Art Blog #22: Looking for Chicago blues @ the W Hotel in Chicago

It was a fool’s errand, I know, but we caught some good jazz at Andy’s Nightclub, where the music is good but the cheeseburgers, which are about $25, make you think, Well, at least the music is good.

The W hotel is nice, but some of the new agey touches bring out the juvenile in me, I guess. Particularly the coasters in the room which say: “What are you thinking right now? Write it down!” I could not bring myself to write anything, since I was supposed to be a writer on vacation, sort of, so I drew it instead.

The hotel bar as you can see is pretty swinging. I took several pix of this weary briefcase road warrior because I thought it would make a good drawing later. Haven’t gotten to it yet.

We were there as chaperones for the Khabele School Jazz 3 ensemble, which totally rocked a party thrown by Bill Escamilla, the father of Marshall Escamilla, the Khabele music instructor and, as a Chicago native, our host. The party was in Bill’s 19th floor condo downtown. What a view!

Khabele Jazz 3 ensemble playing a swanky party in Chicago. Dashiell Sublett, white T-shirt. Photo by Paige Pharr.

Here we have a guest at the party wearing a tie that matches the painting in Bill’s condo. I never found out the name of the artist, but I like it.

The infamous guest with the infamous "Penthouse Tie" at the party at Bill Escamilla's condo on the 19th floor in downtown Chicago.

The beer & wine were kept cool in an ice chest on the balcony. On one trip out there a kind woman, I think one of the opera singers who were there, kicking up their heels at the Khabele band’s gypsy jazz, excused herself. No problem, I said, I’m not going to run over you just to get a cold beer. She laughed & said, Well, I would understand if you did. I said, “Now, if they had some Scotch whiskey out here, I would’ve thrown you off the balcony.” They had some cool people at that party. On another trip outside I met a guy whose wife is writing a history of Bridgeport, which is where all the hot shot Chicago mayors & etc. have come from. He told me why, in a nutshell history of the city, dating back to the French explorers. Why you only learn these kinds of things while imbibing alcohol at night, I don’t know, but it was cool.

It was a grand trip. No one fell off the balcony. We stood in line for 2 hours waiting for the elevator to the top of the Sears Tower. I wonder if it would take less time to take the stairs? The view at night is supercool, but it made me homesick for the view of Los Angeles & the San Fernando Valley from the top of Mulholland Drive.

Weary briefcase road warrior at the W hotel in Chicago.

View from Sears Tower, photo from iPhone.

Don’t forget, this Friday (April 23) is the night of Jesse Sublett & Jon Dee Graham’s Murder Ballad Show at Evangeline Cafe. Details here.

Thursday June 10: Howlin Wolf’s 99th Birthday Tribute Show at the Continental Club Austin!! Details here.

June 10, 2010, Howlin Wolf, a k a Chester Burnett, would have been 99 years old. So we're having a big, bad birthday party at the Continental Club with many of Austin's coolest musicians.

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