At the Ref Desk (6/17/17): Quick - look up the hours for today!!! (A popular question during the summer.) [more...]
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Jesse Jackson & Me

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 6/7/12 (10:50pm)

I ran into Jesse Jackson while in Milwaukee. I've run into him a couple of times before. One memorable occasion was in West Berlin during the Eighties. He had made a speech to thousands of Berliners at the Gedanknis Kirche (i.e. the center of town) finishing with the line, 'we defeated the 3rd Reich in Germany and we'll defeat the 4th Reich in South Africa'. The Berliners cheered. Then he added that he'd be at a party in Dahlem later that evening.

Party in Dahlem! With Jesse Jackson! The moment we heard that, we headed straight to the location -- a lefty social center for students. Unfortunately what Jackson forgot to mention -- probably because he didn't know -- was that they were charging at the door! Charging at the door? Impossible! So instead of going in, we waited. Finally a car arrived and Jesse Jackson got out. "Jesse," I said, running over to him, "I'm from Chicago and they won't let me in!"

He turned to me. "You're from Chicago", he asked. "Come with me!"

We walked arm-in-arm into the place. I headed straight to the liquor table. I filled up my glass and then sauntered back to the entrance to wave to my companions who were still outside. I motioned to the doorman to let them in. Having just walked in arm-in-arm with Jesse Jackson, the doorman assumed that I had a certain elevated degree of mojo -- so he let my friends in.

I reminded Jesse of this episode when I saw him in Milwaukee. He was in good spirits and laughed.

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I came upon of slew of emails I had written while at NYU in the mid-to-late 90's. I hadn't seen them for years. Here's one from 1997. In it, I'm telling the Grad Adviser from NYU's History Dept. that I'm dumping him in favor of the far more attractive "Multimedia" Program at NYU's 'Interactive Telecommunications Program" (ITP):

Dear Mr. W*:

You were assigned as my adviser, so I guess you're the one to whom I should address this message.

[read more...]

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My First Mac

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 10/6/11 (2:21am)

My first Mac was a Quadra 840av. I got it maybe a year or two after I moved back from Europe. For the first 3 months all I could do was look at the machine because I didn't have enough money for a monitor. I could hear the thing rev up though.

Anyway, thanks Steve, for OSX!

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9/11 -- All I Had to Do Was Turn Around

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 9/11/11 (12:41am)

Everyone has their own story about 9/11; here's mine.

I was living on 12th St. between Avenues A & B in lower Manhattan. That day, a Tuesday, was like any normal work day. I was getting up, listening to the radio. Suddenly reports started coming in of an airplane crashing into one of the towers at the World Trade Center.

How could this have happened? I had just been there on the preceding Saturday if only to use the bathroom in the basement. The twin towers were a prominent fixture in the skyline whenever I looked south. How could something like this have happened?

Speculation on WNYC, the radio station I was listening to, ran the gamut from pilot error to intentional attack. One way or the other it was still too early to tell. Then the second plane hit and all doubt was put to rest.

I left the apartment stunned.

[read more ...]

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'Er Kommt' - Or My Short Stint as a False Prophet

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 7/10/11 (11:07am)

Of the many encounters I had in Berlin recently, one of the more interesting was with a woman who I had never met before. It was at the Bauhof Anniversary Party and she came up and gave me a photo which she had taken over twenty years earlier.

The photo was of a poster of me with the words, 'Er Kommt' (i.e. 'He's coming'). She had seen the poster plastered all over the neighborhood and like a few others at the time, had interpreted it as the harbinger of some significant event.

The truth was far more mundane. I had spent much of the year (1987) in New York and when Tony Millionaire heard I was coming back, he grabbed a photo of me from my expired passport, enlarged it and proceeded to paste photocopies of it all over Kreuzberg. So I guess you could say it was a significant event -- but more along the lines of Tony Millionaire finally getting his American drinking buddy back. I hope she wasn't disappointed.

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Hommage à Madame - 21 Rue Soufflot, Paris

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 6/20/11 (8:08pm)

This is where it all started -- as anyone who took the year abroad program organized by UIC's French Dept. under the directorship of the incredible Prof. June Moracevich ('Madame') will tell you. Most left after the first year. I stayed for ten.

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Early Voting with Mommy - Chicago Mayoral Election 2011

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 2/12/11 (11:29pm)

Mommy and Leo outside of the Early Voting Polling Place (CPL Lincoln Park) with Voting Receipts.

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Berlin, Oct. 3, 1990

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 10/3/10 (1:17pm)

I remember the ceremony out in front of the Reichstag very well. The flag was raised and they played 'Deutschland, Deutschland'. It was the cumulation of events that had started a year earlier with the opening of the Berlin Wall (11/9/1989) and the upheaval all over Eastern Europe.

This date has always had personal significance for me. I had been in Europe by that time for 10 years (Paris, Rome, Berlin). The reunification of Germany represented a new beginning. I had known the old way: the two Berlins, the Wall, the crazy lovable nut-house ('Bonnie's Ranch') on one side and the police state on the other.

That was coming to an end -- and thank God it was -- but the new beginning prompted me to think about what I was doing and where I wanted to go.

I got into an airplane and flew back to the United States the next day.

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9/11

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 9/11/10 (1:36pm)

9/11 is always a time of reflection and memories for me. I was living in Manhattan on 12th St. at the time. Here are some of the scenes I video-taped in the days following the attack.

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Place I Was Born in Now Up for Sale -- $2.6 Mil (Marked Down from $3.1)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sun, 4/4/10 (5:28pm)

Daddy had good tastes. The apartment at 155 W. Burton Pl. was his 'bachelor pad', designed by friend Sol Kogen, where he lived in the Fifties. At the time, he was owner of United Film & Recording Studio on Erie & St. Clair and producer/announcer of the German-language radio show, The Germania Broadcast.

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