Busy week!

Jun. 5th, 2011 08:08 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
It's been a crazy, busy week, but in a good way. I've been to the Symphony, unexpectedly, twice. Tuesday night was my regular subscription night, and on Thursday, I got a call from a friend, who had another friend who couldn't use her tickets. So I benefited. Bernard Haitink conducted both nights; Tuesday was Schumann, Mozart and Brahms, while Thursday was Mahler's 9th Symphony. I usually sit on the main floor, but on Thursday I sat on the Terrace level, which is above and behind the orchestra. I'd never sat there before, and it's great, obviously, for watching the conductor, but it's very weird to be looking at the rest of the audience!

On Wednesday, I went to Glessner House,
Glessner House, courtyard
for an event celebrating the 125th anniversary of its building. It was designed by H.H. Richardson, and is on what was once Chicago's "Millionaire's Row", where folks like Marshall Field lived. The neighbors did not entirely approve of Richardson's aesthetic. Many of the beautiful mansions have been razed, and Glessner House was in danger, but was saved and restored, was the original home of what was then the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation (it has since dropped the "School"), and is now open to visitors. The Glessner's great-grandson re-created the groundbreaking, there was an enjoyable talk about the world, and Chicago, in 1886, and food and drink.

On Friday, I took the afternoon off from work to go to the Art Institute for a donor event introducing the new Japanese galleries (they've actually been open several months, though). There was a nice tea service (western, not Japanese) and the associate curator of Japanese art spoke. Then those who wanted (which, of course, included me) went to the galleries and the curator was available to answer questions.

The new African and American Indian galleries had just opened that day, so I had a browse. They aren't completely installed - the objects are all there, but the descriptive cards aren't, so I will need to go back to find out what everything is! (And, not incidentally, have my camera with me.)

This weekend, the first in June, is always a favorite, because it's the Printers Row Lit Fest, and the 57th Street Art Fair and the Hyde Park Community Art Fair (which are right next to each other). I did the Lit Fest yesterday, first going to hear Colm Tóibín and Belinda McKeon, and then wandering the stalls to buy books. It was horribly hot, so I didn't stay as long as I might have otherwise, but I did manage to pick up several books. Not as many as these folks, though:
Seriously buying books

Today was cooler, a really perfect day for breakfast and the Sunday paper on the back porch, and then wandering around a couple of art fairs.

Since D.C.

May. 25th, 2011 10:23 pm
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I haven't posted anything of significance since I came back from Washington, weeks ago! So this is a catch-up post.

Since then, I've been to Springfield for a conference, and stopped at New Salem Historic Site, where Abraham Lincoln lived for a few years (though it wasn't a historic site then!), on my way home. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and they've build a fancy-schmancy new visitor's center, and, naturally, a gift shop. Few of the buildings are original, but they are all built the way they would have been at the time, and are furnished with period pieces, many donated by descendants of the original settlers. Like many such sites, they have interpreters, dressed in period clothing and conducting period activities, like blacksmithing. And if you've ever wondered what Abe did with those rails he split, here you go:
Split-rail fence - New Salem Historic Site

I've also been up to Milwaukee with a bunch of friends to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit at the Milwaukee Museum of Art:
Milwaukee Art Museum
It was huge, lots of drawings and models, and some home movies! We have started talking about a road trip to Taliesin. We had an excellent lunch at a restaurant by the lake, in a park designed by Frederic Law Olmsted.

Unfortunately, my car met with an accident at the end of the trip. I was dropping people off at a friend's house, parked my car across the street, and when M. was pulling out of C.'s driveway, she didn't cut soon enough and backed into my car! Fortunately, no one was in it at the time, and it was driveable. It's currently in the body shop, though.

I've been to a couple of operas and plays, and last Saturday went to a workshop sponsored by the Network of Ensemble Theatres for artistic staff and board members of ensemble theatre companies to talk about ways to improve communications and understand the respective roles of each. I thought it was very useful. Teatro Vista's current play, Freedom, N.Y., opened about a couple of weeks ago, and we had a nice event at a pub down the street from the venue.

Thanks to Goldstar, I got a half-price ticket to the Alvin Ailey Dance Company at the Auditorium. It's Judith Jamison's last season as artistic director, and the 50th anniversary of Revelations, Ailey's iconic piece, which they danced at every performance. It's still wonderful.

Tonight, I went to a fascinating lecture at the National Museum of Mexican Art. In an event jointly sponsored by the Museum and the American Jewish Committee, Sophie Bejarano de Goldberg talked about the book she co-authored, Sefarad de ayer, oy i manyana (The Sephardic Jews of yesterday, today and tomorrow), a history of Sephardic Jews in Mexico. It's one of three Jewish communities in Mexico, the others being Ashkenazi and Arab Jews, and consists of about 1200 families (the entire Jewish population is around 40,000). She and her co-authors interviewed many people who came to Mexico during the third wave of Sephardic immigration in the '20s and '30s, mostly from Turkey and other parts of the Ottoman Empire (the first wave was in the 1500s, the second in the 1800s), and borrowed many documents and photographs to include. The Museum had some of those on display, including this Kaddish in Ladino (sorry for the lousy quality - I didn't have my good camera with me):
Kaddish in Ladino

Weekend before last, I braved the cold (yes, it was in the mid-'40s, and damp) and went to the Hyde Park Garden Fair to buy herbs. I finally got them planted on Sunday, when the sun decided to put in an appearance and it was warm! That same weekend, I was at my dry cleaners when I saw a sign for a yard sale to benefit victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. I wandered over there and came away with a bunch of books. Then this past Friday, I finally used the Groupon coupon I had for a used bookstore and came away with another whole slew of books.

In between all this, I've been sending paperwork hither and yon for my retirement. Social Security and state pension applications are in, but the IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) can't be submitted sooner than 30 days before my retirement date. So that will go in next week. I have also signed up for a second Italian class (a literature one) and a class on British women mystery writers between the wars, both of which meet on a weekday morning. I am so looking forward to being able to do stuff during the day!

I'm thinking about a trip to New York in July, maybe over my birthday weekend. There's a show at the Morgan Library, Illuminating Fashion: Dress in the Art of Medieval France and the Netherlands, that I'd like to see. If I go in July, I can also check out the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met, too.

They've just announced the schedule for the Printers Row Lit Fest, and I immediately ordered tickets for a couple of author events. I may order a couple more. They're free, so if I don't go, I'm not out any money and someone else will get in.

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