Thursday, June 19, 2008

Takin' It To The Streets (1990-Style)

Just when we think the 46th Ward can't get any wackier, our readers make us aware of something new. This is an article from 1990 on how Ald. Shiller's then-secretary (currently chief of staff) Denice Davis helped fight AIDS on our streets.

We've lost a lot of loved ones to AIDS, and we're certain Ms. Davis's heart was in the right place, but it makes us wonder just how many aldermanic chiefs of staff have prowled their ward in tight leather skirts, hoping for johns to stop them?

Oh, Uptown, we love you.



  1. Oh. My. God.

    This is like Shiller saying last year after the homeless guy was murdered outside Wilson Care that she would send Denise Davis around to warn the homeless about staying safe.

    My god, what DOESN'T Denise do? She's like Uptown's Batgirl.

  2. Denise will be our next Alderman/creature/women.

    I wish this wacky stuff would have come out before the last election.

  3. Even if it had, how could we have gotten this information to many people in Uptown on the other side of the "digital divide"? One of the many aspects of living in poverty is the lack of access to technology - and among those with access to technology at the library or community centers, how many do you think know about blogs and UU in particular? For the next election, we need to make a concerted effort to distribute information offline as well as online, to bring all Uptown residents into the fold.

  4. Anyone know where the guys from the Uptown Blotter are??!!

  5. Ald. Shiller's unwillingness to trust and work with the police to alleviate crime in Uptown goes way back, apparently.

  6. I often put on a tight black leather skirt, jacket and boots for um . . . "research" as well.


  7. 1. Get Organized
    2. Raise Money
    3. Get a candidate to run against her
    4. Let all the people that backed Shiller in the last election. Gay press, Tunney etc. know that you will boycott them this time around. That we are tired of the non response from our elected officials.
    5. Dig up everything you can from the past and have a few people all they do is contradict everything she says.
    6. Also point out that she doesn't really participate with any of the groups she supposedly is behind. Like the LGBT community and she has no response about anything going on in her ward.

  8. "Wacky" as it may be, I give Denise some credit for doing that. Her heart was in the right place, though thankfully she was not hurt by some horny, lonely, pissed-off guy.

  9. The most shocking aspect of this...... is that Shiller actually spoke to the media about a problem concerning Uptown!

  10. This is proof that Shiller's office has the ability to disseminate information to the community, and in a very provocative and interesting's just that it was seventeen years ago.

    Actually, I would looooove it if this is how we received information from the alderman's office from now on. Screw mass emails. We'll all just meet once a month in front of Shiller's. An emissary, in full prostitute gear, will come outside and give us updates on Wilson Yard. Hooker Thursdays, we'll call it. It would make everything much more fun.

    I'll bring punch and pie!

  11. It is antics like this that make me LOVE Uptown so much. This is interesting on so many levels. All in this little vignette you get: distrust of law enforcement, a willingness to take things into your own hands, class warfare, performance art, black feminism and even an undercurrent of evangelical Christianity.

    What Denise won't do for Uptown or Helen Shiller! A little wacky (especially in retrospect)---yes. But how can you not stand back and admit that Uptown is nothing if not the most entertaining neighborhood in Chicago! Thanks, Denise for having the nerve to do it. Maybe it got people talking and thinking. That was something that needed to be done at that point of the AIDS epidemic.

  12. Saskia for sure but what about what is going on today?

    We hear nothing about anything?

  13. I'd call "Uptown Update" the most entertaining (virtual) neighborhood in Chicago. At least it's better edited and administered, and has more interesting commenters, than second-place "MorseHellHole." HellHole's author Craig Gernhardt (at least as of his last posting) is now receiving death threats.

  14. billyjoe, as you live in Evanston, why do you take so much effort to comment on this blog. you dont pay property taxes here, you dont rent, you dont pay for anything in Uptown... LOL So, why ?

  15. Uptown Superhero: To get your answer, please reread what I wrote.

  16. Just a few of the things Billyjoe "pays for" in Uptown:

    Meals at Fiesta Mexicana, Ba Le, Thai Pastry, Chiu Quon bakery, Magnolia Cafe; concerts at Aragon, Riviera; drinks at Green Mill.

  17. Oh, yeah "b" but I feel like I drone on about that all the time. The story just perfectly captured that je ne sais qua that is Uptown so I decided to leave my usual commentary out.

    It is such a shame too because could you even imagine Shiller's office conceding that prostitution exists in Uptown and that it might be having a negative effect on lots of people (ranging from women walking on the street to children)? NEVER would that happen now. Now, if even a comment were made it would be how gentrifiers were trying to sanitize the place and that sex workers are just the latest group to be targeted as the gentrifiers try to clean out anyone poor and disadvantaged.

    I am having trouble pinpointing the moment when Shiller closed her doors to the entire community. Was it when the elections started to get closer? As I have said before, it is a damn shame.

  18. Interesting.

    Commendable in a gutsy kinda way.

    Too bad we don't see any of this type of creativity in fighting any of the current crime issues in Uptown.

    Just ignore it because if you acknowledge any type of crime problem you are a classist, racist, with a bad moon rising.

  19. I'd call "Uptown Update" the most entertaining (virtual) neighborhood in Chicago.

    Who are you and what have you done with Billyjoe?! ;-)

  20. I'm just shocked to hear Davis and Shiller concerned about used condoms at a playlot... Aren't they just "picking on the poor" by complaining about this? If a condo owner complained about used condoms in a playlot, Davis and Shiller would cry foul.