Tuesday, May 29, 2018

From On High

So worry not
All things are well ~ The National

Zoom, where did those six days go?

I know it's lazy that I'm copping to a highlights reel today, but I've only been back in the Ward for a few hours and that laundry isn't going to do itself. So here goes, with digressions.

Best place to be on a record-breaking hot Chicago day: on the bow of the First Lady, listening to a volunteer docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation try to condense his encyclopedic knowledge about the buildings we're ogling from the river into 90 lively minutes (albeit with 2 breaks to cool down). His best anecdote involved recently seeing two coyotes on the sight of a cleared lot he'd shown us. As long as I've got my wide-brimmed hat on, I'll listen to the professor nerd out, watch powerboats full of scantily-clad millennials pass by and just bask in being on the water on such an uncharacteristic May afternoon here.

Best impromptu picnic: on lime green chairs in the courtyard of the Art Institute next to a Yoko Ono sculpture, but only after being told we weren't allowed to eat the museum's food outside. Pshaw, rules are for young people. Almost everyone who came in stayed only long enough to take selfies with the wall-hung sculpture we already had a seated view of. Amateurs.

Best urban walking bonuses: Because of a Memorial Day parade Saturday, many downtown streets were closed, meaning a dedicated walker and a native son had no problem taking it to the streets. Sans cars, they were a walker's paradise. Headed to the Girl and Goat Bakery for bagels (rye-onion) on the Sunday of a holiday weekend, I was more than a few times the only person walking the block and it was 10:30 in the morning. I saw traffic lights as no more than suggestions.

Best melding of food and art: brunch at Marisol at the Museum of Contemporary Art, with a booth that offered prospect and refuge (so important to some people), pale-as-Provence Rose from Veneto Italy and the opportunity to consider the art we'd been looking at for the past few hours. For guilty pleasure, there was "Heaven and Earth: Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons," although I question the curatorial choice not to use the word "stabile" to describe sculptures that weren't mobiles. Don't get me started on the dumbing down of museum signage. On the other hand, Otobong Nkanga's "To Dig a Hole that Collapses Again" combined political commentary about stripping third world countries of natural resources with tapestries and with a wave-like wall sculpture that incorporated materials and crops from those countries (tobacco, coffee, spices) and were intended to be smelled as you walked along it. Serious mind art.

Best backdrop for a meal, best breakfast eaten in a park on Rush Street, best drive through Lincoln Park...

Obviously I could do this all night, except I can't do this all night. The Purple Pig dazzled with cheese, swine and wine in a room full of community tables and serious food lovers and featured an offal menu. 'Nuff said. That seafood saganaki was so good I wanted to marry it. The couple next to us were from Kansas City and said they'd come three nights in a row last time they were in Chicago. Now they were back for more.

Food aside, who wouldn't keep going back for more when things are this good? I'm just trying to keep my head from exploding and not be too effusive but it's challenging. I know, I know, first world problems.

But also first time in a lifetime problems. Desert, meet the rain.

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