I have been ridiculously blessed in my research journey thus far, and even though this project is far, FAR, from over, I just have to take a moment to cheer for some of the really nice people I’ve had the pleasure to meet in Chicago.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I can’t acknowledge the hospitality of Fabulous Chicago Actor and Amazingly Talented Husband enough. Having a place to stay in Chicago (over the past year plus) has really made this part of my project tenable. I’m grateful for their hospitality, but I’m even happier to know them and to have the pleasure to call them friends! As an added bonus, Husband cooks! Yay!
Further, pretty much everyone I have talked to in town has been crazy nice and helpful, sharing stories with me, connecting me to others, and even giving me rides. The good folks at Bloodshot (aside from having pretty darn good taste in music and putting out more than a few fabulous albums) have been kind and accommodating, both in interviews, at the office, and out in the world. Also, I’ve talked to a variety of folks associated with the label and the scene, and they, too, have been gracious and more than helpful, often suggesting other individuals or venues that might be useful, or offering to contact others on my behalf.
An unexpected pleasant surprise of this research has been getting to See Chicago. In meeting up with people, I’ve visited a ton of Chicago neighborhoods, and have been introduced to a nice array of restaurants, bars, and coffee shops that I otherwise never would have known about. I mentioned Rogers Park, but I also found myself with a great view of the city in a fancy downtown office building.
In addition to seeing the city, I’ve also gotten to talk to and get to know some Really Awesome People — folks whose music I’ve always liked, and/or am a fan of, folks who’ve done amazing work, or folks who are just interesting overall. It’s an odd feeling when the only people you know at a show are the club owners, the band on stage, and/or their record label people. It is not unlike getting to sit at the cool kids table all the time (all the while wondering how you got there). Don’t worrry, I’m not letting it go to my head.
I’m not in any way naive enough to think that every last one of these folks is genuinely concerned with my research (although I believe some are), and I also realize that there is some (currently intangible) benefit to them should my project succeed. However, I’m fully aware that each of these people could just as easily blow me off/decide not to meet with me/not go out of their way to connect me with other folks and/or could choose to not spend extended time talking to me/etc., or hang out with me at a show.
I don’t mean for any of this to come off as any sort of bragging, because it clearly doesn’t have anything to do with me. I also know that I have a TON of work ahead of me, will certainly run into difficult circumstances along the way, and that much of the work ahead will be daunting and stressful. But for now, I’m just extraordinarily grateful for the nice folks who have crossed my path thus far.