The Locust Street festival is sort of like homecoming for me. I used to live in Riverwest, but I ended up getting more house for the money on the South Side (and a little safer neighborhood) but there you go. Sometimes I wish I still lived in Riverwest, and its always Locust Street Day that gets me all nostalgic for that time in my life.
That time in my life: living in an apartment within walking distance from my favorite bars (and having more than one favorite bar), not being a mom, not being anybody's wife or girlfriend, but being somebody's bitchy roommate, living from paycheck to paycheck working for nonprofits, wearing pajama pants as a fashion statement to walk to the corner store to get some canned soup for breakfast. Knowing not my immediate neighbors, but knowing a good portion of people in the neighborhood, seeing them while going to see bands, art exhibits, parties, etc. The boho life! Loved it and wouldn't have traded my years in it for anything. But why did I move? Worried about the crime. (though I'lve seen more shootings in my "safe" neighborhood than I did in Riverwest.) The night before I actually moved sealed it. Somebody tried to break into my apartment (while I was home); a passing cop who saw the guy climbing up the railing was the only thing that stopped it. I moved the next day -- I was originally going to wait until the weekend but that incident got me to move.
I was always secretely jealous of those who stayed and bought houses and fixed them up and built up this neighborhood, which goes up and down and up and down. Its on the way up again, despite those recent things you've heard about crime on Center street. I'm walking to the festival two weeks ago, passing this little park that used to be a dumpy little place with a swingset and a teetertotter, but local artists got hold of it, got nicer playground equipment, and turned it into a lovely, inviting, joyous little playground for kids, with bright colors, wonderful artistic stepping stones and nice landscaping. I get to the festival, and there's the same, comfortable things going on that have gone on for years, the stages with their mix of up and comings and tried and true bands. The Cocksmiths (perfect name for them!) caught my attention with their almost earnest rendition of AC/DCs "Whole Lotta Rosie." Woodland Pattern Book Center didn't have anything visible going on, unusual for them. Usually they're repainting their mural, or have poetry readings. Got the requisite flyer handouts from the Peace Action Center, as well as some people fighting some kind of secret concentration camp in China. The Track stage -- (the Tracks being the former token piece of real estate in Riverwest for political conservatives and frat boys) pleased us all with the stylings of The Five Card Studs, all of whose songs are "for the ladies", ensuring us all a very sexy, sexy Locust Street festival.
But in general, we usually spend it walking back and forth down Locust street, eyes peeled for those people we only see this one Sunday every year. Very nostalgic.
Oh, and BTW, to relive my bohomian Riverwest Roots, I'll be joining Darrell "The Brains" Martin as a guest DJ at The Foundation Saturday July 22. I'll harp on this more later, for you can count on me to shamelessly promote myself. But the Brains says people in the music scene need to know I'm still out there, and this is as good a way as any to ease myself back in. Next stop, putting those guitar playing callouses back on my fingers!