Corsets in Chicago

Thanks to daisyfae, while in Chicago we stayed at the almost-too-hip-for-its-own-good-hotel, The Wit. Floor to ceiling windows on the 24th floor with gorgeous views of architectural delights. And two televisions back to back in case we wanted to watch different channels from the bed or the couch. Actually, I think we only turned the tv on once, most of our down time in the room was spent playing banagrams, sleeping and taking corset photos. We discovered  daisyfae’s pretty turquoise number on St Mark’s Place, NYC and my red leather lace up came from a vintage store in Chicago’s WickerPark.


the suite even came with its own chaise lounge

Published in: on July 31, 2011 at 2:36 am  Comments (46)  
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chicago ain’t no sissy town

I’m trying to plan another holiday with daisyfae this July. Unfortunately dolce can’t join us like she did in Greece last year *sob*

Lesbos July 2010 – we had fun didn’t we girls?

So far I’m considering New York, Chicago and/or Hawaii. Chicago sounds like a riot of a town

Nearly 20,000 drunken, yelling, brawling revelers filled the Coliseum and clogged the street by the time the Honorable John J. Coughlin arrived at the First Ward Ball by carriage in December 1908.

image found here

For more than a decade this was the city’s most notorious party, hosted by “Bathhouse John” and Michael “Hinky Dink” Kenna. Tiny cigar-chomping Kenna was a genius at political organization and the owner of a popular saloon. Coughlin had been a bathhouse masseur, wrote terrible poetry and wore garish clothes. He blustered while Kenna said little. 

Hinky Dink and Bathhouse John found here

They conceived the First Ward Ball as a way of stuffing their pockets, already bulging with graft, through imposed ticket and liquor sales. The first ball, held in 1896, attracted a wild mix of society thrill seekers, police captains, politicians, prostitutes and gamblers.

image found here at flickriver

The 1908 ball made that affair look tame. During the course of the evening, revelers slopped up 10,000 quarts of champagne and 30,000 quarts of beer. Riotous drunks stripped off the costumes of unattended young women. A madam named French Annie stabbed her boyfriend with a hat pin.

French actress Annie Giradot found here

“It’s a lollapalooza! . . . There are more here than ever before. All the business houses are here, all the big people,” Kenna proudly proclaimed. “Chicago ain’t no sissy town.”

Almost half a century later, Hinky Dink died, at age 89.

image found here

He and his lifelong partner, Bathhouse John Coughlin, had set out to rule the new metropolis. Bathhouse John, once a rubber in a Turkish bath, was the front man. He was a huge, bumbling, handsome ruffian, full of pomp and speech. Tight-lipped Hinky Dink was the boss. They were elected aldermen; together they controlled the vote, became loved, feared, respected.

image found here

The pair staged an annual ball which was attended by thousands of whores, pickpockets, hopheads, politicians and pimps. Their guests drank free champagne, brawled, engaged in orgiastic dancing, and cheered as Bathhouse John led the Grand March wearing a bright green cutaway, mauve vest, lavender pants and a high silk hat.

vision in purple found here

Times changed. Prohibition put Hinky Dink out of his saloon; Al Capone stole much of his power. Bathhouse John died in 1938, old and broke. In 1943, diabetes and old age beat Hinky Dink down. He retired to a hotel room. His fortune (estimated at $2,000,000) afforded him but little comfort beyond the dozen $1 cigars he smoked every day. He died attended only by a male nurse.

Al Capone fishing found here

Jack (“Greasy Thumb”) Guzik, one of the successors to Capone’s power, came to his wake. Hymie (“Loud Mouth”) Levin, another underworld kingpin, sent flowers. But the funeral was a disappointment—half the seats were empty, and Hinky Dink got only three automobile loads of flowers, as compared to Bathhouse John’s seven.

Don Corleone’s funeral flowers found here

An apologetic First Ward lobbygog (Chicagoese for ward heeler) explained: “He was retired too long. If you don’t go to other people’s funerals they won’t go to yours.”