mojosmom: (Default)
I accidentally typed "Sumer", which is vaguely appropriate since the folks a few blocks over at the Oriental Institute are spending their summer making beer from an old Sumerian recipe.

I, however, have entered the 21st-century. I've bought an iPhone, nudged to it by the fact that my previous provider, U.S. Cellular, sold its local market to Sprint, which means my old phone would stop working in a couple of months.

After handling that transaction, I got to the Pritzker Pavilion for about the last half of the Grant Park Orchestra's open rehearsal for their "Let's Dance" program. Great fun! Tap and tango and jitterbug. During their break, I wandered over to a concession stand for a hot dog and lemonade, not my usual fare, but I tend to indulge once or twice over the summer.

Yesterday, I lunched outside at a local restaurant near Robie House, prior to giving a tour there. Perfect weather. In the evening, I fought the "Waste of Chicago" crowds and went to a special event at the Art Institute. The curator of the "Impressionism, Fashion,and Modernity" show gave a lecture, the exhibit was open, and there was a reception in the Modern Wing with French wines and food. Crème brulée! Yum! Also a cabaret act. The show, which includes some paintings that have never been lent in the U.S. before, is fabulous.

There's a memorial service next weekend for a dear friend who died a couple of months ago at the age of 90. Her daughter emailed me to ask if I'd say a few words "if you feel inclined". You better believe I do! Eila was a real treasure and inspiration in my life. I am honored and delighted to have been asked.
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: (Default)
Honestly, I am going to try to do better at posting regularly. If nothing else, it will be easier for me to remember what I want to say!

Gosh, I last posted on Election Day!

Since then, I've been busy.

SOME CULTURAL STUFF:

I see I've spent a fair bit of time at the Art Institute. Their new galleries for Greek, Roman and Byzantine art opened in November, and I went to a couple of events around that. And they had a fun holiday event for donors, with a talk in the photography study room on photographs of snow scenes, and another talk about art from the collection of winter scenes. All very appropriate and accompanied by drinks and cookies.

In the olden days, before radio and television and computers, people used to provide their own entertainment, often in the form of musical evenings. I went to one! A guy I know who is on the musical staff at Lyric Opera, along with a cellist from their orchestra, did a live radio broadcast on our local classical music station. They wanted to rehearse first in front of a live audience, so some friends opened their apartment, and invited about a dozen or so people over to listen to Bach, Debussy, Stravinsky - it was all so lovely and old-fashioned!

Also various operas.

SEMINARY CO-OP:

One of my favorite bookstores moved right before Thanksgiving. Seminary Co-op Books, often called the world's best academic bookstore, was so named because for aeons it's been housed in the basement of the Chicago Theological Seminary. But CTS has a new building, and an economic research institute has moved into the old place, so the University provided a new facility for the store. It's just a block away, next to Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and it's gorgeous. A lot of folks were sad about the move; Seminary's quirky spaces were much beloved, despite the drawbacks (like lousy handicapped access, no natural light, and low hanging pipes), and there was concern that the atmosphere would be lost. But they made the right move in hiring architect Stanley Tigerman, who has been a Co-op member for thirty years. He has designed a large, light-filled space that still has those beloved nooks and crannies. One of my favorite things are the bookshelf "windows":

Bookshelf Window

Two days before the actual opening, they had a "book parade". The store has always what was known as the Front Table (though it wasn't actually in the front), on which were displayed recent books, generally by University faculty, an honor described by one person as "The Pinnacle of Academic Achievement". So they invited the authors to come and move their books from the old Front Table to the new one. The parade came complete with bagpiper:

Piper

Afterwards, everyone enjoyed cookies and tea/coffee/cider/hot chocolate, as well as a sneak preview of the new space.

More on the move, the store, and how much people love it at the The Seminary Co-op Documentary Project.


FAMILY/FRIENDS:

My maternal great-aunt was married for a time to William E. Rodriguez, the first Hispanic alderman in the City of Chicago (and one of two aldermen elected on the Socialist Party ticket). He was also, back in 1912, the first Hispanic graduate of the law school that I attended, so the school had a reception in his honor, at which it was announced that a scholarship was being established in his name. I have been asked to serve on the committee that will establish the criteria by which it will be awarded. Should be an interesting experience; I've never done anything like that before.

An old friend of mine passed away in October. She had been living in Maine since her retirement about 10 years ago, but still had ties to the area. There was a memorial service for her earlier this month at the Friends Meeting in Lake Forest, of which she was a member. One of her daughters, also a friend, was unable to come in for it, but she and her husband and utterly adorable daughter came through town a couple of days ago and some of us got together with them for lunch. It was so good to see her, and it looks as though they will move back to the area (well, Wisconsin, anyway), which will be nice.

I hope everyone has had good holidays. Mine were excellent. I went to scads of parties.

Also, both my sisters came out for Christmas, and we indulged in art exhibits, bookstores, and seeing friends, including a dear friend of my parents' generation who is now in hospice care.

I had said that I did not want to get a Christmas tree, as hauling it up three flights of stairs (and back down) and finding errant needles well into July had gotten old. But Stacey turned up with a tree! It's a tabletop tree, only about 2 1/2 feet tall, and it smells marvelous.

OTHER STUFF:

I have been feeding my addiction to outerwear. Honestly, I have boring black skirts and trousers, and scads of jackets and coats. There's a great store in my neighborhood called What The Traveler Saw, that has items both for traveling, and which the owner has found on her travels. Lately, she has also been taking some items of clothing and jewelry on consignment, and recently brought in a guy who sells vintage clothing. Well, you know I was doomed! For a couple of weeks, I was salivating over a coat in the window of the store, so one day I went in and tried it on:
Cashmere coat, raccoon trim

Then a couple of weeks later, while my sisters were with me (and urging me onward rather than the opposite), I found this on the vintage rack:
Donald Brooks' quilted tapestry coat

The label says "Donald Brooks", so I looked him up. Quite the guy! I was in the store today, and told the vintage guy what I'd found, which he hadn't known. I bet he's going to Google all his labels from now on. (Maybe I shouldn't have told him!)

That's probably more than enough from me right now.

Besides, it's close to time for champagne Prosecco.
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: (japanese icon)
I have just come in from clearing a few inches of snow off the car. It's supposed to snow all night, and since I have a class in the morning, I wanted to get a head start. A friend of mine is supposed to be flying in from New York tonight to see her mom and her two kids (I say "kids", but they are college grads); I hope she makes it.

Hard to believe it was 50º(F) yesterday! (Well, maybe not. This is Chicago, and it is January.

It's been a fairly quiet week. I ushered at a concert on Saturday - very nice early music, featuring a pair of cellists. Went to hear The Magic Flute last night, which is always a treat. Also went to an event at the Art Institute - a conversation between a curator and a collector, followed by drinks, noshes and a viewing of an exhibit of drawings from said collector's collection. There was one piece in particular that I coveted, "Second Roebling", by Christopher Wilmarth. I won't post the image of it that I found on the web, though; it just doesn't do the piece any justice.

Did a bit of shopping. I lost my good black gloves on the bus on Friday, so had to replace them. I was really annoyed because I'd only bought them a few weeks ago. Also did some boring but necessary bra/undies/socks shopping.

I went to the library yesterday to return one book, and pick up another that was on hold. I actually returned home with four books; it's so nice to have the time to sit back and read.

I finally worked out exactly when I'm going to head off to the BC convention. I'm going to go to Glasgow first, and then Dublin. I bought my airline tickets today and booked a hotel in Glasgow, and am waiting to hear from someone who might share a room in Dublin before I book that (though I'm not going to wait too long). I had to change a couple of theatre tickets here, but that was no big deal.
mojosmom: (Default)
I am finding this year that I am attending far more holiday events than in the past. This is, I am sure, due to the fact that the logistics of going to and fro are easier now that I am retired. Depending on where I'm going, I can use public transportation and not worry about parking (where & how much!). I can go to events that start early or end late, without having to think about work hours. So I'm very social!

I went to two bar-related events last week. The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers had a cocktails/hors d'œuvres/recruiting event one day, and the next my law school had a cocktails/hors d'œuvres event. I dashed from that second one to the December Second Friday Open Studios at the Fine Arts Building. Turned out that, because of the holidays, a lot more studios were open than usual, and there were some additional musical and performance things going on. There was a partridge in a pear tree:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree!

and the Venetian Courtyard was open!
Venetian Courtyard

On Saturday, my AAUW chapter had its December/holiday meeting, and that night I went to the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus "Holly Follies" at Rockefeller Chapel.

On Sunday, I went to the Jazz Institute's members party and then to Casa Italiana's Festa di Natale. At the Jazz Institute party, I ran into a former colleague of mine whom I haven't seen in years, and the odd thing was that at one of the bar events, someone else who knew her and I were wondering what she was up to. So now I know, and we exchanged emails and will keep in touch.

Monday, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre had a "thank you" reception for the Saints, and while I was there I signed up to usher at a couple of productions next year. Then off to the Poetry Foundation for a reading of Christmas poems, including Talking Turkey, a highly amusing poem. The reading was followed by noshes and drinks.

If I end up looking like Santa Claus (that is, fat!), you know why!

In non-holiday stuff --

98.7 WFMT

Yesterday was the 60th birthday of our local classical radio station, 98.7 WFMT, so they had a day of music (ten hours) at the Cultural Center. I was able to get there for the first three hours (but had to get home for a couple of conference calls for boards that I'm on). I missed Nicole Cabell, but was there for harpsichordist David Schrader, the Chicago Chamber Musicians, The Lincoln Trio, the Orbert Davis Quintet, and tenor Rene Barbera.

I've also been to usher for In the Jungle, an adaptation of a Bertolt Brecht play that is benefiting the Howard Brown Health Center. A worthy cause, but I think there's a reason this Brecht play is not frequently produced. It's not his best.

I spent a long evening at the Gene Siskel Film Center, too, seeing two John Turturro films in one sitting: La Passione, about Neapolitan music (and history and society), and Rehearsal for a Sicilian Tragedy, dealing with the puppet theatre there. Both excellent!

A variety of Teatro Vista-related events: a reading of a new play that will probably be part of the Tapas reading series in the spring, lunch with a prospective board member, and a workshop with grant funders.
mojosmom: (Default)
I made it to this morning's farmers market and back just in time. I don't know whether it's going to keep up, but it has delayed the Air & Water Show. I have to keep an eye on that, as I am headed up to the north side later today, and need to decide how I'm going to get there (car, bus and el, train and el), which, in turn, depends on what I think A&WS traffic will be like when I have to leave.

This is the closing weekend for the Grant Park Music Festival, and they're doing Verdi's Requien. I went last night, due to the forecasts for rain today, and it was marvelous! I was a bit disappointed that I'd have to miss last night's Summerdance, because it was Cajun music, which I enjoy a lot. However, the Requiem ended at 8:00, Summerdance goes until 9:30 and it was a 5-minute bus ride away, so I went to that, too.

In other music, Tammy McCann did an outdoor concert at the DuSable Museum on Friday, the weather co-operated, the Museum was selling food and wine, so that was very nice, too.

Lecture on Thursday at the Art Institute about the golden orb spider-silk textile that's on exhibit there now. Fascinating stuff.
mojosmom: (Music)
I had an appointment last Wednesday to get my teeth cleaned and examined, and since my dentist's office is right across the street from Millennium Park, I decided to go downtown early and enjoy the open rehearsal for that night's Grant Park Symphony concert. How lovely to sit in the sun and listen to Mozart and various Strausses! Conductor Carlos Kalmar was quite relaxed:
Conductors Lean Back Everywhere

It was Austrian week at the Grant Park Symphony, and Thursday evening they performed Franz Schmidt's oratoria, The Book with Seven Seals, a musical setting of Revelations. It was a beautiful night, perfect weather for an outdoor concert. Yesterday evening, I was fortunately at an indoor event, because it was storming off and on. I went to the Cultural Center for a performance of Astor Piazzola and Horacio Ferrer's very surreal and beautiful tango opera, Maria de Buenos Aires.

Best thing? All this music was free.

In other things, there were white peaches at the farmers market on Thursday. I bought half a dozen, and puréed three of them for Bellinis. Yesterday, I went, as I do every year, to the Midwest Buddhist Temple's Ginza Festival, for chicken teriyaki, taiko drumming, crafts and other fun things.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Three recent deaths:

Jean Dinning, who wrote Teen Angel:


Bob Marcucci, who discovered Frankie Avalon:


and Fabian:


and Owsley Stanley:



Seems like just yesterday . . .
mojosmom: (Default)
I got home from a concert a short while ago, and now it's lightning-ing and thundering! Guess I made it home just in time. Yes, I skipped the Oscars in favor of Mozart, Hadyn, Beethoven and Schubert.

Fabulous production of Lohengrin at Lyric on Friday night. Five hours just flew by! Emily McGee was Elsa, Johann Botha was Lohengrin (though he did look as if he'd be more at home in the sumo ring that sword-fighting), Greer Grimsley was Telramund, and all were excellent, but I thought Michaela Schuster's Ortrud stole the show.

Yesterday, I went to the Art Institute for a lecture on their new exhibit, Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France, and then went to the exhibit itself, which has some absolutely splendiferous pieces. There's a Jean Fouquet illumination, The Battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians, with some very curious marginalia. I'll definitely go back again.

There was an anti-Qaddafi demo going on a couple of blocks from the Art Institute, so I stopped and took some pictures.

"Hopeless"

This morning, I again went to Borders, where all is now 60% off, and did some more damage. They had an Italian-English dictionary, so I picked that up because the one I've been using is falling apart. And a few other things as well. They've got about a week left; we'll see if the discounts get even deeper!
mojosmom: (opera)
First opera of the season Friday night! The first trick was figuring out how to get to the garage where I normally park, as there is major construction on Lower Wacker Drive, and I can't get to it from my usual route. I called the building, and they were very helpful, even emailing me a map with all the various closures and alternate routes. But, in the end, I found a simpler way, though any route involves going north and east to then go west and south! We had decided to have dinner at the Corner Bakery at Michigan and Wacker, and then take the water taxi to Madison where the Opera House is. Since I parked near the Opera House, I took the taxi both ways. The Madison St. stop is by one of the major commuter train stations, so a lot of people use it for commuting, but it's also a great way to get a view of downtown that you wouldn't ordinarily see.

The opera was Verdi's Macbeth, and was directed by Barbara Gaines, who is the artistic director of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. It's her first opera production, and was quite successful. Of course, it didn't hurt that Lady Macbeth was sung by Nadja Michael, who is gorgeous, physically and vocally, and was, as one of my companions described her, "a force of nature". Thomas Hampson was Macbeth.

Today, I went to the Chicago Symphony. It was supposed to be Riccardo Muti conducting Cherubini's Requiem, but he has cancelled his fall appearances due to illness, so the concert had morphed into Pierre Boulez conducting Mahler's Symphony No. 7. Though Cherubini is definitely more my speed, I did love the Mahler! It's hard to believe that when it was first performed people found the music "incomprehensible", as to the modern ear it is quite melodic. One hundred years certainly changes things!

So I bought this sweater yesterday (ignore the price, I never pay retail!), in the gray/black. The picture doesn't do it justice. From even a short distance, the collar looks like crushed velvet, and it reminds me of architect Jeanne Gang's Aqua tower.

Okay, there's a kid somewhere in the 'hood learning to play the trumpet. I can hear him when I'm in my study. He's not very good. I sure hope he improves! ;-)
mojosmom: (Default)
It's been lovely.

Friday night was a second Friday, which means Open Studio night at the Fine Arts Building. Every month, different artists have open houses, and Hodge the Bookstore Cat
Hodge, the bookstore cat
holds court at Selected Works Used Books. I visited a couple of the studios, bought a couple of books, and admired Hodge.

The Fine Arts Building is just down the street from Symphony Center, where I had tickets for the L.A. Philharmonic with Gustavo Dudamel conducting. I had a bite to eat at the Bass Bar in the rotunda before the concert, which was fantastic. They played John Adams' City Noir and Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" Symphony, with two encores, the Intermezzo from Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" and the Waltz from Leonard Bernstein's Divertimento for Orchestra. It was quite delightful, particularly the Adams piece, a jazz-inflected evocation of '40s film noir.

Yesterday, I went early to the Hyde Park Garden Fair and stocked up on herbs: sorrel, thyme, Italian oregano, basil, dill, parsley, lemon balm, chocolate mint and spearmint, which I planted in containers on the back porch.

I had a few friends over for dinner (not the usual size crowd, due to scheduling conflicts and illness). I poached a fillet of salmon in white wine, and made a sauce from sour cream, thinned with a bit of the poaching liquid, dijon mustard, lemon juice and fresh dill. Served with oven roasted new potatoes with rosemary, and broccoli. My friend Margaret made a luscious frozen dessert involving pineapple and whipped cream. We killed a couple of bottles of wine, too. DeeJay won't be with us for the next couple of dinners, so she brought my birthday present two months early. Part of it was marjoram seeds, an herb I hadn't bought that morning!

Slept in a bit this morning, and will be off to the opera in a couple of hours, Jake Heggie's Three Decembers, with Frederica von Stade in her last Chicago appearance.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I went to hear Tony Kushner last night at the University of Chicago's Artspeaks program. He was interviewed by Charlie Newell, the artistic director at Court Theatre, which is currently mounting a production of Kushner's adaptation of Corneille's The Illusion. I could listen to him talk forever. "The only obligation an artist has is to tell the truth." And he certainly does his best to live up to that. He talked about playwriting and directing, why colleges should not have undergraduate theatre programs, family, psychoanalysis, and a variety of other things.

Tonight, I went to the local library for a panel discussion on Octavia Butler and Afro-Futurism. It was one of several programs going on to lead up to the premiere of jazz flutist Nicole Mitchell's Xenogenesis II: Intergalactic Beings , inspired by Butler's trilogy. In addition to Mitchell were John Corbett, music writer and co-founder of Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery, who is an expert on Sun Ra, who was connected with Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and also Madhu Dubey, a professor of feminist theory and African-American literature at the University of Illinois-Chicago. It was a wide-ranging discussion of literature and music. When I got home, the president of the Friends of the Library called and asked if I would do a post on their blog about it. I said yes, but I wish she'd asked me before the program so I would have known to take notes!

I've been going through my books looking for thin paperbacks to take to Amsterdam to release at the BC convention. If I were going straight there, it wouldn't be as difficult, but whatever I take, I'll have to haul to Florence and then to Amsterdam, so I'm trying to be circumspect. I'm taking a couple to read on the plane and then release. And I have to factor in the guidebooks and such. I'm also debating about which edition of The Inferno to take with me. I'm leaning toward my Dorothy L. Sayers translation, because it's a small Penguin paperback. The Pinsky is a dual-language edition, which I like, but it's significantly bigger, not as easily carried about. I suppose I'll make up my mind at the last minute, as usual!
mojosmom: (movies)
A while back, a discussion with friends about travel digressed into "why do people dress like slobs when they travel?" which led to my usual comment that, when it comes to plane/train travel, I imprinted on Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest, and why don't I have a train case?

On Sunday, when I picked my friend Margaret up to go to dinner, she said, "come inside, I have something to show you", and she gave me a vintage Frost Blue Samsonite® train/make-up case! It's got a tray that hooks on the front, and a tilt-out mirror, and a removable quilted pocket. So I'm all set. All I need now is Cary Grant!

Yesterday, I wandered over to the Smart Museum for free concert in honor of a) Valentine's Day, and b) their exhibit, Sites to Behold: Travels in Eighteenth-Century Rome. With soprano, violin, harpsichord and violoncello, the program was called "Love, Italian Style" and featured works of Veracini, Vivaldi and Domenico Scarlatti. I got to the museum early enough for a bite to eat and a browse through that exhibit as well as an utterly gorgeous show called The Darker Side of Light: Arts of Privacy, 1850-1900. I fell completely in love with one piece, Fernand Khnopff's Memory of Flanders: A Canal. I love that one bit of sun in the upper left, and, in person, there is a sheen on the water that is incredibly realistic. My other favorite was Max Klinger's series, A Glove (be sure to click to see all the images).

I've made my hotel reservation for Amsterdam (I'll be at the Europa 92 with some other Bookcrossers), and am looking into hotels in Florence (I really need to just make a decision, but there are so many choices!). I also need to reserve plane/hotels for my trip to NYC in May/June. I'm just debating whether to go out on the 26th, and visit Book Expo, or wait until the 27th. I think I need to check my work schedule/vacation time available.
mojosmom: (Default)
and ignored the weather report and the skies. I had thought about going downtown to the Turkish Festival today, but, when I finished my early morning farmers' market/yard sale/dry cleaning errands, it was gray and cloudy and sprinkly, and the forecast was for rain. So I didn't. Naturally, it didn't rain and the sun came out, but too late for me to change my mind. Ah, well. Instead, I planted some herbs that I bought at the local farmers' market this morning, and then sat outside and read. Always a pleasure! Did laundry, too.

I also hung up my latest present to myself:
Uchikake
I'm in the habit of browsing Kimono Flea Market Ichiroya, but never really thought about ordering anything from them, considering shipping costs and a bit of hesitation about ordering from abroad. Then I fell in love with this wedding kimono. I did a bit of sleuthing (mainly checking their feedback on eBay, but also found some other, favorable mentions), so decided to risk it. I ordered it Thursday of last week and it arrived on Tuesday! I now have a lovely garment hanging on the wall and the cats have a new box to sit in.

While I was at the farmers' market, I bought the first strawberries of the season, just picked this morning, and are they ever good! The guy threw in some asparagus as a "bonus", which I will have for dinner tonight. I also got a green tomato, for frying. (Speaking of fried green tomatoes, my favorite restaurant for them, Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop (also a fave of Barack Obama's) is closing their Hyde Park location, due to machinations of the University of Chicago. The owner has another restaurant in the area and will add some of the favorite dishes of Dixie Kitchen to that menu, but it won't be the same. She's looking for another space, but isn't having a lot of luck.)

There's a community garden near the farmers' market, and I had the urge to wander about and take a bunch of pictures. In the course of so doing, I discovered a new use for old books:
Dirty books
(This garden likely won't be here next year, also due to machinations of the U of C.)

It is yard sale season, and I went to a couple this morning. Got some books, and a spiffy knee-length sleeveless black linen dress with white stitching at the hem and waist and a black ribbon tie that had never been worn. The tags were still on it!

Despite the above grumpiness about the University, there is a free concert at Mandel Hall this evening, Behold, the Sea!. The University Chorus and Motet Choir, along with the University Symphony Orchestra, are doing Ralph Vaughan Williams' Symphony No. 1, A Sea Symphony, and Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes from his opera, Peter Grimes.

Back home

Apr. 6th, 2009 08:27 pm
mojosmom: (travel)
I've had a very nice few days in Cleveland with my sister:
Stacey & Me

I got there Wednesday, in the late afternoon, and we just hung out at her place. On Thursday, she went to work and I wandered out to visit some shops in the neighborhood. In the evening, we went out for Thai food and then to hear some jazz - very traditional - and watch some old film clips of jazz musicians. Friday, it rained, so other than a brief foray to a nearby antique store, I lazed about drinking tea, reading and petting the cats. We went to some gallery openings in the evening, included three shows at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation:
Opening at Morgan Conservatory

Saturday and Sunday we were busy bees. We started out with a tour of Cleveland's Playhouse Square, five theatres built in the '20s and now restored to their former glory. Due to the fact that there were productions in the bigger ones, we weren't able to go backstage, but that was okay. The volunteer who led the tour was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and had a lot of good stories. And the theatres were gorgeous:
Décor

From there, we went to Loganberry Books, not to buy books, but to eat them! Yes, they were having their Edible Books Tea!
Alice in Wonderland
There were some amusing and delicious entries. It was interesting that the entries here were almost entirely inspired by, and representing, a particular book, whereas the entries at the Center for Book and Paper Arts (where I usually go for the Edible Books Tea) are generally more inspired by the book as structure.

After a bit of dinner and then a bit of a rest, we headed out again to a concert of show tunes by the North Coast Men's Chorus. These guys were awesome! As Stacey puts it, "it wasn't just a bunch of guys on risers". They had some great soloists, a small group called the "Coastliners", dancers (including at least one potential RuPaul's Drag Race contestant), and they even brought in a couple of women. Surprisingly fun to watch were the sign language interpreters. They didn't merely interpret - they performed, particularly in the "Wicked" medley. The whole event was tremendous fun.

On Sunday, we hied ourselves to the Canton Museum of Art, for the Kimono as Art exhibit. We decided to get there by opening time, and it's a good thing we did, as by the time we got out of the exhibit, the line was practically out the door. Before we actually went to the exhibit, we watched some films they were showing about Japan, as well as one about Itchiku Kubota himself. Before you get to the kimono exhibit, there's another show of ceramics by the Japanese-American ceramicist, Toshiko Takaezu. These were displayed in beds of sand, raked to set off the designs of the pieces. A perfect touch.

On to Kubota. No mob scene here. They limited the number of people in the exhibit, so that it was never so crowded that you could not get near the kimono, which, thankfully, were not under glass. That was important, because the subtlety of these pieces, not merely in the gradations of color, but in the delicacy of design, the use of texture, directionality of the shibori, and the relationship of each piece to the next, was simply astounding. When you realize that Kubota spent literally decades recovering the technique of tsujigahana, a method of combining dyeing, embroidery and ink painting from the 16th-17th century, it becomes even more astonishing.

The exhibit begins with this piece, "San/Burning Sun":

inspired by the sight of the sun setting in Siberia, where Kubota was a prisoner of war. It is followed by pieces depicting Mt. Fuji in different lights, and several others, but the highlight is his Symphony of Light, thirty kimono depicting the passage from autumn to winter, each flowing organically into the next. They are displayed in a "U", so that you can see this. Kubota had intended to create thirty more kimono, representing spring and summer, and then twenty more depicting the oceans and the universe. He died before he could accomplish this, but his studio, run now by his sons, is carrying on.

That was enough for the day, so we went back to Stacey's and relaxed. I packed, and drove home today, skipping my Italian class because it's a six hour drive and I was tired!
mojosmom: (Music)
Sunday afternoon, I went to a marvelous concert! Countertenor David Daniels with the English Concert under the direction of Harry Bicket. The first half was Bach, the second half Handel. I have heard Daniels in performance at Lyric Opera on more than one occasion, but this was the first time I had heard him in recital.

Oddly enough, my sister saw him a couple of days earlier in San Francisco. Someone had given her a ticket, which turned out to be a front row seat. She told me two of the violinists were flirting with each other. I couldn't see that from Row P. Not that I'm complaining about Row P, mind! Particularly as mine was a half-price ticket. (Should your city be on Goldstar, I highly recommend signing up.)

I picked up Daniels' CD, Sento Amor, music by Mozart, Gluck and Handel, and, as a result, "Che farò senza Euridice?" from Orfeo ed Euridice has been running through my head all day. But if you are going to have an earworm, it's not a bad one to have!

-------------------

I am headed to Cleveland tomorrow to visit my sister. She has planned an action-packed few days! The impetus for the visit (other than to see her) is the exhibit, Kimono As Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota, at the Canton Museum of Art, but there's a lot of other stuff to do. I'll drive back on Monday, so I may be too tired to go to my Italian class, but I'm taking my homework with me!

Catchup

Mar. 5th, 2009 09:49 pm
mojosmom: (Music)
I really need to be more diligent about posting. Here it is, almost the weekend, and I haven't said anything about last weekend. Which was musical. Friday night, I decided to take in a free concert at the First Unitarian Church, with the Women's Chorales of the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Lots of Fauré and a variety of folk songs. Very nice. There was a small reception afterwards. One of the chorale directors invited us to the reception saying, "If you have given up chocolate and sugar for Lent, we have veggies. And if you have given up veggies for Lent, we have chocolate and sugar."

Saturday, I went to hear Pinchas Zukerman and Marc Neikrug in recital at the Harris Theater, as I had copped a cheap ticket. Obviously, it was all music for violin or viola and piano: Mozart, Shostakovich, Takemitsu and Franck. Very nice.

Otherwise, it's been a quiet week. I actually managed to get my sister's birthday present in the mail on Monday. Her birthday is today, but I don't know if it arrived because when I called, she was out (partying, I assume)!
mojosmom: (Venice)
The Newberry Consort, with Piffaro, did a fabulous concert last night, called "What a Difference a Day Makes: Venetian Music for Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday". It was the first in what they hope will be annual concerts in memory of Howard Mayer Brown, the University of Chicago musicologist who is known as the godfather of the Chicago early music community, and who died of a heart attack in Venice, at carnival, just after buying his mask. The sacred music was especially good, because the concert was held at Rockefeller Chapel, which, naturally, has great acoustics for that sort of thing. The music for Fat Tuesday was, of course, written to be played outside, and they couldn't exactly do that last night, in the cold and snow!

After the concert, there was a reception for the musicians at Jim & Kevin's apartment (which happens to be the same one where Howard and his partner lived). I wore the mask I bought in Venice when I was there for Carnevale:
Mask
mojosmom: (cat)
1. Post about something that made you happy today even if it's just a small thing and even if it's just a one-line post.
2. Do this everyday for a week without fail.
3. Tag 8 of your friends to do the same.


I went to Advent Vespers at Rockefeller Chapel. Beautiful music in a beautiful setting, followed by carols (accompanied by the newly-restored carillon) and hot cider on the lawn. I fully confess that I did not stay long for the caroling, as I'd forgotten my earmuffs and it was cold!

Carols 'round the fire

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