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Current Mood: mellow
… and 99 Other Chicago Stereotypes, which so far appear to all be true.
I’m writing to you from a hotel near O’Hare in Chicago. The people here really do talk funny like the old SNL sketch, so at least there’s that. I’ve seen a few of those messy bowl haircuts and thick mustaches too. I thought that was supposed to be a joke? It’s like 1983 all over again.
I would paste a picture from O’Hare here if I had time to figure out how to get it from phone to blog. Maybe later. Or maybe one of my bitches will do it for me. You know who you are. *whiplash*
Before I forget, Jared is coming to San Francisco this week, so I’ll get to see him hopefully when I get home. There’s a good chance he’ll make it to This Charming Band‘s Ireland’s 32 show this Saturday which will be both the first time he’s ever seen us play as well as a rare chance for you to meet him if you haven’t yet. Remember also that this is Peter’s last official show with TCB!
The plans to go see Scissor Sisters on Friday didn’t happen (due to an unfortunate ticket mix-up), but it ended up being a fun night anyway. Sus sadly had to cut out early, but Shel and Nick and I pressed on to Pop Roxx at the DNA Lounge. We met up with Ozzolini and Meredith as well as several other club friends. The music was horrific and it was broken up by a performance by a local band called “Triple Cobra.” It was kinda like New York Dolls meets White Stripes only not very good. The only thing I can say about them is that they use the old G.I. Joe “Cobra” insignia as part of their logo. I’m jealous I didn’t think of that first. Although I bet the band’s using it illegally. But then, I suppose that’s the Cobra way. Cobra-la-la-la-la-la!!!
Saturday was the Download Festival, and that one actually did happen. At the Shoreline, Shel and Nick and I ended up going together and we caught all of the important bands. Some of the peripheral festivities included a garage band competition where you sign up on the spot and some instruments are already set up for you to walk up and use. It was even “staged” in a fake garage complete with basketball and hoop. Too bad only Nick and I were there to represent, because I think TCB would have slayed them. As it was though, the illustrious “Chesterfield Trio” was called up and could not find their drummer. Our man Nick volunteered and played three songs with them, totally ad-libbed! Amazing! So I guess technically Nick played the 2006 Download Festival. He also successfully rode a little kid’s bigwheel that we found. I’m sure pictures will surface on MySpace very soon.
Thanks to Sus, we had 5th row seats, center stage! I have a whole new appreciation for seeing big bands up close now that I know a little bit about what it’s like to be on that side of things. It’s always neat to see how the big boys do their thing. The answer is: roadies, and lots of them. We caught the last half of the Shins set, as well as Muse (really good live showmen, but I won’t be buying any of their albums). The Yeah Yeah Yeahs were great too, and Karen O was out there as crazy as ever. She was dressed in a shiny green dragon costume/leotard that looked like it came from an elementary school play. At times, she even had a little dragon hat on, bounding across the stage and spitting water into the air. The core trio was joined by a 4th man (bass/guitar/keys) who sat idle on the floor facing away from the crowd during all the songs from the first YYY album. The unwanted 4th wheel, as it were.
Beck was the headliner, and he put on a memorable show. There was a marionette puppet show in the middle of the stage which included a puppet for each band member (dressed identically and holding identically modeled instruments). They danced and sang along with the real band they shared the stage with. The puppet show even had its own psychedelic lightshow (matching the real band’s) and a little puppet cameraman with a working “puppet cam” providing a real-time puppet’s-eye view onto the Shoreline’s jumbotron screens. Later in the set, Beck played solo acoustic while the rest of his band ate dinner at a table right in the middle of the stage. Eventually, they all broke into a Stomp-like percussive jam with spoons and plates and glasses. What a creative fella that Beck is. Oh, and insane. I’m only sorry that I was so tired I dozed a bit during his set. No reflection on him though. Fucking puppets? Man, I wish I’d thought of that.
I never know what to put as my “mood” on these blogs. They all so sound so extreme. How often am I really “ecstatic” or “infuriated?” I need something a little less committal. Although I do like that you can plug whatever you’re reading or watching(?) or listening to. My only suggestion would be to add “what I’m currently eating” to that list.
I’ve been a little creeped out on how all the books I’ve read recently seem to relate very much to my life, and in some cases, explicitly reference things and places I do or go to. In one such fiction, a hit man buys a dog at a pet store I went to while in Phoenix last month. Another references my exact car. OK, maybe lame coincidences, but it really makes the fiction real for me. Both bizarre and totally neato.
I’m reading Chuck Palahniuk’s latest, and good Lord he is a genius. This is an author that should receive public funding so that he can turn out work undisturbed. This new one, Haunted, is kicking my ass. One passage was actually so upsetting that I had to stop reading on the plane because I thought I was going to throw up. That’s some quality writing.
In one (non-stomach-turning) passage, an extremely wealthy character is describing how being a billionaire socialite has bored her and how “poor is the new rich.” The extensive travelling she’s done has effectively shrunken the world for her:
“Taking the Lear jet from here to Rome in six hours, it’s made escaping too easy. The world feels so small and played out. Globe-trotting is just the chance to feel bored more places, faster. A boring breakfast in Bali. A predictable lunch in Paris. A tedious dinner in New York, and falling asleep, drunk, during just another blow job in L.A.”
OK, so that isn’t my life exactly, but it definitely sums up my feelings about too much travel in general. In the past few years of consulting, I’ve flown all over the U.S. and been to places I would have never gone otherwise. And for all the fun I’ve had, you know what I’m left with? The feeling that world is a lot smaller than I thought. Phoenix is Denver is Atlanta is… Chicago. An over-simplification, I know, but honestly. It becomes “no big deal.” And I don’t like that.
I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve always been comforted by the idea that there’s a whole big world out there that I will never understand. I don’t ever want to be so used to cities all over the world that they become indistiguishable from each other. I don’t ever want to feel like it’s all old hat. I don’t want to discover all of the world’s secrets. It’s much more valuable to me to always know that there is a great unknown out there yet to be discovered. Sometimes I’d rather let myself imagine how amazing and wonderful some far-off place might be, rather than stay there for two weeks and see that it’s the same old place but with different street names.
Chicago is the new San Diego.