7-7-7 (Day 2)

The Red Shoes
@ Music Box Theatre

Monday felt a lot shittier than it actually was. It wasn't very cold, but it might as well have been. I was slogging my way through the end-of-semester doldrums, having just completed a final which I was forced to wait half an hour to begin. Also, I had gotten back an assignment I thought for sure I was done with (it's a 100 level course, lady. If you want a works cited page, put that in the assignment sheet. It's a blowoff.) But the sojourn would not wait. The Red Shoes at the Music Box was on tap, showing at 5 and 8 (and for the MB's new discounted Monday ticket price of $5!) I walked out of class at 4:30, seemingly bound for the five o'clock show. My trusty iPhone calculated I would arrive at 5:05 via CTA. I took that as a challenge. I zipped up Washington, down the tunnel to the Red Line and made it down the steps... just in time to watch a train bound for Howard pulling slowly away. I cursed. (Specifically, I said "F*ck.")

This, plus the annoying developments at class, was enough to officially put me in a 'bad mood,' which is pretty rare for me. I hated every perfect, painted, peacoated yuppie mannequin in that tunnel, cooing emptily into their blackberrys about dinner reservations and primping themselves. I wanted to punch the sing-songy "spaare change, maaaaan" homeless guy standing a couple feet behind me. And when the next train north finally came and I squeezed in, every loudly rattling fixture in that train car made me want to smash the hell out of it with a ball-peen hammer. It did not look good. I stepped of the Red Line at Addison at 4:59. There was no way I could walk it. I needed a bus to save me, as I had to cut up a good 5 or 6 blocks to Southport. And there it was! Right as I came through the doors... four carlengths away and pulling out of sight. Again.

I smiled and stood, quietly enraged. These are the CTA moments. God. F*cking. Damnit. 5 o'clock was not happening. Even worse.. that was the bus I needed to get home. Seething, I waited for the next one. The wind picked up, of course, and it got colder. I put the closest thing I had to metal on in my headphones. I resolved to go home and catch the 8 o'clock. Via (*gasp*) my CAR.

Having a car in Chicago is something that I struggle with. In theory, I feel inclined to utilize CTA as often as possible, for reasons both economic and environmental. But tonight, I couldn't WAIT to get in that thing, crank up the heat, pop on a podcast, drive my happy ass warmly and quickly down to the Music Box, park right in front, take ten steps and be inside. And that is exactly what I did. Eco-babble be damned; sometimes you need to get a little selfish. Sometimes, you don't want the faux-company of the noisy, anonymous bus and train riders. Sometimes you just want to be left to your own crankiness.

The Red Shoes is a bonafide masterpiece- every inch as profound as The Seventh Seal or Rashoman, and twice as beautiful as both. The central conflict- the push and pull of love versus career, resonates more each time I see it. I may never have another chance to view it on the big screen, with its vibrant, lively colors splashed across a thirty-foot canvas. But its importance and beauty are absolutely certain to live forever. By the time it was over, any hint of my bad day bitching and moaning had long melted away. The dancing and the music had lifted my spirits. Movies can do that to you sometimes. They offer humanity in a box--all the tender moments, none of the difficulties of all those disappointing, annoying reactions. Good, cheap medicine for discomforted souls.

Grade: A+

(images: click to enlarge)

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