« "FIRST HAL, NOW SALLY..." | Main | "I'M A WINNER, BABY..." »

"I AM LOVE..."

I've been on the road since January 3rd. Chicago was my headquarters, but I did get dispatched to Los Angeles and Miami for a few days amidst these frozen, Windy City windows. As I today have landed back in Jersey, after being away for more than three weeks, I'm more fondly reflective of a chunk of time I expected to be unhappy (being away from home). Instead, as I referenced in my previous entry, Chicago was a blast. And amidst it all, I met some great new folks and got energetically reacquainted with some old friends. I'm remembering when my Alicia, Carla, and I enjoyed Spanish tappas as - at the top of my lungs - I entertained the whole restaurant with musical highlights from "Dreamgirls" and the best of '80s r&b. 1-25-2007-24.jpgThen, there was the Decero Taqueria (www.decerotaqueria.com) where Alicia and I (pictured below) caught up racily over tacos and enchilladas before joining Chicago's "talented tenth" at the Sheraton for "Takeover Thursdays". There, I ran into my 'listening experience' buddy Nyasha and met a research scientist and a history professor who teaches 'slavery in Latin America'. I too ran into a couple of Morehouse brothers. And it was a nice night that reminded me that if I had to move to Chicago (God forbid), I would be socially fulfilled (enough) as networking and fellowship goes.

 In long order, my Chicago Carl and my new "amazing grace" Itika kept  me entertained. We were out so much that I couldn't even attempt to chronicle it all. One Friday, he, Itika, and I joined Itika's friend Tiffany and Loucian who is a personal fitness trainer for many of my Chicago friends (www.myspace.com/section9fitness) and one of Dwele's biggest fans. I had met him before, but we all bonded on this evening to the sounds of Dwele at a VIBE/Miller Beer event. 1-25-2007-19.jpgAgain, Chicago's finest were out. And I must have been considered one of them because - in the words of "Mahogany": "... the men love me. The women love me...". Not sure what it was. On this night, I was beginning to feel not-my-cutest as I was growing weary of the pieces I'd packed. Though they were sufficient for the near-month I was on the road, I did have to reinvent and repeat a few things and though I like having that option, it's not as cute when the selects are limited. Moreover, I wouldn't get my hair "poonie"-fied (my new Chicago barber) until the next day. Regardless, there was something in my swagger that read like a magnet. Good thing I've got someone as I might have gotten trouble on that night. It made for lots of laughter amongst my crew, further energizing us into after-set after after-set after after-set. 1-25-2007-22.jpgMy Morehouse brother Eddie even joined us later on this night and at 5:30 am, Carl was dropping Eddie and me off (after we all had an early-morning breakfast), so he could go straight to his job at Jesse Dean. It was quite a marathon. I too had the chance to meet Carl's brother Andre, who made our day "... easy like Sunday morning". Actually, it was a Sunday when he, Carl, Carl's "Amazing Grace" Bionce, and I met at "The Breakfast Club" for brunch (after they went to church). (www.chicagobreakfastclub.com) Not sure what to expect of Carl's brother and wondering if he was going to shift our energy into a more conservative, less colorful tone, I have to say it was the opposite. Andre showed up loving, open, and just straight up cool and fun. 1-25-2007-18.jpgAnd our day would continue into the night. Carl wanted me to try a black-owned restaurant he loves "Blu 47" (www.blu47restaurant.com). Itika joined us too. 1-25-2007-20.jpgThen, we met up with Miss Jesse and Arlene (also from Jesse Dean) for some comedy at "Jokes and Notes" (www.chicago.citysearch.com). There, we got our own live-and-in-living-color brand of BET's COMIC VIEW over cocktails. 1-25-2007-17.jpgSo uplifted, we decided to continue the night with a classic-Chicago-lounge locale "The Dating Game", where I had the DJ play Diana Ross' "The Boss", so the girls and I could dance the night away under the disco ball. theboss.jpgOh, to dance under the sparkling lights of the disco ball. Nothing like it!!!1-25-2007-15.jpg On and on, I could go with highlights from my time in Chicago - like the other VIBE event we attended with performances from Common, Amel Larrieux, and Doug E. Fresh to one of our post-set munchy meals at Harold's Fried Chicken, a Chicago staple (but next time I will make sure my BBQ sauce is on the side. They smother it all over that fried chicken, which I prefer dry). 1-25-2007-13.jpg Chicago really was a total blast. Last night, we had our "see-you-later" extravaganza at which I got to meet one of Carl's best friends Vince. He was way cool and fun. At the top of our lungs, Carl, Jakki (my Ki-Ki), Loucian, Bionce, and I walked the streets of Chicago (to and fro our meal at Hackney's (www.hackneys.net)) - most of us singing Jennifer Holliday's greatest hits. Starting with "Dreamgirls" and segueing through her modest, but celebrated, catalogue. Her debut tune "I Am Love" got most of our attention and focus as we thawed the freezing temps to liquid, exclaiming lyrically that "You walked inside the wind pushing me to bend, teaching me to live today. Oh! All of my dreams have just come true. Say that you are here to stay!!! I am LOVE!!!!". Well, I am not in Chicago to stay, but I do spend lots of time there which promises more great moments with these great people who ensured that my time away from home and my man didn't get lost in the sad and lonelys.1-25-2007-08.jpg Loucian said it best as we all hugged goodbye. "I'll just say see you later because I know you'll be back soon. And in the meantime, we'll  be texting and I'll be reading your blog.". See? I am LOVE! And so are each and everyone of my Chicago friends. THANKS GUYS AND GALS! See 'ya later...




Posted on Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 08:06PM by Registered CommenterTHE LIFE OF RILEY in | CommentsPost a Comment

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.