mojosmom: (Default)
Cleveland. And Akron! Exciting, no?

Actually, a good time was had by all. My younger sister arrived in Chicago on Wednesday (the 15th). We went to the Art Institute on Thursday, and drove to Cleveland to my older sister's place on Friday. Next day, we drove to Akron to see the Herman Leonard photography exhibit at the Akron Museum of Art, and, of course, while we were there we looked at more of their collection. They had on display some pieces from the collection of Dorothy & Herbert Vogel, a librarian and postal worker who amassed one of the finest collections of contemporary art, all on the salaries of civil servants. Talk about living for art! Then we had lunch al fresco at Chrissie Hynde's restaurant, VegiTerranean. I managed to avoid fake meat and fake dairy in favor of a very nice pasta dish.

On Sunday, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see a show of Japanese and Korean art, The Lure of Painted Poetry, which was quite marvelous. We had dinner at a very good soul food restaurant, Zanzibar. Stacey told us it was good, and we could see she was right by the number of people leaving the place with leftovers in hand. Excellent service, too.

The next day, it was on to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to see Stacey's exhibit. It's well worth seeing, and I would say that even if she weren't my sister.

In between all this running around, we hung out at her apartment with her seven cats (there are only six in the picture because one of them spent most of the time hiding in a closet):

Six cats

Cathy and I drove back to Chicago on Tuesday. I took off work on Wednesday, and, as it was perfect walking-around weather, we decided to got to Graceland Cemetery, where all sorts of well-known and not-so-well known Chicagoans are buried, including lots of architects (Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Walter Netsch, Mies van der Rohe, and more).
Louis Henri Sullivan

Cathy went back to San Francisco on Thursday, and I went back to work.

We had fabulous weather over the weekend, and so on Saturday I went to the Poetry Foundation's Open House. Ruth Lilly, the pharmaceuticals heiress, left Poetry magazine tons of money (the bequest was valued at over $100 million at the time - more now), despite the fact that they rejected her submissions! The magazine formed a foundation to promote poetry, and built a lovely new facility, which was the reason for the open house. There were a lot of author readings both Saturday and Sunday; however, by the time I learned about this, all the tickets were gone. So I just checked out the building and participated in the Poetry Corps, which meant I got to read a poem for their archives. Look at all the poetry!
The library

The weather has continued fine, so I have been spending much of my spare time sitting on the back porch with a cat, a book, and a glass of ice tea (or wine, depending).

Back home

Apr. 6th, 2009 08:27 pm
mojosmom: (travel)
I've had a very nice few days in Cleveland with my sister:
Stacey & Me

I got there Wednesday, in the late afternoon, and we just hung out at her place. On Thursday, she went to work and I wandered out to visit some shops in the neighborhood. In the evening, we went out for Thai food and then to hear some jazz - very traditional - and watch some old film clips of jazz musicians. Friday, it rained, so other than a brief foray to a nearby antique store, I lazed about drinking tea, reading and petting the cats. We went to some gallery openings in the evening, included three shows at the Morgan Art of Papermaking Conservatory and Educational Foundation:
Opening at Morgan Conservatory

Saturday and Sunday we were busy bees. We started out with a tour of Cleveland's Playhouse Square, five theatres built in the '20s and now restored to their former glory. Due to the fact that there were productions in the bigger ones, we weren't able to go backstage, but that was okay. The volunteer who led the tour was extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and had a lot of good stories. And the theatres were gorgeous:
Décor

From there, we went to Loganberry Books, not to buy books, but to eat them! Yes, they were having their Edible Books Tea!
Alice in Wonderland
There were some amusing and delicious entries. It was interesting that the entries here were almost entirely inspired by, and representing, a particular book, whereas the entries at the Center for Book and Paper Arts (where I usually go for the Edible Books Tea) are generally more inspired by the book as structure.

After a bit of dinner and then a bit of a rest, we headed out again to a concert of show tunes by the North Coast Men's Chorus. These guys were awesome! As Stacey puts it, "it wasn't just a bunch of guys on risers". They had some great soloists, a small group called the "Coastliners", dancers (including at least one potential RuPaul's Drag Race contestant), and they even brought in a couple of women. Surprisingly fun to watch were the sign language interpreters. They didn't merely interpret - they performed, particularly in the "Wicked" medley. The whole event was tremendous fun.

On Sunday, we hied ourselves to the Canton Museum of Art, for the Kimono as Art exhibit. We decided to get there by opening time, and it's a good thing we did, as by the time we got out of the exhibit, the line was practically out the door. Before we actually went to the exhibit, we watched some films they were showing about Japan, as well as one about Itchiku Kubota himself. Before you get to the kimono exhibit, there's another show of ceramics by the Japanese-American ceramicist, Toshiko Takaezu. These were displayed in beds of sand, raked to set off the designs of the pieces. A perfect touch.

On to Kubota. No mob scene here. They limited the number of people in the exhibit, so that it was never so crowded that you could not get near the kimono, which, thankfully, were not under glass. That was important, because the subtlety of these pieces, not merely in the gradations of color, but in the delicacy of design, the use of texture, directionality of the shibori, and the relationship of each piece to the next, was simply astounding. When you realize that Kubota spent literally decades recovering the technique of tsujigahana, a method of combining dyeing, embroidery and ink painting from the 16th-17th century, it becomes even more astonishing.

The exhibit begins with this piece, "San/Burning Sun":

inspired by the sight of the sun setting in Siberia, where Kubota was a prisoner of war. It is followed by pieces depicting Mt. Fuji in different lights, and several others, but the highlight is his Symphony of Light, thirty kimono depicting the passage from autumn to winter, each flowing organically into the next. They are displayed in a "U", so that you can see this. Kubota had intended to create thirty more kimono, representing spring and summer, and then twenty more depicting the oceans and the universe. He died before he could accomplish this, but his studio, run now by his sons, is carrying on.

That was enough for the day, so we went back to Stacey's and relaxed. I packed, and drove home today, skipping my Italian class because it's a six hour drive and I was tired!

Cleveland

Aug. 31st, 2008 11:39 am
mojosmom: (travel)
I drove to Cleveland on Wednesday to hang out with my sister for a few days. I got there at about 3:00 after an uneventful drive. It was a bit cool and damp, so I hung out inside with the cats rather than on the porch. I was a tad tired from the trip so we all had a quiet evening, just went to dinner at a local pan-Asian restaurant which was quite good.

Stacey was working, so on Thursday I took myself to the Cleveland Museum of Art, which is in the midst of reconstruction and renovation. So they were having a moving sale in their shop, and I picked up a couple of books (this will be a theme), one on the artist Bettye Saar, and the other on ebru, Turkish paper marbling. The weather, though a bit overcast, was cool and the rain held off, so it was a good day to walk around the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. They have a lovely variety of gardens, including an herb garden, within which are beds dedicated to culinary and medicinal herbs, a Japanese garden, a Children's Garden, and I took scads of pictures. Inside, they have a "Cloud Forest" room, with flora (and some fauna) of the Costa Rican rain forest. They release butterflies there and you walk around with butterflies and little tropical birds flying around. I got some photos, but mostly the butterflies were moving too fast.

In the Children's Garden is a koi pond, where I took one of my favorite pictures ever:
Koi

I also visited the Western Reserve Historical Society, primarily to see the exhibit on Louis and Carl Stokes (Louis was Ohio's first African-American Congressman and Carl was the first African-American mayor of a large U.S. city), but found that there was an exhibit of children's clothing (called "Short and Sweet"). It's interesting to see how clothing reflects the changing view of children, from miniature adults to childhood as a very distinct period of life.

After dinner at an excellent place called Luxe (I had a very yummy gnocchi with asparagus in a lemon basil cream sauce), we went to a friend of Stacey's to watch Barack's acceptance speech, which was, I thought, spot on.

My sister had directed me to go to Loganberry Books, which is a fantastic store! It's bright and big and roomy, and has scads of books, and the prices are extremely reasonable. After browsing for a couple of hours, I picked up a few goodies, including Louisa's Wonder Book, a work by Louisa May Alcott that was unknown until Madeline Stern discovered it after some bibliographic sleuthing. There's a bindery in the store as well, but they weren't open.

Directly across the street was a delightful café called Flying Cranes, which, in addition to the expected quiches, salads and sandwiches, serves Japanese food, such as teriyaki and udon. So I had lunch there in their big garden, filled with flowers, on a trellised deck. The street has a lot of antique shops, too, so I wandered about before heading back to Stacey's to enjoy a book, cats and iced tea on her porch: Swing
(The book is Doris Kearns Goodwin's Team of Rivals, which is huge! And which I managed to leave at Stacey's - really annoying - but she's going to mail it to me.)

In the evening, we went to an art gallery opening and stopped in at a nearby bookstore, where I found a huge gorgeous volume on ikebana for a ridiculously low price. Then on to Jazz 28, a small venue that has good food and live jazz.

On Saturday, we attended funeral services for Stacey's Congresswoman, Stephanie Tubbs-Jones at Cleveland's Public Auditorium. Tubbs-Jones had a lot of "firsts" - first African-American woman on the Court of Common Pleas, first African-American woman elected a county prosecutor in Ohio, first African-American woman to represent Ohio in the House of Representatives (she filled Louis Stokes' big shoes). All the big shots were there - Barack Obama, Hillary and Bill Clinton, Sherrod Brown, Ted Strickland and the list goes on. They eulogized her with warmth and affection and humor - she was obviously much loved. Two of the Congressmen who spoke, Kendrick Meeks from Florida and Tim Ryan from Ohio, came up to the podium together, as young men she had called her "black son" and her "white son". When they were done, her biological son came up and the three hugged for a very long time.

Inevitably, given the timing and a room full of Democratic politicians, you'd have been forgiven for at times mistaking the event for a Barack Obama campaign rally (though he himself confined his remarks to honoring her legacy). Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick, after a nod to the bipartisan composition of the congressional delegation, gave a rousing call to get out the vote for Obama, and Louis Stokes turned to Barack and thanked him, saying, "I'm 83, and two days ago you gave me something I thought I'd never live to see." (I had thought, when I was going through the exhibit at the WRHS, that it was too bad Carl wasn't around to see that day.)

But the most moving part of the event for me was the young lady who followed a boatload of high-powered, professional speakers - ministers and politicians - to the podium. A 16-year-old high school student, Tiffany Robertson described how Tubbs-Jones visited her eighth-grade class, looked around at the girls, and told them they were the future. She promised them that if they got their grades up, she'd be there for them, and she kept that promise. Tiffany called T-J "mom" and her son "brother". Not a lot of politicians get a eulogy like this:
http://www.wkyc.com/video/default.aspx?maven_playerId=articleplayer&maven_referralPlaylistId=playlist&maven_referralObject=837187371

With all those pols, it was not surprising that an event scheduled for 11:00 - 1:00 was still going strong at 2:00. We had to leave, so we could grab a bite to eat before I started my drive home, but heard all the special tributes (we figured that it would take forever to read all the resolutions and acknowledgements!).

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