Jul. 23rd, 2013 10:57 pm
mojosmom: (Cathy)
Both sibs arrived late afternoon on Thursday. When I drove to pick up Cathy at the airport, my car's air conditioning crapped out, so I took the car in for service on Friday, another insanely hot day. Fortunately, Stacey drove in, so we were able to use her car (though she doesn't have air conditioning!). We hung out at home mostly, but went out to lunch and then browsed a used bookstore (shock!) Despite the fact that they'd both given me books for my birthday, I bought some more.

Friday night, we went to Victory Gardens to see Luis Alfaro's Mojada, an updated version of Medea, set in the Mexican immigrant community of Pilsen in Chicago. It focuses on the idea of exile. It could use a bit of editing, I think. The second act is much stronger than the first, which has a good deal too much exposition. The acting was generally excellent, though.

Picked up the car on Saturday. Of course, having gotten the air conditioning fixed, the weather cooled. Figures!

The memorial service was good, though the retirement home chaplain was recycling some platitudes. Decent attendance, many old friends of my mom's, of course. Later, we went to dinner with Eila's family and some friends, and drank many bottles of wine in her memory. Good food, too!

Stacey had to leave early on Sunday morning to be back home by evening. Cathy & I went to the Art Institute. The Japanese print gallery has an exhibition of Hokusai, which was pretty fabulous, and we checked out the Undressed and Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity exhibits, as well as Kara Walker's Rise Up Ye MIghty Race!. Then we were tired, so we went back to Hyde Park for lunch and a visit to yet another bookstore before I took Cathy to the airport.

The weather was pretty fabulous today, low to mid-70s, sunny, lake breeze, so I went over to the Wooded Island, walked around a bit, and then sat in the Japanese garden there and read a bit. Then I wandered a bit by the lagoon shore behind the Museum of Science and Industry. Astounding numbers of dragonflies were flitting about the plants, and I managed to find one that stayed still long enough for me to get a photo:

mojosmom: (Default)
Honestly, I am going to try to do better at posting regularly. If nothing else, it will be easier for me to remember what I want to say!

Gosh, I last posted on Election Day!

Since then, I've been busy.


I see I've spent a fair bit of time at the Art Institute. Their new galleries for Greek, Roman and Byzantine art opened in November, and I went to a couple of events around that. And they had a fun holiday event for donors, with a talk in the photography study room on photographs of snow scenes, and another talk about art from the collection of winter scenes. All very appropriate and accompanied by drinks and cookies.

In the olden days, before radio and television and computers, people used to provide their own entertainment, often in the form of musical evenings. I went to one! A guy I know who is on the musical staff at Lyric Opera, along with a cellist from their orchestra, did a live radio broadcast on our local classical music station. They wanted to rehearse first in front of a live audience, so some friends opened their apartment, and invited about a dozen or so people over to listen to Bach, Debussy, Stravinsky - it was all so lovely and old-fashioned!

Also various operas.


One of my favorite bookstores moved right before Thanksgiving. Seminary Co-op Books, often called the world's best academic bookstore, was so named because for aeons it's been housed in the basement of the Chicago Theological Seminary. But CTS has a new building, and an economic research institute has moved into the old place, so the University provided a new facility for the store. It's just a block away, next to Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House, and it's gorgeous. A lot of folks were sad about the move; Seminary's quirky spaces were much beloved, despite the drawbacks (like lousy handicapped access, no natural light, and low hanging pipes), and there was concern that the atmosphere would be lost. But they made the right move in hiring architect Stanley Tigerman, who has been a Co-op member for thirty years. He has designed a large, light-filled space that still has those beloved nooks and crannies. One of my favorite things are the bookshelf "windows":

Bookshelf Window

Two days before the actual opening, they had a "book parade". The store has always what was known as the Front Table (though it wasn't actually in the front), on which were displayed recent books, generally by University faculty, an honor described by one person as "The Pinnacle of Academic Achievement". So they invited the authors to come and move their books from the old Front Table to the new one. The parade came complete with bagpiper:


Afterwards, everyone enjoyed cookies and tea/coffee/cider/hot chocolate, as well as a sneak preview of the new space.

More on the move, the store, and how much people love it at the The Seminary Co-op Documentary Project.


My maternal great-aunt was married for a time to William E. Rodriguez, the first Hispanic alderman in the City of Chicago (and one of two aldermen elected on the Socialist Party ticket). He was also, back in 1912, the first Hispanic graduate of the law school that I attended, so the school had a reception in his honor, at which it was announced that a scholarship was being established in his name. I have been asked to serve on the committee that will establish the criteria by which it will be awarded. Should be an interesting experience; I've never done anything like that before.

An old friend of mine passed away in October. She had been living in Maine since her retirement about 10 years ago, but still had ties to the area. There was a memorial service for her earlier this month at the Friends Meeting in Lake Forest, of which she was a member. One of her daughters, also a friend, was unable to come in for it, but she and her husband and utterly adorable daughter came through town a couple of days ago and some of us got together with them for lunch. It was so good to see her, and it looks as though they will move back to the area (well, Wisconsin, anyway), which will be nice.

I hope everyone has had good holidays. Mine were excellent. I went to scads of parties.

Also, both my sisters came out for Christmas, and we indulged in art exhibits, bookstores, and seeing friends, including a dear friend of my parents' generation who is now in hospice care.

I had said that I did not want to get a Christmas tree, as hauling it up three flights of stairs (and back down) and finding errant needles well into July had gotten old. But Stacey turned up with a tree! It's a tabletop tree, only about 2 1/2 feet tall, and it smells marvelous.


I have been feeding my addiction to outerwear. Honestly, I have boring black skirts and trousers, and scads of jackets and coats. There's a great store in my neighborhood called What The Traveler Saw, that has items both for traveling, and which the owner has found on her travels. Lately, she has also been taking some items of clothing and jewelry on consignment, and recently brought in a guy who sells vintage clothing. Well, you know I was doomed! For a couple of weeks, I was salivating over a coat in the window of the store, so one day I went in and tried it on:
Cashmere coat, raccoon trim

Then a couple of weeks later, while my sisters were with me (and urging me onward rather than the opposite), I found this on the vintage rack:
Donald Brooks' quilted tapestry coat

The label says "Donald Brooks", so I looked him up. Quite the guy! I was in the store today, and told the vintage guy what I'd found, which he hadn't known. I bet he's going to Google all his labels from now on. (Maybe I shouldn't have told him!)

That's probably more than enough from me right now.

Besides, it's close to time for champagne Prosecco.
mojosmom: (Default)
I made it to this morning's farmers market and back just in time. I don't know whether it's going to keep up, but it has delayed the Air & Water Show. I have to keep an eye on that, as I am headed up to the north side later today, and need to decide how I'm going to get there (car, bus and el, train and el), which, in turn, depends on what I think A&WS traffic will be like when I have to leave.

This is the closing weekend for the Grant Park Music Festival, and they're doing Verdi's Requien. I went last night, due to the forecasts for rain today, and it was marvelous! I was a bit disappointed that I'd have to miss last night's Summerdance, because it was Cajun music, which I enjoy a lot. However, the Requiem ended at 8:00, Summerdance goes until 9:30 and it was a 5-minute bus ride away, so I went to that, too.

In other music, Tammy McCann did an outdoor concert at the DuSable Museum on Friday, the weather co-operated, the Museum was selling food and wine, so that was very nice, too.

Lecture on Thursday at the Art Institute about the golden orb spider-silk textile that's on exhibit there now. Fascinating stuff.
mojosmom: (Librarian books)
so why do I have three new books in my house?

I had some time to kill downtown yesterday, so I was browsing at Borders and found a book about Mies van der Rohe for 98¢. Why wouldn't I buy it?

Today, I was over at the DuSable Museum, and, upon learning that they are the cheapest museum membership in town ($15 if you are 62 or older, and it gets you into the Adler Planetarium as well - such a deal!), so I joined. And they gave me two books.

Honestly, it's a plot.

I was downtown yesterday for a subscriber breakfast at the Goodman Theatre. First they served up a nice buffet, with fruit, yogurt, bagels, and other pastries, and then there was a program with Mary Zimmerman in conversation with Steve Scott about her new production of Candide, with the leads performing some of the music. Very interesting and informative. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with it.

Having dropped my car off for service before the event, I had some time to kill before I could pick it up, so I wandered over to the Art Institute to see a lovely little exhibit of Persian art. I also did a bit of shopping, finding a pair of black satin evening shoes (which I've been needing, my old ones having bit the dust a while back) and this jacket, except I got the jacket for a lot less at Filene's Basement. I just fell in love with the way the material is pleated.

This weekend was Yanga Fest at the DuSable Museum. This was actually three events: their annual Arts & Crafts Festival, DanceAfrica Chicago 2010, and the opening of the exhibit, "The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present". ("Yanga" refers to Gaspar Yanga, the leader of a Mexican slave rebellion in the late 1500's.) I checked out the artisans, the usual mix of schlock and really gorgeous stuff, and bought a beautiful, but not expensive, necklace. It was now about 2:00, so I needed lunch, and had jerk chicken with cornbread, black beans and rice, and candied yams. (Dinner was a salad!) Then went inside the museum to see the exhibit, from which I learned a lot.

I ended up staying longer than I had planned, to watch the Alyo Children's Dance Company

and then I attended a talk and demonstration by the musical ensemble, Sones de México. (They were also doing a performance later in the evening, but I was a bit tuckered out, so went home.)
Lorena Iñiguez
mojosmom: (Default)
Stacey arrived on Thursday, about the middle of the afternoon. I had assembled the vegetarian lasagna earlier in the day and, as we were both hungry, I put it in the oven as soon as she got in. That and a salad, with chocolate mousse (courtesy of Trader Joe's) made a nice dinner.

On Friday, we went to a couple of used book stores and both of us bought a bunch. I found one book I wanted that didn't have a price marked, so Doug checked Abebooks, and immediately started making snide remarks about parasitic booksellers. Really, look at the huge variation in prices, with no reasonable explanation. (He charged me slightly less than the lowest-priced copy on Abebooks, due to condition.) Yet another reason I enjoy O'Gara's is that you encounter things like this:

After the bookstores, we went and got the remainder of the groceries that I needed for my Sunday open house. Later in the evening we went to the opening of The Opportunity Shop, a transitory space for art in the neighborhood. Basically, they get a realtor to allow them to use empty store front space for a short period of time (this show is up for about a month), and a variety of artists just come in and hang their art. A good time was had by all, and then we went home for dinner.

The next day, we headed to the Cultural Center for a showing of Between the Folds, a documentary about paperfolding. This is not your grandmother's origami. The artists are doing incredibly complex and sculptural pieces. But it was also about the mathematics of paperfolding and some interesting applications of knowledge gained through folding. The film will be shown on PBS' Independent Lens series in December, so, as they say, check your local listings!

The film was followed by an origami workshop, but we skipped that to look at a couple of the art exhibits, the best of which was After the Storm, photographs by Jane Fulton Alt of the aftermath of Katrina. We also stopped briefly at the Art Institute, to visit the Museum Shop and say hello to the lions, newly decked out for the holidays:
Red & yellow-wreathed lion

Purple-wreathed lion

Sunday was my annual open house. As usual, a wonderful group of people gathered to chat, eat and drink, and everyone had a good time.

I took the day off from work today, and finally got to a couple of fabric stores to hunt up buttons. I have a vintage coat and a short jacket, both of which lost buttons and for neither of which I had spares. Having realized that I wouldn't find anything close to the buttons that came with the garments, I decided I'd just replace them all. But I'm going to save the old ones and find some other use for them.

This afternoon, I did something I've been wanting to do for a while, but haven't gotten around to. At 47th and Lake Shore Drive, there's a birding trail/butterfly sanctuary:
Prairie & high-rise

and just west of that, there's a viaduct with murals on one wall and mosaics on the other. So I took a walk, and took pictures. Murals & Mosaics.
mojosmom: (chf)

Wayne Koestenbaum: The Anatomy of Harpo Marx:
Koestenbaum is a poet and cultural critic, and, in addition to his well-known, The Queen's Throat: Opera, Homosexuality and the Mystery of Desire, has written books about Andy Warhol and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. He's interested in celebrity. Now he's taken on Harpo Marx. This was an odd lecture. He began by saying he was going to "over-analyze" moments from Harpo's work. And he sure did. The thing is, though, that it was hard to tell if he was kidding or not! I and a couple of people near me were in stitches the whole time. It reminded me rather of the book, "Why Paint Cats", that send-up of art criticism that so many people took seriously.

Ars Antigua: Musical Jokes of the Baroque
This was fun! Drunken night watchmen, cuckoos and frogs and such, all set to lovely baroque music.

In between these two events, I had a bit of time, so I went over to the Art Institute to see the Caravaggio, "The Supper at Emmaus", which is there on loan from the National Gallery in London. It's displayed along with a number of the AIOCs own “Caravaggesque” paintings. (Thank you, London! We're sending you "The Crucifixion" by Francisco de Zurbarán in return. Enjoy!) I also saw the exhibit of Victorian photocollage, which was very interesting, indeed.

Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South Tell Their Stories
E. Patrick Johnson, professor, chair, and director of graduate studies in the department of performance studies and professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, presented through performance bits of the interviews he conducted for the book of that name, and talked about the process of writing it (finding informants, etc.). A southerner himself, Johnson shows that what you think you know about the south isn't necessarily accurate. He notes that certain behaviors that in the the north would be considered markers of homosexuality (for instance, a man calling other men "darlin'") are just the way things are in the south. He made a similar observation to what Florence King said in her essay, "The Gay Confederation", that gay men "often maintain surprisingly high profiles in our allegedly homophobic region". Not to say all is peaches and cream, though.

Commedia dell'arte: Managing Chaos
A marvelous discourse about, and performance of, commedia dell'arte. The performers showed how, with very little in the way of script, stock characters and stock jokes can be transformed through improvisation into wildly funny comedy.

Other stuff:

Friday was the annual dinner of the Illinois Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. We honored Randy Stone, former Cook County Public Defender (and the guy who really raised the bar at that office, turned into a truly professional law office instead of a home for political hacks) and former head of the University of Chicago Law School's clinical program (where he still teaches). A good time was had by all, and the speakers were uniformly funny, and, more important, brief! I saw lots of folks I hadn't seen in a while, so there was a lot of indiscriminate hugging.

Sunday, after the CHF stuff, I went to the Court Theatre's production of Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep which was great fun. Five roles played by two actors, with incredibly quick costume changes (the backstage folks got huge applause at the end). I'd seen the play a few years ago, but I sure didn't mind seeing it again.

On Monday, instead of our regular Italian class, most of us went to hear Italian author and activist Clara Sereni reading from her book, Casalinghitudine, which has recently been translated into English as Keeping House. She read in Italian and her translator then read the passages in English, followed by a Q&A and then some food and wine.

Yesterday, I went over to campus for the first Artspeaks program of the season. Dawn Upshaw, with members of eighth blackbird and some other musicians, performed Osvaldo Golijov's song cycle, "Ayre", which was inspired by Luciano Berio's "Folk Songs". The piece draws largely on Al-Andalus, that period of time in southern Spain when the three Abrahamic religions coexisted in relative harmony. The texts were in Spanish, Ladino, Arabic, Hebrew, some traditional music and texts reworked, some contemporary music and poetry. It was gorgeous. Following the performance, Golijov and the musicians were interviewed by Shulamit Ran, who, like Golijov, has been a composer-in-residence at the Chicago Symphony.

Tonight I didn't go anywhere except grocery shopping.

I've been catching up on back issues of The New Yorker, and found a little something for the bookstore and library employees among you.
mojosmom: (My House)
I decided to walk down to the produce store this afternoon, with the extra incentive of a small art/craft show nearby. I took my camera, though it turned out that there was nothing at the show I wanted to shoot.

However, as I was walking down the street, I heard sirens, and first an ambulance, then an unmarked squad, then some fire engines came tearing past. Then I smelled smoke. There was a fire in an apartment building about three blocks from me.

Ladders in the smoke

Fortunately, no one was injured, though I don't think anyone will be staying in that building tonight (or, probably, for a while). On the bright side, Quillroy the hedgehog was rescued by a firefighter:
Quillroy and owner

In less exciting news, I went to the Art Institute yesterday to re-see the Japanese screen exhibit, because they had changed some of the items in the show. I also went, as usual, to the current Japanese print exhibit, and an exhibit of Japanese ceramics. Then I had lunch at the museum's new restaurant, Terzo Piano. It was quite good, though rather expensive, even with my 10% member discount.

Then I went book buying. First to Prairie Avenue Bookshop (70% off), then to Powell's on S. Wabash (50% off). Pleased about the deals, very unhappy about the reason therefore. Both are closing, as of tomorrow. Rant here.

Prairie Avenue is also selling some of their gorgeous furniture, and I did inquire about some lovely reproduction Josef Hoffmann chairs. However, "see desk for details" turns out to mean "if you have to ask, you can't afford it", not that I'd have anywhere to put four chairs, anyway (they won't break up the set - I asked). So temptation is easily resisted.

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.

June 2017



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