Going Buggy for Cicadas
The cicadas have begun to emerge, and many
of our Beverly/Morgan Park neighbors are cringing. But a few are
capitalizing on the cicadas’ first arrival in 17 years.
In preparation for the emergence, Maureen Harrigan retrieved a
shoebox marked “Open in 17 Years” from her closet.
Inside were examples of the high fashion cicada jewelry that she
and Mary Shiels created and sold back in 1990. Harrigan and Shiels
are not planning on going back into production – their children
who were happily pressed into labor gluing googly eyes onto painted
cicada shells nearly two decades ago, have more productive summer
employment these days.
Harrigan and Shiels had some fun modeling their cicada wear for
There’s a synergy in the work that chainsaw artist Ben Schlitz
carved during the Home Tour at the Beverly Arts Center. Schlitz
uses tree trunks – the preferred home of cicadas –
for his works, and the new one is a bulge-eyed cicada. While taking
a break from the carving, Schlitz noticed his first cicada sitting
in a nearby tree – probably attracted by the sound of the
chainsaw. He used the bug as a live model. Schlitz’s finished
cicada is displayed at the west end of the BAC parking lot.
The Chi-Town Kids, comprised of Beverly/Morgan Park natives Chris
Walsh, Ryan O’Malley and Mark Wlodarski, may have Chicago’s
first hit song about cicadas. While the bugs were still digging
out of the earth, the group had written and recorded the song
that anticipated their arrival: “So much courage when I
was a little one / My daddy always said "Cicadas harmless
son" / 17 years ago but now the cicadas back.” By May
24, the song had made enough buzz to be played on Q101 and The
Mix, and was even mentioned on Channel 5 news.
Walsh, O’Malley and Wlodarski, best friends since they met
in kindergarten at Sutherland School, have been making music together
for many years and remember the cicada visit 17 years ago. (“I
wanna see ‘em / Fly up in the trees / High... / I remember
the cicadas / They're back again / And they brought a whole bunch
of friends / Chillin in the trees / in the grass, in the mud /
They even on my Mr. Sub.”
They formed the Chi-Town Kids in 2002, and have a following for
their humorous rap-style songs. You can hear the whole song online
at the Chi-Town Kids MySpace, http://www.myspace.com/chitownkidsmusic.
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