Thursday, June 23, 2005

Is it a small enough world for ya? (A retro-post)

IT IS IF YOU travel in artsy or "fringe" crowds in Chicago. Just for my own amusement, and to shout out to some of the many interesting people I've met of late, I will play connect-the-dots.

Fall 2004:

I meet Gail #1 at an art opening at Polvo in the near South Side neighborhood of Pilsen. She invites me to her upcoming show at ARC Gallery in Near Northwest Side Ukrainian Village.

While leaving Gail's show at ARC, I pass another gallery a couple doors down -- Gallery Chicago. Since its doors are open, I stroll right in. Someone tells me they're having a party in the studio in back. So I go on back there and meet, among others: gallery owner Ken, artist Gail #2 (a punk-rockish fortysomething firebrand), and Tall Bearded Dude.

I see Maya's Xanga blog. Maya is the avowed "queer anarchist" daughter of the archconservative former Reagan Administration official who entered last year's Illinois Senate race and felt the pain of a Barack Obama sock-o-rama. I said to myself, "I bet one of these days I'll meet her ... because, except for the queer part, she reminds me so much of myself."

Feb. 2005:
On the Red Line platform at Harrison I see a waifish little girl who, by her many accoutrements, could only be Maya. It is Maya. As we board the train, we strike up a conversation and talk all the way up to Addison, where I exit to go to Smart Bar to see 24 Hour Party People.

I go to the Printers' Ball, where among many others I see the Tall Bearded Guy, who I learn is Lee Groban. I meet the daughter of Steve, my former mentor at the Chicago Reader, who has a new book out on the criminal justice system.

I also meet a really cute weirdo, Alicia, who introduces me to Ken #2, aka DJ Soul Rebel, who tells me all about this Chicago Afro-Punk show he's promoting.

At Versionfest, there's Ken from Gallery Chicago and Genewise Christie. I also meet a great many others, including a hippy chick/"group facilitator" named Tree. (Is that her real name?)

I go to the Afro-punk show at Texas Ballroom, to which I was invited by Ken #2 (regrettably, missing the AGet2Gether premiere/cast & crew party). Who should I see at that show but Gail #2 from Gallery Chicago -- moshin' with all the kids!

Since I live so far from Bridgeport I wind up crashing with a quite interesting couple, Liberte and Jimmy (and their four cats), who also happen to know Maya; in fact, I learned, Maya had crashed on the very same couch not long ago, after her dad had kicked her out for coming out.

Liberte also happens to know Tree.

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