Randolph Street: Four Show

July 10th, 2020

1img20200601_13502361g copy Kid Cadillac–Chicago


This is my work from ‘Chicago Noir’, the photo show opening tonight from 5-8 at Oliva Gallery, 3816 W Armitage. Six photographers–Akira, Doug Boehm, Kevin Byrne, Pauline Kochanski, Daphne Walsh and Yours Truly.


2img20200601_13515951c copySidewalk Sale–Chicago


3img20200601_13484940A copyCarny–Chicago


4img20200601_13470419bc copySoup Served–Chicago



All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: Bitchin’

July 10th, 2020

As the old guy in an universe of the young, I’m always hearing expressions I’ve never heard before. And so it was the other day, when my wife approached me as I was reading the newspaper…

“I think Ziggy made a mistake,” she said.

Ziggy’s her 30-something-year old guitar teacher.


“He sent me a text that says `bitchin’.”


“Yes, bitchin’…”

“That’s it?”

“Yep–that’s it.”

I put down the newspaper. Obviously, this required my full attention.

“What was the context?” I asked.

“I texted to see when we were having our guitar lesson. And he texted back–`is 1:45 good for you?’ I wrote yes. And he wrote–`bitchin’.'”


“He must have meant to send this text to someone else,” she concluded.

Well, there’s precedence for this.


“The secret to staying young is to lie about your age”–Lucille Ball. Word.

Years ago, when our daughters were teenagers, my wife wrote one of them a text, bitching about something our daughter had done.

But she accidentally sent that text to Susan, a friend.

Susan texted back: “I think you may have sent this to the wrong person.”

Then she launched into an obscenity-laced rant about her own teenage kids.

But back to bitchin’…

I said: “Bitchin’ must be something millennials say to one another a lot. Though we wouldn’t know that cause we haven’t been millennials in a long time. Actually, we’ve never been millennials. Either way–I’ll look it up in the Urban Dictionary.”

The Urban Dictionary is a website I discovered years ago when I was at the bowling alley talking about this, that and the other thing with my 30-something-year-old pal, J Dub.

I said: “These politicians are all crooked.”

And J Dub said: “Word.”

“What?” I asked. As though the problem was I didn’t hear what he said.

“Word,” he repeated.

“Oh, yeah, man,” I said. As though I knew what he was talking about.

When I got home, I went straight to Urban Dictionary, where I discovered that for years word didn’t just mean word, but “to speak the truth.”

How come no one tells me these things?

Anyway, I looked up bitchin’ and I found that it’s top definition is “good, fuckin’ great, awesome.”

Needless to say my wife and I have been saying bitchin’ to one another ever since.

It’s sort of like a linguistic version of a face lift. Anything to stay young. Word.

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Randolph Street: Count Basie

July 3rd, 2020

Basie2Count Basie–Chicago


Basie3Count Basie–Chicago


Basie4Count Basie–Chicago


Basie1Count Basie–Chicago



All photos © Jon Randolph


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Benny Jay: The Great Mr. Washington

July 1st, 2020

And the winner is . . .

Hold on! Let me explain the contest.

So, we were talking on my podcast about this, that, and the other thing and producer Dennis—aka, Dr. D—asked who was on my Mt. Rushmore of four all-time great Chicago politicians.

As a listener pointed out, Mt. Rushmore is a problematic monument, given that it’s sculpted by a follower of the KKK on land stolen from the Lakota Sioux. Still, I gave my response…

Harold Washington, Karen Lewis, Leon Despres, and Ralph Metcalfe.

I think we all know know the first two. But just in case…

First Black man to be elected Mayor of Chicago and the crusading former president of the Chicago Teachers Union.

For younger people…

Despres was the proudly independent alderman from Hyde Park, and Metcalfe was the south-side congressman who had the guts to defy Mayor Richard J. Daley on issues of police brutality—back in the ’70s.

As you can tell, I’m drawn to champions for the underdog who aren’t afraid to fight The Machine. The Machine being a symbol of all that’s wrong with a town that steals from the poor to feed the rich and then beats the crap out of people who protest. You know, that Machine.

With that we were off, asking listeners to weigh in with their top four all-time great political figures in Chicago. And the clear winner was . . . Mayor Washington!

The man died over 30 years ago, but his popularity and esteem seem to grow by the day—even with people who weren’t born when he was alive.

I realize, of course, most of my listeners (like me) inhabit a universe I call Lefty Land. So be it.

As far as I’m concerned, the powers that be in Chicago should take everything currently named for George Washington and rename it for Harold Washington.

Congratulations, Mr. Mayor—I wish you were still here among us to come on the show and claim your prize.

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Randolph Street: Vistablog

June 26th, 2020



2ablogLac Seule–Canada


3IMG_7292Rt. 4–Illinois


All photos © Jon Randolph


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