“Capitalism is the
legitimate racket of the
ruling class. ”
The first thing I want you to know about Al Capone is that he wrote his own opera music. Search for “Mia Madonna” and you’ll find a piece he wrote for his wife while in Alcatraz. Today the ultimate symbol of a flashy high-roller rebel, in his time he was a real human being who forever shaped how the city of Chicago is seen around the world.
Born in Brooklyn, he is expelled from school at the age of 14 for slapping his teacher. He gets to work, setting pins in bowling alleys and working as a nightclub bouncer. As popular story goes he says some things to a lady, not knowing her to be the sister of a hitman in New York, Frank Gallucio. Al is able to fight off Frank, not before receiving some permanent cuts on his right cheek. This is what gives him the nickname, Scarface. Of course, you would never have said this to his face. Scarface was a loathed nickname of Al’s. He much preferred Snorky, a jazz-term meaning a well-dressed man. Thus begins the two-faced nature of Scarface, one part emboldened criminal and mob boss, the other a cosmopolitan fine arts lover, with his love of Opera, Jazz, and women consuming his time.
Here’s another rare story of how Capone worked the system in Chicago. The corner of Wabash and Randolph in Chicago’s Loop is the site of a minor traffic
violation caused by the real Al Capone. In 1922 Al is driving when he crashes into a parked taxicab. He stumbles out of the car with a fake police badge and a real gun, in the hopes this would cool things over. Instead, he is arrested, although the charges are mysteriously dropped later. Here’s another rare story that shows Al Capone’s true self: When Al Capone becomes the head of the Chicago Outfit he hires Frank Gallucio, the very man who gave him his scars, as a security guard. Proving loyalty to the family was more important than any personal beef. 125 years later and Al Capone still entertains and
fascinates us. A criminal who deserved his punishments, but also a real human being with a real impact on how the city still is seen today.