Sunday, March 13, 2022

landscapes and interiors

Last night, we ventured down to the Century Landmark to take in a movie (and that movie, because we had to do a later showing, turned out to be Batman. Which has it's whole other entry surely on the importance of scriptwriters and  realistic dialogue to accompany your stellar cast and boom-boom effects, but it's not even worth it).  Nevertheless, it was nice to be somewhere not home or work and even for a minute, as I sipped my jack & coke at the theater's bar, and later, a hugely overpriced soda in the theater, not be wearing the mask--it felt odd, and I kept putting it back on.  Thankfully, it being a later showing and the movie out for a week, there were only a handful of other people in the theater at all, and barely anyone milling in the lobby.  The sad fact is the Landmark (originally a vaudeville venue before it was a mall) is one of the only of our usual theatres to make it, the Evanston one and the Arclight having never made it out of lockdown. 

As I rode the bus down to Lakeview, that long stretch of Broadway that meanders from my neighborhood and through the whole north side, so much changes every time--new restaurants, empty storefronts, entire buildings demolished and rebuilt. That particular corner of Lakeview on the border with Lincoln Park, where I once lived a few blocks south of a walk, is a favorite.  The corner used to be much grander and livelier, with a both a Borders and a huge Barnes & Noble. We used to shop the smaller stores that occupied the mall and have lunch at a place with really good cheeseburgers across the street from World Market (which is now just a Walmart.) But other things are still there--Cesars up a couple blocks, my favorite margarita place--and another locale I miss greatly. Then there are things that are new I would have loved--a close-by TJ Maxx at the corner, for example. I feel like those neighborhoods shift and change even faster under rapid development. I remember driving near Wrigley Field after not being there for a while and it being, besides the park itself, almost unrecognizeable. 

I still feel, even as things open up and masks come off, that all has not settled. It's still an uncertain future for a lot of businesses that managed to make it through the worst.  Michigan Avenue itself seems constantly torn down and rebuilt, even using the same facades protected by the Historical Society.  Last week, as I drank my coffee in the park, I was thinking the first time, another early March day, I ever drank coffee in that park (only it was a less a park then than some grassy area with benches and pigeons just north of Art Institute that abutted the train tracks below. ) It was 1995, and we were waiting around to catch a play at the Goodman (still at the Institute then) after a day shopping and wandering.  I did the math in my head and realized it was 27 years ago, which is an impossibility, no?  The coffee shop it was then was a handbag/luggage  stores for years until that too closed, long before the pandemic.   Every storefront, no matter what it is now, was, in 1995?, 2000?, 2005? likely something else entirely.

But then again, I am probably something else entirely..than that 21 year old excitedly seeing a play in the city.  my facade is still the same, well maybe a little older and smoothed out, but the interior is both the same and something rebuilt with each new set of years. 

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