Archive for August 2012
My fear of romantic commitment has been well hashed-over by my friends, family, and ex-boyfriends. But the commitment that’s been hardest for me to make is one to New York, despite the fact that I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a dozen years, written tender articles about New York’s subway system and abandoned buildings, and published a book about its cab drivers. Yet my feelings for the city are anything but soft and fluttery. Case in point: One of my favorite T-shirts, a gift from a friend, says: I Kind of Heart New York
When I moved to New York in 2000, I had hoped to be a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters, but couldn’t swallow the required two-year commitment. By now I could have raised the child. When friends and family in the Midwest asked over the years how long I’d stay in the city, I always say “one more year.” After 12 years here, I still think of the congressman from my parents’ Ohio neighborhood as my own. And when I meet a guy who extols his love for New York, I inwardly grimace and turn away
I have always had a manic-depressive relationship with New York. I felt ecstatic dancing to skilled DJs at rooftop warehouse parties and seeing my first outdoor movie in Bryant Park, skyscraper lights shining above the screen like stars. The live music in beer-sticky bars captivated me, as did the talented, creative new friends who helped me uncover my own potential. Yet the city’s darker side haunts me in the form of cement. Forget grass and trees, “parks” are slabs of concrete with benches – Union Square or McCarren Park anyone? Everyone’s in a hurry, rushing somewhere “important,” people on top of each other, crawling over each other. And when some of these people stand in front of the subways doors, refusing to move aside as others board the train, I want to punch them.
Still, I haven’t stayed in New York by accident or by default. So this summer I decided to commit – at least to Brooklyn, where I live, and Manhattan, where I work (The other three boroughs seem like a bit of a stretch.) Like a woman in marriage counseling, I decided to have regular date nights with New York. My plan: First, soak up as many concerts as possible and re-forge my original connection with the city and its music. Second, say yes to people and possibilities. Third, be deliberate, recognize positive and negative feelings, focus on the positive, and take pictures for prosperity.
Chicago musician and tastemaker Tom Schraeder thinks he’s on the verge of something big, and he wants to tell the world. Despite being sidelined by major art markets like NYC, LA or even Nashville and Austin, Schraeder believes in the strength and uniqueness of the Chicago art scene, so much that he built a month-long fest showcasing the best and most diverse work we have to offer. Chicago, I Love You takes place at Lilly’s in Lincoln Park, and covers the entire month of September. We had a chance to talk with Schraeder about his work, his plans and what there is to love about Chicago.
FP: Chicago, I Love You is an excellent event for a lot of reasons. I’m relatively new to Chicago, and somewhat unlearned when it comes to the local scene, so this is a great opportunity to start my education. I’m sure a lot of people feel that way.
TS: Yeah, that’s actually perfect, and part of the reason we set it up.
FP: How did it come to be?
TS: Originally, it was supposed to be a fun record release show for some friends and me, but it started to grow, and we realized it was something much larger. The more people I reached out to, the more people responded eagerly to get behind what we’re doing. With all the positive responses I got, I realized I could and should make it about something much larger than just myself. Now, the CD release will come much later. So, what came from just a fun idea, became a collective event. We’re all in this together now, and it’s a joint effort to build Chicago.
Basically, we don’t appreciate that Chicago is referred to as second or even third to big art markets like New York and LA or even Nashville. Maybe it’s because the city is so spread out, and based entirely upon these neighborhoods, that its hard to get a center for our art, but that also makes it that much better. So, now, we’re taking art from all these different neighborhoods and heritages and showcasing it in one central place, at Lilly’s. It’s a genre-less fest, that’s more showing off what the city can do and create that community.
The odds of a marriage proposal being accepted are 1 in 1.001, i.e. nearly perfect. The odds of a married couple making love on any given night are 1 in 5. The odds of a married couple reaching their 25th anniversary are 1 in 6. Such stark, if not totally surprising, probabilities provide both the chapter headings and the thematic glue of Stewart O’Nan’s sharp and sad new novel, a love story wrapped in a heist wrapped in a rumination on risk, reward, and regret.
In less than 20 years, O’Nan has written 13 novels, including Snow Angels, which became a 2007 movie starring Sam Rockwell and Kate Beckinsale. His four nonfiction books include a manual on writing co-edited with John Gardner, whose The Art of Fiction is a Bible on the MFA circuit. His papers are already archived at Cornell University’s library. In other words, he’s a workhorse and a writer’s writer, and in The Odds, he makes the art of fiction seem effortless.
Chicago-based cartoonist Bernie McGovern is an idiosyncratic worldmaker. His work is a phantasmagoria through a jagged yet welcoming landscape populated with heartbroken archetypes as captivating as they are bizarre. It’s as if Hayao Miyazaki were asked to fill in on Peanuts.In his latest work, DemonTears (Hic & Hoc Publications), McGovern uses his breathtakingly peculiar imagination to tell the very real story of his struggle towards sobriety. Alternating between his daily humdrum life and his inner existence, which is anything but, DemonTears is a painfully honest and dizzyingly creative, if occasionally inscrutable, journey through addiction and out the other side. FP staff writer Jared Thomas recently sat down with Bernie McGovern to chat about DemonTears, independent comics, and catharsis.
FP: DemonTears is obviously a very personal book. It must have been a cathartic experience to create but what do you hope the reader will get out of it?
BM: It’s strange that the book is so personal yet wasn’t cathartic at all. Working on this story definitely stirred up feelings, but did little to change them or make me feel better. It would blow my mind If this book could help someone realize that he or she has a drinking problem. I would also like the book to stand as an experiment in personal myth-building. It’s something anyone can do. Invent characters to represent parts of yourself.
New York City has long been a haven and a source of inspiration for writers, musicians, and artists. Young people regularly flock there to draw from its rich culture and history, just as I did almost 10 years ago when I moved to Brooklyn to study writing. D. Nurkse’s new poetry collection, A Night in Brooklyn, offers a glimpse into Brooklyn’s past—a time before Macbooks filled every coffee shop, before there was an Ikea in Red Hook. A Brooklyn native, Nurkse has witnessed the change in his lifetime, but the book doesn’t spend too much time on the transition. Instead, A Night in Brooklyn, Nurkse’s tenth collection, is more introspective, revealing snapshots of his younger self and offering a meditation on time and its fluidity: one moment you can be sitting at the bar, and the next you’re suddenly too young to be served.
Known for his eclectic work in seminal Louisville projects such as Rodan, Rachel’s, The Young Scamels, Shipping News and Per Mission, musician Jason Noble passed on 8/4/12, succumbing to a years-long fight with synovial sarcoma, a rare from of cancer that begins in the joints. Since his passing, several moving tributes have been posted across the web from friends and colleagues.
“I always looked forward to seeing him and hearing from him on the phone. This was not unique to myself… Jason was loved by the whole Touch and Go / Quarterstick staff. We will all remember him fondly and miss him greatly. As someone involved in the music business, time and again I personally witnessed the positive impact Jason’s music, and the manner in which he lived his life, had on countless other musicians and music lovers. Jason was a source of inspiration for many… myself included. I am proud to have been Jason’s friend and cohort. I will miss him terribly.”
Enjoy Side B of our “monthly” mixtape below. If you missed Side A, you can check it out here.