The Art Institute Of Chicago
Last Thursday (7/3/2014), Romy and I took a day off of work to:
- Make the July 4th weekend a day longer, and
- Go into Chicago, where we haven’t been yet this year.
The weather prediction – up to the day before – had the weather, at best, as overcast. We ended up with a nice sunny day, light breeze, about 70°.
Yeah, we got lucky.
The plan was to hit the Art Institute to see the Magritte exhibition (and other stuff), hit my old neighborhood (Lakeview) and noodle around there, and then check out a place Romy’s been jonesing to go to, The Fish Bar.
We pretty much followed that script, and here’s how the day went….
Magritte was, to both of us, kind of a yawner. The show contained only a few of Magritte’s well-known paintings, and was – to me – somewhat pretentious. I keep forgetting how artists fall into their own world, to a certain degree – where the change of a yellow is, to them, a significant commentary on [whatever]. That’s how the descriptions of Magritte’s works struck me. Something beyond what it was.
NOTE: This may have been the fault of the museum’s preparator, but the text quoted a lot of Magritte’s writings.
That said, we hit the photography room where there was a great exhibit of Edward Steichen’s commercial work for Conde Nast. I’d seen some of same, but it interesting to see more of his commercial work. His non-commercial work is way better than his Conde Nast work, but it was fun to see his pictures of the famous (Gretta Garbo) and the not-so-famous (who the hell is this that they have an article about them?) who graced the pages of Vanity Fair and Vogue.
Hopper – Nighthawks at the Diner
We noodled around a bit in the Art Institute, just hitting this or that (Hopper’s “Nighthawks at the Diner,” hand-held 1/3 second!) until we had our fill of art.
We went over to Millennium Park, where a band/chorus was practicing for what was obviously a homage to George M. Cohen (probably for the 4th). Fun to listen to.
We then hit my old neighborhood (Lakeview; lived there all of two years) and we just couldn’t get into just wandering around there. When I lived there, it was different: We didn’t have to worry about when the parking meters expired, when we have to get back home in the suburbs. We’re just not shoppers, so what else is there to do?
This neighborhood – to me – has changed quite a bit recently. We usually hit there at least every other year, if for no reason other than to hit The Coffee & Tea Exchange (awesome bean coffee – like bacon, the smell of roasted beans is intoxicating).
Lakeview currently has way more
girls women than I remembered (yay!), fewer bookstores (boo!), and is – overall – both cleaner and more antiseptic than in the past, if you understand. Berlin is still there (is it still raunchy? I dunno), but other fringe places are gone, replaced by H&R Block or what have you. It’s a different neighborhood. More gentrified. Lots of nail spas.
The Fish Bar
That said, there are still some interesting discoveries to make in the Lakeview area.
Romy stumbled across The Fish Bar some time ago, and we set our sights on having lunch there.
It wasn’t what I was expecting – I was expecting fish & chips, brass rails, kind of a dark low-ceiling bar/restaurant and all. But The Fish Bar is more open, more casual and the food more tapas-like.
For us, that’s perfect. We don’t need a 10-lbs bass with fourteen side dishes. We got food, it was good, we were full (I had blackened red fish tacos. AWE-some). Not overfilled.
As a bonus, when we got home, our sidewalk had been fixed. Long story, but let’s just say it’s been a decade of pain and crooked concrete, and it appears that our long local nightmare may well be over. Yippee.