Saturday, December 09, 2006

Chicago, cont.

We had a fabulous night out on the town last night. We caught a taxi in front of the Marriot, which was a total chaos of cars, limos, cabs, and honking horns. The cab driver decided that, by god, he was going to get us to dinner on time no matter how many traffic laws he had to break. I didn't really think we were going to die or anything, but I did have to squeeze my eyes shut periodically and try to hold back the nervous giggles.

We had dinner at Le Bouchon on the recommendation of a friend. We decided to just order appetizers, so we (collectively) had: french onion soup (Trent thought it had too much cheese), a sweet corn soup, a braised leek salad, escargot, boudin noir with caramelized apples, and mussels. Mmmmm. It was all excellent. The steaks and other main dishes that were coming out looked delicious too.

After dinner, we migrated to The Map Room for a drink. They have Rodenbach Grand Cru on tap, y'all, and it's not marked up to the ridiculous prices that Seattle pubs charge for Belgian imports. The place was hopping and didn't have any fancy pub stuffiness; the music was loud, people were playing pool, and the televisions were showing sports.

Then we caught another (more sedate) taxi to a not-really-club called the Ice Factory. It seems to be an industrial loft converted into living space and unofficial concert space. Trent's old friend Jeb Bishop, the trombone player, played first with a bass player and percussionist. Then there was another group. I'm not all that familiar with free improv, so I'm going to quote Trent's summary of the show:

Jeb's group was tres cool--kinda minimalist free improv, but really well executed and interesting in a textural way. The second group was a nuthouse: six musicians (guitar, upright bass, drums, violin, cello, vocalist making dolphin noises). They all looked steadily down and not at each other and weren't communicating musically as well in any readily parseable way. The guitarist was way too loud and spent most of the time noodling; the violinist was playing interesting melodies and developing them in a classical kind of way, but was barely audilble; the cellist was trying mostly to wring interesting / breathtakingly ugly sonic textures from her cello (and succeeded, loudly); and the vocalist communicated with dolphins. Oh, and the vocalist also rang some chimes intermittently, I suppose when the dolphins stopped paying attention. It was not a great advertisement for free improv as a listenable musical genre, though I must admit I was struck by the fact that (a) Jeb and I were likely the oldest people there by a stretch, (b) there were a lot more women there than I expected, and (c) they were mostly hot. None of these things were things I would have expected from a free improv show, which are typically the province of guys who look like they're sartorially auditioning for the jazz review slum of the Village Voice or, alternately, wear secondhand corduroy overcoats and sandals even in the dead of winter because they, too, are free improvisers and are currently without an indulgent girlfriend.
We made it back to the hotel and collapsed.

Today, we got up late and had brunch at Heaven on Seven, a Louisiana style restaurant. My creole eggs benedict were delicious. Trent's shrimp and grits were good, but not as good as the shrimp and grits he makes at home. Then we wandered off shopping. Trent procured a new tie and cufflinks, and bought several jazz cds. Then I dragged him to the yarn store.

We went to Loopy Yarns. It's a lovely shop - great selection and super friendly employees. They even have a husband couch with some nearby reading materials that aren't yarn related. I ended up splurging, and came away with 3 skeins of Fleece Artist sock yarn, plus 8 oz of roving. I'll post pics when we get back home.

Oh, I also got a cute pair of red Dansko shoes at Nordstrom Rack. They'll look great with all my red sweaters.


Anonymous Sara said...

While you're in Chicago, you should stop by Nina if you get a chance ( They're at 1655 W. Division and it's a keen store. Not your average local yarn shop keen, but artsy warehouse chic keen.

And, while you're in Wicker Park, there's a pizzeria (on North Ave, I believe) called Piece that's pretty phenomenal!

Cheers, and it was so cool meeting you today!
--Sara, from Loopy

8:49 PM  
Anonymous perkster said...

the tvs were playing sports. you're so cute. ; )

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Jeb Bishop said...

hi Melinda,

that's funny, I was searching 'Jeb Bishop patent' to see if I could find an old listing I used to have in a translators' directory, and I found this!

Nice to meet you, thanks for putting up with the music! does Trent have a blog?

--Jeb Bishop

5:05 PM  

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