According to the all the Facebook updates I’m seeing from people about their little brats going back to school and how they’ll miss the annoying little buggers, I figured it’s time for my annual How I Spent My Summer Vacation essay. Never you mind that I haven’t done one before. I’m just hopelessly behind on posting and need to start taking some of these post-tit notes off my desk before Big Bird attempts to mate with it.
March 29 – Bob Mould at Old Town School of Folk Music
Husker Du rocked my Walkman in the 80’s so I was intrigued by the opportunity to check out their frontman at a small joint like OTS. However, this was risky as it was an acoustic show, and I wasn’t as familiar with his more recent solo work. I sampled some new stuff and it sounded promising, so I picked up a couple tix. Unfortunately, the show was like watching SNL. Sure there are some nuggets and it’s entertaining, but will never capture the same burn your tongue on a hot slice of pizza feeling of the original. I know it’s unfair to compare his solo career to what I remember from 20 years ago, but I’m pretty much a dick and he should have expected me to do that. Sorry. And another thing – I like a little banter between songs, especially at a more intimate venue. You know, besides hawking your new CD.
April 5 – Alvin Ailey at Auditorium Theater
Yep, while I was at the ballet pretending that I didn’t like pretentious dance events, I came right home and purchased tickets to another pretentious dance event I saw being promoted at the theater. Alvin Ailey isn’t really that pretentious, but it is still a dance show. And a pretty damn good one. I’ve seen this company twice now and I’ll go again. You can’t stop me. So you may as well just come with next time. And being the minority in the audience made me feel hip in a culturally diverse kind of way.
Mid-April included a trip to Orlando. It was hot, I had to wear a suit, there were large people with fat kids in tow on a quest to see a moose or a mouse or whatever the hell is down there, I don’t drink and I was at a conference where the primary activity is drinking. Those were dark days, my friend.
April 29 – Chorus Line at Oriental Theater
Okay, now I even think I need to schedule a night out at an Extreme Cagefighting event to prove that I do more than watch people in tights and attend musicals. Actually, those cagefighter guys wear spandex tights, too. Maybe I have some subconscious fetish. Or, as I tell myself, I bought the tickets as birthday presents for my mom and my wife, both of whom love this production. They talked it up so much that I was sure I would end up quitting my job to become a professional dancer just to garner their approval and live the dream. Didn’t happen. I don’t get it. I wanted it to be over more than my dental appointments.
May 17 – 11th Anniversary
On this day both me and the Mrs. realized that we were both just waiting for the other one to leave. But we’re both too stubborn to be the first to walk out of this loveless marriage, so we appear to be stuck with each other for at least another year.
[Actual quote from this last weekend: “Go eat your lunch before I stab you with this knife.”]
To further torture ourselves, we took a 2,500 mile round-trip road trip at the end of the month to celebrate our tolerance of each other. We rode the famous mountain bike trails of Crested Butte and she didn’t push me off the mountain. And I didn’t sneak any bear urine into her hydration pack. Maybe it’s love, after all.
June 19 – Lovehammers at House of Blues
I finally relented and picked up a ticket. And then woke up the day of the show with a bug that I would happily wish upon my worst enemy. However, I wasn’t totally heartbroken as the opening bands had the potential to be so incredibly annoying that I might have felt worse by going and listening to them. I’ll take my chances with a fever and body aches.
June 26 – Taste of Chicago
I went on opening night so I could be sure to get my sauteed goat. It doesn’t taste anything like chicken. It’s better. And it really gets my goat when people don’t believe me.
June was busy as I also had a trip to Vegas and two trips to Cedar Rapids. I kind of prefer Cedar Rapids. The hookers are less expensive, too.
I already told you about the Folk & Roots Festival. It’s a good thing I have a blog and not a podcast because somebody at work thought I spent the day at the Vulcan Roots Festival. Maybe because I wear my Spock ears to work every casual Friday.
July 26 – Chicago Criterium
Yes, I spent an entire day watching cyclists ride their bikes in circles around downtown Chicago. It’s the NASCAR equivalent for folks who spend more money on their bicycles than they do on Budweiser and who don’t outweigh their refrigerators.
I also already told you about the Dead Weather show, but it was so good I’m going to tell you again. I’m also on the verge of developing a mancrush on Jack White. Especially after seeing the movie It Might Get Loud. Since I mentioned it, how about a quick movie review…
Here’s the deal – the filmmaker gets Jimmy Page, Edge and Jack White together in the same room with a bunch of gear to talk about guitars and play a bit. Sounds awesome, right? Okay, so I guess it was, but it could have been so much better. It would be like having Pee-Wee Herman over to your house and him just wanting to sit on your couch and masturbate. Sort of. That analogy sucks. Gene Siskel could do a better review and he’s dead. Just go see it.
August 2 – The Rhythm Project – Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park
One of many free shows at the beautiful Pritzker Pavilion right downtown. The only problem… free. I am totally and completely against anything and everything free. Devalue anything like that and people treat it that way. While simultaneously going apeshit to get it. Charge a friggin’ dollar if you need to, just to weed out people showing up because it’s free. Regardless, I mostly enjoyed the show despite people hoarding and saving seats, the preponderance of children being forcefully exposed to culture they clearly didn’t give a crap about, and Type II diabetics stuffing their faces with fried chicken dinners because they can’t go without food for 90 friggin’ minutes.
August 15 – Air & Water Show – Lakefront
Show central is at North Avenue Beach. Screw that. For the second year in a row we set up shop about 1-1/2 north at Diversey Harbor. Rode our bikes down at 10:30 a.m. and stayed to the end at 4 pm. All the air show stuff was pretty impressive, but the F-15 stole the show. When it roared by, little kids cried, women fainted and men cheered. I also wondered when we’re bombing the crap out of these poor third world villages, if just for a moment, before the missiles are launched, they think that those jets are pretty damn cool, too. I doubt it.
August 18 – The Pretenders/Cat Power/Juliette Lewis – The Vic
This deserves its own post. How much more awesome could a single show be? The answer is none. None more awesome.
I also saw Moist Rub at the Pretenders show so I can confirm that he’s not dead or anything.
August 22 – Ruthie Foster – Old Town School of Folk Music
Gospel-tinged blues is how I would describe it. Better than a roadhouse. Better than a church. Get yourself some Ruthie – she’s good for your soul. And her stories and stage presence make you wish she was your neighbor so you could order a pizza and invite her over to hang out for a couple hours on the weekend. Whatever toppings she wants.
So that takes us through the end of August. Thanks for your patience. Hope your summer was swell. I mean that.