Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Playing the Tourist

Another short little adventure to Chicago, Illinois. I haven't been to the Windy City in almost eight years or so. Back then, I was in Rosemont, rarely going beyond Wizard World Chicago. Now the times have changed. Birds fly into the photographs.
I had a splendid three days in majestic Chicago. Warm, pleasing weather (despite a mild morning Wednesday morning rain) added beneficial enjoyment to a city of profound art and historic skyscrapers. I walked almost everywhere and rode trains, taking in the majestic nature. I met up with former PAFA alums, including a classmate and explored highlights through their eyes. Plus, I ate a marvelous dinner with a fellow black woman vegan Twitter friend. My trip wasn't purely secluded mini vacation, but a time to fully interact and engage with people, to truly get to know them further. For that to happen among industrial backgrounds, famous landmarks, and delicious food (okay, there were bad food experiences, but I'll get to that later), made my short visit amazingly wonderful. I couldn't have asked for better company.

It took hours to find my temporal resting place. This wasn't the first instance of Google Maps steering me in the incorrect direction. Once my phone eventually bid me adieu, dying in the middle of my panic, I had a moment of sitting on the ground, watching the sun threaten to fall below horizon, leaving me a stranded mess on the other side of my location, Yes, I was almost half an hour away, having walked the opposite direction. A policewoman geared into the correct way. Her companion asked if I wanted to call a taxi. Of course not. Twenty minutes is nothing. I found my location, drank the free water, rested my head on a Frida Kahlo pillow, and smiled my relief.
The next day, I visited The Art Institute of Chicago, meeting a fellow PAFA alum (who recently graduated from the School of Art Institute's graduate program).

Inside Trip Advisor's Top Museum (love the independent film inspired insignia), you'll find famous works like Georges Seurat's "A Sunday Afternoon At the Island of Grand Jatte," Edward Hopper's late night diner special "Nighthawks," and Grant Wood's iconic Midwestern "American Gothic." However, if you're like me, you would appreciate works by Beauford Delaney, Gabrielle Munter, and Cauleen Smith.

We visited the Africa section first, drawn in by elegant fabrics, compelling weaving, and commendable blacksmithing. The fabrics alone are remarkable.

Twine and painted wood with fabric.
This is a breathtakingly exquisite Royal Tunic and Coronet of Yoruba in Odo-Ona Iilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria that was owned by Oba (King) Dele Adeshina of Odo-Ona Ilorin. It's comprised of glass beads, cloth, and string, early 2oth century.

Moccasins fit for the king.

This is the back of the tunic-- just sophisticatedly detailed!

Posers posing in Jeff Koons' elaborate gold mirror.

It was such an honor to see the Marc Chagall stained glass windows of a serene, calming blue with little shards of color like magical prisms embedded into corner walls.

Marc Chagall continued. So as we sat in front of the gorgeous piece of art, I had charged my dying phone between two computers-- an artwork installation of some sort. I turned around for a moment, chatting with my friend. When I looked back, a man was holding onto my phone, clutching it while scrolling with the computer mouse. I had to let him know that the phone was mine, that it needed to be charged. He apologized and set it down. He and his companion leave, but not before the next couple sit down and shout, "Sir, you've forgotten your phone!" It was downright hysterical. I suppose that the better solution would have been to charge at a nearby café.

Views of Chicago skyline from my friend's automobile. We were on our way to see Jennifer Packer's show (she was a visiting critic to both of us).

Runners jogging on a supremely gorgeous day. The water was absolutely riveting, the beads of sunlight sparkling on the glittery river, a sight to behold with the many scattered yachts sitting atop.

Downtown Chicago at night.

The American Writer Museum actually exists.

The Chicago water taxi line was packed. One day, I'll get on and find a new destination.

Ohio and Michigan's old rivalry with Ohio coming out on top! Yay!

I would love to thank this stranger who took a bunch of lovely photos of me by the Buckingham Fountain, one of the several existing structures featured in one of my favorite films, Love Jones. I was soooo ecstatic to see it in person. Such an astounding sight to see.
Anish Kapoor's reflective "Cloud Gate" otherwise known as "The Bean" lets visitors see themselves in obscurity alongside the background of skyscraper glory.

Underneath "The Bean."

Seeing myself in the object itself.

Last glimpse of "The Bean," seemingly located in the pocket of the city.

Bon voyage, Chicago. I hope to visit again very soon.

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