The BLVD | Chicago Reader

The BLVD

Deborah Stratman's video documents the gritty world of urban drag racing on Chicago's west side. The dragsters work on their engines and give elaborate descriptions of their encounters with the police; these guys obviously love what they do, and judging from their actions and speech, they seem to have submerged their identities in their cars and races. Stratman's somewhat fragmented style communicates their lack of autonomy outside their world, and her garish colors capture the inner-city nighttime in which the races occur. But her editing never really conveys the sense of speed the racers crave—the famous chicken run in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause does a much better job of that.

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