I took this shot a couple weeks ago. This woman was just standing on the ledge, reading a book. I was intrigued, to say the least.
Peg and Brian were married in Starved Rock yesterday. The reception and dinner were like this congregation of people I've met and befriended over the past twelve years, it seems. It was also the first reception I've been to where folks weren't seated at the dinner in awkward painrings. I think it's because most of us knew each other already, it would not have mattered where we sat. I drew my lot sitting with all the old Unofficial Soup Kitchen folks, from my days when I would read long, meandering poems. We're all getting older; some of us have married; some of us are expecting kids; if we haven't had any already. A couple of folks were conspicuous by their absences. I looked around the room and it seemed like this whole group of people who somehow got together in '94 or '95, almost by accident, managed to stay in touch with each other and stumble into lives of our own along the way, while still maintaining contact and becoming better friends. It was a very proud and natural moment.
The weekend started with a dinner for the Chicagoist staff at Zapatista in the South Loop. Some of the staff expressed amazement that the dinner itself went along so smoothly. But during my Navy days, I was the chairman of the MWR (morale, welfare, and recreation) committees at both the oceanographic unit I was assigned to and the USS Anzio, and when you can plan Christmas parties for hundreds of sailors and their significant others, getting two dozen bloggers together is a piece of cake. Especially when Gothamist is footing the bill.
We had 24 of 27 staffers show up, were assigned two waiters and a food runner for three tables who had us served and cleared out in two hours flat, and everyone seemed to have a genuine good time. Fifteen of those twenty-four followed me to HotHouse, where Benny Matos and the New York Latin Jazz All-stars were laying down some tight boogaloo, Latin soul, and salsa dura. For those who hadn't visited, it was a chance to see what I keep harping about on the staff forums. Rachelle took some nice photos of Matos in action, and I think everyone who went had a good time, before ending the evening at the Pontiac for Live Band Karaoke.
Someone mentioned that its not easy to get that many folks together and not have any clashes of egos, but that's the case with the Chicagoist staff. To call it a labor of love is almost cliche, but in two-and-a-half years a talented group of folks have come together and really made a name for the site. I think the lovely Hixx put it best when she wrote, "joining Chicagoist is like joining a sorority (in the best way). It’s like making a group of automatic friends, and they’re supportive and smart and hilarious and awesome." It is sort of like a fraternity, without all the hazing that steers you towards a life of embracing the neo-conservative doctrine. There's no "thank you sir, may I have another" bullshit going on.
It's yet another good thing I stumbled into.