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: (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: (Theatre)
There was a shortened, "family-friendly" version of As You Like It in a local park this afternoon, put on by Spectralia Theatre Company. Being outdoors, there was no stage, just a backdrop and "trees" and "tents" made from cloth and wood. Nevertheless, you'd think that someone would notice those, as well as the dozens of people sitting in chairs and on blankets, not to mention actors declaiming Shakespeare. Apparently, however, gabbing on your cellphone renders you oblivious to all that. At least it did to the full-grown adult male who wandered through the Forest of Arden, phone to ear, for all the world as if he belonged there. Truth be told, because the actors were in regular clothes, were making entrances and exits through the crowd, and kept on with the job as though he weren't even there, for a minute we thought he was part of the show! Until he wandered off as slowly and casually as he had come. It was pretty funny, actually, and after the show I congratulated the actors on their professionalism.

The show itself was quite fun, the cuts not detracting. There were lots of little kids in the audience as well. It rather reminded me of the days when Court Theatre was outdoor summer theatre at the University of Chicago, and our parents took us to watch Shakespeare in Hutchinson courtyard.
mojosmom: (travel)
I had fun! Well, you knew that, but to get more specific . . .

Arriving late Sunday afternoon, I didn't do much that day other than wander a bit around the neighborhood of my hotel. This managed to include a visit to a bookstore (Westsider Books) where a couple of books did insist on coming along with me. Not my fault. Then dinner at a very nice Turkish restaurant, Savann, on Amsterdam Avenue.

Monday )

Tuesday )

Wednesday )

Thursday )

I had plenty of time at the airport before my flight, which then arrived in Chicago right on time. Went home and tried to unpack, but for some reason found that a bit difficult:
Why it takes so long to unpack after a trip!
mojosmom: (Default)
I had fun! Well, you knew that, but to get more specific . . .

Arriving late Sunday afternoon, I didn't do much that day other than wander a bit around the neighborhood of my hotel. This managed to include a visit to a bookstore (Westsider Books) where a couple of books did insist on coming along with me. Not my fault. Then dinner at a very nice Turkish restaurant, Savann, on Amsterdam Avenue.

Monday )

Tuesday )

Wednesday )

Thursday )

I had plenty of time at the airport before my flight, which then arrived in Chicago right on time. Went home and tried to unpack, but for some reason found that a bit difficult:
Why it takes so long to unpack after a trip!
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)
The Humanities Festival ended (for me) with an interview with Umberto Eco, whose The Prague Cemetery I recently finished, as well as a talk by Ian Lindsay, a professor of anthropology, about technology in the archaeological record. Both very interesting.

I saw a marvelous play at Court Theatre, An Iliad, a one-man show, that one man being "The Poet" (played by Timothy Edward Kane), and he is with us to recite his poem, as he has been doing for audiences for 3200 years. It was quite wonderful, gripping and timely. It's mostly, though not entirely, Homer (in the Robert Fagles translation, with a few lines in the original Greek). When The Poet rattles off a long list of wars since Troy, well, it was stunning. More here

Also saw a not-so-great play at a small theatre, The Beauty of the Father, by Nilo Cruz (whose Anna of the Tropics I liked very much). It's a bit of a tangle, there's a bit where one character explodes (figuratively, not literally!) that came out of nowhere, and the end is confused. The acoustics at the venue were not great, so some of it (including that explosion) was hard to understand.

I've done a couple of literary events - the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Induction ceremony and an opening at the Poetry Foundation, and I did a great Chicago Architecture Foundation tour of "(Mostly) Indoor Art". That last one on a chilly day that came hard on the heels of one so lovely that I had lunch outdoors. Chicago is like that in the fall!

Last Friday was the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers annual dinner. Because it's our 25th year, we honored the founders and past presidents, nearly all of whom showed up. It was a splendid evening, seeing old friends and meeting some new people. We have filled a number of board vacancies, and I think the new blood will be of great benefit to the organization.

It is such a dreary day today. Gray and rainy and cold. I was going to go out and do a couple of errands, but I'd rather stay inside. So I'm getting started on cleaning and straightening up the apartment ahead of my annual after-Thanksgiving open house next Sunday. I got quite a bit of the necessary shopping done yesterday; another advantage of retirement is that I can shop during the quiet time of day - a particular bonus before the holidays! I just have to pick up the wine, and the produce of course I won't get until Friday or Saturday. But anything that can be stashed in the freezer or pantry has been bought.

Stacey will be arriving late Thursday afternoon, so I will fix us a vegetarian lasagna for Thanksgiving dinner.
mojosmom: (Default)
Wow, I just realized that I haven't posted anything substantive since I talked about my New York trip.

Since then, I've started my Italian literature class (as well as the regular language class) and my "Queens of Crime" class continues. Both are quite enjoyable. I attended the annual Printers Ball, sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, which is really just an excuse to pick up free copies of 'zines, literary journals and some books. I did restrain myself, as I really am trying to free up some space on my shelves. Unfortunately for that plan, I also went to the Newberry Library Book Fair, where I did not restrain myself.

We'd been having really hot weather, but about a week ago we had a big storm overnight, and since then it's cooled off (that is, it's in the low 80s rather than the high 90s). It had been way too hot to do any real walking, so the next day I did a long walk along the lake, which was still stirred up from the storm, and was showing an amazing number of different shades of blue:

Surf's up!

I observed Do Nothing But Read Day on Saturday (though I did take a break to go buy groceries!), and finished up the book I had in progress, as well as a couple of others (one very short). On Sunday, I went up north for a picnic. We went to a park near my friend Cheryl's where there is quite a nice shelter. It's fully enclosed, but with windows that are nearly floor to ceiling that open up, so you get the air, but are protected if, as happened to us, it suddenly decides to thunderstorm! From there, I went to another friend's for a small get-together.

On Monday, I had to be downtown for a planning meeting for a seminar in October. It was held in a building right across from the Daley Center, which houses some courts and city offices and has a Picasso in the plaza:
Chicago's PIcasso

In the summer, all sorts of events are held there, and this week they're having the Chicago Sister Cities International Festival, with food and vendors and performances. So before the meeting, I lunched on jerk chicken and watched some kids demonstrating Taekwondo.

West Side Story is playing in Chicago, and I'd been debating whether to go (tickets aren't cheap). I finally decided that I really wanted to see it as a) I love it, b) it's gotten good reviews, and c) this is the bilingual version. Verdict: B+. I wasn't terribly impressed with the woman who sang Maria; I don't know if it was the way she was miked, but her voice was a bit shrill and thin for my taste. Tony and Anita, on the other hand, were excellent, and I thought the bilingual experiment worked really well.

I had dinner beforehand at one of my favorite local restaurants. Very inexpensive, as they had sent me a gift certificate for my birthday which resulted in a three course meal with two glasses of wine costing me just over $10 (just over $20 with the tip).
mojosmom: (Hyde Park)
It really was delightful.

I went to our local farmers' market on Saturday and picked up, among other things, lamb for shish kebab, an old and honored 4th of July tradition in my family. In the afternoon, I went to see David Henry Hwang's play, Yellow Face, by the Silk Road Theatre Project. We are having quite the DHH festival here this summer. I'll be seeing Chinglish (world premiere and Broadway-bound) at the Goodman tomorrow, and an early work, Family Devotions will be performed later in the summer.

Sunday I made my usual trek up to Waukegan for their parade, and a cookout afterwards. We are usually at my friend Julie's for that, but she fell and hurt her back a short time ago and wasn't up to having people over, so we went to Margaret's instead. M. has acquired a screened room for her backyard, similar to this one, so it's a very pleasant way to sit outside and enjoy the weather while not being bothered by bugs. We had the requisite hot dogs, hamburgers, baked beans and watermelon, and I brought champagne to celebrate my retirement.

On the actual holiday, I again followed tradition by sitting on my front stoop to watch the neighborhood parade, and then going to Nichols Park for jazz, ice cream and family fun. They had a petting zoo this year, and I think this boy wants a new pet:
Little boy with animals.

Then I came home and for dinner made the aforesaid shish kebab and had that with a green salad.

I have settled my plans for New York. I'll be flying in on Saturday, July 16 and coming home on Wednesday, July 20. So I'll observe my birthday in the Big Apple! I'm staying (as usual) on the Upper West Side, at 76th St. I will definitely save the Morgan Library for Tuesday, as that is the day the Xu Bing exhibit opens. I was happy to learn that the Neue Galerie's Vienna 1900 exhibit has been extended, so I will be able to see that after all. I expect I'll combine that with a visit to the Jewish Museum, as they are relatively close to each other and both are open on Mondays (unlike most NYC museums). Unfortunately, Born Yesterday, which I was hoping to see, has closed.
mojosmom: (art)
I mentioned in a previous post that I saw David Wojnarowicz' Fire in the Belly. Tonight, there was a panel discussion at the University about the controversy, with Geoffrey Stone of the U of C Law School; Barry Blinderman, gallery director at Illinois State University, who curated a show of Wojnarowicz' work about 20 years ago; Betty Farrell of the U of C's Cultural Policy Center; and Lauren Berlant, a professor in the English Department. Quite a crowd - they needed an overflow room. As you can tell from the panelists, it was quite a wide-ranging discussion, and the audience was very engaged. I'm just sorry that Hide/Seek is closing before the BC Convention; I'd really like to have seen the show.

Tomorrow, I'm going to see the Belarus Free Theatre's Being Harold Pinter. At least we don't arrest or kill artists here.
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: (Default)
I was watching RAI-International, which is broadcast here for several hours on Sunday mornings. When I turned it on, they were showing a soccer match. Italian soccer players are adorable! That was followed by a segment about a production of Zelmira at Pesaro's Rossini Opera Festival, starring Juan Diego Flórez, one of the hottest tenors around.

I feel as though the new year actually starts tomorrow, as I head back to work for the first time in 2010, and also start up my Italian lessons again. I spent the past week doing my regular coaching at the Appellate Defender's trial advocacy program, and enjoying it as much as always.

As always during the first week in January, we got hit with a snow storm. I'm glad I was taking public transportation instead of driving! In fact, I hadn't taken the car out in nearly a week, as I didn't need it, so Friday afternoon when I got home, I bundled up and went out and cleaned several inches of snow off it. It really wasn't so bad, as it was the light, fluffy snow, and I had no trouble at all getting out of my parking space.

It also wasn't as cold as they were claiming it would be yesterday (being so close to the lake mitigates the temperatures), so I did the grocery store/post office/drugstore run. Then I came home and was productive. I took the Christmas stuff down to my basement storage locker, and actually made significant headway on cleaning out a closet. I had a couple of boxes full of paperwork that I hadn't even looked at in years, so I tossed a bunch of it, and the boxes, which had become unnecessary.

Then I made soup for dinner. I used chicken stock as a base, and added chopped leeks, mustard greens and carrots that I had sautéed in a combination of butter and olive oil until fairly soft. I puréed about a third of the vegetables and added that back (this makes the soup thicker). At the end of the cooking time, I also added some milk. I used salt, pepper and thyme for seasoning. It was very good, and hit the spot on a cold day.

I had tentative plans for today to meet a Bookcrosser who was stranded here due to weather in Europe. Her Thursday flight to London from JFK was cancelled, so they booked her out of O'Hare Friday, but that was cancelled, too, and she wasn't going to be able to get out until Monday! When she posted that in the forums, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. Having to sit in an airport hotel in a town where you don't know anyone for an entire weekend, while not as bad as being stuck at the airport itself, would really suck. So I took pity on her and volunteered my company. However, she was able to find a flight yesterday with one empty seat, grabbed it, and is now home.

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity is going to New York! It will be at Second Stage Theatre from April 27-June 20. It may go to Broadway if all goes well. My friend, Eddie Torres, will once again be directing. Casting hasn't been announced, but if they're smart they'll use the Chicago cast. I'll be in New York in early June for my college reunion, so I will definitely go see it again then.
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: (Hyde Park)
I wandered over to 61st St. Farmers' Market today, because I wanted to see the chef demo (seared flank steak with a Dijon/caper/white wine sauce). There was a vaguely familiar-looking young woman watching the demo, and I realized that it was Stephanie Izard, winner of the fourth season of Top Chef. Later, a former United States Senator showed up (she lives in the neighborhood).

Then I drove by 57th Street Books to pick up Audrey Niffenegger's new book, since I wasn't able to get to either of the two readings she did this week. While I was there, I picked up Granta's Chicago issue, and found a book about J.M.W. Turner by Peter Ackroyd on the sale rack.

Now I am taking a break from putting my summer clothes away and taking my fall/winter things out. I am also doing a ruthless closet clean-out and am planning to take a bunch of stuff up to the Brown Elephant tomorrow.

I've done a lot of theatre this week. Last Sunday was the first play in the Court Theatre's season, August Wilson's Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Excellently done, with a riveting performance by James T. Alfred as Levee. A.C. Smith, one of my favorite local actors, was also in it. I spent a good deal of time coveting the shoes worn by Dussie Mae, high-heeled purple suede with black patent leather trim. (Similar to these or these.)

Wednesday and Thursday were plays at the Goodman Theatre. One of the people I go with works for the FAA, and travels a lot, so we had to exchange our regular tickets and the only thing that worked for everyone was to go two nights in a row. First up was Animal Crackers, based on the stage/screen Marx Brothers hit. Very funny, if just a teeny bit too long. Thursday we saw Stoop Stories, a one woman show written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith. She revisits the Harlem of her youth, and becomes several characters, from a concentration camp survivor telling of his meeting with Billie Holiday to a poet/junkie, from a Puerto Rican punk to an old man down in the Village to hear Nina Simone. It was a very impressive performance; Orlandersmith is a marvelous storyteller.
mojosmom: (cat)
but it's nice all the same.

A few days ago, my tickets arrived for one of my theatre subscriptions. Also included was a letter informing me that I had won second prize in their contest: I'm getting the subscription free!

Getting those tickets (as well as one of my symphony tickets) is a sign that autumn is fast approaching. Saturday night was the last of the Grant Park Symphony concerts, another such sign. It was a marvelous performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, only infinitesimally marred by the jerks sitting nearby who thought their conversation more interesting than the concert. There are few things better than sitting outside on a warm summer evening listening to beautiful music.

I did a ton of walking on Saturday, not really planned. But I headed out the door to go check out a yard sale or two, wandered down to the farmers' market and then over to Carifete (a celebration of Caribbean island cultures - with really good food), then a sale at a local bookstore and the next thing you know, my feet hurt!

So I didn't do much on Sunday except hang out at home, go grocery shopping and, in the evening, watch the season première of Mad Men (another sign summer's almost done). Poor Sal - he's finally getting what he wants and there's a fire alarm. Thursday, thank goodness, Project Runway starts up again!

In other news, Selected Works Used Books and Sheet Music has a new bookstore cat. Meet Hodge:
Hodge, the bookstore cat
mojosmom: (Italian)
Last night, I went to see Roberto Benigni's stand-up/lecture/recitation, Tutto Dante. Read my review here.
mojosmom: (Theatre)
In court yesterday, I ran into a woman I used to work with. I don't see her very often now that she's in private practice, so we sat and gabbed and said, "we must get together". Then she said, "what are you doing tonight?" "Going to see my neighborhood community players." "What time?" "Seven-thirty." Upshot was, her daughter is on the board of another (professional) theatre company that was having a benefit at the National Museum of Mexican Art at 5:30 and would I like to go before I went to the play? Sure, said I. What company is it? "Teatro something," said Gloria. "Not Teatro Vista?", said I. And it was. I know one of the founders and current artistic director, because I worked with him at my last job (and also with another member of the company)! So I went, surprised Eddie and Jon, and generally had a very good time.

I left early to get to the other event. The Hyde Park Community Players are a new group, and this was their first production. "Productions", actually, as they did two one-act plays: Riders to the Sea, by John M. Synge, and The Bear, by Chekhov. The first was not very good, primarily because the actors talked too softly and too fast, and did not enunciate well, so I missed a lot of the dialogue. The second, however, was much better done.

I started today by going to the bank, the dry cleaners, the shoe repair shop, and a few yard sales, all before 10:00. Around 11:00, I stashed the car over at the shopping center and then walked over to the 57th Street Art Fair. It was a bit cool and overcast, but that's actually not a bad thing when you're doing a lot of walking. As usual, there were also a few yard sales and rummage sales going on, so I visited a couple more. (You will not be surprised to learn that I bought books. Also picked up a couple of books at "20% off for Members" day at 57th St. books.) Also as usual, there were lots of kids selling lemonade and the like:

Exactly what you want

I always like the art fair, especially the crafts, and of those, I particularly like the textiles, pottery and woodworking. Much of it is way too expensive for me (there's one woman who does the most gorgeous woven jackets, but they run several hundred dollars - so unless I win the lottery . . .), but I often buy a small bit of pottery or wood. There's a guy there who makes really nice rocking chairs, which I don't need, as I have one, but I was admiring a bench he had, a beautifully-grained, polished piece of wood with a lovely curve to it, and rough-cut legs. "I'll give you a good price for that", he said. "Oh? What's your 'good price'?" I asked, fully expecting it to be a lot. "$35", he answered. I didn't even stop to think, and blurted out, "Is that all?" He offered to charge me more, but I would have none of it, and whipped out my wallet. (In fact, I've been wanting a bench for my bedroom, but haven't done any serious looking as it's just a "want", not a "need".) He had a second piece of wood, the twin of the first, and suggested I get two benches! I would have, too, except that I haven't any place for another. He held it for me while I finished browsing the fair and went and got my car. Anyway, here it is:

Bench

I got home just before it started to rain, although it was a pretty light rain and didn't last. There was an organ concert in honor of Albert Schweitzer at Rockefeller Chapel that I had thought of going to, but I was feeling a mite headachey, so decided to stay home. I made fried green tomatoes for dinner, with ham.

Tomorrow, I may go to the Printers' Row Lit Fest if the weather is halfway decent. It will be no great tragedy if I don't go; it's not as though I don't have any books!

June 2017

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