Day of the Dead 'RIP Photography Show' Puts Chicago Icons in Spotlight

By Alisa Hauser on November 1, 2013 11:55am 

 Philin Phlash's photos of over 30 deceased Chicago icons and celebrities will be on display at Moonshine beginning Nov. 1.  The exhibition kicks off with an opening reception from 5 p.m. Friday to 12 a.m. Saturday.
Philin Phlash's photos of over 30 deceased Chicago icons and celebrities will be on display at Moonshine beginning Nov. 1.  The exhibition kicks off with an opening reception from 5 p.m. Friday to 12 a.m. Saturday.
View Full Caption
Philin Phlash

WICKER PARK —  A career spanning three decades has put photographer Philin Phlash in front of Chicago's most famous faces, and on Friday the artist known for capturing people with their guard down plans to honor those that have passed on.

Philin Phlash's photos of over 35 deceased icons and celebrities including Kurt Cobain, Harry Caray, Walter Payton and blues legend Big Mama Thornton will be on display at Moonshine at 1824 W. Division St. in Wicker Park beginning at 5 p.m. Friday.

In addition to honoring the dead, Phlash is hoping that the show will educate those who are not tuned into Chicago culture or were too young to have felt the impact of many of the famous musicians, athletes, artists and comedians in the exhibit.

Phlash said he was inspired after "having conversations with young people who don't know who [Polish American painter] Ed Paschke or Joey Ramone is, that's the whole thing, so people can see what these people looked like and hopefully it will educate them in some way."

In addition to well-known celebrities featured on his blog, like famed movie critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, the Day of the Dead-themed exhibit also honors lesser known people like nightclub owner Scott Degraff, who passed away from an apparent suicide just after Thanksgiving in 2011.

Phlash included a photo of a local icon he knew as "Troy Abstract."

Troy Abshire co-owned a gallery called Art Attack at 1937 W. North Ave. in the Flat Iron Arts Building and was a popular musician and "major influence" in Wicker Park in the 1990s, Phlash said.

Abshire passed away from an apparent drug overdose in November 2005.

"Someone texted me yesterday and thanked me for putting Troy in the show. He's the local guy in the show. It made me so happy," Phlash said.

As it turns out, not everyone included in the list of images in a promotional flier for the show was someone who had passed on, which Phlash admitted to a reporter was a "mistake."

 Photojournalist Philin Phlash's R.I.P Photo Show puts a spotlight on over 35 deceased Chicago and Wicker Park icons. 
Photojournalist Philin Phlash's R.I.P Photo Show puts a spotlight on over 35 deceased Chicago and Wicker Park icons. 
View Full Caption
DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

Prof. Irwin Corey — a comedian, activist and actor billed as "The World's Foremost Authority" — is 99 years old and lives in New York City.

Phlash said Corey will be "immediately yanked" from the show.

R.I.P. Photography Show by Philin Phlash kicks off with an opening reception from 5 to 10 p.m. Friday at Moonshine, 1824 W. Division St. in Wicker Park.  The exhibit runs through the end of November. Prints are for sale starting at $50. Email philinphlash@gmail.com or call 773-318-1435 for more information.

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement