-mental soundtrack ---> Nick Cave
-My love for the El never ceases.
-Chicago: even more Obama-crazy than the Bay Area. Suited me just fine.
-Wicker Park window shopping.
-A very minor mix-up at the fabulous Wicker Park Inn landed me in my own suite complete with kitchen and fully-stocked fridge. Super-handy!
-Cheddar melt on pumpernickel and shaved Granny Smith apple salad + Apple Ephemere ale + blackberry and blueberry crostata with sweet corn ice cream + wild berry mead at Hot Chocolate.
-Low's unspeakably gorgeous music echoing through the rafters of the Epiphany Episcopal Church, courtesy of the Empty Bottle. Religious experience indeed.
-mental soundtrack ---> Vampire Weekend
-Sunrise over Lake Michigan.
-The drive from Chicago to Holland, Michigan, where I spent many many childhood summers.
-Cousin Kristy and sons Sean and Tim, Aunt Tedda, Grandma on her 94th birthday (perking right along!), Uncle Dave, Chuck the supercat.
-Standing with my feet in Lake Michigan pretty much in exactly the same place I stood 30 years ago.
-A Snickering Sailor at Captain Sundae.
-Riding that sugar rush all the way back to Chicago.
-Raw squash salad + yellow curry rice noodles + rice and mushroom slider + lemon tart + coconut water and lime sake cocktail at Mana Food Bar.
-Epic psych-rock in Czech from Plastic People of the Universe at the Hideout.
-Stumbling across 826 Chicago on the walk home.
-mental soundtrack ---> Tom Waits
-Hardcore space nerd geekout at the Adler Planetarium's "Shoot for the Moon" exhibit which had the actual Gemini XII on display along with a ton of stuff from Jim Lovell's personal collection, including mission flight manuals, patches, letters and the Omega watch he wore in space. So freakin' awesome.
-Chilling out at 12th Street Beach afterward on a lovely late summer/early fall day.
-Eggs Florentine at Yolk.
-A wander around Wrigleyville on a game day afternoon, admiring the architecture in general and especially the straight-out-of-London block of Alta Vista Terrace.
-A pile of 45s from Reckless Records.
-Puff pastry filled with mushrooms, seasonal vegetables and cream on a bed of lentils + rose water and pear cocktail + creme brulee + 2 glasses of complimentary dessert wine at Cafe Matou.
-Beautiful Losers at the Gene Siskel Film Center with a great conversation with director Aaron Rose afterward. The film has its flaws, but overall I was tremendously inspired by it and got all weepy during the Margaret Kilgallen parts. I'm newly motivated to get one of her trees tattooed on my back, as well as some of her leaves on my wrist if the tree goes well.
-Neil Hamburger telling the worst jokes in the world to hilarious effect and singing a few terrible country tunes for good measure at Schubas.
-mental soundtrack ---> LCD Soundsystem
-Getting all weak in the knees in the "Henri Cartier-Bresson and the Art and Photography of Paris" exhibit at the Art Institute. Brassaï and André Kertész too, oh my. Also spectacular: 500 years of cultural artifacts (most of them looted by the British) in "Benin: Royal Arts of a West African Kingdom", and turn-of-the-century architectural illustrations galore in "Daniel Burnham's Plan of Chicago".
-Fish and chips + Bloody Mary at The Gage.
-West Loop art crawl:
*Silkscreens on copper by Cristina Iglesias and a model for an underground light spa by Josiah McElheny at Donald Young.
*Conrad Freiburg's playful interactive installations (part Joseph Cornell, part Rube Goldberg) at Linda Warren.
*Black history, alchemy and astronomy come together in Rashid Johnson's installations at moniquemeloche.
*My favorite: The "Angles in America" show at Rhona Hoffman featuring geometry-inspired art from the likes of Gordon Matta-Clark (his Tree Dance is featured) and others.
*Robert Colescott crosses Toulouse-Lautrec with the African-American experience in his paintings at G.R. N'Namdi.
-Elderberry and grapefruit cocktail + five-course tasting menu at Green Zebra: carmelized onion (yes I ate it and didn't die from allergies) stuffed with wild rice, cheddar and mushrooms on mesclun salad + smoked tomato soup + grilled abalone mushroom with a cornbread madeleine and berries + homemade fettucine with mushrooms, acorn squash and brussel sprouts in a cider reduction + apple-stuffed beignets with a scoop of vanilla malt ice cream.
-Political theater succeeds in being both topical and a surprisingly good time in TimeLine's production of Gore Vidal's 1968 play Weekend.
-Oh how I love walking home through a warm night with a huge half-moon hanging low on the horizon.
-mental soundtrack ---> Andrew Bird
-Just this quote from the first page of Saša Stanišić's incredible How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, which was the book I carried with me this week and might well be my novel of the year this year:
I doubted the magic, but I never doubted my grandpa. The most valuable gift of all is invention, imagination is your greatest wealth. Remember that, Aleksandar, said Grandpa very gravely as he put the hat on my head, you remember that and imagine the world better than it is. He handed me the magic wand, and I doubted nothing anymore.