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Chicago Blog

I'm blogging this from my cousin Lyz's apartment in downtown Chicago. The miracle of technology!

We're getting showered and ready to go to breakfast after my whirlwind "drive to Chicago arrive just in time for Varekai which got over just in time for Finals which we barely got to because of traffic." Whoo!

Marty and I left Minneapolis around 8:30am yesterday (an unusually early hour for us both on a Saturday). We gunned it through Wisconsin, maintaining a steady 80-mph until the Illinois border, at which all traffic stopped. Damn tollways. Thank goodness you-know-who had packed me a tupperware container full of loose change! We were able to speed through the automatic lanes the whole way.

Despite the tollway slowdowns, we arrived in Chicago close to 3:00pm. Marty really wanted to see the Cirque du Soleil show, Varekai, which started at 4:00pm. We sped downtown, where I got to practice my hardcore inner city aggressive driving tactics on the way to get Lyz's apartment keys. I was really good!

After grabbing the keys, we were back on the road toward the United Center. We arrived to find that parking cost $16, cash only. Of course, being Minnesotans, neither of us have any cash. And we have 10 minutes to get to the show. And we don't have tickets yet. Marty hops out to go get us tickets; I turn around in search of an ATM in a strange land. Get the cash, get back, find Marty, find our seats. Front row!

The show was awesome. I had never seen a Cirque show before, and wow. Especially in the front row, where you can see the details of the movements. It kind of makes me want to take a Cirque trip to Vegas - just go to check out O, Mystere, and this new "adult" Cirque show called Zumanity. Hmm.

We expected that Varekai would get out around 6 and we'd have plenty of time to change our clothes and get to Navy Pier by 7:30. But, when I looked at my watch after the show it was 6:30. Ack!

We sped back downtown to Lyz's apartment, then spent a while trying to find a place I could park overnight without paying. Quite the trick in Chicago, let me tell you. But we found a spot, I ran upstairs, freshened up in record time, and we hailed a cab down to the Pier. Or, at least down to the complete gridlock near the Pier where we hopped out to walk the rest of the way. We were cutting it close, so we had to speedwalk to get to the Skyline Stage.

This would be a good time to mention that the only shoes I've brought on this trip are flip-flops, so by this point I have a raging blister on the side of my foot. Wah! It would also be a good time to mention that Marty and I drove here, the entire way, from 8am to 3pm, with the top down. And despite numerous applications of SPF 15, I have quite the Rudolph nose going on. Not to mention the tanline in the shape of a seatbelt. That's all class, people. All class.

We watched NPS finals, which I have a couple of beefs with. First, nearly all the poems were political. Second, nearly all the competitors were male. Third, nearly all the competitors were black. Fourth, nearly all the competitors were young. Now, I don't have a problem with any of those things in particular, but what I do have a problem with is the lack of diversity in the voices represented. I prefer to see a wider range of styles and voices. But, I guess that's what tends to happen by the time you get to finals. The preliminaries and semis are, I think, a better opportunity to see and hear a wide range of poets. Next year, J and I might try to go to St. Louis to see the whole shebang.

After the show, we grabbed something to eat, then went to Phyllis's for an after-party. I can tell I'm getting old because I had two drinks over the course of the entire night, and today I feel like doo-doo. Of course, I might feel bad because I've only had 4 1/2 hours of sleep, too. Hard to tell. Anyway. This is ridiculously long, and we need to get some breakfast and get on the road. I really want to go to the Fluevog store while I'm here, but I have a feeling it opens late because it's a Sunday. That means no sale-priced red cowboy boots for me. Boo! But I'm going to see my fiance in a few hours. Yay!

Posted August 10, 2003 9:21 AM



I actually liked the show in Orlando better, I really want to see Varekai, I havn't seen that one yet and I want to see Zumanity. The advantage to vegas is there are 3 shows running right now, but if you go, I strongly reccomend seeing Blue Man group as well if you havn't seen that show. as you may or may not know, I am a cirque junkie. Also fun for Varekai, Bravo did a documtery TV show on the mounting of that show.

We could do a bachelorette party in Vegas and see all the goodies AND a few nasties.

I'm just sayin. . .

(I like you because you used 'doo doo' in a sentence.)

Do do that doo doo that you do so well...

Sorry..couldn't help myself...

Bummer! I was in Chicago that weekend too! It sounds like you had an awesome whirlwind adventure. My Wife and I had a more low-key, commitment to others heavy experience. Oh well....at least it's always a brief 6 hours away.....

Sounds like a fun trip. I've never been to a slam before. The closest I ever came was listening to one on tape in which Charles Bukowski read one of his.

By the way, I'm a newcomer, so I wanted to say (if I haven't before, which is quite possible, as I have the "Memento" thing going on), your poetry is wonderful.