Thursday, July 19, 2007

Cafe Society: Randomness Part III

When the caffeine spell begins to wane, it's often best to shift into listening and learning mode. Sit back, relax, and drift along with the free flowing conversation.

III. Life is a Cabaret, but not all fun and games

At my final resting place for the day, I imbibed one last cup o' joe and drank in the witty yet educational observations of my good friend George Kokines. Having been well-met by a theatrical friend about to direct a local run of Cabaret, the conversation circled around the artistic, dramatic and political scenes in Chicago and New York.

George is very good at dropping names, especially those of artists with whom I have only the barest familiarity. Riffing on our friend Fred's musical endeavor, he mentioned the drawings of George Grosz, which he thought would make a great back-drop for the performance. This was an occasion for physical and mental note taking, as I'd never seen or heard of Grosz's work. A political and social satirist, Grosz lampooned the corruption and decadence of the German bourgeoisie between the wars; certainly material appropriate to the action of Cabaret. The above picture is a detail from his painting Street Scene 1925. He eventually left the country for New York City in 1932.

From there the conversation morphed into the politically riotous, with George giving us first hand accounts of his experiences at the time of the 1968 Democratic National Convention (which he skipped out on, knowing the bent for brutality of that era's Chicago cops) and 1969's Stonewall rebellion (which politicized the gay community in New York). The radicalism of the late 60s eventually gave way to the "free love" decadence of the 70s, and so we found ourselves back in the world of Cabaret.

It was a round trip worth taking, but now having returned home java lagged it's time to put down my metaphorical pen and seek out inky sleep. Tomorrow, I will be back at the café fuelling more thoughts of randomness.
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