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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown
Parts Unknown - Chicago. Aired 9-10p ET
Aired May 01, 2016 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
[21:00:18] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN ANCHOR: Somebody asks you where you're from and you answer, "I'm from Chicago," nobody's going to give you a patronizing response like, "oh, Chicago's charming."
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, Chicago.
BOURDAIN: More likely it'll be "Wow, Chicago" or "Oh, Chicago." they'll be impressed. Chicago is a town, a city that doesn't ever have to measure itself against any other city. Other places have to measure themselves against it. It's big, it's outgoing, it's tough, it's opinionated and everybody's got a story.
BOURDAIN: As late afternoon gives way to evening in Chicago's old town, it's time to drink. So to be fair, almost anytime it's time for a drink at the Old Town Ale House.
The chorus assembles to give their opinions on matters of the day subjects of great import to this city on the lake, this city of broad shoulders, this true metropolis.
BRUCE CAMERON ELLIOTT, THE GERIATRIC GENIUS: But there's no shortage of characters in here. You know, I've lost a couple of really great, it was John Fox the comic, died a few years ago. We just lost Ruben Four Toes, this 400-pound Mexican guy. We just called him Ruben and nobody will get his big toe cut off, and then he became Ruben nine- toes. Then when he had his others big toe cut off, he became Ruben eight toes. And then when he had his leg cut off, it changed down to Ruben Four Toes.
He blames all his problems on the fact his mother didn't give him any titty milk. I mean these guys, there's nobody coming through the door to replace them.
BOURDAIN: The Old Town Ale House opened in 1958 and has been serving beer and other intoxicating beverages ever since. Unless you're on the no shot list, in which case your drinking options have been for the good of the community limited. These are no shot list.
ELLIOTT: There is, the only guy that ever got off, it is down there down now. It was just because he was a pure and yeah, we have a fairly extensive no shot list.
BOURDAIN: Very extensive, meaning you can drink hear but no shots for you.
ELLIOTT: No shots.
BOURDAIN: Because just that will lead to no good?
ELLIOTT: History has shown us that these people should naturally shots, well now of course what they do is they go to another bar and drink a shots and they come over and then we get the ruminants who would like.
BOURDAIN: Bruce Cameron Elliott and his ex-wife are the proprietors of the Old Town Ale House. Bruce likes to brag but he is never had an honest job. But he's a writer, legendary blogger and artist.
So who comes here, I mean generally that who your regulars?
ELLIOTT: I think the most interesting thing about this bar on an average night, if you look down this bar at 10:00 or 11:00, I would say the average age is certainly over 40 which is very unusual.
BOURDAIN: It's really what's missing in my life. I need an old man bar. And is there a common thread to, be the -- your regulars?
ELLIOTT: The common thread is -- of our hardcore regulars?
ELLIOTT: They're basically alcoholics.
BOURDAIN: But I mean, I was dancing around that.
ELLIOTT: Well, we don't dance. There are no dancing. The late John Fox who was my all-time favorite funny man, he came up with Ale House hand shake. The secret Ale House hand shake was like in the morning which was that.
BOURDAIN: Right. What do you have to do to get barred here?
ELLIOTT: You know, punch somebody probably more than one.
BOURDAIN: More than once?
The walls of the bar are covered with his portraits of Ale House regulars which he mostly paints in the basement next to the beer cooler.
[21:05:04] More notorious are his paintings of well-known political figures who have for one reason or another raised Bruce's ire. They're inevitably depicted in an unflattering let's say non-family friendly light.
ELLIOT: Putin has bad behaving very poorly, let me put it that way, I mean but he also intrigues me. Plus, I also had the extra satisfaction knowing he would not like what I'm going to do. And that's, you know, that gives you a lot of pleasure. BOURDAIN: There is no shortage of opinions at the Ale House Bar. And Bruce's opinions and the scope of his work extends far beyond Chicago's borders.
ELLIOT: I'm working on my latest painting, it's Putin.
BOURDAIN: Oh yeah say no more, I want to see.
ELLIOT: And I would like some advice because I was thinking of the classic Catherine the Great hoists, stallions, but then let me show you.
BOURDAIN: There's this ponies involved. I love ponies.
ELLIOT: Well, let me show you what I've come up with because simply because of the size constraints. This is -- of course, that's our beer cooler and everything.
BOURDAIN: This is where the magic happens.
ELLIOT: Well, this is where -- yeah, this is where Sarah Palin was painted.
ELLIOT: And originally I was thinking and I'd be very interested in your input. Originally what I thought was the Catherine the Great, the horses, and he in the receptive position. But then on the other hand, when I put him in the two tube, I thought, I think that I'd really uncovered the true Putin there. Ballets are very important in Russia.
ELLIOT: And if I painted him naked, that would almost be macho.
BOURDAIN: Yeah, you don't need to -- I mean presumably tiny genitals.
ELLIOT: Well, I don't. There's any doubt about that.
BOURDAIN: I mean, look, he's got his shirt off. So already ...
ELLIOT: That's important part.
BOURDAIN: ... he's universally uninvolved because he really likes to take his shirt off.
ELLIOT: No, he does and I took his shirt off.
BOURDAIN: Loads (ph) I think this is an iconic image as is.
ELLIOT: I really do.
BOURDAIN: Yeah, I think it says it all.
ELLIOT: I was glad -- I'm glad you told me that because I think I can go full steam ahead now. I'm thinking pastel. I've gotten pretty good with pastels. But this might be one ...
BOURDAIN: All fans of -- the people can follow your blog and know so much about, you know, I know who fixes your walk in refrigerator. I know who fixes the bathroom, I know who comes in and cleans the floors. And I know the entire morning routine between fancy the pants within the ...
ELLIOT: Street Jimmy.
BOURDAIN: ... Jimmy and I know so much about all of these people and just the little, the day to day workings. But do you think there's something to be said like, you know, the trajectory of your client tell is not ...
ELLIOT: Oh excuse me.
BOURDAIN: ... does not tend to be.
ELLIOT: No, it's not ascending.
BOURDAIN: It's not ascending.
ELLIOT: It's not an ascendance, it's in -- yes. And I've lost a couple really. I mean, we really lost some beauties.
BOURDAIN: I mean it's the perils of being a saloon keeper, I mean ...
ELLIOT: Here's my take on that, bar people do not live as long as vegan joggers. However, they have more fun.
BOURDAIN: In this city of factions, of neighborhoods, black, white, North Side, South, Cubs or White Sox, everybody at one point or another seems to agree on this place. Valois in Hyde Park.
ELLIOT: Got to grab your tray or you are rule here.
BOURDAIN: I think meatloaf and macaroni and cheese, please.
ELLIOT: I think I'll have the white fish, the mashed potatoes, and corn.
BOURDAIN: I'm very happy about that. Two of my guilty pleasures on one plastic tray.
Wow, they sure gave us a lot of fish.
So what is -- where am I, what is this neighborhood?
ELLIOT: This is Hyde Park. This is the heart and soul of Hyde Park.
BOURDAIN: So if you're running for office why would you use this place as your staging area? What's the social importance of it?
ELLIOT: You will see every politician, black and white running for city office will come through here at some point.
ELLIOT: It's just kind of the -- well hangout. You'd see Herald Washington here a lot. I mean, Barack here. I used to see Barack here all the time and yet spent most of a breakfast.
[21:10:04] BOURDAIN: The machine that is Chicago politics goes straight back to Emperor Richard Daley, the father then the son with a diverse cast of scound (ph) rules in between.
How are things in Chicago? I mean on the oracle, the trajectory.
ELLIOT: Oh there's -- the problem was that we had this -- the daily dynasty. We had the old man and when we had the kid, that's a bright kid replaced him and he threw a party for his friends for over 20 years and when that came, he had the (inaudible) bill stuck out the back door of the city hall. So it's a mess right now financially.
The one thing about Chicago is you cannot get away with being a fake or a phony. I mean, maybe somewhere out in one of the suburbs, but people see through it right away and that's kind of Chicago.
BOURDAIN: What other characteristics of a true Chicago would be stereotypically true?
ELLIOT: I think you've got to make at least a little effort to be not be a pussy. I think you've got to be a little tough. I don't think you can just ...
BOURDAIN: Believe, you can't be a pussy or at least you're making an effort.
ELLIOT: ... make a little effort, just not and just, you know, roll over and.
MIERKA GIRTEN, THE ACTRESS: I'm coming to the Ale House for over 20 years. I have multiple sclerosis and I was leaving on rehearsal from a Red Orchid theater which is my theater company which is around the corner.
And I came here, as really retired and I was talking to Mitt who's Matt in the blog. And maybe three or four other people at the end of the bar and I just remember like falling on the floor.
[21:15:05] I heard somebody yell, "She's not breathing," and they called an ambulance. And that's kind of all that I remember. And when I came back a few days later like I walked in the door, everybody was like "Yeah, you're better!" and then couples of the regulars were like that guy, that guy said that thing. And I was like what did he say? And he said, when you were on the floor foaming at the mouth he said, they said they got really quiet and he said, "I'll have what she's having." So yeah, so that was fun. But I found out later what was really interesting about is that right away my mind is ...
DANIEL STRAUSS, REPORTER: The American cheeseburger, it's the sort of feeling you get when you eat it. But you remember you're sitting with a friend and enjoying a memory that takes you back a long ago when you were young. And as we follow Paul backstage watching him slowly sip his coffee.
PAUL JUREWICZ, ACTOR: Hey, what's going on Daniel?
STRAUSS: You remember that comedy isn't just about laughs, it's also about ...
STRAUSS: ... and clothes and being yourself.
JUREWICZ: Do you guys want to run this scene?
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Which one?
STRAUSS: And after all if we can't laugh at ourselves, who can we laugh at?
JUREWICZ: I got to be honest, he usually does it way better.
STRAUSS: Oh come on.
BOURDAIN: How is it that Chicago has become that sort of the font of comedy? You know it's, it's a gusher.
JUREWICZ: You know, fair with thing at city and then people came here to study. I think 90 percent of the people who were doing comedy right now came to Chicago to study.
BOURDAIN: Paul Jurewicz, a young man at the beginning of what will presumably be a glorious career.
JUREWICZ: First, he pushed me in the pool and that he called me ketchup dick. I tried to be spontaneous one time and this is what I get. I feel like no one respects me anymore.
BOURDAIN: Second city opened in Chicago's old town in 1959 and almost from the beginning established the probably unhealthy symbiotic relationship with the Ale House. You know their names, John Belushi, Gilda Radner, Amy Poehler, Bill Murray, Chris Farley.
If you're funny in America, chances are, you spent some formative years here getting the shit hammered out of you, learning one hopes in the parlance of the trade to kill.
JUREWICZ: I tucked my undershirt into the underwear.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don't tell me, that's you do with the show.
JUREWICZ: For the show, probably seven times. You got to be cannon boy, you know, not like a bowl of jell-o out there.
BOURDAIN: You know where are Second City people coming from?
JUREWICZ: All over.
BOURDAIN: All over, right.
JUREWICZ: All walks of life too. I mean, it is the, you know, lawyers, teachers with, you know, servers. It's all classes.
BOURDAIN: Well, at service, that's a rich tradition. I mean, one per -- any time you find anyone in the entertainment business, one presumes restaurant experience.
JUREWICZ: I used to be a server. I used to be a cook. I was a sushi chef for a while. I used to be a Segway tour guide. I know so much ...
BOURDAIN: You was a Segway tour guide?
JUREWICZ: ... yes.
BOURDAIN: Wow, you better have a sense of humor.
Paul and I discuss the perilous nature of a life in comedy over some drinks and food at Longman & Eagle, where though the flannels and neck beards are abundant, the food is excellent.
Beef tartare, I like that. And who does not love roasted bone marrow. Tete de cochon with blue cheese and celery relish. The good lord wants you to eat this. Really, he speaks to me all the time. Confit of beef tripe, crimsons are more about vegetables, slow roasted cauliflower with caramelized onions and lentils.
BOURDAIN: So does Second City travel, they have a road company?
JUREWICZ: There are touring companies, three touring companies. They're on cruise ships as well, so I did 10 months on a cruise ship.
JUREWICZ: Which is 10 months of looking at the water and wondering, you know, at this trajectory would the boat pull me under? If I've had this much to drink, how long before the boat is out of my sight line?
BOURDAIN: So that's like a prison ship, I mean because you can't -- I mean is you care like about this.
JUREWICZ: It's real fun for the first two months. You know, it's a lot of fun hanging out with the crews. You know, there's a lot of, you know, venereal diseases going around.
JUREWICZ: And a lot of partying, and there's a bar every two feet. And then after you hit the two months and you're like, "I want to go home. Mom, please help me."
BOURDAIN: Talk about you know battlefield conditions to hone your craft, man. I respect, that is -- because Jurewicz, that's the idea behind it?
JUREWICZ: The thing that you've said for me?
BOURDAIN: We're going to send you out, you're -- we can get back from the gulag, you will be stronger for it.
JUREWICZ: Oh absolutely. It's your first time getting paid as a performer and it's also the largest amount of people I've ever performed for was on a cruise ship. It was 950 people you're performing to, you know, four nights a week.
JUREWICZ: Places, like one.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are things?
JUREWICZ: Oh, good. Can I put the game on? The patriots are playing the Red Skins.
[21:20:07] Do we know where the dry cleaning is? There's no job that you can like into this job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you trying to say like there were some sort of time travelers?
JUREWICZ: My hemp business is doing really well.
I think it's all, I only have like four lines, right?
BOURDAIN: Is it a kind of supportive? I mean, comedians are not famous for.
JUREWICZ: Stand ups, specifically, it's more cut throat.
Why don't we all just calm down here, all right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought I would get a pop or at least a reaction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's too long.
JUREWICZ: Really, they were my socks are? In the improve community I think it's a lot more supportive because it's a group sport.
BOURDAIN: Did you say community? JUREWICZ: Yes. Got your back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right. Got your back. Got your back.
JUREWICZ: I got your back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got your back. I got your back.
UNINDENTIFIED MALE: Got your back.
BOURDAIN: So what if someone sucks?
BOURDAIN: What if they're just they suck?
JUREWICZ: Your job as an improviser is to make that person look amazing. That's how you know if you're a good improviser. This is the path of least resistance for me. It was something I fell into that I loved, that I just found out that I was relatively good at and through a series of mishaps, I found myself for this position.
Like you'd ask me six years ago, if I would be at the main stage of Second City, there's no way. I would've laughed at you. So if this is where it ends for me, I'd be happy.
BOURDAIN: Maybe the first thing you think of when you think about Chicago is not ass burning Szechuan food, but maybe, maybe it should be.
STEPHANIE IZARD, CHEF, RESTAURATEUR: What I think a lot of people come and they think that Chicago is like on the magnificent mile and, you know, they're like," Oh then should we go down to navy pier?" I'm like, "no."
IZARD: Why? So it's nice to go out to the neighborhoods and there's so many ethnicities everywhere so going places like that is really awesome.
BOURDAIN: One of my favorite Chicagoans, chef, restaurateur Stephanie Izard from the girl and negotiates and her colleague Peter Wong enlighten me. Look, I knew Chicago was a city of very diverse neighborhoods. Everybody says so, but this I didn't know about, now I do.
So where are we and why are we here? And real focusing, I'm really glad we're here. But why?
IZARD: We're at Szechuan cuisine. So after going into China, we were just talking about the Chengdu is my favorite place, but Peter's actually never been to Chengdu. And so, coming back and it was like, "Let's go to Chinatown and try to find places to find those things we ate for breakfast every day."
BOURDAIN: Pork dumplings in chili oil start the fire. Oh man, they're slippery.
IZARD: I mean you got it.
PETER WONG, COLLEAGUE OF STEPHANIE IZARD: You know why the chopstick is thin? It's not thick and fat wood, you can just, you know, just do this.
IZARD: I thought you're not supposed to do that? Peter, you're supposed to help me knowing what's faux pas.
BOURDAIN: Yeah, so happy.
One of my favorite dishes in the world, anywhere, mapo doufu. Yes, a tofu dish, stippled heavily with pork and a burny numbing nine and a half week style exercise in sadomasochism. That will start you thinking some deeply disturbing thoughts. Do you know mapo doufu, is it because it looks like spotted grandmother or did spotted pot marked grandmother create the dish? You know both? Yes, right?
IZARD: My mouth is a little on fire right now. I think the rice came at the right time.
WONG: Yes. Sounds like we are suffering, but actually it's delicious. Yeah, Anthony, try some of this, this is my favorite.
BOURDAIN: This specialty of the house, fish hot pot.
IZARD: Nice. All right, here it goes. I scooped out some innards.
WONG: You're going for the best piece?
BOURDAIN: Oh it burns so good. I can pretty much eat this every day.
BILL CURRIE, AKA HAWKEYE: The summation was that I moved to move him away from another customer, and he back-up and clenched his fist, and boy, when somebody clenches their fists, you know, they're really capable of doing something. So I got in the first shot and then somebody grabbed me by my arms and held my arms and he got the second shot off. And he re-deviated my septum, which was a good thing, but, you know, he was bleeding and I was bleeding, and you know, it was camaraderie. We all -- we hugged and kissed afterwards and, "Bill, Oh I'm sorry, I'm sorry I did that thing." Well, he's dead now and I don't want to speak poorly about the dead.
LUPE FIASCO, HIP-HOP ARTIST: We always lived in the hood. You would hear gunshots in the distance. You would get to know about gangs. You will see the graffiti. The people who you were growing up with, playing with, wouldn't be there anymore. It's like, "Oh, what happened to such and such?" And it's like, "Oh, he's dead. He was in a gang. He got killed in a drive by or he got shot in the South of Central.
BOURDAIN: Hip-hop artist extraordinaire, Lupe Fiasco grew up on the South and West sides of Chicago. But inside, his home was always an island of sanity, to supportive, creative environment.
[21:30:04] What was different about your family?
FIASCO: My mother and my father were very intelligent, and politically oriented, and active. So, you know, I got book smart and street smart, you know.
BOURDAIN: Floyd Webb is an old family friend. This is Lupe's mom, Shirley. As becomes quickly apparent, she is along with being an extraordinarily good cook and extraordinary and determined human being.
Man, this is so outrageously, delicious, wow. The whole time we're eating by the way people are moving in and out of Shirley's small apartment. The place clearly a hub for a tightly knit community of friends and family.
So what age were you when you came to Chicago?
SHIRLEY FIASCO, LUPE'S MOTHER: I was 13. The worst thing that my family could ever done was left the south, was left Mississippi. I should have stayed.
BOURDAIN: But this was the land of opportunity here in Detroit, and great cities in the north.
S. FIASCO: It was and we came out, you know, and then we were never hungry down in Mississippi. We got here depending on welfare whatever. And they became alcoholics, abusive to the children and wives. And the children came out in the streets and just everybody lost control and now it's (inaudible).
BOURDAIN: What was Chicago like when you arrived?
S.FIASCO: Uh, it wasn't as violent. You know, the neighborhoods were communities. No vacant lots or families, all over kids in the street. You could go outside and play and not worry about your children.
And somewhere in the late '70s or early '80s it started to change and become more violent.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On July 4th, two young men gunned down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The more than 50 percent surge in homicides.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nine people shot to death and at least 60 others wounded.
BOURDAIN: However much you might love Chicago, want to celebrate its general awesomeness, its character, its architecture, its food. There's no getting away from the ugly fact that Chicago's south side is also currently the murder capital of America.
Why do you think people are killing each other in such large numbers in Chicago and not in New York?
FLOYD WEBB, FILM PRODUCER: Let's be clear, it's only a few spots, it isn't the whole city. It's not the whole city.
L. FIASCO: To be honest, Chi-Raq is Englewood.
BOURDAIN: Right, you know, it's a pretty staggering body count.
L. FIASCO: The sad part is that it's been like this, right. And the only reason the story now is that white people looking at it. And it's like oh, that's terrible, that's been like this for 30 years. How come it wasn't terrible 30 years ago when you probably could actually could did something about it?
BOURDAIN: Does a hip-hop artist have any obligation really to speak about anything positive or even smarter than cars, girls or where's my money?
L. FIASCO: I guess it depends on where you come from. And then do you feel the obligation to where you came from. A lot of people in the hood won't take me serious.
They won't take Chuck D serious, because at least you take some money who's rapping about crack, and rapping about dope, that is the actual thing that they can go get and sell and make money that day if they wanted to.
You can't preach them Black Panther party or, you know, Marcus Garvey it is because they can't go out and get it and actually sell it and monetize and make some money out of it.
Despite an appalling murder rate, questionable leadership, Chicagoans aren't going anywhere any time soon.
S. FIASCO: The southern people we brought our spirit here, so Chicago have like a warm spirit and, you know, loving spirit.
L. FIASCO: It's a beautiful place, it's a genuinely beautiful place where you have to redefine what beauty is to you. When you go to different neighborhoods, and it's really bad.
But even in that, there's still a beauty in the people and then just from a cultural front, you know, we got everything here, you know. We got -- you want capoeira, we got capoeira.
WEBB: And what all the guys here, we got over the guys there.
L. FIASCO: Yeah, if you want house music, we got that too. You want a straight finance and you want just be a stock market baron, we got that too, you know. You want some of the best food that you ever find, we got that too.
So, we're at crossroads, and we picked up a lot of little DNA in things from different places on all friends.
BRUCE CAMERON ELLIOTT, THE GERIATRIC GENIUS: I've learned it. I've all risks my whole life I've learned a lot of difficulty with these fire plug type guys. And he started looking like he was going to start punching Street Jimmy who's a guy that hangs around on the street and comes in here and I said something to him. He came -- he made a move, so I cut him a real nice left knocked him down.
And I never saw a guy make this move before. But on his stomach he just went -- I'd squished over hooked my leg, got on top of me and started whacking me. And Hawkeye, our doorman, just sat there watching me being pummeled. And Street Jimmy came over and grabbed his arm, I got off.
STEVE ALBINI, BIG BLACK FOUNDER: Making a living hasn't really been what it's been about ever in Chicago. Keeping the ball in the air is what it's about. Just making sure that things keep going, remain viable and sustainable.
Nobody is too concerned about making a killing or becoming a star. Everybody just wants to keep doing it.
BOURDAIN: Is that a uniquely Chicago attitude?
ALBINI: I flatter myself by thinking that people in Chicago care more about what they're doing than what they're getting paid to do it.
BOURDAIN: One of the things people have always loved about Chicago of course is the music. And if one guy who's defined rock and roll and punk sounds for the last three decades. Well this guy, Steve Albini, would have to be a powerful candidate.
Member of the legendary Chicago punk band Big Black and one of the most important producers of underground rock. Albini produced some of the most influential music of the last 25 years. The Pixies, Slint, Nirvana, P.J. Harvey, to name a few.
[21:40:15] He takes me to one of his favorite Chicago spots Ricobene's, the sample the particularly unholy delights of the breaded fried steak sandwich.
This things is ...
ALBINI: This is a half a sandwich bare in mind.
BOURDAIN: ... that's like four pounds.
BOURDAIN: Wow. We're going to need a boat load of napkins. There's no delicate way to eat this, you just hoist and go.
ALBINI: The time out of the fryer is also critical. These are still crispy on the outside. This is precisely the way this sandwich was meant to be eaten.
BOURDAIN: Yeah. That is a thing of beauty and tasty.
BOURDAIN: So, you have remarkably unusual for the music industry, unremarkably lenient views on music sharing. Your pricing structure as a producer is, you know, somewhat against the grain of the usual business model.
And you were not living in L.A. or New York or living on a mountaintop, peeing on the, you know, peeing downwards from a great height. What are you, some kind of a communist? What's ...
ALBINI: Well, I mean, I have a healthy suspicion of capitalism as a method. I feel like, you know, left unchecked. Capitalism is kind of a cultural sociopathy like if for a business to be successful in capitalist terms, it has to do the best possible job of exploiting everyone that it's -- that it does interaction with.
The endgame of capitalism is that everything is crappier and crappier and people are more and more exploited, and I have a healthy suspicion of that. So, I feel like that social model that I'm comfortable with, it suits my business practices, which is that we're all in the same game. We're all trying to do the same thing. We just want to make sure that things get better for everybody.
BOURDAIN: Is that a Chicago attitude, you think?
ALBINI: Well, in my circles it is. Yeah, in the punk rock scene and the people who are influenced by the punk rock scene. And that's, that's a very common notion is that you're not trying to extract the maximum, you're trying to make sure that everything goes -- everything carries on.
BOURDAIN: Is there less douchery in Chicago?
ALBINI: You can find jag-offs. That's a uniquely Chicago ....
BOURDAIN: Yeah, actually I really love it. It's been so long since I've heard it.
ALBINI: Oh, if you look for them, you can find jag-offs of all type in Chicago. But the people who are, you know ...
BOURDAIN: Thank you so much.
ALBINI: ... you're welcome. Productive and content and part of an enterprise that is, you know, righteous, for lack of better terms. BOURDAIN: Right.
ALBINI: They tend to not just give lip service to the notion of egalitarianism or fairness, but they tend to embody it.
BOURDAIN: What about the musicians? I mean, how much money does a guitar hero deserve to make?
ALBINI: Well, all of it, obviously, because that's what people are listening to. People are listening to somebody's creative expression.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Look down the bar, right and (inaudible).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some characters she can't write about it. I mean Some people would ...
... look good?
PATRICK HEYLIN, AKA "BUZZKILL": Around here nicknames is Caver (ph) a sick Caver (ph) I think. They configure like whoa and you just -- you don't just ask him, you just live with it.
When I used to bartend the morning shift here, him and this other guy used to come in a bit crazy before it was even like 8:30 in the morning. And this one poor guy was here, and they were like on both sides of him just going nuts, and I'm like, you know, that's it. You know, you guys got to go.
But he says, "You know man, you're a real Buzzkill". And it stuck to me ever since. I mean it's carved in stone pretty much.
BOURDAIN: Chicago is famously a sports town. The Bulls, the Bears, the Cubs, the White Sox. To you and me, those are just names, but to many Chicagoans, a cause, a defining lifestyle choice.
The rivalry between Cubs and White Sox fans, for instance, is particularly vicious.
ELLIOT: Difference between a Cub fan and a Sox fan is, a Cub fan goes to the park, they enjoy themselves, they have fun. The team wins, that's OK, if they lose, it's no big deal. Sox's fan will turn on their team on a dime, if they don't -- if they're not good, if they don't play well.
HEYLIN: That is true.
ELLIOT: And also -- but a perfect day for a Sox fan is the Sox to win, Cubs to lose, and then the Cubs' plane crashes.
BOURDAIN: So to what do you attribute this quality of deep bordering on murderous hatred?
HEYLIN: The hatred is basically from the south side.
ELLIOT: Of course it is.
HEYLIN: I mean, they hate us like we have no idea. We don't have that vicious intent to them.
BOURDAIN: Why -- where -- why the viciousness and hatred?
ELLIOT: All right. But to be around Cub fans is to hate them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So let's go, cubbies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Cubs all the way. Woo. Yeah, baby.
HEYLIN: I just -- I can never bring myself to understand their hatred of us.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, Cubs, go. Yeah.
BOURDAIN: So they're -- they're first. Their historic destiny is to be losers.
ELLIOT: Yes. And like they say, any team can have a bad century. The Cubs are working on having two bad centuries.
[21:50:07] Topo Gigio is a massive Italian-American joint in the Old Town that serves up much better than you think old school stuff like scallops and pesto cream sauce for Bruce here. And squid ink pasta with shrimp for Buzzkill.
My ideal saltimbocca is most excellent in the long festering dispute across from me only makes my food taste better.
Is Bruce's attitude atypical or typical?
HEYLIN: It's extremely ...
BOURDIN: Or is he a relative moderate?
HEYLIN: ... it's extremely typical.
BOURDIN: I mean, he is sitting at the same table with a Cubs fan.
HEYLIN: Well, yes.
ELLIOT: No, no, I drink with Cub fans. I've even had sex with Cub fans. I mean no I'm ...
HEYLIN: Well, the truth he told, the last time the Sox won it in '05.
ELLIOT: Not that long ago, really. Not that long ago.
HEYLIN: For Christ's sakes, you won one.
ELLIOT: It was this century.
HEYLIN: I've been on this planet ...
ELLIOT: How about this century we've already won one?
HEYLIN: ... you know, I've been on this planet for 55 years, you've won one. You know what, you guys are worse than Notre Dame fans. You're worse than Notre Dame fans.
ELLIOT: I wouldn't mind winning every 25 years.
BOURDAIN: Well ...
HEYLIN: Just cling onto that.
BOURDAIN: I mean look, Chicago is a great city.
ELLIOT: Yes it is.
BOURDAIN: It deserves to win, right? I mean ...
ELLIOT: The thing is about Chicago sports fans, we got to see the greatest basketball player that ever lived. We were athlete that ever win. In our prime we got to see this.
ELLIOT: So now we, we're now holding things up to a higher standard of excellence.
ELLIOT: And here's what the Cub fans and Sox fans join forces to watch the Bear game.
HEYLIN: That's something we can all agree on.
BOURDAIN: You both hate the Bears?
ELLIOT: No, no we love the Bears.
HEYLIN: No. I love the Bears, but we just want Virginia to just cash in their chips and just go away.
BOURDAIN: So let's say, let's say the planets or the stars align perfectly for Chicago in your view. How -- what is the sports picture look like? Who wins, who loses? What happens?
ELLIOT: Well first of all, there would have to be some funerals.
BOURDAIN: There'd have to be funerals.
BOURDAIN: Who would have to die?
ELLIOT: I would say the owner of the Bears and then ...
BOURDAIN: Do you agree with this?
HEYLIN: Yeah, if ...
BOURDAIN: More or less.
HEYLIN: We hate owners.
ELLIOT: Yeah, we are all united in the hatred of the owners.
BOURDAIN: Well, I wish you both luck.
ELLIOT: Yeah I had a little to do in the morning, so I'd just get up. And Roger, if he was a very fat guy, always been a very fat guy, until that person he became ill.
But he was indefatigable walker. He loved to walk. And the reason we ended up here was because in the drinking society that we were involved in at the time, never had many walkers. But Roger was a walker, I was a walker.
BOURDAIN: Legendary film critic Roger Ebert was a man of mythic proportions in Chicago, the close friend of Bruce, half of the Siskel and Ebert duo, and a regular at the Old Town Ale House. Roger passed away in 2013 after a long battle with cancer.
I've been sort of conducting an informal poll over the course of the week asking people who Chicago should honor. If you had to put up a statue, you know, the sort of the -- an iconic Chicagoan who everybody agrees is a good person. And very popular answer, Roger Ebert.
ELLIOT: I would say that I'm a little prejudice but definitely Roger Ebert deserves all the accolades he's been getting justifiably so.
Roger's the guy that got me to write the blog, and he's the guy that gave me the tips. He was amazing guy and I think of course had he not become ill and really handle his illness in a way that I could -- I can't even conceive of myself handling.
I think that that really kind of set him apart from kind of the other iconic Chicago people.
BOURDAIN: The guy -- and correct me if I'm wrong. This was an enthusiast. I mean this was the guy who actually liked going to the movies.
ELLIOT: Now this is not always the case with critics. If they don't necessarily love the people or the subject matter they're reviewing. Roger loved movies and he loved actors. If you went over to his house, he would want to watch movies.
BOURDAIN: Siskel and Ebert, classic, you know, it's like that is an iconic relationship. They didn't seem to like each other.
ELLIOT: They hated each other.
BOURDAIN: They hated each other.
ELLIOT: Yes, I mean, they understood what they had. But a lot of people think Siskel was the alpha. He was not. Roger had two things over Siskel. He was a much better writer, and he was much better to run.
BOURDAIN: So Roger lived principally in Chicago?
ELLIOT: Oh yes. And he had -- believe me, he had plenty of opportunities to leave. I mean, he was offered some serious dough to go to New York and go to L.A.
BOURDAIN: Why didn't he go?
ELLIOT: In Chicago, favors are worth more than money and loyalty. In Chicago, this is very important. Roger is one of the most loyal people. He was loyal to his friends, to his family.
ELLIOT: And I just -- I don't have any problem of understanding on why he decided to stay here.