Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite: September 2014

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rocket Man Dramatic Reading

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William Shatner's Interpretive Reading of Rocket Man 

Best thing ever! I knew Shatner was funny, but not this funny! 

Rocket Man - Californication 

I watched all seven seasons of Californication over the past few weeks where many episodes had an Elton John song in there somewhere. Mostly Rocket Man and Tiny Dancer. Which is why I have had Elton John on the brain (and Warren Zevon but that's not what this is about). 

Last night, I watched the final episode of Californication went to bed. To keep the dream alive, I decided to play Elton John as I fell asleep. I think I was listening to Tiny Dancer, and I tweeted out the link from Spotify, but then my friend Carlos tweeted back with a link to this William Shatner video. 

I was out cold but I forced my eyes open because I had to watch it. I was laughing in my sleep. I woke up this morning and watched it again, I simply can't get enough of it. 

I also have a really good story about Tiny Dancer that I can't tell here, but if you ask me about it, I will tell you. It's funny because the song used to mean one thing to me.... and now it means something else, something very different. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Rays of Beaming Love

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My day started with a morning heartbreak 

and ended with rays of beaming love 

How I Started My Day 
On my way into work this morning, the bus stopped at a red light and I found myself staring off into space. Well, not space but Michigan Avenue. My eyes locked on a young couple talking to each other, it looked normal at first and then I realized they were arguing.

I studied their faces, there was no anger on her face, she was certain. I looked closer and noticed that he was crying. I watched for a few more seconds, but then the guy's lip started to quiver and his eyes began to squint - he was going into full sob mode. I had to look away, it was too sad. 

How I Ended My Day
After work today I headed over to Willis Tower for Social Media Week, the SMC panel and after-party. The panel ended as the sun started to set and we headed to the other side of the room for the party. The views of the city from the 82nd floor were stunning, and everyone was pressed themselves up against the windows with their cellular device in hand to get shots of the sunset. 

I moved over to the east side of the room to snap the skyline against the lake, when I turned back around I saw a young couple sitting to my right. There was a strong energy between them, I can't say for certain whether or not they were together, but I felt a connection. With the beaming sunlight behind them, they were two silhouettes and the flickering rays between them looked like flames. I stood about 10 feet from them and openly took three or four photos, I planned to show them the photos but they never even saw me. 

When I looked at the images of the couple, I decided not to say anything at all. I liked the thought of them remaining as anonymous as they had been in that busy room filled with social media types. 

I'm Ending My Night With Love Too... 
So, I'm not too big on books or reading, which is a sad truth, but over the past few years I've stumbled onto some beautiful love stories and poems from Arab writers. Let's end with something I found on Tumblr (it's where I go to satiate my inner-emo teen self). 

The poem below is by Nizar Qabbani - a Syrian writer of Turkish origin. The suicide of his sister had a profound impact on his life and work, he spent five decades paying fervent homage to woman's grace and loveliness.
Had I told the sea
What I felt for you, 
It would have left its shores, 
Its shells, 
Its fish, 
And followed me 

P.S. that's from Tumblr so I can't be certain it is accurate but you can buy the book and learn for yourself - On Entering the Sea: The Erotic and Other Poetry of Nizar Qabbani (Poetry Series)

Thanks for stopping by. 


Saturday, September 20, 2014

How the Old Folks Liked Riot Fest 2014

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Riot Fest wrap up by Leyla and her old-ass friends 

My only regret is that I couldn't be in two places at once... that's what the old folks are saying about Riot Fest. There's a lot of mumbo-jumbo in here but the end is alright, feel free to scroll.

Excitable Boy at Social Distortion
Excitable Boys at Riot Fest
(hee hee... taken by me during Social Distortion)

But First... A Short Rant 
I am a fortunate lady who is grateful for many things - my friends, my family and the fact that I saw approximately 22 bands last weekend for less than $15 / band with VIP access that included booze. How can I complain? Now that the weekend has come and gone, I wonder... how come we don't do this more often?

Riot Fest Highlights - with a little help from my friends 
A favorite highlight of the weekend took place on Friday in the cold and rain. We were all pretty miserable (because we're soft) and then this little girl in pink rain boots started jumping into mud puddles next to us, she was splashing and dancing with her dad. The rain and the mud was the show and the music was a bonus.

General Observations
  • Excellent line-up, my only regret is that I couldn't be in two places at once (said Adam)
  • Liked the fact that most people maintained their composure, particularly before 3PM
  • The crowd on Friday night was older and braver than the Saturday and Sunday crowds 
  • Lots and LOTS of face tattoos (what's wrong with kids today?)

Riot Fest Chicago Gwar
(photo by Adam)

Friday Moments
  • Gwar was a Riot Fest highlight for both Adam and Sean (Adam's first time)
  • Missing Gwar was a regret for me, it would've been my 3rd (or 4th) time 
  • Mastodon was dark and bluesy, impressed by the power of the vocals and how the styles of the singers played off each other - Sean
  • Gogol Bordello was loud, enthusiastic and clearly having a good time - Traci and I agree
  • Jane's Addiction played a solid set, Dave Navarro's sleeveless shirt; Perry Farrell's admiration for Oz park and recent frisbee purchase - Traci and I agree once again
  • Dave Navarro proved once again that he is tiny but mighty  

Riot Fest Chicago Die Antwoord
Die Antwoord
(photo by Adam and his incredibly tiny panasonic lumix)

riot fest chicago flaming lips
Wayne Coyne doing his best hamster impression
(photo by Adam)

Riot Fest Chicago Slayer
(photo by Adam - again)

Saturday Moments
  • Buzzcocks, what a pleasant surprise, I intended to see the Dandy Warhols but gratefully I stuck around after 7 Seconds
  • Die Antwoord was Traci's recommendation, she missed it but Adam and I had a blast 
  • Jennifer Hernandez was amazing, a solid artist with a unique style - like fire on stage, said Paloma and Sean agreed
  • Wu-Tang played a good set, a lot from 36 Chambers, and over pre-recorded tracks vs. live, but having not seen them before, not sure if this was a good thing or not - Traci 
  • Cater said that Me First and the Gimme Gimmes were not to miss, and they are an ex's favorite, they were surely entertaining
  • The Afghan Whigs were much older than I remembered and much better than I remembered
  • Offspring was the one band I wished I could unhear; Traci compared Dexter Holland to Guy Fieri and the comment about how most of the crowd "is doable" was unintentially hilarious 
  • Wished The Flaming Lips set was longer, Wayne Coyne's silver streamers and muscle bodysuit; giant mushrooms and glitter bombs that blew the power; fast recovery; hamster ball and he can still hit the high notes; Traci was bummed because she hoped that Henry Rollins may get up and perform a couple off their Dark Side of the Moon album 
  • Samhain what happened? He looks like a cross between Meatloaf and the guy from The Crow, exclaimed Traci; it was mutually agreed upon by all my friends that it was a bad headliner choice, probably paid to have a headliner spot - exclusively my own opinion

Afghan Whigs Riot Fest
Afghan Whigs
(photo by Adam - naturally)

Patti Smith at Riot Fest
 Patti Smith 
(by Adam, again)

Making Believe You Still Love Me
Social Distortion 
(taken by me)

(by Adam)

Sunday Moments 
  • For Traci the early part of the day consisted of: not seeing but catching last part of the Whigs and part of The Hold Steady and Superchunk (I was already there - heard and saw them); snippets of Lucero and Hot Snakes (at this point she was floating about with me)
  • The Hold Steady was better than Adam and I expected 
  • Adam saw The Dads, "lame name but great vibe, there was no way we going to see them based on that name but we ended up there" - makes sense
  • Had to see Naked Raygun in honor of my broham (who once said he was almost as happy on his wedding day as he was at a Naked Raygun concert) 
  • Social Distortion, a no-brainer highlight for me, and it was fun knowing more about Mike Ness than the 20-something-year-old punk rock boys asking "how long has he been sober?" 
  • Not seeing the Blue Meanies was my biggest Riot Fest disappointment but there was nothing I could do - more on this at the end
  • Traci thought Patti Smith was solid solid solid...shout out to Fred Smith was a little heartbreaking and sweet, and dedication of a song to her grandson; I was pleased that she broke out Rock N Roll N***** hope the millennials didn't freak out too badly
  • Traci though The Cure / Weezer time set-up was terrible; glad to have seen Weezer but would like to know why they needed to take a break before starting into the Blue Album 
  • I was thrilled to be hanging with the crying 40-year-old women rather than the 30-something frat boys with beards on their chins and graphic tees on their torsos chanting every last word to every song (I managed to see Weezer and The Cure but guess where I finished on Sunday)

Sunday at Riot Fest was the best and the most conflicting day for me. Seeing legendary bands was extremely gratifying, having to decide between Weezer and The Cure was tough (I went back and forth but stuck with The Cure), but choosing between The Blue Meanies and Patti Smith was like making Sofie's Choice.

I went to school in Carbondale and worked at the bar where The Blue Meanies played regularly. It is possible that I saw them 100x and I was usually with my friend Steph. Steph is no longer with us, so naturally I couldn't help but think about her over the weekend. How much fun we had, and would've had, there were many moments where I could still hear her say, Leyla can fend for herself... as she left me in some ditch to wither and die while she wandered off (or vice versa, it was the way we were back then, and that was OK). 

Riot Fest pre-game at Twisted Spoke
Sunday Bloody Mary's with Sean and Paloma
Twisted Spoke

Ultimately, Riot Fest weekend was fun because of the friendships I've built over a lifetime - fond memories and great friendships. I asked all my friends to send me their highlights, which they did, and tonight Traci sent me a text asking to amend her highlights. Traci's amendment...
I think my email about the weekend was lame and thought about it some more. My highlight is that I got to spend the weekend listening to great music with you. Laughing a lot and feeling really excited about the weekend like a 14-year-old while sharing dark humor when most people wouldn't. Bonding with strangers when most of the time I hate people. But I really liked our symmetry and not feeling we had to be bound at the hip, while at the same time we ended up that way. I wouldn't have had the same experience without you being a part of it.

Sounds like something you'd write as a eulogy, I think Traci should recycle it, I can't possibly live too much longer. And once again, I agree with Traci.

More posts by me: 

Friday, September 12, 2014

5 Question Friday with Diane Bronstein

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5 Question Friday - The Colorful Edition

Where I ask friends and interesting strangers to answer the same 5 questions, and it happens on Fridays.

I met Diane about four years ago when I was self-employed. At the time, I was a regular at the Starbucks on Rush Street and sat next to Diane's husband Jack every day. Jack and I were office-mates, Diane would pop in and visit but she was far too energetic to sit in a coffee shop all day. It wasn't long before I became close friends with both Jack and Diane. Coincidentally, I am sitting next to Jack at the coffee shop as I type this post. 

Watercolor painting by Diane Bronstein

Diane Bronstein
A classically trained artist with a degree in fine art. Diane has studied in France and Germany and under Giani Cilfone in the United States. She paints beautiful watercolors and sketches of landscapes, she is a photographer and also recreates live events and bridal gowns through her artwork. Diane is responsible for my professional headshot (which you won't find on my blog), you can see more of her work on her site here.
When I was little I drew a very creative picture of the house I lived in on Addison close to Southport… My parents thought it was great.  The rest is history.  Love family… friends… nature and architecture… beaches.. sand water… travel.  Believe that our thoughts are important, found that out late in life. Believe in it is more important to work as a community than to own the latest greatest whatever… if your community is thriving, fun and loving - than your life is thriving fun and loving…

1. What defines you? (Be descriptive, is it your job, family, a certain skill or talent you may have?) 

If I look at what defines me as a place.. its hammock in a garden close to water…… with pen and paper close at hand. If I look at what I do and feel… it would be my family… Jack, Barton and Cara… and Fefe… Parents and siblings and of course the special Aunt Mary.

My friends aren’t many but they are wonderful.. they are supportive and loving, and make me laugh.
My work is like being a child … getting to play with with art supplies and making and recording all the beautiful moments in the world.

2. What song that energizes you when you are looking for motivation? (maybe it is more than one depending on what you need to get motivated for)

Happy… I mentally try to start the day with that wonderful song... Seal - Bring It On… when I’m driving. I used to have a convertible and loved driving down Lake Shore Drive playing that song. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons to paint to... Anything Motown to dance to…

3. If you were to show up to a potluck, what would you bring? (and why? And what kind of potluck is this?) 

Something good from a restaurant …. I’m not a cook.. or if forced to cook … Brussel Sprouts...

4. Describe your perfect day. 

Waking up in a beautiful room with great sheets, and a yard to step out on. Having coffee with Jack at a little neighborhood coffee shop and listening to the conversations while doing quick sketches of the patrons. Meeting up with my kids for a great walk on the beach and grabbing a light outdoor lunch.

Painting… drawing… looking at architecture … taking a drive thru Montecito .. my son and husband love doing this too.

Then dinner at another outdoor venue… and sitting by a fire on the beach with my family and our friends… And getting that great call from someone saying, “ I will pay for you to travel all over the world creating sketches of people going about their business and their life.”

5. What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery? What would you do if you won $100 million? 

If I won $1 million, I would open up an art studio / gallery where I could paint and teach classes… it would have giant windows and sky lights and an outdoor area where you could paint… the classes would be free and guest artist would come and talk.

I would also share some money with both of my kids … one is a fashion and fine art photographer and a studio would be perfect for him. The other is a mom who wants to be a photographer shooting baby, child, and pregnancy photographs. I would also create a wonderful creative coffee house attached to my studio / gallery for my husband. He is the perfect guy to own a place like that … he loves people and hearing their stories.

If I won $100 Million... I would give money to Solar Roadways. It can change the world.

Learn more about Diane
@dianebronstein on Instagram 
@stopandsmile on Twitter for her work

Here is a sample of Diane's commissioned work... custom sketches and drawings of bridal gowns.

Read more 5 Question Friday posts. They're all pretty awesome.