Summer disaster mix
Image: Mina Magee
On Tuesday Chicago was Minnesota: Land of 10,000 Lakes. A late afternoon cloudburst (4 inches in 45 minutes) and our capricious sewers flipped the off switch and hit the picket line; viaducts turned into churning gray sludge pools and generally smooth east-west arteries were sudden stroke victims. I made it by diverted "express" bus as far north as Lake Shore Drive and Addison, then walked the rest of the three miles home. Which wouldn't have been dire if I'd been wearing my normal homeward-trek footwear instead of two-and-a-half inch heel sandals and a floaty skirt. If the sidewalks hadn't been littered with the storm's natural debris and manmade fallout. If there hadn't been a Cubs game clotting the mile-wide perimeter of Wrigley Field. And if roving bands of desperate, tired, hungry-to-get-home commuters weren't congesting everything else. It was The Road without the infant-eating and sex-enslaving.
Spectators placed bets at the four-feet-under-water intersection of Irving Park and Ravenswood. The Blazer will make it, one guy called out. Five bucks on the Blazer, another offered. Meanwhile, enterprising seagulls sensitive to new westward opportunities vultured overhead as if seafood might spawn before their glinty eyes in the temporary bodies of water. I slipped off my muddy shoes and barefoot, tiptoed the water-rimming catwalk ledge, sidestepping twigs and bottleglass. A few people clapped. (Later I read that a woman who chanced the same intersection-crossing maneuver fell in but swam -- swam! -- to safety. Me: good balance and small feet, I guess.) The Blazer made it too, but the cab that followed was a floater. Fifteen buses wallpapered the edge of the eastbound lane on the other side, their drivers crossarmed and tense. Five degrees hotter, a few hours later, a dash of liquor and it'd be a riot. (If you live in a city long enough you can take that kind of temperature in a glance.) When I reached the Walgreens several blocks from home I stumbled in and bought a Nestle Crunch bar -- the king size. The checkout guy told me that a few miles along it was worse: Crossing Cicero called for a boat. Crunch is a candy bar I never normally buy and definitely not for dinner. But urban adventures (and dystopic) tales write their own twists.
Next month: Hot as hell and power outages! August: Unknown, but inevitable urban disasters! In deference to the nature gods I offer a mix of heat, beats, grooves and appropriate menace. (It's been a while since I've done one of these.) Happy summer!
Hot Funky & Sweaty - The Organites
From Hot Funky & Sweaty: The Sound of Heavy Soul and Funk Today (Amazon, eMusic).
Tony Danza Dancetravaganza - Shitt Hottt
Do Dada - Dance
From New York Noise: Dance Music from the New York Underground 1978-1982 (Amazon).
She Don't Care No More - The Lurios
Hustler - Simian Mobile Disco
From Attack Decay Sustain Release (Amazon). Myspace
99 1/2 - Mavis Staples
From We'll Never Turn Back (Amazon, eMusic). Website
Flapjack Devilfish - Per Se
Phosphorus Flash - The Saffron Sect
From Phosphorus Flash EP (Fig Records). Myspace
You're In Charge of Driving the Narcotics Trolley... - The Voyces
From Kissing Like It's Love (Amazon, eMusic). Myspace
In the Morning - The Bee Gees
From The Early Hits (iTunes).
Final Path - Yeasayer
Diama Don - Issa Bagayogo
From Tassoumakan (Amazon, eMusic).
Lip Gloss - Lil' Mama
From Lip Gloss (Amazon). Myspace
The Summer Song - YACHT
St. Elmo's Fire - Brian Eno
From Another Green World (Amazon)
Download the zip file