mojosmom: (Food)
My Italian teacher's cousin, who is the president of Slow Foods-Bretagne, is in town, and this afternoon she gave a short talk about the Slow Food movement, and fed us soup. Three kinds, one from the north of Italy, one from the south, and one from the central part. The northern one was panisse, a pumpkin soup, with potato and apple and leek; the southern one was cuccìa, of chickpeas, corn and wheatberries, and the last was ginestrata, a Renaissance-era soup of broth with Marsala, egg yolk, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. It was a good day for it, too, because it was rainy and a bit chilly - perfect soup weather.

Saw Motherf***er with the Hat again, because Teatro Vista did an event for potential donors. Reception beforehand, then the play, then drinks afterwards with some of the cast members, including Jimmy Smits, who seems like a really nice guy.

I also saw Teddy Ferrara at the Goodman, a play by Christopher Shinn loosely based on the Tyler Clementi case at Rutgers. Thankfully, it was very nuanced. A lot of the cast was young and not very experienced, and it showed, and the part of the university president wasn't terribly credible - he seemed awfully clueless for someone who had been a U.S. Senator and was now running a major university. It was worth seeing, but could use some work.

My practice tour at Robie House was successful, and I am now certified and will give my first public tour later this week. Wish me luck!
mojosmom: (japanese icon)
Or packing material?

I've been on a shredding binge. Honestly, can anyone think of one good reason to keep pay stubs from a job I left years ago? Or statements from a brokerage account closed a decade ago? Or bills from my cat sitter? Why did I keep all this crap?

Now I'll have room in my filing cabinet for things I really do need. And I'll be able to findthem!

I went to see Stephen Adly Guirgis' "The Motherf***ker with the Hat" at Steppenwolf the other day. A couple of Teatro Vista ensemble members are in it, so I was able to get a preview ticket for $20. (Tickets are normally more than 3-4 times that.) Good play! Very funny, but also a lot to think about. The acting was excellent.

More comedy last night at Lyric, The Second City Guide to the Opera. What a hoot! A few of the jokes relating to co-host Patrick Stewart's career went past me, but other than that I loved it. I particularly liked the "first date at a performance of the entire Ring cycle" skit. It's always nice to hear Renée Fleming, and count the number of times she changes her gorgeous gowns, even though her two arias were rather disconnected from the script. John von Rhein's review is here.

Tonight, more gorgeous clothes! (Season opener of Downton Abbey.)
mojosmom: (Default)
I've just been very remiss about posting.

I dashed down the block to the farmers' market this morning for raspberries, flowers and a muffin, and dashed back home about 10 minutes before the skies opened and it started pouring. It's stopped now, though.

Last week was busy. Teatro Vista, along with another theatre company called Collaboraction, did a series of six solo shows in three programs, all performed by the playwrights, so of course I went to all three. My favorite was KJ Sanchez' Highway 47, about her family's involvement in a land grant dispute in New Mexico.

It should be no surprise to anyone that I am involved in the Friends of Blackstone Library. In a perfect merger of my love of libraries and my love of architecture, I am working on an event in October, when our library, the oldest branch library in Chicago, will be part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation's Open House Chicago. Should be fun!

Eight years ago, I wrote this review of Regina Taylor's play, Crowns. Saw it again a couple of weeks ago, and, having been to a couple of pre-play events, I knew she'd revised it. It's rather like she read my review, and fixed what I didn't like! She made Yolanda's story much stronger and more integrated into the play (and, along the way, moved Yolanda's home from Brooklyn to Chicago's Englewood neighborhood). Different cast, but all fabulous.

I had my annual fix of Chicken Teriyaki and taiko drummers at the Ginza Holiday Festival Saturday. I also bought a gorgeous, and rather unusual, kimono. It's quite simple, brown and indigo (looks black in the photo but it's not), with figures done by shibori dyeing:
Kimono with shibori figures

And, just because it's adorable, a photo of Lilith wearing one of my flip-flops:
Let's go to the beach, mom!
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)
but I am using the excuse that I was out very late last night. I went to the Jeff Awards (a Teatro Vista ensemble member was up for Actress in a Principal Role - she didn't win, but the competition was stiff), and didn't get home until well after midnight. So this morning, I woke up, fed the cat, and went back to bed. The fact that it is gray and dreary and raining was further incentive to catch a few extra winks.

Also yesterday, I plumbed. The handle of the toilet in the master bath busted on Sunday, so I learned all about reverse threads and fixed it myself. Another benefit to the internet: there are all kinds of videos on YouTube showing you how to do simple stuff like that.

I've been to a few Chicago Humanities Festival events. The theme this year is Technology, so I heard Laurie Anderson talking about the use of technology in her work (with a slam at Mp3s), David Staley on how digitization is changing the way history is taught, and Travis Jackson on "Capturing the Jazz Moment", about technology as a key player in the way recordings are made. Good stuff.

A couple of plays this week, too, both featuring Teatro Vista ensemble members. Chicago Boys, part of the Goodman Theatre's "New Stages Amplified" series, is about a protegé of Milton Friedman's who goes to Chile to promote free-market economics at the time of the Pinochet coup. Then I saw "The Great Fire" at Lookingglass Theatre, about, obviously, the Chicago fire of 1871, the text of which is, in large part, drawn from contemporary accounts of the fire. Here's the fun part: the theatre is housed in the Water Tower pumping station, one of the city's surviving pre-fire buildings. The fire itself was personified by a red-haired, innocent-faced, actress/acrobat/dancer in white Victorian-style garb, who did an absolutely amazing job. Great show.
mojosmom: (Default)
I've been flitting about a lot. )

Other things )

It's a good thing I'm retired and can sleep late. (Well, not so late. Lilith is better than any alarm clock. 7:00 a.m. sharp, she's patting my face, demamding that I get up and feed her!)

Baking

Jan. 30th, 2011 09:46 pm
mojosmom: (Kitchen)
I don't often get the opportunity to bake, so when I went to a potluck last night, I chose to bake a cake. I dug through my piles and found the recipe for spice chiffon cake that my mother used to make and that I've made in the past, and whipped one up. It came out better than it ever has before! I think it may be because, when the recipe calls for "7 or 8 egg whites", I chose to use 8. It's one of those recipes where technique is all important. You can't stop beating the egg whites too soon (they have to be incredibly stiff) and you cant' stop folding the batter into the whites soon enough. Then I made a penuche icing (butter, brown sugar, milk and confectioner's sugar). It was a hit.

The impetus for the event was to get everyone involved in Teatro Vista together, ensemble, junior ensemble and board. It was a great idea, and a good time was had by all. And I ate too much!
mojosmom: (Theatre)
I can't remember the last time I had my photograph taken by a professional (passport and DL photos do not count!) It was probably for my college yearbook. (I should scan that one and put it on Flickr. Okay, I did. Be nice!) A photographer here in town, Art Carillo, donated his services to Teatro Vista, to photograph not just the ensemble, but the board also, to use in publicity, on our website, etc. So this morning I went to his studio, and had a professional photo shoot. It was quite fun. It'll be a while before he does all the editing, etc., but I'll be sure to share the results.

After the shoot, I ran some errands in the 'hood, and as I was coming home, I passed the Borders that's down the street from me. It's closing! They're having a sale. This could be trouble.

This afternoon, I went to the Hyde Park Historical Society for a talk on "Excavating the World's Columbian Exposition: The Archeology of Chicago's Jackson Park", given by Rebecca Graff, a doctoral candidate at the University of Chicago. She showed slides, and talked about the methods she and her students used, and about some of the artifacts they uncovered.

I made a gorgeous beef stew for dinner. It's been nasty cold, though today wasn't so bad, double digits and a dusting of light, powdery snow. But it was still the kind of day for a stew, and it made the kitchen smell marvelous! Should have had a crusty loaf with it, but I try not to eat too much bread, so I had a green salad with it. And red wine (also in it!).

In cultural news, I went to an opening at the Art Institute Wednesday evening, for the exhibit of John Marin watercolors. There was a lecture, followed by drinks and hors d'œuvres. And, of course, the opportunity to see the show. A large part of it was work done in Maine, but I vastly preferred the urban watercolors, particularly those that had a more abstract look to them.

I've been to a couple of plays this week, Albee's Three Tall Women at the Court Theatre, and Regina Taylor's Trinity River Plays at the Goodman, both of which were quite well-done. At the end of the second act of Trinity River Plays, the woman sitting next to me and I were both in tears.

Goodman is one of three local theatres (the others being Northwestern University and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) that are hosting the Belarus Free Theatre's Being Harold Pinter. This is a saga. They were invited to perform at a theatre festival in New York, and had to sneak out of the country because they were threatened with arrest. They needed additional work to stay in the U.S. I don't know what happens after this run. More about it here and here and here. It was so great that these theatres found a way to give this company space during a crowded season!

Catch-up

Oct. 26th, 2010 07:17 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
Okay, now that I've calmed down from last night's excitement, I'll talk about what I did this weekend.

Friday night we went to see Carmen at Lyric Opera. Carmen was "meh", Don Jose got better in the second act, and Escamillo was excellent.

Saturday was the University of Chicago Humanities Day, which is always chock-a-block with interesting programs. I went to hear: Justin Steinberg on "Dante's Right of Way through Hell", Martha Feldman, the keynote speaker, on "Castrato De Luxe: Blood, Gifts, and Goods in the Making of Early Modern Singing Stars", and a panel discussion on "Robie House, 100 Years New", with Katherine Fischer Taylor, Donald Hoffmann and Geoffrey Goldberg. I had signed up for "The Hews of Modern Babylon, June, 1941" with Orit Bashkin, but I really needed to do some grocery shopping, because Sunday was going to be very busy. So I went to the grocery store (and the Hyde Park Cats bake sale!), between the keynote and the Robie House panel. At that last, they announced that there would be a reception at Robie House, which is just one block from where the event was. So I went to that, then went home to dinner, and then back to Robie House.

That night, there was a site specific installation of multi-media artwork there, called Projecting Modern, by Luftwerk, a collaboration between Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero. It was fantastic! They used projected images, light and sound, playing off Wright's use of light and angles. It was mostly on the third floor of the house, where the bedrooms are, an area that is not normally open to the public, even on the guided tours. I wasn't going to miss that chance!
Closet/dressing alcove, master bedroom, Robie House

The weather was gorgeous, warm and soft, so there was much hanging out on the balcony with glasses of wine and noshes. And more light projections:
Projection - eaves

Sunday was the Chicago Humanities Festival Hyde Park Day. A few years ago, they decided to have a day of events in Hyde Park, a couple of weeks before the main event. This year, I volunteered. First, because I thought it would be fun, and, second, because volunteers get two free tickets for every program worked. My stint covered two programs, so that meant tickets to four CHF events! Even though they are cheap anyway, when you go to a bunch it can add up, so volunteering is a good deal. I was at the Oriental Institute, mostly ticket-taking, and helping set up and clean up, but got to sit in on a panel discussing rare medical texts. It was most interesting, with a doctor, an art historian and a special collections librarian talking about the books from their different points of view.

Then I dashed up north, getting stuck in Bears (football) traffic on the way, for a reception that followed a performance of 26 Miles, a play being produced by Teatro Vista in collaboration with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. (One of the great things about the Chicago theatre scene is the way so many of the ensembles do collaborate.) It was held at a nearby wine bar which has a roof deck, and since the weather was again fabulous, we mostly hung out outside. They had food, too, so I didn't need to worry about dinner.

So that was the weekend.
mojosmom: (Theatre)
Yes! The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity won five out of the six Jeff awards for which it received nominations: Best New Play, Artistic Specialization (fight choreography), Best Director (Play), Best Actor in a Principal Role (Play) andBest Production (Play - large).

Gosh, my first Jeff awards ever, and there I am standing on the stage with the rest of the folks involved in this production! I just got home and if I didn't have to go to work tomorrow I'd still be celebrating.

Congratulations to Kris Diaz (playwright), Eddie Torres (director), Desmin Borges (lead actor), David Woolley (fight choreographer) and everyone involved in the production. And Eddie got a 3 Arts award tonight, too! We love you, Eddie! Next up: Obies!

http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2010/10/equity-jeff-award-winners-drury-lane-chad-diety-ragtime.html
http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/weiss/2834842,CST-FTR-Jeffs26.article
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: (Birthday cake)
Birthday first (today):

I slept late! Of course, it helps that it was a Sunday, and I didn't sleep too late - the cats insisted on being fed. So I fed them and then myself. I'd bought some lovely fresh organic eggs at the farmers' market yesterday, and fried up a couple of them, over easy, had that and some raspberries - also from the farmers' market.

Read the Sunday paper in a leisurely fashion, talked to my sisters, both of whom called to wish me "Happy Birthday!", and then went over to the Smart Museum for a jazz concert. It was supposed to be held in their sculpture garden, but neither the audience nor performers would have been happy with two hours in 90º+ heat, so they moved it inside.

I stopped by Borders afterward and bought a pop-up book I'd had my eye on, and then came home and fixed a birthday dinner: boneless lamb steak, salad and sweet corn (again from the farmers' market). I have some green tea ice cream that I'm going to have later.

I have also been absolutely swilling iced tea all weekend. Best thing for the heat.

Yesterday, I went to the farmers' market (obviously!), but didn't stay long as I was meeting friends for lunch. We had tickets to a staged reading of Tanya Saracho's play-in-progress, El Nogalar, part of the Goodman Theatre's Latino Theatre Festival. It's based on Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, but is set in current day Mexico, and is excellent! It's going to have a full production as part of Goodman's next season, a co-production with Teatro Vista. TV had a cocktail party after the play for donors, potential donors, etc. in the Goodman's VIP lounge, which was nicely attended.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I went over to Betty C.'s house to help stamp/address postcard invitations Teatro Vista's benefit on April 12. About halfway through, we realized that a whole slew of the address labels didn't have zip codes! So rather than risk them not being delivered, we split up the pile and I've spent a fair bit of the evening looking up zip codes and making an errata sheet so we can update the mailing list.

I was a bit tired, as I went to the opera last night, The Marriage of Figaro, and it's a long one (but excellent, so well worth it). I took a friend home and didn't get home until nearly midnight. Unfortunately, I had to get up way early as it was my weekend to cover bond court. I was going to take a nap before going to Betty's, but didn't, so took a short one before dinner.

In real exciting news, I took my car to be emissions tested yesterday. I passed.

It's been a busy week for me. On Tuesday, I went to the Newberry Library for their Associates Night. There was food and drink, and a talk about Shakespearean drama (with actors), and the bookstore was open and having a 20% discount for members.

Then on Wednesday, I went over to International House for a presentation of kyogen plays by the Shigeyama family, assisted by some adorable little kids from a local elementary school playing the part of mushrooms. It was tremendous fun, the only downside being that my camera batteries were dead so I didn't get any pictures.

On Thursday, I went to the Hyde Park Art Center for the Not Just Another Pretty Face salon. This is a project they do every couple of years to match patrons with artists. They discussed the process, showed slides of some of the artists' work, and also talked about the cost. Some of the artists, particularly the more established ones and those who work in certain media or on a large-scale, would be way out of my league to work with. But there are some, including some whose work I like, that I could afford. I'm thinking this might be a fun thing to do, it'll help the Art Center (they get 50% of the cost, and there's an exhibition), and I've always wanted to be a Medici! ;-)

Best part? All three of the above events were free.
mojosmom: (Steinlen cats)
Well, a week and a half anyway.

No traumatic or terrible reasons for it, just a bit lazy, and trying to catch up with reviews over at my other blog.

I've been busy with Teatro Vista board/committee meetings. We're planning a benefit in April and I'm on that committee (though it unfortunately falls during the time I'll be in Europe!).

I saw my first "Live in HD" Metropolitan Opera broadcast last Saturday. Friends have raved about them, and so I decided to take advantage of the rare opportunity to hear Placido Domingo sing baritone, in the title role of Simon Boccanegra. I had the libretto from when Lyric did it years ago, so read it ahead of time, a necessary thing because the plot is incredibly convoluted, even for opera! I loved it! The opera itself was grand, but it was worth going just for the close-ups. I loved seeing the details of the costumes, and you could see them sweat! During intermission, there were interviews conducted by Renée Fleming, but what was even more interesting was that they showed the sets being changed. The Met stage crew deserves every penny they get. It was like choreography. The only thing I missed, that you get when you listen on the radio, is the Opera Quiz. One of the perks of my Opera Guild membership is advance ticketing for these, and I expect I'll use that next season!

Both cats have been to the vet, Marissa yesterday for her annual check-up and a couple of shots (three-year rabies and distemper, so she won't have to be poked for awhile more). Lilith went this morning. She has been having pooping issues, going outside the box (though not all the time) and very loose stools. Bloodwork is being done, stool sample checked and pills have been prescribed. So we'll see.

I went by the library to return a couple of books and, of course, browsed the "New Books" shelves. I noticed a book with the intriguing title The Web that has no Weaver, which turned out to be a book about Chinese medicine. And was authored by a guy I knew in college, and had acknowledgements to two other guys I knew in college!

I had yesterday off (Lincoln's Birthday is a holiday in Illinois, so I've got a four-day weekend! Yay!), and went up to the northern 'burbs to meet with my financial adviser. We hadn't run the retirement numbers for a couple of years and, as I am approaching that time (the two government pension systems I've been under are reciprocal systems, and due to the fact that I took a pay cut when I left my last job, I'll need to retire out of the system by November of next year to maximize my pension.), she wanted to do it again. The news is very good. Between the pension and Social Security, both of which have annual COLAs, and decent investments, I don't need to worry and can actually relax about the whole thing (barring anything unexpected and horrendous, of course).

Had a taste for Thai food so I stopped off at a place I like and got cucumber salad and curry noodles to go.
mojosmom: (Default)
Italian classes started up again last Monday, and I brought a chocolate panettone that I found at my local produce store. (The family that owns it is Italian, and so they also carry quite a variety of imported Italian goodies.)

I don't remember if I posted that my boss was named a judge, so they're looking for a new Public Defender. On Monday, the list was narrowed down to six names. I know three of the people (one currently in our office, and the other two I know from other places), all of whom I'd be happy with. The other three are unknown quantities.


Tuesday night was the Teatro Vista board meeting. The majority of the actors from the Chicago production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity will be in the New York production. I'm probably going to go to New York a day or so earlier than I originally planned, so I can meet up with Eddie before he leaves on May 31.

Thursday night, I was thrilled and delighted to watch the start of season 7 of Project Runway, back in New York where it belongs. Quite a variety of points of view among the designers, and there was color! and pattern! on the runway. I think this may turn out to be a very good season.

Tosca at Lyric on Friday night, with a bit of unplanned excitement at the end of the second act. Fortunately, all turned out well, but just as Tosca stabs Scarpia, and orders him to "Muori dannato!", a woman a few rows up from me collapsed, and there were calls for a doctor. Another audience member who was obviously a doctor jumped out of his seat and went to help, and she revived and was helped out under her own steam, though the ushers said later that she left the building in an ambulance, but was okay. (P.S. Loved the opera - it's a favorite!)

I have been very lazy this three-day weekend. I went out to a concert Saturday night (eighth blackbird, and Suzanne Mentzner) and a play last night (The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, based on her book, which I suppose I should now read), but during the day I haven't done much at all. Today, I'm playing catch-up on this and my other blog. I ran into a former colleague both Saturday and Sunday night! She is doing volunteer ushering. I rarely see her, so twice in two nights was a surprise.

Off to class soon. We had to write a few sentences describing our "casa dei sogni", house of our dreams. I said mine would clean itself.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I actually stayed home Wednesday.

Tuesday night was the Teatro Vista board meeting. It went pretty well, and Betty had made an absolutely delicious vegetable stew (she generally provides food when we meet at her place). I brought some Turtles® that I got in an office gift exchange, because I desperately needed to get them out of my office so they'd stop tempting me!

There's a small theater run by the Department of Cultural Affairs in Chicago, called the Storefront Theater, even though it's not really a storefront. They have been running a play called "Carnival Nocturne", performed by the Silent Theatre Company. I went on Thursday and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's told in music and mime and a bit of voiceover. In the story, the Ringmaster's wife is accidentally killed during a trick, and he and the rest of the company make a deal with the devil to a) bring her back to life, and b) get eternal life. But they have to sacrifice someone once a month, and it happens in the form of a young woman who is tricked into repeating the circumstances of the wife's death. The costumes and music were quite beautiful. The play was described as "combin[ing] the styles of Tim Burton and Edward Gorey" and I'd say that's not far off.

Earlier that day, I'd gotten an announcement from the Gene Siskel Film Center that they had passes to a screening of the new film version of Sherlock Holmes, so I stopped by and got the very last one! I should be seeing it on Monday evening (the pass has a "get there early, we overbook to make sure the place is filled" warning).

Last night we saw The Merry Widow at Lyric. Lovely set and costumes, a couple of good voices, but a lot of the performers didn't have strong enough voices for the house. But Lehar is always enjoyable. We had dinner first in the new bistro that's in the building, and I expect we'll go back. The food is good, there's enough but not too much, and it's reasonably priced.

Today I bought a Christmas tree, and put it up. I now also have little red spots all over my inside forearms! So I will wear something with long sleeves to the party I'm going to tonight (and also when I decorate it).

Tomorrow is Do Nothing But Read Day, so I plan to do nothing but read (well, I'll eat, too).
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.
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.

Busy!

Oct. 18th, 2009 09:14 am
mojosmom: (art)
I left Tuesday morning for Galena, and got to my B&B around 3:30, having made a few stops on the way. As I was approaching Freeport, I noticed signs for the Lincoln-Douglas debate site,
Lincoln-Douglas debate site - Freeport. IL
so decided to stop and check it out. As it was around noon, I figured I'd get some lunch, too. The site is in a small park next to the library, which has a café where I ended up having a bite. On the way back to the highway, there's a wetlands where I also stopped, and saw a gorgeous blue heron take off. A few miles outside of Freeport, I passed a sign for the Jane Addams Trail. "What's that?", I said, and turned around to check it out, ending up walking for about twenty minutes on a nice trail through a woodsy area.
On the Jane Addams Trail

The place where I stayed is an old Victorian mansion, built by a guy named Estey who was a pal of Ulysses S. Grant (who lived in Galena). The place is beautifully maintained, and the furnishings and décor are all period. Here's the very ornate, yet extremely comfortable, bed in my room:
Where I stayed

Being the end of the season, and midweek, a lot of places weren't open, so I expect I'll have to go back some weekend in the spring, but there was still a lot to do. The Galena History Museum must have seen me coming, because they had an exhibit of shoes! I toured Grant's home; I think he had one of the best views in town:
View of Galena from the home.

Galena has a lot of touristy shops, some tacky, some very nice indeed. Unfortunately, this one was closed:
Looking for a man? I did a fair bit of antiquing, ate in some nice restaurants and admired a lot of Victorian architecture.

I did find a couple of books in a lovely antiquarian bookshop, including one called Shakspere and Typography, in which the author attempts to prove that Shakespeare spent time working for a printer. I am always amused at people who try to show that, because he used certain terms or displayed knowledge of a field, Shakespeare must have been thus-and-so. If he'd been everything people claim he must have been, he'd have had no time to write plays!

I drove home on Thursday, deleted a bunch of emails, and uploaded my photos. That night, there was a benefit reception at the home of Teatro Vista's board president - yummy food and a raffle in which I won a $50 American Express gift card! - and then we all went to the show, The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, by Kristoffer Diaz. It's just as good as the reviews say, and they are raves. It's getting all kinds of hot press, and there's talk of New York! You can see some video clips on the Victory Gardens website.

Tribune
Sun-Times
New City



Friday morning, I was up early and drove down to Springfield for a work-related conference. It was one of the best they've had. The speakers were uniformly not boring (which is rare - there's usually at least one who puts you to sleep) and the information was very useful. The meeting wrapped up around noon on Saturday, but I spent a couple of hours checking out some historic sites, including the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices

and the Old State Capitol building, where there was a storytelling event going on in the House of Representatives chamber
House of Representatives

I then headed to the home of the lovely [livejournal.com profile] tzurriz, and had pizza with her family and a couple of wandering Bookcrossers, and received some Tim-Tams! Thank you, [livejournal.com profile] skyring!

A full day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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