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  1. Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
  2. Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
  3. Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
  4. Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
  5. Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
  6. Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

The scene

Monday, December 6, 7pm


SANTA’S VILLA On a toe-numbingly cold night, Logan Square is dark and quiet. Except, of course, for Frank Lopez’s century-old house. For the 25th year, the 77-year-old widower has decked out his 2656 West Logan Boulevard residence with a ridonkulous array of Christmas lights, a Ferris wheel, glowing wire reindeer, angels, camels and geese—all handmade by Lopez, owner of Chicago Wire Design Co. Walking through the corner lot is a hallucinatory amusement-park experience. Three MIDI Christmas songs play simultaneously (imagine a mash-up of “Jingle Bells,” “Let It Snow” and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”). One of several lighted glass display cases mounted in the yard exhibits an animatronic Santa Mickey Mouse figure twitching above a tiny Precious Moments Nativity scene. Lopez taps a couple of Chicago Wire Design Co. employees to do the monthlong installation. “I never had much of a childhood like most little kids enjoy,” says Lopez, raised by stern parents in Texas. “So now I enjoy the holidays like I’m a kid.” The electric bill for the gleaming palace from December 1 through January 6? A whopping $1,000. If he’s able to bring some joy to children in his ’hood, Lopez says, it’s a grand well spent.

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