Wednesday, December 13, 2006

a day in my life--dad's visit/second city marathon

I didn't write yesterday because I think I was in the house total 30 minutes from the time I woke up in the morning...I drove Max to school, my dad came to visit for the afternoon, regular after-school duties of grocery store runs, walking the dogs, and driving to/from'd think that'd be enough for a day, but it didn't stop there. I then continued on to Second City for their 5th annual, 24-hour "Dear Santa" fundraiser...where I sat from 8 p.m. till 2 a.m. laughing a lot and listening to Jeff Tweedy (among other musicians) perform mere feet away from where I was sitting. I dropped my friend Andrew off there amidst my chaotic schedule to get the tickets/seats at 6 and met him back there at 8. He saved me an awesome seat two rows from the front of the stage. I have to admit that when I was standing at the bus stop at 7:30 by myself in the rain, all I could think about was going to bed. But I kept telling myself that it was one day out of the year and to suck it up. I ended up only being tired the first 45 minutes or so, and from that point on, it was like the ultimate second wind hit me, and I couldn't get enough of it. I'd venture to say it was the most worthwhile $10 I've ever spent. That's right--it only cost $10 (I might still go back for an hour later today while Max is at tutoring around the corner). Anyway, this post will be more like a photo essay format, as I took a lot of pictures yesterday. So here goes.

Jenny is really the only one who'll understand the significance of this photo (we were at a restaurant with our parents and the waitress asked "who has the pepsis?" and my dad responded, "the dudes.") Anyway, after the Hull House (no pictures because I felt like I was gonna faint the whole time we were there), we went to Tomato Head for lunch in the West Loop. When we were done eating, my dad walked down the hall to the bathrooms and I heard him go, "DUDE!" when he saw the door, and then as he passed by the women's one, he waved at it and yelled, "HELLO!" (because the door said "Dollies"...get it?)

After lunch we walked a few blocks down Randolph, intending to turn on Peoria to walk through some art galleries. But my dad got distracted by the flashing "Chicago's Chocolate Café" sign and so we went in there first. I got a Mexican hot chocolate, while he savored his favorite thing--fudge, while clearly displaying his other favorite thing (see hat and ring)--the Yankees.

For the past six years or so my dad and I have made it a tradition to spend a day together looking at art in galleries or museums once or twice a year. I love doing this with him because he gets so blown away by people's artwork. Even if he doesn't like everything he sees, aesthetically-speaking, he'll still marvel at the "amount of creativity people have." I find it more fun to look at art with him than say a fellow artist because he's coming from a scientific point of view, whereas other artists can get too pretentious for my liking.
This is my dad at the Rhona Hoffman Gallery pointing out that both my mom's name ("Bon"nie...part of "Bonkers") and his ("Loo" [really Lou]...part of "Loon") appeared on the painting.
It also was funny to hear him yell out, "Yo!" from the other side of the gallery, after I presume he'd read words such as "shithead" and "fuck up."
[Artist: Mel Bochner..."'Obscene,' 'Money,' 'Stupid,' 'Meaningless' and other recent paintings on black velvet"]

I liked this jacket. Part of the "Poetry: Literal, Visual & Otherwise" show at moniquemeloche gallery.
[Artist/Writer: Jason Pickleman]

"This looks like cheese!" My dad said. "You know...those cheese slices...Kraft!..Kraft singles!" Sure enough, as we left the room, we looked at the paintings' titles, and that one was called, "Defender of the Cheese." He doesn't give himself enough credit.
[Artist: Chris Cosnowski, part of the "Civic-minded" show at gescheidle gallery]

"Half a ram, huh? Well I suppose it's better to have half a ram than none at all."
[i forgot to write down where we were...but it was a gallery right next to the Tomato Head on our way back to the car...i think the exhibit was called "The Human Condition"?]

You can't tell, but my dad is in the driver's seat of that minivan. No, not our car. The lady in the passenger seat said her husband would be right out, but they were blocking us in, so the lady told him he could get in and move it. So he did. Upon getting back into my car, he goes, "I wonder what she would have done if I drove away."

Horatio Sanz flew in from NYC to participate in the Second City 24-hour fundraiser. Reminded me of my days at SNL. I wondered if he'd recognize me, seeing as I happened to be wearing the same zip up sweatshirt I wore pretty much every day when I worked there.

Jeff Tweedy mostly talked and had a Q&A with the audience. I couldn't think of anything not stupid to ask, so I just sat quietly and snapped pictures. He took audience requests for the two songs he played. The girl in front of me raised her hand and requested "Please tell my Brother," to which she got a teary-eyed response about how he can't play that song right now because his mom died very recently and it hurts too much. That made me sad for him. Someone else requested "Passenger Side," which he played. I raised my hand the second time to request "Box Full of Letters," but he called on someone else. Second--"White Light" (i think that's what it's called?'s a new one)

This is Jeff posing as the bids kept going higher and higher. The auctioned prize: a private concert of a 20-song playlist (that you decide) in your home for you and 29 of your closest friends. I was willing to bid a few hundred dollars, thinking that'd be the coolest thing I could ever host for my friends...the first bid was $2,000! Guess how much it ended up going for....$17,500!!! And not just that, he said he'd be willing to do 3 shows if the remaining bidders would all match the price. So with that prize alone, $52,500!!!, they almost hit last year's total earnings within the first two hours of the event!

Sally Timms and Jon Langford sang a few duets, one being a quite beautiful rendition of Roy Orbison's "Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain."

Robbie Fulks and his friend (name?) took the stage around 1 a.m. He looked remarkably like Conan O'Brien (height and everything) and sang catchy rhythmic tunes. He also did a rap called "Rap of the Dead" that he said is a personal New Year's tradition where he raps about all the prominent people who've died in the past year. We were his practice audience, as he said he wrote it the night before and needs to memorize it in the next few weeks.

The friend sat out for a few songs and watched Robbie play front and center from the audience.

For their last song, people started shouting out requests. Two being "Man in the Mirror" and "Dancing Queen." Robbie, without hesitation, started in on an acoustic version of the suggested Michael Jackson classic...."I'm gonna make a change for once in my life..." This prompted his friend to run backstage and then reappear with a GIANT drum and an umbrella to use as a mallet. It was so fun because everyone sang/clapped along...then somehow morphed the ending of the song into the beginning of Abba's "Dancing Queen" and back again. It was pretty incredible...and hard for me to refrain from starting a full out dance party.

Before taking off for the night (around 2...) we got to witness Joe Canale's (current mainstage cast member) three friends (also cast members) bid $400 each to get 7 chances each to throw a football at Joe's crotch. This made me cringe, but it was an awkward time to get up and leave. This is Joe sticking out his tongue at his friend "up to bat."

Notice the unfortunate location of the oncoming blurred football....

Today, as I mentioned I might do at the start of this post, I went back there for just over an hour while Max was in tutoring around the corner. The cast members from last night were all donning glasses now, but their enthusiasm hadn't diminished. Especially when The Blisters--a band made up of 11-year-old boys, the drummer being Jeff Tweedy's son, Spencer--took the stage. You wouldn't expect much out of a pre-teen three-some (one band member couldn't make it, usually there's 4), but they seriously rocked that place! And the best part was that at the end, the lead singer kid (Henry I think?) goes, "Those were all original songs." WHAT?! Everyone in the room flipped out when he said that because they were that great. They left the stage and everyone started chanting, "BLIS-TERS! BLIS-TERS! BLIS-TERS!!" They jumped back on from backstage to play a two-song encore--"Keep on Rockin' in the Free World" and one of my favorites (because it reminds me of Forrest Gump dancing in his new shoes from Jenny), "Sweet Home Alabama." So glad I decided to stop back in there for a little bit.

I'm anxious to hear what the total amount of rundraising ended up being. Let's just say 12 Chicagoan families' lives are going to soon change for the better! If anyone wants to help out, they said anyone can go to the main post office downtown and get a "Dear Santa" letter to help out a kid or a family in need. Think about it.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Sounds like a great event. (Roy Orbison made a lot of great music, but "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"is a Willie Nelson song.)

alyse said...

Ah! You're right! Thanks for correcting me (Anon...?)...I always had that song downloaded under the wrong artist, and it wasn't until two summers ago when I saw Willie Nelson live that I discovered I'd been led under false pretenses. And it's so clearly Willie's voice now that I know--I should have known better.

Abbi said...

That sounds AWESOME!! I wish I was there. I want a kid named Henry that plays in a rock band called the Blisters. How cool.

Anonymous said...


Me too, sort of. Next time I get a blister, I'm going to name it Henry!

Sheri said...

hahaha... i liked the part about dad(dy) haha. it's so funny that i can easily hear everything that he said and then moving the van thing doesn't even phase me. hahahahahaha. sorry--it's hilarious.