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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Beckoning of the Show Choirs

Somehow I actually wound up going to Beckoning of the Lovely last night. The culmination of projects by Amy K that started on 8/8/8, then 9/9/9 and finally 10/10/10.

I’m so damn cynical about flash mobs and this sort of thing, that I thought it might be good for me to take part in something big that I didn’t plan.

No promises of celebrity. No promises of free food. No promises of fame, fortune, prizes. No choreographed dance to learn.

Just a WBEZ contributor, the instructions to show up by 10:10 pm on 10/10/10 wearing a white t-shirt with your name on the front and “Beckoning of the Lovely” on the back.

I left about halfway through the official event. I found it lacking. What I didn’t find lacking were the two hours before. I had dinner across the street with a friend and as I walked up to the Gage, I saw my first two Lovelies. Hispanic high school girls in DIY shirts walking into Walgreens to waste time – three hours before the Beckoning.

We sat on the patio and watched marathon runners walk by, a bride and a few more small groups of Lovelies. It was magical to see people and know that they knew what I knew and we were all going the same place.

After dinner, I sat near the entrance of Millennium Park and watched people appraoch. In twos and threes, people walked up in their shirts. Wondering if they were the only fools who showed up. Then they would see through the bushes 50 people, then 100 people, then 500 people… all in matching shirts.

At the Bean, like a high school pep rally, some kids took control of the situation and started the singing. There was a Hogwarts school song (what?), a complete Bohemian Rhapsody, some Lady Gaga, a supernote and on and on and on. The kids leading the singing weren’t involved officially, just outgoing kids turning a bunch of kids into an event.

On the picnic tables behind the crowd, I sat with parents and other introverts. People who, like me, came alone. Came without a shirt. Came with no intention of sitting in the crowd, but didn’t want to miss something if something happened.

I ran into my friend Barbara and her two kids. I ran into Dubi. I watched the event through the tiny screens of the phones of people in front of me.

And then I left at official moment number four. The sound system didn’t work particularly well. The moments weren’t meaningful for me. However, 16 year old me… 16 year old me would have been in 7th heaven. I would have been the kid up at the front leading cheers, chants, and songs. I would have been the person who dragged her whole marching band to come to the Bean, much like these section leaders who dragged their whole show choirs to the Bean.

So… yes. Amy certainly made something. But the something before the official something was where it was at for me.

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