"There was music in the cafes at night
And revolution in the air..."
Bob Dylan, Tangled up in Blue
It's a pearl tucked just north of the Insterstate at 1540 N. Franklin St. A place in a landscape Hopper would have loved to paint at dusk. Every night during the RNC Convention it was busy. Lots of young men and women in dark clothing, looking a little tired, lost and sunburned. It reminded me of Rick's Cafe Americain in Casablanca. Spook types hanging out among the regulars. Neighbors from Romneyville passing time. One tall Georgia boy, a 'street medic' looked lonely, eyes glazed. He wondered in a barely audible soft drawl if Americans would ever be able to speak with each other civilly again. A skinny man in his fifties, gray hair tied into a knot, asks to sit at my table, and began lecturing on peak oil and global warming while I sip my Cafe Americano. I tell him about when I used to wait tables at a place Nixon ate, and he asks me why I did not poison him. "I'm not a killer, Sir". The walls are covered with political art (to be reviewed here soon). Viewers in black moved from one work to the next in a sequential procession, like a serpentine belt in an engine in slow motion.The silvery aluminum tables outside were packed with people, many more are sitting on the sidewalk, their backs to the wall. A couple made out on the concrete in plain view. She had an exotic face belonging on a Goddess rising from the sea...he a taut body and dreadlocks.
In this Convention, this was where the wild things convened, sought -- and found -- sanctuary.