The Lester File

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Weekend in Chitown

Chicago is better than I could have imagined it. Its always been a dream of mine to live in this place. There's been an ever-present draw since I was a girl in love with the magic movies of the 30s and 40s and also as a student. I visited in Feb of 2002 during a particularly cold weekend and knew this was the place for me... despite the bite that comes with every gust off the lake. I never believed I'd actually get a chance to be a part of the comraderie that comes with surviving that cold.
Summertime is especially excellent. Its as though everyone is coming out of hibernation, desperate for sunshine and sangria. There's something inately romantic about the saturday fireworks, city lights at night, and 24 hour thai food. I like the feeling that there's always something to do if you know where to find it. Much like this weekend.

On Friday, I got a text message from the Lovely Rebecca Babcock telling me and some others that there was a party downtown. Tag words: free beer and free food. We wrestled up some people (Graham, Christine, and Julie) also interested in free stuff and hopped a couple trains. It was hot and muggy, but there was a nice breeze. We wandered around Michigan avenue in search of the correct path towards the promise that was food and drink for the chronically broke and stum
bled upon a large gathering tucked away out of sight from any passers-by; however, there was a sign labelled emphatically, "private party" that threatened to bar us from entry. We'll see about that mr. sign!
We strolled past the barricade and the men who looked suspiciouslly like security officers. We then moved toward the loud music and general merrymaking and made for anonymity amidst the crowd. We discovered that most of the activity was centered around large tubs of ice where beer of every kind was floating just at the surface. We knew it was probably free, but what if it wasn't?
I tried to act non-chalant as i gathered a few nearest to me when the "bartender" noticed me and asked, "honey, did you need something." I jumped a little bit and then asked, "do you have heinekan?" She fished one out for me and handed it to me. It WAS free. FREE.
After downing a can of extra courage, we decided to test the same tactic on the food tents. We were pointed toward a tent that was catering pasta, meatballs, and general yumminess. We grabbed plates, got in line, and were served. Awesome.

Needless to say there was much toasting to Old Town School, Rebecc
a, and to life. We ate our fill and then suddenly a young man came up to the center stage, looking a little nervous, but invoking excited applause. Graham, mid chomp, suddenly exclaims with effort through the mouthful, "That's the Youtube guy! He sings chocolate rain! He's a sensation."
Yes, indeed. The kid youtube celebrity was the talent at this private party. He sang a song that he'd written called "chocolate rain" where he proceeded to say "chocolate rain" in a baritone voice after every phrase for about 6 min... I did
n't understand it, but everybody seemed very excited. Graham even went to shake his hand and came back starry eyed.
Julie and I were on a different mission. A mission to dance on stage. We made our way through the ad office at a doorway we realized was the entrance and walked back to where the dj was playing at the loading dock that was doubling as a stage. There we found a screen and a projector casting shadows out to the audience. They were asking "who can dance?" I raised
my hand and said, "I will do the robot to this song." Response: "do your thing, girl." And so I did with Julie at my side. Glorious.
At around midnight we decided to head home, after stashing as much beer into purses and pockets as could be stashed. Julie went home, but Christine, Graham, and I continued the party at Christine's house with a makeshift game of President's and assholes that turned into a fun impromtu jam session. Graham on guitar, Christine on harmonica, and me sort of back up vocals. It should have been recorded.
It was a good day.
It took ALL day Saturday to recover, but we all agree it was worth it.