Sunday, December 14, 2014

Millinium Park & Second City

Selfie at the Bean
We spent a good part of the day in Millennium Park, an expansive green space along Lake Michigan created under the leadership of Mayor Daley. Here their are large open gallery spaces, the famous Anish Kapoor Bean, Pritzker Pavilion designed by Frank Geary,  and Juame Plensa's Crown Fountain.  A great serpentine walkway, also designed by Geary, led us to the bicentennial park where we watched skaters of all ages enjoy an ice track with hills and turns.  In one of the open gallery spaces Plensa also has a temporary exhibit of gargantuan heads.

Juane Plensa
We had lunch in a tavern down Michigan Avenue, and watch the Patriots route Miami. They now have clinched the AFC East.
Tonight we went to Second City where we laughed and laughed for 3 hours. They were very good.

Chicago from the Serpentine Bridge
Pritzker Pavilion
Serpentine Bridge

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Field Museum andS the CSO

Skating Park, Grant Park
This morning we walked down Michigan Avenue to the Field Museum, which is located in Grant Park. Grant Park was built on all the rubble from the great Chicago Fire. Nothing is allowed to be built their now. Along the way we passed a skating park filled with skaters. And the walk into Grant Park is a wide, winding pedestrian/biker road.
The Field Museum has the most complete skeleton of a T-Rex. They have named her Sue after the woman who discovered the fossil. We listened to the history of the discovery and the biological evidence of the fossil. We also looked at the gems, birds, mammals, and Pacific culture artifacts.

Wayne with Sue
Tonight we walked 2 blocks to the Chicago Symphony to first hear a lecture on the evenings performance, and then the performance of Hadyn's 93rd Symphony, Richard Strauss' Don Juan and Beethovan's 9th. The conductor was Pittsburgh's Manfred Honeck, a most expressive conductor.
We had a very late dinner at Miller's Pub just around the corner from the Palmer House.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Art Institute of Chicago and Steppenwolf Theater

Selfie with AIC Lions
Our hotel is 2 blocks from the Art Institute of Chicago. The magnificent lions at the entrance were wearing their seasonal garb. This museum is so magnificent. We started with the Buckingham Japanese print collection. At present they are showing prints of demons which complement the James Ensor exhibit. While in the Japanese section we came across the Ando Room; the same architect who designed the new Clark addition. His design represents interior spaces of Japanese homes.  
Wayne in the Ando Gallery
After a quick look at Roman and Greek works in order to briefly relive our recent trip, we went to the Ensor exhibit, Temptation: The Demons of James Ensor. The centerpiece of this exhibit explores the making and meaning of The Temptation of Saint Anthony. Ensor created many works about St Anthony's temptation following the death of his father. Many of these works were inspired by others: Flaubert, Odilion Redon. The culmination was a nearly 6', 51 piece drawing. The AIC has a free online catalogue on the piece.

We spent the entire day at the Museum,  and could go back for another day. Also of note were a huge Napolitan Crèche, Chagall's Amercan Windows, a room of Manets.
Marc Chagall, American Windows, Detail
A pleasant surprise was a choral performance on the grand staircase.

This evening we saw Airline Highway at The Steppenwolf Theater. It is a new play about a group who live in a rundown motel on Airline Highway in New Orleans and are celebrating the funeral of Miss Ruby before she dies. Lastly, there was a late night dinner at Miller's Pub on State St

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Windy City

Chesapeake Bay
We took a flight out of Providence today for Chicago. When we arrived at PVD we were told our flight was cancelled and re-routed through DC. There was a beautiful view of the Chesapeake Bay as we flew into DC.  We quickly got our connection, and two hours later we were at O'Hare. The O'Hare concourse was beautifully decorated. Immediately we were in the holiday spirit.  
Chicago O'Hare Concourse
We took the airport train into the city, and walked a block to our hotel, the Palmer House, a landmark since 1871. The hotel is beautiful and filled to the brim with guests.  The lobby is a bustling arena of holiday shoppers, holiday parties and more.  After a drink and the famous Palmer Brownie in the hotel pub, we walked around the area soaking in the Christmas spirit and the always cheerful, friendly Chicagoans.
A completely inadequate look at the Palmer House lobby.