Written in taut, mesmerizing, often hilarious scenes, Night Moves captures the fierce friendships and small moments that form us all. Drawing on her personal journals from the aughts, Jessica Hopper chronicles her time as a DJ, living in decrepit punk houses, biking to bad loft parties with her friends, exploring Chicago deep into the night.
In Jessica Hopper’s new book, Night Moves, a memoir of her younger years in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood ... Hopper has been the music editor at Rookie and Pitchfork, and she has published music journalism for more than twenty years. But her writing started in that 'little fanzine,' and the scrappy enthusiasm of zine culture permeates Night Moves. Using her journals from 2004 through 2009, she creates a collage of her past. These vignettes jump from descriptions of the neighborhood to scene reports to remembered conversations. The prose is at once detailed and casual.
In his seminal play The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde has the character Gwendolen declare, 'I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.' By that worthy metric, Jessica Hopper’s memoir Night Moves—which draws on her personal journals from the aughts, and chronicles her formative years as a DJ and aspiring writer in Chicago’s independent music community—would make for appealing train reading ... breezy-yet-realistic, easy-to-read honesty is well-executed here in Hopper’s memoir: insouciant, brainy and repetitive in a good way, like hanging out with someone who unfailingly but not uncritically adores 'Chicago’s deep manic powers.'
In the early aughts, Hopper was a twentysomething going to shows, DJing, and riding her bike in a Chicago that, in many ways, already no longer exists. This time capsule of a collection documents, in journal-like bits, all this in tandem with the growth of her career as a professional music critic ... Hopper is ever-quotable, gut-checkingly deep, and laugh-out-loud funny.