July 27th, 2004

I'm finalizing my stay here in Chicago. I went to an open mic tonight, but even though I didn't get to play, it was still cool. It was at the Elbo Room, which was a very hip establishment. There was a $3 cover, which was odd for an open mic, but then I came to learn that the openness of the mic only lasted for an hour, or 6 minutes each for ten performers, then a different showcase band every week. There was a really good crowd, and some talented performers. Right after I came in, Jason Joven started his set. We exchanged demos, but he's moving out to Los Angeles in August... I think he'll do well there. Then I also got a cd from Bones McAvery who, for his first song, did a freestyle sort of jam upon request, like he asked the audience to pick a topic and a style, and he'd write the song on the spot, which was pretty cool. Oddly enough, I didn't see any females perform, just a lot of guys wanting to be rock stars, and thinking that they'd get discovered or find bandmates at the open mic. I also hit up an open mic last night, but that's almost not worth mentioning. It was at the Gallery Cabaret, where there was no cover but there was a one drink minimum... and tap water costs a buck. This time Schmeel came with me, so at least I had somebody to laugh with. Beforehand, I read the description of the place and vibe online, and it sounded awesome, it's a bar/ restaurant/ art gallery, and they have a lot of jazz that comes in to play. We get there, and there are four other people in the bar, all guys over 50, and in different stages of grizzlement. The one old guy kept falling asleep between drinks, who I'd come to learn used to own the top three night clubs in Chicago, another, the host of the open mic, was still a hippy, but his stories weren't that interesting. Anyway, it was bad. Although, it did start picking up towards closing time, like they said it would, but not enough to make us want to stay. So, business-wise, I've failed, but there is a possibility that I might stay until tomorrow because I was told about a decent open mic later at the Bird's Nest. I feel like I should make at least one connection in Chicago before parting who would be involved in the music scene.

What else have I done this week? Well, I visited Millenium Park (I've got pictures here), the Art Institue of Chicago, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, all really swell. I Went to PH Productions performance of Doll Prov, which featured Tristan (Josh's girlfriend) and Molly (Kevin's girlfriend) with a special guest appearance by Kevin Sciretta. It was an improv show based around two eight year old girls in their playroom. The audience gives them the initial topic upon which to start their playful fantasy, and then they play with their toys, funny stuff. Opening for them were Jukebox Heroes, another improv duo that was also really good. That night was also Molly's birthday, so the Schmeel, Josh, and Lindsey got a cake from their bakery (or ex-bakery in Lindsey's case), a flourless chocolate cake to share with everybody. That stuff is dangerous. Schmeel brought some home the other day since he gets to take home whatever leftovers he wishes of the day old goods. It even gives me, a guy who would eat an entire bag of chocolate chips for dinner, a headache if I eat too much of it, which I seem to do every time I get a hold of it. It's the kind of sinful headache that is merely a reminder of the decadent pleasure in which you just experienced... sort of like a hangover. That's at Bulldog Bakery in Chicago, if you were wondering. The Schmeel and I also went to some gallery openings on Friday. That was sort of a bust, although we did meet this guy Matt from the Lobby Gallery who was cool, and who's got a really interesting space and mission. We also attended a Ho-down in someone's backyard. There was barbeque cookin and rockabilly bands, and they also rented some farm animals and brought in some hay bails to round out the atmosphere, that was neat. We've also been doing some down home vegan cooking. I digressed a couple times, had me an All-American sandwich, which I think was roast beef and turkey, and some chicken noodle soup, and a tiny piece of chicken at the ho-down, but that's it for meat, although some of the baked goods would only be considered vegetarian and not vegan. With that said, I miss cow. I doubt I'll ever give up my carnivorous ways. Myself, the Schmeel, and Josh also did a night of Exquisite Corpse in three parts, and we also played Sequence on a different night with Lindsey. None of this is in chronological order, only the order in which I'm remembering things. So we also wathced the Simpsons and the DNC on C-Span and MSNBC, had a drawing session, I played lots of guitar, and I finished reading 1984 by George Orwell. You need to read that book, it's fantastic. Walter Chronkite said that 1984 failed as a prophecy because it succeeded as a warning, but I fear that people may have over-cried "wolf" or in this case "big brother" that the warnings don't hold water anymore, or it's just that not enough people have read this masterpiece. I don't know why it's taken me this long to have read it. Uh oh, sleep time.