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The singing caballero in a vintage Cadillac

Updated: Jan 2, 2022

Gimi Ramos was one of the first humans that I remember in the Chicago Swing Dance scene in the mid 1990s. We were all young, pulsing with excitement over this ‘new to us’ form of entertainment that harkened back to the old movies that we had all been watching on late night TV in our youth, full of elegance, dripping with class, athletic and joy filled. Nothing has changed about that whole scene, since you’re asking.

Gimi is a Chicago dance institution. Always with a smile, he moves like Fred Astaire, and makes you feel like Rita Hayworth. Always. Whenever his name comes up in conversation, for decades, the response from local dancers is always “I love dancing with Gimi, he makes me feel great on the floor”. Always.

He’s a gentleman. Period. Taking the dance analogy into life, as I am want to do, he leads with gentle grace, listens intently, allows for his partner to show their shine, doesn’t interrupt, and fills in exactly when he should and how he should. If he is ‘talking’ to someone with less information on the ‘subject’ he never makes them feel like they don’t know what they are talking about. When he is ‘speaking’ with someone with more information, he honors their ‘knowledge’ and adds to it, supports it. The dance always ends with a high five and a little bit of sweat shared between the 2 partners, and he’s always the first to bring a few extra shirts to keep his people comfortable in close proximity. As it is in dance, so it is in life.

All of the above applies to my work with him to date. He has been an incredibly valuable source of information, willing to share his knowledge in an honest and forthright manner, and always willing to make the connections and to accept the ideas of others. Gimi and I have become quite a dynamic duo when it comes to innovating, figuring things out, and mostly getting it right.

BONUS- He was excited about the project. With the ADU pilot program becoming a thing, he shared my excitement about it. He took pride in telling me about the other projects he was working on, some of his unique designs, and immediately told me about the ballroom on the south side that he was working on. We both obviously have an inherent interest in just that sort of thing. He reiterated that he had been doing this for over a decade, and was self taught in his design skills after having established himself in the world of construction and permitting in the City of Chicago. He also, with much pride, told me that he has never had to advertise and has had a steady flow of work during his tenure. That’s what good work and great attitude will do for a guy. That wasn’t news to me, but it sure was nice to hear.

He invited me to start sending over the details that I had been sketching while sitting at my kitchen table into the wee hours of the morning, and I shared the bits of info I had been able to find on-line. Basically, this started a process that was ripe with discovery for both of us, me more than him, admittedly.

Shortly after starting our discussions he mentioned a woman that he met and quickly grew to admire by the name o Eni - She was a woman who started her career as a General Contractor working on her own property, and quickly, through skill, knowledge and that certain je ne sais quoi that women in the trades have, has become an incredibly sought out commodity in Chicago building. Well, sign me up! I simply had to meet her.

And so he made that happen, like only Gimi could.

#chicagocoachhouse #coachhouse #ChicagoADU #chicagodesigner #firsttimer #lindyhop #swingdancer

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