World Without Lux(e)

It's snowing, I have a nasty cold, I ate pizza, dreamt of Ken Coomer and John Stirrat of Wilco, and woke up freezing - I must be in Chicago.

I'm here chasing some mythical French visa. Conveniently, my daughter Hazel lives in Chicago so I get to spend time with her. I try to leave her life out of my writing these days but she was laid off from her job a few weeks ago with no warning, and she's having a hell of a time finding anything else. What a terrible time to be looking for a job! If anyone knows of anything for a smart, responsible young woman, email me and I'll pass it on to her.

Being on the move in Europe the past few weeks, it was possible to fall out of touch with the economic situation. Here in the US it is inescapable - I'm wondering if therapists are seeing an increase in business because my feelings of stress, dread and hopelessness have increased dramatically since I got off the plane. (note to Hazel: look into becoming a therapist?) No wonder I finally gave in and got sick.

But there seems to be an increase in cheap and free things to do, or at least everybody is focusing on how to cope with no money. We took advantage of free admission to the Art Institute here the other day, and also went to see a double feature at the Siskel Center that was part of Hazel's roommate Libby's film class.

Just before we went in, Hazel told me that Lux Interior had died last week. Again, I felt like I'd been living in a little bubble, because I hadn't heard anything about it. The Cramps were one of my favorite groups in New York, back in the late 70's. I can't even count the number of times I saw them play.

The films playing were "I Walked With A Zombie" and "The Seventh Victim", 40's horror films big on atmosphere and impossible to follow. I know it was cheap to get in but I kept wishing that with my limited time here we'd gone to see something new, even if it meant shelling out a few more dollars.

But I kept thinking about Lux, and imagining him and Ivy getting a kick out of films just like this in their swinging pad, and that got me through.