Wednesday, October 23, 2013

EMEFE and back from Chicago

I know it's been a while since I've posted, not that you or I or anyone missed it. Fortunately not much happened, music-writing-wise, while I was gone. Dusted is basically shut down again, the folks at Blurt are subsumed in the upcoming Fall print issue and PopMatters is taking its usual 3-4 months to publish my Oneohtrix Point Never interview.

But meanwhile, I did have one piece go up this Monday, an interview with Miles from EMEFE, whom you might have seen playing congas on Red Hot and Fela's Fallon appearance. (You probably didn't, and if you did, you may not have payed much attention to the skinny, white conga player, but it was a good segment. Not everybody comes off that well on TV.)

Anyway, here's the video.

And here's the feature

Let's see, maybe I should write a little bit about my trip to Chicago...

I got in about 8 a.m. on Friday (had to leave 4 a.m. from home to make my flight), too early to check into the hotel, so I took the train into Chicago and got off at Logan Square to look around. (Sean said he couldn't see me until 5 p.m., so I had PLENTY of time, a recurring theme on this trip.) I picked Logan Square because I had just read about it as a happening food neighborhood in Bon Appetit, and it did, indeed, seem pretty cool, even at 9:30 in the morning. I ended up taking a walk down Kedzie, which is gorgeous, tree-lined and full of sort of lo-rise gothic apartment buildings, a big grassy island in the middle. You could imagine living quite comfortably in a neighborhood like this, fun places to eat and drink right there and the train to the city close by. So, I wandered around for a while and enjoyed it, then stopped for a coffee at New Wave Coffee where all the boys looked like they were in bands, and the girl behind the counter was talking about her BFA in stage management, so though I was 30 years older than everyone else, it felt sort of like home...we could definitely live in a neighborhood like this if we could afford it.

So from there, I walked down Milwaukee towards the city, following the Blue Line in case it was too far (it was) or I got tired (I didn't, oddly). I found more WIFI in Bucktown and heard from a friend of mine, also visiting a son in Chicago, and we made plans to meet at the Art Institute, so I got on the train and arrived about 10 minutes later. We looked at some paintings and then had lunch at the museum -- split a beer and talked a long time about our sons and what a hole they've left now that they're gone.

We had just finished up when I got a text from Sean saying that he was done with his class (theater tech), and he could meet me a little early, so I hustled off to Café Cito, near CCPA, and bought him a sandwich, and oh my god, was it good to see him. He talked about his classes, his prospects for the summer (really surprisingly good, though I'm not supposed to share specifics until he hears for sure) and various other things. Then I got on the train again and headed back towards O'Hare, which is where my dad had booked a hotel. Sadly, the hotel was FOUR MILEs from the subway stop, so I had to call my mom and after a little wait, she and my brother came to get me. We had a very suburban meal at Chili's and went to bed early.

Next day, I got up early to run and then we went to see Northwestern lose to a very weak Minnesota. I found it very weird to be back at Northwestern. Last time I was there, I was really hoping (and stupidly expecting) that Sean would be going there for college. I still have not really forgiven them, and was a little bit (secretly I hope) glad that they got humiliated by a Big Ten bottom-feeder. The people from Minnesota, too, were so happy to have won one. It reminded me of being a Fall Mountain football mom and how excited i'd get if we got a first down, let alone scored, let alone won a game. So, my dad was a little out of sorts from losing, and also he is just not in very good health, much worse than last time I saw him in August.

We had planned to go into Chicago and have dinner with Sean, but when we got into the car it wouldn't start. the girl at the hotel desk gave us a jump, and we got to the train station, then the city and it became apparent that my dad just could hardly walk at all, and had a lot of trouble getting to the restaurant, which was about six blocks from the nearest subway stop. We probably should have stayed in the burbs and not tried to see Sean, who, I have to say, did not make much of an effort with his grandparents. he is very happy, but it seems to have made him a little self-involved. I was thinking about how he used to always ask me how my day had been all through high school, and now nothing I say is of the slightest interest to him. I know that it's good that he's so independent and confident. I understand that the fact that he doesn't need me anymore is good, but I need some time to process this. I miss the guy who was the most important person in the world to me...he's not just far away, he's sort of gone.

I had planned to stay another day and spend it with Sean, but as it turned out, he was busy all day except for the one time that I had made plans to go to a show with an old music writing friend from Splendid. So I was in Chicago all by myself, which is not a terrible thing. I went to the Chicago International Film Festival in the afternoon, then to see John Wesley Coleman that night at the Empty Bottle. I got to see Sean one more time for breakfast on Monday, ran on the lake and checked out of my hotel. With an 11 a.m. checkout, I had about eight hours to kill. so I went to Little Goat for lunch, did some desultory shopping, then holed up in the library for a while to do some work. Then I came home, uneventfully, and have been exhausted and a little depressed ever since. It's a combination of Sean being so gone, and my dad so unwell and money and all other worries. I did get an IM from Sean before I left, and was all excited (maybe he's got some time!), but it was just to tell me that he had to change his (nonrefundable) flight back to Chicago this January, because he had to be there a week before classes start. It's like the Stevie Wonder song, "I just say...can I have another $400?"

So I'm thinking that it's sort of like getting over a breakup, that I have to try to think less about Sean and not IM him as much. I love him, of course, but I need to need him less. Maybe we were too close. Maybe it was never healthy. I don't know. Anyway, life keeps on just like it always has until it changes, right? We just have to keep changing with it somehow.

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