Aug 21, 2014

The Top 10 Public Penises of Chicago

When I was growing up in Rock Island, Chicago was the nearest big city, a three hour's drive across the prairie, so we went quite often.  My Spanish class drove there to see La Casa de Bernarda Alba, the Garcia Lorca play.  My parents took me to the Museum of Science and Industry for my birthday trip one year.  In college I drove out for my brief modeling career, and later to apply for jobs on Michigan Avenue.  After Los Angeles, it's the city where I feel most at home.

And, surprising for the Midwest, there's a lot of beefcake art.  Here are the top 10 public penises:

1. The Goethe Memorial in Lincoln Park, showing a muscular, naked poet with an eagle on his knee.  Almost makes you want to read Faust.  There's also a Goethe-Institut with German classes, art exhibitions, and theater performances.

2.-3. The Bowman and the Spearman, two naked Indians guarding the entrance to Congress Plaza. Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović didn't draw upon Native American cultures; he envisioned neoclassical Graeco-Roman muscles.

4. Speaking of Native Americans, the naked "Signal of Peace" stands in Lincoln Park.  It's part of a four-statue series called "Epic of the Indian" by gay sculptor Cyrus Edwin Dallin (who, oddly enough, also sculpted the statue of Moroni atop the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City).

5. John Boyle's The Alarm, a memorial to the Ottawa Indians, is also in Lincoln Park.  The muscular "brave" stands at attention with a woman at his feet, a precursor to Boris Vallejo's depictions of Conan with his legs being hugged by naked ladies.

More after the break.

6. But Chicago is not all about stylized Native Americans.  There's a lot of neoclassical beefcake, too, like the Fountain of the Tritons by Carl Milles, in the courtyard of the Art Institute -- five naked Nordic mermen cavorting with umbrellas.  You can also see Swedish artist Carl Milles' naked men in Michigan, Wisconsin, Sweden, and Japan.

7.-8. The Elks National Memorial is a paeon to beefcake.  The friezes outside include "Fraternity," three guys hugging at the feet of a topless lady, and inside, monuments to (naked) Fraternity, Justice, Charity, and Brotherly Love, as well as "They That Are Persecuted," by Eugene Savage.

9. Four fountains in Grant Park: Turtle Boy, Fisher Boy (left), Crane Girl, Dove Girl.   I prefer Fisher Boy.

10. The Victory Monument, in Bronzeville, commemorates African-American soldiers in World War I.  This panel depicting a semi-naked soldier and an eagle.

11. Chicago's oldest gay neighborhood,  Halsted between Clarke and Irving Park (and environs), contains some famous gay venues, including The Cellblock, The Gay Center, the Quads Gym, and Man's Country (the best gay sauna in the U.S.).

No wonder Carl Sandburg called it "The City of Big Shoulders"

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