So, that’s the view from Michael’s apartment, looking out on Surf.
Somehow I managed to wake-up at about 7:30am this morning. Woah. I’m guessing it was all the light pouring into the room, maybe Michael shut the door and woke me up, maybe it was the cat. I don’t know, but it was unexpected, and I’d never have guessed it was so early, because I felt well-rested. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that Michael generously insisted I take his bed for the night while he slept on the futon. I hope he slept okay.
I went to sleep imagining my first solo hip-hop piece. What would I talk about? It’s easy to imagine me doing some sort of lame, navel-gazing, “let’s talk about Hip Hop Theatre” hip hop theatre piece. But, one of the messages of the movement is that we need to grab the mic ourselves and talk about the world, dialogue throught he art. “We do not live for hip hop [theatre], it lives for us.” It was fun to imagine. Acacia said she thought Bamuthi and I would get long really well if we became friends. I imagined that too. It’s fun to imagine being part of a tight community like that. And I do feel like I could bring something to them. Somewhere between the SITI Company and Will Power is a place I think Bamuthi and I could sit together very comfortably. Anyway, that’s all late-night day-dreaming for the moment. I have a few other things to tend to first.
So … I called Acaica and then spent some time getting ready for the day. I looked at my map book and got an idea of where I could likely find a decent coffee shop (DePaul) and some fruit. I tried to figure out how to kill the day. A whole day, trying not to spend money, in a big, big city. So, I think I may head to Lincoln Park from here, walk around, talk some pictures with my phone, maybe visit the Chicago Historical Society.
“Here” is the Savor the Flavor coffee house at 2545 Sheffield. It’s a nice little place with good coffee and a kind girl behind the counter. It’s right by the corner of a busy intersection, so there are interesting people walking by and I have a nice view of a park outside. Of course I didn’t even enter without knowing that they had free wireless. I was SHOCKED by the lack of WiFi at the Corner Bakery yesterday. Maybe they are trying to prevent people for sitting around their place for 3 hours, like I’ve done here. Who knows. Anyway…
I got right to work writing about the show last night. Once again, that’s here. It was a great night at the theatre and reason enough to come to Chicago. The energy in the room, even before the show started, was inspiring, revolutionary. It feels good to be among that crowd. I used to feel that way in Louisville, at Humana every year, but that feeling has faded a bit. The crowd last night was so young, so hip, so energetic. They’re just the type of people we’ve been trying to get in the theatre. And maybe that’s the key. I really believe that those people would respond to things I’m trying to explore in the theatre. Maybe adding a little more of the hip hop culture I cherish would bring some more people in the door. It feels like crass marketing when I put it that way, and maybe to some extent that’s what it is. Or, maybe it’s about learning new ways to communicate. But, then there’s that whole credibility issue. The race issue. I admit, I worry about trying to do hip-hop theatre as a white guy. A white guy from Ohio. It’s a legitimate issue. But, I hope I have more to talk about than that.
Imagine a more hip-hop influenced Pursuit of Happines. I quoted Kweli and Mos Def in it a lot. What if it had more beats, a more HH aesthetic. The end is pretty much Hip Hop Activism as it is. It certainly has that feel. But how much is the race/class/credibility/identity issue important? Certainly POH doesn’t feel like hip-hop with Geoff, Tara, Liz, Acacia, and Brant performing it. Of all of them, only Acacia really knows much about it. Well, Liz’s brother apparently knows a lot about it, but Liz doesn’t exactly exude rhythm and rhyme. Do I have more hip-hop to offer? What does that even MEAN? Ugh.
Maybe the hip-hop part of The Absurdity of Writing Poetry is an experiment, to see if I can pull it off. To see how it feels. To see if it connects. I’ll have to think more on this.
But then, what does this all have to do Al[t] and Ian and Acacia and Dave and Michelle? Who knows. My head hurts. I need to eat some lunch.
Does Chicago feel like home? Well, it certainly feels good. When I went to Millenium Park yesterday, I definitely loved the idea that if I lived in Chicago, that would be a place I could visit with frequency. Couple hours to kill? Go sit by the Frank Gehry band-shell. Nothin to do, visit any one of the 552 parks in town. How many coffee shops are in this 5 block radius? How many different Universities and Colleges are here? How many internationally important theatres are here? That’s what’s exciting about it. I wouldn’t have to take a 7 hour bus-ride to go to someplace culturally complex and intellectually challenging. In Columbus, you really have to work hard to find cultural/intellectual challenges, and you HAVE to go to the Wexner Center. In Chi-town, it’s here for the taking.
Well, that’s what I’m thinking now. The bubble hasn’t burst. I haven’t read any crime statistics or thoroughly explored the price of rent. Maybe I’ll do a little of that today. There are certainly people around I could ask. I need to find a Reader.
Reading over what I wrote above, I realize these are good questions to explore (possibly) in the discussion with Jeff Chang, Danny Hoch, and Angela Zone. What IS the hip-hop aesthetic. How does one become a part of the culture? And what are the issues surrounding autheticity?
Okay, I’m hungry, and as it turns out, the espresso here is pretty strong.
I’m in pain. My back hurts from carrying my bag around all day today and yesterday, and from hunching over my computer too much. I meant to go back to Mike’s place and dump my stuff, but that didn’t happen. I just walked, walked and walked. All the way from Mike’s place in East Lakeview, to DePaul, down Lincoln Park to the Park and the zoo, then down Clark and Dearborn till I hit Chestnut, then over to the Water Tower. Here’s my view as I write.
So, I had fun this afternoon, but now I’m just totally beat. I can’t believe how much the walking (and carrying) has tired me out. Until I sat down here, I really thought I would collapse. But a little water and coffee later and I’m feeling much better. Hey, here’s a picture from the zoo.
That’s a chimpanzee, if you can’t tell.
So, as I walked around today, after browsing apartment classifieds in the Reader, I was thinking about how Acacia and I might manage to live here, as far as financially. It’s some pretty scary stuff. I think we’ll do fine, but the necessity of living on a tight budget becomes much more of an imperative. That’s not exactly one of our strong-suits right now, and we’re negatively co-dependent when it comes to that. So … discipline, restraint. Maybe fewer $5 coffee-shop trips each week. Fewer iTunes purchases. Fewer vacations to Paris. Hey, wait.
And then what about theatre. I’ll really be starting from scratch when we get here. In a way, it’s an opportunity. We’ll be whatever we say we are. We can have open auditions and just see who’s around. I’m looking forward to the response to our first open call, actually having some people show up who we didn’t call or email personally. But, at them same time, we’ll have no connections, very little knowledge about who, what, where, etc., etc. It’s not a big, scary city. But it’s a big city. So … I guess what I’m saying is that our greater opportunities will, at first, go head-to-head with our lack of knowledge and resources, but the avilablity of resources makes that a little less scary.
Boy, I am tired. I’m gonna stop blathering for a little bit.