Archive for October, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Jack-O-Laterns – Hayden (Left) Apryl (Right)

I recorded a Halloween show for WEVL 89.9FM. You can check it out from 4-6pm today. And if you’re not in the Memphis area, you can listen online here.

P.S. – Check out the comments page from the Friday the 13th post. We got a comment from Undead Johnny!

A Great Weekend!

Monday, October 30th, 2006

On Friday, Apryl and I checked out Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which Disney has re-released in the theatres in 3D. Other than museum exhibits, I can only recall seeing one other feature aided with those three dimensional spectacles, and that was the 1953 sci-fi classic It Came from Outerspace from a screening in college off of a 16mm projector. The experience was less than thrilling. Back then, it seemed the technology was being used merely as novelity than for any real advantages. So in the end, the viewer was left with a few cheap thrills of some object leaping towards them, and then back to regular dimension for the rest of movie. And those glasses were always such a pain for those like myself who already wear glasses. Well, the new 3D glasses are bulky, but they do fit nicely over your own prescriptions. Check out our photos below:

As for the movie, the idea of novelity was all put to waste once the film started. The use of depth created with the 3D technology was spectacular and brought the animator’s creations to a new level of awe. I don’t think I would want to see too many movies in 3D but for a film like The Nightmare Before Christmas it was perfect. Although, we both admitted we missed a cheap thrill once in a while.

Saturday, Apryl and I had brunch with friends at The Bongo Room:

Brunch is a lot bigger deal here than it is back home. And it seems one of the best places to grab some brunch is in the Bucktown/Wicker Park area. I got the chocolate french toast. See below for evidence:

Late that afternoon, my dad came to visit with tickets to Sunday’s Chicago Bears game against San Francisco 49ers. We didn’t go out that first night, but we did walk around the neighborhood, watched Svengoolie, and ordered delivery from Giodanos.

Sunday, my dad and I hopped on the train to head over to Solider Field for the big game. This was the first time my dad had ridden the L, so of course there were several delays on the tracks before we got to our final destination. The colorful characters on board, though, seem to keep him entertained.

When we got downtown, we started walking the wrong way to make our bus transfer. But we did run into the Haunted Village and the bloody fountain:

When we started back the right way, we skipped the idea of catching the CTA, and instead decided to follow the rest of Bears fans making moves toward Lake Michigan. The congregated fans lead us straight to a series of school busses which turned out to be free shuttles up to Solider Field.

Sometimes it really pays to go with the flow!

A friend of my dad’s got us great tickets with the Cadillac Club, which granted us access into a cozy lounge area where television sets were planted every which way your eye could drift.

The outside lounge area wasn’t too bad either. Below isn’t from a museum interior, but of the walkway between one side of the outside lounge to the other:

And below is a photo showing the contrast between the different architecture of the stadium:

The game itself was a Chicago Bears blowout. In fact, I heard that it was the most points scored by the Bears in the first quarter since the 1940’s. At the half, the Bears were winning 41-0.

Here are some more photos from the game:

Above, two pigeons made it clear that Solider Field was just as much their home as the Bears. My dad mentioned that whenever the Bears had the ball, the birds would get behind the Bear’s offense to avoid any contact. But when the 49ers had it, they didn’t feel there was any need to move from any comfortable position seeing as there was little threat of the 49ers moving the ball.

Do you think I could have snapped the photo below if it hadn’t been so close to Halloween?

No, I don’t think it mattered either. We were also sitting next to The Blues Brothers but I couldn’t get a good enough photo of them.

The final score was Bears 41 – 49ers 10.

That night, we all went out to eat in Little Italy at Gennaro’s, which is a little restaurant that you have to be buzzed in from the bartender/owner Johnny before entering. It reminds me of a cross between Pete & Sams and The Lamplighter back home.

Apryl and my dad both got the Eggplant Parmesan while I got the Pork Chop with Peppers and Potatoes dish. It was a perfect way to end our last night with my dad, and I had plenty of leftovers for the next day.

I’m still excited that my dad was able to come up here for a visit. It’s just a shame that it all had to end so quickly. I’ll just have to look forward to him visiting again. He wants to come back when there is snow on the ground.

Homecoming

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

This past weekend was homecoming weekend for the Memphis Tigers and for Hayden, Eva, and me. None of us made it to the Tigers game, but we did spend time with friends and family. We stayed at a cabin with Hayden’s dad, sister Paige, brother-in-law Mike, and the nephews part of the weekend. I got to enjoy the grilled hot dogs and Rotel dip, carve pumpkins, and join in with the nephews in trying to scare each other. But I missed out on the fishing, hiking, and cookie-baking fun Saturday because I came back to Memphis to spend time with friends and my mom, whose surgery I couldn’t be in town for on Tuesday. (By the way, my mom’s surgery went fine. She’s a-okay. Yay!)

On Saturday, I had lunch with a few of my lady friends. The highlights included watching Elaina be a mom (it seemed extremely natural), seeing how adorable her daughter (the human Eva) is, and listening to Amber’s hilarious questions about babies. She is an only child and has never been around small children. She’s getting quite an education now that our friends are having children.

Because Sunday was Summer’s birthday, we started talking about being 27. It amazes me that people feel old at this age. I still feel young and like there’s so much I don’t know and haven’t done. Thanks, mom, for teaching me or genetically instilling in me the ability to not feel worried about getting older. There’s nothing I can do to stop it, so I might as well enjoy what new adventures and lessons come each year.

The age of 27 has certainly brought a lot of changes, and most of them have been quite good. It was rough going there for me for a while after we moved. I wanted to stay at the apartment most of the time that I wasn’t at school. Being at home felt calmer and safer than trying to navigate the unfamiliar streets of Chicago. Fortunately, I feel much more relaxed in my surroundings and more ready to explore…just as the weather is slowly starting to turn cold. But I plan to get some leggings/thermal underwear and snow boots and dive in.

–Apryl

The Master of Splatter

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Tom Savini at Harper College.

Homeward Bound

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

13 Days To Halloween

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Above, Eva attacks the dismembered spooky hand that smells oddly like strawberries!

Would You Like Popcorn To Go With Your Indie Rock Show?

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

So, last night Bonnie “Prince” Billy performed at the newly reopened Portage Theater, an old movie house that is eight decades old. It was a bit odd walking past the lobby and the concession stands to a large one screen theatre with nearly two-thousands seats. Apryl and I went with visiting friends Caroline (Memphis) and Liam (London), and due to grabbing some stuffed pizza at Giordano’s (yummy!), we were actually late for the very start of the show. I’m still getting use to early shows here. We got to the theatre at 9:15pm and Bonnie was already on stage with his touring band which included Azita on keys and Emmett Kelly on lead guitar. The theatre was rather packed when we arrived, so we took seats at the very back:

As our friend Caroline mentioned, the experience was similar to that of being at an assemby back in grade school. This is the third time I’ve seen Bonnie “Prince” Billy. The first time was about four years ago in Oxford, Mississippi. At that show, he played an almost greatest hits playlist, where it was not uncommon to see everyone around you singing along with every Oldham line. The second time I caught Bonnie was this summer in Memphis at the Deli. You can check this old post to see how much closer I was to the stage.

Bonnie’s performance last night was probably a bit frustrating for someone looking to hear from the artist’s extensive back catalog. I own nearly all of Oldham’s albums/EP’s/tour singles/etc and, I was at a lost at alot of what he played that night. In fact, “The Lion Tamer” from 2001’s Ease Down the Road seemed the farthest that he was daring to go. Of course, this was the opening night of his new fall tour in support of a new album. So it made sense that he would stick to the newer material. But even the encore failed to include any of his popular tunes.

Still, the night’s performance was memorable, especially with Azita deciding each next song to play by a game of charades, which only Bonnie seemed to be able to decipher.

Bonnie “Prince” Billy – Tonight

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Bonnie “Prince” Billy starts off his fall tour tonight in Chicago, supporting his latest release The Letting Go. And we’re going!

Update to follow…

Friday the 13th (Late Post)

Sunday, October 15th, 2006

“The stroke of twelve…and there is one thing of which I am certain: For the next two hours we will be much, much safer in here than those of you watching from out there.”

The lines above come from the opening intro of a public access show that comes on every Friday night here called World of the Weird Monster Show with hosts Undead Johnny and Dementia. The production is low, the jokes are corny, and the acting stiff, but I still do love it. This week was a repeat of their Halloween episode from last year when the night’s feature was Ed Wood’s Bride of the Monster, which was also being shown on Turner Classic Movies as part of Rob Zombie’s Underground Movie series. And while I’m sure the print from TCM was far superior, I’ll take my version from Undead Johnny. Below is a photo of Undead Johnny which I took straight off the TV screen on the first night after discovering the show (the movie that night was the horrible Fangs of the Living Dead).

At the end of each show, Undead Johnny declares that “everyday is Halloween”. Check out the Myspace page too!

On Saturday nights, there is another local spook show called Svengoolie that comes on WCIU Chicago. The production on this one is a lot better (everyone is actually mic’d up!) and the jokes are actually funny sometimes. At the end of the show, for whatever reason, the legendary host Svengoolie is assaulted with rubber chickens as he returns to his casket.

The history of the Svengoolie character actually goes back thirty-six years! Check it out.

Beriut – Live at Empty Bottle

Friday, October 13th, 2006