Monday, May 11, 2009

Chapter 2: Chicago Weekend Part I

Running on one night's worth of sleep spread over the past three, I woke up at 11:30 Friday morning to walk downtown and meet up with Harjit and a bunch of west coast kids at the May Day parade. Talking to people about it I'm consistently surprised by how little Americans know about May Day, if they've even heard of it at all. The Europeans, on the other hand, were shocked that businesses were open at all.

After a series of phone calls and half an hour of wandering through a downtown to which none of us had ever been in a city with which no one but me had any familiarity, we met up with the march for the last couple of blocks. Since there isn't much of a radical labor movement in the states, May Day marches tend to focus on immigrant rights (or at least this one did). It felt weird to be at a march again; I'm pretty sure the last one was some time in 2004.

The march terminated at an outdoor speaking event in some square downtown, at which point it started to rain and the majority of our company began to agitate for a move to the Chicago Diner. The Chicago Diner impressed the shit out of Sean and me last summer with it's seemingly better-than-Red-Bamboo quality and slightly-lower-than-Red-Bamboo prices, although looking back I suspect that our enjoyment of the food was partially a product of having eaten nothing in weeks but crappy Chinese food, Subway, and an extraordinary amount of Cliff Bars, as well has having ridden 60 miles without stopping that morning. This time around the food was less remarkable (though still slightly cheaper than comparable places in New York), but the experience was dramatically improved by the presence of a few dozen friends, friends of friends, and acquaintances that showed up during the meal; the diner is apparently the first stop for vegans visiting town.

After some wandering around in search of a mythical Urban Outfitters (which was revealed to be an Anthropologie store that, due to its ownership by Urban Outfitters, turned up in an iPone search, our group split up and several of us headed for Subterrainian to see the first Burning Fight pre-show featuring, among others, Converge and The Hope Conspiracy. As I entered the club the bouncer saw my x'ed up hands and didn't ask for ID, so I wasn't given a wristband. I asked about re-entry and was told that it was only possible with a wristband, which I couldn't get because I was under 21. I told him that I as, in fact, 23, and showed him my ID, but he replied that it was impossible because my hands were x'ed up as though to indicate my underage status. After a frustrating conversation I was given an wristband and told that if I wanted to re-enter I had to wash the x's off my hands because even with a wristband they would assume that I was under 21 and now allow me back in. Sheer idiocy.

I had the good sense to buy tickets ahead of time since I knew the show would sell out and it was to be the second of two shows that THC planned to play during 2009, so I ended up having to collect wristbands and sneak in several friends just in time for THC's set. The show turned out not to be very fun, especially not Converge's set, which began with some girl (that apparently was as smart as the bouncers) standing 5 feet from the stage with a full beer right when Converge began and subsequently dumping most of it on me as soon as kids start moving around. Not wanting to start a fight while standing alone in a city where I knew no one (and not really being the fight-starting type anyway) I opted to spend the Converge's set stewing over it.

While several of my traveling companions went to the late show to see Indecision, I waited at Veggie Bite for Lee and a car full of Fist City's finest vegan straightedge kids. We drove back to the apartment from the previous night so I could grab my stuff and then to a much fancier apartment downtown in a building that was rumored to contain a pool, and in a well-lit room full of people I fell asleep within 5 minutes of arriving, wearing a had over my eyes and headphones in my ears.

The next morning I woke up on the early side and Josh No Job (AKA Josh Hate Edge AKA that kid that I got in a fight with (for at least half of Richmond's non-straightedge population)) and I took the L (is it L for "loop" or El for "elevated line? I'll just stick to L) to the end of the line where we met up with an assortment of anarchists and walked to the graveyard in which Emma Goldman is buried. I had my picture taken in front of her grave, but it either hasn't been uploaded or I haven't been tagged because I still haven't seen it. After the graveyard we headed for The Metro.

No comments: