YNGWIE in CHICAGO

The show flier, my ticket stub, and a guitar pick that Yngwie flung into the crowd. I’ve kept these things all this time…

On this day 20 years ago I was in the House of Blues in Chicago, having walked just a few blocks from my dorm on Michigan Avenue (It’s now classroom space, not dorms, but I kept my elevator floor sign before the demolition started).

I’d only been in the city a short time. This was my first trip out for a concert – OK, sure; lame choice. From my room across from the Art Institute it was just a short walk west, then north over the river, toward the “corn cob towers.” Just a few years later they’d be featured on the iconic Wilco record Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. If only I’d been to see them that night.

Yngwie was effervescent and shrill that night. Loping around the stage, posing before his stack of Marshall amps, and gratuitously clanging his numerous bracelets and bangles against the neck/fret board of his trusty Strat.

He was bursting from his leather? vinyl? spandex? pants. He was in full hair-band-era-cry. Hair teased so high, chest exposed by some combination of V-neck shirt or vest or Pirate jerkin… who knew?

In any case it was glorious. Furious. SO. LOUD. Riotous and ridiculous and raw. He gave his all, flinging guitar picks and sweat with abandon. My ears RANG for hours after, and were even stunned the next morning. It was epic. I can still recall the feel of the cool midnight air chilling me as I rushed back to my dorm room for a smoke and a reprise of Rising Force.

Yngwie. So many arpeggios, so little time.

The Glorious Structures of the Art Institute of Chicago

A couple weeks ago I had the joy to walk through some of my old haunts in Chicago, the city where I spent many years from 1999 on and where I completed my undergraduate degree (at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago).


The State/Lake L stop, near one of the buildings I lived in back then.

Anytime I get the chance to be in Chicago – even if for only an hour or two – I really like to get into The Art Institute. I had a quick series of missions that day: see the AIC, visit a former student of mine (and get a tattoo from her!), and see my friend Jake, who is recovering from a heart transplant (please click here to support his ongoing, 24/7/365 care). Not much time, but I made the best of it.

As I walked through the museum I was struck again by the beauty of the building itself. Here are just a couple shots of the rafters above the great stairs, the stairs themselves, and the majestic old wood floors of the main galleries… many memories made there.






Man, I love that place. Here I am with one of the lions… I'm very thankful to my wife for making this short day trip possible ❤️

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ten Years On

I graduated from SAIC nearly 10 years ago, and I’ve got a lot of memories from there. At first, right after I graduated, I was pretty negative about my experience. I felt as if they’d denied me some aspect of my education necessary to my future, that they’d tried to indoctrinate me, that they’d treated me like a number, not an artist.

In ways I was right, but in a lot of ways I was wrong. I’ve since gotten over it and look back with fondness, thankful that I grew so much during those years. One of the ways in which I grew was in my attention to the things that drew my eye. I began to document heavily, shooting thousands of photographs in the last couple years of my undergraduate career. Below I’ve posted some of those images. These are all from SAIC hallways and environs circa 1999/2000. I was obsessed with the angles, passages of light, and transitioning spaces in the places I saw every day.

Above, looking through the peep hole of my dorm door, 112 South Michigan Ave, 9th floor. This space no longer exists. Below, the elevator I took so many times.

Dead birds (they constantly flew headlong into the bank of windows on that facade, then fell, in droves, into the water below), dead leaves, and my shadow in a pool outside the lake side of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Two stairwell views on the way to the Advanced Painting studios (above and below).

Another stairwell view, light on the landing.

Glass and light, looking up toward the Advanced Painting studios.

Sunlight glances through the shades of my 13th floor (the smoking floor) dorm at 162 North State Street.