Recreating Chicago in Berwyn, IL
December 12, 2016 10:31 AM   Subscribe

How can a longtime Chicagoan find a similar metal/punk/art existence in the suburb of Berwyn, IL?

So I am asking this for a friend. She is a pretty cool lady, in her mid-30s, that has been living in Chicago for 10+ years. She still works there but the rising cost of housing and increased violence of the city has led her and her boyfriend to move to the nearby suburb of Berwyn. She has been there about a year and is finding it very isolating.

In Chicago she went to a lot of metal / hardcore / punk shows, would frequent art galleries, was in roller derby and bowling leagues but is having difficulty finding similar activities and like-minded folks to hang with in Berwyn. From what I remember of Berwyn, it doesn't feel very suburban, it actually has a smaller Chicago vibe, which makes me think there is a good chance she can find her people there. The question is how? And where? Is it even possible?
posted by rokabiri to Human Relations (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Berwyn's got easy enough access back into the city between the BNSF and the Blue Line, I'd suspect that most people looking for that niche market just go back into the city.
posted by hwyengr at 10:49 AM on December 12, 2016


Is there some reason she can't continue to do those things and hang out with her existing friends? Berwyn is only ten miles from downtown, and she still works in the city. Am I missing something with the commute that would prevent her from, say, going to a gallery on her way home from work? Or having her old friends travel a couple of miles to get a drink periodically? (Side note: if her old friends are not willing to travel a couple of miles to hang out with her, why is she so intent on maintaining these friendships?)

I don't know enough about this particular suburb to say for sure, but in general, suburban punk scenes are generally teenagers, because as soon as punks are old enough to move into the city from the suburbs, they do.

What made her choose Berwyn, specifically, over the hundreds of other Chicago suburbs. There must have been something that drew her there - have her go deeper on that.
posted by kevinbelt at 10:54 AM on December 12, 2016


Berwyn's on the tail end of the Pink Line, which runs right through Pilsen.
posted by phunniemee at 11:07 AM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Is there some reason she can't continue to do those things and hang out with her existing friends? Berwyn is only ten miles from downtown, and she still works in the city. Am I missing something with the commute that would prevent her from, say, going to a gallery on her way home from work? Or having her old friends travel a couple of miles to get a drink periodically? (Side note: if her old friends are not willing to travel a couple of miles to hang out with her, why is she so intent on maintaining these friendships?)

I think she is looking to limit her driving and basically create a local community. She will venture to the city now and then to visit friends [and vice versa] but ideally, if possible, she was looking for similar activities in Berwyn proper. Sort of sounds like this is going to be pretty difficult.
posted by rokabiri at 11:29 AM on December 12, 2016


She might meet some like-minded people at Cigars and Stripes in Berwyn, which is a BBQ place that does live events. And even though it may sound dull at first mention, I know some creative, cool art-y people who volunteer with the Berwyn historical society.
posted by chimpsonfilm at 11:33 AM on December 12, 2016


I can't recommend Cigars and Stripes.
posted by theraflu at 12:27 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


Hey, this is my hometown.

That wasn't my scene, but I would gravitate towards live music venues like Fitzgerald's (though definitely, absolutely not a metal venue and maybe the opposite – but mentioning for a possible entree into a broader music community). There were a number of small art shops popping up along the BNSF train line in the Depot District, as of a couple of years back. It might be much of a “put up posters in coffee houses and small shops, see who responds” type of thing.

And for connections and community: hilariously, I'll suggest nearby suburbs. South Oak Park, and the Harrison Arts District, may be a good in. Depending on where she is in Berwyn it might be a quick trip up Austin or Ridgeland. There's also a bit of a burgeoning arts scene in Forest Park.
posted by hijinx at 1:13 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


In Oak Park, people seem to find each other through Facebook groups: dads, moms, working moms, beer aficionados, cyclists...you name it, there's a group for it. I bet Berwyn is similar (and if not, she can just join the Oak Park ones). (There is, or at least was, roller derby in Oak Park.)
posted by ndg at 11:55 AM on December 13, 2016


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