A random entry from off by one

[Comments] (1) Wed Mar 30 12:37:59 CST coolness factor edition:

I'm super busy today so this will have to be a quick one.

I will miss Cabaret Metro (usually called just Metro or the Metro). It's one of the coolest places to see a show in Chicago, and almost all of my favorite concerts took place there, like Kings X, Damien Jurado, Low, Chris Whitley w/the rhythm section of Soul Coughing, Sunny Day Real Estate, and Barenaked Ladies (my first concert in Chicago in 1994. A lot of awesome and historic concerts that I didn't go to also happened there, like the last Smashing Pumpkins show, Dylan, the Stones, etc.). I don't know what exactly makes it so special, but it is.

I won't miss The Alley. The Alley is THE "Alternative Gear" shop in Chicago, and is just a little more than a half mile south of the Metro. It started out small but expanded into this gigantic business. It's not so much that they "sold out" that bothers me -- it's their terrible ads -- they say things like: "Shoes your mother would HATE!" Who goes and buys shoes with the express purpose of antagonizing your mother? Apparently the demographic that The Alley reaches out to. Talk about being a caricature of yourself. Either that or they're brilliantly and shamelessly self aware.

For that matter, I won't miss the whole Belmont/Clark neighborhood, with the exception of the Vic, Chicago Guitar Exchange and Pick Me Up Cafe. (All three of those aren't even right in the thick of things. For a second I thought I would have to list Stars Our Destination, a great sci-fi (and other) bookstore but they moved to Evanston and later closed.)

I won't miss the Army Navy Surplus Store (which now has about half a floor of very limited so-called "surplus" -- the rest is hip name brand streetwear). The used record stores are overpriced, the vast majority of the boutiques are really not my style and the vibe is just... very 1995 Meets Starbucks.


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