Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Random Notes, November 2011

This week seems like a better time than ever to catch up on various stories and tie up some loose ends:

+ Back in July I commented on the slow, painful death of Chicago radio as exemplified by the demise of the market's last modern-rock station. Since then, things have grown worse; as Chicago media gadfly Robert Feder blogged last week, a recent rash of layoffs marked the bloodiest week in local radio history. The mass media behemoth known as ClearChannel was the most egregious executioner, wiping out 11% of the entire company's payroll; nothing was safe from the big purge, from station managers all the way down to production assistants. This past Sunday marked 18 months since the unceremonious end of my last radio gig, and my heart goes out my brothers in the radio industry; it's beyond frustrating to watch a dream die like that, and in some ways I'm still recovering from the rejection.

+ Then in August, I blogged about the woebegone Lake County Fielders, an independent baseball team left for dead by its management and community. Two months after the fact, their painful story finally hit the mainstream media. When the Fielders' management couldn't financially justify air fare anymore, the Northern League was forced to rearrange the remaining schedule of the 2011 season, essentially excluding the boys in Zion. In turn, the Fielders spent a whole month playing home-and-home with a semi-pro club from central Wisconsin. No official word yet on whether the Fielders will live to see a third year, though it's looking quite doubtful.

+ With that said, how was my first week living in Chicago? Well, I arrived at the apartment that I'm subletting around 2:30 last Monday; I was able to carry all my belongings up two flights of stairs by myself in about two hours. (Moving into an apartment that was pre-furnished was very helpful, to say the least.) My roomie works odd hours and travels a lot, so at times it was kinda lonely around the place; however, I had a checklist of friends' shows that I wanted to see but wasn't able to until now.

The personal highlight of my first week was weirdly serendipitous. One of the most popular improv shows in Chicago is TJ & Dave, a two-man, one-hour spectacle of sorts that iO hosts every Wednesday night. (To those of you who might be visiting Chicago anytime soon, this is an excellent way to dip your toe into improv. Plus, tickets are only $5!) The bad news was that TJ wasn't there that night, supposedly because he was shooting a movie in LA. The good news is that he was filled in by Tracy Letts. It's one thing if it were another star of the Chicago comedy scene, but another to see Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts do improv, and quite well might I add. Suffice to say, I was blown away; I shook Letts' hand after the show, but he rushed out of the theater before I could ask for a photo or autograph.

+ Finally, the 7 billionth person in the world was born on Monday, and believe it or not, it wasn't a Duggar...

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