Saturday, January 19, 2008


Too long, folks. Too long. No excuse.

I've been busy. I had a lovely Christmas and New Years season. My parents and sister were here visiting me from the 27th - 30th. I usually get along well with my family, but this visit was exceptionally pleasant. I think being in Chicago, a brand-new place, eased what could have been a difficult transition: from parents-children into a model more closely resembling lifelong friends. It was a wonderful time.

New Years brought the first of two incidents, the retelling of which led my friend Jason to call me the Forrest Gump of violence. While riding the El at 3 am New Years Day, I was sharing the car with a young couple when a big pack of kids flooded in. They were hollering, blowing noisemakers, grinding up on each other, and generally having a high-spirited New Year. I started singing Auld Lang Syne, all was merry. The big group left the car at the stop just above mine, and as the last young man was stepping off the car, he cracked the dude who had been on with me originally, sitting next to his lady right next to the exit. The aggressor moves out, doors close, train starts moving; I get up, both out of drunken concern and the knowledge that I'll be getting off shortly, to see the girl laughing in surprise and asking whether he's ok and his nose gushing blood, spattering and beading on the moisture-resistant carpet substitute native to the CTA. He nods stoically, so I leave at my stop.

About a week later, I'm fulfilling one of my blessedly concluding commitments as an intern at iO Chicago. I don't remember whether I've mentioned it before, but iO (formerly, and preferably, Improv Olympic - and yes, it is specifically little i, big O, an aesthetic choice which I feel is infected by the neighborhood - read on! for my thoughts on the surrounds!) is the improv club I've chosen to work my way through first. I had been assigned the Saturday 9 pm - 2 am shift, so I finish work at exactly the time when all the Wrigleyville douchebags are expelled from their evening of drinking. Actually, you know what, I'd like to refocus that statement. It would be more descriptive to say that 2 am is the douchebag, the opening bar doors are vaginas, and the hordes of identical pricks with their bellies full of Old Style are the mixture of hygienic brine and lady-juices.

I'm nearing the Addison stop, wading through the attractive women unable to rise from the ice-slurry gutters. Rounding the corner I must have just missed the punch, but I see a dude sprawled against a taxi cab, a woman clinging to the aggressor screaming 'Michael! Michael!' and another young man holding his cameraphone triumphantly aloft shouting "I got the whole thing, man! You're going to jail, dude, you're going to jail, dude, you're going to jail!" Thinking with the alacrity of fourteen beers, the puncher snatches the phone and whips it onto the roof of the 7-11 across the street and strikes a jaunty pose. I move past.

What strikes me about these incidents is that, for some, trying to beat someone up is part of a fun evening. Nothing could be more foreign to me.

What's a fun evening for you? May I recommend watching me in a play? I'm in the Method to Madness festival at Links Hall this weekend. Last night I watched certainly the most insane performance I have ever seen. I'll describe it in my next update, along with more of a discussion of artistic passion in general, and it'll be coming much sooner than this one did, so stay tuned. Have faith in me.
At any rate, there is no way such a perfect collusion of lunacy could happen twice, but the evening is fertile ground for unique experiences, and my piece Hansel and Gretel is sincerely a very tight, fun, interesting show. Check it out.