The block where Willis Earl Beal’s grandmother has lived for over 50 years in Chicago’s South Side is 2-for-1 barbershops and churches to inhabited houses. Willis lives in a claustrophobic room off the kitchen big enough for a bed, a mini-fridge, an over-stuffed file cabinet, and semi-permanent stacks of Bukowski novels, cd’s, newspaper clippings, clothes, and a boombox. On a March afternoon when the sun wrestled in vain against winter’s chilly grip, Willis sang, sat, spoke, and filled curious stranger’s days with “holy shit” stories of a guy who’ll sing you a song if you give him a call.
here’s the drawing that you see Willis working on in the piece
Special Thanks to Doug and Jamie-James