Monday, September 27, 2004

Radnom Thought on The Weekend: Is Chicago a "Coast City?"

And if so, which coast?

- I biked to Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown Friday Night to see Redmoon Theater's latest production "Sink, Sank, Sunk" and was absolutely blown away. I don't think any words I can write would adequately describe what I saw, so I'll let this review from Hedy Weiss in today's Sun-Times do the talking instead. Ignoring her comparing of the park's pagoda as a stand-in for the Summer Palace of Beijing (such hyperbole) she nails everything that was beyond sweet about the play, especially the flaming curtain of stars at the end that was hanging off the 18th Street Bridge.

- The Hideout Block Party was a blast on Saturday. I think half of my Friendster list was in attendance. Actually that isn't such a surprise; half of that half was playing on stage that day. It was my first chance to see Manishevitz and Baby Teeth in action, and they didn't disappoint. My unrequited lover Kelly Hogan and the Wooden Leg had a small warm-up for their two night recording stand at the Hideout later this week. Lots of beer was consumed, but it was Goose Island "312 Urban Wheat ale" and done so in moderation.

- I had a doppelganger working the Goose Island table Saturday. If I wore a mustache and carried thirty more pounds we could have been twins. I had my doubts when told of the doppelganger until someone from Goose Island walked up to me asking for a keg of Honker's Ale for backstage, then looked at me and realized she wanted the doppelganger. Fucking surreal.

- Later in the evening, while crowdwatching, a friend of mine and I spotted a girl wearing a threadbare t-shirt, no bra, and her nipple piercings were evident from under the t-shirt. This is the conversation that followed:

Him: "Man, there's just no modesty these days among the hipsters."

Me: "You know. I wonder if we could hang refrigerator magnets on her nipples."

Him: "You think so?"

Me: "Why not? Those piercings are probably made of surgical steel. A magnet should stick to them."

Him: "We could just toss small round magnets at her breasts from here and see if they stick. Like Batman tosses a tracer at a getaway car."

Me: "Or get a small horseshoe magnet and draw her boobies forward from her body."

Him: "That's sick."

Me: "We could get some iron shavings and use her chest as a Woolly Willy."

And that's when I had to talk myself from walking to Home Depot to buy some magnets.

- Anyone who's been to the Hideout has seen Joe Foster. You may not know the name, but you recognize the face. A big older gentleman in his mid-fifties, Joe has been a bouncer for decades. Joe was the one who taught a young Mr. T how to handle himself as a doorman when Mr. T was just a loud, crazy black man with a mohawk. Anyhoo, Joe is also evidence that it's who you know that matters. I walked up to him Saturday just to say hello and within seconds had access to both the VIP garden and backstage. That must've gotten Joe started because within an hour I saw way more yellow "VIP" wristbands than had been originally intended floating around and Joe was relieved of his doorman duties. It was pretty sweet.

- Hipsters never age, even as we do. They also seem to never bathe, are notoriously cheap, and wear thrift store clothing off the rack. Someone recently suggested to me that HotHouse should market itself to "the hipster audience." I disagreed, saying that we need to attract the poseurs instead. They're more than willing to shell out some cash to be seen at all the homogenized "in" spots around town.

Those are the types of people who are going to spend four dollars on a Miller Lite.

- I'd like to get a couple of people together and create a column that dissects the writing of the Sun-Times' Jay Mariotti for the lazy, hastily composed drivel that it truly is. I'd like to do in the same manner that Neil Steinberg used to poke fun at Bob Greene all those years ago in the Reader. For over a year "Bob Watch" was required reading.

- Also required reading in the pages of the Reader these days: Liz Armstrong's "Chicago Antisocial" column. It's one of the new tweaks of their new redesign and is quickly becoming a guilty pleasure. She turns her poison pen on both hipsters and poseurs with equal venom, and the results are amazing. It's similar in tone to Tricia Romano's "Fly Life" column in the Village Voice. Armstrong's skewering of the Vacant fashion line in last week's column was particulary memorable.

- Overall, I enjoy the Reader's redesign. They've added minor tweaks while preserving the familiar layout of the paper. It wasn't a drastic redesign like Newcity's a few years back, which seemed to throw out all the rules of newpaper layout and many of the rules of good writing. One of the masterstrokes is placing Michael Miner's "Hot Type" column and "The Straight Dope" on the same two page layout. Now I no longer pass up Cecil adams to get to my journalism gossip.

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