Wannabe - 7

By Chris Prunckle

chris prunckle


Wannabe is a blog series by Chicago area artist Chris Prunckle, author of our serial graphic story Asylum Doors, documenting his trials and tribulations as a wannabe artist.  Check back next week for a new posting.

See the previous installment of Asylum Doors here.  Stay tuned for the next installment coming soon, but now on a monthly basis with fuller stories.


Chris Prunckle is a graphic designer, illustrator and comic book artist banished to the suburbs of Chicago. Though an advertising industry minion by day, he slaves his nights away creating a mad little world.  He’s previously worked on the comics Fisted, Bonesetter, and The Scarab.  Follow him at @midjipress.

There's A Sucker Born Every Minute

By Barry Graham

P.T. Barnum was many things: a showman, politician, philanthropist, entertainer, and creator of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but most notably, he was a con-man, scam-artist, charlatan, and big money hustler. His big top reputation as the fun loving, business savvy father of the modern day circus is marred by tales of fraud and deception; even his most notorious catch phrase, "there's a sucker born every minute," is often attributed to folks around him, but never Barnum himself. So who is this mystery man? Who was the real P.T. Barnum? Well, I'm not gonna tell you and I'm not sure I even give a shit. Like Jack the Ripper or Robin Hood or Achilles, I love the legends. Even if Truth existed, it is irrelevant. I prefer the outdated and overexaggerated stories of deformed freaks and human monsters with hideous mutations that make my skin crawl and my eyeballs and heart hurt simultaneously; the black and white photos of conjoined twins, giants and midgets, camel girls and bearded ladies,  scaly men with multiple penises and the women who adore them. I love it all.

But even the second-most overrated American poet of the 20th century gets it right a time or two, "Nothing gold can stay." Indeed, Bobby Frost, everything falls victim to erosion. The unfortunate watering down and softening of American society, especially our youth and their culture at the hands of "political-correctness" zealots and guilt-ridden single parents hell bent on turning America into a country of lazy, spoiled, pill popping, instant gratification seeking pussies, is well underway. It is in this new spirit of America that we can best test the resolve of the American circus sideshow performer. Lawmakers, at the behest of "concerned citizens" have passed legislation outlawing almost every means for a circus sideshow performer to earn a living, thus stripping them of their primary means of self-reliance, of comfort, of security, of living and working in a community where they are accepted and understood. Yet in spite of this, the show must go on. And it does. I'm gonna paraphrase badly here, but Darwin said something like, it isn't the strongest or the most intelligent of a species who will survive; it is the one most capable of adapting.

Karaoke Idol Chicago!

By Jacob S. Knabb

Curbside Splendor Publishing, Another Chicago Magazine, and Quimby's Bookstore present the May installment of Karaoke Idol Chicago, a monthly fundraising series at Beauty Bar Chicago. Starting at 8pm on Thursday May 23rd, cultural and community oriented organizations 826Chicago, Chicago Adventure Therapy, Found Objects Theater Group, Mental Graffiti, and *RETURNING CHAMPS* Inspiration Corporation will battle it out for karaoke glory and a share of the door money.  A jambassador from each of the orgs and one from the crowd will battle for the Idol crown and a lion's share of the loot. Judges will select one person from the hour-long audience audition at the beginning of the night to compete as the sixth contestant so come early and sing. Offical competition begins at 9:30. Open-mic karaoke throughout the evening until close.

Just Plain Cynful

By Cyn Vargas

By the time you read this I will have taught one ninety-minute creative writing course to twelve Chicago Public School freshmen who are interested in writing and have never taken a creative writing class.

I have known this class was coming for a couple of months. I was pumped when asked and was looking forward to it because it's a new challenge for me. I have taught twenty-three fourth graders writing for a semester (one kid drew me a picture of himself with six abs holding a gun) and I teach adults in my other classes. But high schoolers? Well now, that's a whole other story.

Then for whatever reason, maybe because this week is Teacher Appreciation week, and I was thinking over the teachers that have inspired me, I thought of the only teacher in high school that ever encouraged me to write, that actually said, "Have you thought of being a writer?" I don't remember his name except that he was old and his hair was like stretched out cotton balls, and I took a Creative Writing class with him my sophomore year. He entered one of my poems into a state contest without telling me and I only found out about it when he announced to the class that I had placed 4th in the whole state. It was the first time an adult really believed in my writing.

It changed my life.

I doubt that this class I’m teaching- the whole hour and a half with a stranger- will change any of these kids’ lives, but from what I know they come from a tough urban school where some kids go the other way- the violent/criminal way, you know? I don't know what will come of it. It's not just about doing a writing exercise with these kids and sending them away. It's about inspiring them and it doesn't have anything to do with ego. It's not about me saying, "Look, I did this." It's about them saying to themselves, "I don't know why, but I CAN do this," and this doesn’t have to be writing. Just something positive that maybe they don't have encouragement about in their daily lives. Something they just feel they have to do without being about to explain it.

Who knows if I would have gone to get my BA in Fiction Writing when everyone around me laughed and told me I would be poor for the rest of my life, if that teacher wouldn't have said anything. If he wouldn't have sent my poem into that contest, if he had said that I should consider being a writer.

Dose Market - Mother's Day

By Victor David Giron

We'll be at Dose Market this Sunday, May 12, for Mother's Day.  Dose is Chicago's premiere arts and crafts market and we're stoked to be there.  Bring your favorite recipe to our table and you get a free book while supplies last.  We're going to make a recipe book out of what we get and it's going to be great.  We'll also have advance review copies of MEATY, Essays by Samantha Irby, on sale for the first time in public.  Get Dosed with us.


dose market recipes


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