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Since I've been volunteering with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, I have, barring scheduling conflicts, been involved with their annual Wright Plus housewalk. I was a house captain at Robie House in previous years, but this year they decided to just do regular public tours there. I was asked instead to be one of the house captains at the Heurtley House.

This year, all the houses on the tour were within a couple of blocks of each other, and close to FLW's Home and Studio, which made a very easy day for visitors. The after party for volunteers was in the courtyard of the Home and Studio, so it was nice for us as well. We did have rain in the morning, but with the exception of a couple of brief periods, it wasn't too heavy, and it cleared up nicely by noon.

The very next day, Sunday, the Beverley/Morgan Park area of Chicago had their housewalk, which included a Wright custom home and one of his American System Built houses. Another ASB house is for sale (or was, I've heard there's an offer on it) and the realtor was having an open house; naturally, I stopped by there as well. One of Wright's associates, Walter Burley Griffin, did several homes on a nearby street, so I drove by there, too.

Then on Monday the Trust did a trip up to Penwern, a summer home Wright designed on Delavan Lake, with a visit to Black Point Estate on Geneva Lake also. It was in such demand that they added a second bus, and asked me to come along (they always want a volunteer on the bus to help out staff). It was a lot of fun, although the place we stopped for lunch was just a tad disorganized. But I guess having 70 people come in all at once is hard, even with advance planning!

Yesterday, I did Wright in Wisconsin's annual "Wright and Like" tour. It moves around to different areas of the state each year. Last year it was in Racine, and this year in Milwaukee. I decided to go up late Friday afternoon and spend the night, rather than drive up in the morning, since I knew we'd need every minute, the sites were so scattered. I stayed at a very nice art deco-style hotel, the Ambassador Hotel, near Marquette University, and met a friend for the tour the next day. Because the sites were far apart, we made sure to see all the FLW ones, and skipped some others that weren't. This turned out to be a good idea, because we didn't finish until nearly 5:00, which was when the homes closed. The Wright homes included a pre-fab, a custom home, and a couple of the ASB homes.

There will be more Wright in the days to come, as Thursday is his 150th birthday. I'll be going to a lecture and dinner in celebration, and then Saturday I'm off to New York where one of the things on my agenda is the big show at the Museum of Modern Art, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive.

And Unity Temple is about to re-open after a 2-year, $25 million dollar, restoration! This is really exciting stuff! I will see it tomorrow, as there is a refresher for those of us who gave tours there before it closed. Public tours are supposed to resume in July. According to Blair Kamin, the Chicago Trib's architecture critic, it's a triumph.

It's art fair season! The 57th Street Art Fair, and its next door neighbor, the Hyde Park Community Art Fair, are always the first weekend in June, so I went over there today. Had my first pulled pork sandwich of the summer from Robinson's Ribs, bought my sister a birthday present (her birthday is next week, and as it's early in June, she does tend to get presents from the Art Fair) and a few things for myself. Not hang-on-the-wall art though. A porcelain tea cup, a nice pair of earrings, some linen pants and a neoprene vest (which sounds odd, but is really gorgeous).

I'm taking a class at the Newberry Library called "The Culture of Food in Medieval and Renaissance Europe". Our first session was last Thursday, and I am definitely going to enjoy it. Our instructor is going to bring in recipes for us to try, which should be interesting. Most of them don't have actual amounts, and of course we have stoves and they didn't, so experimentation will be necessary! She brought in some gingerbread she'd made from a medieval recipe, and believe me, it's not like the gingerbread you know. The consistency was more like jelly candies, and the ginger and pepper gave it a lot of heat. The original recipe called for sandalwood as a colorant, but she used red food coloring instead. One of the readings she gave us described how to set up the ideal kitchen (if you're cooking for the lord of the manor, that is!), and I grabbed an extra copy for the friend I did the Wright and Like tour with, as she designs kitchens.

The same friend is of Sicilian descent, and is very interested in genealogy, so when I saw that the Newberry was going to offer a class on "Southern Italian Genealogy: Discovering Your Ancestral Documents in Italy and in the United States", I told her about it. She has to come down from the northern suburbs, so asked me if I would take it with her. I said I would, despite having no Italian ancestry at all. That starts at the end of June.

This month looks to be crazy busy, what with going to New York, and all the usual summer stuff in Chicago, like the free concerts in the parks and museums, starting.

Oh, and the bakery I mentioned in a previous post finally opened, and this could be dangerous! They have Nutella rolls, and I had some savory scones with goat cheese and ricotta that were to die for. It's also a very nice place to sit with a pot of tea and a pastry and do some work. I find that when I try write something at home or do my Italian reading (which requires frequent resort to a dictionary!), I get distracted. But sitting at Fabiana's, I actually get stuff done.

And for fun:

Opera v. Trump
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June 2017


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