WHAT IS TRANSISTOR?
It's a shop and gallery, with work and wares from 80+ artists, many based in Chicago. It's a recording space and screening room, with live music, movie nights, and a webcast. Time Out Chicago likens Transistor to 'your coolest friend's apartment ... and just like that apartment, you'll want to hang out here a lot.' We hope you'll visit soon.
Panoramic photo by Craig Atkinson
WHERE IS TRANSISTOR?
We're located at 3441 N. Broadway in Chicago's Lakeview East/Boystown neighborhood, just south of Cornelia, just north of Roscoe and just east of Halsted. There is both metered and free residential street parking nearby. If you're on the bus, the CTA 36 will take you almost right to our door. By train, the CTA Brown Line/Red Line stop at Belmont gets you pretty close. The Addison Red Line stop is also a good option.
WHAT DO WE SELL?
The art currently featured in the shop is comprised of paintings, prints and photography by more than 80 artists, among them printmakers Hiroshi Ariyama and Dan Grzeca, collagist Beth Hoeckel, photographers William Harper, Tim Jarosz, Kent Drake Morien, Ellie Pritts, and Rafael Rivera, and painter Dennis Johnson. We have two walls devoted to rotating two-month exhibits and two walls devoted to works from our 'permanent collection.'
Featured artists from left to right: Ellie Pritts, Kent Drake Morien, Tim Jarosz, Rafael Rivera
The electronics we currently carry include musical instruments, turntables, radios, speakers, and headphones. Transistor is an authorized dealer of Akai Professional (speakers), Audio Engine (speakers), Audio Technica (turntables), Korg (synthesizers), Lexon (radios, speakers), LSTN (wood headphones), Music Hall (turntables, speakers), Numark (turntables), Stellé Audio Couture (Bluetooth speakers), Tivoli Audio (high-end radios, headphones), among others.
Featured electronics brands from left to right: Tivoli Audio, Music Hall, LSTN, Lexon
On the handmade side, the Pocket Piano, Bolsa Bass (left) and Kaleidoloop from Critter & Guitari are mainstays, as are the Nebulophone and Bleep Drum machine from Bleep Labs, handcrafted sound gadgets from brandnewnoise, and Humvolt Drum's analog drum machines and upcycled audio oddities. Transistor also carries handcrafted audio speakers from Andersonville-based Ikyaudio (right), upcycled suitcase stereo systems from Lakeview-based The HiFi Case, and colorful, handcrafted instrument cables covered in yarn from Cordinated. Our 'Record Time' vinyl record clocks are a Transistor exclusive, produced by Andy Miles.
Featured handmade pieces by (left to right): Critter & Guitari, brandnewnoise, Humvolt Drum, IkyAudio
Our music selection consists mostly of indie rock, classic rock and electronica -- new releases and reissues, all on vinyl. Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys, Atlas Sound, Beach House, The Beatles, Beastie Boys, Belle & Sebastian, Black Keys, James Blake, Boards of Canada, Bon Iver, Broken Social Scene, Caribou, The Clash, Daft Punk, Death Cab For Cutie, Deerhunter, Flaming Lips, Fleet Foxes, Fleetwood Mac, Flying Lotus, Fugazi, Future Islands, Gorillaz, Grizzly Bear, PJ Harvey, The Head and the Heart, Gil Scott-Heron, Interpol, Iron & Wine, Joy Division, Kendrick Lamar, LCD Soundsystem, Led Zeppelin, Liars, Low, MGMT, MIA, Mumford & Sons, The National, New Pornographers, Joanna Newsom, Of Montreal, Pavement, Pixies, Radiohead, Real Estate, RJD2, The Rolling Stones, Roxy Music, SBTRKT, The Shins, The Smiths, Sonic Youth, Spoon, St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, The Strokes, T. Rex, Talking Heads, Tame Impala, Tribe Called Quest, Vampire Weekend, Velvet Underground, Kurt Vile, The War on Drugs, Warpaint, Kanye West, White Stripes, Wilco, Amy Winehouse, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Yo La Tengo and XX are among the popular artists in our collection.
Left to right: Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer; Swim; Random Access Memories; Electric Warrior; Turn On The Bright Lights
Our books come from art & culture publishers, several university presses, and more. The titles we carry focus primarily on film, photography, music, media, art, design and culture. Some of our best-selling titles over the years have been 'Amusing Ourselves To Death' by Neil Postman, 'Handmade Electronic Music' by Nicolas Collins, 'Just Kids' by Patti Smith, 'Thinking With Type' by Ellen Lupton (not pictured), 'The Wes Anderson Collection' by Matt Zoller Seitz, 'This Is NPR,' 'How Music Works' by David Byrne (not pictured), 'The Polaroid Book' by Taschen, and 'Art & Fear' by David Bayles and Ted Orland.
Featured work by (left to right): Zerobird Studio, Craighton Berman, Paper Parasol Press, Medium Control, Kevin Lucius
Wearables (T-shirts, jewelry, buttons)
Most of the jewelry we carry is upcycled and re-purposed; all of it is handmade. Tracey Dobson contributes bracelets made of hexagon hardware nuts, under the name Hard Wear; Laurie Freivogel makes fused-glass necklaces under the name Kiku Handmade; Derek Keenan produces earrings and belt buckles from reclaimed skateboards (pictured far left), under the name MuKee Design; Rosamund Lannin offers CTA token necklaces, under the name Wonderwheel; Meg Musick-Makely creates vintage vinyl cuff-style bracelets; Bethany Nixon contributes earrings made from old records, many of them color and clear vinyl (pictured left); and Liz Radzickie offers bracelets from film strips.
Pop culture and Chicago-themed buttons from Arthur's Plaid Pants are among our best-selling goods at Transistor; the same can be said of ElSarah's CTA train stop buttons. We also carry a selection of buttons from Chicago-based Busy Beaver Button Co.
If you're looking for something to display on your wall or hang on a shelf, check out Kevin Lucius' wood block art prints under the name LuciusArt.
Transistor Chicago Takes its Eclectic, Creative Offerings to Lakeview
Soon after opening in our current location at 3441 N. Broadway, Serena Dai wrote this story for DNAinfo.com. It includes a nice five-photo slideshow, some of the first images published of our Broadway space.
Transistor Solves the Cultural Omnivore's Dilemma
In June 2012 Transistor was featured by the Center Square Journal in what we think is the best article written to date about the shop. The article was written by Patty Wetli, who calls Transistor 'a hub for cultural omnivores — both those who consume it and those who produce it.'
Biking Lincoln Avenue: A 24-hour trek reveals the return of a great city street
In June 2012 Transistor was featured in a Time Out Chicago story by Jason A. Heidemann. If you read the article you'll have to scroll down and look carefully to find us.
A Look at Transistor: A Bookstore and Then Some
In April 2012 Gapers Block published the first article written about Transistor in our new location at 3819 N. Lincoln Avenue. Reporter Claire Glass wrote, 'Visually, the store is as appealing as a well curated art gallery crossed with a thoughtfully decorated apartment.'
In July 2011 Transistor was listed by the shopping and style website Racked as one of the 38 Most Essential Shops in Chicago. See the piece.
In April 2011 Chicago weekly newspaper New City included Transistor in its Record Store Day issue. Read the story.
Transistor: An Andersonville Shop for the Art/Book/Music Lover
In April 2011 UpChicago.com, 'the insider's guide to urban life,' featured Transistor in a very nice article by Molly Tranberg. (Some of the information is now out of date, in part due to our move, but it's an article that we are very happy to have discovered!)
Amplifying Neighborhood Artists in Andersonville, Chicago
From J.F. at Trazzler.com: 'Browsing at Transistor is like hanging out in your hippest friend's living room. The owners -- two artists who are as personable as they are enterprising -- have converted their modest storefront into a local mecca for high-end audio gadgets, amateur photography, diverse music selections and community events that range from film showings to software tutorials to live podcasts. It's probably the only shop in the city where you can order an apple juice on a hot summer's day and walk out an hour later with both a hand-crafted lamp and a turntable that converts vinyl to mp3s. It's distinctive, unclassifiable places like this that lend neighborhoods their unique character.'
Bookstore Profiles: Transistor
Transistor owners Rani Woolpert and Andy Miles were interviewed by Web publication GapersBlock.com; Amy Ganser wrote the introduction and asked the questions. The piece appeared January 13, 2011.
In Chicago, Village Life in a Big City
Transistor appeared in the Sunday Travel section of The New York Times on October 17, 2010, with a handful of other Andersonville spots. The online version, a slide show with photos by Sally Ryan, was published two days earlier.
Stay and Play Award
In August 2010 Time Out Chicago gave us their Stay and Play award in the Shopping Awards: Critics' Picks section of their online and print editions of August 19-25, 2010. In both a large photo appeared depicting webcast hosts Jeremy Pautz and Sayward Schoonmaker met in a game of Sunday night pingpong.
Tune in to Transistor
Also that month, on January 27th, the Chicago Tribune profiled the shop in a three-quarter-page spread in its Play section, with lovely photographs by Phil Velasquez. The online version of the story (which is no longer available) called Transistor a 'unique mix of hangout and shop.' Read the story.
Clark Street Retailers See Online Parallels
On January 20, 2010, Northwestern University fashion publication Stitch published a story on its website (and subsequently in print, we've heard) that talked about various Andersonville shops, including ours.
Read the story.
Transistor opens in Andersonville
Soon after we opened, Time Out Chicago ran a short story about Transistor in the Shopping & Style section of their October 22-28, 2009 print and online editions. The piece likened Transistor to 'your coolest friend's apartment.'