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The clouds looked so fake yesterday. For a second, I thought I was still dreaming. I took a photograph just to be sure.

"Heady Filthy" by The Golden Filter

I saw The Golden Filter perform in a corner of the tiny, tiny perfect and now-defunct little club called Sonotheque. I used to dream about the space because I loved and frequented it so much. During that show, I stood right in front of their minuscule set-up and screamed my head off like only an obnoxious 21-year old can.

Nearly six years later, the group is back with another masterpiece of erotic, synthy goodness. I still feel sad knowing how they never reached their full potential, but listening to their old classics and this new late-night sliver of slinky, shimmery beauty keeps me happy.

I was invited to a “fashion” dinner at Current, the new restaurant in the revamped W Lakeshore last Thursday before Pitchfork Music Festival. As the culture blogger, my friend Amy Creyer of Chicago Street Style and the host of the dinner quickly described me as “the wild card.” She wasn’t far off. Everyone else talked handbags that cost more than my rent, but I held my own, at least when it came to other subjects.

And the dinner itself was great. Fifteen courses that I thought about photographing in detail, but decided not to in order to “savor the meal.” All Italian, the chef was nice enough to make me replacements and alternatives for my legitimate food allergies (tree nuts, honey, among others). And they were delicious. I photographed my special order of bucatini and the chocolate mousse, my two favorites of the evening. I couldn’t help myself.

The space was open and vibrant and just right for the location. Outside of large windows was the lovely Chicago lakeshore that makes you forget the smog and the cold and instead focus on unparalleled beauty. It is something all Chicagoans deserve to see and experience for it is their home right. I forget that. The farther west, the farther south, the easier it is to separate here from there, them from us.

I always feel a little weird in environments like that. It reminds me of a something I tweeted a couple of months ago about reaching that age where some of your friends are getting rich and some are not. Some are striving for THINGS and some don’t believe in most things at all. It’s strange to watch it all play out with restaurant bills and brunch and apartment sizes and condos and work schedules.

My best friend recently mentioned getting a place with her boyfriend in a new West Loop building. Meanwhile, I’m praying the back stairs of my apartment don’t deteriorate before I get a chance to move out of the space.

But I guess it’s all a matter of perspective and what you value and what kind of life you want to lead and how you will go about getting it. If I were to ever visit Current again, it would be for a much smaller meal, one that was both satisfying and realistic. That is enough for me, at least for now. Well, that is what I TELL myself.

Recently: Adrienne’s visit to Chicago, new nails from Naughty Nail’z, stoop sitting, dressing room blues, the walk home, Chicago and Ashland at night, Storefront opening party at Lacuna Lofts, Riverwest Music Festival.

Many thanks to Danielle Meder of Final Fashion for including me on her “Follow Friday” list for H&M! Read the rest of her picks here

"Silent Fireworks" by Dapayk & Padberg (Marek Hemmann Remix)

The original is nice and sensual, especially with Eva Padberg’s vocals, but I like what Marek Hemmann did the tempo of the song. It took me a while to realize they were cut from the same cloth. This remix sounds almost childlike and certainly joyful, a far cry from the pensive pseudo-deep grooves of the original.

"Sell It To Me" by 5THS feat. Jarryd Klapper

Jarryd Klapper’s voice on this is the perfect touch to producer Count Bounce’s work as 5THS. I’m not familiar with Klapper’s past work, but “Sell It To Me” is the perfect introduction to his soulful, memorable falsetto. It’s a little late-summer stunner and I can’t be more excited to hear what’s next.

Reminder! Deadline is tomorrow. NOTE: This is for the first print edition. We are still accepting submissions for the online component. 

Hello! 

The deadline for submissions for the first issue of Inland, my new publication on contemporary Midwest culture, is THIS Friday, July 25. Please send all submissions to inlandmag@gmail.com. If you have any questions or concerns, you can send them to that email as well. 

For more on our submissions guidelines, please check out our website

“Perfume’s ephemerality is its greatest appeal, the same way secrets can only exist if there is a listener. If right on our bodies, it is all we want to bury ourselves in. If on the right body, all perfume is sex, and we dig into the pleasure with our nails.”

Catching a cold and the Beyoncé concert is Thursday. Am I a bad person? Pray for me.

Hello! 

The deadline for submissions for the first issue of Inland, my new publication on contemporary Midwest culture, is THIS Friday, July 25. Please send all submissions to inlandmag@gmail.com. If you have any questions or concerns, you can send them to that email as well. 

For more on our submissions guidelines, please check out our website

(via offthewalltv)

“Girl with the Leopard coat” for my show at HASTED AND KRAEUTLER GALLERY OPENING JUNE 14th.

Little White Earbuds

Yesterday evening, I read the below essay as part of a special edition of The Marrow which took place at the Pitchfork Music Festival. I stood on a small wooden stage and choked up in front of some of my friends and many strangers. But it was one of the most thrilling and exhilarating experiences. Other readers included hosts Leah Pickett and Naomi Huffman, Huffington Post Chicago Editor Joe Erbentraut and Mark Richardson, Editor in Chief of Pitchfork. 

—-

“I’m just warning you, I’m not a very social person right now,” I said to an old friend who had just arrived for an overnight stay in my apartment.

“Oh,” she said.

“I mean, I feel like people have this perception of me. But it’s not true. Not now at least. I do things, but I am alone. And although I sometimes need them, I more just need myself.”

I need to take back myself.

I began living alone during college and it was during that time that I began going out alone. More importantly, it was when I learned how to dance alone. I grew up on dance floors, but they were the hardwood floors and concrete manufacturing garages that I practiced in. And I danced with other girls, girls my age, girls who were forced into these classes by their mothers. Girls who thought this made them dainty and precious and feminine. But for me, it was a natural extension of the self, even back then when I had barely been kissed, but certainly touched all over.

No, dancing for me was a claiming, a possession. A body is forever, even if it is not “right,” even as it ages, even as it struggles to live. It is the one thing we can not escape, whatever its state. It is punishment and pleasure. It is never perfect, even if the world tells us our imperfections are manageable through strife and pain. Or maybe it is always perfect, always right and valid and good. It is everything else that the world tells us it can’t be. To be satisfied in ourselves is to know the blessings of life.

This is me taking back my limbs. This is me taking back my space, taking more space, taking all of the space I can call my own. I need to, you see. Girls are taught to give space away. But I want it all. And if you fight me for it, I will find a way to take it back. I always do.

It was around 3PM and I was riding the Blue line back to the hood, my home, to get my hair done. I didn’t realize when the car got empty. I didn’t realize it was just the two of us, that he was slowly creeping toward me, moving from seat to seat to see if I saw him, to see what he was doing.

My headphones were a little box and that little box protected me from the outside world. As soon I could, I began wearing oversized, heavy ones that covered my ears and, if my music was loud enough, my face, my body, but especially my thoughts. They were a method of escape for a woman who craved it.

And in that box there was the sad disco of Donna Summer and the ache of Sade. There was the isolation of Joy Division and the heartbreak of Sharon Van Etten. There was the weirdness of Bjork, the assurance that you, that I was worthy of myself in whatever way I would grow. But mostly disco and house. The heat of the rhythms. The singleness of the sound.

I can’t wear them now. I am too afraid of their ability to lock me away from the world. I need to see the world around me. I didn’t then. And since then, what runs through my mind is not the syncopation of the rhythm or the instrumentation. It is not the lyrics. It is not the warmth of the vocals. It is not anything except:

I.

Who is here? Who wants to hurt me? Who craves the power?

II.

Concentration is a privilege of the body, one I no longer have. One I think about more often than not. To concentrate is to be in another place, to not be aware of my surroundings, to fall victim to the ways the world works.

III.

Is he waiting to strip me of my sanity? I can remember the deadness of his eyes. I don’t know if he ever actually saw me, even as he held me down, even as he looked me in the eyes.

IV.

How did I get back here to this place where I am of two things: the mind and the body?

When my friend left, I realized that I had begun to fall deeply into that aloneness. That things had gotten worse. That the aloneness had transformed into loneliness and pain and anger. That being around a friend was a blessing and a necessity. But also, to be alone is not always to be lonely. But it had become that thing for me.

Not all places of escape are the same for all people. We each develop something that speaks to our everyday, our tastes, our sorrow. I know mine more than many other things in my life: the dance floor; the blinding, shimmery lights; the weight of the bass.

I came home from work and slept and woke up a little before midnight. I needed to go home again.

Negativity breeds negativity. Positivity does not act the same. No, positivity takes constant effort. Happiness is effort. Joy is work.

I think that negative memories work in much the same way. Unless the night was truly spectacular, we rarely remember solid pleasantness. Moments that are just good fade until weeks and months bleed into one another. But the bad has a way of staying, an unwanted acquaintance that takes root on the couch of your mind and forever overstays.

I arrived at Smart Bar, alone. It was a disco-themed night. The lights were glowing. Faces were distinguishable. And the disco ball was spinning, the room illuminated and lovely. Because it was the middle of the week, the space was not packed. I could breathe. Freedom was free.

Great disco is more than just the joy. Through and through, it should be about the transcendence of the dance floor, of dance, of the body in motion. We dance when we are glad. But also, the dance floor is communal escape. It is freeing because one is literally free. There is space to move. I am taking back my space, one song at a time, one note at a time, one beat at a time. I count the rhythms in my head, the steady 4/4. It is like my heartbeat. Moving steadily, a great pace, it is the constant. Other people have each other. I have music. I have movement. I have it.

St. Vincent @ Pitchfork Festival x