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Angela Eve and her husband Tasso Ketsios sit with their Christmas display in an alley behind their Logan Square home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Burlesque dancer brings holiday cheer to Logan Square alley

SHARE Burlesque dancer brings holiday cheer to Logan Square alley
SHARE Burlesque dancer brings holiday cheer to Logan Square alley

Motorists slow down as they pass, partly to make sure they’re not hallucinating.

There it is: a living room Christmas scene in a Logan Square alley.

An oasis of mirth nestled between trash and recycling bins.

RELATED: Check out our 2018 Holiday Show Guide

Angela Eve, an artist, burlesque dancer and bartender, created the space after fighting the Christmas spirit for years.

“Here’s the thing. I hate Christmas,” Eve said Monday.

“It represents everything you don’t have: family, gifts, f—– up things in your life,” she said.

Angela Eve set up her Christmas display in an alley behind her Logan Square home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Angela Eve set up her Christmas display in an alley behind her Logan Square home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

‘A return to the original concept of Christmas’

But her husband, Tasso Ketsios, loves Christmas. And she loves him, so, after years of pooh-poohing, she got on board.

“Neighbors, homeless people in the neighborhood, smokers, pot smokers, people who … need a place to sit, anyone who happens down the alley can stop by and enjoy the space,” Eve said.

Angela Eve’s Christmas display sticks out among trash cans in an alley behind her Logan Square home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Angela Eve’s Christmas display sticks out among trash cans in an alley behind her Logan Square home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Why the alley?

“It’s kind of a return to the original concept of Christmas,” she said.

Besides, they don’t have a yard.

“And it’s nice to think that for a split moment, I can offer some escapism from day-to-day life,” said Eve, who is performing “Guys, Dolls & Dancing” on New Year’s Eve at Bourbon on Division, 2050 W. Division St.

The display is in an alley behind the 1600 block of North Kedzie Boulevard.

‘Everyone is amazed at how nice it is’

Jim McCall shows off his holiday display in Rogers Park on Dec. 24, 2018. | Chicago Sun-Times/Mitch Dudek

Jim McCall shows off his holiday display in Rogers Park on Dec. 24, 2018. | Chicago Sun-Times/Mitch Dudek

About eight miles north, in the 2000 block of West Lunt Avenue in Rogers Park, stands another rare vision that appeared in the head of Jim McCall some 13 years ago and has been evolving on his front lawn ever since.

A Nativity scene of mannequins — dozens of them — all wearing clothes created by McCall, 74, an artist and retired clothes designer who once ran his own shop in the city.

“I created this to remind people that life is great. To remind people that they have time for themselves. They’re the best thing going,” McCall said Monday.

“There’s so much death and so many shootings and killings, and it’s just not necessary,” he said.

Neither clothes or mannequins ever get stolen, said McCall, who rents an apartment in a white stucco home on Lunt, just west of Ridge Boulevard.

“And I never get a negative reaction. Everyone is amazed at how nice it is,” he said as two women in a Toyota Camry stopped in front of his house to take a picture.

Jim McCall’s Christmas display made of old dressed-up mannequins covers the yard in front of his West Rogers Park home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

Jim McCall’s Christmas display made of old dressed-up mannequins covers the yard in front of his West Rogers Park home. | Nader Issa/Sun-Times

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