July 25, 2012

beach house in the city

Ryan and I attended Pitchfork Music Festival for the first time this year. I don't know how it hasn't happened before, but with my previous busy retail schedule and Ryan's travels, it just never did. And we can't really own that we fully attended this year, since we only joined in on the last night of the festival. But we were both really impressed with how grown-up this festival was! We planned our trip in order to see Beach House live, as they are one of my favorites and I have never had the chance to see them. I had been hoping to catch them sometime and was so happy this worked out!
We decided to make a day of it, and spent the afternoon in Wicker Park browsing shops and eating at our very favorite Native Foods Cafe - YUM! I saw a pretty pink bike in the Copenhagen Cyclery shop window that gave me pause and definitely earned a photo moment. And I really loved the way that Free People modified this old hanging sign to fit their beautiful aesthetic. It was such a pretty, feminine touch in the midst of this area. 
Our favorite store, which we had somehow never before discovered, was The Boring Store. We loved every inch of this place, and how exciting that the proceeds of the shop benefit 826CHI, the awesome non-profit writing and tutoring center. Ryan, who is not usually much of a shopper, even picked out a couple of birthday gift ideas, which I promptly snatched up for him.  (If you have not been there, you should definitely visit their site here! And even if you have, I promise you will enjoy it again...)

After an early dinner we drove over to Union Park, home of the Pitchfork Music Festival. It was, unfortunately, a miserably hot day, and I think we were both growing very skeptical that this festival thing was going to be a good idea. Usually, in our experience, the last night of a festival has meant littered grounds and drunk people, and dirt and dust everywhere. We arrived early enough to wander around a bit before Beach House went on, and I must say, we were delighted to be proven wrong! The grounds were still well-maintained, and we encountered NO hooligans. This is the first music festival I've attended that had as many or more vegetarian and vegan food tents as other options, and the Flatstock Poster Fair aisle was really, really impressive. I could have browsed for hours!
Pitchfork's marketing and design for the festival were really, really great! Whimsical yet orderly, fashion and function. We loved the fold-out maps and pocket guides! Every bit of information plugged perfectly in so that you wouldn't have to check your phone for anything (although of course, there was an app for that). Even the passes we wore were super-fancy compared to most of the festivals we've attended. We got to spend some time with our friend Jamin, founder of Kill Screen, a really amazing videogame arts and culture company, who was visiting from New York to promote their new project "Soundplay," which is very, very neat. And we got to taste a delicious vegan mint chocolate chip ice cream cone from Temptation
By the time we joined the crowds standing at the Red Stage waiting for the band to go on, the sun was setting and the day was cooling with the passing breezes. Beach House was really, really great live - SO authentic to the integrity of their recordings, which they pulled off with only three musicians! Their stage design was amazing - bold black and white striped panels, lit from behind in shifting patterns, and an occasional blanket of stars above them below the stage's roof. We did not even try to get up close, even though I tend to be the nerdy kid who prefers to see the expressions on each artist's face as they perform. It was just too crowded and hot, and Pitchfork had a great jumbo-tron setup that gave us enough glimpses to keep me happy. They performed most of my favorites, with the exception of "Take Care," which holds a special place in my heart because our friends Dan and Therese chose it as their wedding song. Hearing the song always transports me right back to that lovely day. But I will give Beach House a whole-hearted thumbs-up anyway, because their performance was magnificent.
All in all, it was a great day of adventure, and I am really glad we decided to go this year! Did any of you attend Pitchfork this year??

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