Monday, April 28, 2008

Pegleg Sullivan

Before I get to my disastrous weekend, let's wrap up the Chicago weekend. I mentioned that the impetus for this trip was to see the Edward Hopper exhibit. Sunday morning I cabbed down to the museum, and I wished I'd have gotten up a little earlier and walked. So much Chicago to see on the way there.

It was a ticketed affair and I had to wait in line longer than I had expected. The place was full of big dumb people and big loud families and I was worried that they were going to ruin everything for me. I'm very particular about my art viewing.

The Hopper exhibit was great, though very crowded. It had an effect on me I wasn't ready for. Seeing his work in person gave me a sinking feeling. Loneliness, isolation, anonymity. I guess that's what he was going for. His works are much more disturbing in person. For example, I always thought Chop Suey was just two ladies having a nice lunch. But in person you can see that the woman has heavy bags under her eyes, and that she's staring blankly off into the distance, not even looking at her dining companion.

Pictures weren't allowed but I snuck one anyway. Now I feel bad because what, the rules don't apply to me?

Surprisingly, these two ended up being my favorite. "Automat" and "Western Motel."

This was the final painting in the exhibit, and one of the last of his career. Of it he said "I am chasing Me." Sums up his body of work nicely I think.

Let's see what else this museum has to offer.

I like taking pictures of statues.

Is this beautiful or what? It was sculpted in the 1850s which kind of surprised me because it looks so contemporary.

I like old timey mapps.

Looks like the girl from Arcade Fire, right?

Hey! It's these guys.

This is my second favorite American Gothic, behind this guy I know Jimmy.

Van Gogh's bedroom. It makes me sad that he has his own paintings on the wall.

I've never seen this before, I really liked it. It's by some guy and it's called... something.

I left the museum and found myself caught in the middle of a protest!

Luckily it was a quiet riot and nobody was hurt.

Biting political satire. I'm sure it changed a lot of peoples minds.

Sightseeing? This is the Water Tower, the only structure from before the Great Fire that still stands. It's hard to photograph.

Tradition holds that the fire was started by Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicking over a lantern. This has been disproven, but other theories are more interesting anyway. One is that it was started when ol' Pegleg Sullivan tried to steal milk out of a barn. Another theory is that it was started by a meteor shower.

I had my trip all planned out and then decided to see if there were any cool shows that weekend. As it happens my favorite band was playing, along with up-and-comers Okkervil River at the Riviera Theater.

I fell in love with a girl at the show. She seemed to be designed to my exact specifications. And she held my spot while I went to get drinks. And when I stepped on her foot she said "That's okay!" and when I asked her if Okkervil River played the song "Black" she said "I'm not sure I missed the first fifteen minutes" and I said "Me too." Wow, it's just like in the movies. We exchanged furtive glances throughout the show and after it ended I tried to follow her out (not in a creepy way) but with a forlorn look backwards she vanished forever into the night.

Great show though. The New Pornographers were without co-singer Neko Case (ankle injury) but they still rocked it. I've seen them three times now and this might be the most energetic show I've been to (though other reviews have called it lackluster, so either those other reviewers are jaded or I'm just too much of a superfan apologist. probably somewhere in between).

They played a song called "Stacked Crooked" which they've never played live before this tour. That was awesome. If you've heard the song, you'll agree that this picture represents it well.

After this I found out the hard way that picture takin' isn't allowed at the Riviera. Whoops.

I was loitering about after the show, trying to decide what to do with my life. Members of both bands came walking by and went into this place. Problem! With them was comedian Todd Barry. I'm really not a fan of his work. Like, at all. What's worse, he was with a super cute woman a foot taller than him and way out of his league. And he was hanging with my band. Mr. Barry, you are now number 1 on my arch-nemesis list.

Then I was standing in front of this place and a girl came out to smoke and tried to convince me to join her inside for some jazz music or something. She was really cool, but she spit too much.

I finally ended up at a place called Club Foot. This bar was waaaay cool but unfortunately it was completely dead. The four people there were very friendly though, and there was this one dude who had had major brain surgery only a few days before.

Club Foot has the Elvisiest bathroom I've ever seen.

The walls are lined with toys, not unlike my living room. Check it out, Castle Greyskull.

Time for more walkin'. In front of the Tribune Building is a statue of the guy that said "Give me liberty or give me death!" or it might be the guy that said "I regret that I have but one life to give to my country." I always get those guys confused. I also don't know what he has to do with the Tribune. If only I had some way of finding out. Some sort of internet resource perhaps.

Michigan Avenue, near the Chicago River.

The river.

The cold and lonely streets.

Well, guess that pretty much covers it.


  1. I'm officially jealous. It wasn't enough with the Edward Hopper exhibit (I love him!) but the New Pornographers, too?! Not to mention just being in Chicago. Color me green.

  2. Someone found my blog by googling:

    "I was loitering about after the show, trying to decide what to do with my life. Members of both bands came walking by and went into this place. Problem! With them was comedian Todd Barry. I'm really not a fan of his work. L"

    That's a remarkable coincidence.

    Sad thing is my blog doesn't even show up on the first ten pages of that search. Weird.

    Anyway, hello there Coquitlam, BC. How are things?

  3. His final painting is among my favorite paintings of all time. I cannot get over the way he manages to perfectly disseminate the difference in light quality between the indoors and outdoors and the way that simple interplay speaks so much about the human condition. Mind-blowing. You really went all out with these Chicago posts, and its been great fun. I'm so happy you had a great visit.

  4. "This is my second favorite American Gothic, behind this guy I know Jimmy."

    Oh man.