Lisa Keys stands on the corner of 35th and Clarke waiting for a ride on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Keys’ cropped haircut, long, dangling earring and furry black vest adorn her short frame. “I had a daughter, she got killed in Chicago. And, I was goin’ through the things I was goin’ through. And, my kids’ dad brought them here,” she says.
Laura Marshall sits in the dining room of her pristine north side ranch-style home. Hardwood floors and chandeliers grace the house’s welcoming interior; but, less than three years ago, no one could have imagined what it would become. The space, which Marshall and her husband Greg nicknamed ‘Mold Palace,’ was in disrepair — there was no heat, no plumbing, plants protruded from the gutters and it needed a new roof. “We basically bought a brick shell,” says Marshall. “The house was so bad — the only place it could go was up.”
Ronald Franks dances, unafraid of prying eyes, on the corner of 35th and Clarke, twirling what he refers to as his “adrenaline stick,” a flexible, four-foot-long cane with a tassel on top. Franks, who sports a double-breasted leather coat and leather fedora, is no amateur when it comes to strutting his stuff. “I’m a dancin’ fool,” says Franks. “Dancin’ is what does it for me.”