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'I Hate Clark Street!' Blogger, iO Producer Ends Era of Observing Clark

By Serena Dai | March 5, 2014 7:42am | Updated on March 6, 2014 1:42pm
 Jason Chin, who works iO Theater, started a blog called "I Hate Clark Street!"
Jason Chin, who works iO Theater, started a blog called "I Hate Clark Street!"
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DNAinfo/Serena Dai

WRIGLEYVILLE — Freeze-dried vomit, dirty underwear, full meals from Burger King and even a live frog.

No, it's not a weird science experiment: It's a list of things local improv comedian Jason Chin has seen while living near Clark Street in Wrigleyville for the past 20 years.

Chin moved to the neighborhood so he could walk to work at iO Theater, and in 2007, the amount of vomit alone prompted him to start documenting the weird stuff he saw while walking to and from his job.

Thus, the blog "I HATE CLARK STREET!" was born.

"Vomit makes me laugh," he said. "Especially in this area. A lot of college kids come for their dances. They're always in their formal wear, and they vomit."

Now that iO and its improv comedy is moving to 1501 N. Kingsbury St. in Old Town's Clybourn Corridor, Chin is moving, too — and ending the blog.

Chin's "a little sad" about it, but he's also excited about leaving the drunken madness of Clark Street behind.

Chin has found full meals from Burger King or Long John Silver's on sidewalks, which was confusing since neither fast food restaurant exists nearby. Lost underwear is a staple he finds particularly perplexing.

On Halloween, he'd always see remnants of costumes when he left work after 2 a.m., like wigs and scarves.

Clark Street wasn't always a spectacle of public drunkenness, he said. Bigger bars like John Barleycorn and Red Ivy didn't exist when he moved to Wrigleyville.

In recent years, he's posted less as he's become more immune to typical weirdness and as "bad behavior" trumps unusual artifacts, he said. The levels of "amateur" drinking have gotten to dangerous levels, he said.

"You feel like a senior in high school, walking with all the drunk freshmen," he said. "I've been there. And you're dumb."

He's had a small following on the blog of improv friends who frequented iO, some who have left and are looking to recall its antics, like actor Dan Bakkedahl, from TV shows "Veep" and "Legit."

Chin, who currently lives in a Wrigley Field rooftop building, never moved because he liked walking to work. Truthfully, there's a lot to love about the neighborhood, too, like the quiet days on bar patios or free concerts with just an open window, he said.

Most of all, he'll miss the people who have worked on Clark Street alongside him all these years.

"They're all really, really nice people," he said. "We've all put up with all that stuff."