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Friday, April 23, 2004 04:25 pm

My big weekend


After giving the government huge piles of money on April 15, I decided my weekend needed to begin Thursday night. As I concluded I don't have enough money to even live in a cardboard box (I've always had this fear that I'll be living in a cardboard box when I'm old, but now even that seems out of my grasp), what better way to celebrate than having sushi at Indigo with my friend Steve?

I've never been to Indigo, and I like it a lot. It's dark, with twinkly lights, a cool bar, and a comfy-looking couch. I suggested we sprawl on the couch to eat our sushi, but Steve preferred the table. I adore sushi, and it's pretty darn good at Indigo. There was one roll I've never had, involving soy-glazed shrimp and mango, and it was different and delicious. Taxes be damned: Enjoying good food with a good man in a good place, what better way for a girl to kick off her weekend?

Friday night, I worked, giving chair massages to a nice woman named Lucy and her friends who were celebrating Lucy's birthday with a slumber party. Even though working, I enjoyed getting the kinks out of everybody's backs.

Saturday morning, I bird-watched at Lincoln Memorial Garden. Kevin Veara, a very cool guy, leads the walks, and I love the L.M. Garden, so I figured it would be worth rising early. The walk started at 8 a.m., and we strolled around as Kevin talked about birds. I'm pretty sure it was interesting, but I wasn't fully awake. He's going to do it every Saturday for the next several weeks, and I recommend it highly.

I thought about taking my parents' two little dogs with me bird watching, but it dawned on me that they probably have a strict no-dogs-while-bird-watching rule. Dogs barking at and attacking birds would probably not be conducive to good bird-karma. The birds would rise up against us, like in the movie The Birds.

Saturday afternoon included a lovely nap.

Later, it was off to the Home & Garden show at the Exposition Building at the fairgrounds, where everything green was for sale. People were carting plants out of the place like crazy.

Saturday night, we went to see Forever Plaid at the Center for the Arts, and before that, we dined at Maldaner's.

Because it reminds me of being in a big city, Maldaner's is my favorite lunch spot downtown. The food is good, the prices reasonable. At dinner the place feels more fancy, somehow. Maybe it was all the men in coats and ties.

I had morel mushroom pie, which is only available for a limited time, because of the limited morel-time. I was excited to try something new, and it was delicious. I love Maldaner's.

Forever Plaid was another new and enjoyable experience. Gus Gordon puts on an incredible show; I don't know how he has time to do it, plus his full-time weathermanning. When does he sleep? The other guys in the show are also great -- there's Steve Williams, hilarious; Ed MacMurdo, also hilarious; and Greg Floyd, really good as the shy one. The show is mostly music, with the thinnest veneer of a plot wrapped around it, and the music is outstanding. Each man is perfect at doing his own little business throughout. I want to see it again.

Luckily, you still have time to catch it (unless it's sold out already): It runs this weekend, too.

I went to a few bars Saturday night, ending up at the Station House where the DJs Doug and Kenny continue to be exceptionally cute. Before that, I stopped in at the former State House Inn, now the Quality Inn & Suites-State House. Its No Name bar is ultra cool. I love the soft lighting, the décor and the bar, and everything about it. The Dan Rivero Trio was playing some great blues. I'm going to be back there a lot. Maybe I'll move in.

Sunday, breakfast at the Hen House, off I-55 at the Toronto Road exit. It's an authentic down-home place, with great breakfasts served all day. You'll find me there on many Sundays.

Sunday afternoon, I rehearsed with my friend Phil Funkenbusch, a local director and Illinois Times contributor. Remember I said I was going to do a one-woman show? Well, I am. The first one is May 19-20, downtown at Stella Blue. I'm going to talk about many things I never have room for here. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday night, a lovely dinner at my friend Randy's. We all played a rousing game of Boggle afterwards, and I'm sorry to say I beat everybody again. I'm only sorry because it makes them all mad. Is there anybody out there who can beat me at Boggle? Maybe I need to think up another contest.

Speaking of contests: Have you sent in your best idea for improving our fair city? Time is of the essence, so hurry up and e-mail me (or write in care of Illinois Times). Deadline is April 30.

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