“One thing that sets us apart is that we operate as a community center and a museum,” Big Car co-founder and Tube Factory commissioning curator Shauta Marsh tells Creators. Tube Factory is used for neighborhood association meetings, clubs, classes, and other events, as well as showing art and providing work spaces and a tool library.”
“By the time we had arrived in Hell—the rolling thunder of our trucks dying with pops and snarls, hisses, low rumbles, finally falling into lockstep with the eerie silence surrounding us—the sun had humped high enough above Indiana to resemble a dental lamp swaddled in dryer sheets, hot white fuzz obscured by mists both chemical and natural. The fog, opaque and ominous, stood biblically on the floodwaters, which lapped at the half-drowned homes of Boatman Road, each domestic ruin materializing in the reduced visibility like shipwrecks.”
“John’s roosters sit in custom-made, round wire enclosures, replete with roofs and roosts and overturned buckets they can use to huddle out of the wind, along the tops of two gentle ridges which jut into his backyard like a snake’s tongue, a small pond—frozen now—between them, a small land bridge connecting the two where the fork splits. When it was legal for him to fight his birds, John says these ridges were thick with gamecocks; as it stands now, the ones on the ridge directly behind the house shares space with a swing set and a white tom turkey. The operation is a shadow of what it once was, John’s only focus now on breeding—keeping the bloodlines alive—and the roosters are sullen in the frigid cold.
And yet, they are beautiful! These are not the scrawny roosters of the barn yard, nor the fattened walking breasts of the food industry; these birds are proud, fierce, with long, cascading feathers covering their breasts like a lion’s mane and a dazzling array of colors; the reds, in particular, are beautiful, the rich carmine of their leonine adornment fading into a deeper spiced rum hue, their wings a deep, luxe of greens and purples which shimmer like heat and which spread into their tails, held highly like iridescent fountains. The gamecock’s legs are long and powerful, its chest like a cursive G; looking at them is like seeing a doberman instead of a labrador, an AK-47 instead of a squirrel rifle, beautiful machines designed for singular purposes.”
“Because fate is particularly cruel, Tom—born in Bloomington, Indiana—is also a devout Indianapolis Colts fan, which makes him something of a pariah whenever he gathers with other Circle City faithful. His Roscoe Village apartment is covered in Colts paraphernalia, including a framed Jim Sorgi jersey and various Colts flags; his bedroom doorway is flanked by the flag of the United States and the Navy torch-bearing flag of Indiana, the whole place pretty well steeped in sigils declaring that he, despite that name, is a member in good standing of Chicago’s proud, quiet Hoosier diaspora. The whole thing is really pretty heavy, sport and love and pain and expectations all attached to a name he drags from show to show and bears as a standard and a cross. It’s also just his name, and just one of the things he drags onstage with him.”