So let’s see – we got back from Seattle last Tuesday, and Belana and I took a cab home, dropped our bags, and went to see Infinity Baby at the film fest. The first third was pretty funny, then it got a little too weird. We ate peanut butter sandwiches during the movie that we smuggled in.
Wednesday morning I worked at home until it was time to go see The Hero, that I liked a lot better – Sam Elliott, what’s not to like – it was funny, but I couldn’t quite decide if it was sappy/sentimental or not. The thing that spoke to me the most is the portrayal of someone who’s not sure he can still do what he’s supposed to be good at, because he’s getting too old and sick. I went into the office to help a student with an assignment, then back out to Sundance for the first of my two 6-hour venue lead film fest volunteer shifts. Thursday was sort of the same, except I didn’t get to see any movies – taught a class, went to a talk (that seemed to be about haunted archives, sort of), and then back to Sundance for my last shift on the last day of the fest. This year’s volunteering was a little weird. I missed most of the fest because of being in Seattle, and there were lots of emails flying around, “Need venue leads for the weekend”, but I couldn’t help, not being there. Then on Wednesday when I arrived for my first shift, there was an extra person, who’d come over from one of the other venues. We sort of had a lead for each theater, plus an extra house manager. It didn’t get bad until Thursday when we had 3 sold out shows loading withing 45 minutes of each other. There were definitely too many bosses telling volunteers what to do, which meant some things didn’t get done. I probably should’ve been more forceful, but ya know, even though a lead, I’m just a volunteer.
On Saturday, we went to Chicago to see Robyn Hitchcock open for the Psychedelic Furs at this cool place in Pilsen, Thalia Hall.
John & Megan came to meet us, and we got tacos at El Milagro Tortilla that I just picked off Yelp, and turned out to be good. Us stupid gringos didn’t quite know how to order. You filed past a steam table of all the meats, and we saw chicken mole, but weren’t sure how to order it. So we asked for chicken mole tacos, which turned out to be a chicken leg in the taco. Initially daunting, the meat was so tender, it was perfectly easy to pull out the bones, and wah lah, mole taco. We also ordered rice and beans, thinking they’d be on the side, and they were in the taco. But still, a delicious street food experience that I felt made up at least a little for the stuffiness of our bistro lunch in Seattle, that had precluded us seeking street-type food at Pike Place Market, like these wraps my brother recommends.
Thalia Hall was quite grand – wooden floors, high ceiling, embossed metal balcony fronts and what looked to me like some kind of reliefs – terracotta? maybe metal also – around the stage.
I got email an hour or two in advance that said Robyn would play at 8:00, the Furs at 9:15, and the show’d be over at 10:45. I also looked at set lists and the Furs were doing Ghost in You roughly third song. So we knew what to expect.
Robyn did a short set, all acoustic – no 12-string or polka dot telecasters in evidence.
No Soft Boys either, now that I look at it.
In between acts, I went to wait in line and get something signed by Robyn, and I’m still embarrassed. I blurted out a bunch of stuff, we have a friend in common, Rachael’s Iain who lived on Isle of Wight same years as you, “No, don’t know him”, firmly. Desperate attempt, you must, we’re close in age: Robyn born in ’53, Iain ’54, Deb ’55 – and even (oh goodness) touched him, just on the shoulder, but still. I should’ve followed John & Al’s dad’s advice. Since Jeff was in the biz so long, he met a lot of musicians. He said you should just go back, smile, shake their hand, and say, “Thanks for the music”. I mean, you have this whole relationship with these artists’ music – but not them. They know nothing about it, despite how you feel like you know them so well. Oh well.
Sunday morning I went back to Madison, Monday was a normal work day, and then Tuesday I got up and drove to the train to arrive back to Chicago to see an old Frenchman with dyed black hair conduct the Chicago Symphony. They played a long lost Stravinsky piece, and the soloist was a cello player.
Before, Mark & I met Al at the Revival Food Hall – been wanting to go there for awhile but it’s no open weekends. Outposts of all kinds of restaurants – everyone can have what they want. So we did – Mark ate ramen, Al taco salad, and I had a grilled cheese with a side of garbanzo bean salad, with roasted cauliflower. Oh yea, and I had a celebrity sighting – while I was crossing the bridge on Madison street, I saw Richard E. Grant. Which makes sense because he’s in Chicago now to be Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. So I’ll see him again next month because we have tickets.
Wednesday I was supposed to be in Madison at 11:00AM for a meeting with the consultants who are doing the big titling and compensation study. I got up at 4:45, and on Marks’s advice took an Uber to the O’Hare to catch the 6:30 bus. Which was very deluxe, door to door, but cost about $8 more than the bus ticket. And the consultants were late.