The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing in the Windy City

I was in Chicago this past weekend for fun(ny) pursuits with one of my improv groups.

I love that city. The food is delightful; the fashion is superb; and the architecture is some of my favorite. I got to eat, shop, and gaze, with a dash of stage time thrown in, so all in all, a plumb peach of a time.

Here were some highlights:

  • We stayed in a house near Wrigley Field, and so, during a huge majority of the weekend, there were clusters of people drinking, wearing Cubs paraphernalia, and generally rabblerousing and carousing.

    One night, on the way back to our house, we stopped at a pizza place around 1:40 a.m. to try and satisfy our appetites. As a prime example of some of the colorful characters we encountered, the low-slung jeans guy in line in front of us could not remember how many slices of pizza he had just ordered five minutes ago. Then when the cashier asked him to sign his credit card receipt, to oblige, he started circling numbers on it. Then he tried to take three slices even though he only paid for one, none of which he remembered ordering. Awesome.

  • This heavenly item at Southport Grocery & Cafe called the Grown Up Pop Tart. It’s described as “Warm & filled with berry preserves, marscapone cheese and roasted vanilla walnuts (featuring preserves & our house-made roasted vanilla walnuts from the grocery)”. We got one for the table (thanks be to Michelle for my new favorite concept). It was ridiculously good.

    Their cupcakes were also no joke to ogle:

  • The group house was something else. It was very nice, with a back yard and plenty of refined tastes. There was even a baby crib in which I really wanted to sleep, but I firmly resisted my fetal impulses. Much of the art in the house was pretty bizarre, but this was my favorite. I am sucker for googly eyes.

  • I bumped into someone I knew every single day I walked around the city. It reinforced my beliefs re: small worlds & after all, et al. Even as I was homeward bound, I ran into one person on my way to catch a cab to O’Hare, and then I ran into two people I knew from D.C. at my flight gate who had also, unbeknownst to me, been in Chicago for the weekend. There was also a kiosk in the airport that was like Starbuck’s but everything was made with tea instead of coffee. I’m telling you! Destiny! All of it! (Or what buzzkill scientists like to call weird but mere coincidences.)
  • THE END.

    More Like Pic-ago! Also, Airports! Am I Right?!

    This past weekend, I was at the Chicago Improv Festival in a city similarly named!

    My improv group Jinx went as an apprentice team, and we got some coaching and learned some things! Then we had a performance that went positively well! At least that was the impression I got post-show when I was hanging out in Compliment Corner casting a line and reeling in anything that was biting (including soggy boots that looked well-intentioned).

    But here are the juicy parts that will probably be left out of the official press statement!

    We stayed in a just-lovely rental house. In case you didn’t know, the architecture in Chicago can best be described as funky beeee-yoooo-teeee-ful.

    There was even a rooftop deck that was amazing. How amazing? So amazing I forgot to take a picture of it!

    Here was my bedroom! Lookit that natural light pouring in! Jus’ lookit it!
    Here was the living room/dining room area that we didn’t actually use all weekend. But a family of four to six could seemingly have a normal meal here! Seemingly!
    The previous owner of the house. Ok not actually. But there were historical artifacts everywhere! Including in the loo!
    Here was the campiest display I’ve ever seen. We are tolerant of all cultures and lifestyles here!
    But wait! What was that at the bottom of the display? Could it be? Is it really?

    Why yes! A fax machine collecting dust.
    Well no more! I had plenty of faxes to send. Faxes of a leisurely nature! Faxes that went a little something like “Wish you were here!” (and that was just the cover sheet).

    Who needs pets with this loveliness? They’re housetrained too.
    Our fridge was prestocked with many things including this yumyum. Doubles as a historical artifact!
    There was also a cookie jar modeled after a police officer called the Cookie Cop. When you opened the jar, he pronounced authoritatively “Step away from the cookie jar!” What a killjoy. I didn’t bother capturing him on film.

    Here was everyone at one of the parties we threw. How droll!
    Now for my favorite part of the whole weekend. The house had holiday decorations stashed in the closet. Holiday decorations such as these precious specimens:
    Needless to say (but I’m saying it anyway), these guys became the inspiration for many a prank the whole weekend including ending up in people’s beds, in front of bathrooms, and almost attempting flight. Let me demonstrate.

    After a long night of partying, I might return to my bed only to be faced with a sight such as this one:
    Oh my goodness! What is that? Who is in my bed?
    Santa! Is that you?
    I must say, this is highly irregular. Even for you, Father Christmas!
    Well, what do you have to say for yourself?
    Oh, those remorseless eyes! No further questioning.
    Ok, so we did do some normal stuff too.

    There were these formidable-looking thirst-quenchers (more like Bloody Scary’s! Who’s drinkin’, people?!)…
    …and lookit this ice cream float from Margie’s Candies!
    I didn’t get to partake of it but someone did. And don’t think there isn’t some lasting resentment I only ordered a sandwich in a place renowned for its desserts. Don’t even think that! The photo is blurry because I was being sneaky. Camman.

    Also. We walked near a lake!
    And saw improv shows at IO!
    And who can forget the trendy club brunch with the Sunday afternoon DJ?!

    Nobody, that’s who.

    Finally, I spent an extended period of time in O’Hare airport because my flight got cancelled and then rescheduled and then delayed and then delayed a little bit more. Luckily I wasn’t alone! In fact, I was so not alone that they set up cots in the airport to sleep on for me and all my friends! Can anybody say involuntary lock-in?! (Again blurriness equals espionage bonus points.)

    The End

    P.S. Sign at airport security that made me laugh out loud, but not suspiciously or in a questionable way: “You may request a private area for your personal search.” Chew on that.