July 24th, 2008

Quill4

Stand-up Ovation

I’m going to do something in this post that I rarely do – I’m going to name people by their full names. Usually, I will discreetly refer to people by just their first name, perhaps adding the initial of their last name. Other times, I’ll refer to them by initials only. But today, I’m making an exception because the parties involved are professional entertainers, who as a rule are always looking for ways to get their names into print.

The occasion was a birthday bash for Kelley Addis (yes, I remembered the extra ‘e’. You’re welcome!). Kelley chose this occasion to make her public debut as a stand-up comic. The site was the Wise Fools Pub on North Lincoln Avenue, where Mr. Pete Wood hosts open-mike stand-up every Tuesday night. About a dozen comics went up before Kelley, so everyone had ample opportunity to avail themselves of Dollar Beer Night before the big moment arrived. Well, almost everyone – I’m not a beer drinker myself, so I was my typical sober self.

Let me cut right to the chase – Kelley rocked! She was everything you’d want to see up there – personable, relaxed, intelligent, aware, cute, great smile… and very funny – which is, after all, the point of the whole thing. And before I forget – she looked nothing like the above photo, but it was the only one of her I had handy. Her act went so well, it seemed scarcely believable that this was her first time doing stand-up – except that it was! I really hope she keeps going with this, because she’s a natural.

There was a period of time a couple years ago when I was regularly attending open-mike comedy nights hosted by Pete Wood at a couple different places – Bad-a-Bing! on North Avenue and the Tequila Roadhouse on North Wells. Come to think of it, both of those places are out of business now, though no one is blaming Pete for this state of affairs. It had been a while since I’d attended such a comedic exhibition, and it was very thought-provoking to revisit that world last night. I’ll write more about it in a forthcoming post. For now, I’m just happy that I was able to help celebrate Kelley’s birthday in high style, along with a whole bunch of fun folks I hadn’t seen in months. And it was a treat to see the debut of a genuine stand-up talent!
  • Current Music
    Stand - R.E.M.
Blue

Ugliness and Cowardice

A coworker of mine received some bad news the other day. The 20-year-old daughter of a life-long friend of hers was shot and killed outside her Chicago home. The details are appalling.

The young woman was outside her home having a water balloon fight with some friends last Saturday night when a young man came running up and opened fire on the group. The 20-year-old was shot through the head and heart and died almost instantly. The assailant ran a few houses down, where a car pulled up and quickly whisked him away. No one has been apprehended, and he was apparently unknown to anyone there.

My coworker says that this family was not the sort to have any gang involvement, and that everyone’s best guess at this point is that this was a gang initiation hit. If you’re not familiar with the practice, this is a common means of “proving one’s self” to some of the more violent gangs – to kill someone. My question is this: Just what the hell has this guy proven? That he can attack a normal, law-abiding citizen who’s armed with nothing more dangerous than a water balloon? This is supposed to be an act of courage? I don’t mean to sound flippant or turn this into any sort of punch line, but how about having to shoot an armed member of a rival gang to “prove” yourself? That might at least require an ounce of courage. But this? It’s nothing but pathetic, and on so many levels.

The families and friends touched by this have my sympathy. As for the assailant, he should receive nothing of value – no respect and no mercy. It would be fine by me if the next shot he fired were into his own brain. If I sound a little bitter right now, it’s because I am. I never met the victim or her family, but even at this distance, I can’t help but be disgusted and a bit upset.
  • Current Mood
    pissed off pissed off