Eve Harrington -- Interior Design, 7/1/2001 12:00:00 AM
I suppose that I am not the first person to remark on Chicago's dour provincialism, acres of architectural masterpieces notwithstanding. Well, screw architecture. I would have to say that my grim tour of duty at "NeoCon"—did Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington dream up this sobriquet?—ranks high among the seemingly endless parade of nonentity nonevents to which I have been, of late, often subjected.
The festivities began on Sunday night. Now let's be honest: I am no stranger to phoney friendliness—some would say I thrive on it—but the endless meet-and-greet parade left my facial muscles exhausted from protracted smiling. Also, certain people need to be instructed in the proper manner of administering an air kiss, i.e. mouth no touch face. By the end of this cavalcade of obsequious glad-handing I felt positively soiled. My maquillage did not hold up; I looked like an Ensor painting.
Exhausted from the previous night's fun, I arrived very late the next day at the Merchandise Mart. Based on the hordes crowding this labyrinthine structure, I would guess that NeoCon 2001 was a big success. Too bad I didn't actually get to see much of anything, as the elevators could not accommodate so many eager design professionals. Somebody actually suggested that I take the stairs. Sure, darling, as soon as I remove the meat cleaver that's embedded in my cranium.
A final indignity: When it was at last time to go home, I discovered that seemingly all flights out of Chicago had been cancelled.