Goodbye Michigan Ave.

July 17, 2010

The Transformers set is here until Monday.  Mayor Daley thinks it’s an injection to the local economy.  Mike Geraghty Jr. thinks it’s the end of cinema and the civilized world.  ‘It’s not a movie,’ Mike said.  ‘It’s a goddamn product.  You should sue.’

It’s a sight. Manufactured rubble and dozen car pile-ups.  Detours home and scores of rabid onlookers, hoping for Shia to just come out and, I don’t know, beat up a Transformer.  Puffed-up security detail and inured police.   My dream of arrest nearly came true.  We huddled and then sneakily tried to creep over a bridge, through the set.  Look behind us to see four John Laws, pieces drawn, telling us, ‘It’s best you come on back.’

Everyone on production seems to be wearing yellow.    They also seem young and not casually hip.  Some of the technicians look disengaged.  They sit in their giant trucks with walkie-talkies- heads buried in their hands- nostalgic for their once robust creative ambition.

This street has been closed before.  Oprah was here, with special guests Fergie and Michael Jordan.  Mike was dressed to kill.  Suit and fedora.  Designer shades.  Forty stylish pounds of post-Wizards weight.  They hugged and I think Mike put his hand on her knee.  Their banter felt different, like it was exclusive to moguls.  I thought of Stedman cooped up in the guest house, emasculated and resigned, trying to compose a compelling Evite.

Fergie was just getting married, I think.  Well, I know.  Oprah shouted, ‘It’s FERRRRGIE and she’s GETTTTTING MARRIED!’  She performed and the crowd danced.

Yeah it was fun and different.  That day was a win.

These days aren’t.