From the "Get off my Lawn" file: It appears as though not everyone in Bridgeport is happy with Version Fest 12. This flyer has been popping up across the Neighborhood of Mayors accusing Version Fest of "gentrifying" the neighborhood. The flyer, produced by the "East Bridgeport Communists," makes the usual declarations that any neighborhood improvements should be decided by the people who live there and asks for a boycott of Version Fest's participating businesses.
As someone who's lived in Bridgeport long enough to understand the inner workings of its social fabric and considers himself a practical Socalist politically, allow me to throw some shade.
This is yet another case of "hipsters, like Elvis, are everywhere."
- Of the businesses listed to boycott, only three are pop-ups. the rest are art galleries and businesses that have permanent homes in Bridgeport.
- Among the businesses the flyer demands a boycott are the Co-Prosperity Sphere and Maria's Packaged Goods and Community Bar. These are two places that are both permanent businesses and owned by someone, Version Fest jefe Ed Marszewski, who lives in the neighborhood.
- By bringing these pop-up businesses to Bridgeport for the festival, a person who lives in the neighborhood is starting the conversation on how to improve it and, more important, the businesses already in the neighborhood are walking the walk.
- "East Bridgeport Communists?" Seriously? I live in what's considered the east side of Bridgeport and it's littered with police officers, sheriff's deputies, firefighters, other city and county workers, and Daleys. Any communists I know in the neighborhood live west of Halsted.
- If you were truly communists you'd realize you have more in common socially and politically with Marszewski and the festival's organizers than you realize.
- Who's a communist anymore these days, anyway?
- I'll bet smart money that the person or persons who were behind this flyer are probably people who moved down to Bridgeport because of the cheap rent (and because they're career art school students), and are at Maria's every night trying to get free beer from Marszewski.
The flyer makes me wonder if the "East Bridgeport Communists" were also behind this message waiting for me and the group I led in a tour of the Henry Palmisano Nature Park last September when we made it to the top of the hill. It reads, "Chicagoist = Devil Urine."
"Chicagoist = Devil Urine" (Chuck Sudo/Chicagoist)
To paraphrase Bill Walton: East Bridgeport Communists, please, work on your game. Or buy your own beer at Maria's. That would help the neighborhood more than a flyer that shows you haven't progressed past campus radicalism.