Summer vacation. Summer songs. Summer movies. Summer camp. Summer books. Summer loves. Picnics and BBQs. Baseball. Golf?
The carefree spirit, the shallowness of aspirations, if aspiration isn’t too aspirational a sentiment, and the relentless sunshine makes the season less than beloved for some folks, for sure, but don’t count me among them.
I live in Chicago, where the city butterflies alive each summer. Perhaps it’s a reflection of my intrinsic shallowness, but I love virtually everything associated with the season. Cocktails at the beach. Classical concerts in Millennium Park. Rooftop cookouts with friends.
Newcity has almost always published a summer issue. And unlike fall, our only other seasonal venture, which is tethered to the new arts season each year, our summer issue is free form. You might even suggest it’s seasonal editorial laziness in how we reach out to writers for stories of all shapes and sizes to help us craft our version of a diversion. So you’ll find odes to romance, memoirs of days and nights at the beach and the pool, a photo essay and a poem. Not to mention a piece about the melting-pot-in-motion that is SummerDance, or another that offers, if you need it, a good reason for a road trip to Cleveland.
My summer generally starts each year with the Printers Row Lit Fest, which is taking place in our “front yard” the weekend that I’m writing this. Various events around the festival put me in contact with so many wonderful writers that my reading list for the season gets solidified, if overly ambitious. It was a special treat this year, for example, to meet Harold Washington Literary Award winner Rabih Alameddine, with his sardonic wit, social generosity and black nail polish. His “Angel of History” is the novel I’ll read next. Or to catch up with Chris Nashawaty, the longtime Entertainment Weekly film critic and writer who started his career right here, in the early nineties, when he interned at Newcity after finishing at Medill.
Chris has a book out now, “Caddyshack: The Making of a Hollywood Cinderella Story,” that takes a behind-the-scenes look at the chaotic making of what is now an iconic movie. Filled with Chicago characters like Bill Murray and Harold Ramis and infused with the influence of Second City and improv, it sounds like a delightfully fun summer read about the early days of a now-legendary moment in comedy.
I think I’ll walk outside to the book fair and grab a copy. Happy summer reading all around.
Look for Newcity’s July 2018 print edition at over 1000 Chicago-area locations this week.