mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I didn't do much for New Year's Eve. I never do, as I'm too old to enjoy going out and getting drunk just because it's 12/31. And I'd like to avoid people (particular drivers) who think that's a good idea. So I stayed home, made a nice mushroom risotto, and watched a couple of Thin Man films on TCM. And here's an odd coincidence! The answers to the NYT crossword this morning included "risotto" and "Nora" (as in Nora Charles). How weird was that?

The Saturday before Christmas, I did something incredibly stupid. I needed to put something on a high shelf in my bedroom, and instead of getting the step-stool I stood on a chair - a chair that swivels. Dumb! Because it moved, and I fell and hurt my back. Fortunately, I didn't break anything, but I had some very colorful bruises and had to go very, very easy in my workouts, and finding a comfortable sleeping position was not easy. I'm very grateful for the existence of ibuprofen. Much better now, but I can't believe I did something so idiotic.

Both my sisters were in town for a week over Christmas, and while I like having them here, it was also nice to get my house all to myself again. We did the usual rounds of the local bookstores, had dinner with friends a couple of evenings, and went to the Art Institute, and the Cultural Center to see the Architecture Biennial. I took them over to Robie House on one of the days it's closed for public tours so I could show them around without worrying about running into, or being run into by, a tour. They both left last Sunday, which turned out to be an excellent plan, as Monday was godawful weather. Sleet and winds gusting to 60 mph. Cathy, who flew, probably wouldn't have gotten out at all. Stacey takes the bus, and I'd have been worried about the roads.

Things have been pretty quiet since then. I went to see two films at the Siskel Film Center, Gaudi and Sagrada, with the woman whom I'm going to room with on my trip to Barcelona in late October. I see I haven't said anything about that plan! Last February, I went to Pasadena with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust's TravelWright program. It was incredibly well-organized, and when I learned they were doing a trip to Barcelona and Bilbao, I knew I wanted to go. It's pricey, though, so I really wanted to find a roommate so I could avoid the single supplement. I mentioned it to a woman who was on the trip I did to Italy in 2014, and she was interested, so we're going together. I decided the expense was fully justified by things like "private after-hours tour of Sagrada Familia"! Barcelona has long been at the top of my list of "must go" places, so I'm excited!

While I was at the Siskel, I bought tickets for some other films. I always find their offerings to be either feast or famine, and January is definitely a feast. I'm seeing A Ballerina's Tale tomorrow, then Rosenwald and Suffragette on Sunday and Monday. My friend Jeanne gets back from a trip next week, and we've got a couple of other films on our agenda.

Had a lazy day today. Everything is closed, so I just did some stuff around the house and heated up some leftover meatball stroganoff for dinner.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Yesterday, I was getting ready to head out to a community flea market, when there was a knock on the door. Our management company had sent our maintenance guy out to deal with the air conditioners (moving or covering them) for the season. Without bothering to notify us! So I said, you've got to do it before 11:00, because, although I could skip the flea market, I had to be at my AAUW meeting at noon.

So he finished up just before 11, and I went to the meeting. Then I went to a staged reading of a play called The Amateurs, part of the Goodman Theatre's "New Stages" program, which involves development of new plays. This was basically a play about a 14th-century players troupe putting on the Chester mystery play "Noah's Fludde". I think it's got a good idea, but there was a huge digression in which the playwright talks about his intentions that should be significantly cut.

Then off meet my friend Jeanne to see a French thriller, Le Pont du Nord, which was interesting, but strange. The film was made in 1981, but not released in the U.S. until a couple of years ago. Dinner after at one of our favorite places; I had an excellent steak and mushroom pie.

Today I did stop by the flea market (actually twice - before and after I did my Robie House tours), and came away with four pairs of earrings (earrings are my downfall), a pair of loose linen pants, a blank journal, and a beaded evening bag - for a grand total of $23.

My first tour at RH was a mother-daughter book club; they'd read Blue Balliett's The Wright 3. They were great, and guest relations had said that, if I liked, I could take them to a couple of outside spaces that aren't regularly on the tour (the children's play lot and the front porch). So I did. When I had a short break between my tours, the house manager came to the break room and handed me a stack of papers, saying, "This came for you." It was a bunch of thank-you notes from a class I'd given a tour to in the summer. Lots of art glass-style drawings, and lovely, lovely notes. So nice!

Tonight I'm going to see Court Theatre's production of Agamemnon for the second time. I have a subscription that's on preview nights, so I saw it last week and loved it. They'd done Iphigenia in Aulis last season, and the same actors portray Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. A woman I know is on the CT's board, and she invited me to the opening night dinner and performance, and I'm thrilled to have the chance to see it again.

Now I'm going to finish the Sunday papers and try not to get overly depressed by how dreadful people can be.
mojosmom: (Default)
And here I swore I was going to do better. ~sigh~ What did Robbie Burns say about one's best laid plans? Well, he goes around with a bird on his head, so who is he to talk?
Robert Burns with a seagull on his head (and his feet

Anyway . . .

Since we last met, I've been madly giving tours at Robie House, and having a good deal of fun. I have also been discovering all the perks! The Preservation Trust has a "Volunteer Warehouse Sale". No, they don't sell volunteers. They let the volunteers buy "distressed" and discontinued merchandise at steep discounts. Including books. Then I did two tours last Saturday, and when I signed in, I found a coupon that said, "Thanks for working on a holiday weekend. Here's 20% off at the gift shop." So I bought a pair of earrings.

I've been to a couple of good movies. The Siskel Film Center had its European Film Festival, so I saw the French movie, Becoming Traviata, a documentary about a production of that opera at Aix-la-Provence, with Natalie Dessay. Also Dormant Beauty, an Italian film about end-of-life issues. Both recommended.

Oh, and I was right. I do mix up my French and Italian. Not so much in my Italian class, but in my French lessons, I'm always doing it. "Ma" instead of "mais", and the like. I've taken to watching "Le Sang de la vigne" (The Blood of the Vine), a French mystery series featuring an œnologist who tends to stumble on bodies. I quite enjoy it. Also Maigret, occasionally. Both in French with English subtitles, on the "International Mysteries" show, where I also watch Italian shows.

Opera season ended with "Streetcar named Desire", great singing, especially Anthony Dean Griffey as Mitch, but uninteresting music by André Previn. It was pretty much just the play set to music.

The Latino Theatre Festival is going on at Goodman, and I saw a fabulous play yesterday, Pedro Páramo, by Raquel Carrío, based on a book by Juan Rolfo, which I now have on hold at the library. It was a co-production with Cuba's Teatro Buendía, with some of their actors and some Chicago actors (including folks I know). It's a rather spooky play about a young man who goes in search of the father who abandoned him, and discovers a town where everyone is dead (though he doesn't realize it at first).

The cat and I both had fasting bloodwork last week. If you ever want to piss off a cat, take her food away. She was not happy.

I'm off to Cleveland on Wednesday to visit my sister (and her cats) for a couple of days.
mojosmom: (Default)
Music has been on the agenda a lot recently. I went to hear Too Hot to Handel, a jazz/gospel version of Handel's greatest hit. It's been presented at the Auditorium for the past several years, but this was the first time scheduling allowed me to go. It was wonderful, particularly the mezzo, Karen Marie Richardson. They had some video, the first year they've done that, which wasn't very good (bad quality, distracting), but it certainly didn't detract from the music.

Then last week, three days in a row. Last Thursday was Lyric's Subscriber Appreciation Concert, at which they showed their appreciation by allowing us to pay more money. ;-) Renée Fleming and Susan Graham did a fabulous recital of French songs, with a killer encore by Graham singing La Vie en Rose accompanying herself on the piano.

Then from the sublime to the ridiculous. There's a truly funny musical, Das Barbecü, a country-western take-off on Wagner's Ring Cycle set in Texas. Sounds weird, and it probably helps to have some familiarity with Wagner, but I enjoyed it very much. It was produced at one of the local colleges, with young professional singers, and they did a fine job.

Saturday, I went to hear the Newberry Consort, a local early music ensemble, at a concert of 18th-century Scottish music, including a lot of Robert Burns. This was followed by a party at the home of some friends, so I didn't get home until quite late.

I've also seen more movies in the last couple of weeks than in a long time. I saw Lincoln at our new neighborhood movie theatre. It's really good, although, if I'd made the film, I'd have ended it sooner. It's not like we don't know Lincoln was assassinated (oh, sorry, was that a spoiler?). Then I saw Diana Vreeland: the Eye has to Travel at the Siskel Film Center, a documentary made by her granddaughter-in-law. What a fabulous woman! On a more serious note, they also showed Point of Order, about the Army-McCarthy hearings. I'd seen it before, but it can't be seen too often.

I'm on a committee at my law school now, to set up a scholarship named for a relative. My great-aunt was married for a time to William E. Rodriguez, the first Hispanic graduate of my law school, and also the first Hispanic alderman in the City of Chicago. This year is the 100th anniversary of his graduation, and another alum contributed funds to set up the scholarship. It's not a lot, but every little bit helps.

Tonight I'm scheduled to have my practice tour over at Robie House. Parts of the tour are outside, and it is really cold! Typical Chicago weather. We set a record on Tuesday for the warmest day (it hit 60º), and today it's in the teens (probably in the single digits tonight). So I will bundle up, though it's possible we'll stay inside (the volunteer coordinator said they've done that in the past).

I am planning a couple of trips. My older sister and I have finalized our plans for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. We're going for the second weekend, but will stay a full week to see other things. We're staying at a B&B in the French Quarter, and, once again, I'm taking the train.

In June, I'm going to France! A couple I know, both of who are artists, along with another artist couple, take a group every year to Saint-Cirq-Lapopie, one of Les plus beau villages de France®. In the past, the trip has been designed for artists, but due to popular demand they have now arranged it for non-artists as well. It sounded so lovely, and another friend wanted to go, so we are.
mojosmom: (movies)
FINALLY!!!!!!!

Our neighborhood has been without a movie theater for more than 10 years. I'd have to traipse up to the near north side to see a first-run film. It was such a pain, I hardly ever did. I'd go to the Siskel Film Center, but that's for oldies, documentaries, art films, film festivals, etc.

Then they started renovating the old theater. It was supposed to open in December, but, this being Chicago, there were permit holdups. But it finally opened today.

This place is literally a five minute walk from my house. And it's cheap! $6 for matinées, $8 at other times. (And as of my birthday, when I turn 65, it'll be $6 all the time.)

I think I'll go see Lincoln next week.
mojosmom: (Default)
Everyone was there! Hecht, of course, and Margaret Anderson of The Little Review, Eunice Tietjens, Sherwood Anderson, Max Bodenheim, Vachel Lindsay. Okay, so it was actors playing the parts. But still, it was the house where Ben Hecht lived for a while (it was a rooming house):

5210-S-Kenwood

We were entertained with music, poetry and a magic lantern show, and there was food and drink. There was even a costume contest, which I didn't know about, but I got Honorable Mention, basically for being mouthy to a lecturer. (He said something about having too much money to spend on books, and I said, "Lucky you!" He liked my "20s attitude"!) I live in a fun neighborhood.

I've been down to the Art Institute a couple of times over the last week for special events. Last week there was a lecture to preview an upcoming exhibit of Byzantine art, mostly borrowed from the British Museum, which coincidentally is closing their Byzantine galleries for renovation just as we are re-opening ours. So the show will be up for nine months, and it sounds like it's going to be fabulous. At pretty much the other end of the spectrum, there was a lecture about the current Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibit. I'm completely in love with Landscape in Fog. There's actually a sign at the entrance to the exhibit encouraging photography (for personal use), a rarity for special exhibitions.

Last Thursday was "Make Music Chicago Day", with all kinds of music being played at venues all over the city - all day. Tremendous fun! I went down to the Fine Arts Building and heard Miss Chicago 2012 sing opera, and then to the main library for a dance tribute to Katharine Dunham. That was so good. They showed video clips from the Dance collection, and then a local dance troupe did some of her work, but then there were also hip-hop and South Asian dancers, influenced by her. Very cool. In the late afternoon, I went over to International House at the University of Chicago for jazz, more opera, and the Chicken Fat Klezmer Orchestra. There was also food and drink there, which I was not expecting, so I noshed a little but still stopped on the way home, as previously planned, for Thai carry-out.

And I saw the cutest movie! It's called "The Cat Returns" and is an animated Japanese film about a schoolgirl who saves a cat from being hit by a car. It turns out that this wasn't just any cat, but the son of the King of Cats! The King's attempts to show his gratitude lead to all sorts of complications.

And in "small world" stuff: I had lunch yesterday with the daughter of my high school biology teacher, whom I had met a couple of times years ago. This teacher was instrumental in my choice of college. Now, one of the women in my graduating class happened to mention that she sometimes comes to Chicago, and has a good friend here. You guessed it - my teacher's daughter. They know each other because their husbands went to school together. On top of which, L is a friend of D, someone else I knew way back when, and we are now hoping that the three of us can get together when D visits here in late July.

My friend Hilary was in town over the last weekend, visiting her two kids and her mom, so she stopped by on Sunday and we gabbed and ate pastries.

I have been swilling sparkling water all day. It's currently 96º and it's supposed to be in the 90s at least for the next week. At least so far, it hasn't broken 100º. We're also supposed to get isolated thunderstorms over the next couple of days.

Sorry about the length, but it's been so long since I last posted that I can't help it! I'll try to do better.
mojosmom: (Default)
Since last I wrote, I have had quite a bit of music and music-related events in my life. Georg Friedrich figured prominently in a couple of them, hence the bad pun in my subject line.

I went to the dress rehearsal of Rinaldo at Lyric, which is basically little different from seeing an actual production. Some of the singers don't use full voice, and there is always the possibility of repeats (though none occurred on this occasion). It's absolutely marvelous, and I am looking forward to the actual event in a couple of weeks.

The next day, the Apollo Chorus (140 years old and still going strong) and the Elmhurst Symphony performed Handel's Dettingen Te Deum and Mozart's Requiem at Rockefeller Chapel. Both pieces were magnificently performed, and the setting was perfect:
Dressed for Christmas

On Sunday, I went back to the Civic Opera House for their backstage tour. What fun! We got to see all the various departments (wigs, wardrobe, props, etc.), and learned lots. So I can say that I have been on stage at Lyric and in the orchestra, and it wouldn't be a lie. And I got to wear a crown:
Crowned head
(The weird head position is because it was too big and wanted to fall off. "Uneasy lies the head", as they say.) Lots more pics here.

As you can see if you click through to the set, they're doing Showboat, which was, in my view, a waste of Lyric's resources. I don't go to Lyric to see musicals. It didn't help that it was miked, and not well, or that there was no chemistry between Magnolia and Gaylord Ravenal. Fortunately, their next foray into musical theatre will be outside the subscription series, so I can calm down about it.

Yesterday, they had a press conference to announce that Lyric has commissioned an opera based on Ann Patchett's book, Bel Canto, rather a natural, when you come to think about it. I am particularly thrilled that Nilo Cruz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will do the libretto. Teatro Vista has done a ton of work with him, so I feel even more connected.

After the tour, I dashed off to the Smart Museum for a short concert of food-related music, ranging from Purcell to Schubert to Ravel to Comden & Green. The program was done as part of the events around the exhibit Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, which I didn't have time to see that afternoon, but will go back to view.

In non-classical music events, I went to a wonderful film last night, Chico and Rita. Set in Cuba, New York and (briefly) Las Vegas, this animated film tells the story of two Cuban jazz musicians, pianist Chico and singer Rita, and their star-crossed love affair, from when they first meet in 1948, up to the present. I loved the animations, particularly the cityscapes. And the music, well, it just can't be beat. See it if you can: http://www.chicoandrita.com or http://www.chicoandrita.co.uk/

And in non-music . . .

My financial advisor decided that, since I have now been retired for several months, we should have a meeting to review my situation. All is well, all is, indeed, very well, and I have decided to transfer another account I have over to her. I've actually been thinking about that for awhile, and now it's done.

I went to an interesting lecture at the Art Institute about restoration (and faking) of old masters, and how conservators can figure out what's been done.

Today bids fair to be a fair day (it was already in the '50s at 8:00 a.m.!), so I am going to go out and enjoy the day. It's personal pampering day - I'm getting a manicure this morning and a haircut this afternoon.
mojosmom: (Default)
Seriously, three movies in the last week.

1. The Women on the 6th Floor

Some guy thought this was an Almodovar movie. No, it's not. It's French. Maybe it was the Spanish women in it that confused him. Plot: stodgy middle-aged Parisian financier and his very social wife hire a Spanish maid. The "6th floor" refers to the fact that the maids (almost entirely Spanish) who work in the apartment building live in small rooms on the building's 6th floor. By happenstance, the guy goes to the 6th floor and is shocked by the conditions in which the women live. He starts to get involved in their lives, and (surprise!) also starts to get discontented with his life. Because, of course, the maids, despite their poor living and working conditions, despite the fact that they are separated from their families, are full of joie de vivre and he isn't. And if the plot sounds trite, the ending is triter.

I'm making the film sound worse than it is. I actually enjoyed most of it, because the acting's good and it's funny.

2. Mozart's Sister

René Féret imagines Nannerl's experiences during the Mozart family's trip to Paris. "Imagines" being the operative word. Look, I know that fiction about real people - whether in a book or film - is bound to take liberties with the truth. Oddly, I found it less annoying that he invented a friendship between Nannerl and the youngest daughter of Louis XV, and a gender-bending relationship with the Dauphin, than I do that he had the Mozarts arrive at Versailles during an event that occurred ten years before Wolfgang was even born, had Louise de France a mere child in the Convent of St.-Denis when in fact she entered it at the age of 33.

The thrust of the film, though, that Nannerl was denied the opportunity to develop her talents as a violinist and composer because of her sex, was well-done. Again, though, the film shows her burning her compositions and states categorically that (after the Paris trip) she "never composed again". Yet surviving letters to her from her brother from a later period make clear that he, at least, was supporting her continuing efforts in that direction.

I'd suggest a reading of Jane Glover's book, Mozart's Women, as an antidote to Féret's wilder imaginings.

Nevertheless, the settings (they were allowed to film at Versailles!), costumes and (of course) the music, were gorgeous!

Turandot

Last and best, a film of a performance of Puccini's Turandot at the Teatro Antico di Taormina. Now that was a performance! Francesca Patanè as Turandot, and the extremely hot Darío Volonté as Calaf.
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: (Head on desk)
It has been a fun day and a half!

Yesterday morning, I was futzing around on the internet, when my computer froze. I restarted it, and got the evil gray screen with the flashing ?. Yes, folks, my hard drive had bit the dust. Kaput, gone, dead, no more. I hauled it to the Apple Store, where they said, "Yep, your hard drive is nowhere to be found." On their recommendation, I did not have them replace the drive, but took it to an authorized reseller that a) was faster (less than 1 day as opposed to 5-7 days), b) had a better warranty (5 years as opposed to 90 days), and c) was only a few bucks more. I picked it up today and again went to the Apple Store because the person I spoke with yesterday said they would comp me an upgrade to Snow Leopard. That took all of 15 minutes.

After a short trip to the Brown Elephant thrift store to donate a bunch of stuff, I came home, plugged in the computer and started to re-set all my bookmarks, etc. After about an hour or so, the power went out! I dug out a flashlight and a bunch of candles, and spent the evening reading by a combination thereof. Also being glad that I have a gas stove, because I could make myself dinner! The lights went back on about 45 minutes ago. It was horribly windy today, and a transformer pole was blown down, so our entire bloc was without power. Com Ed had told my neighbor that it might not be back until tomorrow; I'm very glad they were wrong.

Thanksgiving was good. Stacey got in about 5:00, and I fixed a lasagna. We avoided all stores, except for Petsmart, on Friday, but hit a couple of local stores for Small Business Saturday. On Sunday, I had my annual open house, with some of the regulars and some new people as well. Stacey went home on Monday, and I went to the Siskel Film Center to see a film of Carmen, performed at the Opéra Comique. It was splendid.

I shall run around tomorrow and take a bunch of pictures to try to finish off NoNoNoNo. Unfortunately, the last photos I took were not uploaded yet to Flickr, and are off in the ether with everything else that was on my hard drive. ~sob~
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I went to a pre-retirement workshop earlier this week, with a speaker from our pension system as well as someone from Social Security. Much of what they told us, I knew, but I did learn some things. I'm back and forth in my head about whether or not to start taking SS now, or wait until full retirement age. I'm leaning towards the latter, as, fortunately, I don't need to take it now.

I was asked yesterday by a colleague, "Where do you want to have your retirement party, if you do want one?" IF????? You better believe I do! Not so much because I want to be fêted, but it's an opportunity to make sure I'm able to say a fond farewell to everyone (or at least a lot of the people) with whom I've worked.

Long sentencing hearing yesterday on that murder case I did back in December. The result was not as good as I'd hoped for, but better than I expected.

I am being very good this weekend. I am not going to: a book sale, my favorite thrift store's 50% off sale, a fashion sale (with shoes, yet). I do not need more books or clothes. That doesn't ordinarily stop me, but it's getting ridiculous, and I'm trying to avoid temptation. Indeed, I'm starting to make a pile of books to ship off to D.C. for the BC Convention. I didn't even stop in at my local Borders' today, even though it's their last weekend and things are 75% off. I've been in too many times already, and was starting to eye the bookcases!

Mildred Pierce is coming to HBO as a mini-series, and I went to a sneak preview at the Siskel Film Center. There was a reception before the showing, with HBO springing for a lot of good food and an open bar. (Seriously, when was the last time you went to a reception where the cater-waiters were passing out lamb chops?!) We were shown the first two episodes, and some scenes from the rest, and it's good. Everybody applauded when Mildred finally smacked Vida. It's not a remake of the Joan Crawford film, but is truer to Cain's novel. In a bit of brilliance, they've used "Der Hölle Rache" from Mozart's Die Zauberflöte in the music. Unfortunately, I don't get HBO, so I'll miss the rest of it.

This is an early music weekend for me. My Lyric Opera season ended at last night's opening performance of Handel's Hercules, directed by Peter Sellars in a very interesting production which portrayed Hercules as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and the impact of that on his relationships, particularly with Dejanira. It sounds a bit odd, but it worked. (Story from WBEZ.) Alice Coote as Dejanira and Lucy Crowe as Iole stole the show.

Tonight, I'm going to Rockefeller Chapel to hear the Newberry Consort singing the Cantigas de Santa Maria and back there tomorrow for Bella Voce and the Callypigian Players (yes, that's really their name) doing Handel, Vivaldi, Corelli, etc.
mojosmom: (Food)
(if you don't count the tip). When I am going out to dinner, I often make reservations through Open Table. You get 100 points per reservation, and I had accumulated enough for a $20 certificate. I needed to use it, and so I decided to take myself to lunch today, between listening to a lutenist play by the Arms & Armor collection at the Art Institute
Lutenist Joel Spears

and seeing a film about Antonio Gaudí. I went to The Gage, a relatively new restaurant that I hadn't been to before. It's relatively expensive for dinner, but lunch is more moderate. In any case, the bill came to $19 and change, so other than the tip for the waiter, it didn't cost me a cent! It was a good meal, too. A sweet potato soup, with goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds, and a smoked salmon sandwich with a side of very good fries, and Earl Grey tea.

The movie, Antonio Gaudí, by the Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara was quite interesting. No narrative, except a bit towards the end of an interview with Isidre Puig Boada, one of the architects who carried on Gaudí's work on the Sagrada Familia. The camera describes the buildings, and the inspirations from nature and Catalan culture, accompanied by music of Toru Takemitsu. Seeing it has reinforced my desire to visit Barcelona.
mojosmom: (Hyde Park)
Still cool(ish) from the rain Friday night/Saturday morning.  There was a street fair ("Celebrate Hyde Park") a few blocks from me, so I went over there early in the afternoon, listened to some music, checked out the various vendors, and had turkey hot links from Pearl's Place (a really good local soul food restaurant).    There were the usual obligatory face painters and balloon animals, and everyone was dressed to party, including dogs:


Dressed to party

In the evening, I went to the Goodman for reading of Yamaha 300, part of the Latino Theatre Festival.  The play was not great, but the acting was.  A couple of us decided to go for drinks afterwards, intending to go to the bar at the restaurant attached to the theatre, but they were closed.  Their website says they close at 7:30 on Sundays, but that's really ridiculous when there are plays on.  If they want to close the kitchen, or just serve cold meals, fine, but their bar could do a good business!   In any case, we decided to go to the Trump Hotel.  We had a drink at their outdoor bar, which I would recommend doing once, for the view, which was fantastic.  It's on the sixteenth floor, and overlooks the Chicago River, with a great view of the top of the Wrigley Building and the Tribune Tower.  However, it's ridiculously expensive and the service is rough (which may be due to the fact that they recently opened, or that they have apparently hired the servers for their youth and looks rather than their abilities).

On the way over, we checked out the fake destruction lying about for the filming of Transformers 3, which has been disrupting traffic for a couple of weeks now. 

Oh, I should say more about the Latino Theatre Festival. This is the 5th year Goodman has been doing this; it's curated by Henry Godinez, who is an artistic associate at the Goodman, and, not coincidentally, a co-founder of Teatro Vista. It runs for several weeks, and they bring in artists from all over the Spanish-speaking world. This year they managed to get a troupe from Cuba. Some of the productions are fully staged, but they also do a lot with plays in progress, having readings and the like. They also associate with other organizations, like the Grant Park Music Festival, for off-site events, and there are various discussions and events pre- and post-performance. Best part? It's almost all free.
mojosmom: (Default)
at least momentarily. I received a new modem from Earthlink today. I still cannot connect directly, but have to use a round about way. I have the number for a "senior technician", but naturally they aren't available 24/7 and I called after they closed, so I'll try again tomorrow evening.

In the interim, I'll play catch-up here.

First up: the neighborhood in the news. NBC Nightly News visited our local farmers' market last Saturday. The story is here (you have to watch an ad first). I'm not in it (one of my sisters says that's because I didn't look "gritty and inner city enough"), despite the fact that a camera was pointing at me as I ate pork with mango salsa!
Pork chop with peach salsa

Later that day, I went to Kittenpalooza, an event during which cute little kittens are displayed in order to get suckersnice people to adopt. I did not succumb, but did ooh and ahh. I mean, how cute is this?
Yay!  I get to play!

Saturday evening, I went to see the Jules Dassin film, La Loi, with Gina Lollobrigida, Yves Montand, Marcello Mastroianni and Melina Mercouri. It's a rather over-the-top soap opera, but with that cast, who cares?

On Sunday I dropped a bunch of clothes and tchotchkes off at the Brown Elephant, and came back with a few things, as always. There's a new resale shop a couple of doors down, everything $3 except for t-shirts, which are $1. I found a pristine white linen Liz Claiborne blouse with French cuffs and a sage green sleeveless linen blouse. Helluva deal. Then I went over to my friend Kate's, whose garden was one of many on a neighborhood garden tour. But we mostly sat inside and drank iced tea or seltzer water, and ate cheese and cookies, and chatted.

Other than that, it's been a fairly quiet week. I had to pull an iron out of the fire for an idiot probation officer. She was shocked, shocked! when I pointed out to her that someone who was locked up in the jail couldn't just pick up the phone and call a treatment center whenever he felt like it. (I think she must be new.)

As usual, I celebrated Bastille Day by watching Casablanca and having a French meal. It was going to be escargots Bourguinonne, but it's been hellishly hot here* so I didn't feel much like bubbling butter and hot ovens, and had a salade Niçoise instead.


*I keep telling myself, "it's only in the 90s, not like the East coast with triple digits!"
mojosmom: (Default)
I've been having internet connection issues. My connection kept failing, and since Sunday afternoon I haven't been able to connect at all. I've been spending way too much time on the phone with my internet provider and this could crash again at any moment.

On top of which, a while back my work started blocking my access to LJ, among other sites that I used to be able to get to, so I couldn't do anything from work.

Which is why my posting and commenting have been intermittent!

Other than that, though, the holiday weekend was great! I went to our local farmers' market Saturday morning, and was there longer than expected. Chef Paul Kahan, who runs a couple of restaurants in town, made a completely awesome chicken dish that used espelette pepper, which I had never heard of. Nicely spicy, and he accompanied it with a kale salad (also fantastic) and grilled red scallions and fennel.
Chicken, grilled veggies & kale salad
And NBC Nightly News was filming at the market. I'm not sure when the segment will be on, however.

Saturday night, I went to see Coco Before Chanel. I enjoyed it, even if it wasn't entirely accurate. But then, much of what she said about her life wasn't, so why should this be?

I'm going to publish this before things crash again, and try to update more later.
mojosmom: (Librarian books)
You may remember that I wrote a while back that I had attended a poetry workshop at my local library. While there, I recommended to the group Stephen Fry's book, The Ode Less Travelled: Unlocking the Poet Within. Yesterday when I was there returning books, she came over and said, "I ordered that book you recommended!" Maybe I should make a list . . .

Cultural stuff )

shopping )

The board meeting itself was good. We're in the black, having made actual profits at seminars and the annual dinner, and membership is way up. We're planning a party, an "Irish wake for Clarence Darrow", which should be tremendous fun. We'd just co-sponsored a two-day forensics seminar, which I attended, and which was really an excellent program. So we are quite happy, and voted a raise for our executive director (not that she's making much - it's a very part-time gig - but she deserves every penny).
mojosmom: (Default)
I didn't do a whole lot this weekend. It's been a bit too cold to go wandering about.

Yesterday, I just ran a few errands, and went to my branch library for a book exchange. The idea was to bring 1-5 books and take home up to as many as you brought. However, the librarian running the exchange wasn't too keen on dealing with leftovers, so she was encouraging people to take as many books as they liked. As it was, I brought four and left with four, plus one book I checked out. I also made an Inter-Library Loan request for this book. We'd seen it at the Art Institute Museum Shop, and it looked very good, except for the price. ($99.95! Thank goodness for libraries.)

Today I denuded the tree, and took it down to the alley. I've boxed up all the decorations, but still need to take them down to my storage locker.

I've been reading a bunch, mostly light reading. I finished My New Orleans (first book of the new year), read an old Margaret Maron, Shooting at Loons (one of the Deborah Knott series), which for some reason had escaped me when it first came out, and The Lost Art of Gratitude, Alexander McCall Smith's latest Sunday Philosophy Club book. Now I'm working on Talking mysteries : a conversation with Tony Hillerman, which I'll likely finish tonight, as it's quite short.

Next week, I have the trial advocacy seminar that I always coach at, so I'll need to pick out my bus reading.

There's an Elia Kazan festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center, so I may go to a couple this week.
mojosmom: (movies)
So I went to see the new film, Sherlock Holmes, last night, with Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. Don't. Just don't. Not if you are a Holmes afficionado. How was it bad? Let me count the ways. (SPOILERS AHEAD.)

It's very violent. Lots of graphic fisticuffs. It privileges fighting over ratiocination. While Sherlock Holmes was never above a fight when necessary, it certainly wasn't his preferred mode of action. In this film, he's getting into it with some huge villain every five minutes.

It's got a lot of "perils of Pauline". Sherlock knocked out in a slipway with a ship about to run him over, Irene Adler trussed up and headed for the slaughterhouse knives, etc., etc.

Then there's character. Irene should sue. She may have been an adventuress, but she was never a strumpet or a temptress, and the idea that she would ever be in the employ of Moriarty is simply ridiculous.

The whole film reads as though they just decided to use the names and some minor characteristics, and ignore what Doyle wrote. (Why would Holmes have to be introduced to Mary Morstan by Watson, when they met her at the same moment, according to Doyle?)

Then there's the so-called plot. It's "Conan Doyle meets Dan Brown" and Doyle loses. Occult practices, a mysterious secret Order plotting to rule the world, oh, please. There are gaping holes in the plot, and it's one of those movies so dependent on action that they have to have someone explain everything at the end.

I suppose that if you'd never read, or cared about, Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and all you want is an action movie, it's okay. There's lots of action, a few decent special effects and some nice cinematography. But if you have read and cared about the real Holmes, you'll spend the whole film cringing, muttering under your breath, or laughing at inappropriate moments because it's so silly.
mojosmom: (movies)
So I went to see the new film, Sherlock Holmes, last night, with Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. Don't. Just don't. Not if you are a Holmes afficionado. How was it bad? Let me count the ways. (SPOILERS AHEAD.)

It's very violent. Lots of graphic fisticuffs. It privileges fighting over ratiocination. While Sherlock Holmes was never above a fight when necessary, it certainly wasn't his preferred mode of action. In this film, he's getting into it with some huge villain every five minutes.

It's got a lot of "perils of Pauline". Sherlock knocked out in a slipway with a ship about to run him over, Irene Adler trussed up and headed for the slaughterhouse knives, etc., etc.

Then there's character. Irene should sue. She may have been an adventuress, but she was never a strumpet or a temptress, and the idea that she would ever be in the employ of Moriarty is simply ridiculous.

The whole film reads as though they just decided to use the names and some minor characteristics, and ignore what Doyle wrote. (Why would Holmes have to be introduced to Mary Morstan by Watson, when they met her at the same moment, according to Doyle?)

Then there's the so-called plot. It's "Conan Doyle meets Dan Brown" and Doyle loses. Occult practices, a mysterious secret Order plotting to rule the world, oh, please. There are gaping holes in the plot, and it's one of those movies so dependent on action that they have to have someone explain everything at the end.

I suppose that if you'd never read, or cared about, Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, and all you want is an action movie, it's okay. There's lots of action, a few decent special effects and some nice cinematography. But if you have read and cared about the real Holmes, you'll spend the whole film cringing, muttering under your breath, or laughing at inappropriate moments because it's so silly.
mojosmom: (Default)
The partying and overeating, that is.

Yesterday, I went to a Teatro Vista meeting - the board, staff and ensemble met with a woman who has been doing market research for us. It was very illuminating. The meeting was punctuated with food and wine, and followed also with food and wine.

Shortly, I will be going to the home of friends who are, respectively, a bookbinder and a potter, who have an annual holiday sale of their work, accompanied by goodies.

I try to be restrained, but it's not easy!

Friday night, we went to see Lyric's production of Katya Kabanova, with Karita Mattila in the title role. I liked it a lot, although some of the directing was a bit one-dimensional. Mattila was marvelous and Liora Grodnikaite, who sang Varvara, was also excellent.

Oh! And I discovered yesterday afternoon as I was driving to Cecilie's house and listening to WFMT that there's an opera based on Brief Encounter! It's by André Previn, and the singers were Elizabeth Futral (who I'll see shortly in Merry Widow) and Nathan Gunn. I tuned in after it started and thought, "gee, this libretto sounds really familiar", then, "That sounds an awful lot like the plot of Brief Encounter" and then, "Hey! It is Brief Encounter!" Nothing like having a favorite old movie turned into an opera.

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