High- and low-brow cultural goings-on in the Second City, brought to you by a roving microtechnoanthropologist

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Tuesday, March 18, 2003

I like the cut of your jib; I have your pants

Tonight we got a last minute invitation from J to head out to Fitzgerald's to hear the Eskimo's (his term; I'm sure the woman has a name, but I've never once heard him use it) boyfriend play with an Irish band. Fitgerald's is Webb's club of choice when he plays in Chicago, and I'm always happy to go. The entertainment turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag.

When we arrived shortly before 7, the place was crawling with families, complete with little kids. Many of the girls were decked out in full Irish dance regalia (which is familiar to me, given my South Side roots) with the addition of matching tiara-like things and voluminous amounts of spiral curled hair (which was not). Even if the dancing costumes weren't a familiar site (as they were not to M and J), they were far from the weirdest garb there. I believe that award goes to the . . . individual . . . ( I could not confirm a gender if my life depended on it) who appeared to have a great personal stake in out-Warwick Davis-ing Warwick Davis. They had large, shiny satin jodhpurs, a shiny top coat with horizontal green and white stripes, and a tall green hat with a large shiny buckle in the front.

Fortunately, the step dancing as well as the music that consisted of various accordions, bohdrans, and a guitar stayed inside and we were able to enjoy John's (Eskimo paramour extraordinaire) performance. Most of the time, we also enjoyed the performances of the band with whom John was playing, too. It consisted of four brothers named Dooley who played guitar, bass, autoharp, sax, and tambourine (the literature promised banjo as well, but we was robbed) and, rather unimaginatively, called themselves The Dooleys. John played fiddle and lead guitar and he is quite obviously one of those incredibly talented rat bastards who can pretty much make any stringed instrument his bitch. I sat radiating envy waves in his general direction and coveting his thumbs.

The first set consisted mostly of traditional Irish songs and the brothers did quite well with these, as they had the harmonies down well and the instrumental arrangements were interesting and original enough not to make it boring. They also did several rock and roll standards, which were less successful as they came across as a better-than-average wedding band. The second set was also largely traditional songs, but a bit heavier on the weepies. By the third, they were totally off script. Still there was some fun stuff, even in the third set, and John really stole the show in several numbers.

M picked up a Reader Lite (it has a real name, but damned if I can remember it) from the entryway at some point. It seems to try to mimic New City for those readers who can't be bothered with the actual content relevant to living in the city and it's not a great imitation. M got engrossed in reading the ads, particularly the "missed connections" personals (from which my subject line is lifted). The most intriguing was (well, ok, obviously the "I have your pants" one was the most intriguing, but this was a close second) a gay white man who was looking for a woman of color to go to museums with. I'm sure there are many reasons that a man would want someone very specific for a very specific purpose, but I can't for the life of me shake the image of him using her as an accessory they way people in Southern California seem to be prone to accessorizing with small yappy dogs.

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