…with our beans baked… (Part IV)

Lemme backup a half two dozen steps… 

They’ll stop you for a pat-down in the front entrance vestibule. When you look deeper inside the Riv, you’ll think some fool and his cousin started repainting all the walls at once—and gave up halfway through. Like maybe the fool painter and his cousin both suffered from serious attention deficits. But maybe that’s why they came so cheap. In sooth, I can’t really speak for the fool’s cousin. Lots of folks follow orders without question. Not just the fools. (Or so I’d like to believe.) But maybe all of this patchiness is just the middle of remodeling. One can only hope. 

Either it’s all David-Fincher-esque or Terry-Gilliam-esque. I can’t decide. (I’m referring to the general decrepitude.) Whichever, I’m pulled between digging it and grieving it. 

Chicago was, once upon a time, the palace theater capital of the country. Your great-grandparents might’ve shared their first smooch in the upper balcony of one of these once opulent venues. Many of the few still standing in North America today are rotting hulks. Most of the rest, they’ve been gutted and remodeled into multiplexes, luxury condos, shopping malls, or public parking garages. Few still serve their original purpose. Exempli gratia, does the word “vaudeville” mean anything to you? Probably not.

No, artistry won’t save us, but commerce will. The boob tube idiot box opiate of the masses shows us the way… 

Seems like a century ago artistic types spent a whole lot more of their time being artistic. Lucky them, they didn’t have any flickering screens to stare at. Way back then, everybody stared at the real world: If not the wilderness, then the buildings, the furniture, the automobiles—heck, even the tin ceilings—instead. 

Today? 
Fuhgeddaboudit. 
“From sea to shining sea,” 
it’s all exactly the same. 
More than less. 

Aw but why eat an apple when you can eat a Affy Tapple? 

America was, up until a century ago, a country full of singers and musicians. Everybody had to make their own music, sing their own songs, play their own instruments. Then records and radio shut everybody up. Just about. 

Nowadays you can’t even 
think
for yourself. 
But why bother? 
Who has the time? 

Takes too much 
e
f
f
o
r
 to turn 
          it all 
                off. 

Aw but then what would you do? 

Maybe you’d fret, fidget; 
notice how much you fart. 
Or you’d just be bored. 

But then, 
all on your own, 
you’d figure something out. 

I’m referring to myself, of course. 

19 & 20 November 2004 

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