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 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
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Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
LOSTATSEA.NET > FEATURES >

June 1, 2002
SIXTEENTH EDITION: COME TO CHICAGO. WE GOT REALITY.

1ST place, again.

Mr. Andrew Davis of Billy Clockout fame (see Andrew @ THE2NDHAND) rolled into Chicago on a Friday evening. We go back. In 97/98 we were rarely-seen flat-mates on Ebenezer Avenue in Rock Hill, SC. He was one of two, the other being his exact opposite, a fellow named Josh, a loud boy with a will toward full-disclosure. I always figured I was somewhere between the two. Full disclosure I can appreciate, though there are times when it's simply uncalled-for. Such as in a group of five, around a televised football game, drinks. Bad timing to talk of sexual adventures, really, or physical ailments, among men, among Southerners. Josh, as stated, had quite the knack for it.

Andrew has been, however, seemingly a little too full of mystery, though his recent visit to our fine city is evidence of a certain change long in the making. I arrive at the Fireside Bowl to meet him at 8PM. I sit. I drink beer. I watch the tail end of a bad band sounding damn near exactly like The Vindictives and/or Screeching Weasel on speed. I watch the beginning of the next, a group of goofy, bald-headed white toughs (but for the out-of-place cutelady bassist) who have an Irish flag (I think it's Irish, anyway) draped behind them and who at a certain point ask the crowd, "How many of you here are foreigners?" A little disgusted, I return to the bar to drink more beers, watch Detroit and Vancouver pound each other on the ice. 10PM rolls around and Andrew's still not here, as ever the man of mystery. I wait. I do not talk to anyone. Somehow, I am enjoying it.

Andrew arrives; the brief period of catching up ensues, though with himself it never seems to take very long. Last time he was here we traded tales about the Skunk Ape (see the TENTH EDITION of this column), laughed a night's laugh, me, himself, and his ladyfriend Lisa. "How's what's-her-name?" I ask him. "Good," he says. "What IS her name?" I say, serious, for I can't remember it. He fills me in.

If ever there was a man not meant to front a rock band, I'd figure, it is Andrew. I am no real candidate either, I'm afraid. I'm a little better when folks can hear me talking. But Andrew, no way. This is what I would have told you two nights ago.

He is in town with the Arco Flute Foundation, of Erie, PA and parts unknown (Chicago, Edinboro PA…). The AFF are an instrumental cabal of seemingly Sonic-Youth-inspired soundscapes. Somebody please slip me a mickey so tomorrow morning I can say I enjoyed this…though they are not bad (I would actually purchase their record a day later, and listening to it now, it is good, indeed, so…good apartment writing quiet slow-jams). But Andrew opens the show. He is a howling wolf: mirrored Dick Shades (aviators, for those out of the know) across his eyes, baby powder in tow, a bright desklamp held to his face as he screams words about a man with a wooden leg, the refrain "Everybody's WORKing for the weekEND, weekEND!" to the background of an old blues bass line. On his head rests molded-plastic werewolf hair, widow's peak outrageously contoured.

The performance is fucking electric, a man screaming into a microphone holding a bright lamp to his face. See Me! you fucks! he'd liked to have said. Squirting baby-powder into the audience dusty and cloudy in the lamplight. It's great. A wonderfully parodic sense of the thing. Andrew professes his admiration for Elvis, part parody, part sincerity, the true showman's instinct. Somehow this quiet-boy's got it. One has to at once embrace and reject the act. This is the secret, ladies and gents.

---

Funniest thing is this: our boy is set upon by ladies immediately afterward, the Fireside being outside the main, but still well aware of old rock'n roll traditions enough so that for every rocker there are at least three ladies standing in wait. All are aware of the drill. I look up at one certain point and a lady our boy's been speaking with is gesturing as if to leave. Then she leaves. Andrew approaches me cautiously. She is headed to a place called the Lion's Den, he says. Sounds to me like a strip club, I say. Though it rings familiar. Am I up for it?

Chasing a Californian across Chicago?…why not?

At a payphone in the barrio, Information has a Lion's Den at the 10000 South block of some street or other. And a Lyon's Den up on Irving Park. Yes. I know the place. Back in 1999 or some such a friend took me there to see a band that felt as if in training for MTV's proverbial next big thing. Lots of sharp, trendy clothes and wild haircuts. The Den does not disappoint. We walk into the last number sung by a Britney Spears look alike (worth the $5, likely) backed by a rock quartet. They are bland. They are boring. And the Californian we are chasing gives us the shaft. The whole crew is headed to the Green Mill, she says, up on Broadway, an old Northside Chicago jazz-dive I've much more respect for. So we decide we'll beat them to it.

We sit at the bar and drink vodka on ice from those little bulb-like glasses they have there. We sit and we love it, Andrew and I. The realization is beautiful. The fruitless and silly chase. We live for it. Nothing will happen. It's inevitable. The whole crew of transplanted Californians (they came here, Chicago, they said, to get a touch of reality…Hah!) drunkenly swerves right past the two of us without a word. Andrew smiles and gets up. I laugh, follow him. Reality. We stand in their vicinity, though they will soon take a front table. "One more drink," I say to Andrew. "Beer." I'm always up for one more. So is he. Let that be my defining characteristic. The one-more man. Gimme another, all right. Anything can happen, it's true. Or not. This is what we live for. It doesn't really matter if it doesn't. The pursuit is the thing. Throw yourself into the grinder. It might be fun. As our aging friends fix themselves into schedules (dinners with significant-others' parents in the suburbs, work, sleep at ten, wake at six…), we will have one more. Call us lushes. Call us idiots. We deserve it.

We leave the bar, without saying goodbye to our Californians on their quest for reality. There is Eggz Benedict waiting for us at a diner in Logan Square, or a burrito. Sustenance for the world-weary, though we are not, necessarily, weary, I mean.

--
Todd Dills
THE2NDHAND publishes short fiction and nonfiction. Todd Dills edits the broadsheet and recently relocated to Birmingham, Alabama, after eight years of publishing from Chicago.

See other articles by Todd Dills.

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