Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Music: Will Oldham

"Spoonbridge," Claes Oldenburg. Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

A day after getting back from Seattle, I was once again on a plane. Will Oldham, otherwise known as Bonnie "Prince" Billy, was touring the midwest. Unfortunately, his Chicago date was during my trip to Seattle. I bought a ticket for his performance at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. It was a great concert, and could hardly have been more intimate. The McGuire Theater at the Walker has only 384 seats, and I was in the front row, if one didn't count the dozen or so cushions at my feet, which were occupied by adoring young fans. Oldham's performance style is eccentric; half the time he was perched on one foot, stork-like, and used elaborate hand gestures to accompany his vocals. I don't think it was intended to be ironic. As one reviewer has said, he seems to be devoid of any inhibitions, and lets his body do whatever the music tells it to do.

On the flight back to Chicago, I pondered my recent urban adventures. What do I love so much about visiting other cities? Here's a short guide for how to maximize your enjoyment of a city:

1. Stay an inexpensive hotel or a hostel located away from urban shopping malls and other tourist entertainments.
2. Find a grocery store--preferably within walking distance--and buy some fresh fruit and healthy snacks. Having good food available will prevent "vacation bloat," from eating out too much, too often.
3. Use public transportation and/or walk. You will stumble upon many wonders not found in guide books.
4. For the most unique dining experiences, stay with small, unpretentious restaurants. Pricey restaurants are often marvelous, but the menus are interchangeable. Search for the best street food, or some local or ethnic treat that is specific to the city.
5. Find a copy of the local free paper, stat. It's the best place for live music and theater listings.

"Agnes, Queen of Sorrows" by Bonnie "Prince" Billy

1 comment:

tony said...

Great Blog!
here are some Will Oldham Photos i took once.