Archive | January, 2014

Uncle Fun is closing; wahhhhhh!!!!!

17 Jan

The first time I found Uncle Fun was on a Saturday sometime in the late 90’s. My friend Stacey Gardener (a fellow counselor at State Farm Day Camp) and I decided we would take the Amtrak train up from Normal, IL and spend the day in Chicago.  

We went to half tix and bought tickets to Midsummer Night’s Dream with The Pride Festival at what was then the Bailiwick Theatre Building. We had some time before the show and so we took a stroll. We saw this storefront (Uncle Fun!), & were not sure exactly what it was. We had no idea what was about to transpire & that my life would never be the same.

The store was pure magic. I bought a green, sparkly, star-shaped ring there, that I shortly thereafter threw off a bridge and made a wish…about a boy…that came true. His name was John Hunt and I remember him joking that Pizza Hut used to be called “Pizza Hunt,” haha! We dated for a while and it was not meant to be. I remember he gave me a snow globe and that it cracked, froze (I forgot it in the car) and it melted…symbolic…as it happened before we broke up!

When I got married and had a Wizard of Oz-themed wedding reception, it was to Uncle Fun I went. Billy, a famous employee there, had the idea for us to have a Munchkin-themed table, where everything was over-sized, so that we would feel small! Uncle Fun had over-sized scissors, combs, brushes, toothbrushes…in addition, to the rainbow see-er things, where you look thru a lense and see rainbows everywhere, transposed upon your reality…

Before my husband and I even met, one Christmas, we both bought allll of our Christmas presents from Uncle Fun!

Once, I saw a former Uncle Fun employee in the street and was star-shocked; he was a celebrity to me. Immediately, I started freaking out & screaming, “Ohhhh!!! YOU used to work at Uncle Fun!!!” He looked around, took the hand of the girl he was with and started to run away from me! =)

Of course, when we had an intern from Hong Kong for the Chicago Fringe, I HAD to take her to Uncle Fun!

Uncle Fun generously donated a basket of toys as a prize for Chicago Fringe Festival (when I was Fringe Central Manager and needed prizes for events such as Fringe Prom King & Fringe Olympics). The store also donated to Tellin’ Tales Theatres’ raffle (we’d have a give-away at the end of each show in “Six Stories Up, Up & Away!”) In the play, we were all circus performers with superpowers. The show was a collaboration of people with and without disabilities and I was Fairy Freak Finooza (I made dirt, instead of fairy dust).

For The World of Faeries Festival, I made Catch a Fairy Boxes by hot gluing on the mini things you can find at Uncle Fun in the old card catalogue drawers (rattles, cowboy boots, Coke bottles, all kinds of random things). My friends I sold crafts with later told me that they thought my stuff was weird and that it wouldn’t sell very well, but! Of the 3 of us, I ended up selling the most stuff/fairy merchandise! Thank you Uncle Fun!!!

Some of the best stuff at Uncle Fun, you’d just find, a discovery an employee might not have even known it existed! And some of the best stuff…is unclassifiable…you truly just don’t know WHAT IT IS!

Now, since Uncle Fun is closing its doors (& my brother says he feels more sorry for me than the store!), I feel that I have to do SOMETHING as a tribute. Hence, I am making a documentary. No one has made a documentary about Uncle Fun before and I have never made a documentary about anything; I HAVE TO DO THIS!