Vintage Bazaar, Pilsen

On Saturday, we got up early and headed back down to Pilsen to… pretty much the exact same spot. Where we had previously attended the Chicago Street Art Show, the Vintage Bazaar was taking place in the exact same building.

The last time we attended the event, there were some pretty big crowds at the Congress. So to be safe, we showed up pretty early (about an hour or so) and mostly hung out in the car. When we saw a few folks enter, we hopped out and made our way to the door.

We got there to find the doors locked. A woman was waiting outside, who turned out to be a reporter or writer, looking to get her press pass. She was let in after a while, and I asked one of the people inside whether I might also be allowed in. I run a personal blog, which isn’t really an actual publication at all… but figured it might be worth a shot.

Turns out the person I was talking to was Libby Alexander, one of the organizers.
And on top of that, she remembered/recognized me! She looked at me and said You’re avoision, right? Lucky me, she waved Liz and I inside and gave us press passes, letting us wander around as the vendors were doing their last minute setup. Awesome!

Again, this building is just fantastic. We were standing here last night, looking over some t-shirts for sale during the street art show. At the time, I totally missed this great door that Liz is peeking out of.

The event itself was upstairs, on the second floor.

In a nearby hallway, I spotted this great looking sign. Reminded me a lot of the sign outside Larry’s, one of the best bars in Columbus, OH.

Looking down the booths.

Most folks I saw were doing last-minute prep work, laying things out and re-arranging displays.

I saw a group of people interviewing vendors, and doing a few photo-shoot shots in the corner. Lots of the other folks I saw wandering around with cameras looked like they were a little more professional/official than me. As I was roaming around, I felt like I would get called out for not being really with the press.

Looking through the booths, into the food area. Again, those amazing doors!

I forget the name of it, but there’s a vintage shop in the building that has a lot of space on both the ground and first floor. Near the food area, there were tons of stuff just strewn about. When looking at these two large suits of armor, I can’t help but think of the Southern Oracle guardians from The Neverending Story.

Old dress forms, in a row.

An awesome, awesome door. I wish I could have opened this, to see where it leads to.

A very large, stylish looking Old Style sign.

In the stairwell area, I spotted the open freight elevator.

Check out these buttons! The more I saw of the space, the more I fell in love with it.

Some very ornate necklaces (I didn’t pause to record which booth this was, unfortunately).

// Edit: These are from NOV. Thanks, Tracey!

A guy, setting up a small horse.

From an aesthetic point of view, this was my favorite booth in terms of symmetry. Nearly everything was perfectly set up.

Horse, detail.

Four heads, looking off into the distance.

Pretty red dress.

Near the food area, there were some standup tables where people could hang out for a while. The room itself was also littered with items from the vintage shop.

Several incredibly large signs (and some pinball machines, tucked in the corner).

A large assortment of letters.

The bar, serving beer and other refreshments.

Back in the stairwell, I caught Libby and some others, heading down the elevator. I think that’s Katherine Raz on the left, one of the other event organizers. As the doors were closing, she stopped suddenly and peeked her head through. She mentioned that she had voted for me, during my time as a finalist for Month at the Museum.

It’s funny how it still catches me off guard, when people mention the museum contest. I know it was less than a year ago, but it feels much longer than that.

Even though I didn’t win, it was flattering to hear that I got votes from people I didn’t know. And especially funny to hear it sort of half whispered through a closing elevator door.

Downstairs, at the main entrance.

There was a decent line forming, right before the doors opened at noon. I hung out to watch the crowd come in, then followed folks up to walk the floor some more.

FYI for the remainder of these shots, I tried to photograph signs or business cards of the booths that interested me. I mostly got them all, but I’d take photos of the wares, and then track down the name of the booth. So if you see something you like, I end up posting the booth info at the end of the images.

These old packs of playing cards caught my eye. I remember my grandmother having a lot of old TWA playing cards at her house.

I’m not sure why, but I found the image of Sir Shakes a Lot rather disturbing.

And no, I didn’t remember his name on my own. Had to look that one up.

I spotted an old suitcase full of sewing patterns. I called up Liz almost immediately, and she was over in a flash, sifting through them all. I did this a few times over the course of the event – I’d see some patterns, call Liz over, then wander some more. I seemed to be pretty good at sniffing out where all the patterns were.

, run by Leah M. Brown.

Kokorokoko, a vintage boutique specializing in 80’s and 90’s items.

Given the photo, this looked like a small shrine to Boy George.

An awesome TI-1200 calculator.

New booth. I found this old and dusty projector, tucked under a table. I think this actually is a slide projector.

Lots of old cameras.

A few old books, along with a typewriter.

jenstyle – (
Etsy, Twitter)

Lots of old Underwood typewriters were available at the event. Always liked the idea of one, but never could find/justify the space for something like this.

A few old (and rather disturbing looking) tools.

Set of apothecary bottles.

A good place to store your ether…

All the above items from Manly Vintage.

A crazy board game, along with a fantastic ink/letter set.

A bird cage (only after walking by a second time did I notice the crank on the side). I asked the owner if he would crank the mechanical bird for me, and he was kind enough to oblige me:

While pretty disturbing on its own, the dog had nothing on the odd ventriloquist dummy, sitting in the chair. That thing just looks like it’s waiting to come alive.

There were some fantastic items all throughout this booth. All the books looked like ancient tomes, and I could have spent hours just reading through all of them.

Above items were from Dethrose Vintage and Deth Core Design (aka Jon Dethrow).

I found another set of patterns for Liz, in a nearby booth.

Turns out, the person running the booth is someone she sort of knows. The woman running the booth also sells patterns on Etsy, and I think Liz recognized her name.

Nicole Highes, BombshellShocked.

More building love – spotted this wooden shelf next to a window. It looked to me like a set of steps and made me want to walk outside.

Spotted another stash of patterns. I got pretty good at this!

They were tucked away (bottom right), under a large rack of clothes.

There was also a small shelf of vintage fabric too. All items above were from dollparts.

This is the booth for Seek, who had an awesome spot right at the entrance.

In addition to some old, classic puzzles… I spotted this early Clue-esque game. As I was taking this photo, someone walked up to me and said Jesus, why don’t you just buy something instead of taking photos?

I thought to myself What the hell…, turned around and saw Sandra and Christine! Very funny. We chatted a bit, and they went off to begin their browsing of the vendors. This should give you a sense of the size of the place: while I kept an eye out for them, I didn’t end up seeing them again the rest of the time we were there.

A corner booth that had lots of old electronics. I wish I remembered the name of this place – unfortunately, I don’t think I recorded it. It might be Apartment 528, but I’m not sure.

An old TV, atop an old laserdisc player.

And of course, laserdiscs!

Though my family never owned a laserdisc player, I had an incredibly strong reaction as I thumbed through all the old movies. It was like being hit with a strong sense of nostalgia. It was such an interesting sensation that I decided to record the bin sifting process:

Spotted more patterns on a nearby ironing board.

Happy to see that Liz didn’t pick up the Butterick Apache shirt pattern. Dodged a bullet on that one.

An assortment of dishes and glasses…

Items above from Old Flames Vintage.

A nearby booth was sporting some old Viewmasters, along with TONS of Viewmaster slides.

I would have loved to have taken this entire tray and gone through each and every one… had I the time to just slowly sift through them all.

Spotted a helpful chart of fruits, and thought of the Grocer.

Spotted several Thor comic books. Checked the issue numbers on them in the off chance that they were rare (they didn’t seem to be).

I spent a lot of time looking over some of the available photo albums. More than anything else, I’m absolutely drawn to old photos. Several booths were selling photos individually, but this booth had albums for sale. The prices are way too high for me to consider, but there’s something I really love about seeing/finding someone else’s photos.

I wonder how people get a hold of photos like these in the first place. Estate sales? Goodwill? Seeing old photos always makes me feel like I’m being granted a unique view into another lifetime, and never fails to take my breath away.

Above items were from Emerald Avenue Antiques.

As I was wandering about, I heard someone call my name. I turned around and saw Liz Rench (aka the Bunny Sitter). I was on a roll today, with her being like the third or fourth person to recognize me at the bazaar. We chatted a bit, and shortly afterwards… she and Liz found one another and fell to talking.

I learned that Liz Rench was running a booth with a friend called Bummertown. I had no idea! I was walking around a great deal, but must have missed seeing her.

You can check out Bummertown online, via Etsy and their Blog.

Nearby, Liz directed us to a booth run by a friend of hers, who was selling frames.

There were a good number of people at the table, going through all the different frames and posing in front of the mirrors.

Labrabbit Optics

The folks from CHIRP Radio were providing the tunes.

Wandering near another corner of the venue, I spotted some neat looking lamps. As I was browsing around, the woman at the booth said she recognized me. Turns out, she had seen my photos of their booth, from the Congress event.

A nice looking sign, made from an old window. I love the mixture of old and new, showing off the name along with the website, and the Etsy, Facebook and Twitter links.

I think theirs was the only booth I saw that incorporated an online giveaway. If you become a fan of Take 2 Vintage on Facebook, you’ll be entered to win this clock!

A nice set of colorful shot glasses. At least, that’s where my mind went. Maybe they’re super small candle holders.

Robyn and Joe, testing out the belt massager.

When I saw their booth at the Vintage Bazaar at the Congress, they had a similar machine. At the time, I was hoping to try it out and get myself on video. Sadly, I never got the chance then and was pretty intent on not passing up the opportunity again.

I learned that they had sold the previous machine, and that this one was a new one. New and also perfectly functional. After I found Liz and showed her how to record video… I decided to hop on for posterity. Here’s me in all my jiggling glory:

What a fun and massive event this was! I can’t believe it was only for one day, as there were so many vendors and so much to see. I had fun exploring, and honestly can’t believe how many people knew or recognized me. I got to see a mechanical bird sing, sifted through several old photo albums, and enjoyed the medicinal benefits of a belt massager. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

Thanks again to Libby, for letting us poke around the venue before the doors officially opened. And a belated thanks to Katherine, for the museum votes. You two sure do know how to throw a swell party.

Vintage Bazaar At The Congress Theater, Chicago
The Vintage Bazaar: Lincoln Square, Chicago
Chicago Rabbit Sitter: Meeting Liz And Her Six Rabbits
CHIRP Radio’s The First Time: First Car

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi There,I was browsing through your blog from the Vintage Bazaar…I have to say we have the same taste in what we like to shoot pictures of…I noticed that you took a picture of our jewelry display at our booth, I just wanted to let you know that we are NOV you can find us at if you so desire!Best,Tracey Baskin

    Tracey Baskin Reply

  2. I’ve gone back and updated the photo. Thanks, Tracey!

    avoision Reply

  3. Wow, that show was just amazing, the vintage shows here in Richmond VA have nothing compared to that stuff! And the patterns, man, I am hurting so much I wish I were there. Please tell me Liz bought some, please!

    lsaspacey Reply

  4. She *did* buy some patterns there. Several, in fact! She documented her purchases over at her blog, in this post.

    avoision Reply

  5. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who loves wearing shorts with pantyhose as well as old-fashioned elevators. Katherine Raz obviously does, too.

    Jane Knight Reply

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