Monday, May 26, 2008

My kind of town

Chicago has a bad reputation -- think Al Capone and Leroy Brown, Upton Sinclair and fast-talking politicians (one reason why Chicago is known as the Windy City). But there's much more to the city than that, and I love it. DH and I just spent a weekend up there in an early celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. I thought I'd share a little of downtown Chicago with my blogging friends who may not know the city firsthand.
Chicago is famous for its architecture. It's the birthplace of the skyscraper and home to Frank Lloyd Wright. We often take tours offered by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, but just strolling around the city you bump into the most wonderful things. Sometimes you might wonder why there's only the flat front of a building with nothing behind it.
But keep walking, and you'll see the building has depth, though it's a most unusual shape!
I love the Smurfit-Stone building, with its flat, diamond roof. I stooped down to get a photo of it with the black tulips blooming in Millennium Park in the foreground.
Millennium Park by itself is worth a visit to the city. Situated next to the Art Institute and Grant Park, and just across from Lake Michigan, it's a great place for a stroll. I love the Bean.
The Bean, officially known as Cloudscape, is a reflective, 3-D sculpture that you can walk into.

The inside is like a fun house mirror.
Here you can see me taking a photo of DH and myself reflected in the inside dome.
Walking from the Bean towards the Art Institute, you come to the wading pool and fountains. There are two tall fountains that mirror each other (there's one just to the right of the picture facing the tall one on the left).
There's a slide show of Chicago faces across the fountains, and the water performs all kinds of tricks. Here it is coming from this woman's mouth.
One of our favorite things to do in the city is to attend a performance at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier. This time we saw A Comedy of Errors performed as a play within a play, set on a filmstage in London in 1940. It was fabulous, but we've come to expect nothing less from them. During the summer, Second City (Chicago's comedy theater where so many comedians started their careers -- Gildna Radner, Bill Murray, John Candy, Alan Arkin, John Belushi, and the list goes on...) performs take-offs on Shakespeare. Our favorite was Hamlet, the Musical. They actually stopped the play for a minute because one man in the audience couldn't stop laughing! But next to the performances, the best thing about the Shakespeare Theater is the bathrooms. Yes, you read that right -- the bathrooms.
The bathrooms have a long glass wall that provides spectacular views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline.
Chicago has a "museum campus" with an amazing array of museums along the lake. We always visit the Art Institute, and then one or two other museums. This time we tried one we had somehow never visited before, the Chicago History Museum on the south side of Lincoln Park. It was fascinating to see the city develop from Indian settlements in the wild onion area (where the word 'Chicago' comes from), to eventually encompass fur traders, a small fort, a railway center, the meatpacking industry, jazz, bootlegging, skyscrapers, etc. And take a look at this intricate needlework from a manual arts class in the Chicago schools in 1925. We don't teach this skill to our children anymore!
If you've been to Chicago, you know I've barely scratched the surface. But I've so enjoyed the tours of New Zealand, Paris, Australia, etc., posted by my fellow bloggers that I wanted to share a little taste of what's in my corner of the world.

And in other news ...

My DH told me about an interesting article in yesterday's New York Times magazine, Exposed by Emily Gould, who went from personal blogging to a job as a blogger. If, like me, you wonder about the level of self-revelation that's appropriate on a blog, or that you're comfortable with, you'll find her piece an interesting read. We quilters certainly don't get the scrutiny or response that someone like Emily Gould does, but within our personal spheres, the issues are similar. Are internet 'friends' really friends? How would I feel if someone were hurt by an off-hand remark I made? How much do I want people to know about my personal life? Do I even know who's reading my blog?


The Quilting Pirate said...

WOW, what a great tour-I have never been to Chicago. I definitely need a great tour guide like you to go! I want to do the big quilt show sometime in the future!

As for the personal revulation and blogs, I have been journaling online for over 8 years and have learned the hard way and discovered what I need out of blogging and what I share. I have learned not to read "into" others comments or posts-to take it at face value. In the same hand, I only share the basis of my life and face value.

I'm a good person and don't set out to intentionally hurt anyone. So, if folks don't understand that part of my personality it does get mmmm...hard sometimes.

And I believe internet friends are just like real friends. There are different levels of trust, comfort and involvement as with real life friends. It all really comes down to knowing and trusting yourself when blogging....LOL didn't you say that already? Sorry for rambling!

Catherine said...

What a great tor of Chicago -- thank you!

That article is quite thought-provoking. I think most, if not all, quilters who blog tend to be very sharing and not out to hurt anyone. I do try to be careful about what I say in my posts and in comments on others' posts.

Quilt Pixie said...

that "bean" is wonderful! And the water fountains... almost enough to get me to make the trip :-)

IamSusie said...

Yay for Chicago! Ours is the most glorous skyline in the world!

I grew up there (but now I live in a far outlying suburb) and in all my years, I have never done the Architecture Tour. My parents always take out of town guests on the tour and insist it is not to be missed. You are so right about the bathrooms at the Shakespeare Theater!

One inexpensive trick is to go to the bar at the top of the Hancock building (This is free, or the cost of a Coke) and take in the view, The women's restroom has a fantastic view of the city.

I read most of that Exposed article and I have to admit, I thought she was too personal and self involved. Even the NYT article had too much navel-gazing for my taste.

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

gorgeous photos - I loved the tour of the city. That triangle building is fabulous - like the Flatiron in NYC only modern. Interesting article as well, found it fascinating that Emily considers someone writing their dog has cancer as oversharing. That doesn't hurt any person, and yet look at everything she's willing to say.

Jenni @ Fairybread said...

A great tour around Chicago - thanks. One day I'll get to the US and it would be great to visit Chicago.
As for blogging etc, I keep my blog to myself really, only my sister knows about it. I like that I can say things without worrying about what people I know think, but I also think it is a fun/enjoyable place, so I generally talk about good things happening in life. But OTOH sometimes it's nice to let things out, knowing that everyone reading has the almighty power held in the DELETE button - if you don't like it, don't read it.

Exuberant Color said...

I only live 60 miles from Chicago and rarely go there but my kids go to the ball games and concerts. Thanks for the tour.
As far as the blogs go, I have been very carelful on mine but add just enough about my personal life to sound human. I want my blog to be upbeat and a good record of my creativeness.

Karol-Ann said...

Gorgeous photos and a wonderful tour of the city. Thank you so much!

Grannyspot said...

I, too, love Chicago, although I haven't been there often (nor, I'm sad to say, recently)... Have you read "The White City"? Great story about Chicago and the World's Fair!
It never occurs to me that anyone would read my blog except those (very few - actually, ONLY, family members who have the address, and then I doubt that more than one or two do. But all I post are grandchildren photos anyway, and those aren't private. I learned a long time ago to be careful about to whom I say what because a) most people aren't interested and b) often when I have revealed something really important to me I have been either teased or judged, and I'm just not going to "go there." So - factual, play-with-grandchildren pictures are about as much depth as one gets from me, and most people have their own grandchildren to keep up with so aren't interested in mine!

Becky said...

I love your last paragraph. I just met someone in person who's blog I read. We had that exact conversation last night because she had some one leave some very hurtful comments on her blog. I guess we all need to come to the understanding or conclusion that people will make comments that they might believe aren't hurtful when they really are. Some people also think they somehow have become your "best bud" because they faithfully read your blog. It all comes down to being able to take it with a grain of salt. I try to use blogging as an outlet to show off my quilts, which I think are absolutely beautiful. My mom isn't around anymore to "stroke" me so it's nice to occasionally hear it from others. I'm my own worst critic so it's nice to have people respond me "back to reality." Getting feedback is also helpful,when I can't figure out how something should be laid out.

Jacquie said...

I love Chicago and now when I return I have new things to do and visit. I love the neighborhoods. So many great joints to shop and eat! Thanks for the FAB tour! As for your last paragraph...that was my fear before I started a blog, I still wonder who is lurking...and how much and what to say.

Rebel said...

Ooooh.. I need to check that article out. It's become clear to me that I *don't* know who's reading my blog. It seems a couple of my real-life friends read my blog somewhat regularly but *NEVER* comment, so when I see them in person I'm taken aback when I tell them something and they say "I know - I read it on your blog." It's all a little weird.

Rebel said...

LOL - and as to the real reason for your post - I loved the tour! Chicago seems like a really unique city - one I should really visit some day.

jillytacy said...

Thanks for the fabulous tour of Chicago. The pictures were great! I really enjoyed it.
I need to read the article more thoroughly but when it comes to blogging I think of it in terms gossiping. I live in a small town and know that you should never say something that you don't want others to repeat to everyone or misinterpret and repeat to everyone. On my blog I share my crafty life and pictures of my daughter but personal things stay personal. We can never really know who reads our blogs. It's good to remember anything you write is there forever for anyone and everyone to read! A few friends and family read regularly but they never comment!
I've met some wonderful bloggers who I consider friends(you included.) I enjoy being part of the blogging community.

Laurel said...

I never thought Chicago would be so interesting! Your pictures really show it off and it makes me want to go there!

Mary said...

Chicago is definitely on my list of places to visit and has been for a few years. Thanks for the tour - it looks like you had a wonderful time.

I often feel uncomfortable reading blogs that share a high level of personal details - I share very little of the personal trials and tribulations of my life....not that I'm above whining online about moving or being alone on my birthday and I do share the broad strokes of my life...husband, dog, sons, quilting, travel but none of it is stuff I wouldn't tell pretty much everyone face to face (assuming they were even interested!)

Elaine Adair said...

Worked in Chicago, for many years - beautiful architecture, terrible traffic, wonderful, weird, and also seedy residents -- horrid traffic.

Mom said, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." .. well, no one notices you then but ... Google your e-mail address and all your past comments show up, then you'll get an idea of how you come across.

Elaine Adair said...
This comment has been removed by the author.