Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Chicago Night in Amsterdam

I may travel all over the world, but the city of Chicago will always have my heart. It's the finest city on Earth--period. Chicago produces the best food, the best sports teams (GO CUBS!), and the best music. Also, the best people in general. But let's move back to music for a second.

One particular Chicago artist with whom I've been enamored lately is Noname, a female rapper I first encountered on Chance the Rapper's forever-brilliant mixtape Acid Rap. I've never quite heard a voice like hers before--it's honest. It has little swagger because she doesn't need swagger to make her point. And sometimes her points are gut-wrenching. She finally released her own mixtape, Telefone, earlier this year, and I've been listening to it virtually nonstop since. I recommend you check it out immediately, not only because her voice is important, but also because I'm pretty sure she's the Next Big Thing. And you don't want to be left behind, do you?

I've never been able to see her perform in Chicago, but in a funny twist of fate, she's playing Melkweg in Amsterdam tonight with Mick Jenkins. Guess who has a ticket? (It's me.)

It's a nice day for a walk yet again--it has been for most of the week. According to my cousins, the pleasant fall weather is unusual for Amsterdam. It seems I picked a good time to come. On Saturday night, I walked over to De Pijp, where I met my new friend Wendy for a few beers at Brouwerij Troost. Their Saison was delicious. At one point I was handed a giant bouquet of sunflowers by some drunk guys, who then demanded multiple hugs, which Wendy and I refused--a depressing reminder that it's not only American men who have little to no regard for women's personal space. But hey, free flowers.

Sunday evening, Erin and I walked to and from the Koninklijk Theater Carré to see David Brighton--supposedly the world's greatest David Bowie tribute artist. To be honest, I felt his Ziggy-era impression was forced, but when he changed into the oversized yellow suit of 1980's Bowie, the similarities were uncanny. The Carré is a gorgeous old venue, more appropriate for musicals than for rock acts. Nevertheless, I had a wonderful time singing along to my favorite songs, and the walk home along the river was beautiful--all those lights reflected in the gently waving water, the soft sounds of bicycles occasionally zipping by.

Theater Carre Amsterdam
Appropriate glamorous for Bowie, if not appropriately spacious for dancing.

Yesterday I walked down to Haarlemerstraat and Haarlemerdijk, a trendy neighborhood full of vintage boutiques and cafés. Also, coffee shops--the smell of weed was so strong at 11:30 a.m. that I nearly gagged. I wasn't in the mood to try on clothes, but I did take plenty of pretty pictures. Observe:

Life on the canals.

Graffiti Alley Amsterdam
A colorful alley.

History Building Amsterdam
The first stone.

I'm looking forward to this evening's walk to Melkweg--I haven't walked that way before. So much more of Amsterdam to explore.

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