Thursday, August 07, 2008

10 things that were supremely magical about chicago

so this last weekend i went to chicago for the first time in my 26 years, and it. was. awesome. because i still consider myself too young and reckless to really care about the fact that i'm racking up some credit card bills that i totally shouldn't, i took it upon myself to accept an invitation from a very good friend of mine and his completely terrific girlfriend for three days of music, beer, sweat and dance parties that can only be described as the one and only lollapalooza. fun was had, to be sure. so much fun, in fact, that as i tried to procure my flight back to the godforsaken desert, the travel fates would not allow said return trip without much, much ado. we're talking torrential rain and traffic whilst driving to the airport, over two hours of plane delays, and a dead car battery upon return to my vehicle in the desert airport garage. so as i sit here and try to extract an extra 100 shiny-new-battery dollars that i don't have out of the paycheck that's smaller than usual because of the work i missed to go on this trip, i will instead remember ten things that were made of win in the windy city. and thus:

ten of the best parts about lollapalooza and chicago in general, not counting the fact that i managed to only lose $7 in the airport slots whilst waiting for my connecting flight in vegas

1. rage against the goddamn machine, flogging molly, and gogol bordello
i'm telling you guys- you haven't lived until you have been asked, nay, *pleaded* with, by zack de la rocha to step back, please, please, please step back or i will cry. the rage set was fanfreakintastic, they pulled out some chestnuts they rarely play (born of a broken man? i can die happy now) and though the sound was kinda shite in the back half of the crowds, it was still amazing. but getting the set stopped multiple times because it's getting too crowded and chastised by a guy most notable for his rousing chant of 'fuck you i won't do what you tell me!' was kind of hilarious. seriously. we literally got bargained with like toddlers- we don't want to cut our set short, but if you guys don't take some steps back, we're going to end early. oh yes we will. we will turn this show around, don't think we won't! comedic gold. also, flogging molly was epic in a hands-clappy, fiddly, drunken irish bastard kind of way, and gogol? there is nothing comparable to really hot girls with bass drums tom-toming their way around stage while a bunch of hopped-up gypsy punks take the piss on american weddings for not having vodka and herring. awesome. suffice to say the music was top-notch. the end.

2. irish car bombs
we learned from our barkeep (who bristled at being called ma'am, even though we accidentally kept doing it) that you can't call them irish car bombs anymore. apparently they're only car bombs. i don't care what you call them, but those things are delicious. yeah i'm not supposed to have beer bc of teh eeeeevil gluten, but screw it. i'm on vacation and we were severely under-drunk by the time our sunday morning stop-in at the bar rolled around. my super good friend, we'll call him gus even though that's not his name, reminded me that just because i drank mine the fastest did not mean i drank it the best. i disagree, mostly because i'm a brat. also, i was drunk by the time we left. mmmm. irish cream. lovesit.

3. my host who bought all the beverages
i realize this is sort of a carry-over from the last item, but you don't go to chicago planning to be sober, do you? not really. you do, however, expect to spend a shitton of cashmonies, so the fact that super gus kept ponying up the green (or plastic, whichever) to keep the girls buzzed at the bars in the city and the tents at the festival and who also provided us with starbies, dunkin and monster to wake our asses up was both chivalrous and terrifically spendy. kudos to you, my lovely friend. kudos indeed. of course, the universe saw that i managed to not spend as much cash as i'd have imagined and shat the dead car battery upon me. goddamn you, universe. fetch me a mai tai.

4. alcohol on the train
okay, now i just sound like a raging alcoholic. but honestly, as a child raised on the metro of dc where eating, drinking, and probably laughing are all banned on the orange line and every other, being able to imbibe soda and especially soda with booze added, openly and proudly, whilst rolling along the tracks was wickedly delicious. oh, and gus' girlfriend, we'll call her lady overalls, created a superb drink for said train trips: mix sugar-free peach fresca with absolut vanilla. seriously. try it. it's quite possibly my new favorite. so to recap: taking the train can be a bitch, but arriving in chicago drunk and ready to run around until you find out it's kind of too hot and muggy to do that? that's the stuff weekends are made for, for sure.

5. random dance parties
lady overalls was quite the dancing queen, and she was not left wanting- around every turn there were tents of turntables and streets full of dancing, bouncing, swirly people rocking out to dj momjeans and other people whose names i've forgotten because let's face it, dj momjeans is probably the best moniker ever. it was a nonstop slap of electronica in the streets, closed off to traffic for the festival and run amok with stoners and hipsters alike, and nary a silent hip in sight. in case you were unaware, dancing makes everything fun. you wish you were there. you've not lived til you've grinded it out at 2 pm in the sun with double-fisted beers while the high-five squad is marching through to the beat of german house-transe-whatevery goodness. trust me. i wouldn't lie. at least, not about that.

6. trent reznor.
this needs no introduction or explanation, save for the uninitiated: trent reznor is fucking hot. no seriously, shut up. he is. i'm pretty sure it's a standard absolute, like how the angles of a triangle have to add up to 180 degrees and there are 24 hours in a day. as such, if you see trent reznor, you get happy in your bits and pieces, no matter what. hence, when you see NIN crash through 'closer', 'hand that feeds', 'discipline' and 'head like a hole', you're gonna have a good, super sexy time. mmm. trent.

...ohai, i'm back. i went to a place. it was a good place. carry on.

7. important ice truck is important
rarely does one see a funnier sight than a truck equipped with two or three personnel guarding it and a siren-song beep alerting everyone to its presence so that you'll jump your sweet skippy out of the way, only to realize after it passes that the truck was carrying ice. yeah. ice. not musicians, not cops, not heat-stroked bodies in an ambulatory capacity, but ice. and not bags of ice either. no no, big brick blocks of ice the size of refrigerators, the kind you'd see in old-timey tales taking place in the 1800's. in short, it was hysterically amusing and by turns perplexing, as we never received any ice in our drinks. i question lollapalooza's methods.

8. random english gropers
it's really not a trip until you have a run-in with a handsy european who gropes your ass in the name of bonding with your friend over sports. i'm pretty sure there's a book in any standard vacation scrapbook for that very thing.

9. really clean port-o-potties
okay so it's not a highlight, per se, but honestly- when was the last time the cleanliness of a toilet without flushing capability was something you actually made note of? exactly.

10. The Hat.
gus had a fabulous chapeau made of i don't know what, but it was delightfully pork-pie in nature and totally goofy. it was like a fourth companion, and i told him i was going to make note of it but i don't think he believed me. the fact that it commanded double-takes from the straights and hats off (no pun, i swear) from the hipsters proves: The Hat, it is a force. one to be reckoned with. plus lady overalls looked precious in it and it prevented much sunburn, yea verily. and that's really the name of the 3-days-in-the-sun game, isn't it? yes. yes it is.

and those are the haps, my friends, and by haps i mean the highlights or at least things that amused me the most over the course of the lollexperience. this is, of course, neglecting to mention the overall aura that is the magic of a three-day music festival, what with the smells of sunblock, illicit smokey substances, and brats on a stick, the layers of sweat you have to peel off at the end of each day whilst caring for the blisters forming on parts of your feet you didn't even know you had, or the free $25 itunes cards and spin subscrips we got just for putting our pretty little heads into the park; there was of course the city skyline shining during the day and glowing at night, adorable children with mohawks jamming to electronica in their strollers, $6 cups of crappy wine, the freedom to roam and loaf and dance and spin under trees, through fountains and around the fields whenever and wherever, and doing so instead of being at work...ah, twas glory my friends. pure glory. let it never be forgotten. especially not when the credit card bill comes.