New player? Sign Up Here
jumpin' jane flash
Level 1: 10 points
Alltime Score: 210 points
Last Logged In: April 28th, 2008

50 + 150 points

Journey to the End of the Night Chicago by jumpin' jane flash

April 20th, 2008 10:15 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: A pursuit across Chicagø in 6 parts, staged on the night of April 19th, 2008.

The city spreads out before you. Rushing from point to point, lit by the slow strobe of fluorescent buses and dark streets. Stumbling into situations for a stranger's signature. Fleeing unknown pursuers, breathing hard, admiring the landscape and the multitude of worlds hidden in it.

For one night, drop your relations, your work and leisure activities, and all your usual motives for movement and action, and let yourself be drawn by the attractions of the chase and the encounters you find there.

If you participated in Journey Chicagø - as a player, chaser, or volunteer - please post your adventure here. We encourage you to be detailed and thorough. If you have photographs, please post them. If you don't, consider making a comic. Describe your chases, the people you met, what you thought of the route, the checkpoints, and the city in general. Feel free to make opulent references to Debord, de Certeau, Céline, Psychogeography, Social Plastik, subversive play, Reclaim the Streets, and the aesthetics of failure.

Dax Tran-Caffee

First let me say that I am brand new to this site, thanks solely to the journey, and I really have no idea what I'm doing. That said, this was certainly a crazy weekend, and I'll try to capture it without being a total doofus. Though I make no promises...

Meeting up with everyone, you could just feel the anxious excitement all around. People's nerves translated into smiles and laughs and the thrill of the unknown, as this is the first time it's been done in Chicago, so no one really know what exactly to expect.

Rex makes funny faces.

We met in Wicker Park and, after hearing the rules and splitting into teams, SHOT OFF and scattered, running in the direction of the first checkpoint. I had no idea where I was going. I just followed my team, which was large. There were like 20 of us. But that wouldn't be the case for long. The group separated far faster than we all thought.

Anyway, we were runners with blue bands, and there were chasers in red bands - on bikes! "This is not unfair," the organizer said. It was absolutely crazy. At one point, Rex turned around frantically, shouting that a chaser was after Littlemonk. We ran across the street, and I suggested we hide in a sunken porch that was obstructed by trash cans. He was hesitant but agreed.

It was EXACTLY LIKE TV. The pressure to calm my heaving breathing, stop panting, and remain quiet as the bike went by almost took more effort than the sprinting. Then we had to stealthily check where the chaser was and dart out across the street down an alley.

Other moments were seriously like an episode of 24 as we were scouting areas and the silence was broken by a blaring cell phone, ringing out like a homing beacon on our exact location.

As I said, the group separated fairly quickly. I stuck by Rex, even though I think he wasn't too keen on me slowing him down, hah! We made it to the first and second checkpoints, though:

We still have blue bands - success!

We met up with more of the group there, but they wanted to take the el, and we weren't 100% behind that plan, so we continued off on our own once again. We may have taken the long, out-of-the-way route, but we got to a bonus checkpoint!


My feet were KILLING me at this point, but I trudged on. We made it to the third checkpoint at the Billy Goat, where I tried shoving napkins in my shoes for extra padding. In no way, shape, or form did that help, so I removed them. I then put my GLOVES on my FEET. Which felt better than the napkins...

We met up with more team members and started heading to checkpoint #4... I saw a Walgreens, though, and ran in to buy some socks, telling my team I'd catch up with them after.

As I frantically searched for socks and found some perfect cushy ones apparently designed for diabetics, I realized I only had $3 and change (I only brought a bit of cash and spent it on food earlier). Still out of breath and now in a lot of pain, I approached a kind-looking young woman and mustered up the most bizarre request she's probably gotten at a Walgreens.

"I know this is going to be the most bizarre request, but I'm doing this game where we're running all over the city, and I'm wearing gloves for socks because my socks are nearly worn through... you don't have $2.00 you could spare so I can buy some new ones, do you? I told my team to run on ahead, I'm sorry, I know this is SO weird!"

She asked what the group was, and I don't even think I told her the right name, but I showed her my manifest and thanked her profusely when she pulled the weathered Washingtons out of her purse. "This is your good Samaritan act of the day," I assured her, "Thank you so much!"

Socks and cash in hand, I turned to pay and saw Rex, Gremlin, and Littlemonk down the aisle. They came back for me!!! I was shocked and flattered and felt a strange little surge of team pride amidst the pain.

I paid, put on the socks, and we set out again. We coupled up, walking hand-in-hand with bands in the middle to try to obstruct them from the side view (though they were still fully visible from the front and from behind). Walking down Michigan Avenue was a great strategy, as the night was mild and the tourists plentiful. They provided great camouflage, and we blended right in.

As we turned a corner off Michigan Ave. to make it to a safe zone, Rex noted once again, as he did so earnestly so many times during the night, that we were entering very dangerous territory and asked if we were ready to run. Littlemonk seemed able. Gremlin was not so sure. And in that moment, I knew.

If I saw a chaser, there was no way I could run. I had to give up.


Failure makes me scrunch up my face. (I asked Richard earlier if I should change my hair out of conspicuous pigtails. "Can you tuck it up?" I could, so I did.)

I really wanted to finish. I had wanted to prove something to myself. But apparently I proved I can do things halfway... and that's it.

However I also did something pretty crazy that I have never done before. I met cool people. I saw so much of the city. I got a workout. My adrenaline was pumping, and above all, I had fun. So I do feel like I accomplished something, even if I had to quit.

And I honestly would have continued on to at least make it to the finish line, had I not been worried about a few things, including going home alone at 2 am (not fun for anyone, especially a young woman with no cash for a cab) and making my feet even worse - it's my birthday on Friday, and I could not risk not being able to dance!

Tending to my injury at home, I cut open the huge blister on the ball of my left foot, fluid pouring out. SICK. But it's a battle scar I earned along the journey... so it's worth it – as long as I stop gimping and start dancing by Friday. ;)

- smaller

30 vote(s)


(none yet)

14 comment(s)

Crouched on that porch, trying not to breathe...
posted by REX on April 21st, 2008 5:39 AM

Is it weird that I thought at least one of us was going to pee our pants? I've seen way too many stupid movies.

(no subject)
posted by Dax Tran-Caffee on April 21st, 2008 10:52 AM

This is a beautiful story. If there were preconceived experiences that I wanted people to have while playing, this was definitely one of them.

I am especially glad that you still came back to post your adventure, even though you didn't make it to the official finish line.


(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on April 21st, 2008 11:01 AM

You ended up with battle scars. That's a tale right there.

April 25th, a great day to be born!
posted by leveldeaded on April 21st, 2008 11:23 AM

hey, great documentation! That's my birthday too!
happy day!

(no subject)
posted by Burn Unit on April 21st, 2008 12:06 PM

This is the stuff.

Dax, congratulations, the people demand more like this!

Everyone else: Minnesota prepares to follow your shining beacons, O wonderful DC0 & Chicag0! So Start. Training.

(no subject)
posted by Lincøln on April 21st, 2008 12:32 PM

L.A. Journey is coming this summer. It will not be easy. Prepare.

(no subject)
posted by Burn Unit on April 21st, 2008 12:45 PM

no kidding. you guys live in a freaking desert

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on April 21st, 2008 12:50 PM

Yes we do.

Water will be provided (maybe even a burrito if you're lucky)
posted by Lincøln on April 21st, 2008 12:50 PM

A desert with lots of people. Picking out and determining who's out to get you and who's just there to read the stars on Hollywood Blvd. will not be easy. If you're ready for the challenge, get you preparations in order now.

(no subject)
posted by Jellybean of Thark on April 21st, 2008 1:12 PM

A desert stalked by pirates. There are dragons here, big lizards from Mars. Their king stalks behind the 7-Eleven.

Lizard people beneath Dodger Stadium tell their children ghost stories about the C.H.U.D.s that roam the Toy District.

The weather likes to confuse you, and the terrain can't seem to make up it's mind.

Make your time now. Who knows what will happen.

posted by Kara Sene on April 21st, 2008 6:17 PM

hah our stories are so similar! except i ended up with a little more pain than you... i'm sure if it was my birthday i would have chosen smarter as well... congrats and look forward to seeing you running around on more of these tasks!

PS that scrunch face pic is awesome.

(no subject)
posted by Gremlin on April 23rd, 2008 8:40 AM

I think you totally proved something! You proved that you could participate in this completely random race when some of your other friends backed out. And you proved you could have a healthy career as a panhandler if need be :)

I'm glad you gave it a shot! Thanks for coming.

(no subject)
posted by GYØ Ben on April 26th, 2008 12:26 AM

New players.

Fresh blood.

Dax, you are awesome.

(no subject)
posted by Sock Puppets on June 1st, 2008 7:28 AM

This praxis demonstrates the importance of good socks.