The Locals: Chicago 4.10.11

all words and media by Emily Rose LarsenI still don’t believe that it’s real sometimes: big and blue and still as a captured smile. I moved to Chicago without a job three summers ago, which meant in the beginning, I spent a lot of days walking along the beaches of Lake Michigan, a lonely trek, as everyone else in the city seemed to have a glamorous 9-5er. On some such Tuesday in June 2008 I stood at the end of a dock on North Ave Beach and stared into the gaping mouth of the Lake, hoping it would lend me something Kantian…or at least a lead on a gig. It’s stillness made my spine itch. Back at home, the Northern California coast could feel infinite and boundless. But this was a different kind of impossible.  To be staring out at that familiar line of cobalt color and to feel nothing, no waves crashing, no undercurrents tumbling—was alarming. The water seemed to be standing at attention, waiting for a cue of mood as I stared down below. It seemed we were frightened of each other. There could be anything in there!


Lake Michigan is but the mirror, a reflection of whatever tumultuous weather Chicago is harboring for the moment; moody, impulsive, fickle— a city of sublime summers and deep-set winters. To me Lake Michigan stands as a virtuous reflection of Chicago’s ever-changing tone. As spring opens up, I will document the look of the Lake as it stands each week- a project that I’m confident will showcase the striking changes Chicago confronts constantly. My hope is to capture the cultural currents of the town in the Lake’s disposition.

Sounds pretty heady right? It won’t be. This is a town that works to play. A city built upon layers of history, Chicago’s people believe fervently in the promise of progress. Creators, creatives, curators—they’re all here. With all of the bustling and building, the most ingenious of persons and places are often fainted by the drilling and the dust. Join me as I look to find the folks who keep the clock ticking forward and the spaces that speak up for what came before.

Let’s get into it. There could be anything.


5 responses to “The Locals: Chicago 4.10.11

  1. Great piece! Lake Michigan being a mirror of Chicago’s mood and disposition is dead on. It’s strange sometimes to see a massive lake with the image of an ocean in such a city. It seems almost out of place, but at the same time a completely vital limb.
    Looking forward to more posts!

    • Thanks yo! I think Emily said she’s going to be taking a snap of the lake every week, so having that anchor for the city is going to be interesting to see. As always thanks for reading!

  2. Great, Emily. Nice and crisp w/ an overtone of connection and emotion! will follow eagerly!

  3. look forward to hearing and seeing more weekly looks of the lake

  4. Emily….Waiting for another chapter about out beloved lake and your insights.

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