Sunday, December 8, 2019

Why I Like Aurora's Venue for Concerts

The Venue, in Aurora (21 S. Broadway Ave. [US Rte 25], Aurora, IL 60505) is a great place to attend a concert. Why? 5 reasons (OK, maybe 4 - you'll see):

1. It's a cool space. They have comfortable chairs, no matter the ticket price. If you upgrade for the better seats you get a table for your drinks and snacks.

2. Did I mention drinks?

3. It's a great setup for the musicians. A nice stage, high quality sound system and lighting. It all makes for a great show. 

4. Did I mention drinks? I know I have a problem. But, another plus is they have ample parking. That's good - right?

5. They have cool merchandise. The musicians usually have CDs and other stuff for sale. The Venue has cool t-shirts and, wait for it... harmonicas! Really, where else can you get harmonicas in cool colors for only $5? (Prices subject to change, don't yell at me if they're no longer $5 by the time you read this.)

Featuring mostly Chicago area talent, the Venue in Aurora is a great place for a night out. There's good restaurants nearby, Hollywood Casino, all within walking distance. Make a night of it!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Hammered Dulcimer Christmas Carol

The Fox Valley Music Foundation started filming a documentary about the Fox Valley's Bill Robinson. Bill builds and plays the hammered dulcimer. Bill, joined by Katie Moritz and Greg Ferguson, played a short concert so we could hear the dulcimers in action. One of the tunes was Joy to the World, which seemed appropriate given the season. We hope to have the documentary done sometime after the holidays.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

A Dreary Day in Geneva, IL

Metra at Geneva station eastbound to Chicago

Metra at Geneva station eastbound to Chicago

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

5 Reasons I Like the Batavia Lyceum

Rosemary Fuerer in action!
Last night I attended the latest rendition of the Batavia Lyceum. Rosemary Feurer, a history professor from Northern Illinois University presented: A Brief History of Socialism in the United States. I had a great time and I wanted to tell everyone why I like this event.

  • Interesting Topics : It’s not always politics, but it is always illuminating. Some of the topics:
    • Nov 19, 2018 (note: already done!) – Reform, Innovation & Defense of America's Most Dangerous Game – all about the history of football safety, from way back when the league started to now!
    • Coming up on May 18, 2020 – Julie Bayer – Opera: The queen of the night tells untold tales – An evening with Julie Bayer – a welcome break from election year politics!
  • Knowledgeable Speakers: This month we had a professor of history from NIU. Last month it was a political science professor explaining the polling statistics regarding the upcoming primaries and election. The football safety presentation was from a history teacher / defensive coordinator from Batavia High School. These people know what they're talking about!
  • No Hecklers: The crowd is polite during the presentation; they allow the speaker to present without rude interruptions. If you think everyone agrees with the presenter, think otherwise.
  • Civilized Discussion: After the presentation, usually around 45 minutes, there is Q&A / Discussion time. It can get quite spirited. Do I believe in socialism? No! And I let my views be known, as did others who disagreed with me. No one got personal, or unpleasant. There is no name calling and it’s good to talk about issues in a civilized manner. (I may have raised my voice a little trying to convince someone that Norway is not a socialist country, so perhaps “civilized manner” is overstating the case.)
  • Comfortable Bar; Great Drinks: The location is wonderful. The room is comfortable; the chairs will not cause pain for a couple hour event. The bartenders make a great Manhattan, Old Fashioned, or pour a nice beer or wine. The prices will not bankrupt you. Food is available. It’s a great location for an event like this.

Next Month: Dec 30, 2019 – Matt Holm – Thick Description From Low-down Gentlemen: Chicago Urban Blues and the Civil Rights Movement

Save the date now. Get it on your calendar.

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Waited For Trains That Never Came

I waited an hour and ten minutes and not a single train, not even a Metra commuter train.

Looking Westbound at Sunset Park in Geneva, IL

Looking Eastbound at Sunset Park in Geneva, IL

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Book Review: Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

Transaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American DreamTransaction Man: The Rise of the Deal and the Decline of the American Dream by Nicholas Lemann

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book. It looked at the relationship between politics and economics in US history. It starts with the Organization Man era (when giant corporations were dominant), then the transaction man era (the ascendancy of finance and Wall Street), and today’s network man era, which is still in progress. But the final chapter, the Afterword, had the greatest impact on me. The discussion about special interest politics resonated strongly with me. I have, for quite a while, attributed the rise of right-wing politics to their superior ability to organize and influence. I compare the success of the Tea Party to the failure of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. Or, I compare the success of the NRA to the groups that advocate gun control. Some groups are better at getting organized to make a difference than others; the ineffective groups talk a lot, but don’t get anything accomplished. It’s hard work, and makes politics messy – but if you want to get changes made you have to do it right.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Autumn 2019

Fall usually happens twice for me. Most of the leaves fall in what I consider the traditional fall months. But not the trees on our parkway. Those leaves always fall after last leaf pickup and usually after the first snow. This year was a little different in that fall occurred on a single day! But, the parkway trees have held true to form.

Birch on the left - Parkway maple on the right. The maple leaves usually fall sometime in December.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Halloween 2019

It snowed, yesterday and today. Our average first measurable snow in this part of Illinois is December 2nd, so we're quite a bit ahead of schedule.

Here is this year's pumpkin, though given the weather I'm not sure how many kids will see it.

Facebook Again!

I have this on again, off again relationship with Facebook. As I write this I’m off; my account is deactivated. I did this because of their recent policy regarding fact-checking political ads. They decided they would not do that, allowing politicians to lie.

However, last night I attended a meeting at the Fox Valley Music Foundation. I volunteer my time to assist with video work, working on documentaries and doing some camera work for their performance venue. At the meeting the executive director mentioned that the foundation would like to push hard on Giving Tuesday, December 3rd. We were asked to share as much as possible on Facebook to promote giving to the foundation. I asked what social media the foundation used and the answer: Facebook and Instagram (also a Facebook product).

I realized, once again, that to be supportive of organizations and friends, I must be on Facebook. The organizations I support: FVMF, OPUS, Waterline Writers, the Batavia Lyceum and others do all their online advertising on Facebook. My friends have events that largely, or only, get mentioned on Facebook. If I want to participate, I must be there.

It frustrates me, that for so many the internet is Facebook, but as usual no one cares what I think or that I’m frustrated. So, I’ll be back on later today, sharing events and posts and trying not to be snarky. 😊

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

First Snow: October 30, 2019

Seems our first sticking snow has arrived earlier than usual this year. Usually we get flurries that don't stick at least once, but this year we jumped right to the sticky stuff!