Out of Chicago

I’m sitting in my parents’ living room, eating potato chips, doing wrist curls with a 6 lb. weight, reading ‘Death by Black Hole’ by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and watching ‘Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House’ on their giant television. All at the same time. People say I don’t know how to multi-task.

I spent my last month in Chicago making a desperate attempt to experience everything I possibly could, but there is so much left undone. There are still many parts of the city I am unfamiliar with. Landmarks I never saw. Food I never tasted. And I miss the place. Damn it, I miss that city and that horrid little studio with the bad plumbing and the walls like onion skins.

Last night there, I walked through Wicker Park Fest at 9:45pm and got to see a massive alley brawl. Barbaric, yes, but it’s much more amusing than watching hogs fight over bits of corn.

It was kind of like West Side Story, only less nauseating.

And I love the noise and chaos. The fest was still very crowded at that point, it being a Saturday night, but I could easily see the stage when I stopped to watch the performances. One band looked and sounded like they were channeling Robert Smith and Siouxie Sioux. They were loud enough that when the L passed overhead, behind the stage, I had no problem hearing the instruments over its roar. Another group, electronica, had a great stage and some freaky pyrotechnics. They had rigged a flaming trash barrel that shot fire several feat in the air, and the stage looked like someone had torn a corner out of a dilapidated tenement and set it in the middle of the street, fully intact, with rough edges of broken siding sticking out.

In a place like that, I can scream and no one is disturbed. I can jump about, flailing my limbs and cursing, and that’s all okay. I can’t even hear myself. That’s what I like about loud live shows, with the speakers booming right next to my head. I can go mad, have a nervous breakdown, and no one notices or cares. It’s screaming quietly because no one can hear you.

Then I went to Brain Frame to watch experimental performative sequential art. It was awesome, as Brain Frame events always are. I came away inspired ­– rejuvenated. It was my trip to the spa.

Minneapolis/St. Paul, do you have another place like this for me? I will be in you soon (heh). Will I be disappointed? How will I find the Twin Cities analog for the Mutiny? Gannon’s? The VFW Post 7975? Friggin’ TGFKA Happy Dog?!

Withdrawal. So much withdrawal. I picked the wrong time to quit smoking.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. mnhanson says:

    It’s once every two months, so you’ve got a while until the next one. Did you click on the link to their tumblr? It’s pretty active. I know you don’t do Facebook, but Kate could like it, thus receive updates. You should definitely go. The pieces are always very interesting, and you’ll go home all stimulated and giddy, then stay up until 6am working. I’m getting pumped just thinking about it. Woohoo! Brain Frame!

    1. Jeff Couturier says:

      Yeah, I saw the Tumblr and found the next date. I’ll go for sure.

  2. Jeff Couturier says:

    I’ve been wanting to go to Brain Frame for a while now but never seem to know when it’s happening until after the fact.
    If it makes you feel any better, I’ve been in Chicago for almost 7 years and still feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface.

    You’ll just have to come back to visit, often.