April 29, 2017
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NOW: 38°
HI 45 / LO 41

The Rolling Stones make it cool to embrace the clutter

Liz Snyder gives her take on the band’s archives


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COMMENTARY BY LIZ SNYDER
esnyder@kenoshanews.com


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Thanks to the Rolling Stones, we all now have a snappy comeback if someone (usually a spouse, parent or well-meaning best friend) accuses us of creating excess clutter.

Just say, “I’m archiving.”

That’s what the Rolling Stones call all their stuff on display at Chicago’s Navy Pier.

Band members “opened their archives” to assemble this exhibit. What they call an archive, most of us would be busy sorting into “keep,” “give away” and “throw away” piles in our closets.

But we’re not the Rolling Stones, and no one is interested in reading our diaries from decades ago.

“Exhibitionism” — which does display Keith Richards’ tiny diaries from the early 1970s — fills 18,000 square feet of exhibit hall space, and it’s chock-full of clutter: Notebook pages with handwritten lyrics; old program books, posters and albums; harmonicas, guitars and other instruments — and enough clothing to stuff all my home’s closets.

(And probably your closets, too, if you ever wore a velvet jumpsuit or a feathered cape.)

‘A pigsty basically’

If you need more proof of the Stones’ love of clutter, check out the the re-created rooms of the band’s one-bedroom, early ’60s London flat. It will give many visitors flashbacks of trashed college dorm rooms.

Keith Richards recalls the flat as “a pigsty basically. It was pretty much what young men can do to a joint in a very short amount of time.”

Mick Jagger says the flat “actually wasn’t a bad space — it’s what we did with it that was disgusting.”

And Charlie Watts — a frequent visitor to the cluttered space — recalls that Jagger and Richards “were the laziest buggers in the world” and would “never pick anything up.”

(Why does that sound so familiar? And like it should be coming out of my mother’s mouth?)

Besides offering me cover for the appalling state of my house (and desk), “Exhibitionism” also makes me feel (slightly) younger: The Rolling Stones got together in 1962 — several months before I was born! There’s precious little in pop culture that’s still popular today and has been around longer than I have, so I need to relish this fact.

The exhibit also reinforces the importance of staying true to your friends.

We learn in the first gallery that the Rolling Stones came about after a chance meeting reunited childhood friends Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Both were carrying blues albums on a train in Dartford, England, and realized they shared an interest in blues music.

The rest is a long, storied — and cluttered — chunk of music history.

As a bonus, it’s hilarious to walk through the exhibit and listen to kids ask their enthralled parents: “Who are the Rolling Stones?”

Have a comment? Email Liz at esnyder@kenoshanews.com or call her at 262-656-6271.

For more on “Exhibitionism,” which is at Navy Pier through July 30, see today’s Get Out entertainment section.

Presidential visit makes some noise

While Kenosha News reporters and photographers were busy covering President Trump’s Tuesday visit to Kenosha — and people were out there with their pro-Trump and anti-Trump signs — I was like many of you: At my desk, working.So I missed the president’s speech at Snap-on Tools, but I did see a familiar object while watching Trump on the news. He was standing in front of a U.S. flag fashioned from Snap-on tools. I’ve seen that colorful flag while performing at Snap-on’s employee celebrations as a member of the Kenosha Pops Concert Band. It’s also shown up in local Fourth of July parades.And when I stopped at my home in the early afternoon, one of those military aircraft flew overhead and my entire house shook. When the president comes to town, the earth moves!Thanks, Mr. President, for making me feel part of all the excitement even far from the madding crowd.

You never know who you’ll meet in Chicago …

While walking back to the Metra train station from Navy Pier Saturday, my husband, Rex, and I ran into: A towering Abraham Lincoln!A huge statue of the president — installed last fall — stands in the plaza at Michigan Avenue near the Chicago River.The 25-foot-tall Lincoln sculpture stands next to a sweater-clad man — representing the “everyman” — who is holding a copy of the Gettysburg Address.The large bronze scultpure — called “Return Visit” — was created by Seward Johnson, the 86-year-old artist who brought the “Forever Marilyn” sculpture of Marilyn Monroe to Chicago in 2011 and the “God Bless America” sculpture of the farmer and his wife from the “American Gothic” painting in 2008.You can visit Abe through the end of the year.


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