Elin, plant goddess


Our friend Elin, the plant goddess, visited us over Memorial Day weekend from Florida (where she has retired, at the young age of 67). She helped us plant our building flower beds, and regaled us with stories from her punk rock days.

Like here

Back in 1977, a Halsted Street gay bar called “La Mere Vipere” brought the punk rock revolution to Chicago. Considered the first Chicago punk bar, the La Mere Vipere met its demise one year later in a mysterious fire. The Artful Dodger in Wicker Park will host a celebration for the 25th anniversary of La Mere Vipere on May 11th beginning at 9:30pm. One of the original La Mere Viper DJs, Rick “Radio” Faust will spin, along with Bob Skafish (WXRT), Morry Barak (WNUR), Rick Addy and Mike Rytie of “Shake Rattle And Read,” and John Babbin of “Windy City Punk.”
. Elin dated Rick Faust apparently.

and here

Following the demise of Chicago's first punk club, Le Mer Viper in 1977, a new bar by the name of O'Banion's opened up at the northeast corner of Clark & Erie in River North and quickly became a Chicago legend. O'Banion's was not exactly “aesthetically pleasing” or even “clean,” but it did play host to a litany of local talent and national acts like the Dead Kennedys, Hüsker Dü and The Replacements. This was a far cry from its previous incarnations as a gay bar, the largest strip club in Chicago at one point and a “Bugs” Moran hangout. As punk rock yielded to new wave, so did the neighborhood to gentrification and O'Banion's was sold and turned into an upscale restaurant. Though it only existed for four years, it's influence on Chicago music can be felt today in such venues as Metro, the Empty Bottle and Neo.

Some of the local bands that played at O'Banion's included: Naked Raygun, Poison Squirrel, Trouts, Strike Under, The Dadistics, Direct Drive/Articles of Faith, Fix, Phil n' the Blanks, Subverts, Skafish, Tense Experts, and Immune System. The scene at O'Banion's also attracted national touring talent like the Dead Kennedys, Hüsker Dü, T.S.O.L., and The Replacements, as well as some of the original British punk bands. After Le Mer Viper succumbed to a mysterious fire ironically in the Year of the Snake, O'Banion's was the place to go for punk rock. It became so popular and well known, that a bevy of other punk rock joints opened up, also in sketchy and/or industrial parts of the city, including Neo, Metro, Artful Dodger, Lucky Number (which later became Club 950 Lucky Number), Lounge Ax, Oz, Gaspar's, West End Club, Tut's, Waves, Stages, Head's Pub, and Misfits. Just because it was ferverous doesn't mean that O'Banion's offered any kind of amenities for performers. According to Frank Eck, “O'Banion's was, bar none, the worst place to play at. There was no stage, no PA system (bands brought their own and played on the floor), no dressing room, virtually no lighting and no one in charge of the place. Worse still, both its restrooms rarely, if ever, functioned (once someone actually crapped on the floor next to my drum kit). However, in spite of all that, I have very fond memories of the place, having played some very fun gigs there.” Near the end, a tiny makeshift stage was added and the give and take of musician interviews and photographs took place downstairs in a tiny room with graffiti on the walls and lit by a 60-watt bulb.

Elin claimed to have sold Joey Ramone some drugs under the stairs.

I thought I took better photos of our planting extravaganza, this was after our second bottle of wine, so who knows what happened.

I wielded the shovel, D helped pick locations, and kept our bellies and glasses full, and Elin did the planting:
Elin Plants

Front Yard, Self portrait

Front Yard

Front Yard flowers

click for larger versions

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I think you'll find that the flower shop where Dion O'Banion was murdered was NOT at the corner of Erie and Clark (where the nightspot O'Banion's DID stand) but on North State Street across from Holy Name Cathedral. This is the problem with so much "info" gleaned from the internet -- too much distortion and misinformation. Ken Mierzwa is obviously not a reliable source.

Umm, that's interesting, but not related as far as i can tell. Who is Dion O'Banion? I think you're talking about a different era. Prohibition speak-easys were predecessors to the punk era, but that's about it.

Sorry, Curtis, but you can't read. The site you're complaining is inaccurate isn't maintained by Mr. Mierzwa.

The photos on that page
are by Mr. Mierzwa.

Try reading the whole thing before you go off half cocked the next time.

Actually, I am quite capable of reading, thank you. Perhaps the alcohol had some effect on my comprehension... but seriously, I had previously read Mierzwa's hazy EPHEMERAL CREATION and noted this sentence, by Mr. Mierzwa I believe, under LINKS - "I learned a few things from this site about the pre-punk history of the bar. Apparently it was named after a former owner, Dion O'Banion, a 1920s gangster who ran a flower shop from the premises. He was gunned down inside by Capone's men." The link is, of course, now dead, like Dion O'Banion and the "legendary" punk palace which beared his name. Holy tangents, Batman! And now, back to your regularly scheduled program ...

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on June 3, 2005 12:25 PM.

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