Thursday, an informal gathering of Chicagoland fans, met weekly on Thursday nights during the 1970s and '80s. The meetings, predominantly social events, attracted a group of mostly younger fen, occasionally also called the Thursday Night Irregulars.
The gatherings grew out of meeting up for road-trips to Midwestern conventions in other cities and eventually took on a life of their own, turning into a weekly party. Thursday began in Chip Bestler and Phil Foglio's dorm room in 1974, and later continued at Foglio and Doug Rice's apartment at 7660 N. Sheridan in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Later, the location of the meetings changed weekly as different fans hosted them, prompting the typical question, "Where's Thursday?"
After most Thursdays, some attendees adjourned to a local pub or late-night restaurant, initially the Public Trough. In the '80s, the designated spot was the West Rogers Park branch of the Belden Deli; by that time, the aprés-Thursdays had come to be called "Ool," and those who planned to attend surreptitiously signaled to one other with a secret sign before leaving, in order to escape without attracting attention from deadbeats known to skip out without paying their share of the check.
Thursday meetings were completely open, so any fan might turn up, but regulars included Foglio, Rice, Steve Johnson, Bestler, Paul Gadzikowski, Phyllis and Alex Eisenstein, Barry and Marcy Lyn-Waitsman, Martha Soukup, Doug and Gretchen Van Dorn, Dick and Leah Smith, Doug Price, Neil Rest, E. Michael Blake, Lisa Golladay, Thalia St. Lewis, Valli Hoski, Midge Reitan, Moshe Yudkowsky, Bill Higgins, Alex Ellingsen, Alice and Angel Insley, Todd Johnson, Mary Lynn Skirvin, Bill Leininger, Bill Roper, Bill Surrett and Ben Zuhl.
A centerpiece of Chicon 6, the 2000 Worldcon, was the Fan Lounge, designed by Dick and Leah Smith to resemble a typical Chifan living room of the Thursday era, complete with ratty furniture, brick-and-board bookcases stuffed with sf, and life-sized soft-sculpture replicas of Phyllis Eisenstein and Neil Rest (created by Gretchen Roper), along with fanzine displays and repro equipment.
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