It’s Good To Be Back

Turns out there’s still a place for me here in Chicago, after all.

The streets remember me, the skyline, that curve of Lake Shore Drive, the Drake Hotel … the Magnificent Mile … the Southport L stop on the brown-line train (my old train stop when I lived in Wrigleyville) … the crashing dark-blue waves against the shore … people jogging … the Hancock Tower … the marina … the old Chicago houses … I took a long run on Sunday, a gorgeous day – chilly, sunny, with yellow leaves falling. Chicago feels different from Manhattan. It’s an energy-thing. Perhaps part of it is that there are many neighborhoods in the city itself where you might as well be out in the suburbs – there are lawns, trees, quiet …

There’s so much to tell about the wedding yesterday, but I’m still kind of coming down from it, processing it. It was an emotional LOVE-BOMB for all of us who were there, for all of us who love the two of them … It was a great great day. A true celebration, a melding of two families, a day to stand and rejoice that these two beautiful people found each other and came together.

The entire day had this GIDDY vibe. It was one of the happiest weddings I’ve ever been to.

I feel blessed and honored to have been asked to be a part of it.

I’ll probably write more about it … but for now, that’s enough. I got up early this morning, and sat out on the back porch here, having coffee, just thinking over the whole day before again, replaying certain things, laughing out loud randomly remembering some of the funniest moments … A day to remember.

Meanwhile: my living situation here could not be more fantastic.

Relaxing, warm, quiet … with 5,000 old movies to choose from. We saw Gentleman’s Agreement on our first day here. We also watched Elaine Stritch’s Tony-award-winning Broadway show (her one-woman thing) – which is truly extraordinary. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was fantastic.

We also watched an old episode of Hollywood Palace (the old variety show … hosted by Joan Crawford on occasion) … and the bizarre-ness of it has to be seen to be believed. Like – half the time I did not know what I was actually looking at. Joan freakin’ Crawford … changing her outfit 10 times over the course of the night – and the outfits were all wayyyyyy over the top – like she was wearing long bright blue gloves at one point. She was drunk out of her MIND and her sloshiness is totally apparent, even though she sashays about like anointed royalty. But you can tell – there’s something “off” about her. She makes little errors in pronunciation, there are long inappropriate pauses … Her head kind of sways on top of her neck … At the end of the night, she says, flat out, “I have benjoyed tonight’s show …”


You just DO NOT SEE out-of-control shit like that on television anymore. Or very rarely. Certainly not a major movie star hosting a show, being drunk and sloppy and WEIRD. But SO ENTERTAINING, can I tell you? It was dee-LISH. Jaon Crawford, at one point during the show, gave a dramatic reading – which was so unbelievably weird and … I just sat here for 20 seconds trying to figure out how to describe it, but I literally have no words. I had to take a moment to recover after seeing it. (Alex had warned me that this would be the case. “You aren’t going to understand what you’re seeing – Your brain will not allow you to make sense of it because it is just too damn crazy.”) Alex did not exaggerate.


We watch Now Voyager and Holiday.

Tomorrow night? Watching the Sox somewhere … no idea where, but I will find a way.

Weather is gorgeous, the lake is a slate-blue, the air filled with falling leaves … Yes, this is the city I remember. This dear city.

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9 Responses to It’s Good To Be Back

  1. Chicago’s the greatest city, I feel bad that I haven’t been there in five years. Too bad the Cubs aren’t playing in the playoffs this week…

  2. Dan says:

    Nice to hear you’re having fun!

  3. michael says:

    Sheila –
    For really good blues and great (down and dirty) atmosphere go to a place called Buddy Guy’s, if you have time. Local talent most nights and some nights Buddy hisself gets up and gives out with a number or two.

  4. Anne says:

    About Now Voyager – have you read any of Stanley Cavell’s film theory, particularly his analysis of melodramas like NV? Pretty interesting.

    Does Coffee Chicago still exist? I used to hang out at one on Clark all the time. Or by any chance did you ever go to a noodle shop called Penny’s? Or, or…

  5. Alex says:

    Sheila O’Malley is Alive and Well, and living in my house.

    I’m in Heaven.

  6. Ash says:

    I’m in Wisconsin now, or I’d try to see you Friday.

    I miss Chicago. Have fun.

  7. Stop the madness!

    Getting sick of politics? Me too. Want to find out what happens when Sheila O’Malley hits Chicago again? Me too….

  8. Todd says:

    I spent five of my younger years in Chicago – they are my ‘happy place.’ I returned almost exactly 30 years to the day to visit, and it was as magical as I remembered it. It’s my kinda town (Chicago is), although when I left, the Sears Tower was not yet complete.

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