Tuesday, July 31, 2018

'Preacher' v. Anne Rice.

Yet another in a series of brief posts because I think I'm suffering from general writing fatigue yet still have Lollapalooza staring me in the face for most of the remainder of the week. Still trying to figure out my mode of coverage, but I think I'm going back to my old school timestamp stylee because, after a few years of being told I couldn't, I now can again. Yippee!

Anyway, this week's Preacher features a secondary story that absolutely lampoons the Anne Rice style of vampire lore, and it's a gut-buster. I grew up on Anne Rice (I worked in a bookstore when the Interview With A Vampire / Lestat craze was first peaking and admit I completely fell for the series for a while) but holy hell is this some funny stuff.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Another (mostly) non-digital Monday.

Today I spent most of my time not texting people and watching fair to middling Netflix fare. I admit at this point the experiment is starting to fill me with a slight sense of dread because I avoided most of my email over the weekend already and I am not looking forward to plugging back in and catching up tomorrow.

So the question is: Is unplugging worth it if it's only going to make you feel a little anxious about plugging in again?

Now I have to escape the house for another showing! Bye!

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Phonographs.

I did a short piece on an excellent Chicago power-pop band called The Phonographs today. Check it out!

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Frunching it up.

If you're looking for something to do tonight, I'm venturing to the South Side to see the July edition of The Frunchroom. It should be fun!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Lolla deluge.

Sorry for the short posts, there's just not a ton to to write about lately. However the press trigger on Lollapalooza-related emails seems to have been pulled, so my inbox is even more a battle to keep up with than usual!

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Summer lull.

The job market seems to have slowed down, and while I've only been out of work for 2 months that's the longest I've been unemployed in a really long time! Cross your fingers for me, because I'm starting to run out of Netflix and Hulu shows to watch!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Spoon, the band, in the '90s.

Spoon at The Metro in 2014, photo by me.
I know I said I'd stay away from digital stuff on Mondays, but a short daily post won't hurt. And I just realized I totally forgot to share the recent episode of Dig Me Out I appeared one where we discussed Spoon's 1990s output!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Just realized something weird.

This year will be my first major music festival as a single guy. I'm not counting Lollapalooza in the '90s. But still, it's weird.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Hiding down the corner.

One weird thing about showing your house to potential buyers is not being in your house when the showing is going on. I've been spending a lot of time at the restaurant at the end of my block or just taking long walks around the neighborhood lately!

I've found the walks, especially during the day, are great for clearing my head. So while there is the inconvenience of constantly having to leave my house there is as least that upside.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

P4K 2018 preview!

I contributed to the Third Coast Review Pitchfork Festival preview. While I'm mostly not attending as a writer this year, I just couldn't resist supplying some content!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Unplugged Mondays.

Trying a new thing where I try to stay offline and away from my mobile phone on Mondays. So, this is pretty much the extent of my "content" today. Hee.

Friday, July 13, 2018

When you live alone you spend a lot of time talking to your cat.

Of course I had to become single around the same time as that New Yorker short story. Only I actually have a cat! And am not nearly that awkward.

I'm getting used to dating again. After an initial foray, and then some time off, I dipped my toes back into those waters. I made the conscious decision to not write about particular folks I date, but an overall view seems O.K. And the results are good. Some dates last a bit and end with a hug or handshake, and others go for hours or days. Both are fine with me.

I'm also learning how awful many dudes are on dating sites / apps. Women share their exchanges with me (and some truly horrifying photos) and I begin to realize that for all the dumbass moves I've made in the past, I'm actually a pretty reasonably decent guy! I can't tell if other guys approach dating as a sport or from some center of desperation but hoo boy, it ain't good.

I do miss being in a relationship, but I don't miss it so much I feel the need to rush into another one.

But you never know what'll happen. Each date is unique and holds the potential for countless possibilities. Or not.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Blazing Saddles.

It's still one of the funniest movies of all time yet it could never be made today. That makes me a little sad. I'm considering heading out to Wheaton next week to see it on the big screen!

Who's got a car and wants to go?

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Billy Corgan may be, erm, problematic, but the first new Smashing Pumpkins single proves he needed to get the band back together.

The song came out a while ago. And when it did I told a friend to listen, and she did with great trepidation having been a huge "classic" Pumpkins fan. Afterward she smiled and agreed that the line-up of the band we missed most (minus one) delivered the goods. Now that the video is out—O.K., it's a few weeks old but I didn't get around to watching until today—I reckoned, why not post it here?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Want to buy an awesome house in an amazing Chicago neighborhood?

Well, now you can.

It's a 2-minute walk to the Blue Line, and we made a bunch of improvements to the place when we thought we'd be here longer, so all the updates were made with longevity in mind. It's actually a pretty decent steal, so I don't think it'll be available for long. Interested? Call 312-399-0470.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Facebook birthday wishes.

My friend Mike is doing a little experiment based on Facebook birthday posts. I know some view them as "whatever," but IMHO anyone that takes time to even write a quick message is doing you a welcome show of appreciation.

This year, hilariously, I didn't realize until the end of the day that I had set my own Facebook privacy settings in such a way that people could only comment of stuff I wrote, not leave their own stand-alone "happy birthday" posts.* Subsequently I got almost no birthday wishes and, especially after the last year, it was kind of a bummer.** A bummer of my own making—which believe you me, the irony of which was not lost on me—but a bummer nonetheless. It also made me feel a little better once I realized that's why people hadn't been posting on my wall in general!***

So I don't know how Mike's experiment will end up, but I'll keep wishing people a happy birthday since I know that no matter how you slice it, it can only brighten up their day.

Clearly this was based on me changing my settings a few months ago when I particularly needed to get away from negative posts and comments in general, and I just forgot to open posts back in later once everything was in a more positive place.
** Super smiles to the folks that messaged me, or texted me, or sent me belated greetings, once they realize they couldn't post due to my mistake.
*** I was also offline all day and off my cellphone so I missed extremely nice folks like my friend Alison trying to text me that my settings were off early in the day!

Friday, July 06, 2018

Creating a 'Beautiful Future' with Janelle Monáe.

Got invited to see Janelle Monáe play The Chicago Theatre last night and it was mind-blowing. The tickets came last minute from folks at Belvedere collaborating with Monáe on a women's film initiative, A Beautiful Future. Below is a video describing what to expect, but given Monáe's super close attention to detail, countered with emotional performances, I'm expecting her to give her backing to some really interesting project from these filmmakers.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

An unusual 4th.

Spent the day relaxing and watching movies, then watching stand-up and conversing, all the while avoiding the usual holiday tropes of fireworks, beer and BBQ. I didn't even see any explosions in the sky until I was walking home a few minutes ago. One of the parks nearby was obviously still the staging station for yet another "unofficial" Chicago fireworks show. But it was pretty, so I didn't even mind the late night booms.

By the way, I finally watched Dunkirk and now really regret missing it in 70mm. You know where I'll be should a theater run it in that format at some point in the future!

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

I've been bullied for a really long time.

Watched It this morning and while the supernatural monsters didn't scare me, the brief moments of Stephen King's writing about bullies did.

I was bullied from grade school through high school. In grade school I took shit for being smart and weird. In high school I took shit for being smart, and weird, and outspoken. And, jeez, I almost forgot, but in college I took heat for all of the above too.

I was bullied for over half my life. And it had an effect. I grew sharp, and hard, and defensive. And developed a wit that could cut to the core. It made me even smarter. And adaptable.

And, honestly, though it made me into the man I am today, I wish none of it had ever happened.

I was tortured for a very long time. And it did change me. Once I got the upper hand in life, I wasn't always the best person. After years of abuse, I finally felt I was getting my due. But that's not how it should work. Being bullied made me harder. It took away the vulnerable guy who was a good person. It killed the "Ducky" in me. And when I ended up on top of the world, it fed into much of the stuff that killed all the good I had going for me.

Being bullied had a profound effect on me. But I can't even imagine what being bullied nowadays feels like. I feared for my life at times, but I could still barricade myself in and escape. Now? There is no escape. Online bullying never stops. So every time I try to feel sorry for myself I wonder what the new generation of "nerds" has to suffer.

Being bullied made me who I am, for better or worse, but it didn't kill me.

If bullying feels like it's killing you, please tell me. Let's talk. Yes, bullying can screw up your life, but it doesn't need to impact your hold on life.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Sonny Falls are anything but hazy on 'Some Kind of Spectre.'

Hoagie sent me the unmastered version of the album a few months ago, but the new Sonny Falls LP is finally officially coming out next month! I've written about the band a few times (most recently for The Reader, which if you missed it online you might not have seen since the physical column had the misfortune of appearing in an issue that was quickly pulled due to a (thankfully, quickly fired) idiotic senior editorial decision) but here's all you really need to know:

Sonny Falls is awesome. Both one of my favorite Chicago bands and creators of one of my favorite albums of 2018.

Here's a taste of the new stuff. Order the vinyl. I already did.

Oh, and for the visually inclined, here's the video for their first single.