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Sunny day in Chicago? Do the Loop Mural Walk! by Ann Treacy
June 16, 2021, 1:08 am
Filed under: Chicago

Day two of visiting Katie – we put on our super sonic sneakers and checked out the Loop Mural Walk. There are three walks downtown that feature 21 murals. Some are done by famous folks and some seem pretty local. Available now through July 4 – although it feels like those murals are pretty permanent. Doing the walk – and maybe diverging from the map a few times – we walked about 4 miles. It’s a fun walk through the loop. The walk isn’t tough but the navigation can be tricky.

Some of the murals are very obvious; some are harder to find but that’s part of the fun. We learned that if we swore we followed the map, we knew we were right, that the answer was to look up. Some of the best and biggest were a few flights up.

Another challenge was the one diversion into the pedestrian mall but it was the first time we had been in the mall so that was fun. Also, we went through the Chicago Cultural Center to get there, where we happened upon the filming of The 4400, which is apparently a TV show. We were thrilled!

We did get to take a walk through the alley side. (Pro Tip: walk on the side away from the garbage cans for fewer rat sightings!) Also we met a kind Irish man on Lower Wacker Drive, who pointed out (again kindly) that maybe we’d made a wrong turn. We were flattered that he cared and he probably wasn’t wrong.

It was a beautiful day. We kept walking after the murals and got another 3 miles under our belts. We visited a few things we always love to see – like the Harold Washington Library. (Snotty aside: I took classes there when I did my MLIS.) The Bean!! Of course I had to stop by the Art Institute of Chicago Lions – because I love them. The River walk is another fave.



Human + Nature at Morton Arboretum: an Art Break by Ann Treacy
June 14, 2021, 9:31 pm
Filed under: Chicago

Dad and I went to Chicago in part to visit Katie. Yay! Today we took a walk on the tree side with a trip to the Morton Arboretum. It’s about 30 minutes from where Katie lives. The Arboretum is all about the trees and walking paths and making it easy for people of all abilities to access the trees. Turns out, they have 1700 acres of land. There are lots of paths – some more paved that others but obviously so.

We noted that a mom (or two) with a bunch of kids could manage to get a few miles of walking in with their various half-mile or one-mile loops, a progressive picnic lunch and visit to the kids gallery. Back in the day were pretty much experts on that. You could get a stroller (or wheelchair) through most of the paths. Or I bet you could have a very meditative day walking on the various paths if that was your jam.

Today we were there for the Human + Nature exhibit, five large (15- to 26-foot-tall) statues hidden around the grounds. To be fair, they are less “hidden” if you pick up a map. Sculptor Daniel Popper hails from Cape Town, South Africa and his works have been seen all over the world. The statues are welcoming with open hands and open heart. Climbing on the statutes is not encouraged but you can easily walk through and touch it. They are a delight to see from a distance hidden in the woods and just as delighted to interact with at close range.

Pro Tip: they have some COVID-inspired rules, such as you need to sign up in advance. And special thanks: for letting us get around those rules. I’m not suggesting you thwart the rules; they are easy rules. Just appreciation for people who make space for other people, who sometimes don’t plan.

Also special mention to our delicious meal last night at D&J Bistro in Lake Zurich. I had foie gras for dinner. Tough to beat that unless you also started with share appetizers of scallops, cheese and beef tartare.



16th Street Murals – snowy street art in Chicago by Ann Treacy
February 24, 2021, 2:39 am
Filed under: Chicago

Finding social distance fun on our one-day vacation in Chicago, Auntie Katie, Aine and I checked out the 16th Street Murals. The original plan was to walk the railroad embankment that’s covered with murals but it has snowed a lot in Chicago over the last week, there sidewalk wasn’t shoveled, Chicago traffic stop (or slows) for no dopey tourist and we realized the awesome warm weather mixed with a foot of snow would make for soggy toes. So we upped the safety in terms of traffic and COVID and did a driving tour.

The murals extend from Halsted to Western on West 16th Street in Chicago. It started as a grass roots project but morphed into something more official through the Art In Public Places Initiative. The art rans the gamut from pleasant to political, to cartoonish, to striking. There’s art that reflect current culture (The Simpson’s). There’s art that features the faces, especially of people of color (sometimes in the art that color is blue!), with an intensity that looks right through the viewer. There are animals that are majestic (eagles) and gruesome (the rat). There’s religious art. There’s modern, abstract art. There are a few, not a lot, but a few murals with statements; those statements are at least as often in Spanish as English.

I want to include most of the art that we captured, but I also want to highlight some of my favorites:

More art:



Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in Chicago: how art on the walls gets you into his head by Ann Treacy
February 23, 2021, 11:06 pm
Filed under: Chicago

Celebrating half the family getting their vaccines, some of the family traveled to Chicago to visit some of the rest of the family. So there’s been a lot of food, stories and laughs and a little art. Auntie Katie, Aine and I were lucky to get tickets to the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit in Chicago, a show we thought was sold out. We got so lucky!

The immersive experience spans four large, connected rooms. The idea is to sit and watch and listen. There are little socially distanced circles painted on the floor about six feet apart. This is a little COVID silver lining. It means nearly everyone sits down. The tallest guy in the room isn’t in front of you and no one is encroaching in your space. It makes it feel like a VIP experience.

The rooms are like castle walls with high ceilings, hints of columns and arches with a few large mirrors in the rooms. The videos of his work in motion are shown in all rooms on all walls on the floors. The videos are accompanied by loud music ranging from classic to recognizable to ambient to melodic drone. The experience is about 30 minutes, but it’s looped and you can hang out as long as you want. (There might be a time limit; we didn’t get to it.)

The action puts you in the middle of the works of art but really it feels more like you’re in the mind of Van Gogh.

The experience starts with giant bugs running across the wall. It reminded me immediately of AJ Isaacson-Zvidzwa, a young classical musician with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia who debuts a new composition (Angels Sang to Me) on March 5 (2021) at the Cedar Cultural Center (online). We had the opportunity to talk with her about a week ago. She told us that her mental health issues emerged when she was 12 years old and began to see insects that weren’t there.

I would love to see this show with AJ. I would love to have AJ score the show herself. The insights she gave me about her upcoming show, which are inspired by her experience with schizophrenia, helped me immerse myself into how the art and music on the experience helps us experience Van Gogh’s mental illness. From the bugs to the blurring of walls. The darkness and drone giving over to the yellow sunflowers. The multiple self portraits. The fleeting images of people in their daily life leading up to the bursts of colors, clouds and flowers and eventually into the swirling starry, starry night. It is entertaining and thought provoking.



Chicago midweek special – Andy Warhol, Guilty Feminist and so much food by Ann Treacy
January 12, 2020, 7:02 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Uncategorized

Mom and I took a quick trip to Chicago to see Katie and family of course – but also to see the Andy Warhol exhibit before it closes and to check out the Guilty Feminist podcast. Mostly this is a picture post – but there are a few things I should point out:

  • The small plates at Libertad (in Skokie) aren’t really small. But they are delicious.
  • Warhol was always cool. Will always be cool.
  • I need an idea of replication as social commentary like Warhol had. And maybe some artistic skill – but I feel like an idea might be enough.
  • Sometimes I think the Art Institute of Chicago is designed like a grocery store to encourage you to walk down aisles you might not otherwise walk down.
  • They pick the toughest docents/guards to work the modern wing of the Art Institute because that’s where you could have the most fun taking awesome pictures if you weren’t scared of the guards.
  • The Palmer House is always in fashion. (In fact the day I got home I heard The Moth story that took place at the Palmer House -on the 18th floor where we were!!)
  • The Goat and the Girl has amazing food. The waiters are very good and will organize your orders in the way you should be fed. (Like a wine dinner but with food so you don’t have the heavy Cab of food on round one.)
  • The Guilty Feminist is at least as fun to see live. We learned about the importance of reporters and the free press and diversity in reporting. I will include the link to the live show once it’s available.
  • A walk to Millennium Park for a picture with The Bean is always worth it.
  • Flying is no fun.

The hotel & food!

Guilty Feminist & Millennium Park



Art, turkey and art in Milwaukee and Chicago by Ann Treacy
November 30, 2019, 3:41 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Wisconsin

Due to a holiday snowstorm, we spent an extra day in Milwaukee this year with Grandma and Grandpa on the way to Auntie Katie’s for Thanksgiving. (This also means an extra day of uber calories on the eatingest holiday of all time!)

With the extra day, we decided to stay in Milwaukee, instead of Madison. Not to be braggy, but our hotel was famous. For being the spot of an attempted assignation of Teddy Roosevelt. But we felt pretty safe.

 

We had some ambitious plans; we were successful in checking out the Milwaukee Art Museum. It’s very modern. The building itself is gorgeous and it’s right on the lake. It was pretty grey, cold and windy when we were there, but that just reminded us of Dublin so we went with it.

One of our favorite works was Self Portrait in Yellow by Tony Oursler. You can see why below.

The next day we made our way to Katie’s house near Chicago. We had an amazing meal. My favorite is ham and stuffing. Or pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Anyway there’s a ton of food and something for everyone. There were lots of new folks at dinner, which is always fun. It was warm enough for kids to play ghost in the graveyard at night, which beats the heck out of the 8 inches we had back home.

We celebrated Black Friday with a little consignment shopping and going to the WNDR Museum, which is awesome. It’s part art, part technology and all interactive to the point of totally immersive. It’a really an Instagrammer’s dream. So many great photo opportunities. You

There are exhibits or works from several artists. They all play with perspective, movement and dimensions. The most famous, I suspect is the Infinity Mirror Room by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. We also liked the perspective room – you can see above where I tower over Aine and Grandma. Another fun one, less photogenic is the tin cans and the telephone wires. You put the can up to the wires until you hear something. Very cool.



Chicago is me, me, me and art by Ann Treacy
July 14, 2016, 11:37 pm
Filed under: Chicago

We’re getting close to the end of the road trip. We started the day in Pennsylvania, then off to Ohio, to Indiana and we landed in Chicago. I have big plans for dinner with dad and Katie. But we planned a day downtown Chicago for fun.

Turns out the kids were super excited to go shopping and ditch me. I’m not writing this to make them feel bad about leaving me alone – right after I paid for lunch. I mean I know this post will be up for years – but I didn’t feel hurt at all.

Really I didn’t feel bad. I got to do exactly what I wanted to do at exactly the pace I wanted to do it. So I visited the Harold Washington Library – where I took a class years ago. Then I went to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Institute has a guide that shows 12 of their top favorite works of art that you can see in an hour. Challenge accepted! I did it – with two hiccups. American Gothic had been moved. I sleuthed it down. And the Young Dionysos was temporary off the floor.

It was fun. The works included the Chagall windows, which I don’t always make a point to see. And of course the Georges Seurat, which I do always make a point to visit.

Then I skipped up to Millennial Park and saw the sights. (The girls and I had walked through earlier to get to lunch – so they are in some pictures.) Then off to Michigan Avenue, the Wrigley Building and some random statues.

And I decided to take selfies along the way. I have taken 12 selfies in my life – because mostly I have a kid to serve as model. I am terrible at selfies – requires more backward spatial aptitude, I like to do them quickly because I find it embarrassing and the raw material is a little rough to start. But again I didn’t do it to make the girls feel bad later when I’m so old and feeble that they are ditching me again. Not at all.

Art Institute of Chicago Scavenger Hunt:



Thanksgiving in Chicago: Chicago Institute of Art by Ann Treacy
March 10, 2014, 7:34 pm
Filed under: Chicago

We went to see the Chicago cousins for Thanksgiving. It’s another family tradition. We’re lucky in that my sister makes the whole meal. We just show up!

This year many of us went to visit the Chicago Institute of Art; Aine and I love that place and it was fun to see it with more people.



Rock & Roll Hall of Fame by Ann Treacy
March 4, 2012, 4:28 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania

The day started about a week ago. We started in Chicago. Drove through Indiana, stopped in Cleveland Ohio for lunch and a tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and now we’re sleepy in Pittsburgh. That’s three new states that the girls and I have never visited. (Grandpa has – in fact he mention that the last time he drove this path was September 12, 2001; he was stuck in DC for 9/11 and decided to just start driving West to get home.)

We had lunch at the Great Lakes Brewing Company. It came recommended and was good – although a little loud. Then we headed to the Rock & Roll Museum.I suspect that Grandpa and I may have enjoyed the Museum more than the girls – at least one was a little crushed not to find Justin Bieber anywhere. Sadly you can’t take pictures through most of the museum – but here are some of out highlights (in no particular order):

  • Boy Scout uniform from Jim Morrison
  • Pictures from T Edwards radio program. (Including a picture of Dion; someone remembered when Dion played in Winona.)
  • Album covers from the Midwest including the following: Babes in Toyland, Prince, Husker Du, Jayhawks, Replacements, including a flyer from a show at 7th Street (Lily thought it was sad that I had been there in the last month) and that’s all I can remember.
  • ZZ Top drum set – I told Aine that they decorated the drums with their beards; that’s what it looked like anyways.
  • An undipped acid blotter sheet featuring a picture of Janis Joplin.
  • Boots (and guitar) from Johnny Cash.
  • Dress worn by Katy Perry
  • Michael Jackson’s glove & the Thriller mask
  • The giant hotdog that Phish used to land into one of their shows
  • Janis Joplin’s psychedelic car
  • Figures from The Wall (or as Aine says monster/teacher/Dr Einstein moving doll person) So wish I could have gotten a picture of that!

I’ll let you guess who loved each item. Our only sadness was that we didn’t have more time.

States visited: IL, IN, OH, PA



Road Trip Day One: Road 2, Ann 0 by Ann Treacy
March 3, 2012, 2:23 pm
Filed under: Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin

So who thought it would be a good idea to drive to Florida? What a dummy!

We started on the trip yesterday. We got on the road about noon, as scheduled. So that was good. We got a free upgrade to a minivan, which was probably good. (Not my dream vehicle – but loads of room for the girls.) Then the luck sort of ebbed.

I got a speeding ticket as soon as we crossed over the Wisconsin. I totally deserved it. I may have been able to talk my way out of it – being less than an hour in a rented car and just getting used to it – if I hadn’t been on the phone. I will give the cop credit for not asking if I knew how fast I was going. (I didn’t but I had some idea.)

Next it started snowing in Tomah. The blizzard started about 40 miles later. They closed schools in Madison about 2 hours before we got there. We were averaging about 40 miles an hour on the highway. I couldn’t read the signs. (Should have used that excuse with the ticket!)

Nearly 8 hours to get to Chicago – that’s an all-time worst record.

But once we got there bbq ribs were waiting and a cake to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. And it was fun to see the cousins. And now it’s 8:00 and we’re already in a new state. I’m not driving. SO that’s good. Mifi is working. So that’s good. And we have plenty of gas. So that’s good because I think you can enjoy Gary Indiana just as much from the car. It seems pretty industrial – and not in a glamorous oils refinery/Emerald City way. Just trains and power lines.

State Count: MN, WI, IL, IN

 




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