mojosmom: (Gautreau)
Yesterday, I was getting ready to head out to a community flea market, when there was a knock on the door. Our management company had sent our maintenance guy out to deal with the air conditioners (moving or covering them) for the season. Without bothering to notify us! So I said, you've got to do it before 11:00, because, although I could skip the flea market, I had to be at my AAUW meeting at noon.

So he finished up just before 11, and I went to the meeting. Then I went to a staged reading of a play called The Amateurs, part of the Goodman Theatre's "New Stages" program, which involves development of new plays. This was basically a play about a 14th-century players troupe putting on the Chester mystery play "Noah's Fludde". I think it's got a good idea, but there was a huge digression in which the playwright talks about his intentions that should be significantly cut.

Then off meet my friend Jeanne to see a French thriller, Le Pont du Nord, which was interesting, but strange. The film was made in 1981, but not released in the U.S. until a couple of years ago. Dinner after at one of our favorite places; I had an excellent steak and mushroom pie.

Today I did stop by the flea market (actually twice - before and after I did my Robie House tours), and came away with four pairs of earrings (earrings are my downfall), a pair of loose linen pants, a blank journal, and a beaded evening bag - for a grand total of $23.

My first tour at RH was a mother-daughter book club; they'd read Blue Balliett's The Wright 3. They were great, and guest relations had said that, if I liked, I could take them to a couple of outside spaces that aren't regularly on the tour (the children's play lot and the front porch). So I did. When I had a short break between my tours, the house manager came to the break room and handed me a stack of papers, saying, "This came for you." It was a bunch of thank-you notes from a class I'd given a tour to in the summer. Lots of art glass-style drawings, and lovely, lovely notes. So nice!

Tonight I'm going to see Court Theatre's production of Agamemnon for the second time. I have a subscription that's on preview nights, so I saw it last week and loved it. They'd done Iphigenia in Aulis last season, and the same actors portray Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. A woman I know is on the CT's board, and she invited me to the opening night dinner and performance, and I'm thrilled to have the chance to see it again.

Now I'm going to finish the Sunday papers and try not to get overly depressed by how dreadful people can be.
mojosmom: (sisters)
Both my sisters are in town because this afternoon we are attending a 90th birthday party for an old family friend. Cathy arrived Thursday evening, so I picked her up at the airport on my way home from work. She had a gorgeous day to walk around the neighborhood on Friday (mid-60s!) and took full advantage of it. Among other things, she did some grocery shopping and cooked us an excellent dinner, after which we watched Julie and Julia. Cathy hadn't read Powell's book, but had read My Life in France, and her reaction to the "Julie" part of the film was the same as my reaction to the book: "When is she going to stop whining?" We agreed that it was half a good movie, and wished that it had been entirely about Julia.

Saturday, the first day of spring, it snowed. And was cold. And blustery. So we stayed inside and hung out with the cats. Stacey was driving in and hoped to get here before six o'clock. However, she got to Toledo and her transmission went out. She had to leave her car at a garage there to be fixed, and rented a car to drive the rest of the way. The only place she could rent a car was at the airport, so she had to get a cab out there, and they managed to send her a cab driver who didn't know how to get to the airport! I didn't know such people existed. I mean, that's a cabbie's bread-and-butter, right? As a result, she didn't get here until about 8:30.

Cathy and I had gone out to hear the Newberry Consort (17th-century violin music, with a harpsichord thrown in), but had left her some of the excellent pizza we had had for dinner (olive oil glaze, chèvre, caramelized onions, kalamata olives and roasted red peppers). I have really gotten into using HomeMade Pizza Company lately. I can run in on my way home from work, have them create something interesting, and throw it in the oven when I get home. As easy as a frozen pizza and it tastes way better. They also had a special ice cream, Chocolate Almond Bark, which I bought.

I continue to fight a cold. Last Sunday, I went up to my friend Fran's for dinner, came home early in the evening feeling fine, but later developed a nasty sore throat. The next day, I felt rather punk, and my voice was going. I went to work, but left early, I felt so bad, and took the next day off. Felt better on Wednesday, though if I hadn't had a phone conference that would have been a pain to re-schedule, I might have stayed in bed. I'm at the point where I feel fine, but sound pretty raspy, and am mildly congested.

I've been to a couple of plays lately, one excellent, one not. Court Theatre is doing The Illusion, by Pierre Corneille, freely adapted by Tony Kushner. (Story: "Legend has it that the Hartford production was more overtly haunted by Corneille. As Sylviane Gold describes in the New York Times, the production was beset by technical difficulties until Kushner and director Mark Lamos decided to reprint the program to say not “The Illusion by Tony Kushner, based on a play by Pierre Corneille” but “The Illusion by Pierre Corneille, freely adapted by Tony Kushner.” All the technical glitches stopped on cue, save for one: Kushner’s name was mysteriously wiped from the marquee on the night before the show opened. The play continues to be performed and published under this revised heading, lest the original author return to seek his due.") It's marvelous! Love the play, love the staging, love the acting.

Rebecca Gilman's A True History of the Johnstown Flood, not so much. I'm not a big fan of Gilman's, as I find her work to be rather heavy-handed and didactic. This play was no different. It was also rather predictable. The actors were good, and there was excellent staging, but that's not enough to save a bad script.

The four of us went to dinner beforehand at 312 Chicago, a place we like a lot. They are celebrating their 12th anniversary, and each night have twelve entrées and twelve bottles of wine available at $12 each. Which is quite a deal. Usually, the least expensive glass of wine is about $9, and I don't know where you can get such a good ribeye steak in downtown Chicago for $12 on a normal night!
mojosmom: (Default)
Italian classes started up again last Monday, and I brought a chocolate panettone that I found at my local produce store. (The family that owns it is Italian, and so they also carry quite a variety of imported Italian goodies.)

I don't remember if I posted that my boss was named a judge, so they're looking for a new Public Defender. On Monday, the list was narrowed down to six names. I know three of the people (one currently in our office, and the other two I know from other places), all of whom I'd be happy with. The other three are unknown quantities.

Tuesday night was the Teatro Vista board meeting. The majority of the actors from the Chicago production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity will be in the New York production. I'm probably going to go to New York a day or so earlier than I originally planned, so I can meet up with Eddie before he leaves on May 31.

Thursday night, I was thrilled and delighted to watch the start of season 7 of Project Runway, back in New York where it belongs. Quite a variety of points of view among the designers, and there was color! and pattern! on the runway. I think this may turn out to be a very good season.

Tosca at Lyric on Friday night, with a bit of unplanned excitement at the end of the second act. Fortunately, all turned out well, but just as Tosca stabs Scarpia, and orders him to "Muori dannato!", a woman a few rows up from me collapsed, and there were calls for a doctor. Another audience member who was obviously a doctor jumped out of his seat and went to help, and she revived and was helped out under her own steam, though the ushers said later that she left the building in an ambulance, but was okay. (P.S. Loved the opera - it's a favorite!)

I have been very lazy this three-day weekend. I went out to a concert Saturday night (eighth blackbird, and Suzanne Mentzner) and a play last night (The Year of Magical Thinking, by Joan Didion, based on her book, which I suppose I should now read), but during the day I haven't done much at all. Today, I'm playing catch-up on this and my other blog. I ran into a former colleague both Saturday and Sunday night! She is doing volunteer ushering. I rarely see her, so twice in two nights was a surprise.

Off to class soon. We had to write a few sentences describing our "casa dei sogni", house of our dreams. I said mine would clean itself.
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: (Default)
On Monday, instead of our regular session, my Italian class went up to Northwestern University to see Corpo di Stato: Il delitto Moro, a theatrical monologue by Marco Baliani. In 1978, the leader of the Christian Democratic Party, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped and, after 55 days, murdered by the Red Brigades. This event had a significant impact on the student movement, on Italian politics. Baliani's work looks at the event from a personal standpoint, addressing his own involvement in the student movement, his relationships, his role in the events. It was quite fascinating, and I saw many parallels between what he was talking about and the radical student movement here in the late '60s-early '70s. There were subtitles, which were helpful, though I found I could understand a fair bit without them.

Tuesday night, I went to a concert by the University of Chicago Early Music Ensemble, directed by David Douglass and Ellen Hargis of the Newberry Consort (who are artists-in-residence at the U of C), with a couple of other professionals as guest artists. The program consisted of Venetian music of the 16th and 17th centuries, and the students did quite a creditable job. I talked to David and Ellen before the concert began, and told David that I probably wouldn't get to his lecture the next day at the Newberry (he was talking about Handel) as I was "early musick'ed out", but he said I'd probably heard everything he was going to say already! (I do make an effort to go to all the pre-concert lectures, so he was probably right.)

I had switched my Court Theatre tickets, and went on Friday instead of my usual Sunday, which meant a later start (8:00 rather than 7:30). The play was August Wilson's The Piano Lesson, on of the plays in his Century Cycle, ten plays (nine set in Pittsburgh) about the African-American experience, each set in a different decade, and with some overlap of characters and history. The Piano Lesson, set in the 1930s, is one of two that won the Pulitzer Prize. It revolves around the relationship between a brother and sister, and whether or not they should sell the family piano, on which are carved the images of slave ancestors. It's about the importance of honoring the ancestors and remembering the past, yet also recognizing the need to move forward in life, and not be chained by the past.

A wedding reception yesterday. One of the women in my office was married a few months ago, but as it was an out-of-state wedding, her parents threw her a big reception locally. It was really lovely. The setting was the Meson Sabika, a beautiful old mansion build in the mid-1800s. Although the event was indoors, the weather improved enough during the day that we could wander out onto the terrace. The food was yummy, the bride lovely, and there was plenty to drink!

Then I came home and did laundry.

June 2017



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