photo: © David Moenkhaus - all rights reserved 773 612-4166

The Billy Goat Tavern

Following up on the idea of  learning not to pass potential images by when you’re tired or the light’s not right and  to  shoot what you’re attracted to as soon as you can because often the subject won’t be there when you do get around to going back…

This is an image of a door I forced myself to shoot one day out of fear it would go away if I didn’t.  Every time  I passed by the Billy Goat Tavern, I  kept seeing this battered red door with the cool billy goat logo on it.  Something about this old red door and the weathered art on it that made me want to photograph  it . And when I get that urge now,  I know enough to act on it right then, no matter what.

I went by it 3 times thinking that I’d come back when the light was better.  I really wanted to make the image of the door when the sun was raking across it so the peeling paint would really pop.  Around about the 4th time passing this door,  my rule about shooting something when I see it and not waiting,  kicked in and I made this image. The light wasn’t good, but I shot a few frames then forgot about it until I imported the card into Lightroom recently.  Even though the light could have been better,   I’m really glad I made an image of  it because sure enough, when I went back a few weeks later they had replaced the old door with a plain  metal one. Maybe somebody will paint the goat on the door again, but it won’t be the same. It’s a great example of   “shoot it when you have the chance.”

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the image.  The red Billy Goat door is beautiful to me, but  to anyone not familiar with the Billy Goat’s amazing history and tradition it’s  probably a pretty odd, almost abstract image!

This is the second Billy Goat Tavern. The “original”  is still a working restaurant and is quite fun to visit.

The  cheeseburgers are  good, you still can have Coke, but no Pepsi, and you just can’t beat the history and ambiance of the place . The  Billy Goat was the place John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd parodied on SNL in the 70’s – “cheezeborger, cheezerborger,  Coke,  no Pepsi” .

And finally,  if you are a Chicago Cubs fan the Billy Goat Tavern has an extra special meaning for you, of course.

Billy Goat Door 1© David Moenkhaus

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