Monday, September 22, 2008

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

Shoulda brought a real camera with me to the Hideout Block Party, which happens to be the best outdoor musical event in Chicago, evah. The people-watching alone is worth the price of the ticket. When attending Pitchfork, one can get the low-down on the single outfit that everyone between the age of 18-25 seems to be wearing this summer. At the Block Party, every rocker getup of the last 40 years is on display: purple hair, engineer boots, full tat sleeves, torn fishnet stockings, ragged straw cowboy hats--sometimes a combination of the above on a single person. The lineup was equally eclectic--Americana, hip-hop, electronica, African blues, and even some regular old indie rock.

One of my favorite moments was last night, when Robbie Fulks and his crew did a set of Michael Jackson songs, culminating with "Thriller." Staff from the Hideout (which must be a great place to work) got on stage and did the zombie dance routine. Hilarious!

nicked from someone with a good camera

One of my resolutions post-cancer is to try doing a few things different. Like pushing right up to the stage during shows, for example. Never used to do that. I was up front for the hip-hop act Rhymefest, who had just given a shout-out for Obama, when a guy three or four people away from me started shouting insults at the performer. A McCain supporter, apparently. Rhymefest was launching into a free-form rap about being a black man in the city when McCain2008 screamed "That's bullshit!" and some comments I couldn't catch. Rhymefest, belying his tough ghetto persona, huffed off the stage and refused to come back. Several of us scolded the guy, a tall dork wearing a smirk. He got up in my face. "Who the fuck are YOU?" he asked. I pointed out to him his good fortune in that the audience was 99.9 percent white and relatively timid, and that perhaps under different circumstances he would get a serious ass-kicking. I may have raised my voice and said a few bad words while making this point of argument. I glanced to my side, and realized two men with press badges were up close, filming us. Oh god. Wonder where that will appear? A few furious young women surrounded us--no hipster "men" in sight--and McCain2008 apparently realized he was outnumbered and left the area. I treated myself to a gin and tonic after that.

I bellied up to the barriers again for the Brooklyn electronic rockers Ratatat. I was surrounded by young men, many of them over 6 feet. I chatted with a few as we waited, mostly to make my appearance known and prevent elbows from hitting me in the teeth. The boys conducted themselves very well; all seemed tenderly aware of the fact that a woman the age of their moms was amongst them and that violent moshing would be inappropriate. Ratatat was great, and eventually my hearing will return.

Appropos of nothing, the big hit "Wildcat," from their last album.

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