- Last time I wrote about anything besides my kids or my unemployment, I was geeked for Summer Gallery Night and my excitement was justified. Ric Stultzat Hot Pop was the sleeper hit of the night, and the kids enjoyed running robots to make art. Jake Rohde's show on KK was a smash as well.
- We won a set of tickets for State Fair, and so we picked the night that family favorites Blue Oyster Cult were there. I know they're the thinking man's metal band, and I know they're a favorite of bikers, but somebody needed to tell this one chick and her boyfriend that this is still a family event. Stella was almost grossed out by the near porno show in front of us -- and this same chick was complaining about a photog in front. I stuck up for the photog because he wasn't in anybody's way, he was actually crouched down, and he was there, with us, since 20 minutes before the show, whereas Jenna WannabeJameson tried to squeeze in right when the guys took the stage. Still, BOC rocked as usual, and the kids sang along to many of their songs. More cowbell, indeed. And as a bonus, Sammy met Prince Fielder when he got off the rollercoaster! Truth be told, I don't think Sammy could have picked Prince Fielder out of a lineup before this happened, nor could he have even told you that Fielder plays for the Brewers, but who cares? Sammy met Prince Fielder!
- Great acts I enjoyed at Humboldt Park's Chill on the Hill series included KT and her Universal Love Band. At first they were kind of boring reggae -- the kind that you'd expect on those later Clash albums filled in between the hits. But then, as it got darker, the seemed to really open up and get fun and funky. Same goes for De La Buena, who closed out the series this summer. At first, it was garden variety salsa kind of music, which, frankly, I hear blasting out of cars in my neighborhood all the time. But again, it gets dark and its like the sun setting brought out the chops on these guys. They went from garden variety to downright smokin', teetering on the edge of experimental (you haven't heard Sabbath's "War Pigs" until you've heard it with a full horn section, conga drums, and the chorus cantado en español!). Muy bien!
- The All City People's Puppet Show and Parade had to be postponed from their August date because of that one rainstorm we got, and I think it worked out better to piggyback off the Labor Day parade. First, they were downtown, instead of Washington Park. Second, the folks organizing this have a similar agenda to that of progressive organized labor, so it was a good pairing. Finally, They had a better crowd because of both location and the fact that it was a beautiful Labor Day, and the Summerfest grounds were a good place for street theatre. I'm glad I happened upon it on my bike.
- I've written before that the Center Street Festival has really become the alternative festival that Locust Street used to be, and it still is. Started off as usual with the pushcart races (Sammy was quite upset that none of them involved fire this year), and plenty (but not enough) good Riverwest bands in the afternoon. This festival also has some of the best food offerings at a street fest -- we noshed on a huge portion of chicken curry and rice that fed all of us for only five bucks. Danny Price and the Loose Change started out the Uptowner stage, followed by Floor Model who didn't let a little ol' power outage stop them Dr Chow sang into the blinding sun afterwards, (accompanied by yet another Stoney Rivera sighting/guesting), and by the time they were done, we were thoroughly sunburned and headed for home.
- The last squeak of summer, the Global Union Festival was outstanding as usual. Only six acts this year, though. Maybe there was a shortage of funds or something. The opener, Mucca Pazza, a kind of punk, kind of gypsy, lots of fun marching band, was tough to beat. Out of Chicago, you could tell that they'd hunted down resale shops and rummage sales for vintage band geek uniforms they wore, but they carried the geekiness to the extreme and had everybody smiling and cheering along with their cheerleaders. They definitely stood out, but the other acts were great in their own way. Standard Global Union lineup: some great latin music (combined with reggae -- and it worked, very fun and energetic), some eastern/asian music, african, etc. Day two started with a marching band as well, but these guys were out of NYC, and were more of an Indian wedding band. Except they made me want to go to more indian weddings. The music was a cross between a Bollywood movie soundtrack and a Jewish wedding -- and a trombone player whose style and bravado reminded me of a young James Pankow stood out. They were followed by some asian throat singers whose subtlety was the only thing that would have worked afterwards. Overall, I sure hope Alverno keeps this thing going. By the sounds of things, I get the feeling this wonderful festival is in trouble, if all the pleas to email Alverno in appreciation was any indication.
So that's been it. I've been taking the kids to free beaches, we checked out the free film series during August at Pere Marquette Park , and we've found a bunch of geocaches, discovering more about this terrific city we live in. It's kept my spirits up in this recession and when you're job hunting, you have to have you spirits up. Nobody wants to hire a depressed homebody.