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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Sold Out in Chicago

Finally, the promised post about our reason for visiting Chicago!  Katrina and I got tickets to see a funny lady in an historic venue - double the fun!

The Chicago Theatre  - cinema palace built in 1921

I'll talk a little about free speech, but not get too far into politics on this one, but if you want to skip ahead a few paragraphs or just look at the photographs I won't be offended.  Just in case you aren't familiar with the story, Kathy Griffin got in a little trouble with Mr. Trump last year over a photo she posted of what appeared to be his decapitated head.  The photographer said in response: TYLER SHIELDS: We’d been talking about doing something and she said to me, “I’m not afraid to get political if you want or make a statement if you want.” It’s always a collaborative process, especially with someone like Kathy, but it was one of those things where we didn’t know exactly what we were gonna do until we got there. Then, once we got there, it just kind of escalated into that. There were a bunch of different ideas thrown around and then, I was like, “This is the one we gotta do.”

Tongue in cheek reference to the infamous photo

Whoopi Goldberg on the View put it well when she said, it just wasn't funny.  Sometimes comics cross a line trying to be sensational, and sometimes it backfires.  I don't think it was funny either, to be honest, but I DO SUPPORT HER RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH and to express her views through her art.  I mean, as if Trump hasn't threatened violence against people...even, Presidents.

2 horses with ribbons of 35mm film in their mouths
set inside a Tiffany stained-glass window. 

Her initial response was to apologize, but she's not apologizing anymore.  And after what she's been through, she has every right to be angry.  And she took back her apology because it's important to stand up against bullies, and as Kathy herself said, "The first amendment is the first one for a reason...I didn’t commit a crime. I didn’t rape anybody. I didn’t assault anybody. I didn’t get a DUI. I mean, my God, there are celebrities that f---ing kill people.”

 lobby was inspired by the royal chapel at Versailles

Her show opened with a video of the story, and the subsequent fallout from Trumpland which included being dropped by sponsors, shows being cancelled and the disturbing action of the Secret Service looking into her actions and she was under a two month Department of Justice investigation for conspiracy to assassinate the President.  On top of everything else, Kathy and her family received death threats, and she had to leave the country to work - which was difficult as well since she was on the Interpol list and was detained when she entered every country's airport, and some of those countries were scary.

After the video she came out to roaring applause, announced the venue was sold out even though "They said you wouldn't come" .  Bouncing back and forth on stage in the infamous blue dress from the photograph she proclaimed “You came on a good night - I’m spilling it all!”  And spill it all she did...for 3 hours!  It went fairly quickly, but for an old lady like me I was ready to go back to the hotel when 11:00 rolled around.

French Baroque opulence

Kathy has this ability to turn a long monologue into something that feels like a conversation and sometimes you forget you are in a packed theatre, and that the show is scripted and thousands have heard the same lines other nights. I especially enjoyed the way she would suddenly exclaim “Wait, wait wait! You have to hear this!” and dart off into a new, unexpected, unrelated direction.  Always promising to get back to the fiasco with Trump, of course.

She called us Progressives, Resistors and Patriots (to roaring applause) and referred to herself as the Mayor of Zero-Fucksville.  I was okay with that.  Sometimes it's appropriate to give Zero Fucks.  More people should probably do it more often, right?

Auditorium includes  murals by Chicago artist Louis Grell

Am I on a list now?  Daughter of an immigrant who has subersive ideas?  I guess we'll find out in 2 weeks when I go through Customs on my way back home!  I'm glad I spent the money to support someone's right to free speech, and I'm glad I got to sit in a gorgeous theatre and laugh about the problems of the world for a few hours.  If you want tickets, here's the link for her tour.

If you're looking for a good book on the topic of free speech, I heard Keith Whittington interviewed on NPR recently who wrote "Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech" and it sounds like it might be worth reading.

Ladies Room art

After the show we walked back to our hotel.  I missed the sculpture "Real, Fake" that was installed probably very near where I took the next picture.  Scott Reeder created the piece in 2013, so it is unlikely that it had any intention of mocking President Trump, however, it’s placement in front of Trump Tower seems suspicious. Any insult is entirely in the beholder’s eye,  city spokeswoman Christine Carrino stated. “What’s wonderful about art is that it is completely open to interpretation.”

I was a little distracted by the protest taking place in front of the Trump building to see what might have been on the sidewalk nearby.  I couldn't find any information on the internet, but I'm sure the location was a factor.  Due to the timing it could have been about the children separated from their parents at the border or maybe I'm wrong and it had local significance.

Carbine and Carbon at night

Maybe you missed my post where I visited my friend Andy in Chicago and we went to the top of the old London Guarantee & Accident Building.  Katrina and I walked past it and I took her upstairs so we could see Chicago from above at night.

Temple on roof of the London House Chicago

Quite the view! We were both amused by the girl taking selfies at the railing.  Katrina declined the idea, so not all young people feel the need to take a selfie of themselves everywhere they go...even the selfie above at the Kathy Griffin show was my idea!

view from the rooftop of the London House 

And that's all folks!  Thanks for bearing with me through this long-winded and controversial post.  I will have a few more posts (maybe 12, yikes!) with some Chicago pictures, but for now we'll dig right in to our current stay in Newfoundland next!


  1. Wow gorgeous pictures...I've never been to Chicago even though I fly by it on freeway. I should stop and smell the roses.

  2. That tee shirt made me laugh, as did the name of her tour. Funny or not, I thought the punishment did not fit the crime. What a gorgeous theatre that was...worth the price of admission!

  3. I love Chicago. I wish to visit there in my life. Thanks for this beautiful blog