Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Bean, Brushstrokes, Large Buildings & Blackhawks-Bruins

I enjoyed Chicago. It was the first time I skipped around the city and truthfully, it was clean, organized, and had the best outdoor interactive art.

Seriously, whoever had the idea to create The Bean (actually titled Cloud Gate), and the financiers themselves, should be given a large medal of art honor and free tickets to anything in Chicago. If I were a sociology student I would enthusiastically title my thesis: What People Do When They Visit The Bean. It’s an array of hectic hesitance when people approach the large reflecting structure and then calming reassurance when they realize that everyone around them is just rapidly taking pictures of themselves.

From large reflective art to brushstrokes in the Impressionist wing, where we only had a short time to visit the Van Gogh and Manet paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago. For some reason, although I had been an art minor in school, I had never fully understood the voluminous collection of art in Chicago. It was wonderful and just as I was thinking to myself “I wonder if they have any Van Gogh” I stumbled upon his Room at Arles, which I’ve appreciated since high school.

The Bean at Sunset

Room at Arles

It was a pure tourist weekend, and I realized that fully as I was on a boat for the Architecture Tour waving at someone from the window of a Steak House facing the water. I was a tourist, why not wave back? The architecture in Chicago is unique and definitive. Each building has purpose and style. After the fire of 1871, when the city was virtually destroyed, architects came to Chicago to build new structures and make their mark.

Side Note: One interesting fact I learned on this tour was that Chicago was not named the Windy City because of the characteristics of weather patterns. It was actually named for their verbose politicians. 

If you don’t have time to go on the architecture tour, you can also visit the Museum of Science and Industry where they have a large train set of the city of Chicago. It’s like the architecture tour, but miniature and with trains.

Also at the Museum of Science and Industry, where Joe and I spent our entire Sunday because it was actually really cool, there is an exhibit called the Smart Home. The Smart Home is a module house that is energy efficient and technology savvy. The home is made from recycled materials and designed to work with the Chicago landscape. My favorite thing was the Induction Cooktop, where the surface heats fast and efficiently, but only reacts to iron or magnetic material – so you will virtually never burn yourself. 

Later Saturday evening we had the pleasure of going to the Blackhawks-Bruins Game, the two previous Stanley Cup Winners. I always love going to arenas outside of Boston because it’s fun to see the difference in energy level and fan loyalty. In Chicago, they sing the national anthem through the entire song. There was also a fan sitting behind me that kept yabbering about the players. Surprising the Bruins players were not the target of his criticism, but in fact his very own home team. The only time he even mentioned the Bruins was to comment on how tall Chara was. I thought it funny that he was so critical of his own team, but I guess every fan gets frustrated at points.

His constant commentary did make me want to write a series of blog posts titled, More Women Should go to Sporting Events Because at Least We Don’t Say Anything if We Don’t Know What We’re Talking About – Thus Making it More Enjoyable for All. Kind of a long title so I recoiled my initial thought. Anyway – you win some, you lose some and luckily the Bruins won in penalty shots.

Big Chicago
Mini Chicago
Smart Home, notice the vertical garden on the left by the stairs. 
Cute pumpkins and things grown at the Smart Home. 
@the game.

Potentially more on Chicago so stay tuned!


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