Wicker Park Bucktown Insider's Guide

Bucktown's Holstein Park Extends Pools Hours

Michael Hamrick - Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Traditionally, the Chicago Park District Pools close for the season on Labor Day. But this year, Bucktown's Holstein Park has decided to keep their beautiful pool open. This comes as great news in the wake of warm temperatures still predicted to be looming on the horizon this week. Today, for example, the forecast predicts a high of 91 September. Tomorrow it will be 92 degrees. 

That being said, the Holstein Park Swimming Pool is scheduled to stay open until September 30, 2016.

The pool is located in the park at 2200 N. Oakley Avenue and opens at 10am daily. If you've never been, it's a little hidden jewel in the middle of the community. The pool spans 50 yards and the depth ranges from 3 feet to 11 feet. A full schedule of hours is located on the Chicago Park District Website. For additional information head to

Holiday Train Arrives on the Blue Line Today - Your Detailed Schedule

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, December 11, 2014

UPDATED: Here is your Detailed Schedule for Exact Times the Holiday Train will be arriving at each station so you can be sure to catch it. As a reminder, the DAMEN Ave El Station is closed. 

One of our favorite little holiday 'happenings' in the neighborhood, the CTA's Holiday Train is heading back to the Blue Line in December. The CTA has announced the schedule for the whole season across all lines and the Holiday Train will be back in our neighborhood on December 11th - December 13th.

It's always really fun to see the train heading down the tracks decorated with garland and ribbons on the inside and thousands of lights on the outside. It truly looks stunning at night. Santa and his reindeer ride the open part of the middle of the train (crazy for sure) and his elves hand out candy canes to passengers. The train is always packed which should come as no surprise but it's worth the crowd. We have a blast riding it every year. The Holiday Train runs 3pm-7pm week days and 1pm -8pm weekends. 

If you see it - and take pictures - send them our way. A full schedule for all trains is below.

Just a friendly reminder, the Damen Blue Line El Station will not be open so you won't be able to catch it there. You will be able to hop on at the Division Blue Line El Station (1200 N. Milwaukee Avenue) or the Western Station (1900N. Western Avenue).  Will follow up with a more detailed schedule when it becomes available.

Stephanie Izard Hosts Tasting at Goddess & Grocer

Michael Hamrick - Monday, August 04, 2014
image courtesy of The Goddess and Grocer via Facebook.

On Thursday August 7th beginning at 6:00pm, Stephanie Izard ,of The Girl and the Goat and Little Goat Diner will be cooking up a variety of treats using her line of sauces and rubs. E
ach dish will be paired with beer or wine.

It's all taking place at Bucktown's The Goddess and Grocer, 1649 N. Damen Avenue. So come by for a dose of inspiration to make the most of the rest of your summer!

Tickets: $12

Historic West Town Church- Condo - Not on the MLS

Michael Hamrick - Friday, May 02, 2014

Front View
If you've been looking for real estate in the neighborhood this year, you know nice, well-priced properties are selling very very quickly. Often in just a week.

So here's a heads up on a property that is not yet on the MLS but will be later today.

Living Room
The iconic and majestic 1880's church at 1658 W. Superior was converted into stunning condos a few short years ago. And these condos rarely come up for sale. The condo that is hitting the market today is a huge 1st floor unit with a living area that's 29 x 27 feet and includes a sunken living room, custom birch/stainless steel kitchen with concrete counters and a cork floor,  2 full baths, a small patio and a secured parking space.

Kitchen / Living Room
Located at Paulina and booming Chicago Avenue, this one-of-a-kind space is steps from restaurants, bars, coffee shops, the new Mariano's and is within walking distance of the Division Blue Line. Asking price is $379,000.

Keep your eyes open for this one. 

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival Returns for Its 6th Year

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, April 24, 2014

6th Annual Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, May 1 - May 4

Chicago International Movies & Music Festival, the annual four-day showcase celebrating the inseparable connection between movies and music, returns Thursday, May 1 - Sunday, May 4, 2014 for its sixth and boldest year yet. The event includes: 75+ live bands and DJs including indie gods Yo La Tengo and Brooklyn disco orchestra Escort at Concord Music Hall and the Bloodshot Records 20th Anniversary Showcase with Murder By Death at Logan Square Auditorium; more than 90 film features, shorts and videos; and filmmaker panels and Q&As and special events ... all taking place throughout Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square. 

One low ticket price grants you admission into all of the events. Take a peek at the full program. A don't miss.


Participating Venues Include:

1st Ward @ The Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Avenue

The Burlington, 3425 W Fullerton Avenue

Comfort Station, 2579 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Concord Music Hall, 2047 N Milwaukee Ave 

Double Door, 1551 N. Damen Ave

East  Room, 2828 Medill 

Elastic Arts, 2830 N Milwaukee Ave.

The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave

Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie

The Logan Theatre, 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave

Rosa's Lounge, 3420 W Armitage Ave

Society for Arts, 1112 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave


CTA -Blue Line Derailing - VIDEO

Michael Hamrick - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

This video footage from the O'Hare International Blue Line El stop appears to show the derailed train hitting the escalator injuring over 2 dozen people. Service continues to be disrupted between O'Hare and Rosemont. Yet the CTA has stated they hope to have service fully functioning by this weekend.

Service continues to run uninterrupted at the Division (1200 N. Milwaukee Avenue), Damen (1558 N. Damen Avenue) and Western (1900 N. Western Avenue) Blue Line El Stations.

Burlesque Auditions - Gorilla Tango Bucktown

Michael Hamrick - Thursday, January 09, 2014
For those of you looking to expand the boundaries of your comfort zone in 2014, now's your chance. Gorilla Tango Burlesque (GTB) is pleased to announce it will revisit its popular Star Trek burlesque in 2014 and is seeking Trekkies of all shapes and sizes to audition - newbies (ie those with no previous burlesque experience) are particularly encouraged to audition. Auditions will be held on January 26 (5:00-8:00pm in one hour slots) at Gorilla Tango Theatre Bucktown, and the show will run Fridays at 9:00pm, April 18-August 29, 2014. For more information on auditions, contact Director Erica Reid at

Producer Dan Abbate says "The burlesque we do is very tongue-in-cheek and silly. It's story based and a very 'non-threatening' introduction to neo-burlesque. Because of this, we often connect with women who have had no prior burlesque experience but who want to try something new."  

Director Erica Reid states: "We work closely with each performer to both properly teach the art form and also unleash their self-confidence. The beauty of burlesque is that it really celebrates the woman--it's about being comfortable in your own skin and learning to love what you've got. All body types are welcome! More often than not, we find that first time burlesque performers get hooked, and we love to witness the inspiration and transformation that it can bring. Plus, with the amazing women in the scene, it's a great way to expand your social circle and make life-long friends."

Gorilla Tango Burlesque performers who were once new to the artform feel the same way.

"Since I started performing burlesque, I've had family and friends comment on how happy I seem. If you'd told me even five years ago I'd be taking off my clothes in public, I would have laughed in your face. And now, I can't imagine NOT doing burlesque, " says Emma Glitterbomb, "Ma Boobs" in "The Oregon Tail Burlesque: You Have Died of Sexy" opening this Friday at 9pm.

Busty Warren, author of GTB's hit "Don't Blink: A Doctor Who Burlesque", states, "Burlesque helps me maintain a positive body image. Especially a company like GTB where all shapes and sizes are welcome."

GTB regular Vespa Van Dyne (in such shows as "Temple of Boobs: An Indiana Jones Burlesque" and "Holy Bouncing Boobies: A Batman Burlesque") continues on to say, "I think what I really learned from burlesque is a level of bravery I didn't know I had. I'm up onstage and I get to literally strip myself (nearly) bare in front of an audience: no apologies, no shame, no regrets. There's nowhere to hide, nothing but panties & pasties between myself and them. It's an amazing thrill of personal power to be there as I am. Me and my panties and pasties and an audience full of people cheering me on."

Newcomer Polly Poms Poms - making her debut this Friday at 9pm in "The Oregon Tail Burlesque: You Have Died of Sexy" - says "When I saw the audition notice, I responded kind of on a whim. I'd always been interested in burlesque, but never thought it was something that I could actually do. I was surprised when I got scheduled for a time slot, even more surprised when I made callbacks, and pretty much stunned when I was cast in Oregon Tail. After each step in the process I wasn't sure I'd come back, because I found the whole idea of burlesque pretty intimidating, but I did keep coming back, for one reason only - it was the most fun I'd had in a long time. I can't say enough about how talented all the company members are - everyone is so incredible, and in an industry like theater where women so often cut each other down, it is truly remarkable how supportive and encouraging everyone is. Thanks to them, all my fears of feeling not good enough have turned into feeling effing fabulous."

Gorilla Tango Burlesque seeks a fresh full cast of eight actresses/dancers for their revival of Star Trek: The Rack of Khan Burlesque, written by Nerdologues, directed and choreographed by Erica Reid. We will also be casting understudies for our other productions currently in open runs. Initial auditions will be dance-based, held on January 26th from 5:00-8:00pm, scheduled in groups in 1-hour slots.  To be considered, please email a current photo (headshot preferred), resume, and preferred audition slot to with “Burlesque Audition” in the subject line.

Audition Date: January 26 (5:00-8:00pm in one hour slots)
Pay: $25/performance plus tips

Type/Restrictions:  Women, 21 and over only please.  Must be comfortable stripping down to pasties and a g-string.  Women with dance, movement, or comedy background especially encouraged to submit.

Time Commitment:  Rehearsals begin mid-February 2014, evenings and weekends. Rehearsals are always scheduled based on actor availability. Star Trek will run Fridays at 9:00pm from April 18th through August 29th. Actresses may still be considered for casting even with performance conflicts. Understudy positions in ongoing shows perform Fridays or Saturdays at 9:00pm, 10:30pm, or 11:59pm depending on casting.

Material to Prepare:  Audition by appointment. Please email a current photo (headshot preferred), resume, and preferred audition slot with “Burlesque Audition” in the subject line. Arrive dressed to move; audition will consist of a dance taught day-of. Please Note: You will not be required to strip in initial audition. If you are called back, you will be asked to perform audition dance with additional strip down to bra and panties.

Recycle Your Christmas Tree in Chicago

Michael Hamrick - Friday, December 27, 2013

Don't throw that tree in the garbage. Recycle Recycle Recycle.


The City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District offers tree recycling at 23 locations, including the Humboldt Park Boathouse at 1369 N Sacramento Ave, from Saturday, January 4 to Saturday, January 18. For additional information call 311 or visit the website 


If you're willing to hold on to your tree this long .... Bartlett Tree Experts and the WPB SSA #33 are sponsoring Christmas tree recycling at the Jewel/Kmart Parking Lot at 1360 N Ashland Ave on Saturday, January 11, 2014 from 10 am - 2pm. 


Finally, the three weekends following December 25 the Bucktown Community Organization will be making the rounds to pick up trees from alleys for their members who are unable to drop their trees off for recycling.Please email them for details at

Chicago Fire Filming at Lotties Today

Michael Hamrick - Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Jesse Spencer. Photo courtesy of Ashley Foster.

Chicago Fire is filming again in Bucktown. But the filming location is limited just to the area surrounding Lottie's Pub (Cortland and Winchester) at 1925 W. Cortland. So if you're looking to take a photo ... or just stalking... they will be there today and should be there until around 10pm or so.

Guys Paint Free Tonight At Arts n Spirits

Michael Hamrick - Friday, November 08, 2013

Looking for a cool date idea? Head to Arts n Spirits in Bucktown at 1921 N. Damen Avenue. It's a great little spot where you'll be instructed how to paint a picture. Plus it's byob. You'll come home with this cool picture and tonight, guys paint for free.

That's a savings of $40. 

Sign up like you would for a traditional class but guys won't be charged.

Tonight only in Bucktown.

You'll be painting this:

Sign up information:

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