If you read yesterday’s explanation of why The AIR is in reruns this week, you know that your PopCulteer was in Chicago last weekend. We made a brief trip up and were able to squeeze in a chance to see “True West” at Steppenwolf, plus we did some other fun things in the 95 degree weather (117 with the heat index).

I’m currently paying the price for my excusion into the high heat, but it was worth the hassle and, luckily, didn’t hit me until we got back home.

We stayed in a different hotel than we normally do. The Wit, a DoubleTree Hotel right on the edge of The Loop, turned out to be a wonderful choice, with a great view of the Marina Towers (that’s them at the head of this post), and terrific amenities. The fact that the front door is maybe thirty feet from the nearest L platform was an added bonus.

We were only in town for about fifty hours, and we crammed a lot of good times into that short stay. We hit Lincoln Square where I did something I hadn’t done for more than a year. I videotaped a band. You’ll have to stay tuned to PopCult to find out what’s going to happen with that footage. We also got in some shopping and visited a very cool pop-up experience that you will see in this space tomorrow.

Also, we saw “True West,” and when we hopped on the Red Line back to our hotel, we noticed Francis Guinan, a Steppenwolf ensemble member who played a role in that play standing on the platform, and since we’d seen him in three other plays, we followed him onto the train and stuck up a conversation. He was very gracious and kind and generous with his time, and we spoke until we all got off on the same stop. We were at our hotel, and he had another 40 minutes or so of commuting ahead of him before he was home, but it was a wonderful way to end a great day and I want to thank him for his time once again.

I didn’t take too many photos on this trip (I didn’t even take my phone to the theater), but I did get a few cool images to share. You’ll see some of them below, and a very special set of photos tomorrow.

Another view of the Marina Towers, in full daylight, as seen from our hotel window.


Look down a little and you get a great view of The Chicago River, which is best viewed from within an air-conditioned hotel room, at least on a day like this.


You know you’re in a fancy-shmancy hotel when the toilet paper is neatly folded into a triangle, with a sticker of Rodin’s “The Thinker” applied to hold it in place.


Right outside the hotel we find the Gateway sculpture, marking the “Gateway To The Loop.”


The same sculpture, as seen from above.


Would this be a progressive pop band called Tautologic? You’ll just have to keep your eyes open for the first RFC MINI SHOW since 2015 to find out.


When we travel in the South, we always have a lot of fun, but I have to admit that seeing all the confederate flag merchandise, and borderline racist hillbilly stuff makes me cringe a little. It’s refreshing to go somewhere where the merchandise doesn’t have quite as far-right a tinge to it.


But the other side of the political spectrum is represented, quite appropriately in some regards.


We’ll wrap this up with a shot of the L platform that always makes me start hearing Elvis Costello in my head. Check back tomorrow for a photo essay of the last thing you’d expect to find in the back room of a bar.