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A Great Weekend

Last week Arthur and I went to Chicago to see Sam, his wife, Annye and Sunny, who never sits still.

a family picture

They live near Oak Park, Frank Lloyd Wright territory, so we took nice walks and saw some great houses.

A Dad, a Grandma and a little girl walking

We went to the Zoo--the bears were snoozing but the rhino, my favorite charismatic megafauna, posed nicely for me. We'll be seeing more of him.



Then Arthur went home and I met my dear friend of long standing, Lenesa Leana, for a visit in the Windy City which, by the way is not America's windiest city. It got that name because in the competition to host the great exposition of 1895 a defeated New Yorker said we were beaten by "that windiest windbag, a Chicago politician."

Windy or not, it's a wonderful city--and this New Yorker acknowledges that the term "Second City" comes from the rebuilding after the great fire, not that New York is the First City. OK, I'll allow it.

Our first stop was the Chicago Art Institute because Lenesa wanted to visit Sunday in the Park, rather

"A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte." I could have taken a better shot but I wanted to make sure you know I was there. That's not Lenesa in the picture.

Seurat, Sunday in the Park,

That led to talk of Stephen Sondheim and how perfectly he captured an artist's thinking in his song, "Finishing the Hat."

Then we saw Gustave Caillebotte's "Paris Street; Rainy Day." I've always loved this painting but never saw it in person--do you say "in person" about an object? Who knew it was so big? Again, I might have taken a better picture but I wanted to show the scale.

Caillebotte, "Paris Street; Rainy Day"

Speaking of scale and size, the best thing to see there is Georgia O'Keeffe's wonderful

"Sky Above the Clouds."

I love what she wrote about it:

"I painted a picture eight feet high and twenty-four feet wide. It kept me working every day from six a.m. till eight or nine at night as I had to be finished before it was cold--I worked in the garage and it had no heat. Such a size is of course ridiculous but I had it in my head as something I wanted to do for a couple of years."

There was also a huge room with David Hockney's drawings made on his I pad; he went to Normandy to paint the spring. awesome, but no pictures allowed. I lifted this from the web.

David Hockney Ipad art

Here's what Stephi Wild says in Broadway World;

"Two years ago-at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic-David Hockney traveled to France with the express intention of capturing the emergence of spring. Working en plein air (in the open air), he spent his days scrutinizing and recording the subtle, daily changes in the plants and light as spring emerged and took hold with all its drama and glory. The plein air approach was particularly fitting for his endeavor due to Normandy's associations with the origin of French Impressionism."

It's a gorgeous and slightly odd show but that's Hockney.

By the time we got through the Thorne collection of miniature rooms we were overwhelmed but happy. I love that they put the step so kids can get a good look.

Chicago Institute of Art miniature rooms

Then, looking for lunch, we passed Symphony Center and saw that the Chicago Symphony Orchestra was performing Amadeus Live, that is they showed the movie with the orchestra playing the sound track so we got tickets and went. It was cool but we wondered how the musicians felt--is that low-brow? Middle brow? A gimmick to bring in non-music lovers? Maybe they hope that hearing snippets of Mozart will encourage people to come back for the whole thing. We enjoyed it.

Sunday morning we took a boat ride and architectural tour. It made me look up Carl Sandburg's poem about big shoulders.

Chicago River tour

We walked all over and visited The Bean, the public sculpture titled Cloud Gate, by Indian-born British artist Anish Kapoor and saw a demonstration by people of Belarus against the Russian invasion of Ukraine

Chicago, The Bean

and took a selfie in the reflection. Please note that it's the curve of the surface that makes us look a little oddly shaped.

Reflections in Chicago's Bean

And then we went to a wonderful Jazz Vespers service at Fourth Presbyterian Church.

Wooden Angel Playing cymbals

What a great city! It's built around its river and quite condensed so you can get to a lot on foot. I came home not tired but invigorated and eager to tell you all about it and then get back to work.

October 21, 2022

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