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Home run

25 Oct

Home run

It’s funny how a place that was once your home can feel so foreign, so unknown. Sabrina and I were in the back of a taxi on Irving Park, and I tried to point out JC’s studio but I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t until we arrived that he reminded me that it wasn’t actually on Irving. Forgetful mistakes like this keep throwing me off, but then other things are comfortingly unchanged. Things like seeing your best friend from grade school and jumping back like no time had passed. And I thought of Karinsa last night as we walked down Fullerton and sat down at the Whirlaway, where we had her goodbye party. Inside, it was the same as it ever was — drinks $5 and delivered with a smile — and it felt good to have consistency in a time that has felt anything but. (more…)

What came first, the music or the misery?

18 Oct

After remembering Karinsa’s old site, I re-watched High Fidelity this weekend. It’s sad to think about how the internet has changed the way we consume music. When I moved to Chicago, I hit up Reckless Records so often that I could probably draw both of the North Side stores’ layout from memory. (Well, the old Lakeview store; I haven’t been to the new location.) I remember rushing in on Tuesdays for the new releases, lazily browsing used records on weekends despite not owning a turntable, feeling proud when the magazine rack held an article I’d written. Things are different now, even when you visit a record store, and I’m glad I got to experience that.

High Fidelity captured the record-nerd archetype perfectly, and it was so Chicago. Charlie’s apartment was a few blocks south of my last one, the Music Box was beautiful, and once, Karinsa and I were rewarded at Simon’s with unexpected movie fun. Our bartender was the guy who had a couple of lines in High Fidelity. Karinsa and I got such a kick out of Beta Band Bartender, as we called him, largely because we are Nick Hornby fans. At the time, I was still crushed out on John Cusack, too. (Much later, I’d meet him and deem his pompous posturing a huge turnoff.)

When I watched the film this weekend, I viewed it with a different perspective. And I thought about how certain songs are stitched into not just memory, but the way I experience an emotion. Today, without planning to, I jumped back a decade or two by pawing through some classics (End on End) and guilty pleasures (grim chuckle when iTunes queued up “Young Loud and Scotty”). It made me think back on this year, on photo booths in Chicago, and on summer nights driving down dusty roads in Michigan. I know I’m dancing about architecture here, but I’m not sure I would feel as thoroughly in silence.

Top five most relevant Buffy episodes

16 Oct

Karinsa used to have a Nick Hornby tribute diary, and it was always fun to read. So in the interest of continuing her legacy, and in furthering my Buffy love, I present the show’s top five episodes that have been on my mind lately. They will make no sense to you if you are not into the show, obviously, and yes, I am fully aware that it is silly to identify with a show this much.

5. Chosen — Between the 30 Republican senators who say “up with gang rape” and this girl and this bigot, it has not been a great week for womanhood. I am imagining these jerks as Caleb, and visualizing Buffy putting an end to this mishigas.

4. Once More With Feeling — One of the most brilliant things I’ve ever seen on television. Spike’s “If my heart could beat, it would break my chest” is one of the best lines from the series, and what about alienated, numb Buffy! The hardest thing in this world is to live in it. (It is impressively easy, however, to hear Anthony Stewart Head sing. Voice like butter!)

3. The Prom — Anyone who doesn’t get misty-eyed when Angel shows up at prom (to the Sundays!) has carpet on his heart. And poor Buffy, so forlorn while Angel does the “noble” thing. (I would like to point out that when all is said and done, Angel winds up wanting her cookies anyway.)

2. Lovers Walk — Angel reads Sartre, Spike is love’s bitch, and Sid Vicious makes a cameo. (Aurally, at least.) In typical Whedonian fashion, everyone suffers, and there’s no tidy ending to make the episode end on an up note. It’s not simple, and it’s all believable.

1. The Body — Quiet and real. I don’t think I can watch this episode for a while, but I keep thinking of how Buffy finds Joyce and says, “Mom. Mom? Mommy?” In our last days together, I similarly switched from Dad to Daddy. The death of a parent is particularly difficult because it forces you to be an adult at a time when you want nothing more than to be comforted like a child.

Best joke ever!

19 Jun

I love the nights just before summer begins, the way the evenings quietly buzz with anticipation and time ticks by slowly. Just walking around is an activity in itself, because you’re bound to run into somebody, and perhaps they’ve got plans, and maybe you’ll tag along. Or boys on bicycles zip by, and your eyes meet for a moment, and you both give each other a flirtatious “I’ll never see you again” smile. Last night I ate al fresco at Mirai Sushi. The company was good, the food was passable, but the atmosphere was simply awful. Tube-topped yuppies were everywhere, their cell phones piercing the night’s quiet din. Our waiter was not very friendly, and when Karinsa asked politely for the bill, he seemed to think she was joking. Come on now, there’s nothing amusing about getting the bill.

Speaking of joking, what do you call a Frenchman in sandals? Do you give up? Do you? Ready? Philippe Philoppe.

Black hair, black eyes

14 May

Ooh boy, Examination of The… is coming to the Fireside Bowl. For some reason, I’ve been heading back to hardcore during the past week or two. Maybe Owlie and I will traipse to a show during the next month.

It’s sometimes difficult to connect with people who are completely unaware of punk or hardcore culture. Even though I’m not immersed in it anymore, the music and that time still means a lot to me. I recently met some people from San Diego, and so I babbled BLAH BLAH CRIMSON CURSE DOO DOO DOO SWING KIDS ROMULANS, only to receive blank stares in return. Then I felt like an arse.

So you know, I tried to explain what the subculture was, but it was so difficult. I talked about fests, and one person thought I meant something like Coachella. I didn’t know how to describe the feeling of being eighteen and having the world constrict to a church basement with some kids watching other kids screaming their lungs and life out. Maybe that’s just it: who can explain the way your heart threatened to burst at eighteen, doing anything, anywhere?

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it is time for some light German dance-pop.