Tuesday, July 1, 2008

I am back! Aren't you relieved?

We just got back from a family trip up to Arcadia, MI. It was a hell of a lot of driving, especially with five people in the car. We made three different 4-5 hour trips in the form of a triangle, from Detroit, to Arcadia, then down to Northwest Indiana, and back up to Detroit. Add three kids, and the trip time grows to 6 or 7 hours. We have been up to Arcadia twice before, and now it is becoming a summer family tradition that we get to go up to the beach halfway up the Lake Michigan side of the state. Usually, in the past, I have noticed mild culture shock coming up from southern Indiana (Indiana University and Bloomington) all the way up to Michigan. There is a maritime culture that pervades much of Michigan that is not a part of southern Indiana. Nowhere in the country is there more water than in Michigan, except for along the coasts. It really seems to have an impact on Michigan's culture - it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it is other than calling it maritime. After spending the past 5 months in Detroit, the difference between SE Michigan and mid-way up the west coast of Michigan was not nearly so great.

This full time job is kicking my butt. It is so hard to come home, eat (although James usually has some food ready, so that is wonderful), play with the kids or go for a walk with them or something, usually deal with some emotional explosion from at least one of the boys, get all three boys ready for bed, put the baby to sleep, and then, by at least 9:30, start doing some research, oh yeah, and clean up the kitchen. It’s craziness, but someday in the not so distant future, I will look back on this, with my wonderful teaching job at a cool university, much of my current debt paid off, and older children and smile at the way we got through it all.

The blog is kind of taking over the way I write fieldnotes, and I don’t really like that. For the blog, I try to keep things a bit more distant and exclude some private personal details, my own or those of research consultants. So I need to get better at writing fieldnotes first in a Word document, and then selecting the text that I want for the blog and editing it for the web. So this is what I got myself into!

After our trip to Arcadia, James and I went up to Chicago on Thursday, June 26th, for his opening reception at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. It was so great to see his work up on the wall, and to see all the other wonderful photos that were hanging in the museum. There were three levels and four separate rooms on the ground level. The exhibit was put together so nicely and I really enjoyed seeing James’ work next to so many other great photographers. There were a bunch of former IU photo students there, and James introduced himself to a few photographers, and the curator. After the reception, we headed over to a really nice bar called Villains and met up with many of the artists who had work hanging in the show. My brother and his girlfriend were there too. We played a few good games of pool, drank some delicious beer called Gumball Head, yum yum, and listened to Beastie Boys and other older hip hop that they were playing in the bar. Since we arrived at the bar after most of the other artists, we really didn’t know how to fit ourselves into the crowd, and we almost left to go see a movie. But I’m glad we didn’t because James got a chance to talk with the curator, and then with a few artists. After a while, some more food came out, that the museum paid for :), and James and I went over to sit down and eat. We ended up talking with a woman who was also in the exhibit, Barbara was her name, but I can’t remember her last name. For most of the rest of the night, she and James talked about their art, about camera equipment, about photography in general. There was one point, however, that she asked me about my research in Detroit, because we had briefly mentioned earlier about moving to Detroit for that purpose. She asked me so many questions, and was fascinated by the fact that DJs are still active in Detroit, and was really interested in the history that I am recording here; the history that is so widely unknown and so important to tell. And this is where I stop the blog, but continue my own fieldnotes, because these ideas are fresh and not ready for public eyes quite yet.

Heading out to the City Fest this weekend - De La Soul is playing!! Along with some Detroit DJs!

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