#390: Sweet Home

October 24th, 2014 § permalink

“Rockford, Ill.—so named because it was founded at the site of a ford across the Rock River—is a pleasant, tree-smothered city 90 miles northwest of Chicago.”
Life Magazine, 1949


“A hardscrabble town in the middle of America, the place is not much more than an intersection of interstates and railway lines…”
Rolling Stone, 2008


I went home on Thursday. » Read the rest of this entry «

#389: Voodoo Governance

October 22nd, 2014 § permalink

It’s a music venue. Bars on upper and lower levels, food for those who want it. Dark wood, concert posters and great acoustics, the latter so you can hear the band

It wasn’t a band that filled Lincoln Hall on Monday, but witches and warlocks, practitioners of a Halloween-time black magic more powerful than hexes and newt-eyes.

The crowd was there to see the practitioners of the dark art of politics. » Read the rest of this entry «

#388: Zero Plus Three

October 20th, 2014 § permalink

In that projected tone where the speaker wants to be overheard, a male voice called me over.

“Let’s see. Maybe he knows.”

He was a young Hispanic man, maybe in his late 20s. Short but muscular, he was wearing a tight shirt that said “Cherries R Da Bomb.” His hair was pulled back in a severe ponytail cinched twice – once at the back of his head, once toward the bottom so the ponytail didn’t flare out.

He was sitting, sharing the step of a doorway with a middle-aged black woman who looked at me with amused, commiserating eyes.

“What’s half of two plus two?” the man asked me. » Read the rest of this entry «

#387: Öl the Young Dudes: The Swedish Beer Scene Hits Chicago

October 17th, 2014 § permalink

Tiny souvenir glasses in hand, the crowd joked, laughed, flirted, mingled and networked over herring and little meatballs.

And beer. » Read the rest of this entry «

#386: The White Monster

October 15th, 2014 § permalink

A page at night is a terrible thing. A vile, grasping, chalk-white monster claiming your sleep, time and sense of confidence. » Read the rest of this entry «

#385: The Cocktail Writer

October 13th, 2014 § permalink

“You can say, well ‘Fried chicken’s fried chicken’ or ‘A steak’s a steak.’ It’s not. You know. Even if you’re not a chef, you know,” she’s saying. “A steak at Gene and Georgetti’s is going to be different than your steak at Golden Nugget diner on Western and Elston.”

She’s walking through a living room, carrying a drink in a frosted glass. A giraffe-topped swizzle stick from the defunct Trans World Airlines rattles a bit as she adjusts the skipping jazz on the record player. She’s talking in a quiet, strong voice about small batch bourbon. » Read the rest of this entry «

#384: The Elevator Demon

October 10th, 2014 § permalink

It’s grotesque. A sneering, snarling, stupid face with an upturned, piggish nose and a tongue waggling out between pointlessly swollen fangs.

People brush past it as they head to see “American Gothic,” “Nighthawks,” “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” Picasso, Manet, Monet, the gift shop, the rest room, the Modern Wing film installation where the clown just screams.

The little sad ogre-faced brick is tucked in a corner by the elevator, passed and ignored by the milling Art Institute of Chicago crowds. » Read the rest of this entry «

#383: The Unsung

October 8th, 2014 § permalink

The chalkboard drawing of pumpkins and sexy witches, the bartendress said, was done by a DJ who doesn’t work there anymore.

“She say she went to a high school for drawing and painting,” the bartendress said in a thick Eastern European accent of some stripe.

The bartendress mimed scribbling in the air as she said “drawing and painting.” » Read the rest of this entry «

#382: The House that Would Not Burn

October 6th, 2014 § permalink

It was a bust. You’ve probably read that by now.

It didn’t ignite. It fizzled. The city and a performance artsy theater place brought tens of thousands of people downtown on a cold October night for a fire festival that forgot the fire. » Read the rest of this entry «

#381: What the Rain Did and Did Not Kill

October 3rd, 2014 § permalink

The rain killed the softball game in Eckhart Park.

Just south of the boarded church where plywood circles protect stained glass, the game gave up. Men, young only to the point where muscle turns chub, called it in under the light staccato.

From a diamond lit like day, they walked to the street, patting backs and praising performance. The rain was so light, they didn’t run. Just walked. » Read the rest of this entry «

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