KEXP Suggests: Jessica Hopper at Elliott Bay Book Company 10/1

KEXP Suggests
Martin Douglas
Photo by David Sampson

Chicago is a deeply meaningful city to me, even as someone who has only visited a couple of times. When I think about being there, I close my eyes and see the richness of its culture, the diversity of its people. Taking the bus to the Red Line to the Blue Line from Hyde Park to Logan Square. My friend getting kind starstruck passing by Keith Morris at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Bottom floor apartments, lunches at Harold's Chicken, dinners at the Chicago Diner in Boystown. Looking up at skyscrapers I've never been in. Going on an architecture book tour because a young man told me the drinks on the boat were "cheaper than in the 'hood." If you ever see me around, maybe I'll tell you about the time I thought I was meeting Drew Barrymore but wasn't.

Night Moves (out now via University of Texas Press) is sort of about Jessica Hopper, sort of about friendship, and sort of about Chicago. If anything, the city is rendered as a living, breathing person in the book; much like Harlan County exists on Justified as a fully fleshed out character rather than a location. It reads like a diary because it was mostly culled from journal entries collected from a pivotal term in Hopper's life, between 2004 and 2008. In her observant, trenchant, and often pretty funny writing, she recounts the trail of gentrification left behind by members of the white artistic class (something she doesn't let herself off the hook for), riding a bike from one end of the city to the other via Damen Avenue, and "watching the smart and talented trying to stave off the reality of their 30s with Similac-cut bump." There is very much a sense of having a relationship with a changing place you know will never be the same, of growing up in it and knowing you'll never be the same.

Hopper will appear in conversation with our very own Sharlese Metcalf. Admiring their work as much as I do, I can assure you it is not to be missed.

The appearance will be held Monday, October 1, 2018 at 7:00 PM, and in case you need an address for Elliott Bay Book Company, here it is: 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle, WA 98122