Monday, August 17, 2009

Deep End Club in Park Ridge

Before Park Ridge, Illinois, was famous as Hillary Clinton's home town, it was famous for the Deep End Club, one of the few venues that catered to teens in Chicago and the northwest suburbs. I've been thinking recently about some old friends from Chicago's Taft High School and the great times we had at the Deep End.

The photo is one I found on Google Images of someone from the Jefferson Ice Company band, which appeared at the Deep End. Between neighborhood bands, some Chicago headliners such as New Colony Six, Ides of March and the American Breed were booked. I believe even bubblegum band The Ohio Express graced the Deep End teen club stage. Yummy, yummy. It was a club where you could participate in a "love in" circle or do the Funky Broadway -- your option.

One landmark night, Deep End owners got on stage and asked the audience which direction they wanted the venue's music to go -- psychedelic or soul? The resounding answer -- soul music! So many of the cover bands hired brought music from Motown that we could dance to. And dance we did!

We managed to get our share of psychedelic music, as well, at the Kinetic Playground (aka Electric Theater) and the Cheetah II (aka Aragon Ballroom). I'd work after school and on Saturday mornings waitressing at Rose Grill at Higgins & Harlem just to spend all my money at the music venues, including Deep End.

Some little known trivia. One of the bouncers at the Deep End was none other than moonlighting Chicago cop Dennis Farina, who later turned Hollywood actor. He talked about wanting to head west even then, and made his dream come true.

If you have memories of the Deep End, let's hear from ya! Here's a music schedule from an era gone past. Note that the music group Chicago (aka C.T.A.) appeared at the Deep End Teen Club for $1.50 admission. Does anyone know which year that was?


Thursday, August 13, 2009

13 Ways of Looking at the Moon

This poem, inspired by Wallace Stevens' "13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird" traces 12 moon months according to the names given by the English and/or Native Americans.

13 Ways of Looking at the Moon

1. Old Moon
Year’s born in ancient cold,
a frozen snowball of a moon,
silent and seamless,
hurls towards spring.

2. Wolf MoonWhatever hasn’t been consumed,
lies under gaze of both wolf
and moon. A waiting game,
hide and seek between barren trees.

3. Lenten MoonHow can we give up
what was taken away months ago?
Trees surrender sap, ground opens its crusty heart
to both sun and moon. We follow.

4. Egg MoonThe oval and sphere compare arcs.
Which is more perfect?
Yet it’s now April,
more beautiful and pink than both.

5. Milk MoonLight’s liquid
feeds us by day,
liquid light feeds
dreams by night.

6. Flower Moon
Blossoms twist into strawberries,
buds into roses,
the gibbous moon unwinds,
full as summer.

7. Hay MoonYou can hear everything grow.
Tracking height and breadth
between crescents, quarters,
crops wax as moon wanes.

8. Grain MoonThe moon, a big grinding stone
covered in flour.
Cakes and loaves
celebrate in circumference.

9. Fruit MoonPlums fall like shooting stars,
moon hovers where no hand can pluck it,
but fills the basket of our hands
with its white meloness.

10. Harvest MoonHours by the bushel full
are filled by picking,
nights find us still in the field,
and so does the moon.

11. Hunter’s Moon
Moose and mushroom magnify
under its light,
we view our breath,
foresee a feast.

12. Frost MoonThe moon has shaved
for the holidays,
and sheds it stubble
as if earth were its sink.

Days of Christmas
These 12 most holy days
once a pagan bundle of solar leftovers,
pastiche darkness, phases, eclipses, tides,
falling to rest, awakening.

~ Cynthia Gallaher


Friday, August 07, 2009

Chicago Printers Ball 2009 Wrap-up

Finally getting out news about the 2009 Printers Ball in Chicago a week late, but wanted to include a fun photograph of Audrey Niffenegger, author of "The Time Traveler's Wife." She appears in resplendent red hat, next to yours truly. In addition to being a bestselling author with a feature film based on her book, she is also a professor in the Interdisciplinary Book Arts MFA Program at the Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, where the Printers Ball was held this year.

The Printers Ball is an annual event sponsored by the Poetry Foundation and Poetry Magazine. Poetry readings on two floors, ubiquitous small press periodical giveaways, free food and drinks, interviews, performances, and general literary mayhem takes place midsummer in Chicago. You don't need to get dressed up to attend, but its fun when you do. I wore a tiered chiffon periwinkle tank top and eggplant linen full-length skirt above bronze metallic gladiator sandals. Beaded earrings in multi shades of purple and lilac accessorized the outfit. I didn't bring an evening bag. Like Niffenegger, I toted my trusty workhorse shoulder bag which I stuffed with temporary tatoos, buttons with sayings and other silly stuff from the fair.

Many will remember the 2007 Printers Ball held at a vast venue on 35th Street. It was busted just before midnight for entertainment license issues. Did dozens of police officers with their arms crossed need to show up to usher out a bunch of poets weighted down, with neither drugs nor firearms, but stacks of poetry books? At first the Poetry Foundation didn't want to talk about it, but now even the president of the foundation brings it up at conferences such as the AWP as the org's right of passage into Chi-town street smarts.

Anyway, I read two poems at the feature event at the beginning of the evening on the 8th floor. One was an "uncensored" poem on avocados. Now how wild could that be. And another about the upcoming 25th wedding anniversary of the hubbie and me entitled "$1,000 Wedding, Dress Included." You know they say the marriages that last the longest often have the cheapest weddings. I'm as surprised as anyone.

A big find on the giveaway tables, among other wondrous items, was an issue of "Alimentum" magazine, which is a literary magazine devoted to the topic of food. Fun, witty, hip pieces within. And appetizing at the same time.