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50 + 115 points

Journey to the End of the Night Chicago by zer0gee

April 21st, 2008 12:05 AM

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

I assisted the amazing Dax (wow, that sounds like a stage magic act, doesn't it?) in whatever ways I was able for his superb planning of Journey to the End of the Night: Chicago. On the evening of April 11th, about a week before the event, we met up and walked the 7.5 mile route so that I could preview what the players would see on the 19th, and so Dax could troubleshoot the map he'd created for the players to use. The first five photos below were taken on that walk, at about the same time of night the players would be encountering the same sights during the game. We took the shortest distances possible between checkpoints and did not use the train. I'm really glad we had the chance to do this, since I was the agent for the final checkpoint, would have to drive all the equipment directly from the starting line to the finish line when the game actually began, and would otherwise not have gotten to see the route at all.

A small crowd of about ten people had gathered at the starting location around the fountain in Wicker Park when I arrived around 6:15pm. We set up small tables for the registration forms and to display the awards, and cut the lengths of blue and red ribbon that would be used as armbands to designate runners and chasers. I took up the duty of making sure everyone got signed in, took one blue and one red ribbon, and received a route map/checkpoint manifesto. Dax made the opening announcements, including the reading of the rules, around 7:15 - at this point, there were about 150 runners ready to begin their Journey. In the middle of his instructions, his cellphone rang, much to the amusement of the crowd. It was the staff chasers calling in from their starting positions in the field, checking in with Dax and reminding the runners that there was actually something to be running from once the game started. At 7:30, Dax's bullhorn rang out with an "ON YOUR MARKS! GET SET! GO!!!" and a whistle blew - the 150 gathered runners immediately dispersed in literally all directions from the central point of the fountain. This was an incredible sight, really, one of my very favorite moments.

I hopped in my car and delivered some extra supplies to the ladies at checkpoint 2, then made my way down to the lakefront to set up the finish line. On my way there, I got a text message - the first runners had passed through checkpoint 1, at about 8:15. I also learned that my fantastic checkpoint 6 partner, Daniel, had gotten a flat bike tire on his way to meet me and was diverting to the train. Because I wouldn't have any help unloading the car and wouldn't be able to unload, watch the supplies, and park my car all at the same time, I called Dax and we reached the decision to move the finish line to Solidarity Drive, the street that ran behind the original Field Museum checkpoint and alongside of the Shedd Aquarium. I was able to secure parking, and I tied the CG0 flagpole to the side mirror of my car, so approaching runners would see it. I set up tables full of cupcakes for the inevitable arrival of hungry players, and began to wait.

Daniel arrived with his injured bicycle just before the first chaser to finish trotted up to us at about 8:20. It was d - clare! Four more chasers arrived before our first runner - Matt Larrain with his manifest signatures completed - ran up and threw himself on the ground in exhaustion at 9:00. After that, there was a series of chasers - all with "kills" - who came in to share stories and have some delicious sugar- and carb-filled snacks. Our champion chaser, Whit, with an incredible thirteen captures, arrived around 10:30.

We gave medals to the first 12 chasers to arrive with at least one capture, and to the 45 runners that returned their completed manifestos (I have 13 of those medals to make and send out this week - I promise I won't forget!). Everyone had wonderful, exciting tales of evasion and strategy - it was so much fun to be there as people came in and added their chapters to the evolving story of the Journey. Dax arrived around midnight and awarded the trophies to Matt and our most prolific chaser, and medals to the players with the best stories from the field - LittleMonk, lara black, and OliverX. The party broke up shortly after the ceremonies due to lateness of the hour (it was about 1:30am), weariness of the players, intervention of the authorities (although it was very mild and the delightful Ms. Minx did an outstanding job of placating them), and the promise of an afterparty by Gremlin (happy birthday!).

Thank you, Dax, for giving our city this epic event! I can't wait to read everyone's stories!

+ larger

ghost bike, on way to checkpoint 1
Kinzie St. bridge checkpoint area
MacChesney Court checkpoint area
industrial spiral staircase, checkpoint 5 area
When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth!
CG0 flies their colors
chaser trophy detail
runner trophy detail
the very beginnings of the crowd, around 6:30pm
Dax announces the rules
Dax gets a call - from the chasers already in the field!

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4 comment(s)

(no subject)
posted by Dax Tran-Caffee on April 21st, 2008 8:59 AM

I cannot thank you enough for giving me a hand with this one, zer0gee! We did good.

To fill in a few names: Whit was the winning Chaser with 13 kills. And the notorious OliverX was the third medal-winner for best 10-word story (involving using children as spotters while chasing).

(no subject)
posted by zer0gee on April 21st, 2008 9:01 AM

Awesome, thanks for the info! I will edit them in forthwith.

Any time you want to do something big again, I've got your back. :)

(no subject)
posted by Sparrows Fall on April 21st, 2008 9:10 AM

Witt, if you are reading this, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, post praxis. Did you get people one by one? Did you charge into a herd of unwary runners? Did you leap on them from above or emerge ratlike from the sewers? How did you do that!?

(no subject)
posted by teucer on April 21st, 2008 9:32 AM

I know when I spoke to him he mentioned leading hunting parties... but I also want details!