David Mamet’s Chicago roots

February 23, 2013

Recently I saw a tweet that referrenced “Zosia Mamet’s dad” – as in “Zosia Mamet’s dad David is rebooting ‘Have Gun – Will Travel.’ “

No. Just, no. I like her depiction of Shoshanna as much as the next Girls fan, and very much enjoyed the younger Mamet’s semi-recurring role as Peggy’s lesbian friend on Mad Men, but until Zosia writes Glengarry Glen Ross or The Postman Never Rings Twice she’s still David Mamet’s daughter to me.

Anyway, add this to the list of things younger members of the Twitterverse might not know about David Mamet: The Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright grew up in Chicago.

Mamet started his life in Hyde Park at 53rd and Dorchester and later moved to South Shore. As a teenager he went to high school at Francis Parker in Lincoln Park, and used the city as his own personal playground:  

In those days, being a young kid in the ‘50s, nobody knew where you went. Your parents didn’t know; they didn’t care. You just took the “L” and went to Comisky Park, you took the “L” and went to Wrigley Field. You just went everywhere, and you would explore the city.

I remember as a young kid I would crawl over the girders at the top of the Prudential Building, which wasn’t yet complete. We used to crawl up the Museum of Science and Industry, up among the caryatids. We’d crawl up to that level 40 feet off the ground and spend the whole day walking around, clinging to the outside.

Mamet even has his own memories of Chicago’s old Riverview amusement park, which he said “always just wreaked of danger and sex,” and which Curious City took a look at earlier this week.

In 2006, Mamet sat down with another Chicagoan reliably full of delicious memories – WBEZ’s own Afternoon Shift host Rick Kogan – to reminisce about the direct and lingering effect the city had on his life and work. You can hear a snapshot of Mamet shooting the sh*t with his old friend Rick in the audio above.

Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Rick Kogan and David Mamet spoke at an event presented by Chicago Public Library in October of 2006. Click here to hear the event in its entirety.

Follow Robin Amer on Twitter @rsamer.