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Night of 1,000 Jack o’Lanterns

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From Night of 1,000 Jack o’Lanterns

This weekend from Thursday through Sunday the Chicago Botanic Garden is holding the Night of 1,000 Jack o’Lanterns. I got tickets in advance which turned out to be essential since it’s sold out for all days.

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The event is well planned. Our time to enter was 7:45 pm and though we arrived at the gardens on time the line to enter was long, so we should have come earlier. After parking, and we lucked out that they directed traffic so well that we must have hit the period when those who came at 5:30 had all left so we got to park in the lot nearest the visitors’ center. After entering we found long lines, but they moved swiftly.

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Sea Monster

Once inside we were delighted by Halloween music and dozens of jack o’lanterns, large and small. Well, huge and mid-size is more accurate. The “small” jack o’lanterns were the size most families buy and the big ones were perhaps 3 feet high. The jumbo ones were carved by artists and were grouped by themes. Themes included musicians, Chicago sports, Flora of Illinois, Fairy Tales, and Classic Halloween.

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After about an hour we reached a fork in the paths. One side led to the exit and the other to the model train exhibit. Though I’ve seen the model train exhibit, which consists of models of American sites like the French Quarter in New Orleans, the Hollywood sign or Wrigley’s Field, we decided to go again. I’m so glad we did. They’d decked out the buildings made of twigs and the trains with ghosts, goblins, witches, pumpkins and such.

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Then after exiting the model train exhibit we got to see two more themes of jack o’lanterns: Fairy Tales and Classic Halloween.

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Tickets are sold out. For members they were $12 and for non-members $14.

Parking for members is free and it costs $25 for non-members.

 

 

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Halloween on Chicago’s Gold Coast

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Here are some photos from a walk around the Gold Coast of Chicago as Halloween approaches.

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People are really getting into the spirit.

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Open House Chicago: The Arts Club

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I was delighted to explore Chicago this weekend with my former student Melody at Open House Chicago, a two-day free event where you can go inside over 200 buildings, many of which are usually closed to the public. Both Saturday and Sunday it rained like cats and dogs, but that didn’t deter us. In fact, it seemed like lots of people were intrepid enough to venture out.

We started at The Arts Club, simply because it was centrally located and I’d never heard of it. I learned that The Arts Club began after the 1913 Armory show came to Chicago. For the most part, people panned the art show which featured modern art that was quite shocking and outrageous. They didn’t appreciate Duchamp’s upside down urinal, which he entitled Fountain.

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Yet more progressive art lovers did embrace the modern revolutionary art and they banded together to make sure Chicago did not miss out on the avant garde. That’s how the Arts Club began and it’s continued to bring modern art to the city.

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At the Arts Club, Fall 2017

Today the Arts Club is at 210 E. Ontario Street and Tuesday through Friday they welcome the public to their galleries on the first floor. Only members are allowed upstairs, but for the Open House we were allowed up.

So the hoi poloi could wander around the meeting area and dining room where an eclectic mix of art was on display.

Questions:

  1. What is your opinion of the art shown here?
  2. What is your opinion of modern art?
  3. Who is your favorite modern artist?

Travel Theme: Names

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Downtown Chicago

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Not backwards, that’s the name in Jinan, China

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Café, Pekanbaru, Indonesia

In response to Ailsa’s prompt this week, I’m sharing photos with names.

What does Names make you think of? If you fancy exploring the unfamiliar, exotic and unknown for this week’s travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  1. Create your own post and title it Travel Theme: Names
  2. Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  3. Watch out for the next travel theme which will come out next weekend
  4. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.
  5. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
    ❤ Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

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Church

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week is to share photos of objects that begin with the letter C.

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Cake

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Chocolates

Travel Theme: Animal Companions

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In response to Ailsa’s prompt this week, I’m sharing photos of the public art campaign in Chicago this summer. These artsy dogs commemorate police dogs.

What does Animal Companions make you think of? If you fancy exploring the unfamiliar, exotic and unknown for this week’s travel theme (everyone’s welcome!) here’s what to do:

  1. Create your own post and title it Travel Theme: Animal Companion
  2. Include a link to this page in your post so others can find it too
  3. Watch out for the next travel theme which will come out next weekend
  4. Don’t forget to subscribe to keep up to date on the latest weekly travel themes.
  5. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS.
    ❤ Ailsa of Where’s My Backpack?

Saint & Sinners Tour

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If you’re in Chicago this summer on a Friday and if you like history, take the Driehaus Museum’s Saints and Sinners walking tour. I took it on Friday and learned so much about the reformers behind the Temperance Movement and the people it affected and the hoodlums who came to power with Prohibition.

We started at the Driehaus Museum and learned the foundations of the Temperance Movement, the people behind it and the era of saloons and the power saloons owners in the city.

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We then went to the Tree Studios. In the late 19th Century Lambert Tree built tree buildings for artists to work and live rent-free. The first floor was for shops to take in rent to off-set the costs of the building. How smart. Artists lived there from 1894 till 2000. Now the Tree Studios have been restored and are office space and reception rooms which can be rented out.

At the Tree Studios we got our first drink. We could choose from beer, wine or water. Then we repaired to a courtyard where we learned about saloons and how they were organized. At first a saloon had to purchase beer from one brewery. However, saloon owners would switch breweries to get a better deal and bigger profits.

Brewers then borrowed the ideas of the “Tied-House” from England. The Brewers bought saloons and only let their brand be sold there. Saloon owners now became managers. While they lost power at work, they continued to have political power because many barkeeps were precinct captains and ward bosses.

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After the Tree Studios we went to St. James’ Cathedral, Fourth Presbyterian Church, the Drake Hotel, and Holy Name Cathedral. I learned a lot about female reformers, preachers, the social services that saloons provided. and prohibition and the unintended consequences, i.e. organized crime, that came from that. Along the way we had a couple more drinks. You could choose from a cocktail, beer, wine or soft drinks. The tour finished at the Kerryman Pub and lasted 3 hours.

The tour had 2 knowledgeable guides and we had 12 participants. You had to be 21 years old to take this tour. Price: $45 includes three drinks.

Another Reading

https://vimeo.com/peopleshistory/kevin-coval-nelson-algren-chicago

Here’s another reading of Algren’s poetic Chicago: City on the Make.

Chicago: City on the Make

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Nelson Algren blew me away with his powerful poetic prose in Chicago: City on the Make. I expected it to be a novel, but it isn’t. It’s a prose poem essay that packs a lot of history and observation into very well written essays on the city. Written in the 6o’s, Chicago: City on the Make brought old Chicago, one that’s grittier and livelier to life. Algren’s Chicago was getting softened up, suburbanized almost when he wrote the book. Now downtown at least is like a lot of cities, though the neighborhoods are quite individual.

The book’s a must-read for people who know the city and want to learn more. The 50th Anniversary edition that I read has a lot of good annotations, but there were some references that weren’t covered that I had to use Bing to find.

Half-way through the book, I emailed a friend who teaches a unit on Chicago in her high school urging her to add at least a few chapters from the book to the class reading list.

Here are a few quotations from a book that’s full of great passages:

“Yet once you’ve come to be part of this particular patch, you’ll never love another. Like loving a woman with a broken nose, you may well find lovelier lovelies. But never a lovely so real.”

“…a city that was to live by night after the wilderness had passed. A city that was to forge out of steel and blood-red neon its own peculiar wilderness.”

“It’s the place built out of Man’s ceaseless failure to overcome himself. Out of Man’s endless war against himself we build our successes as well as our failures. Making it the city of all cities most like Man himself— loneliest creation of all this very old poor earth.”

Weekly Photo Challenge: Frame

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Chicago, Illinois

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Nara, Japan

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Thailand

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts. Add Media photos from each month’s most popular challenge.

Other themed photos:

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