May. 2nd, 2017 09:24 pm
mojosmom: (Default)
I made my plane reservations for Venice today. I try to fly Premium Economy when possible on overseas flights, and did so this time, but was shocked that it was just a couple of hundred more than regular coach fare. I'll get in late afternoon and leave fairly early in the morning. I could get in a bit earlier, but it would be far too short of a layover in Madrid. I'd rather hang out in the boarding lounge than risk missing my flight! I leave Venice early in the morning, but it gets me home at a slightly more reasonable hour than if I left later in the day.

I also decided that I would extend my stay by a couple of days in order to a) spend more time at the Art Biennale, and b) celebrate my birthday in Venice. The group tour I'm going with ends on July 16, with a possibility to extend to the 17th, and that was my original plan. Instead, I'll fly home on the 20th, and move to a hotel on the 16th. I'll be at the same hotel I stayed at last summer, the Pensione Accademia, which I liked very much.
mojosmom: (Travel)
I get regular email newsletters from Atlas Obscura, telling about odd places and things and events. They also do trips. Today, they announced a trip to Venice in July: I couldn't resist, and have paid the deposit. I do think that the fates have been conspiring to send me back there. I went to a Chicago Symphony concert the other evening, of music by Vivaldi, Corelli, etc., with mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, that just made me want to hop the next plane to Venice. And then this morning a friend sent me a video Valentine's card of a canine gondolier! So cute!

In other things:

The cats had their annual vet check-ups this past weekend. Both are in good health, though the vet said they should have their teeth cleaned in a few months. They have a new vet (who had previously worked as a vet/kennel assistant and then vet tech at the practice), as the one they had been seeing has retired. The great surprise was that I was able to get both boys into the carrier without a struggle. Usually, I'm cornering Smoke in the closet (his favorite napping place) and trying to get Shadow out from under the bed. But my timing was right, because I found Shadow asleep on my bed, and just gathered him up in a tight grip. Smoke's appointment was Sunday morning, so he was lying on the Sunday paper that I was trying to read, which made it easy.

My friend Elaine, one of the women with whom I was in Boston, said she was sending us all photos she had taken. I was not expecting what came, a book she'd put together! Really thoughtful, but then she's that sort of person. I see I didn't write about that trip after it happened. Lots of fun. I got there before the others to see exhibits at the MFA and the Gardner, and was joined by one of the group who lives near Boston. The whole group went to the Boston Public Library (a fabulous building) for their Shakespeare exhibit and afternoon tea.

I have been going through my posts and making some deletions, because there were a lot of duplicates from having brought them over from LiveJournal. Oddly, I found situations where duplicate posts had different comments, so in those cases I left the duplicates. I will also have to do something about posts where I linked to LJ communities, since, obviously, those links still go to LJ. And some of my photos seem to have been lost in the migration. But I expect I can retrieve them from Flickr.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
I've pretty much decided to go to Venice at the end of July. It's not generally the optimal time to go, but a couple of weeks ago the New York Times had an article about Ghetto 500, an observation of the 500th anniversary of the establishment of the Jewish ghetto. I was hesitant at first because I already have a rather pricey trip to Barcelona and Bilbao planned for late October, but the opportunity to see The Merchant of Venice performed in the Campo di Ghetto Nuovo is unlikely to come along again. Add to that the Architecture Biennale and the International Theatre Festival, and it would be a crime not to go. I will, however, have to miss the mock trial presided over by the Notorious RBG; that requires a larger contribution than I can manage, even with the tax deduction.

Since I last posted (oy! two months ago!), I've been busy. I took a class at the Newberry Library called Edwardian Passions: Dress and Desire, 1890-1920. We read Vita Sackville-West's The Edwardians, Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks, and E.M. Forster's A Room with a View, and had lectures (with wonderful visuals) about fashion of the era. I'd had an earlier class from the same instructor about the rise of the department store in Paris, using novels of Émile Zola. She is an art historian with a great knowledge of fashion and literature, and I'm looking forward to taking her next course, which involves Edith Wharton and Henry James. I'm also considering a course in the History of Italian Fashion at the Italian Cultural Institute. Fortunately, they don't overlap!

I continue to give tours at Robie House, and mentor new volunteers. The FLW Trust has instituted a new program called "Wright Around the Region", and one event this year will go to Robie as well as two other house museums in Chicago, one of which is showing the Dressing Downton exhibit. I was able to get on that as a volunteer, so yay!

My trainer was transferred from the gym near me to another facility, so I have a new guy. I've also upped my sessions. I'm doubling up, doing 50 minutes rather than 25. The new trainer is much tougher on me, but he and the new schedule are paying off. So I'm glad I did that.
mojosmom: (Venice)
The Newberry Consort, with Piffaro, did a fabulous concert last night, called "What a Difference a Day Makes: Venetian Music for Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday". It was the first in what they hope will be annual concerts in memory of Howard Mayer Brown, the University of Chicago musicologist who is known as the godfather of the Chicago early music community, and who died of a heart attack in Venice, at carnival, just after buying his mask. The sacred music was especially good, because the concert was held at Rockefeller Chapel, which, naturally, has great acoustics for that sort of thing. The music for Fat Tuesday was, of course, written to be played outside, and they couldn't exactly do that last night, in the cold and snow!

After the concert, there was a reception for the musicians at Jim & Kevin's apartment (which happens to be the same one where Howard and his partner lived). I wore the mask I bought in Venice when I was there for Carnevale:
mojosmom: (Venice)

Early morning - Grand Canal
Originally uploaded by mojosmom.

Okay, it's not sunrise. I don't do sunrise. So sue me.


mojosmom: (Italian)
Friday night there was an talk at Casa Italiana about the Lazio region of Italy. Alessandra Visconti, who is from there, talked about it, showed slides, played music, read poetry, and fed us bruschetta and regional wines. A good time was had by all.

Yesterday, I dashed off to the Art Institute for a forum on "Venice: Looking toward the east", about Venice's connections with the Islamic world, primarily, of course, the Ottoman Empire. (One of the speakers, Stefano Carboni, is the guy from the Met who put together the Venice and the Islamic World exhibit; the others were Patricia Fortini Brown from Princeton University and Julian Raby from St. Hugh's College). This was one of the last events in the year-long Silk Road Project. Rather on the academic side, but fascinating, and gorgeous slides!

Then I grabbed a bus and headed to Northwestern University Law School, for a talk by Carlo Petrini, founder of the Slow Food movement. He spoke in Italian, with an interpreter, but I found I understood nearly everything he said, and laughed at some of his jokes before they were translated. I'm so proud of myself! (Of course, it helped that he spoke relatively slowly.) It was a good talk. Petrini is an enthusiastic advocate for local produce, biodiversity, etc., but he's also very sensible about having the occasional out-of-season mango. And, unlike us impatient Americans who want to solve the problem now (as evidenced by a couple of the questions asked), he understands that change is a process that comes incrementally. A whole raft of people from Casa Italiana classes were there, as well as some of Daniela's DePaul students.

Came home, made a quiche, and finished reading Julia Child's My Life in France (so I guess it was a "foodie" day, too)!


Feb. 23rd, 2007 11:11 pm
mojosmom: (Venice)
I have finally gotten my Venice photos uploaded to Flickr. Uploaded, not organized, though. I'll be working on that through the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy them here.


Feb. 23rd, 2007 11:11 pm
mojosmom: (Venice)
I have finally gotten my Venice photos uploaded to Flickr. Uploaded, not organized, though. I'll be working on that through the weekend. In the meantime, enjoy them here.
mojosmom: (Gautreau)
It's really, really cold out. And likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Ugh.

Nevertheless, I went outside today. I needed a couple of things for my "Queen of the Night" ensemble for Venice. (I'd actually thought about being "Night's Black Angel", but any decent pair of wings would be too big for the suitcase.) I'm wearing a long black dress with a tight black velvet vest over, and long black gloves. A silver & black scarf. A silver tinsel wig and a full-face silver mask. And a glittery black/silver cape. Just don't ask me to sing "Der Hölle Rache", because you'd run screaming from the room if I tried. Here's a video of someone who really can sing it: Natalie Dessay.

(Speaking of opera, I see I neglected to mention the fabulous production of Turandot I saw at Lyric a week ago last Friday. It was the same one they've done a couple of times before, with the David Hockney sets and costumes. Utterly beautiful, and the singing was good, too. Beth & Duncan's youngest was in it, carrying a lantern in the first act.)

Yesterday, just as cold, and I went out as well. Sometimes, you just have to run errands. Then I went up to Peggy's for dinner. George made beef stroganoff (very yummy). I brought dulce de leche semi-frio for dessert. Oh, my god, was it good! Not terribly healthy, but worth every calorie.

Why you should never fly Alitalia:

Some of the Venice-bound group (not me), including the woman who's leading the tour, booked to fly on Alitalia. Last Saturday, Daniela was looking at their website, and discovered that their flight was no longer listed! Apparently, it doesn't exist in the winter, but they continue to show it and take bookings. Then they tell you it was cancelled, and, without checking with you, book you on a flight the next day. Daniela was not happy! Fortunately, she was able to get everyone on another flight for the same day, just a different routing.
mojosmom: (busy bee)
Long as in four days, as I took Monday and Tuesday off from work. Much of the time was spent vegging, reading, watching last season's Project Runway on video, and doing odds and ends around the house.

Saturday, though, I went to the Harold Washington Library Center (our main public library) for a tour of the Special Collections conservation lab. On the way out, I naturally stopped in at the Popular Library and checked out a few books (all light reading - Margaret Maron, Rita Mae Brown, Donna Leon).

Sunday was the Newberry Consort benefit, Playford's Delight Redux, at which we learned some English country dances to the music of the Consort, as well as having good food and drink. It was in the afternoon, so I got home at a reasonable hour and put my feet up.

I was meeting friends for dinner and the theatre on Monday, but I went downtown early to do a bit of Christmas shopping at the Christkindlmarket. I found some lovely bird ornaments that I'm going to give to the folks in my dinner group. The play we saw was Frank's Home, about Frank Lloyd Wright. It is set in California, at a low point in his career and his family relationships (something he wasn't very good at!), just as word of the Tokyo earthquake arrives along with the news (erroneous) that his Imperial Hotel was destroyed. It was an interesting play, and very well acted.

Yesterday, I went through closets and drawers and took a bunch of clothes and tchotchkes to the Brown Elephant for donation. When I spindled my receipt, I noticed that the last person to donate was my Italian instructor!! I must have just missed her. As usual, I could not simply leave my donation and go. Oh, no, one must always check the racks. Neither of the brown suede skirts I tried on fit (one too big, one too small!), but I found a great blazer in a brown tweed, and a gorgeous jacket, perfect for holiday parties. Red silky material with a black design embroidered in it, sort of a Chinese-style, long (over the hips), with sparkly beads on the black frog closures. $10. Yay, me!

I wore it to the Chicago Hand Bookbinders party last night. Eileen had found an excellent caterer; I especially liked these little sweet cheese tarts with shaved dark and white chocolate on top. Bill D. gave me the name and contact info for his friend in Venice who does paper marbling. Also the link to his website: AlbertoValese-Ebru. Is this not beautiful stuff?
mojosmom: (CHB)
I went to the opening reception of the "One Book, Many Interpretations" show at the Special Collections Division at the Harold Washington Library Center this evening. Honey, let me tell you, they were pouring wine like it was water. "Um, I don't really need the whole bottle in that plastic cup", but the bartender kept on pouring. At least they had some really good food to cushion the tummy.

The show, which was the whole point of the evening, is absolutely incredible. I've mentioned this show before, but for those who've missed it, the Chicago Public Library invited bookbinders to bind copies of the books that have been chosen for the One Book, One Chicago program. The best of these are part of the show. Technically, all the books were awesome. I did feel that a few were not particularly inspired creatively, and some just didn't speak to me personally. But the overall quality was amazing. Even more amazing was that Lesa (the Exhibit Curator) was able to put this show together in just over a year.

Here's the book I submitted that didn't get accepted: The Coast of Chicago, by Stuart Dybek

There's a small catalogue, too.

Some of us were joking that we came for the people, not the books (there were a lot of CHB people there), but the truth is that, at any opening, you probably spend more time socializing than looking at the art. I'll definitely be going back.

Speaking of socializing, I told Bill D. that I was hoping to go to Venice in February, and that my sister had sent me lots of books, and he said he had lots of books, too, and, by the way, he has a friend there who's a paper marbler and has a shop and is a "sweet guy". I am going to have such a list! I love it.

And met a friend of Barb M's who is a photographer and who has a show opening Friday at the Fine Arts Building. There's an opening at the Center for Book and Paper Arts that evening as well, just a few blocks away, so I think I'll try to do both.

Then I came home, and one of my temporary crowns came off. I called my dentist's office, fully expecting nothing, but their voicemail gave her home #, so I called her and she said, basically, "you can just snap it back in with a bit of toothpaste and then come in on Monday to have it re-cemented and in the meantime, don't floss and don't eat on that side", so "snap" I did. Hope it lasts the weekend! (Did you ever think you'd hear a dentist say, "Don't floss"?)
mojosmom: (Italian)
So I told Daniella, my Italian instructor, that I really, really wanted to go to Venice, but, that if I did, I couldn't afford to take class this fall. And she said, "oh, don't worry, as long as there's a full class, you can just buy the book. Berlusconi can pay for it!" She's not a fan of Berlusconi. But I'm sure a fan of hers! (And if I wasn't before, I am now.)
mojosmom: (Italian)
So I told Daniella, my Italian instructor, that I really, really wanted to go to Venice, but, that if I did, I couldn't afford to take class this fall. And she said, "oh, don't worry, as long as there's a full class, you can just buy the book. Berlusconi can pay for it!" She's not a fan of Berlusconi. But I'm sure a fan of hers! (And if I wasn't before, I am now.)
mojosmom: (My House)
Beginning with the private opening of the exhibition A Movable Feast: Pop-ups, Volvelles, Tunnels, Flaps and Other Movable Books", a really wonderful show at the Center for Book and Paper Arts, tracing the history of movable books from Ernest Nister to Robert Sabuda, and including lots of stuff about process. It's accompanied by an exhibit devoted to the work of Vojtech Kubasta, the Czech artist and paper engineer. If you're in Chicago, you should see this show!

Yesterday, I went to the volunteers' brunch at Woman Made Gallery, which is always very nice. Good food, conversation about art, all that stuff. On my way home, I stopped at my local branch library. Now I know I wasn't going to buy any more books, but they were having a sale and I fell. But a dozen books (about half of them hardbacks) for $8! How could I resist?

Today I went to the Ginza Holiday Festival at the Midwest Buddhist Temple. I try to go every year. It's always fun, with artisans (some coming all the way from Tokyo, others local), the best chicken teriyaki around, and performances by dancers, karate schools, taiko drummers and the like. In the past, it's always been the same weekend as the Air and Water Show, but they moved it up a week, and I was able to find street parking! (This is a minor miracle in that neighborhood.)

Then I drove up to my friend Karen's. I was picking up the book I had in the CHB show earlier this year (K. has been our Exhibits Chair). Now, I ran into her yesterday at the WMG brunch, and we joked that had we known we were both going to be there, she could have brought the book. But she said, "That's okay. I'm purging my books, so if you want to look through them when you come, you can take whatever you want." And who am I to turn down an invitation like that? I took about five for myself, and a few I thought my sisters might be interested in. And then we loaded all the rest into my car so that I could drop them off for the Hyde Park Co-op book sale! I drove by there on my way home, loaded the four cartons into a shopping cart, and made the volunteer at the Co-op happy.

It's been a beautiful weekend to be out and about.

Hmm, just had a knock on the door. One of the kids from next door was looking sheepish as he told me that he and his cousin had been playing (his word, his mom's word was "rough-housing") on the back porch and knocked over one of my tables. He wanted to let me know that if it was broken he and his dad would fix it. The tables are just little wooden ones, nothing fancy. Looks like one of the slats on top did come off, nothing a couple of nails won't fix.

Talked to Cathy. She does want a couple of the books I picked up from K., so I'll send them out to her. And she will send me books on Venice. She's been there a couple of times, once during Carnavale. She hadn't actually planned to be there at that time. It was years ago when she was studying cooking in Tuscany. Several people were going to Venice, and she went with them, and then was there a few days on her own. And suddenly realized why there were people wandering around in costume. She said it was wonderful, especially the masked ball in the Piazza San Marco.

June 2017



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