mojosmom: (japanese icon)
My local college alumnae group had arranged to gather at Millennium Park for dinner, conversation and the concert, which was George Fenton's Frozen Planet, music he wrote for the BBC program. The film was shown while the music was played and Fenton conducted.

It was an absolutely gorgeous night, in terms of weather. Low '70s and a very slight lake breeze. Slightly more than halfway through the program, an unscheduled intermission occurred, so we could all enjoy the Navy Pier fireworks, visible from the Park despite being several blocks away.

Because they needed to wait for the sun to set because of showing the film, the concert was later than usual (8:30 rather than the normal Wednesday 6:30 start), but that was fine as it gave us more time to gab. About a dozen people showed up, from recent grads to retirees, so quite a range! I got there in plenty of time, despite a bus detour and lots of traffic, both due to Taste of Chicago, which opened yesterday. Our driver was blessed with good reflexes, because some of the drivers in the traffic were engaging in some rather dangerous maneuvers, like turning right in front of the bus! The extra travel time, however, did give me the opportunity to have a nice chat with a couple from Colorado who were visiting Chicago for the first time. They were enjoying the architecture, and I gave them some tips on where to go and what to see. (Wearing my unofficial Chicago tourism bureau hat!)

I got home late, though, almost 11:00, and had a bit of a hard time getting to sleep. So I slept in a bit this morning, and then got a bunch of stuff at the farmers market. I decided I want to make more gazpacho, so I picked up bell peppers, cucumbers and cilantro to add to the tomatoes I already have.

So later in the morning, I heard some honking in the alley. I poked my head out, and saw a garbage truck trying to enter the alley for the pick-up. However, some jerk had left a rental truck parked in such a way that there was no possible way for the garbage truck to get by. Nobody could find the person who'd left it there, either. So the police were called, another garbage truck backed into the alley, eventually the first one backed out, went around and backed in. It was a mess. The yellow truck in the picture below now has a ticket on the window. Personally, I think they should have towed his ass:

Not a typical garbage collection
mojosmom: (Default)
The Lurie Garden at Millennium Park had luminary walks last Friday evening, short guided tours of the garden with luminaries lighting the pathways. It was cold (gee, December in Chicago, what a surprise!), so they started the tours with hot cider.
Luminaries at the Lurie

I had quite a bit of time afterwards before I had to head over to the Siskel for a movie (see below), so I wandered over and watched the skaters, and then to the Bean for a bit of caroling. Had a bite to eat, and then went to see The Interrupters, a really great documentary about Ceasefire, and the work of its "violence interrupters". Watch the trailer and learn more here.

On Saturday, I seriously partied. I went to eat latkes at [livejournal.com profile] tzurriz' annual Hanukah party, and then went to Jim & Kevin's for their annual holiday party. Ate more than I should have, but I had a lot of fun at both.

Then on Sunday I went up north to Margaret's for the XYZ dinner, and, as always, we exchanged gifts. M. made a turkey, and the rest of us brought a variety of side dishes. I ate too much again, and came home with leftovers. Among other things, I received a book which has been added to my holiday pop-up display:
The Night Before Christmas - paper cut & pop-up
mojosmom: (Default)
Friday night, there was a going away party for one of our investigators, not that she's going far, just over to the Sheriff's Office, but still, we had to have a party! So I missed the Second Friday Open Studio at the Fine Arts building, but that's okay.

I was up fairly early on Saturday, because there was an estate sale I wanted to go to, primarily because I wanted to see the house! It's the gatehouse at East View Park, the only freestanding residence, a 1925 bungalow, and I've always been curious about what it's like inside. It's adorable, and if I had a spare half-million, I'd buy it. I did end up buying a few things, some throw pillows and a print. I had my eye on a couple of other items (an art nouveau-style lamp and a Japanese chest), but I have no place to put either, so I refrained. I also went to a rummage sale to benefit the Avon Cancer Walk, and bought a gorgeous black evening coat. I'm not sure what the material is but it has a really interesting texture. It's at the dry cleaners right now.

It was raining most of the morning, which was worrisome because I wanted to go to the Lyric Opera's annual concert at Millennium Park in the evening. Around 3:00, though, it cleared up, the sun actually peeped out and it began to get warmer. So I fixed a picnic dinner (poached salmon, potato salad, leftover edamame, tomatoes, with strawberries for dessert) and took that, along with a half-bottle of Riesling, and got down about an hour and a quarter before the concert began. The place was already packed, but I did find a spot to spread my blanket. By the time the music started, it was wall-to-wall people, quite literally, and the sidewalks on either side of the lawn were also full with standees. Very nice to see! And the concert was lovely, as always.

On Sunday, I went to the annual "We Hate Macy's, Bring Back Marshall Field's" demo:
Thank you, Field's!

This year, it was followed by an author reading/book signing at the Borders down the street, for Gayle Soucek's new book, Marshall Field's: The Store that Helped Build Chicago. There were several former Field's employees in attendance, and there was much reminiscing and nostalgia. Afterwards, several of us went to have a bite to eat and say more rude things about Macy's.

Yesterday, I went to another author event, also at Borders (though a different store). Tim Gunn! The awesome, sexy, charming and erudite Project Runway Tim Gunn. He was great, though the event was a bit chaotic and disorganized. There were at least 400 people there (based on 8 different colors of wristbands at 50 per color!). There was a Q&A for about half-an-hour, and then he started signing books at about 7:30 p.m. I left at about 10:15 and he was still signing books, and still being incredibly gracious to everyone. We have this in common: we both collect architectural pop-up books. Between the wait for the event to start, and the wait in line for signing, I actually finished the book!
mojosmom: (photos)

Three little girls at the Plensa fountain
Originally uploaded by mojosmom.



(I seem to be back, at least temporarily!)
mojosmom: (photos)

Another view of the Bean
Originally uploaded by mojosmom.

I had a hard time choosing a photo for this one - I have so many that would suit the theme! But this one has all the elements: architecture, public art, and people!

A full day

Jul. 15th, 2009 08:52 pm
mojosmom: (Chicago)
I was awakened by thunder and lightning and rain! Fortunately, it stopped before I left the house. I took off work today in order to go to the dentist to have my new crown installed, so I was glad that the weather improved. The dental work went fine. The new crown fit perfectly - no adjustments needed at all!

My plans included a visit to the Art Institute to see the new exhibit of Japanese screens, Beyond Golden Clouds, of which more later. I decided to go via Millennium Park and the Nichols Bridge, and found that there was a "Family Fun Festival" going on in the park. Kids were jumping rope and playing with hula hoops and building things and generally having fun. Then I went to check out the Burnham Pavilions, temporary installations honoring the centennial of the Burnham Plan. Only one of them is actually up. In typical Chicago fashion, there are delays in completing the second.
This one:
Burnham Pavilion, by UNStudio/Ben van Berkel
is really interesting, because you can go up on the platform and see the city's architecture through the openings. I liked it.

I then heard some music, and realized that the Grant Park Orchestra rehearsal was earlier than usual, so I went over to the Pritzker Pavilion and listened for a bit. Among other things, they were rehearsing Offenbach's Overture to Orpheus in the Underworld, which you'd all recognize if you heard it. It's the can-can music. The conductor, Gilbert Varga, was clearly enjoying himself. He was dancing!
Gilbert Varga

I then went to the Art Institute. Because I went in via the Nichols Bridge, I stopped on the Bluhm Family Terrace, which is a lovely space with great views of the city, and outdoor seating for the Terzo Piano restaurant.

The exhibit was fantastic! I love Japanese screens, and the exhibit had examples ranging from 16th-century to contemporary. They will be changing some of the screens in August, so I'll have to go back. I have discovered another benefit of carrying a camera around. If you can't get close enough to see detail, pull out the camera and look through the lens using your zoom! This contemporary screen is one of my absolute favorites:
Dragon Knows Dragon, 1969, by  Morita Shiryu

The Members' Lounge finally has a permanent home (it moved around a bit during the renovations). With the new restaurant in the Modern Wing, the Lounge has taken over the old restaurant's space next to the cafeteria, looking out onto the courtyard garden:
Fountain of the Tritons
That used to be part of the restaurant, but now anyone can bring their food or drink and sit out there. So I did (well, my cup of tea - no food because my mouth was still numb from the dentist), and finished my book, too.

When I left, I thought of going down to Powell's Wabash Avenue store. They are closing that location, and everything is 50% off. But as I left the building, I glanced across Michigan Avenue and saw that the Symphony Store is closing! Shock! Also everything 50% off. I went there instead, and spent a fair bit of time picking out several CDs to buy.

By then, it was time to go off to Petterino's, where I was meeting the president of Teatro Vista's board for a drink so she could chat me up about joining the board. I liked her a lot (she's an opera buff, too!), and it sounds as though she is on top of things, with good ideas for rejuvenating the board and getting the company on a sound footing. She gave me a packet of information to peruse, and I've decided that I shall say "yes" to the invitation.

Weekend

Feb. 10th, 2009 09:02 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
My best-laid plans of sleeping late this weekend went agley on Friday. I was having lunch with one of the guys at the offce. He'd been sick lately (pneumonia), and, being a guy, came back to work too soon, relapsed, and still was feeling a bit punk. When I said, "I hope you're going to have a real rest this weekend", he responded, "No, I have Bond Court." So, rolling my eyes and muttering about people who should take better care of themselves, I swapped Bond Court weekends with him. That meant I got up at my usual time instead of snuggling with the cats.

Saturday )

Sunday )
mojosmom: (opera)
Last night was the annual Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park concert. Seriously. Natalie Dessay and Nicole Cabell, among others, along with singers from the Lyric Opera's Ryan Center for American Artists, the Lyric orchestra, all conducted by Sir Andrew Davis. And all free.

I got there about an hour and fifteen minutes before the concert started, and got a nice spot on the lawn. It wasn't long, though, before every single bit of lawn was occupied by concert-goers, picnicking and non-picnicking. I'd brought a sandwich, but also wound up sharing cheese and crackers and wine with a group of ladies who had ensconced themselves on a blanket nearby, and were drawing a variety of folks into their circle with offers of sustenance. So I chatted with them and a young lady from Austria who is visiting the city (we all gave her advice on what to do). The music was ravishing, and it was a truly lovely evening.

My Sunday

Jul. 6th, 2008 08:28 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
I basically lazed about all day Saturday, other than the usual errands.

Today, however, I went out and enjoyed the day. I had decided to go see Visconti's Senso (I enjoyed it, though it's molto soap-opera-ish!) at the Siskel Film Center, and left the house early so that I could do other stuff downtown. I picked up a ticket for the Cultural Center's performance of Bizet's Djamileh next month. It's going to be at Preston Bradley Hall, under the newly restored Tiffany Dome, which I also checked out. Oh, my god, it's gorgeous!!!!!!!!!! I walked up the stairs and just gasped at my first glimpse of it. I mean, it always was beautiful, but it had an exterior cover which blocked the natural light. No more:
Oculus with Zodiacal signs

Before that, I went to Millennium Park for a tour of the Lurie Gardens. I actually almost missed it, as did a couple of other folks, because we were waiting in the place where the tours usually start. However, because of Taste of Chicago, they'd moved it. By the time we figured that out, we were really too late, but one of the docents was kind enough to give us a "mini-tour". I've been to the Gardens fairly often, but I liked doing the tour, as I learned a lot about the design of the place, and how it changes, so now I know what to look for when I go again.
mojosmom: (Chicago)
We lucked out yesterday. I had plans to go to the Pritzker Pavilion for a concert, and was worrying all day about the predicted rain. But despite being slightly overcast in the late afternoon, the skies did clear, and it was a gorgeous day and night. The concert, part of the Music Without Borders series, was Orchestra Baobab [warning: autoplay music], a Senegalese group, that was absolutely fantastic. There was a huge crowd, and much dancing on the lawn.

In fact, there were three free concerts in that area yesterday evening: Orchestra Baobab, the Grant Park Symphony (playing indoors at the Harris Theatre), and Stevie Wonder at the Taste of Chicago. Something for everyone!

I decided to walk up to Wacker to catch the bus (it's the start of the route so a better chance to get a seat), and caught the tail end of the Navy Pier fireworks!
Fireworks at Navy Pier

I will be headed out shortly for Waukegan, to the parade and picnic. Yes, I found sweet corn! Yay! Rain is predicted for today, as well, so I'm hoping that rain heads in a different direction, as yesterday's did.
mojosmom: (Music)
Yesterday afternoon, I went to hear Chicago Opera Theatre's performance of John Adams' A Flowering Tree, which is based on an Indian folk tale involving a poor girl who has the ability to transform into a flowering tree. The Storyteller, who narrates, is actually the largest role, and much of the "opera" is really dance with a sung narration. After having seen Nixon in China (also at COT) and Dr. Atomic at Lyric, I've become quite a fan of Adams' work, and I would definitely recommend this one.

The Harris Theatre, where COT performs, is at Millennium Park, so, as the weather was really gorgeous, I went to the Park Grille for an early dinner - any excuse to eat outside! Then I walked over to the Pritzker Pavilion and listened to various ensembles from the Northwestern School of Music for about 45 minutes. (It occurred to me that I did the very same thing last year!)

The reason I didn't stay for the whole concert is that I wanted to get home, feed the cats and then go to a jazz club. The Checkerboard Lounge does jazz on Sunday nights, sponsored by the Hyde Park Jazz Society, and I like going there as it's only a few blocks away. I don't go as often as I'd like, though, primarily because I work on Mondays! Not today, however, so I enjoyed Margaret Murphy (Note: you'll get music when you click the link) singing standards. A lot of jazz musicians come to listen to their colleagues, so she brought a couple up on stage to join her and the ensemble. She's very good!

Music on another day:

On Wednesday, I went to a free concert at the Cultural Center, a jazz artist named Manata Roberts. She and the ensemble played parts of her work in progress, Coin coin, based on the life of her ancestress, Marie Therese "Coin Coin." Powerful stuff.

In Non-musical events:

Saturday was pretty quiet. I went to a new farmers' market that began last week on 61st Street. As I can never get to the one a couple of blocks away (it's on Thursdays, and of course that means I'm at work), and parking at Green City is getting prohibitive, it was nice that there's a neighborhood one on Saturday. It's not huge, but I was able to get lettuces and scallions and asparagus, with plenty of other things available that I didn't need. The lamb purveyor I like was there, and I bought some kebobs which are presently marinating in olive oil, lemon juice, oregano and bay leaves, and the cheese guy had this awesome tart of St. André triple-crème layered with apricots, almonds and honey.

After that, I wandered by a rummage sale given by Meadville-Lombard Theological Seminary. It had been advertised in the local paper as a benefit for "Doctors without Boarders"!! They had books:
Pile of books
but I didn't see any I wanted. I did see a great pair of boots, but the back zipper on one was busted and it would cost more than I want to pay to get them fixed, so I let them lay.

The rest of Saturday was just doing stuff around the house.

On Thursday, I went to an author event at our local library. Former journalist, and current author and bookstore owner, Kenan Heise, wrote a book called Chicago Afternoons with Leon: 99 1/2 years old and looking forward, conversations with former alderman Leon Despres, lawyer, thorn in the side of the late Mayor Richard J. Daley, social activist and gadfly. Here's why I like Leon: he was asked about the plan to bring the Olympics to Chicago in 2016, specifically, the plan to build a stadium in a local park. Said Leon, who is now 100: "If they build a stadium in Washington Park, I'm boycotting the Olympics!"
Leon Despres (l.) and Kenan Heise (r.)
Naturally, I bought the book.

Oh, and more Croc_Sandwich photos.

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