Photograph: Brian Sorg
Photograph: Brian Sorg

Aadam Jacobs at Chief O'Neill's

Mysterious Chicagoans

These four locals are ubiquitous at garage rock concerts, government meetings and more.


Most Chicagoans know Ronnie “Woo Woo” Wickers, who even has a Wikipedia page about his loud cheers at every Cubs game. But what about the guy at every garage-rock concert, or every new restaurant? Meet four ubiquitous locals.

Aadam Jacobs

Where you’ll spot him Videotaping the Armando Diaz Experience or TJ & Dave at iO, or recording bands like Eleventh Dream Day at rock clubs

Distinctive traits Large video camera in hand or microphones towering over the audience members’ heads, scraggly beard

Day job Delivering The Chicago Reader, selling books and CDs on Amazon

In his own words “When I was a teenager I used to tape live concerts off WXRT. Then I met a fellow who suggested I sneak recording gear into shows.”

George Blakemore

Where you’ll spot him Providing scathing testimony at every local government meeting where public input is allowed

Distinctive traits The 70-year-old, who used to show up in ragged clothes, now often appears in a suit and tie, but retains his short dreadlocks and shopping bags full of personal effects.

Day job Street vendor who sells gloves, hats and sunglasses

In his own words “There are issues in the black community that are near and dear to me, and I feel compelled to advocate for them.”

Rodney Alex

Where you’ll spot him Dining at every hot new restaurant

Distinctive traits His Afro, thick-framed glasses and beard make him a dead ringer for Kyp Malone, the guitarist from TV on the Radio.

Day job A former owner of Juicy Wine Co., Alex, 45, is launching a wine label with record promoter Rick Cooper called the Alex Cooper Project.

In his own words “I went to Au Cheval 15 times in the first two months it was open.… I know what it’s like to pour your heart and soul into a new restaurant, so I want to support other people who are doing it. And it’s like music—I want to see what the new band is doing.”

Dan “the Fan” Urban

Where you’ll spot him Pogoing in a trance to garage-rock bands like Radar Eyes and White Mystery at venues like the Subterranean and Beat Kitchen

Distinctive traits He’s the fit, 55-year-old dude in a headband, drenched with sweat, possibly sans pants.

Day job Certified herbalist

In his own words “I work six or seven days a week, often with cancer patients. [Pogoing] is good exercise and it helps me release stress and sleep a lot better. Although sometimes I’m so wound up afterwards I stay up until sunrise.”

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