Vic Chesnutt’s New Tour To Be Performed on Behalf of Human Creation, Art, and Architecture

It's hot in Chicago. I don't want to sweat anymore. I want it to get cold, really bone-chilling cold. Chicago cold. Snow, whipping down then swirling up because of how treacherous the wind is blowing, making the tallest and third-tallest building in the city sway HARD to scare the warm tourists in the observation towers never to return a thousand or so feet to the ground, because if the weather is this bad so close to heaven, just imagine how bad it would be with the clash of the warm front billowing up from hell.

The tourists would have to stay up there for days. Maybe weeks. When Chicago gets cold, it does for a while. Surrounded by the gray of winter, turned slightly blue because of the tint on the safety glass, the tourists would squint and hope to see the welcoming, warm orange glow of the streetlights below. And on days when the snow is pelting the windows a little less, they might steal a glimpse to get them through the next day, if for no other reason than as a reminder that, no matter what the season, we always long for its inverse. But these tourists have made a home there. What would they do in that box, that motionless glass elevator stuck on the top floor of nowhere?

I imagine they'd read the news. Men from the ground, mutant men evolved to withstand the intense steam heat from hell's core, would load the day's news onto supply carts. After the power would go out and when the tourists would become frightened (though glad to be safe in the sky), some would eventually overcome fear and language barriers to learn to work together, pulling up the carts through the unused elevator shaft. Keep them content for now, the mutants would say; eventually winter will end, because as we all know, heat rises.

The tourists, well-informed and well-fed from below, will miss the finer things in life from before this brutal winter. Their dogs, their bike riding, their human contact, because life in the sky is not as friendly as one might think, even with company. So, they'll squint again, this time across the air to their friends in the other tall building. The tourists will feel most palpably that people are always friendlier when there is some distance between them, on the ground and up high. Two glass elevators, stuck together in the blue-gray, swaying, waiting to heat up and dry out.

It's quiet up there, and the news is good, but it will get lonely. Even with a second box floating somewhere, boredom will set in. Being informed isn't enough. The tourists will want something the mutants can't send up an elevator shaft. The tourists will want art. They'll want something to give them a new understanding of themselves and the information they keep receiving. They'll want to laugh and cry and know what sardonic and poignant material was possible from humans, because that's what they'll miss most of all. During this interlude of leaderless confusion, wondering which move is the right one, a man will be born fully grown. Vic Chesnutt, named after nothing in particular, will play music he learned from an inspired bird that hid in a ceiling panel, afraid to fly south in case an event such as this occurred. Vic Chesnutt will lead the tourists himself. He'll lead them with the feeling they had been missing.

So, the tourists will go down. One by one, lowered down the elevator shaft. The mutants will scatter because they would attack on their own terms, when spirits are broken and people can't feel. But they can feel, and when they get down to the very bottom, they'll feel the heat of winter most vividly. They'll feel it as sardonic and poignant and several other things that, had they just trusted the power of human creation, art, and architecture, they might've avoided this whole ordeal in the first place.