Ode to The Riviera

The last time I went to a concert at The Riviera was a lifetime ago. Truly. I think it was 2004. I hadn’t even met my husband at that point.

The concert I attended? The Killers…who were baby famous at the time (remember Mr. Brightside?). The music was great but what stuck with me most was how insanely cool the venue was. I felt like I had been transported when I walked inside and looked up at the gorgeously ornate ceiling above the bar, its paint peeling off in thick, curled wedges.

It’s beautiful. It’s ramshackle. It’s standing room only. Your shoes might stick to the floor but the vibe is super chill and the bathrooms stalls are scrawled with funny quips. Basically heaven!

What I learned a lifetime ago at The Riviera was that I am a lover of small venue concerts. Sure, I’ve done Buffett and Dave Matthews shows at Alpine Valley (important: I’ve since retired permanently from Dave Matthews). I’ve sang my heart out to the Rolling Stones at Wrigley Field. I had the time of my life seeing T-Swift during her Reputation arena tour in Indianapolis. But there is something so mind-blowing about hanging out with your person, listening to incredible music in an intimate venue that resembles someone’s cool, old basement.

We saw James BayΒ (Electric Light tour). I was in heaven.

I had really fallen for his stuff since his debut on Saturday Night Live. As I finished the draft of my second novel, I looped some of his songs on a playlist that kept my motivation high as I typed away and edited. I knew every lyric, every chord change. His music sent me down a rabbit hole of bliss, lust, persistence, and fun- precisely what I needed to tap into as I wrote.

On the train ride home Fitz and I were recalling our favorite parts of the show. “I can’t get over The Riv,” Fitz said. “I’d go back to that place again and again.”

I just smiled.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Either what’s old is new again or WordPress just never stopped being cool. Regardless, I’m happy to be back. Things are eerily familiar and absurdly different.

WordPress was the site of my very first blog post way back in the day (2008? Earlier?!). Back then my biggest concerns were commercial real estate, Chicago restaurants, vampire books, documentaries, Netflix via mail (streaming did not exist), my Boston Terrier and running. These days things look a lot different (and definitely more suburban). I’m excited though! Stay tuned…lots of photos, stories, columns, updates, and BOOKS are on the way.

P.S. Thank you for reading and hanging out here. Bonus points if you are someone who is not my dad or my sister. Also, I painted the artwork above…it’s called ‘Walking Down the Street in a Straight Line.’ This information is both interesting and somewhat useless.