To converse is human. To salon is divine!
Hear Ye, armchair philosophers, merciless cynics, bleeding hearts, managers, educators, engineers, cubical dwellers, corporate consciences, business owners, blue collar workers, waitresses, Capitalists, truckers, Socialists, retail clerks, Anarchists, students, Republicans, lawyers, Democrats, Greens, retirees, Libertarians, healers, contrarians, atheists, church-goers, peacemakers!
Oyez, agitators, artists, musicians, poets, Unitarians, bohemians, bloggers, vintage hippies, pranksters, pagans, wild-eyed visionaries, daydream believers, Baby-Boomers of all walks of life!
Rejoice! The Art of Conversation lives!
Ever hear of a conversation salon? It’s people talking to people, in a real room in real time, about the experience of being a human being. Salons are not debates or somber formal discussions. They are lively gatherings where people share their observations and ideas, creating a feast of intelligent, imaginative, often moving, occasionally inspiring, sometimes hilarious, and every once in a while, utterly banal, repartee.
The Conversation Salon just outside Elgin, IL, wants you!
Those were the days, my friends, we thought they’d never end. . .
. . . Remember the cool, intense, crazy conversations we enjoyed in dorm rooms, bedrooms, and dinky apartments back when we were in our late teens and early 20s? Welcome back! Since 1998, we’ve been hosting talk-our-heads-off evenings in our private home, a Time-Warped Abode located in a subdivision just outside Elgin, IL. Every six weeks or so, we email invitations to about 150 people who’ve expressed interest in coming. Usually, 20-35 people attend any one gathering. It’s easy to be a new face, as the mix is at least somewhat different each time. Everyone brings something unique to the gatherings. We’re eager to enrich our experience with your personality and take on things, as well as to provide you with a little sanctuary from the ordinary.
You might ask:
Just how ‘unique’ do salon attendees get–who is likely to show up?
Almost anyone who enjoys sharing ideas in person with their fellow human beings. We are very fortunate to have attracted people from all sorts of backgrounds. Educations range from doctorate-level degrees to self-educated high school dropouts. Every salon is attended by a mix of professionals, business owners, blue collar workers, retail clerks, steam-punkers, astrologists, artists, geeks, slackers, retirees, you name it. Ages range from early 20s to early 80s. Most of us are between 45 and 70. Most gatherings are attended by a comfortable mix of women and men, who arrive as singles, couples or just groups of friends. Over the years, the salon has attracted several people from countries other than the USA, many of whom have pronounced it quite unlike anything else they’ve encountered here and rather like gatherings that are commonplace outside the 50-nifty states.
What is the salon format?
The salon is a combination of free-form socializing and mildly moderated conversation. We spend about 45 minutes arriving and gathering, in the kitchen and dining room, of course. When most of us appear to be here, we break into two groups. One heads for the Batik (brighter, cushier, rather gypsy) Room and the other for the Black Light (darker, modeled on Kathy’s bedroom, circa 1969) Room. The groups chew away at the topic for awhile. Then we do a long break—a half-hour or so—during which we share ideas in smaller conversations, or talk about something totally different. Eventually, we reassemble in the two rooms and return to the topic, touching on stuff we didn’t address earlier, maybe going off on a tangent, often getting pretty funny near the end. Everyone picks where to be throughout the salon. If the room we’re in gets boring, we go check out the other one, or huddle with others who are bored in the kitchen or on the stairs, etc. After we officially end, some people scoot and others hang out. The salon is, first and foremost, an experiment. Sometimes, we use a “talking stick,” sometimes we don’t. Sometimes, the usual format doesn’t work and we try another one. Sometimes, the salon is a real bomb—when that happens, we talk about it, in the moment! Suggestions are always very welcome!
Who hosts this thing? And what sort of a place is this Time-Warped Abode?
The salon is hosted by three vintage hippie types between 60 and 70 years old. Kathy is a wanna-be poet propagandist and a lawyer who represents indigent people in criminal appeals. Teece is a designer/artist/garden gnome. Robin is an IT retiree-turned-hypnotist.
The Time-Warped Abode is a semi-rural suburban house-turned-outsider-art project with a distinct ‘60s flair, furnished chiefly in futons and floor cushions. (Each year, we add more chairs to accommodate those whose floor-sitting days are over.)
Is there parking?
What do people wear?
The salon is Casual with a Capital C. Jeans, slacks, long gypsy skirts, Goodwill finds, stuff in which you can comfortably sprawl, zany stuff you just can’t wear anywhere else! On the other hand, feel free to come in a suit, business or swimming. . . .
How long does a salon last?
Arrive between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. We officially end at 10:00 pm, but people often hang out until ‘round midnight.
What sorts of topics do people discuss at these things?
Click here to see a list. Ideally, our conversations seek out the philosophical, ethical, moral, anthropological, mythical aspects of each topic. What is a human being? What is the experience of being alive? What is good? What is civilized? What is immutable, what is ever-changing? Etc.
Is there any charge?
The salon is free–it’s a labor of love for those of us who host it. You have nothing to lose but the price of the drive to Elgin. You can comfortably slip out after 5 minutes, if you discover you just don’t like being here. On the other hand, if you cultivate an open mind, enjoy discovering new ways of looking at things, or just have a quirky sense of humor, you’re highly likely to find that you fit at the salon like a hand in a favorite glove.
Are there refreshments?
Those who are moved to do so bring a snack to pass and/or a beverage to share. Snacks are usually of the hard-core junk variety, although healthy items sometimes show up. Libations include beer and wine, as well as juice, water (both sparkling and spring), pop. No hard liquor, please.
How do I get on the invitation list? Can I talk or type to someone about this first?
We send invitations by email. To get on the list, email Kathy by using our Contact Us page. Do not hesitate to start by sending questions and concerns. We will not share your contact information with anyone and will delete it from our records at your request. One last caveat: we share our abode with six cats and two small doggies. If you have an animal-related allergy, you will need your meds.
If this sounds interesting to you then contact us