I got to my new apartment in Evanston this past Wednesday after a long cross country drive with my dad (and several days without sufficient or meaningful practice--which nearly drove me crazy!) and have been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off ever since trying to get everything unpacked and all the little bits and pieces of my life put together in this new city. Most of the basics have now been taken care of, though I've still been unable to get internet coverage at home or figure out how to connect to the free coverage at NU--thus my grudging trip to Starbucks.
It's ridiculous how much I've come to depend on an internet connection in order to plan my life. A year ago I was getting along just fine with my only access to a computer being the local public library across the street, and I had fought militantly against purchasing a computer for most of my adult life...only giving in when the grad-school application process made only an hour per day of computer time a bit insufficient. Now I find myself completely flummoxed without constant access to the internet: how do I find my way around the city and around campus...how do I find maps and fares for public transit...how do I find phone numbers for important people and services I need to connect with...how can I possibly get my crossword-with-Rob fix...how can I watch NOVA...Nature...all my other favorite PBS programs...how do I communicate at all...with anybody??? Of course all of these things are possible without the internet, but I've been spoiled for so long by having one convenient place where ALL the information and entertainment I need has been right at my fingertips whenever I want that finding the reg'lar ol' ways of getting things done has forced me to stretch muscles that have been out of use for quite a while...and it's been (blush) a little stressful.
Anyway, there are a lot of good things here to talk about.
Evanston is a beautiful town and I LOVE my new apartment (teensy tiny though it is). Most of the places I'll need on a regular basis (public transit, grocery store, library...subway sandwich shop:) are within walking distance, and the people I've met so far have been very congenial, relaxed, and extremely helpful. The shore of Lake Michigan is about 1/2 mile from my apartment and about 50 feet from the music building at NU...many of the practice rooms have a view of the many-shades-of-blue water lapping up onto sandy beaches and rocky outcroppings. My 2nd-floor apt. windows look out on a quiet residential street lined with trees and at night I can lay in my bed and (when it's clear) see a decent smattering of stars...last night I noticed the constellations Cassiopeia and Andromeda framed together in my little patch of clear sky. The one neighbor I've met so far, John, commented that Evanston is a great town for people looking to "find themselves"...what more could I ask?
Ok...now back to the picture of the month.
I was extremely fortunate during this move to have my wonderful dad (seen here wrestling with our first sampling of true Chicago-style deep dish pizza) along to help out. He was the sole driver of my moving truck (a good thing considering how I struggle maneuvering large vehicles) and the main source of muscle as we carted large pieces of furniture and boxes up the stairs to my new apartment. He was patient during my wild mood swings and was calm during my frustrating first attempts to navigate the streets of this new town and learn to deal with drivers a good bit more aggressive than those back home in SLC. Thanks Dad! I owe you BIG time!!!
On Friday after I finished my morning practice, we took some time to stroll a bit around campus and check out the NU neighborhood. While walking through the library, Dad noticed a magazine advertising the Chicago Jazz Festival which took place this past weekend. Being an awesome tenor sax player and life-long jazz buff, he eagerly talked me in to checking out a performance at the Green Mill--a night club about 8 or 9 miles south of Evanston. A tenor player he was familiar with, Greg Fishman, was performing with trumpeter Marquis Hill, bassist John Tate, and drummer Michael Raynor, in a quintet led by pianist Dennis Luxion.
I'm certainly not an able jazz or music critic, but I have to say that this group was one of the tightest and most subtly musical small jazz ensembles I've had the pleasure of hearing. The blend between trumpet and sax was exquisite, their precision and ability to respond together was near flawless, and their pianissimos were incredible. All during my band and orchestra experiences in middle and high school I was a bit puzzled (as most young and enthusiastic musicians are) by directors who would tell us that the truest sign of quality musicianship could not really be heard during the loudest moments of a piece, but rather during the softest. The tone and expressivity these guys demonstrated during those subtler moments was a perfect illustration of this idea.
During the performance, in typical Kelly fashion, I was sitting at our little table playing around with the candle. I'm sure I must have seemed like quite a weirdo as I moved the table settings around and found as many odd angles to take pictures of the room and our table as I could. I loved the mix of intense greens, muted reds, and warm yellows that colored the club's ambiance, and I liked the juxtaposition of rough textured glass with the the flatish geometry of the table and tablecloth.
We stayed for two of their three sets and drove home at about 12:30 tired, but uplifted by the great music.
So there ya go...a first little taste of my new life in the midwest. I've left out a lot of cool little details that I'm sure I'll elaborate on in future posts. I'm really looking forward to the start of school and hoping that the many good things I've found in this lovely little city north of Chicago will help sustain my spirit during the long winter.