Must be Pledge Time Geoffrey Baer is Back on WTTW with Chicago’s Lakefront

Waaaaay back in March I did this 2 part piece called PBS Television at WTTW Features the Great Hidden Chicago. It was about one of me watching Geoffrey Baer’s program Hidden Chicago. (I also did a piece called Change Your Brain and Change Your Life on PBS and I think they’re running that tonight too). And now Baer is back with Chicago’s Lakefront which is, from what I can tell, a revamped version of a special he did about 10 years ago. But so many things have changed in that time he and his team had to pretty much start from scratch. So what’s it about? Well the lakefront! But it’s good to get these kinds of specials during pledge drive-don’t get me wrong the Suze Orman and Wayne Dryer things are nice, but I like these Chicago centric or mind centric shows a lot.

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As you may have noticed, this blog’s title is called Welcome Back Rosenthal (that’s me) and its alluding to the fact that I’m back in town (Chicago for now, but I guess when I move back to LA it’ll be about that..) But that’s just it; I might be a fickle man. I tend to love wherever I live. Except New York. The 9 years I lived in the Manhattan…well I got very accustomed to it and very sophisticated in the ways of the locals and pretty settled in, but I don’t think I enjoyed it. How can I describe my time there? I was really, really deeply rooted with all my local eat shops, friends, college, girlfriends, career, bands, clubs, places to shop, PLACES TO USE THE BATHROOM. All of that. I got really good. Hell I was hanging out in Greenpoint before it was “GREENPOINT,” working for an Italian guy in a Polish neighborhood in a converted warehouse doing carpentry for a general contractor.

I was nearly as rooted in Tokyo and the 100 mile area around Tokyo (you really have to travel a lot as a private English teacher, not to mention my marital art school was totally outside the city). But my 9 years in Los Angeles was different. I think I actually loved it there! I know! It sounds kind of shocking. And it’s a weird thing to admit. But once I sort of quit showbiz and stopped living in the city as a frantic actor running from place to place to place to place for auditions, open calls, agent meetings, casting calls, and tons and tons of shoots I found the city. I mean because of all that running around I learned every nook and cranny of the city, but I wasn’t living there. Just zooming by. But I LIVED in Hollywood. Did you know Hollywood is an actual neighborhood. In fact, other than Santa Monica, it’s one of the few walking neighborhoods where you don’t need a car and can find everything you need on foot. Groceries, post office, movie theaters YMCA, banks, best film school in the country-all the sort of bare bones stuff. As I was leaving a few years ago it got gentrified so now there’s even more crap. But I loved it. LA is a town you can live in without a lot of money. NY and Tokyo it’s not only impossible its not advised to even try.

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So, Chicago. Home sweet home. My beautiful Chicago. I had to come back to watch after my family and reconnect with an old girlfriend. THAT part ended in total shit, but being back has been nice. To be here to see the Obama thing and the Governor thing has been weird, but for me, being a South Side guy never far from the lakefront is just easy. It’s a sense of peace I feel driving back and forth on Lake Shore Drive that I can’t put into words. As I start to get North the buildings get bigger and then as I enter the North side I see them. The white people. All jam packed into condos. Out South we just let the lake be the lake. The museums and the beaches. But white people HAVE To Be By the Lake. It’s the same in LA, except with an ocean. So shows like Baer’s show you how and why the city is the way it is. And sometimes you learn stuff. Did you know softball was invented here around 1887? Hmm, weird.

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