29 June 2006

Chicago common sense



THE LIQUOR COMMISSION NEEDS TO GET OFF ITS HIGH HORSE and the yuppie vandals who demand the shuttering of taverns in neighborhoods they've only just moved into ought to shut the fuck up. The long war against the tipple at the tap must end. There's such a bill of frights at work here, starting with the collusion of newbie homeowners (or worse, renters) with distant, faceless liquor bureaucrats who apply arcane, draconian standards that are essentially a series of tripwires and trapdoors designed to monkey with the good sleep of honest publicans and pay lip service to the conservatism of this fresh generation of suburbanites who now live next door and who strive to become part of a cloistered class that lives in physical and spiritual cul-de-sacs (Like our very own mayor.) The corner tavern was there before you were born, mister, and Chicago, sister, is a two-fisted drinking, brawny town that could never find footing on your puny, piss-ant shoulders. Some come to cities to live in society, not to drink in the eat-in kitchen at the corner of Stupor and Distraction. Under the wrist hoisting the pint is the pulse of a city, and that city is Chicago. [Originally published in Newcity, 29 June 2006.]

24 June 2006

Flat banal writing, a sad way to end one's writing life.



In the Guardian, Ian Jack recalls rejecting Martha Gellhorn's last piece of journalism, with this coda: "It might have been a generous gesture to have published her last piece, however bad. Or would it? Gellhorn's own estimation of the piece comes in the final letter in [a just-published] collection. To Victoria Glendinning, June 8, 1996: "I have just finished a 42 page article, my last and very worst. It has driven me into exhaustion and despair ... There is not one sentence in it that is worth anything as writing. It is flat banal writing, a sad way to end one's writing life. I am not sure Ian Jack will take it because of the dullness of the writing which kills the subject. I am not going to try ever again, no need to suffer like that to produce work that shames me." Last week, when I read that letter for the first time, a guilt lasting 10 years was lightened. At least I hadn't made her ashamed."

21 June 2006

Door to the River: after Mark Doty, after DeKooning



A new portfolio at Sharkforum, built around an excerpt from a poem by Mark Doty, entitled Door to the River.

19 June 2006

Free muffler inspection




Dominicks, in; tree, out



This rare tree in the middle of a city block will come down along with the local mom-and-pop supermarket to make way the amenities provided by a 24-hour mega-grocery. It reminds me of a Jacob van Ruysdael painting, such as his setting of the Beth Haim cemetery.

07 June 2006

No bananas today



The supermarket on my block closed Sunday. They're clearing the shelves this week. Next: more demo and construction noise in the morning, every weekday morning.

05 June 2006

Chicago Car Culture opens Friday



Friday night is the opening reception for this group show at the Cultural Center; come see a wall of my photography! [Click for a clearer image.]

03 June 2006