Friday the 13th has lots of folks looking over their shoulder as they fling a bit of spilled salt to keep demons away. I admit I've done the same in my kitchen from time to time. I probably picked up the habit from my grandmother, a woman who opposed gambling but loved to play cards (especially cribbage), admonished me to "never grow old" while making senior life look like a great adventure and, with nary a mention of God but lots of choir directing, helped me to discover the music and community to be found within church.
My grandma was a performer through and through -- and of course many performers, from athletes to actors (not all of them sinners or believers!) -- rely on superstition to get through their gigs. And irrational or not, these behaviors definitely have an impact. For example: Angry fans (okay, maybe just me) can thank Michael Jordan's attachment to his alma mater for bringing to a halt the glorious short-shorts era of the NBA.
Enacting superstitions is in and of itself a kind of performance. We need to do something: hurl salt, walk around ladders or stifle our whistles! But that's not a bad skill to have at the moment, because it appears, my friends, that performance is the thing.
Maybe it's the heat and rhetoric of an election year at work, maybe people are taking inspiration from masterful performers like Ira Glass (who we're very excited to welcome as one of our Weekender guests this episode). I don't know, I'm just kind of thrilled by the number of ordinary people who are taking it upon themselves to put on a show.
Local performance art group Industry of the Ordinary tap into that same spirit by finding artful ways to engage with the most banal of objects, from facial hair to fur coats. Just in time for this most superstitious Friday, the two-man group make up one-half of a quartet of Chicago-based U.K. artists performing at the British Consul's General Residence (hey, cultural diplomacy is a rather delicate performance in itself!). If you go, why not bring along a salt shaker? Maybe you'll be invited to participate!
More rituals from Weekender are below - get out there and enjoy!
1. Friday Night Turtle Races
Nary a hare in sight - just mad turtle power. And beer!