Park in the big lot on the NE corner of Lamar and Belleview. It has a big pay-slot thingy, but you don't have to pay. I guess you can if you really, really wanted to, but you seriously don't have to pay. Enter the South Side building through the front entrance on Lamar, up the elevators to loft 911.
Okay, I am changing the name at last! When we first started Weirdery, we had our monthly food-related gatherings at Cafe Brazil, and the first few actually did involve a "meeting of the minds" with some specific ideas getting bandied about.
I keep meeting people who've heard of the Weirdery and keep looking at our meetups, but not coming because they don't know anyone or they're not sure if it's open for everyone, or they're just not clear on what it's about. "Oh, I didn't know that was YOU! Okay, now I'll come to potluck/ craft day/ whatever because I'll know someone."
My original intention in starting the Weirdery was to start building a community of people who are creative, unusual, have odd beliefs, think outside of the box (to use a cliche to describe being un-cliche...). When I worked at Hancock Fabrics during its pre-bankruptcy heyday, customers regularly struck up conversations with each other if one had crafting knowledge and the other needed it. Nowadays, they've gotten more business-oriented, and Joann's has never been that kind of environment to the degree that Hancock's was. And that stinks.
I imagine a lot of people are wondering what the Weirdery is, do we have some motive for setting this up? Is it a way for certain friends to organize their get-togethers? Or whatever else you're wondering that I can't even imagine. Here is what the Weirdery is: a place for complete strangers to come, hang out, say the things they've always been afraid to say in a group of normal people (we regularly have friendly discussions of politics AND religion!), and to make connections with like-minded folks that might also grow outside of the meetups.
I've been thinking about the things lacking in our current model of community since reading about Greek/Roman history in college--back then, the wealthy had a responsibility to put their resources back into the community, most people spent more time in groups than they did sitting around alone at home, people knew their neighbors. Why are these things unusual nowadays?
So anyway, we've got a handful of regulars who make it to nearly every meetup, and we keep getting new people who I hope will come back more often. It would be great for everyone else who's been checking us out online but was afraid to come alone to come on out!
I'll admit that when I started this, I was a little afraid that putting out a call to the weird would get, well, weird people. That some of the people who turned up would be the kind of weird where you shudder and back away. WE HAVE NOT GOTTEN A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE. Everyone who's come in the past 2-ish years that the Weirdery has been going on has been awesome, and I've met a lot of people once at meetups who haven't made it back who I still remember and would like to see again. A LOT of people.