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This Very Tiny Guide To Chicago’s Music Scene Celebrates City’s Indie Record Stores And Venues

The hand-drawn mini guide highlights spots like The Hideout, Laurie’s Planet of Sound and The Empty Bottle.

"Our Tiny Guide to Chicago’s Best Music Culture Spots" was illustrated by Maura Walsh
Courtesy Maura Walsh
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CHICAGO — Fans of Chicago’s music scene will love this tiny guide to the city’s independent record stores and venues.

Artist Maura Walsh hand illustrated “Our Tiny Guide to Chicago’s Best Music Culture Spots,” a miniature guide that celebrates some of the city’s best independent record stores and venues including: The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave.; Laurie’s Planet of Sound, 4639 N. Lincoln Ave.; The Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western Ave.; Sleeping Village, 3734 W. Belmont Ave., Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont Ave.; and Exit Chicago, 1315 W. North Ave.

Walsh posted the video of the tiny guide on Wednesday night on Facebook and was surprised by how many times it was viewed — as of Monday, it’s been seen more than 10,000 times.

Walsh has a degree in fine art from Columbia College and participated in the Brooklyn Art Library’s sketchbook project last year. The project allows artists to order blank sketchbooks, choose a theme, fill them up and then send them back to the library to be cataloged and placed on their shelves for visitors to view.

This year, Brooklyn Art decided to do a tiny sketchbook project, which would allow for a full mini library that would fit in a suitcase, making it perfect to travel to exhibitions across the country.

Walsh and her boyfriend, Stephen Freshnock, are avid concert goers and the idea for making the tiny guide came about after they visited San Francisco and realized they didn’t know that city’s music scene as well as they knew Chicago’s. They wished they had a guide written by people familiar with the local scene and realized a tiny guidebook could be useful for music fans visiting Chicago, too.

“These are the places we’d recommend to you,” Walsh said.

The mini guide is about two-inches tall and less than 16-inches long when completely unfolded. It took Walsh a few weeks to complete the illustrations — first sketched with a pencil, then drawn with a tiny ink pen — by hand.

Because of its tiny nature, the guide isn’t comprehensive: “Obviously we couldn’t fit everything we love in there because it’s so small,” Walsh said.

Walsh is currently making more handmade editions of the tiny guide and will post updates about when they’ll be available to purchase on her Instagram.

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