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Lights, Camera, Action!
Tales from a 'hood that oughta be in pictures (and is!)
I’m a wimp when it comes to dramatic or violent TV shows, but somehow hearing a director yell, “HOSTAGES COMIN’ OUT!” and seeing a grip strategically sprinkle broken glass on the hood of a car takes away most of my fear. Funny how I get so pulled into something that I probably wont be interested in watching. But that’s the appeal of this neighborhood. There is something for everyone to relate to, no matter how big or small. It is the reason why Wicker Park is such an attractive area for TV shows, commercials, even movies to be filmed.
In the end of March I took my routine weekend walk down Damen toward The Intersection. Only this time I wasn’t only after my cafe au lait from Goddess and the Grocer. I was ready to stand in the breezy, forty degree weather for a couple hours to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a TV show’s pilot episode being filmed. Crewmen, actors and extras filled Damen, Milwaukee and North Avenue. As local residents and families walked by, men in police and SWAT team costumes leaned against the brick walls of the Wicker Park Tavern as they waited for their next cue, drinking coffee, chatting and holding giant (giant!) guns.
I have come to realize, in my short year and a half of living in Chicago, that this isn’t all unusual for my neighborhood. Sure, Hollywood is glitzy and exciting, but WP is real. And judging by the number of fanny packs I see on any given weekend, the recognizable scenery probably gives a little boost to tourism, too. If you’re trying to spot the record store from High Fidelity, or looking for the former Real World Chicago house, one thing is for sure: you’re going to see regular people walking around the vast array of boutiques, restaurants, lounges and bars, all built among eye catching historical and modern architecture. Film makers want to create a connection for their viewers. That comes naturally with a spot textured with such culture and variety.
Spend a few hours sitting in a trendy restaurant’s outdoor patio, snap a photo of the scenery you saw in that movie you watched last night and just watch the world go by. Pretty soon you’ll forget you’re in a movie backdrop and realize you’re in one of Chicago’s liveliest and most attractive neighborhoods!