Day one of the Chicago trip involved some interesting experiences. There was the original game plan. However, why follow a plan when you can just make it up as you go along?
The trip in was fantastic. No traffic pile ups made me a happy person. I checked into the Best Western Inn on Ohio and Michigan and enjoyed the quick and easy black bean and goat cheese burrito wrapped in spinach tortilla from the chain-tastic Burrito Beach.
On the way back to the hotel, I saw a protest marcher with an Anti-Bush sign. I remembered hearing about an anti-war protest on the Sirius radio Chicago traffic report. They said the march was starting on Michigan and...some street. My hotel happened to be on Michigan and...some street.
So what kind of journalist would I be if I didn't go down and film it while talking with the protesters and the police hoard? The march disrupted traffic on Michigan Avenue for an hour or so. I ran into one of my friends who was filming the march. The march was roughly three blocks long and very loud. The renegade sound system blasting Spearhead protest songs was especially nice. Enjoy the pictures and video in the Picasa link. The folder also contains pictures of my hotel and my Burrito Beach.
The protest was relatively unrestricted by the police. Media access was free and easy. Overall, the city of Chicago gets an arbitrary rating of seven for overall demonstration freedom, with points deducted for the overwhelming police presence.
From the protest, I met up with Mike and Krysta. I got them horribly lost on the way to the off-the-map club the Hideout. This joint hosts some fantastic jazz improv, indie rock and blues shows. Tonight I went to see David "Honeyboy" Edwards play with Devil in a Woodpile.
Edwards is a 91-year-old Delta bluesman transplanted to Chicago. He has played with Robert Johnson and Big Walter Horton. His accompanying band consisted of an upright bass and a washboard alongside rhythm guitar and harmonica, and it doesn't really get any more authentic than those instruments, does it?
The venue is small and the sight lines are awful. They offer the standards on drinks plus a few other odds and ends like a rye whisky old fashioned called the Wooden Leg and Goose and Stella Artois on tap. The video clips are mostly unclear, but they should give you some idea how the show was.
After nursing a sweet hangover, Eppy's Deli made breakfast. Orange juice washed down a whole wheat bagel with veggie cream cheese. Eppy's offers bagel sandwiches like the portobello sandwich in order to keep vegetarians in mind. 24 hours down and I have zero complaints.