Author’s Note: At the time this post was published, my site was named Glamorous Gypsy. It has since been rebranded as The Scripting Gypsy to reflect a change in artistic direction.
At this point, I feel I should pause and address the name of my site, which will also be the name of my pop-up clothing resale store. I want to appear “Glamorous” because I want people to buy my clothes, but the irony is that my real gypsy life is about as UN-glamorous as it gets! It mostly consists of no-name farm towns, truck stops, cheap motels, and surviving on Cheez-Its and bad coffee. But I love it anyway.
A few notes about Illinois:
- Holy TOLLS! I’ve never seen so many toll roads in my life. I’ve spent around $10 in quarters and dimes in the last 2.5 days. I was particularly struck by the irony of the so-called “Veterans’ Memorial Tollway.” Are veterans receiving all this money? I highly doubt it.
- In case anyone wasn’t aware, Chicago is a BIG BIG BIG city. When I first visited Chicago with my sister eight years ago, we had locals showing us around and taxis taking us everywhere – it wasn’t just ME trying to figure it out alone. This time, I was so lost and confused that I frequently missed my turns even as my GPS dictated the directions. Riding the subway would have been faster, but I didn’t dare leave my car unattended for too long, lest I get lost or my car/home get stolen.
- Illinois drivers are ferocious! They will mow down anyone that can’t keep up, and they get pissed if you even hesitate. They briefly got the best of me yesterday in Highland Park, just north of the city – I got in a bit of a fender bender. I’m okay (promise) and the people in the other car were okay; they only suffered a bit of damage to their rear bumper. As our two cars drove through a busy intersection on a green light, the car in front of them made an illegal right turn. They stopped abruptly, I slammed on my brakes, but I couldn’t avoid hitting them. Luckily, the police officer who arrived on the scene was nice enough to not give me a ticket since I’m from out of state and would have had to come back for court. Mom and Dad, go ahead and put the insurance policy in my name so I can spend the next ten years paying it off.
While perusing the alt-weekly newspaper, I spotted a listing for a jazz exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, so I headed downtown to check it out. The exhibit is called “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now,” and it was STUNNING! The theme was African-American jazz musicians and artists of the late 60’s and 70’s finding creativity amidst the struggle for social equality.
The following photos are from the exhibit, and my commentary is below:
(Yes, that last one is a painting – each dot of color is a brush stroke. The woman pictured is “looking toward a bright future.”)
While admiring the artwork, I got to thinking about modern race relations in America and how our attitudes differ from those of the sixties.
Young black people are so disconnected from their roots — most don’t know anything about jazz music or art, and the music they’re fed by MTV and BET from people who look like them is utterly soulless and degrading. There’s no unification or hope found in cultural pursuits like the people of the jazz era created. So there’s the sense that social progress CAN’T be achieved UNLESS the discrimination from authority figures goes away — but these early jazz artists didn’t see it that way. When the city and the media ignored the needs of the inner city, they beautified their own southside Chicago slums with giant murals and streetside drum circles. They preserved their own African-American culture and decided they were going to leave an indelibly positive mark on history and forge their own “bright future” (see above) WHETHER the dominant authorities believed in them or not. That’s so inspiring to me.
Right out in front of the Museum was a free weekly farmers’ market, where I ate the best grilled (artisanal) cheese sandwich I’ve ever had in my life.
I spent the rest of the day walking and driving around the city in search of the best Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. I found it at Giordano’s in the Beverly neighborhood on the south side. The pizza was so tall, I could only eat 2 slices and I was full!
From there, I found another airBnB room close by in a beautiful little bungalow owned by a nice woman named Violeta.
I’ve had a great time in Chicago, but this city is EXPENSIVE and it’s time to get back on the road again. (Every time I say that, I can’t help but hear Bob Seger in my head.)
Kisses on your faces,