It was a historic week: The Arts Club turned 100, we were on TV and radio, and the Cubs made the World Series.
Let’s unpack that. For the Arts Club centennial celebration, they commissioned a piece for us by our old friend David Lang. Inspired by the tradition of artist lectures given at the Arts Club over the past century, David chose a lecture by Gertrude Stein, Composition as Explanation, and “musicalized” it. The result is currently seven movements, four for all six of us, three for subsets, in which we speak or sing text from Stein’s lecture. It is by varying degrees serious, funny and touchingly beautiful. We gave a preview performance at the gala celebration, and then during the open house the next day, we performed the first four movements twice as a set and the other three movements we sprinkled around the building in between other artist lectures.
The TV and radio appearances were promotional for the event. Still, it’s not every day we’re on Chicago Tonight. Michael, Nathalie and I performed the Lang movements for our subset, and we got to experience the magic of the small screen. (See it here.) I finally figured out how teleprompters work! (Hint: there are mirrors involved.) But, since we didn’t have a use for them, they just projected giant screens of our own faces back at us, which was more than a little distracting. Oh, and it was freezing cold in the studio. Like, teeth-chattering, finger-numbing, instrument-cracking cold. As I was told by the makeup artist as she dabbed my nose, I should be happy because otherwise I’d be an oily, sweaty mess on TV.
I thought being on the radio a couple days later would be easy peasy, given that we were now TV veterans. At least it would be warmer, and no one cares if we’re sweaty or oily. But there were other surprises. While we knew it would be live, we didn’t realize that WGN broadcasts live onto the street, and the studio is a glass fishbowl. So there were people hanging out, taking pictures, running for their buses home, and one guy who just stood right outside for twenty minutes, staring at me and leisurely eating a can of soup. (It was Progresso, if you must know.)
And last but certainly not least, our very own Chicago Cubs shut out the Dodgers 5-0 and are going to battle the Indians in the World Series! If you know anything about baseball, which I don’t, you know this is a Big Deal. The Cubs have one of the most exciting teams in history (just watch Baez for guaranteed athletic entertainment), but also one of the most enduring curses. As it turns out, the Indians have their own curse (as well as pretty much every other baseball team with a history of losing). It’s going to be an epic Battle of the Curses. You can’t live in Chicago and not feel the buzz of excitement mixed with the apprehension of superstition. I really want to trash-talk the Indians and make grand predictions, but even I know enough about baseball not to say anything remotely jinx-able. So I’ll just stick with #gocubsgo!