We can depend much more upon reaching an end than on coming from a beginning.

I tried not to make a big deal of it but, for those that didn’t happen by this morning, it was my last regular shift at the Unicorn.  If this is news to you, know that it all happened quite suddenly, but know also that I will definitely not be a stranger, nor have I darkened the café’s door for the last time.  I have gotten to know so many of you over the last two and a half years, and I must say:  You’re quite an interesting, diverse, and classy bunch of folks.  Keeping tabs with many of you on what your children are up to, what tests you’re cramming for, and what books you recommend is a daily pleasure, and I appreciate so much that, by and large, you’ve collectively shown an interest in us baristas as people, and not just coffee-slinging proles.  It’s what’s made me never question the choice to commit to a locally-owned, one-of-a-kind business over the bureaucracy and gratuitous protocol of a global chain.  Although I’ll only be there to serve you on the occasional weekend–the Unicorn’s door never really shuts behind you–I’m still going to be in the neighborhood and, more likely than not, will often be seen stopping by on my way home for a cup of coffee and a slice of internet.  In fact, earlier this week, I did just that for perhaps the very first time and now I understand why so many of you love to come and sit.  It really is a terrific coffeehouse and it was an honor to be a part of its family.

If I may ask anything of you in my absence, it’s that you please continue your loyal patronage to Tracie’s business.  I’m sure you already know that Evanston would be a much duller place without a zany, indie café in it, where the soup is homemade and hot java runs like the river Jordan, so keep coming in and ensure the immortality of this mythical beast.  I’ll see you around.



(The title of this post, btw, comes from Juan Ramón Jiménez, in case you were wondering.)


About trailerpilot

Colorado native Zachary Whittenburg spent ten years as a professional dancer with companies including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BJM Danse Montréal, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and North Carolina Dance Theatre, now Charlotte Ballet. His subsequent freelance career in Chicago included performance and choreographic work with, among others, Lucky Plush Productions, Same Planet Performance Project, and Molly Shanahan / Mad Shak, plus instruction and coaching for the artists of DanceWorks Chicago, Luna Negra Dance Theater, Mordine & Co. Dance Theater, River North Dance Chicago, and Thodos Dance Chicago. Dance Editor at Time Out Chicago magazine from 2009–12, Whittenburg has written for numerous print and online publications, contributes regularly to Dance Magazine, is a panelist and guest speaker, and tweets @trailerpilot about contemporary culture, politics, and the performing arts. He has guest-lectured and led workshops in dance and other subjects at California State University–Long Beach, Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, the University of Saskatchewan, the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, and the University of Southern Mississippi, in addition to hosting Fireside Chats at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, and special events for the Chicago Dancing Festival, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. As Associate Director of Marketing and Communication at Hubbard Street, he represented the company on the Chicago Dancemakers Forum consortium, and he is currently Communications and Engagement Director at Arts Alliance Illinois, promoting the value of the arts and giving voice to a creative state through arts access, arts advocacy, arts education, cultural equity, and statewide civic engagement programs. In 2017, Whittenburg collaborated with artist Ginger Krebs on a catalogue and public events offered in conjunction with “Minor Local Slumpage,” a solo exhibition of sculptures by Krebs at Chicago Artists Coalition’s BOLT Gallery. He performed with Arcade Fire during the band’s 2014 Reflektor tour, and documented a cultural exchange in Tel Aviv the following year, between Same Planet Performance Project and Niv Sheinfeld & Oren Laor, supported by The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund. Newcity’s Best of Chicago 2015 issue recognized Whittenburg for his dance advocacy efforts and, in 2018, he will return for a second time as a choreographer to The Grelley Duvall Show at the Hideout. Whittenburg remains engaged with dance as a founding member of the executive committee for the Chicago Dance History Project, and serves on the artistic advisory council for High Concept Labs.

2 comments on “We can depend much more upon reaching an end than on coming from a beginning.

  1. Zac!

    I knew you were leaving the Uni, but I didn’t know this AM that it was your LAST day.

    You (and the rest of the Unicorn folks, staff, owner and customers) definitely brighten up my all-too-morose mornings. You’ll be missed.


  2. I knew someone was missing! I haven’t been to the Unicorn much lately – last semester of midwifery school, a bit taxing, to say the least. Wow, Zac, you are missed! I hope this means your dancing life is soaring to new heights! Good luck & best wishes! {{hug}} Ali.

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