31 July 2005

30 July 2005

buddY's final party

... last in a series, a pseudo-rave on Friday night on the rooftop and also on the roof of Heaven. A view down the Blue Line toward the Sears Tower. [Are you looking for a missing black dog?]

27 July 2005

Picnic in the City in a Garden: AlfresChicago

Omar had the idea of the picnic down back in the eleventh century: the oft-repeated refrain, "A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou" is attributed to the Persian astronomer-poet Omar Khayyam.

My own favorite twenty-first century picnic memories are almost all tangible personal moments for two--not the vast thronging Chicago formula of the checkered cloth unfurled to cover a spot of sod in Grant Park while amplified music scars the stars, or while a 60-foot Alvy Singer frolics with lobsters--and the simpler the better. Simple: more real, better, repeatable. I had reason to be proud of the showiest picnic I ever devised, on a long vacation, when I surprised my then-girlfriend on her birthday with ripe lychees, mangosteens and champagne in the cataract of a hidden waterfall atop a green island in the South China Sea. (Showy, yes, but memorable after that long hike through exotic brambles and bushes on a narrow, rutted dirt path.) But moments like the innocent summer of 2001 sing a sweet song, and that was mostly about late nights improvised on a Humboldt Park back porch as disconsolate, relentless warm rain pissed on and on, lots of Old Style, sometimes red wine, random leftovers, occasional Doritos, sometimes whisky, while a gonzo black Lab named Johnny Ratones humped for attention.

Cities are paved with takeout. Good stuff's an easy bike ride from most parts of the city. Boutique storefronts like Bucktown's Goddess and the Grocer make the most of mac and cheese. You can pick your nick, whether you want to nosh and nibble at Käse, fromage, queso, formaggio or queijo. (Cheese, Louise.) If music be the food of love, play that funky mandoline.

But most of the time, I fear, that's a microwave daydream. We're taking the time neither to cook nor to eat properly, swallowing bites from plastic containers with a plastic fork standing at an eat-in island of a spotless, spic-and-span kitchen or slouched on a couch that's less from Ikea than from a lack of shame.

The phrase the English use, "takeaway," seems more promising than "takeout," as if the sack filled with samosas or chips and fish had the poetic power to sweep you away from all of this or that. A serpentine through aisles or piles of produce can be a spirited start to a long Saturday that does not end. Summer's as big as all outdoors and markets like Lincoln Park's Green City Market, on Wednesday and Saturday mornings, are ripe with brilliant produce from area artisanal farmers, heartening goodness like organic dairy products, radishes, turnips, organically raised meat and poultry, edible flowers, sweet onions, summer squash, early tomatoes in July and heirlooms in August. There's another on weekends in Humboldt Park where backyard gardeners let go of their babies.

I've always romanticized the idea of waltzing through the organic markets with a basket and a date and a plan for the end of the day: collect all the ingredients for sandwiches and sides, one vendor at a time. Caution: foodstuff used as exotic condiments can lead to pregnancy, marriage proposals and worse.

(You burp, I snort. And whoever farts first, loudly, not shy, laughs and never apologizes. Bellies are light but full and the night begins. You have something on your lip... right... there. Got it.)

[Originally published in Newcity, 28 July 2005.]

26 July 2005

After interviewing Jim Jarmusch

It was a very nice hour of conversation.

25 July 2005

After interviewing John Dahl

It was a very nice hour of conversation.

23 July 2005


Sunset out the front door.


Julie's empathy runneth over. (One more Rotofugi opening event.)


I just realized it's Angela at the next table. But I can handle it.


Young Sam Elliott

He walks and walks and has for years. Some think he is a ghost. He doesn't dye the back of his hair any more, but his mustache is as coal black as his dead eyes.

How movies get made

19 July 2005

Artful dodged

"YOU'LL NEVER BE IN THERE AGAIN," a woman says to a man around midnight on Saturday night, pulling out a camera and snapping a photo of her sheepish-smiling friend in front of the Artful Dodger.

Bucktown's changed over the years, side streets now corridors of tallish condos interspersed with modest low-rise brick two- and three-flats. There's an impatient line of uninformed drinkers-to-be clamoring on the sidewalks outside the door of the tavern at Hermitage and Wabansia, which is closing after twenty years. "He sold it," the woman at the door repeats several times, meaning the building. Inside, the three rooms the length of the building have two coinciding crowds: fiftyish faces remembering O'Banion's and other since-gone Chicago taverns, and twentysomethings thronging the bar for one of the specialties from the bill of fare on a chalked wall. (For both generations, Chicago is for livers.) The 50s set shuffles out round midnight-Get the sitter home? One witness lingers: Lee Groban, decades on the Chicago scene, Guinness record-holder for begetting the world's longest poem, tall, stooped, bearded, in a mandala-patterned hippie shift, a pale-eyed Methuselah, turns from the bar with a dark draft crazed with froth.

The press-tin ceilings are painted black, the center room is hardly lit except for the blue glow of cell phone screens, crowded to the walls. A deejay palys in the back room, and it's a wonder anyone can move but the crowd dances as one. Behind the dim bar, there are layers of years of trade, notably a sticker from New Orleans' fabulous junkshop of a saloon, the Saturn Bar, and a procession of the Dodger's Mardi Gras celebration posters from years past. Intermittent flashes burst, from little silver Canons and someone who's just run out of SX-70 Polaroid film.

"If you're in, you're in, if you're out, you're out, we got a line," the doorwoman says. "If you're out, you're out, sorry. It's not a usual occurence, we have a lot in. He sold the building. He's been here twenty years." Beyond the security cameras on homely new fortresses and the strings of street-parked SUVs, the Sears Tower is a distant sentinel through the humid haze.

18 July 2005

Roger Ebert Day 2005

Roger Ebert Day in Chicago: a medallion to honor almost 40 years in the newspaper business has been laid in the sidewalk in front of the Chicago Theatre at 175 N. State. More appropriate might have been putting the jewelry down in front of the now-defunct Loop Theatre (its blackened marquee is visible behind Ebert's head), where his old friend Russ Meyer's Vixen played for over a year.

17 July 2005


Originally uploaded by raypride.


Originally uploaded by raypride.

buddY's final party

buddY's final night
Originally uploaded by raypride.
buddY Gallery closes end of July and this was supposed to be the last, blow-out of a party; track work stalls trains and leaves passengers scowling at the crowd.

16 July 2005

Pottersday, 1232am

A pint of Guinness will be Julie's reward after hustling from work to get the new book at 12:01am but not miss Time Gentlemen, Please.

15 July 2005


Originally uploaded by raypride.

Rotofugi Wednesday night

Chicago Avenue.
Originally uploaded by raypride.
Their second opening in a single week: Kirby photographs Kirby and Whitney.

14 July 2005

The past is redundant

From Iain Sinclair, writer, filmmaker and great student of London, assaying in the Guardian a week on: "Now the horror comes in the muted register of the universal mobile-phone greeting. I'M FINE RU OK is the text we receive before we know anything is wrong. Fast-twitch technology anticipates disaster. The latest gizmos mediate between the ugly truth of the streets - dirt, danger, noise - and the computer-generated cyberspace of the world as it ought to be - blue water, green trees, Barratt homes... Landfill mountains and dereliction are hidden from the innocent gaze of rail passengers and Olympic commissioners heading eastwards from Fenchurch Street towards Southend. A bright new wooden fence has been erected, miles of it, to cancel blight... Then, suddenly, from nowhere, news reports blow such feeble strategies apart, presenting us, in unforgiving full colour close-up, with real damage, actual bodily harm. We shouldn't, unless we work in hospitals, in casualty departments, witness such things... This, as we eat or slump in our homes after the daily battle with an overstretched transport system, is news from elsewhere. But that elsewhere is strangely familiar. We've grown used to out-of-synch video-phone quiver from deserts, shanty towns, wrecked tourist hotels. Such sights do not belong in Aldgate East, Tavistock Square. They hurt. The victims speak with our own voices... The writer Derek Raymond used to call it the "general contract" - mortality. Shit happens. You don't have to fill in an application. We have been told, but we didn't believe it coming from that source, the politicians, that there were people out there who didn't know us but who wanted to kill us. Blow us apart. Destroy the idea of the city as a community, a viable organic entity. They wanted, above all else, to activate one strand of urban life: paranoia. The dark thing that is always beside us, nudged by every 20-minute hold in an Underground tunnel, close heat, no voice, or the voice of some distant robot... The novelty of the recent atrocities lay in the astonishing immediacy of the forms of remembrance. No editing, no staged highlights. No retakes. We seem to be remembering events that have not yet occurred. A fabulous stream of low-definition, drift imagery: pedestrians swimming through smoke and fuzzy light. Recorded by someone, anyone, who is a part of the event, not a privileged outsider. Tunnels and trains captured on a mobile-phone. We see through our pores. We exchange deep memory for a disposable sense of present time. Everything is out there, nothing is special. The past is redundant."

11 July 2005


Originally uploaded by raypride.

10 July 2005

09 July 2005

Setup 2

Another set-up for the CUFF intro films.

07 July 2005

06 July 2005

04 July 2005

What did you want to be when you were 12?

Next to the last shoot for the Chicago Underground opening films: this is the first of several set-ups against several paintings in this artist's space. 22 interviews and how many to go?

02 July 2005

Humid and full

Not as warm as it was last week. Hoping that on Sunday night, the studio where we're shooting the rest of the CUFF stuff will not be quite so... liquid?