Feig on the Road: Windy City Wear

Travel Journal

Part three of Paul Feig's sartorial tour of the press junket.

Oct 3, 2013 | 04:00 PM

[Paul Feig's daily travel journal continues. To see what all the fuss is about, download "The Heat" in digital HD today, or pre-order it on DVD or Blu-Ray, available October 15.]

June 9th – Well, okay, it was a bit more than salads last night but martinis were involved. (Lo-cal depends on your definition of how fattening good gin is. Myself, I enjoy the Hendricks, although whenever I find a bar that has Oxley gin, I'm a happy man.) Ate at a great restaurant called MK and had a lovely evening. Did the tasting menu and everything on it was indeed tasty. Great looking place, too. Most of the patrons were dressed nicely but there were a few sloppy guys in old untucked shirts. I'm always amazed at what my fellow men will wear to a nice restaurant. I try not to judge and will give these guys the benefit of the doubt since the restaurant didn't really bill itself as a dressy place and Chicago tends to be a bit more casual than other big cities. But still, it's a highly rated restaurant on Zagat and is clearly one of the nicer places in town. So, toss on a sports jacket, for Christ's sake, fellas.

The studio put me up at the Ritz Carlton Chicago, which is very old school nice. It's right in the heart of Chicago, right off Michigan Avenue and steps away from the iconic water tower. I took a long walk before lunch around the city. Walked past many of the places I remember walking past as a kid—Marshall Field's, the river, those twin tower apartment buildings that sort of look like corncobs. For me, Chicago will still always be the opening title sequence of "The Bob Newhart Show." Yes, that's how old I am.

Had lunch at an amazing place called The Purple Pig. It's right by the river and a few addresses down from the old Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue. I'd been told it was good and then when I did some research on it, I discovered it's the brainchild of a good friend of mine's cousin, Jimmy Bannos, Jr. (My friend is Steve Bannos, whom many of you might remember as Mr. Kowchevski, the math teacher on "Freaks and Geeks.")  The Purple Pig is sort of a shrine to meat, with lots of charcuterie and cheese and meat dishes like giant turkey legs and the biggest pork chop I've ever seen in my life.

I camped out there for several hours and pulled a Diamond Jim Brady by working my way through many items on the menu. (Look Diamond Jim up if you don't know who he is. You'll enjoy the reference but I'm too lazy to do your research for you.) Got to say hello to chef Jimmy Bannos Jr., who is a great guy and annoyingly young for being so smart and successful.

His father also owns another great restaurant in Chicago called Heaven on Seven, which is a Cajun place on the seventh floor of an office building. I recommend it highly. And you don't have to dress up in it. Unless you want to. (I think you all know where I stand on that front.)

Then I visited the Ralph Lauren store on Michigan Avenue. Any of the flagship RL stores, like this one in Chicago or the ones on Madison Avenue in NYC and Rodeo Drive in LA, are my downfall. I always go in saying I'm just going to look around and then end up discovering something I love and then finding out it's on sale and the next thing I know, I'm the proud owner of something I didn't really need to buy. I'm not saying whatever I bought isn't great. It's just something my life would probably run just as smoothly without if I didn't purchase it. This day, I went in hoping to pick up a couple more ties, since I didn't bring enough variety when I packed back in LA. I found four ties I liked, which were on sale, and then I stupidly went up to the suit department to "just look around." (Which is the equivalent of "just taking a small taste of heroin.") I of course stumbled upon a pink linen sports jacket that I probably would never had dreamed of buying a few years ago but which suddenly looked like the greatest jacket ever to me.

I've always been obsessed with older guys' obsession with bright pastel colors. When you're younger, you see old guys walking around in Easter colors and wonder if they've lost their minds. But I think there's something about those colors that start to appeal to you as you get older. I have a fairly dark theory on it, which is as you get older, you start to feel a bit more decrepit. And so you start to gravitate toward bright "young" colors that feel like spring and rebirth. In essence, you chose to encase your body in something that gives you the illusion of fresh youth. I know, I know, it's a dark theory. But now that I'm fifty and find myself a bit more drawn to these lighter-than-air colors as I deal with the reality of old age appearing over the horizon, I think my theory may hold some sad-ass old man merit.

Went out to the suburbs later to visit my sister-in-law and her family and meet up with my wife Laurie. We had a nice time and watched Neil Patrick Harris kill it on the Tony Awards. It was an awesome show. I do have to say, though, that there was a proliferation of overly big and awkward bow ties on some of the presenters and winners. Mayor Michael Bloomberg in particular could have used tie reduction surgery, as well as some extra tailoring of his tuxedo pants. I know, I know, he's the mayor of New York and so tries to look like a man of the people, but men of the people can still have a formal outfit that fits. But I do like the man and so will step back from getting bitchy about his clothing. Although I guess I already just did. Sorry, Mike.

Suit worn: A light grey seersucker Brooks Brothers two-piece. It was a nice but humid day yesterday, so the seersucker was a good call. Seersucker is God's gift to hot weather. I paired it with a more casual button-down shirt and a knit tie and was about as comfortable as one can be when it's muggy out. (Please excuse the terrible picture. Not sure why I have that douchey expression on my face. I blame the heat. Meaning the muggy weather, not my movie.)

My "rest day," as my publicity schedule calls it, is officially over and so it's back to hawking my movie tomorrow. I'm happy to get back at it, since as our release date moves closer and closer, I find my angst growing exponentially. There's something both torturous and exciting about the period of time before your movie comes out. Part of you is desperate to see how it's going to do and the other part of you enjoys the fact that it hasn't done what it's going to do yet. If it comes out and it's a big hit, then it's very fun. But if it comes out and does just okay or, even worse, doesn't do well, then that honeymoon period of telling yourself it will do great is over and you're just left with cold hard reality and nothing to look forward to except hoping Hollywood will let you make another movie. So, I'm just trying to enjoy this run-up and talk up my movie, but not in a way that will be embarrassing if it underachieves. It's a bit like holding an egg. If you put too much pressure on it, it'll break, and if you don't put enough pressure on it, then you're just standing there holding an egg like a jackass. Okay, not a great metaphor. I think it's time to go to sleep so I don't say more stupid shit like that to reporters tomorrow. —Paul Feig

Read more of Paul Feig's travel journal, and check back tomorrow for the next installment. In the meantime, you can download "The Heat" in digital HD today or pre-order it on DVD or Blu-Ray, available October 15.

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