A week before the Logan Square Arts Festival celebrated its 10th year, I got an email from August Forte inviting me to an after-show at Sleeping Village. Both the fest and show were advertised all over, but Forte, who’s from NoVo Management & Publicity, knows what he’s doing.
The start of his email read, “Al, I hope you are well,” and the first thing I saw on Friday was Swing Del Caribe. They do weddings, bat mitzvahs, work stuff, and more (they’ll do your divorce party for free).
I’d come wearing boots because there’d been a storm earlier and I wasn’t sure about the mud, and because I just hadn’t known. The sun is so direct right now, warming the ground and drying the rain that hits it, that I was only there for three songs before I decided to go home and change shoes for dancing. Which was good and fine since there was no mud and so much good dancing with Title TK + Friends.
Dj’d percussion, the packed stage was a ragtag of (well, here’s a modern dilemma of identity: I’d like to point out here that Title TK’s friends were mostly white and mostly male and in doing so plant the connection seed that maybe playing drums and bongos and other easy-to-pick-up percussive instruments along to a solid collection of black funk records, in a city full of funk bands… wasn’t such a surprising first night closer to Logan Square’s Arts Fest; but I can’t, or shouldn’t, or don’t need to—maybe—because to assume that most of these dudes were male, or even white would be falling into the whole how-we-look-is-who-we-are-thing while neglecting also to do the most basic, most journalistic thing, which would be to say that at a certain time and place on Friday in Logan Square, Title TK + Friends were) fun.
They ended at exactly 10 o’clock, which I found surprising. I rolled my bike out of the festival and rode it down Milwaukee toward Belmont, where I took a left. I’d been to the Sleeping Village a few times, and Joe called it his new favorite patio.
When I got there for the “official” after party, the band Forte had wanted me to see was no longer playing. But I went in anyway, found my friends, met their friends, and it was good to see them so happy.
“We appreciate y’all coming together, celebrating the moment,” said ÉSSO’s guitarist, a musician in a band I thought was very good. But the fun of the dancing wasn’t everything, and he spoke on the family struggle at the border saying, “Let’s not forget these people.” Half their songs were half in Spanish, and all of ÉSSO was Chicago.
The next day was Saturday, one of the hottest of the year. I wore a yellow t-shirt, and the two friends I went with wore black. They didn’t have reusable water bottles either, and when I asked the festival staff where I could fill mine, I was surprised to hear they didn’t have a refilling station, or even water fountains. They were, however, giving out Kirkland Signature Purified Water from Costco.
Mykele Deville had one on stage and thanked Kirkland for their sponsorship. Revolution Brewing, Jameson Caskmates, The Whistler, The Dill Pickle Food Co-op, The Harding Tavern, Wintrust Logan Square, Volota Performing Arts, The Owl, Pinot’s Palette, Dark Matter Coffee, Children’s Learning Place Early Learning Academy, CHIRP Radio, WBEZ 91.5, Green Mountain Energy, Vocalo 91.1, Tapman Productions, Orange Theory Fitness, Mopped, Lula Cafe, Logan Square Preservation, Café Con Leche, and Kambs Jennings Group Compass Mortgage contributed upwards of $1750 each; but most of the weekend’s brand exposure went to Costco, whose products of polyethylene terephthalate were altogether omnipresent. (Note: LoganSquarist was also a partnering sponsor of the fest, though we did not contribute to the plastic wasteland.)
When I asked Geary Yonker how the festival was ensuring that all the plastic water bottles they were distributing were getting recycled, he said, “We have recycling bins out. We recycle what people put in the bins. Unfortunately, not everybody does that.”
Indeed, I saw plenty of plastic (water bottles, cups from Revolution, other plastic) piled in plastic bins of plastic bags, just waiting to start their centuries-long process of photodegradation, which damages the water we drink, the air we breath, and the soil on which we grow because…
Ignorance? Apathy? This I do not get.
A former roommate of mine used to play Mykele Deville all the time. But they weren’t there Saturday. They were in their bedroom doing something else. I am unsure as to how or why, but I have a strong sense that the same whatever that keeps someone from seeing one of their favorite performers at a free festival down the street is the same force keeping us from getting serious about the planet.
It is a lack of inner actualization, a failure to believe we can do better.
Lollapalooza provides huge water tanks for bottle-refilling, but their vendors are still going to sell plastic to people who buy plastic. Which isn’t at all in the least to say that these festivals, which happen all the time all over the place these days in this city, are prime examples of our privileged wastefulness alone. They’re also cool spots to learn about cool stuff. I’d never heard of The Beths, and when Sadie Dupuis asked for a small donation to the Harm Reduction Coalition, I gave a buck.
But jeez, guys. It’s not like we’re going to invent some sort of microorganism that’s able to decompose plastic. And even if I do like my reusable water bottle—the stickers, the dollar Powerade at 7/11, the knowledge that it is mine—I also know I’ll eventually lose it or die, and then it’ll be garbage for sure. But at least it’s kinda nice and no big deal.
Featured photo: Ariel Parrella-Aureli