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“The Artist with Little Tony”



It’s the first thing that comes to mind. 

“This guy is really cool”

You’d probably find him, after all, raging on Rollerblades down Michigan Avenue/through Central Park/across the Embarcadero on any given Saturday. Or Tuesday. With his kids. A late entry into Generation X. 


But here’s where it gets complicated. He doesn’t dress cool. He doesn’t emphasize a style for himself. But he seeks it out in others. He has a strong sense of self. But you’ll probably never know what that self is. 

Then he speaks. Several dozen H. Upmann Maduros and a lifetime of short double expressos. You can almost smell it. Even over the telephone. And the cadence. You don’t understand. It’s not really lingo, but you definitely feel like you’ve wandered far outside your neighborhood. But you are never, at all, in any danger. 

He has lived through a lot. He shares it with you. But you never know he’s doing it. So much good, so much good. It takes the sting away. 

Gloss the music collection. Exotic? Ethnic? Obscure? ZZ Top. Copeland. You’ve seen enough. Now you know. 

“He’s a MUSICIAN!”

Yes. That is correct. 

— Tony Long Writes
March 9, 1994


The Inline Skating Pro at North Avenue Beach, Chicago Lakefront