from a hose]

SPEAKER 2: What would I want from you?

SPEAKER 3: What do you think I want?

SPEAKER 2: I’m still trying to figure it out, you know?

SPEAKER 3: And we’re talking again after 15 years.


SPEAKER 3: I’m excited about it, but that’s a long time for many people.

SPEAKER 2: It is. But when you walked through the door, did you feel like we missed a beat? Was there a moment where you were like, oh, this is kind of awkward?


SPEAKER 2: Okay, then there shouldn’t be an issue.

SPEAKER 3: We have our separate lives. It’s not like we’re in the same city. It’s very different if you lived in, you know, North Carolina still. But the fact that you live all the way up north in that big old city of brotherly love . . .

SPEAKER 2: Is that a Chicago joke?

SPEAKER 3: Is it?

SPEAKER 2: It may be. I – I had to leave.

SPEAKER 3: For what reason?

SPEAKER 2:For love . . .

SPEAKER 3: No. If I was stuck here, I could have turned out to be a cop.

SPEAKER 2: Well, if that’s your choice. There are certain things we love.

SPEAKER 3: You think we’re both trying to change the world?

SPEAKER 2: In different aspects, yes.

SPEAKER 3: You think you’ll do it for the rest of your life?

SPEAKER 2: I’m sorry?

SPEAKER 3: Do you think you’ll do it for the rest of your life?

SPEAKER 2: That remains to be seen.

SPEAKER 3: I think I’m going to.

SPEAKER 2: Mm-hmm. If you enjoy doing it, why not? I mean, the moment you start waking up every morning and hating what you do, I think that’s a pretty clear sign to change your life. Whether you move to another city, another state, or another continent, change jobs, divorce somebody.

SPEAKER 3: I’d have to get married first.

SPEAKER 2: Yeah, let’s say you were married at the beginning, when your life took a sudden turn for the worse.

SPEAKER 3: I guess we're also just waiting, [water splashes] pushing.

SPEAKER 2:Mm-hmm.

SPEAKER 3: Going after, but we should all just sit in a bathtub and—

SPEAKER 2: Bathe each other.

SPEAKER 3: Bathe each other?

SPEAKER 2: Keep each other clean. [birdsong]

[End of Audio]

INTERVIEWER: Your name and your address.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: OK so Bridghid O’Shaughnessy, 6504 North Winchester Avenue.

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: Carmen Arnold-Stratton, 5642 South Winchester Avenue.

TINA HAMMOND: Tina Hammond, 6841 South Paulina.

ALVIN HAMMOND: Alvin Hammond.

SHU CHAN: Shu Chan, 6965 North Paulina.

ANNE TROY: And Anne Troy.

PHA TAL: I’m Pha Tal, I am from 65— well I was born— wait, raised.


6551 South Hermitage. Oh, Yeah.

Yeah that was it OK.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Hi my name is Jonathan Silverstein. I live at 6424 North Hermitage.

PAULA HERMAN: And I’m Paula Herman, also at 6424 North Hermitage.

NANETTE TUCKER: My name is Nanatte Tucker and I live in Inglewood.

WADE WILSON: I’m Wade Wilson and I live in Edgewater.

JENNIFER CHAN: I’m Jennifer Chan and I live in Edgewater.

PHA TAL: Well approximately, I may have been about eight years old, and we’ve moved from 64th and Morgan. 6454 South Morgan. And I remember it like a break-in or something, in the apartment that we stayed. And we moved to 6551 want South Hermitage into a house. But we were renting at the time. So yeah, it wasn’t anything that we purchased. But yeah.

INTERVIEWER: OK. And same for you


PAULA HERMAN: Well, I’ve been in the sort of Edgewater Uptown Rogers Park neighborhood since the early 90s. Moved up here from Hyde Park before that. I’m originally from the Calumet region. So the Indiana side. But I had friends and business partners up in the Edgewater area. So I’ve always liked this area a lot so, I’ve always just kind of circled right around here.



JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Well I came to Chicago— I grew up in Boston but I came to Chicago to go to school in Hyde Park, but I had done a summer internship in Lakeview. And I, you know that— I thought that was a fun neighborhood to be in if you were a young and single person, and it was still relatively affordable at that time.

So that was when I got out of school, I got a little apartment there. But when I started dating her, I became familiar with Edgewater, a little further North, and we’ve kind of been bouncing around Edgewater and Uptown.

And finally we had an opportunity— just based on opportunities basically, when what we could afford that best met our needs. And then when we wound up— we felt like we could buy a house, and this seemed like a good opportunity for us and we liked being in this area.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: So I was living in Edgewater before, which is a neighborhood just a little bit East of Rogers Park, and I was living in a condo at the time. And I was getting ready to adopt my son, and I wanted to have a home so that he could have a backyard. And we could have a space for him to play. And also where we could live in a more diverse neighborhood because Edgewater was starting to change quite a bit. And I picked Rogers Park because it’s literally the globe. And so that’s sort of how I found it. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: And what about you, Carmen?

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: Well, I actually grew up here, in this place. My parents purchased it in ‘74 so I been here since seventy— well, I haven’t been here since ‘74, but this building has been in existence in our family since ‘74, and once I got married, then I moved away and now I’m back. After divorce.

NANETTE TUCKER: I decided that I wanted to purchase a house and it was what I could afford, was the house in Inglewood.

INTERVIEWER: And what about you, Wade and Jennifer? How did you all come to live in this neighborhood?

WADE WILSON: Part of moving here for us certainly was affordability, versus other places— What? What else you say I mean, we look a lot of places?

JENNIFER CHAN: Yeah I think in the end, we like the neighborhood. I remember that there is a family sitting next door having— I think an actor hang out together— and we like that aspect of it, and—


WADE WILSON: Yeah, indeed. I mean where we could get a single family home within our means, but also a place that had a nice outdoor space and proximity to Jennifer’s work, things like that were important to us. And so that’s how we picked that one.

TINA HAMMOND: We purchased this home in 2002 after we received income— our income tax. We used that money as down payment and closing costs to get the home. After we had looked for like, almost two years.

SHU CHAN: Well, we were dating at the time and Anne was living in Wrigleyville, on the North side, and I was living in South Loop, and we decided to live together. And so we found this house up on the North side, and it was advertised as a rental home with an option to buy. But, it was a nice rental. We looked at it and we decided we would move into it.

NANETTE TUCKER: When I first purchased, I think my home was $61,000. When I purchased my home.


NANETTE TUCKER: It was 11 years ago.

WADE WILSON: It’s like 2007.



WADE WILSON: We paid 535,000 for this house in 2009, so it was actually kind of after the downturn.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: The house was 320,000 which— and this was 2004, and based on the market then I mean, I had been looking at the real estate market. And we knew when we saw it, at that time that this was the best place we were going to be able to get for that kind of price.

And well, as it turns out our timing was terrible. If we’d waited two years, we could have probably bought it for, I don’t know— well, quite a bit less. Or any number of places, but I’m happy with this place. I just wish I’d gotten it a little cheaper because that mortgage really does take a bite out of every month.

PHA TAL: I can say, I know it was nowhere near $300K.


I can say it was nowhere near that.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Yeah, I don’t think we could get that— I don’t think we could get that much for it now even, but anyway yeah. It is— prices are different now, yeah.

PHA TAL: Definitely.


BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: So, it’s amazing how much Chicago has shifted just in the last couple of years. And when I bought my house seven years ago, I feel like there was Rogers Park was still somewhat affordable in comparison to a lot of Chicago neighborhoods. So I knew I wanted something under $400,000. That’s what I was looking for, yeah. And I know you’re like—


INTERVIEWER: And Carmen, you said this building has been in your family, so can you talk about kind of the purchase history? Do you know how much it costs at the time?

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: No, but I believe it probably was $30,000. But in ‘74 that was a lot of money. But 30,000 and I think it’s probably worth a lot more than that now. But never know.

TINA HAMMOND: Our house was 60,000.

INTERVIEWER: And what year was that?


INTERVIEWER: And same for you.

ANNE TROY: We purchased the house for 135,000, and we closed that transaction in 1995.

SHU CHAN: But we lived in it from 1990 through 1995 as a rental. So when we first moved in we were renting it. And then we decided we’ll buy it, in 1995.

TINA HAMMOND: When we first moved here, there were a lot of families on the block. There wasn’t a school on the block. The city bought out the homes on the corner, and built a $50 million school.

There were more homes, because since we’ve been here, they’ve torn down at least three on this particular block. We’ve had a lot of transitional landlords buying properties, rent them out, Section 8. So we’ve had a lot of people coming and going, but not a lot of stability.

And now we do have more families that have moved onto the block. We have quite a few Hispanic people that have moved into the neighborhood, on all the blocks over this way. So, we see some change for the better, just not where we would like it to be. But we’ve seen some changes for the better.

INTERVIEWER: What about you all? How would you describe your neighborhood?

ANNE TROY: Well, I think Rogers Park is just very diverse. There’s all sorts of different people living there, all sorts of different incomes, all sorts of different languages spoken. So I would say, it’s probably on the upswing as far as I can tell right now. We’ve got hipsters in the neighborhood.


What? What? It’s like, OK, whatever. As long as you’re quiet, that’s all right.


That’s a good neighbor. Quiet. So that— so it’s well located for transportation. We’re about five blocks from the lake. You can get by pretty well up there.

NANETTE TUCKER: My neighborhood has— well my neighborhood has crime. The block that I live on, it has maybe three or four vacant lots, some abandoned buildings. Recently they’ve closed a lot of the public school systems, the grammar schools and the high schools.

There is no grocery stores within walking distance, you would have to get in your car to go there. No mechanic shops. It lacks a lot of amenities in my neighborhood, is how I would describe my neighborhood.

INTERVIEWER: How would you describe your neighborhood?

WADE WILSON: Like our neighborhood. I think is relatively typical for the Northeast side of Chicago there are frankly a lot of amenities. Very easy to get to transportation, very easy to get to Lakeshore Drive.

Three different grocery stores within walking distance from this house, and this is not by far one of the wealthier neighborhoods on the North side of Chicago. This is really a working class neighborhood.

JENNIFER CHAN: I think we have a diner within walking distance, like a cafe as well. Yeah, at least two gas stations, kind of within a couple of blocks.

WADE WILSON: Yeah. JENNIFER CHAN: We have a theater, maybe three or four blocks away. So a lot of amenities, things within like a short distance.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: This is the westernmost— the southwestern corner of East Rogers Park. Yeah. one block that way, we’d be in West Rogers Park, one block that way, we’d be in Edgewater. But this is still Rogers Park. I mean, I like that there’s a lot of different stuff going on in this neighborhood.

I mean we go East and there’s a University community. And you go West, there’s the Indian and Pakistani community. And we got a lot of, I don’t know hippie, artist types up here, and all kinds of different communities. And you know, it’s kind of fun to be around. Pretty much has what we need.

PAULA HERMAN: Yeah we got a lot of different things going on. A lot of local businesses, various ethnic communities, LGBT community. So, there’s some diversity and variety and kind of still a little bit of the old hippie vibe left in Rogers Park. And so it’s kind of fun and funky.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Yeah, I mean I like that it’s— the Devon Market Day Food section with stuff that I don’t even recognize. Sometimes I’ll buy things just to say, what the heck is this? See if I could figure out how to eat it. But—

PAULA HERMAN: It’s got like Latin markets, Asian markets, here Eastern European. It’s like this crazy mix of stuff.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: They have a lot of Bosnian stuff which I don’t think really reflects the market so much, as it does the owners the place, but— I and I’m a big fan of the Clark Devon hardware over here. And right across the alley from us there’s a sign you’ll see for— that says Chicago Industrial Arts Design Center and they have classes there. And woodworking and then metalworking and stuff like that. And I’ve actually taken some classes right now, it’s kind of fun to work with all their stuff. So—

PAULA HERMAN: So yeah, a lot of studios and shops on the Ravenswood corridor right behind us. Breweries.




INTERVIEWER: All right. So Maurice, how would you describe your neighbourhood?

PHA TAL: I would say that Inglewood is definitely improving. There’s a lot of things in the works, but for the most part for a long time, when it comes to food, it’s been definitely a food desert.

We could definitely use more markets, supermarkets, fresher foods, vegetables or entertainment. There isn’t much I guess entertainment places to go to kind of hang out. No bowling, or theaters or anything like that.

Yeah, so I mean it’s like I said, there’s things in the works and things that’s coming, but for a long time it’s definitely— it definitely is missing a whole lot of components. For the most part as a Inglewood resident, I often have to travel outside of the neighborhood for different things.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: So Rogers Park is really unique because it’s an immigrant neighborhood. So we have people from all over the world who literally immigrate to the United States, and come to live in Rogers Park. So if you look at our street alone.

Right next to us are Vietnamese immigrants. On the other side of us are Indian immigrants. Across the street are two different homes, but they’re both the same family, extended cousins and aunts and uncles from India.

Next to them is a Pakistani family. Then at the corner we have a Chinese family, a Bangladeshi family. Down the street we have Nigerians, people from West Guinea. So it’s literally the globe on our street. You can hear totally so many different languages. You open the windows on Sundays, and you’re smelling curry on the right, and pho on the left.

It’s not— I mean you can say diversity, but I feel like to actually step into our neighborhood, is much more first and second generation immigrants. It’s very working class too, so we have a lot of people who, like the family next door to us, ran a nail salon for a long time. We have quite a lot of guys in the neighborhood that run their own cab businesses. So that’s definitely a vibe of our neighborhood for sure.

Interesting. Yeah that would be very interesting what was the question again?


INTERVIEWER: How would you describe your neighbourhood?

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: Back then? It was really nice. It was predominately a white neighborhood, but now? Mm, I want to say it’s probably 90% African-American, and the 10% is Mexican, Hispanic. But it went from being a well-kept neighborhood to not so well kept. And I believe a lot of that has to do with not taking pride, and where we live, and renters.

PHA TAL: If like even, like for something as simple as a Walmart, right? So there’s a Walmart in our neighborhood, but it’s more so just a supermarket. They don’t have like, oh what? What would it be called? Well, not a supermarket. I think the supermarket is the one that Walmart that has everything. So we kind of have a— a mart.

INTERVIEWER: Yeah, the mart.

PHA TAL: It’s just like the one that feels like the food and the basic things that you need, but it doesn’t have everything.

PAULA HERMAN: It’s not like a super Walmart, like you’d have in the suburbs.

PHA TAL: So it’s definitely like, if you are familiar with Inglewood, or if you live in Inglewood, you see the small changes that’s kind of happening. Oh, you know.

INTERVIEWER: But for the most part you have to go outside.

PHA TAL: For the most part it’s kind of like— Yeah, you kinda gotta leave.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: We’re definitely lucky that I mean, pretty much everything we need is pretty close to here. I mean I can walk to— we were talking about the Devon market. We’re just got the Fresh Market over here, so we got food and you know Walgreens isn’t that far away. We don’t have a Walmart or anything like that, but the Target’s not that far, if we need it. And—

PAULA HERMAN: Ironically they’re building a new— I guess a smaller Target.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Oh, yeah that’s right.

PAULA HERMAN: Over by Loyola. And the people didn’t want it there.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Yeah, there’s a lot of little shops and stuff by Loyola, but there’s— like I said, I love the Clark Devon hardware store, and you’ve got a post office right on the corner here, so pretty much everything we need, you know. Well I was going to say, I get my hair cut down the street, but obviously I haven’t done that in a while. But anyway I could.


PAULA HERMAN: And there’s little entertainment venues, or bars and pubs with some music, and small theaters. A movie theater over by the school.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Well of course, those sorts of things we always find ourselves saying, no, we don’t take advantage of that as much as we should. But it’s there.

PAULA HERMAN: And we had a lot of— in the summertime, which is approaching, we have a few farmer’s markets, which would be really nice if there could be more in the city to bring fresh produce and other goods to other neighborhoods.

TINA HAMMOND: Well we do have a grocery store. We have several grocery stores now whereas before, there wasn’t one that was really close by. So now we have a Food for Less 69th street. We have a Walmart on, I think, 74th and Ashland. As well as a Aldi’s. But the community still needs many more grocery stores because there’s not grocery stores for miles for some residents, so they come from everywhere. We have the Whole Foods on 63rd, which a lot of people don’t go to because they say it’s expensive. But, we just need so many more grocery stores. We do have a lot of places where we can go and get our cars fixed, and things like that. But we have Ford City Mall, we have Evergreen Plaza that is just recently kind of opened back up. But we don’t have any in the community that’s closer than that.

INTERVIEWER: In Inglewood?


INTERVIEWER: In West Inglewood. Greater Englewood. There’s no shopping centres?

TINA HAMMOND: No. No shopping. We finally have Kusanya, which is a coffee shop on 69th Street, close to Halsted. But we need a lot of more sit down restaurants, and healthy options, in terms of like a Panera Bread. A place where we can go and sit as opposed to all the greasy fried foods. We need some— we need healthier choices options in terms of being able to sit down, take your family out with you to eat.

INTERVIEWER: Alvin, do you want to add anything? Do you disagree? And what about you all? How accessible are things that you need to— that you need for day to day?

ANNE TROY: I would say we have a lot of grocery stores because— but they’re all Mexican markets. So if you need milk, you need some eggs, you need— some have really good butcher counters because you have real butchers back there. And so you can do that.

You’re not going to find like all your jewel store type groceries. So, but we have a jewel that’s about six blocks from us, right up Clark. So you can get up there, what, a couple of minutes driving. One thing it’s very hard to do is shop for yourself, like buy— let’s say you want to look at shoes? Nowhere.

If you want to buy— let’s say you just go look at some outfits and say, oh yeah let’s— something catches my eye. There’s nothing like that. So, but what we can do is we’re just North of Andersonville, which has— this is just wonderful. The Edgewater between Foster and Bryn Mawr, and Devon. And there you can go shopping, and say, oh I want to buy someone a gift. So I can go down there, take the Clark bus. Get you there.

SHU CHAN: Yeah, I mean it’s obviously— we’re much more populated up there in our neighborhoods and our neighborhoods than it sounds like you guys got down here. Clearly our island here, the food island type of thing where there’s not a whole lot of choices in grocery stores.

Whereas we do have, if we don’t mind driving to it, some mall or a little plaza, and so forth. And then, like I said, or like my wife said, it’s kind of like an ethnic enclave. We’ve got quite a few Mexican grocery stores. We still have a good Mexican Hispanic immigrant population, as well as other ethnicities coming in, and so forth. So that fills the need for that.

General retail is a little sparse, but that’s because basically they locate in areas where they can get more attractive customer base, and that’s why they look out. Basically a mile South of us, and some of the more popular neighborhoods too.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: I guess it depends on how you define accessible. So, I feel like from a walking perspective, there isn’t a ton in the immediate walking area. We have Cermak Grocery Store, which is an amazing global grocery store, right down the street from our house.

And if you walk like, four or five blocks over, you’re going to be right in the center of little India. So if you want Indian food, if you want clothes that are Indian in style, if you want to go to like Indian boutiques to get clothes, or to get like your hair done, or to your eyebrows done, there’s definitely that.

But as far as other things like— right in our neighborhood there’s a gas station, and a laundromat, there’s a McDonald’s a little bit down the street is the post office. But it’s not like a main strip thoroughfare in order to get to that you’d have to take a bus or two.

INTERVIEWER: And so when you do have to take a bus, is it far? Is it like a 10 minute commute, or half an hour commute?

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: Well, so it depends, once again, it depends on where you need to go, right? So if we went to our exact neighborhood school, we would probably be able to walk there, but it would take like 20 minutes because you’d have to take quite a bit of side streets. If we were to take the bus to my son’s current school, we’d have to take two buses, and it would probably take us close to an hour. So we’re lucky because we have a car, so I feel like that makes it a lot easier to get around the city. But yeah, we’re not really close to a train. So if we were to get on the red line we’d have to take about a 10 minute, 12 minute bus ride, to get to the train.

INTERVIEWER: And, what about you Carmen? Is everything that you need on a day to day accessible in your neighbourhood?

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: Definitely not. Definitely not. The stores that I shop at, I wouldn’t dare shop here in a neighborhood because they’re, to me, low standard stores. The closest store that I go to would be Whole Foods.

Whole Foods, I have to get in my car and take a 15 minute drive to get to. If I didn’t have a vehicle, then I would have to take two buses to get to it. As far as my gas station? Oh, I don’t know where the closest gas station is around here. Maybe. , Oh no right on the Boulevard, but I wouldn’t dare go to that one either.

Laundromats, movie theaters, none of that exist over here. Well, the laundromat, but no movie theaters. Just nonexistent with the things that entertainment— or things that should be in a neighborhood. They’re just lacking here in this area.

PHA TAL: I wouldn’t mind seeing a theater, a bowling alley. Maybe some type of Center for the youth to kind of go hang out at, or have some things to do when they get out of school. Or to be able to be exposed to different artistic options to just kind of give them something to do. Aside kind of like hanging outside, and find different ways or getting into trouble. Those— trouble even being a option because if you have nothing to do, it causes like there’s trouble waiting right over there. So yeah.


JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: I don’t know. What are we—

PAULA HERMAN: Yeah, a lot of our needs are met here. There’s—

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Yeah I mean, I’m sure, I’m sure we could think of something, but— Yeah.

TINA HAMMOND: We need everything. Everything. We need resources, we need revenue. It’s just that our kids, not just the little kids but the teenagers, we don’t have a lot of— we don’t have some youth centers. We don’t have places for them to go just to enjoy themselves in our community, and that should not be.

ANNE TROY: I mentioned like you Tina, I want a good restaurant where you can go in and sit down, and not— you can get all the Mexican food you want but— I just, I would like a sandwich. You know just things like that, you just place, casual just— You know, they’re opening a few which, they’re not— you gotta get in the car and go there.

SHU CHAN: And we need more general retail. General retail always brings restaurants and maybe even like, my wife said earlier, clothing stores and stuff like that. Then shopping, more general shopping outlet stores because then it brings people into the neighborhood and keeps the dollars in the neighborhood circulate—

NANETTE TUCKER: Grocery stores within walking distance, better school system, lack of crime, more amenities. I want to see in my neighborhood more greenery. Those are the things that I would want to see in my neighborhood.

WADE WILSON: Quite honestly, it is hard for us to complain. You know it is pretty convenient and pretty easy to live here, quite frankly.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: Well, I think the thing that I’ve longed for most in our neighborhood is a sense of community. I love the fact that it’s so diverse. But I find that there isn’t always a lot of intersection.

And so it’s been difficult at times, to feel like we can make a sense of friendship and community, other kids for my son to play with on our street. Sometimes, that’s just because of schedules. A lot of the folks on our street work two or three jobs. So the parents aren’t around that much to create relationships with.

Sometimes it’s a language barrier. So a lot of people on our street speak languages other than English. So to try to bridge relationships can be challenging at times. So I would really love a neighborhood where you can have diversity, but that can there be intersection.

Can we come to each other’s homes, can we eat together, can our kids play together, can we have each other’s back if something’s going on in the neighborhood. I mean, similar to you, our house has been broken into. And the lesson I took from that was I needed to work harder to build relationships in my neighborhood, if it meant getting uncomfortable.

Even if it meant like, we can’t really talk because we don’t speak the same language. That’s OK, I have to put forth more of an effort. So there is a sense of a web that’s being created by everybody on our street. So that’s what I would want. People having each other’s back.

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: I’m with Bridget 100%. We need unity here, in this area. There was an old proverb saying that it takes a village to raise a child. I don’t know what happened to the village, but it’s not— it’s not here.

You know, when I was coming up here on this block, we knew that Mr White next door, saw us doing something, he was going to either get on us and tell our parents, or if our parents weren’t home and we were locked out, oh come on over, call your parents and you know, it was— there was unity. There was families that stuck together.

We had block club parties back then. I don’t know if we can have a block party here because it may be a shoot out. I don’t— I don’t know. That’s my biggest thing. Just bring it back to unity, bring it back— bringing families back together. Trust. You know, trusting that your neighbor has your back when you need them.

If you see someone suspicious around your neighborhood, call. Don’t be afraid, call. Say is that your cousin? Is that your long lost brother? They’re at your front door. That’s what I want most in this neighborhood, that togetherness.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: So as far as entertainment, there’s what I would want to do as an adult, there’s what I want— would want to take my child to do. I think when you live in— on the North side of the city, you get used to having to travel to where you want to go.

So like, I’m a theater person by background. So if I want to go see a play, which is my entertainment, I’m expecting that I’m going to drive within 10 to 45 minutes of my house. Just because it’s all over the city, and that’s just sort of how I know it works.

As far as like, same thing if I wanted to go out to dinner. I occasionally would go in our neighborhood, but I would often go where— because I don’t know, I have friends that live all over the city from the South side to Evanston, from the West side. So we’re kind of used to having to travel to get to each other.

As far as my peace, a couple of places come to mind. One is the lake. And we’re about like a 10 to 15 minute drive from the lake, so I feel like I can get there pretty easily. One thing I really like is Warren Park, which is the big park by our house, which you could walk to in about two or three minutes. We were just there yesterday.

And I love it because it’s huge open grassy areas. There’s baseball fields, my son loves to play, there’s like a big sledding hill, there’s an ice skating rink and it literally is it’s the globe. So you walk out and we’ll see women in hijabs. We’ll see people speaking tons of different languages, families having barbecues.

And I feel like that’s been a place where I go to take my dogs for walks. Where I know my son and I can always hang. So that’s definitely an oasis in our neighborhood. But I would say for the most part, anywhere we would go, would not be in our neighborhood likely.

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: I have to go outside the neighborhood for entertainment, whether it’s a concert, theater, movie theater, skating, roller skating, anything of that nature. I’ve had to travel outside the neighborhood. Which I do anyway because of the crime that’s’ here in the area.

Like I said, I just moved back, so it’s more of almost like a cultural shock for me, coming back to it and get hit with break-ins and property vandalism, and all of that. So, not with the neighborhood. But I know that it’s going to come back maybe in 10 years or so.

As far as finding peace, definitely not in this neighborhood. Living across the street from a school, that basketball is going probably to 10 o’clock at night when school is out. They’ll be out there all night. So I find my peace like Bridget at the beach, or just driving around to other neighborhoods. Going to church, peace. That’s where it’s at.

ALVIN HAMMOND: I mean it’s home, here. I can relax right here. Anything I need, right here.

TINA HAMMOND: Oh for me it’s— I think when you do. So Fresh Saturdays with R.A.G.E. R.A.G.E. is the Resident Association of Greater Englewood. And I’m a member and my daughter’s a member, so we’re active in the community. We do a lot.

We take over the parks for So Fresh Saturdays. We take over seven parks, we do activity with kids. Dancing, music, food it’s just— art, it’s just a lot of fun. And so I’m over the Arts table, and just to see the kids come out, the families come out. It’s such an enjoyable moment.

Also, our vacant lot. That’s for me, a place to go. Where we’re doing our garden. Just a place just to sit down, and just think about the things that we don’t have, but I’m grateful for what we do have. And the progress that we’re making because R.A.G.E. was also instrumental in the Large Lot program. And getting that started for the residents, to be able to purchase the lots on their block, for a dollar. So yeah.

INTERVIEWER: And what about you all? Your place of peace, relaxation. Is that in your neighborhood or outside of your neighborhood?

ANNE TROY: I’m with Alvin, it’s at home.


I’m fine, right here. And you saw the picture of our house, with the porch? You can sit out there and— I’m out there a lot. And I know everybody and I talk to ‘em.

SHU CHAN: Yeah, we’re good. We’re like the residents who, when you’ve been there as long as we have, and as you guys have, you know your neighbors or people that walk by. Which is why, you got a nice house. Or, good to see you, and stuff like that.

And people are friendly in the sense they talk to you. It’s not like you’re living in a condominium, or in a building or anything like that. And, you know people walk in the neighborhood, and now when— we have a 21-year-old daughter off at college but, you know she was raised in the house and we do have parks nearby.

We’re not far from the lakefront. So only about a mile, a half a mile from the lakefront. Just got, that’s what makes our area, Rogers Park, East Rogers Park very attractive to a lot of families. These younger kids and they can a— and we did too, take advantage of the parks and all these other places that they have, and still try to improve the city to make it more accessible for families to really enjoy the outdoors.

PAULA HERMAN: My place of peace is kind of back here in the backyard. The trees and the various urban wildlife that live there, and I was lucky to have a little strip of backyard here. I can have a little garden where I grow things in the summertime. And so this is kind of my little bit of tranquility here and throw something on the barbie. And eat out here and hang out with friends. So yeah.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: I go along with that.

PHA TAL: So, I would definitely say home. I feel most at peace in the bed.



PHA TAL: Oh, kind of just tuning the world out. I also have a studio in-house so kind of when I’m creating, just kind of feel that peace, the music. When I’m writing it. Creating different bodies of work so—

PAULA HERMAN: Yeah, and you have your shop.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Yeah. Yeah, I have a workshop down in the basement where I like to tinker around with stuff, and take stuff apart and break stuff and, it’s fun.

INTERVIEWER: That sounds fun.

PHA TAL: So I definitely have no plans to leave Inglewood. I just— I guess in a way


You hear that in Inglewood, it might be a dog—


Somebody’s dog might have got loose.


JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: No, no, the little yippy dog next door will— might keep you up for a while but they won’t hurt anyone.

PHA TAL: So I definitely— I just look forward to being any assistance and being a part of the solution with helping Inglewood get to what I would like for it to be, and how I would like for it to look.

So, when it comes to whether that’s helping give the youth different options, or changing the mind state, kind of buying land, improving the area. Patronizing the local businesses there, just things of that nature. I would like to see different entertainment and kinda cure that food desert thing that we have going on.

And just overall kind of making it for help, rather making it a peaceful place to kinda reside, opposed to just leaving. You know what I’m saying? I think it’s some work to be done there and I just plan to be a part of the solution. However that looks, or however I need to—


JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Well, gosh I don’t feel like I have as good answer as you do. I would say, I mean, I don’t know if the future— if our destiny is going to be in Chicago or not. But you know, as long as we’re here in Chicago, I’d be happy to stay here.

And as long as we’re physically able to keep up our house, I mean who knows, when we get old. We may need a place with less responsibility. But I’d be happy with this one, and I mean I have a lot of things, a lot of ideas for things I want to make and work on, and having this opportunity to have this workshop here, is really great.

I mean, that’s actually I think most people— most houses in the cities don’t have that kind of space to work in that I’ve got, so I feel very blessed in that sense, you know.

PAULA HERMAN: Yeah it’s always hard to tell what the future holds.


PAULA HERMAN: I found throughout my life but, like I like the neighborhood now, but you never know, well—


PAULA HERMAN: How things changed too, you know. Gentrification is always issues in neighborhoods, and it’s pushes the people out at the bottom. Those most powerless and vulnerable are the first to go and then it kind of starts moving up, and you never know how the character of the neighborhood is going to be.

So right now it’s kind of charming in it’s unconventional way, but you know it ends up just a big corporate mall, we don’t know if we want to stay here. Because we like the local businesses and local people, and supporting that. I’m very much into trying to buy local and support local people, and give them the opportunity. And so, you don’t know how that’s going to change.

You see what’s happening in Wrigleyville right now, it’s unrecognizable from it’s— a couple of years ago. And I wouldn’t even want to live like that near there. So yeah, it’s hard, it’s hard to say.

PHA TAL: So I remember, I remember I was about this— it might have been my first time on the North Side, well not my first time. But as far as I can remember and me bringing myself out here, I think I came out here for some type of interview, or something. And I was using like GPS or something, and when I got out here, and I was looking like I was on Ashland or something, so I’m like— this look like the same, but I was like confused.


I was confused because I didn’t really know— I’ve never like been somewhere and I’m trying to find— I’m seeing that it’s here Ashland, and I’m seeing like whatever the 100 was and I’m like, this ain’t— you know what I’m saying, but then I figured it out. Yeah it was weird though, nah this is definitely a dope experience.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Well I hope we’ll get a chance to visit your place.

PHA TAL: Most definitely.


PHA TAL: Most definitely.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: We’ll figure it out.

PHA TAL: And if you all ever decide to sell.


Or move, let me know OK?


JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: I’m going to be trying to get back at least what we paid for.


So, just so you know.

PHA TAL: Yeah.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: But yeah, I mean this is a lot of fun. It is fun to get to expand our horizons like that.

PHA TAL: Yeah.

PAULA HERMAN: Yeah, it is cool. I lived in Hyde Park for a while, and my first husband was a Hyde Parker—

PHA TAL: How long ago was that?

PAULA HERMAN: Oh, that was like early 90s, the family lived there.


PAULA HERMAN: So you know I’ve been to the Moo & Oink, up and down Stony Island, I used to go to the Calumet Fishery.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Oh yeah, I miss the Moo & Oink that used to be up by 72nd Street. We own a little bit of property at a 72nd just off Stony Island there, so well that was another thing that I bought at the wrong time. So I my ventures into real estate have not been terribly successful. But the point is I remember the Moo and the Oink.

PHA TAL: Yeah.

PAULA HERMAN: Some of them were— the earlier ones.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Yeah, that’s right. I should have quit while I was ahead.

PAULA HERMAN: Our first place we bought in Uptown out before it gentrified. It was a condo we bought on credit cards at auction.



JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: we go, that worked.

PAULA HERMAN: And we made a good profit on that one.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Right, then I got overconfident, but anyway. Yeah, but that’s a dollar tree now.

PAULA HERMAN: Yeah, but it used to be the Moo & Oink.

JONATHAN SILVERSTEIN: Oh yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

TINA HAMMOND: It’s a good project. I lived on— I live on Paulina three times. Let me say it, three times. Something about Paulina. But I was— in listening to their story I’m shocked to hear what they don’t have. I was expecting them to say, well we have everything.

We don’t need anything. So that’s kind of a— is a eye-opener for me. So I’m thinking like wow, I mean it’s like they have so much, and yet, they have less as well. So that’s something that, we’re similar. You know I always said we are more alike than we are different.

We may have some issues that they don’t have, but which we do. We definitely have some issues they don’t have, but I’m just shocked to hear them— they don’t have as much as I thought they did.

INTERVIEWER: And what about you all? How is—

ANNE TROY: Well, I am so happy that we worked through this whole process, because you know you stuck something in my mailbox and I was like, all right I’ll call. And then, OK then you’re going to come out, and we’re going to come down, and then you’re going to— it was like. OK, let me get my head around this, but I’m really glad we made the trip today.

SHU CHAN: Yeah, I’ve never spent— I mean I’ve always driven through— maybe not driven through, but never been down here at all, in Englewood. And to me, as I’m looking down the block here and looking— scanning the houses and meeting these people and so forth. It just reminds me that Chicago is a city of neighborhoods, and that this neighborhood, from what I can tell, for sure I mean the people are friendly and take pride in the neighborhood.

They’ve been here awhile, it’s not like they’ve been here awhile, she said she lived on Paulina at different places on Paulina, but always still in Englewood here. For us, if you’ve never been here, obviously you hear about Englewood in terms of the bad publicity, and in terms of what it needs, and so forth. For real development on the news and so forth.

And from activism, which is good, because that’s what it needs, but when you come down here and spend the time like we’ve done this afternoon, and listen to them. And then I can pick up a sense and see that yeah, there is you can tell, there’s a sense of neighborhood here, a real sense of neighborhood.

She’s engaged in this R.A.G.E. and stuff like that. And it’s like you realize, and you know what these people not only are— they got a neighborhood, but they care about their neighborhood. They want to improve their neighborhood. It’s not like, well we live here because we live here. No, we live here because— she says she’s lived here a couple of different places.

But she chooses to live and now stay here, and you know that to me is like, that’s what Chicago’s about. I’ve lived in, over my life, I’ve lived in different cities in the country, and Alvin was saying he’s from Mississippi.

And you can pick it up that this neighborhood, this section of Englewood, has got a feel of— my opinion like yeah, this is a nice block, it’s a nice area and they deserve people like this. Deserve to get the most out of it.

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: For me we look different, but we want the same things. We live different places, but we want the same thing. So it gives me a validation that everybody wants the same thing. Most people want the same thing, although we’re on different sides of the track.

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: I couldn’t agree more. Yeah, I feel like I really enjoyed when you came to our house, but this is by far way more important to me.


BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: I mean, I knew I liked you immediately the minute you opened the door. But it’s true, I feel like we’ve shared so many similarities as we’ve sat here. You know of wanting the same thing.

INTERVIEWER: And I see you’re—


INTERVIEWER: —emotional. Is there anything that stands out, that makes you feel this way?

BRIDGHID O’SHAUGHNESSY: Oh, I just think when we’re honest and when we’re authentic, and when we speak our truth, that’s what connects us. A lotta time— it’s so easy to make judgments, and it doesn’t have to just be across color lines. I feel like, we were just at my son’s sports thing before we came over here, and there are a lot of people that fall into a demographic there, that I make up stories about.

And say, oh I can’t relate to them, they’re elitist. Or, they drive too nice of a car, or they care about things I don’t care about. Instead of really going, I don’t know you. You could have a dying relative, you could be struggling with depression, you could be trying to figure out the best school for your kid too, just like I am.

And if I let go of whatever those judgments are, and just sit and meet another human, that’s where love is. That’s where connection is, that’s where peace is. And so I’m grateful because you created an opportunity to just deepen that sense of care for other people.

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: And hopefully that project will not just be there. Hopefully someone will see the project and want it to branch out to other areas. Yeah.

INTERVIEWER: Is there anything else you all want to add? I mean, you all just met each other for the first time.

CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: We’re friends now.


CARMEN ARNOLD-STRATTON: We’re friends, we’re going to hang out.