Hanging Out in Rockford: Getting started—part one

I’m standing behind the bar at the Irish Rose in the River District talking to “Chicago Bill” (Bill Olson) about the idea of a television show. I tell him that I want to go (among other places) to Kryptonite. He says, “Why don’t you film there on the 24th? We’re going to be there.” Bill is the technical/roadie guy for both the Snaggs and Harmony Riley. The Snaggs are going to play on the night in question. I believe in serendipitous moments like this, so I tell him we will. I want to go there with Molly Fleming as my guest host. Molly works for The Rock River Times and books my Sunday music events. Molly is too cool.

A week or two later, Bill is at the bar again. He tests me by asking about the gig. I reply that we have plans to be there, but that I have lost my technical person. I need lights, and he brings up Pablo the soundman for Kryptonite. Bill thinks he might have what we need. He gives me Pablo’s cell number, and I call and leave a message about what we are going to do. Pablo doesn’t call me back.

I call Chris at Kryptonite and talk to him about the lighting problem. He gives me Pablo’s number at work and I call and again leave a message. He finally calls me to say that he does not have any portable lighting but that I can use the kind of aluminum spot lamps that you can pick up at Nicholson and that will work fine. I have several of those that I bought for Uncorked (the summer wine and cheese tasting event run by Megan Gallagher; we used them to light our tent) so my mind puts that to rest.

Chicago Bill also mentions the noise in Kryptonite. He doesn’t think we will be able to pick up voices over the ambient noise ever present in the noisy bar. He makes a prediction that we will be going to Kryptonite for three weeks before we get it figured out. He is prescient. But that is part of the learning process, and we are willing to learn.

On Wednesday, I get a message that Mike Dupree from Der Rathskeller has called. He leaves his cell phone number for me to call him back. The next day, on the way to the market, I call him. It is evidently too early to get hold of him and I leave a message. Around noon as I am leaving Wabash Seafood, he still has not returned my call. I leave another message. I accuse him of having banker’s hours, saying that I have already been working for five or six hours.

Finally, he returns my call as I am driving back from Chicago. He has read the article about the television show. He is into video editing and offers to help us get started. I say that I will come to the Rathskeller on Wednesday. I call Dawn and tell her to make plans for lunch at his restaurant. Wednesday comes and Dawn and I go to the Rathskeller. Mike is a no show, but we have a great lunch. He must have forgotten. I figure it is ok because I know he will feel really bad and then make an even stronger effort to help us.

On the Friday before the show, I have lunch with Megan Gallagher at Gerlinde’s Water street café. We havn’t seen each other for some time. On the way back to the Rose, I get a call from Molly. She has broken her ankle and cannot go to Kryptonite. My stomach wrenches. (Actually, she says she will still go, but she will not be able to do her goofy dance.) I call Megan to see if she can fill in (she went to school with Chris). She says she will find out and call me back. In my mind I develop a fallback position. It will be the Mike and Dawn show.

Saturday comes. I work at the Rose in Rockton. We have a really big evening; every table is full for several hours. Dawn calls, she is waiting at the Rose downtown. I tell her I will be there in 20 minutes, and for the first time I share the lack of Molly information. I also mention that Megan has not called to say she can fill in. Dawn says that she has to go home to get changed.

When I get downtown, she is there looking all beautiful and has the camera in tow. We drive across the river to Kryptonite. It is a very cold, crisp night. Will there be a good crowd, I wonder?

We drive around for a while looking for a parking space and then park by the new little Mexican restaurant and walk through the mall to Kryptonite. I tell Dawn that I have been thinking about this, and maybe we should keep this as just the Mike and Dawn show. She can film while I talk, and I can do the same while she does. In my mind, I want to interview Chris and I think Dawn should interview Holland Zander.

More next week.

Owner of the Irish Rose (Rockford) and Irish Rose North (Rockton) restaurants, Mike Leifheit’s “Hanging Out In Rockford” reviews locally-owned restaurants, businesses and Rockford life. These columns are also available on his Web site: IrishRoseRockford.com and featured on the Chris Bowman Show, WNTA talk radio AM 1330.

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