Friday, August 31, 2012

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Morning's Breakfast

The gyro omelette at West River Cafe.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Where I'll Be Tonight

Tonight is the final night of the annual Silent Summer Film Festival at the grand Portage Theater.

The final night of these festivals always shade me with melancholy--as much fun as I have on these final nights, I know the fest is over and won't be back around until the following summer, though silent films will still be shown there from time to time in the interim and even more frequently--monthly, in fact--at the Music Box's wonderful (and strangely underrated) Silent Second Saturday series.

This year, though, the melancholy is a bit more noticeable--because the future of the Portage Theater remains in doubt.

While it's true that the Portage dodge the proverbial bullet last month when Chicago Tabernacle withdrew their bid to buy the theater and convert it into a church, another possible buyer came forward: The current owner of the popular Congress Theater.

The Congress, once a movie palace (I saw my first movie there) and now a music venue affiliated with Chicago's House of Blues, has become a controversy magnet in recent years, most because of the condition of the theater and its attached building (rundown and shabby, with promises to fix the facility up and turn it into a showplace largely unfulfilled) and security concerns within and without the venue (a teenage girl who'd tried to get into the theater this past New Year's Eve was sexually assaulted very close to the theater, and there have been numerous reports of unruly patrons causing trouble).

The worry--a legitimate one, I think--is that said current owner of the Congress will buy the Portage, turn it into a full-time concert venue and run it just as "well" as he's run the Congress.

I would love for the Portage to remain what it is--primarily a movie theater--but I have to be realistic: It may not always be so, and this Silent Summer Film Festival could very well be the last held there. Somebody with deep pockets can come along and turn the Portage into whatever their cash and ego dictate. I just want the new owner, whomever that winds up being, to recognize the jewel they will have in their hands and polish it the way it deserves to be.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where II'll Be Tomorrow Morning

Ever since Olivia was diagnosed with kidney failure back in April, I've dreaded every visit to the vet in the way I always dreaded exams in high school--I felt like we were being graded on our progress or lack thereof.

Not this time, though.

The last couple visits have been great, with Olivia's numbers going down or staying safely in "normal" ranges, and she hasn't changed significantly since our last appointment six weeks ago. Her appetite remains good most days, and her "bad" days--occasions where she only picks at her food or doesn't eat at all--are few and far between. We've fallen into a steady routine with medication (injections and pills) and treatments (subcutaneous fluids and liquid phosphorus binders). She doesn't even vomit very much anymore--no more often that a normal, healthy cat, really.

Most importantly, she acts like herself--bright eyed, bossy and beautiful.

Therefore, I expect tomorrow morning's appointment to go well. I expect her blood test to show she's either holding steady or, with just a bit of luck, improved even more than last time.

And these days, whenever anyone asks me how Olivia is doing, I'm no longer afraid to say that she's doing just fine.

Because she really is.

Every Picture Tells a Story 8/23/12

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

This Week's Travel Reading

Norma Shearer has become, for the most part, a forgotten figure in the history of cinema, despite being a star for more than 15 years and winning an Oscar as Best Actress (for 1930's The Divorcee). If you watch Turner Classic movies at all, you likely have at least heard of her, since TCM runs her movies with fair regularity (which totally makes sense--Shearer was a contract player at MGM, and Turner owns the rights to the MGM film library).

Shearer gets her proper due, however, in Complicated Women, which explores the liberation (sexual and otherwise) of women during Hollywood's Precode era--a liberation promptly stamped out by the Production Code instituted in 1934. Before then? Women could have affairs, whether they or their partners were already married or not; hold positions of power in industry; have a drink or three; and generally have a much better time on their own terms than they could after the Production Code was enforced.

Also? Shearer was freakin' hot.

Every Picture Tells a Story 8/13/12

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Every Picture Tells a Story 8/2/12

I should have posted this a while ago, as it was taken at this year's Printers Row Book Fair, but I never got around to it. So here you go.