I'm crossing the Roosevelt Bridge, looking for one particular sculpture out of the many that adorn the concrete railings on either side. I can't find the one I am looking for, and although I do locate several that are identical in design, I am unable to precisely replicate the view I captured in 2002. I feel oddly grateful about this as it dawns on me that I really shouldn't want to see the world as I did back then.
Not that I remember that much, anyway.
Is the "double-vision" experienced by drunks the mind/body's way of trying to compensate for all of the sights that are deleted by alcoholic blackouts?, I wonder to myself as I stroll eastward along the thrumming sidewalk.
There are a series of parks at bridge's end and in the one to my left stands a huddled parade of walking statues. One walkway is crowded with tall metal legs, but just past this throng stands a lone wanderer. I stop for a moment to take a photograph and a question materializes from nowhere:
Without the influence of observation, would these statues remain motionless, or would they behave in the psychotic manner of sub-atomic particles; predictable when watched, erratic when unseen?
I can't even take a stroll through the park without stubbing my mental toe on addiction theory and quantum measurement problems, I think and this thought bothers me, so I distract myself by imagining the statues on roller skates. It isn't difficult to do, last night's excursion to the Roller Derby game is still fresh on my mind. It was my first Derby and I must admit I enjoyed it a great deal.
Roller Derby is easy to watch, but difficult to photograph since the players are much faster than my camera, but I was impressed on several levels:
- I was told the women who run the league are the same women (some are retired) who play the games. It's a non-profit organization, they do it because they love it. They had a great assortment of sponsors ( a bar, a sex-toy shop and a hardware store, among others) and the event itself was very well-organized- they even accomodated for parking, a rare thing in Chicago.
- I am unashamed in my adoration of Rock Chicks, and these women have true Rock Chick attitude, sporting pseudonyms and jersey numbers such as 'Queefer Sutherland' (#24:00); 'Pain Gwen' (#-32 ) and Smashley Destructo (#A+). I was upset when Suzie Crotchrot (#666) was ejected from the game for enthusiastically kicking Ann Atomic's (#u-235) admirable ass.
- There are actually two Roller Derby leagues in Chicago and nearly 200 in the country. I remember seeing ads seeking players for a league here in town but I don't know if it ever started.
I'm back in the park, reading signs. This one reminds me of the Blues Museum's Bronzeville exhibit at the DuSable. It (no cameras) was an amazing exhibit, showcasing the musical and social history of a group of segregation-era Chicago 'Negro' nightclubs collectively known as Bronzeville. It was in Bronzeville that the Chicago Blues was born and raised...one ancient flyer has B.B. King at the top of the bill and a band called "The Rolling Stones" listed amongst the numerous opening acts at the bill's bottom.
Yep, those Stones.
As the staff was closing the building, I was in deep thought:
Once upon a time, amplified electric guitars were a new thing and almost right away, guitarists started playing too loud. Harmonica player Little Walter quickly grew tired of being drowned out by guitarists, so he cupped a small microphone in his harp-wielding hands and plugged the mic directly into a guitar amplifier, which of course was turned up too loud. It produced an over-driven 'distorted' sound that was unheard before then, but is ubiquitous today.
It was in that moment that any number of genres were born...punk rock and heavy metal coming immediately to mind. Attitude. It's in the attitude.
On behalf of guitarists everywhere, I would like to thank Little Walter for knowing how to- pardon the technical musical terminology- tear shit up.
We owe you a big one, LW.
Now I am on a boat that is a taxi. My brother is with me and we are riding it home from his office, a nice commute if ever there was one. As we meander through the city, I can't help but rubber-neck in vertiginous awe at the scale of the buildings around me.
After a time that is too short we draw near my brother's home.
I'm kidding. He doesn't live up there. We just used that premise as an excuse to trespass.
Despite my notorious scofflaw ways, I have always been on the right side of the tracks.
The wrong side is the side with the train on it.
Without me to hold it back (see my 'Dreamcrusher Award' on the sidebar) Richmond had it's best weekend , ever. It was so good, I think a little of it rubbed off on me.
More on that later.