mojosmom: (Book sale!)
Really. It's not just that it's in the 90s. It's humid and stuffy to boot. I dashed to the library earlier today to return a book and renew my card, and, after realizing how bad it really was outside, I nixed my plans to go to an outdoor concert tonight. I'd have been sitting out with no shade, no breeze, and I know I couldn't have tolerated it for long. So I stayed home with my A/C.

Last weekend was nicer. I had an errand downtown, and had left lots of time due to bus reroutes. Having done so, we naturally zipped there in no time, and I was quite early. But, as always, I had a book with me, so I sat in the Art Institute's sculpture garden and read until it was time for my meeting. The meeting was short, so afterwards I went back to the Art Institute to see the exhibit Undressed: The Fashion of Privacy, a nice complement to the "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" show. I also stopped by the shop and picked up a few "Special Value" books.

It was a bad day for book shopping (or good, depending on your point of view). I got my hair cut, and then went next door to O'Gara & Wilson's. Everything 25% off, because they are moving to Chesterton, Indiana, of all godforsaken places. I suppose from Doug's point of view, it makes sense, because that's where he lives, but for literally decades it's been one of my favorite used bookstores, and I will miss it terribly. It will come as no surprise to you that I bought a bunch of books.

This is all on top of what I picked up, free or cheap, at the American Library Association convention here a couple of weeks ago. I had an exhibit hall pass from Tim over at LibraryThing, and took full advantage of it!

The sibs arrive tomorrow for a couple of days. Stacey has warned that she plans to bring lots of veggies, so I will exercise restraint at the farmers market tomorrow morning.
mojosmom: (Default)
I accidentally typed "Sumer", which is vaguely appropriate since the folks a few blocks over at the Oriental Institute are spending their summer making beer from an old Sumerian recipe.

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

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

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

There's a memorial service next weekend for a dear friend who died a couple of months ago at the age of 90. Her daughter emailed me to ask if I'd say a few words "if you feel inclined". You better believe I do! Eila was a real treasure and inspiration in my life. I am honored and delighted to have been asked.
mojosmom: (Default)
Everyone was there! Hecht, of course, and Margaret Anderson of The Little Review, Eunice Tietjens, Sherwood Anderson, Max Bodenheim, Vachel Lindsay. Okay, so it was actors playing the parts. But still, it was the house where Ben Hecht lived for a while (it was a rooming house):

5210-S-Kenwood

We were entertained with music, poetry and a magic lantern show, and there was food and drink. There was even a costume contest, which I didn't know about, but I got Honorable Mention, basically for being mouthy to a lecturer. (He said something about having too much money to spend on books, and I said, "Lucky you!" He liked my "20s attitude"!) I live in a fun neighborhood.

I've been down to the Art Institute a couple of times over the last week for special events. Last week there was a lecture to preview an upcoming exhibit of Byzantine art, mostly borrowed from the British Museum, which coincidentally is closing their Byzantine galleries for renovation just as we are re-opening ours. So the show will be up for nine months, and it sounds like it's going to be fabulous. At pretty much the other end of the spectrum, there was a lecture about the current Roy Lichtenstein retrospective, followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibit. I'm completely in love with Landscape in Fog. There's actually a sign at the entrance to the exhibit encouraging photography (for personal use), a rarity for special exhibitions.

Last Thursday was "Make Music Chicago Day", with all kinds of music being played at venues all over the city - all day. Tremendous fun! I went down to the Fine Arts Building and heard Miss Chicago 2012 sing opera, and then to the main library for a dance tribute to Katharine Dunham. That was so good. They showed video clips from the Dance collection, and then a local dance troupe did some of her work, but then there were also hip-hop and South Asian dancers, influenced by her. Very cool. In the late afternoon, I went over to International House at the University of Chicago for jazz, more opera, and the Chicken Fat Klezmer Orchestra. There was also food and drink there, which I was not expecting, so I noshed a little but still stopped on the way home, as previously planned, for Thai carry-out.

And I saw the cutest movie! It's called "The Cat Returns" and is an animated Japanese film about a schoolgirl who saves a cat from being hit by a car. It turns out that this wasn't just any cat, but the son of the King of Cats! The King's attempts to show his gratitude lead to all sorts of complications.

And in "small world" stuff: I had lunch yesterday with the daughter of my high school biology teacher, whom I had met a couple of times years ago. This teacher was instrumental in my choice of college. Now, one of the women in my graduating class happened to mention that she sometimes comes to Chicago, and has a good friend here. You guessed it - my teacher's daughter. They know each other because their husbands went to school together. On top of which, L is a friend of D, someone else I knew way back when, and we are now hoping that the three of us can get together when D visits here in late July.

My friend Hilary was in town over the last weekend, visiting her two kids and her mom, so she stopped by on Sunday and we gabbed and ate pastries.

I have been swilling sparkling water all day. It's currently 96º and it's supposed to be in the 90s at least for the next week. At least so far, it hasn't broken 100º. We're also supposed to get isolated thunderstorms over the next couple of days.

Sorry about the length, but it's been so long since I last posted that I can't help it! I'll try to do better.
mojosmom: (japanese icon)
It's practically summer here! Seriously, we're expecting a high in the 80s today. I can live with that. I have thrown open all the windows and am letting the breezes blow and the sun shine in. I might even make some iced tea.

We have a visiting cat next door. I came home last Friday, and, as I was coming up the last bit of back stair, saw this lovely cat, who looked far too sleek and well-fed to be a stray. Turns out that my neighbor's cousin is visiting to help him out with some renovations on his apartment, and the cousin always travels with his cat. Cat can't stay inside because my neighbor is allergic, so he hangs out on the back porch and stairs, or in the cousin's van. Meet Diesel:


Lots of music lately. The full production of Rinaldo certainly lived up to the promise of the dress rehearsal. The day prior, I'd gone to the Symphony to hear (finally) Ricardo Muti conduct Cherubini's Requiem. He was supposed to do it last season, but got ill. The program also included a vocal piece by Brahms and Schoenberg's Kol Nidre. The chorus got a real work-out. Sunday, the Newberry Consort played a concert of sixteenth-century Ferrarese music at Rockefeller Chapel. Such a sunny day that, at one point, the soprano and a couple of the musicians had to move their music stands because the light shining through the stained glass windows put too much glare on the music! And most of the audience went outdoors during intermission.

I went up to my friend Margaret's for dinner on Saturday, and she showed off the new addition to her house, a lovely sun room that can be accessed from her kitchen and from what she now is using as her dining room (it had been a study/office). Her nephew did all the work, and it's gorgeous. Light wood paneling, windows on three sides, plus two skylights, and a small deck leading outside.

What else? Oh, a very fun lecture at the Art Institute by Sarah Burns called "Better for Haunts", all about how Victorian American architecture has become the archetype for the haunted house, with references to Chas Addams, Psycho, and Edward Hopper.

I have done my civic duty and voted duty. Despite the gorgeous weather, turnout seems to be light, but there's really only one major race in the Democratic primary, and that's in the top judicial race. Sadly, most people don't pay much attention to those. So as there are very few Republicans in my neighborhood, the poll workers will probably need to have brought a good book.
mojosmom: (Default)
Since last I wrote, I have had quite a bit of music and music-related events in my life. Georg Friedrich figured prominently in a couple of them, hence the bad pun in my subject line.

I went to the dress rehearsal of Rinaldo at Lyric, which is basically little different from seeing an actual production. Some of the singers don't use full voice, and there is always the possibility of repeats (though none occurred on this occasion). It's absolutely marvelous, and I am looking forward to the actual event in a couple of weeks.

The next day, the Apollo Chorus (140 years old and still going strong) and the Elmhurst Symphony performed Handel's Dettingen Te Deum and Mozart's Requiem at Rockefeller Chapel. Both pieces were magnificently performed, and the setting was perfect:
Dressed for Christmas

On Sunday, I went back to the Civic Opera House for their backstage tour. What fun! We got to see all the various departments (wigs, wardrobe, props, etc.), and learned lots. So I can say that I have been on stage at Lyric and in the orchestra, and it wouldn't be a lie. And I got to wear a crown:
Crowned head
(The weird head position is because it was too big and wanted to fall off. "Uneasy lies the head", as they say.) Lots more pics here.

As you can see if you click through to the set, they're doing Showboat, which was, in my view, a waste of Lyric's resources. I don't go to Lyric to see musicals. It didn't help that it was miked, and not well, or that there was no chemistry between Magnolia and Gaylord Ravenal. Fortunately, their next foray into musical theatre will be outside the subscription series, so I can calm down about it.

Yesterday, they had a press conference to announce that Lyric has commissioned an opera based on Ann Patchett's book, Bel Canto, rather a natural, when you come to think about it. I am particularly thrilled that Nilo Cruz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, will do the libretto. Teatro Vista has done a ton of work with him, so I feel even more connected.

After the tour, I dashed off to the Smart Museum for a short concert of food-related music, ranging from Purcell to Schubert to Ravel to Comden & Green. The program was done as part of the events around the exhibit Feast: Radical Hospitality in Contemporary Art, which I didn't have time to see that afternoon, but will go back to view.

In non-classical music events, I went to a wonderful film last night, Chico and Rita. Set in Cuba, New York and (briefly) Las Vegas, this animated film tells the story of two Cuban jazz musicians, pianist Chico and singer Rita, and their star-crossed love affair, from when they first meet in 1948, up to the present. I loved the animations, particularly the cityscapes. And the music, well, it just can't be beat. See it if you can: http://www.chicoandrita.com or http://www.chicoandrita.co.uk/

And in non-music . . .

My financial advisor decided that, since I have now been retired for several months, we should have a meeting to review my situation. All is well, all is, indeed, very well, and I have decided to transfer another account I have over to her. I've actually been thinking about that for awhile, and now it's done.

I went to an interesting lecture at the Art Institute about restoration (and faking) of old masters, and how conservators can figure out what's been done.

Today bids fair to be a fair day (it was already in the '50s at 8:00 a.m.!), so I am going to go out and enjoy the day. It's personal pampering day - I'm getting a manicure this morning and a haircut this afternoon.
mojosmom: (japanese icon)
I have just come in from clearing a few inches of snow off the car. It's supposed to snow all night, and since I have a class in the morning, I wanted to get a head start. A friend of mine is supposed to be flying in from New York tonight to see her mom and her two kids (I say "kids", but they are college grads); I hope she makes it.

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

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

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

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

I finally worked out exactly when I'm going to head off to the BC convention. I'm going to go to Glasgow first, and then Dublin. I bought my airline tickets today and booked a hotel in Glasgow, and am waiting to hear from someone who might share a room in Dublin before I book that (though I'm not going to wait too long). I had to change a couple of theatre tickets here, but that was no big deal.
mojosmom: (Default)
Since I no longer get a live tree, I needed a bit of Christmas décor. I indulged in a book tree:
Book tree

but also decided to make good use of all my Christmas/winter pop-up books:
A pop-up Christmas!

(Note, too, the pop-up ornament sitting on the upper right-hand edge of the screen.)

I spent a good part of yesterday at the Art Institute. There was a reception and a lecture about the Thorne Rooms, followed by a viewing of the ones that are decorated for the holidays, in the company of the curator.

Then up to Fullerton Hall for a reading by Peter Sís and two local actors of his book, The Conference of the Birds, along with parts of the original of Farid al-Din Attar, accompanied by slides of his illustrations, which are gorgeous. I bought the book, of course. The paper is wonderful, heavy and textured; it makes you want to stroke it!

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

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

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

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

"Hopeless"

This morning, I again went to Borders, where all is now 60% off, and did some more damage. They had an Italian-English dictionary, so I picked that up because the one I've been using is falling apart. And a few other things as well. They've got about a week left; we'll see if the discounts get even deeper!
mojosmom: (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!
mojosmom: (Food)
(if you don't count the tip). When I am going out to dinner, I often make reservations through Open Table. You get 100 points per reservation, and I had accumulated enough for a $20 certificate. I needed to use it, and so I decided to take myself to lunch today, between listening to a lutenist play by the Arms & Armor collection at the Art Institute
Lutenist Joel Spears

and seeing a film about Antonio Gaudí. I went to The Gage, a relatively new restaurant that I hadn't been to before. It's relatively expensive for dinner, but lunch is more moderate. In any case, the bill came to $19 and change, so other than the tip for the waiter, it didn't cost me a cent! It was a good meal, too. A sweet potato soup, with goat cheese and toasted pumpkin seeds, and a smoked salmon sandwich with a side of very good fries, and Earl Grey tea.

The movie, Antonio Gaudí, by the Japanese director Hiroshi Teshigahara was quite interesting. No narrative, except a bit towards the end of an interview with Isidre Puig Boada, one of the architects who carried on Gaudí's work on the Sagrada Familia. The camera describes the buildings, and the inspirations from nature and Catalan culture, accompanied by music of Toru Takemitsu. Seeing it has reinforced my desire to visit Barcelona.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
There was a very interesting lecture/demonstration at the Spertus Institute last night. Fretwork, a consort of viols, did a program on "Jewish Musicians at the Court of Henry VIII". It is believed that some court musicians who came to England from Italy, specifically the Bassano and Lupo families, were, in fact, Jewish, although, if that were the case, they would not have been able to be open about it. You can read more about the speculation here. Whatever their religion, the music was beautiful.

Right now, my mouth hurts. I went to the dentist to have prep work done for a new crown. It didn't take as long as I had expected, for the good reason that what she found under the old crown wasn't as bad as she thought it might be, and so she didn't need to do as much work as she had originally planned.

Now, this building is a block away from my dentist's office, and as I sit in the chair, I have a view of the side of it. Take a look at that picture. I was looking at the upper left-hand diagonal, and noticed something red. Then it moved. There was a maintenance guy (at least that's what I assumed he was) up there! There was a sort of alcove along that edge, and he was leaning out, doing whatever it was needed doing. I was hoping he'd still be up there when I left, so I could get a photo of him - or at least a spot of red! - but he climbed up a ladder and went inside. I got butterflies in my stomach just looking at him! Scary job.

After the dentist, I did a bit of shopping. I picked up a couple of sweaters and a pair of gloves - winter's coming!

Then I went over to the Art Institute to see Chagall's America's Windows, which have just been reinstalled after a five-year absence. They were removed during the construction of the Modern Wing, to avoid damage. They don't officially re-open until Monday, but there are member previews today and this weekend. I'm not sure I like the new location, as it's in a spot where you have to go intentionally. They were previously located at the end of the hallway between the Michigan Avenue Building and the Columbus Street side, so anyone headed that way would see them. But the conservation that was done on them makes the colors just glow,
Right panel, America's Windows
and you can see real subtleties in the work:


There are a ton of things going on this evening, but I'm planning on going to only two of them! More on those when I've been.

Not going to the Farmers' Market tomorrow. It would have been the last outdoor market of the season, but it's been canceled on account of Barack. He's holding a big rally late tomorrow afternoon just a few blocks away, so a lot of stuff at or near the site is being canceled due to security, street closures, etc. Oh, lord, I hope nobody was planning to get married at Rockefeller Chapel tomorrow! They're doomed.
mojosmom: (sisters)
My sisters were in town this weekend. I picked Cathy up at Midway after work on Wednesday, and Stacey drove in on Thursday, arriving just about an hour before I got home. She brought scads of vegetables from her garden - zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and bell peppers - so Cathy made us gazpacho for dinner.

I took a vacation day on Friday, and we went downtown to the Cultural Center and the Art Institute. I'd already seen the Louis Sullivan and Jazz Loft Project exhibits at the Cultural Center, but they were well worth seeing again, and we also saw the exhibit, Stranger in Paradise: The Works of Reverend Howard Finster. We had lunch, and then to the Art Institute for their Sullivan exhibit, and also the Henri-Cartier Bresson show, which was immense. Then home to rest up before going out to dinner with some old family friends.

On Saturday, we headed to my local farmers' market. I needed some garlic, and we also bought a variety of fruit, a lovely bit of lamb, some flowers and Brown Sugar Bakery's awesome bread pudding, fresh from the oven. We stayed for the chef demo, and, as always, sampled the end products, both of which were vegetarian, so Stacey could enjoy them as well.

We had thought about going to Carifete, a festival of Caribbean nations, with food, vendors, a parade, etc., but skipped it in favor of resting up a bit at home. Then I ran some necessary errands while my sisters went over to the Art Center to see a show I'd already seen and didn't need to see again. Late afternoon, we went out to Oak Park to see our friend Jeanette, a founder of the Chicago Architecture Foundation. She took us to a local art fair and dinner, and then we went back to her apartment, chatted and watched the video of her 90th birthday party. She was telling us about what the new owner is doing to her former residence, Frank Lloyd Wright's Davenport House. He's taking it back to the original 1901 configuration (there's apparently a bit of controversy about this), and the work is taking so long that six years after he bought the place, he still isn't living in it!

Sunday, we drove out to the boonies to see Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House:
Farnsworth House

I wouldn't want to live there all the time, but I can sure see why Edith Farnsworth spent every weekend there! And we could also hear why she finally decided to sell it. There was a bridge over the Fox River, right by the house, which, when she bought the land, was just a quiet, farmers' bridge. Then the powers-that-be decided it needed to be a big, modern road. And, boy, is it noisy! Quiet inside the house, but no more serene evenings on that terrace.

When we got back to Hyde Park, we went to the Medici for a late lunch. New t-shirts: "Support Elena Kagan - a judge of good pizza"! (She apparently frequented the Medici when she was at the Law School.)

Yesterday, I had to go to work, but the sisters walked down to the lakefront, through Jackson Park and then hit the bookstores on 57th St. Cathy made penne pasta with mushrooms, zucchini and pine nuts for dinner, along with thick slices of tomato with fresh basil. After dinner, she suggested that we go for a walk around the block, as it was a perfect evening to go walking. I put forth an amendment to the motion, that we walk over to the Istria Café and have a gelato. The motion, as amended, carried unanimously and was put into immediate effect. We came back through Harold Washington Park, where some young men were playing soccer and some older men were playing chess.

I dropped Cathy off at the airport this morning, and Stacey drove herself home later in the day. So now here I am with no one but the cats, which is okay, too! Marissa, who is normally quite shy with other people, took a mild shine to Cathy, briefly snuggling with her when she was trying to print out her boarding pass!
mojosmom: (sisters)
We went downtown on Sunday and did a bit of shopping, as Stacey wanted to go to The Body Shop and Cathy wanted to get some snow boots. She's planning to leave them here for when she visits, as she obviously doesn't have a great need for them in San Francisco! We then went to the Cultural Center for the Sixth Annual Chicago Taiko Legacy program, featuring Tsukasa Taiko as well as some guest performers. We got there early, a good thing because the place was packed and there were people standing. We also browsed the exhibitions while we were there.

One of the prosecutors in my courtroom had gone deer hunting a while back. He was successful, and brought me some venison round steaks. Cathy made an absolutely awesome venison stroganoff with them. The meat was incredibly tender. We had plenty of veggies for Stacey, though.

On Monday, we went to the Art Institute so Cathy and Stacey could see the new Modern Wing, and a couple of exhibits, the Victorian Photo Collage show (a re-visit for me) and Apostles of Beauty: Arts and Crafts from Britain to Chicago, which I very much enjoyed.

We had dinner with some old family friends at a relatively new local restaurant, Park 52. The food was quite good and we discovered that, on Mondays, wine under $50 is half-price (not that there isn't still a ridiculous mark-up).

Yesterday was a fairly lazy day. I had to take Marissa to the vet, as she has been a bit lethargic for a couple of days. She's now on antibiotics, and seems to be responding. Stacey drove me and Marissa to the vet, and then she and Cathy went off to Seminary Co-op Books while I stayed home and did a few necessary chores.

Stacey is off at the dentist right now; when she returns, she and I will head to Greektown for lunch with friends, and tonight the three of us are going to another couple's house for dinner.

I must say that I'm getting a lot of reading done, too, being off work.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I had two events scheduled for yesterday afternoon, a performance by the Damine Kabuki Troupe at the Art Institute, and the first of four workshops in the Hyde Park Art Center's Collecting 2.0 series. It was snowing, a lot, so I left myself plenty of time to get downtown, and got to the Art Institute early enough to do some serious viewing. I spent a lot of time in the Drawn to Drawings show, Italian drawings from the Renaissance and Baroque, and saw a cute little exhibit at the Ryerson Library, The Beauty of the Beasts: Artists and their Pets in 20th-Century Art.

The kabuki performance was very interesting. The troupe is from a small village in Japan, and the show was called "Honorable Pledge Fulfilled", because this tour marks the end of a 350-year old promise made by the villagers to keep kabuki alive, in gratitude to a protecting deity. The show was narrated by Shozo Sato, a Zen master who is very well-known figure here. Photography was not allowed during the performance, but I was able to get a shot of the set before it started:
Fullerton Hall, Kabuki set

It was announced that there would be an opportunity to photograph the performers after the show, but I actually had to leave a few minutes early to catch a cab back to the south side for the workshop. That's a bit of a misnomer, though. The session, titled "What is Collectible?", was at the Kenwood home of noted collector Ruth Horwich. It's pretty unbelievable. I don't think there's a horizontal or vertical surface in her home that doesn't have art on it. And art hanging in the stairwell. She had a set of Kara Walker canisters blithely sitting on ledge in her kitchen! She and her husband collected for years (their Calders are currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art), and her home is really a lesson in "collect what speaks to your heart". Her collection is incredibly varied, from ethnographic pieces and outsider art, to Warhol and Magritte and a George Segal in the foyer, to bibelots and hair combs and vintage beaded purses in the bedrooms. (There's a good article about her here.)

Afterwards, I trudged a few blocks through the snow to catch a bus home, stopping to take a couple of pictures of some of the lovely Kenwood houses. I'm rather fond of these rowhouses, which were built in 1992, but fit right into the neighborhood, deliberately echoing the Queen Anne lines of some near neighbors:
Kennicott Place (4701 S. Woodlawn)

This morning, I dug my car out.
mojosmom: (busy bee)
Tomorrow, I am going to the annual Christmas dinner with my XYZ group, so this morning I made the sweet potatoes that I am bringing (we'll reheat them at Julie's), and wrapped presents (with "help" from the cats). We didn't have our monthly meeting in November, so I'm bringing Peggy's birthday present as well. I've had it (well, them) sitting in a closet since late July! Books. Lovely small (in size and number) editions of plays by her distant relative, Kenneth Sawyer Goodman (after whom the Goodman Theatre is named), on gorgeous paper, a couple of them letterpress. Found at the Newberry Library book sale for a song!

I took Thursday and Friday off from work, and basically lazed around during the day. Thursday evening, I had a ticket for a concert at the Art Institute, the Newberry Consort playing a program called "All In a Garden Green: Renaissance English Music in the Lowlands". It was one of a series of events at the AIOC put on in conjunction with the exhibit, The Divine Art: Four Centuries of European Tapestries. I haven't seen the exhibit yet, but definitely will do so before it closes. There was actually supposed to be a short tour through the show after the concert, but the concert ran a bit long, so there wasn't time.

I went downtown early, because I wanted to browse around the Christkindlmarket at the Daley Center, and check out the tree:
Daley Center Christmas tree.

There was time at the Art Institute before the concert, so I checked out my favorite galleries, as well as the new Alsdorf Galleries of Indian, Southeast Asian, Himalayan, and Islamic Art. There was also a jewel of an exhibit in the Ryerson Library, Art Through the Pages: Library Collections at the Art Institute of Chicago, that included a couple of stunning Sangorski & Sutcliffe bindings, among other nice things. I bought the Museum Studies issue on the exhibit.

After the concert, I decided to take myself to dinner. As I often do, I went to the bar at the Rhapsody, which is in Symphony Center. It's not too noisy, despite being a bar, and the food is good, not too huge portions, and it's less expensive than the restaurant. A good spot for people-watching, too, and, in fact, I ran into an acquaintance.

The snow held off until late night/early morning, so Friday morning I had to dig my car out. My neighbor came home while I was doing so, and, after a bit of a struggle getting through the snow into his parking space, he muttered something about how he could have put in his resumé in San Francisco. I had to dig the car out because I a) had errands to run, and b) went to the opera last night and it was too cold and slushy to take the bus(es). Kevin treated us to dinner at The Tower Club, which is in the Civic Opera Building, so mere steps from the theatre, always nice on a nasty night. The opera was Lyric's first production of Porgy and Bess. I liked it, though some of the voices were not strong enough to stand up to the orchestra, and Bess really overacted in the first scene, though whether that was the choice of the soprano or the director, I can't say. The absolute best voices were Lester Lynch as Crown and Jermaine Smith as Sporting Life, as well as Eric Greene and Laquita Mitchell as Jake and Clara. The audience gave the show a standing ovation, which, enjoyable as it was, it really didn't merit.

And the latest at [livejournal.com profile] croc_sandwich
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Let's see now . . .

I took Tuesday and Wednesday off work. I had an interview on Tuesday, midday, in the city, unexpected timing, so I "worked from home". (The interview was for a possible job. I'm not at all unhappy where I am, but this opening happened and it would be a good fit. Nearer home, more money, more interesting cases. However, it's going to someone who, well, if I were hiring, I would hire him, too! C. did say she'd definitely keep me in mind for future openings, though.) Wednesday, I had a dental appointment in the morning (cleaning and check-up, nothing major) and was meeting friends in the late afternoon for dinner and a play, so I had decided a while ago to take a vacation day. After the dentist, then, I went to the Art Institute (a favorite place to stop in for a visit). I was carrying my camera, as usual these days, and was feeling rather linear and black-and-white, hence:
Temporary Members' Lounge
(I've actually now created a set on Flickr for b/w photos.)

The new Print Galleries are open, and there is a wonderful exhibit there, "Collecting for Chicago: Five Families Build Collections of Works on Paper for the Art Institute of Chicago" (a/k/a "Suck up to the donors" exhibit). Seriously, there was some kick-ass stuff, ranging from 16th-century Dutch works to Warhol and Westermann. No photos allowed, though. Sorry.

I also stopped by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, which is having an exhibit called "Green With Desire: Can We Live Sustainably in Our Homes?"
Green with Desire

The play was "Ain't Misbehavin'", and one of the actors was John Steven Crowley, whom I have seen before in a couple of other plays, notably "Crowns". He's one of these big men who can dance like a dream, light and graceful, and with a great voice, too.

We had dinner at 312 Chicago. They are featuring a Locavore menu on Wednesdays, and though we did not have the full prix fixe, some of the items were also served as specials, so I had as an appetizer a goat cheese and spring garlic flan with a radish/asparagus salad, which was lovely. The full thing is four courses, far too much for a pre-theatre dinner (I'd fall asleep!), but I'd like to go back one day just for that. The chef goes to Green City Market in the morning, and the menu is based on whatever he finds that day.

In keeping with the "green" theme, I went this evening to the Museum of Science and Industry, where the MSI and Time Out/Chicago were sponsoring a "green evening", basically drinks and noshes and an opportunity to visit the Smart Home:
Smart Home - exterior (No interior photography allowed, unfortunately.)

It was actually quite interesting. They used things such as solar panels and sustainable woods and recycled rainwater, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. So lots of ideas. Of course, most people are not going to be spending close to $500,000 (not counting the lot) to build a house, so I would really like to see an exhibit like this that focuses on retrofitting existing structures, particularly for people like me who live in 100-year-old multi-unit buildings with condo boards that aren't likely to put solar panels on the roof. But there were certainly some ideas that I came away with that I might look into doing. I was particularly interested in the re-use of bathroom wash basin water to flush the toilet! And if I ever get around to replacing some of my flooring, I would definitely consider bamboo. However, you can keep my share of a moveable, ethanol-fueled fireplace.

The buffet was set up inside, at the Henry Crown Space Center, which really took me back! Particularly when I realized that just about everyone there was too young to even remember the Apollo 1 fire or the moon landing. Most of them probably hadn't even been born then! Whereas for me, these were major events.

I'm going to a picnic on Sunday and I said I'd bring corn. I have a bad feeling that I might not be able to find any! There was none at my produce market the other day, and the floods have really messed with the crops. I have a back-up plan, though: grilled veggies. If I can't find corn, I'll get bell peppers and zucchini and yellow squash and onions, and fix a nice vinaigrette with which to baste them.
mojosmom: (Default)
I drove down to Springfield on Friday in nasty weather. It rained, then stopped, then poured, then stopped, then poured again, all the way down. At a couple of points, traffic was crawling because the visibility was so bad. But I did make it in time to check into my room before the conference started. The conference was good, the dinner speaker was good and (reasonably) short, and there was an open bar. The board's breakfast meeting was in the Vista I meeting room at the hotel. This is why it's called the Vista Room:
Springfield - Capitol
Nice view, no?

After the last meeting on Saturday, I met up with my friend Sue for lunch and catching up, and then headed home.

Yesterday afternoon, I had plans to go see The Thief Lord, followed by a reading by Cornelia Funke, at the Harold Washington Library Center. Since the Art Institute is just a couple of blocks away, I decided to go downtown early and see the Edward Hopper/Winslow Homer exhibits, which are due to close next weekend. I was able to get there shortly after the museum opened, which meant immediate, ticketless entry during Members' Hours. (AIOC has a "members only" entry during the first hour of special exhibitions.) The exhibits were wonderful, but, I think, too much for one visit. I did the Winslow Homer exhibit first, and by the time I was about halfway through the Hopper show, I think I was suffering from visual and information overload. Although the show closes officially next Saturday, it will still be open to members on Sunday, so as I have to be downtown for another event, I think I'll go again. While there, I had my very own Edward Hopper moment:
Men waiting

Then I went to the library for the movie and author reading. I had seen The Thief Lord before, but I really enjoyed seeing it on the big screen - all those glorious views of Venice! And it's a cracking good story, too. Funke and her translator, Anthea Bell, alternated in reading from her newest book (both read in English). Funke is a marvelous reader! I don't know why she doesn't do the audiobooks of her work; I suppose the publishers don't want the German accent.

On the way home, I stopped for a gelato. I can see that having the Istria Café a couple of blocks away is going to be a great temptation, though one can always argue that the walk there and back makes up for whatever one indulges in.

I started to watch "Cranford" on Masterpiece Theatre last night, but it was deadly dull and boring, so I turned it off after an hour.

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