Sunday, May 13, 2007


My only regret from the weekend is missing out on my Alma mater's alumni reception/cocktail party on Friday afternoon. It would have been fun but after dealing with yet another "wheel" related snag I couldn't leave in time, (dealing with insurance companies is a major pain the ass).

My friend and I get down to the Loop around 9PM or so. Although it was a bit on the chilly side, the sky was brilliant and clear. One of the things I miss about not spending much time in the South Loop of late is the presence of the Sears Tower. Having a 1,500 foot tall building looming over my shoulder is always reassuring feeling, (not to mention all the other huge structures that comprise Chicago's skyline).

We arrived at the parking lot that had been repurposed as an outdoor music venue. For those who don't know who Lupe Fiasco is, he's a Muslim rapper who grew up on the South Side. Lupe got on stage around 9:30 and immediately launched into a medley of Kanye West songs, then blazed through most of his recent album "Food & Liquor". Having never seen Lupe live before I was blown away by the strength of his voice, his rapid fire delivery and his entire stage presence. He's looked like a little kid running from one end of the stage to the other and seemed to be having even more fun than I was.

(That blurry figure is Lupe)

The crowd was tightly packed and rocking out which caused me to get separated my friend. Not a problem as I ended up next to this cute white boy with piercing blue eyes who was bumpin' his head along with the music and obsessively texting on his Sidekick. At most standing room shows it's quite common to bump into/against the people around you.

Perhaps it was my imagination but this seemed to occurring rather frequently with this boy. More than once he turned and flashed me a sly grin, which naturally I figured meant he might be into me.

I tried talking to him but the music was so loud this was not very practical to do. I figured I would wait until the end of the set to talk to him, but he left about 3/4 through the set. I went to look for him but he vanished into the night.


No worries, I still had my boy Lupe on stage to rock my world. Towards the end of his set he launched into my favorite song of his, "American Terrorist". He dedicated the song to George Bush. Perfect. Here's the first stanza:

we came through the storm nooses on our necks
and a smallpox blanket to keep us warm
on a 747 on the pentagon lawn
wake up the alarm clock is connected to a bomb
anthrax lab on a w. Virginia farm
shorty ain't learned to walk already heavily armed
civilians and little children is especially harmed
camouflaged torahs, bibles and glorious qurans
the books that take you to heaven and let you meet the Lord there
have become misinterpreted, reasons for warfare
we read em with blind eyes i guarantee u there's more there
the rich must be blind b/c they didn't see the poor there
need to open up a park, just close 10 schools
we don't need em
can u please call the fire department they're down here marching for freedom
burn down their TV's, turn their TV's on to teach em

After the show ended my friend and I hit up a liquor store and bought half pints of whiskey and walked north to see the madness that was Looptopia.

The entire festival involved a series of random events, some of which took place on the street like the theatre troupes camped out along State street. In the lobby of a bank a "mime" of sorts was twisting himself into all sorts of odd position for the crowds on the street outside.

I heard about "rave" of sorts taking place within the old library building, bands played in Daley Plaza and the promoters even employed various alleys as venues; one in particular had a DJ booth setup on a loading dock. Although I missed the "glow-stick" dance party that was in Grant Park, I saw plenty of other crazy shit.

It's amazing to think that only 20 years ago Chicago's Loop was considered an afterthought, a virtual ghost town after dark frequented mostly by homeless people and civil servants. Major corporations abandoned the central business districts in droves, and outside of Marina City (the "corn cob" towers) virtually no one lived in the Loop.

Today the Loop is more alive than it's ever been, and events like this one give me hope that the core of my city will continue to thrive and grow.

I love this place.


mstpbound said...

hello! isn't chicago cold? I'm terrified of the cold! (yes, I realize I'm in boston so it's like the tea pot calling the kettle black, but isn't chicago colder than boston?) haha anyway i really like your blog! :) maybe you'll meet up with the cute blue-eyed boy somewhere else. Like, in your bed. :P

Hamilton said...

that sounds like a lot of fun. I haven't gone to any live band for a long time. I think I should go back to the cafe in hollywood.

But what I really want to see is Damien Rice!