Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sense of the City--Pitchfork

Coffee Cake, 13, died by euthanasia Friday July 17th at 11:56 a.m.

The first thing my journalism classes taught me was to write an obituary, so when I watched my cat get put down that was my first thought. This is my coping method, to see everything through the long lens of "The Story." Indeed it was a very sad to watch. She had been my cat for the last 6 months and the first thing I have taken care of which I watched die. But she lived a long life, one that I hope was comfortable, and she died peacefully.

Anyway, we must not dwell on sadness. It's summer. It's the season for festivals.

The Taste of Chicago was a month ago. It was quite successfully in the commercial sense. It brought a lot of people to the Loop. Unfortunately, if the tourists took the Taste at its word they left with the idea that Chicago is hot and crowded, with little else to offer.

But every weekend throughout the rest of the summer months, people will gather to celebrate the warmer weather and longer days. Every corner of the city has its own neighborhood festivals with local food and music which mirrors the culture of its people. The Uptown Unity Summer Fest was on August 1st with free immunizations, fun for all the kids.

It's the same as in Monticello. Festivals and farmers markets are times for neighbors to enjoy each others company. People forget any bad blood and laugh with each other. Plus it's just fun to walk down the middle of the street without fear of getting hit by a car.

I went to Pitchfork Festival on the 17th, 18th and 19th at Union Park. Pitchfork is a collection of the coolest bands no one has ever heard of. I only knew of one or two people playing, and really only wanted to see the masked rapper, Doom. I could go because I got in for free by volunteering with CHIRP. Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to afford it.

Pitchfork is the yearly meeting of Midwest hipsters. There were a lot of tattoos, fake 80's clothing and ironic mustaches. I make fun only because I enjoyed myself so much. Music filled out the park. It was loud and melodic with all different types playing everywhere. The food looked good, and the beer was local.

Probably the most memorable thing was the group dancing with hula-hoops. It's hard to describe what they were doing, because it was like nothing I had ever seen before. They were very practiced and it was hypnotizing to watch. They took a children's toy very seriously and made an art form out of it. An art form I had never thought of before. I was fascinated and watched them for a while in between good bands.

Inside Union park was fun. The sense of community was enough to take my mind off the bit of sadness in my life. Being around people, like-minded or not, is just a good time. But when the weekend was over I was left tired and in a lot of pain. It's amazing how much it can hurt to just stand all day.