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Back to School: Our Favorite Things

Textile Discount Outlet

A bewildered-looking high school kid approached me and my roommate in the trims and lace section of Pilsen’s Textile Discount Outlet, where he’d been dispatched by his prom date to buy material for her dress. “Do you know where they keep all that kind of fabrics?” he asked.

We didn’t know how to begin to respond—Textile Discount Outlet is a mazelike warehouse with all manner of materials stacked ceiling high, no rhyme or reason to its organization. It’s a favorite among local designers, who I’m sure navigate the place better than I do; once I got overstimulated and had to rest my head on a pile of sequined mermaid patches till it was time to leave. And I can barely even look at the basement, a free-for-all of old brocades hidden under cotton Garfield prints and hot purple suede.

Prices are cheap, but you won’t know what they are till you hit the cutting table, where the employees conjure up a figure on the spot. When they can’t, they summon owner Sol Lieberman, who shuffles over, eyes your purchase over rimless glasses, and mumbles a number. The store’s been in his Orthodox Jewish family for 30 years—don’t go on Saturday, it’s closed for the Sabbath.

That day last spring I did find a pretty cornflower blue silk that would’ve made a lovely prom dress, but then I couldn’t find that kid. I hope he made it out OK. 2121 W. 21st, 773-847-0572. —Tasneem Paghdiwala

We also want to hear your stories about your favorite people, places, and things in the city--go here to share them with the rest of the class.


A & T Grill
Elizabeth M. Tamny

All Rise Gallery
Liz Armstrong

The Ando Gallery at the Art Institute
Tamara Faulkner

Bartender Ballet at the Violet Hour
Mike Sula


The Basement of After-Words
Monica Kendrick

The Blue Crab Lounge at Shaw’s
Michael Lenehan

The Butcher Shop
Noah Berlatsky

Deborah Butterfield’s “Ben”
Ryan Hubbard


The Diary of Virginia May Garcia
Noah Berlatsky

The Fern Room at the Garfield Park Conservatory
Martha Bayne

Fine Wine Brokers
Kathie Bergquist

The Grid
Bill Savage


Hideout Dance Parties
Martha Bayne

Jazz Record Mart and Dusty Groove
Peter Margasak

Jollyball at the Museum of Science and Industry
Noah Berlatsky

Ken Dunn
Mick Dumke


The Lobby Bar at Second City
Albert Williams

Lost & Found
Kathie Bergquist

Manhattans at the Matchbox
David Hammond

Matinees at the Music Box
Adam Langer


Marina City
Lynn Becker

The Mausoleum at Rosehill Cemetery
Kerry Reid

Monday Night at Sidetrack
Zac Thompson

Monday Night Farm Dinner at Lula Cafe
Peter Margasak


Moo & Oink
Mike Sula

Music Box Massacre
J.R. Jones

The Murals at the 18th Street El Stop
Brenna Ehrlich

The Newberry Library
Harold Henderson


The North Branch Trail
Jennifer Sodini

Open Mike at Gallery Cabaret
Julia Rickert

Outdanced!
Liz Armstrong

RUI: Reading Under the Influence
Kathie Bergquist


Silent Summer Film Festival
J.R. Jones

Sunday Transmission at the Hungry Brain
Peter Margasak

The Sweet Spot at the Empty Bottle
Miles Raymer

Textile Discount Outlet
Tasneem Paghdiwala


The Thorne Miniature Rooms at the Art Institute
Albert Williams

Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater
Albert Williams

Wil Hasbrouck
Harold Henderson

The Window Seat at Letizia’s
Emerson Dameron


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