Saturday, July 14, 2007

Missed the Friday Night Show

Headed out to a show last night. Didn't make it. Got out the door late as it was. Then no bus in sight. Started walking - don't know where, maybe to the cross street where I could catch another bus. That one came, and I let it slide past, unsure if I really wanted to take it or if it would even get me where I was going any faster. So I kept walking.

Two blocks later, some old gal is walking across the street. I stop and stare. She looks familiar.

"Do I know you from somewhere?" she quips.

Indeed, it was her. I reminded her of who I was and how we'd been old neighborhood friends from my childhood. In fact, as an altar boy, I served at her wedding. We caught up on things after not seeing each other in years. She told me I just keep getting better looking as I age. I assured her that she did also. (Though she claims it's just more makeup!)

In the interim, I missed my bus. And the one after that. And the next one, also.

We bid each other adieu and offerred best wishes. Perhaps we shall cross paths again one day. Maybe never shall I visit with her yet before heaven.

I didn't get to the show on time - or at all. But I found something far better and more important last night. I still went to the lake and walked around. It's interesting what wonderful things you can discover when you're not looking for anything in particular.... if only attentiveness awakens sight.

Here I share some photos from my meandering.

And MORE photos from the evening out are here!

Friday, July 13, 2007

I go out walkin', after midnight

Ok, so this has absolutely nothing to do with Chicago, but still it's entertaining:

Two female Asian elephants, performers at Newmarket’s Garden Brothers’ Circus, broke free of their pen this morning and wandered into greener pastures.

They were found around 3 a.m. munching on trees and foliage outside some nearby homes by a group of friends walking nearby. One elephant was munching on a tree, a witness said during an anonymous phone call to York Police.

“We just found an elephant walking down the street,” he said to a confused dispatcher. “Like, a full grown elephant.”

The call is a riot. The guy's buddy, you hear, is leading the elephant back home to the circus down the girl's block.

Hey, even elephants have to stretch out, take a nice late night walk, and grab a bedtime snack once in awhile! (And here you thought the neighborhood racoons, rabbits, squirrels, or opossums were a big problem.)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

What book are you reading?

I picked up this little booklet (just 50 pages) the other day. Couldn't pass it up. It cost only two bucks at the Newberry gift shop/book store. (Which apparently has some connection with Hyde Park's excellent Seminary Co-Op Bookstore).

It's title is, simply, Music - A Book of Quotations. Basically, that says it all. Some citations are high minded, others just silly, a few biting in their criticism. More than a few quite ironic. Then there's the poetic. But all are awful fun. Here, let me share a few:

"Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life."
~ Beethoven

"How nice the human voice is when it isn't singing."
~ Rudolph Bing

"You can either have The Resurrection or you can have Liberace. But you can't have both."

"Music is a strange bird singing the songs of another shore."
~ J.G. Holland

"Perhaps it was because Nero played the fiddle they burned Rome."
~Oliver Herford

"Rock 'n roll music is for adolescents. It's a dead end."
~ Mick Jagger

"I don't give a damn about the Missouri Waltz but I can't say it out loud because it's the song of Missouri. It's as bad as the Star Spangled Banner so far as music is concerned."
~ Harry S. Truman

"I dreamt all this: never could my poor head have invented such a thing purposefully."
~ Richard Wagner

"Good music is wine turned to sound."
~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"If one hears bad music, it's one's duty to drown it by one's conversation."
~ Oscar Wilde

"Over the piano was printed a notice: Please do not shoot the pianist. He is doing his best."
~ Oscar Wilde

"The plaintive sound of saxophones moaning softly like a man who has sjust missed a short putt."
~ P.C. Wodehouse

"Bop is just Stravinsky played on an empty stomach."
~ Florian Zabach, violinist

"There are more love songs than anything else. If songs could make you do something, we'd all love one another."
~ Frank Zappa

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

So where was I yesterday?


The Newberry Library had an exhibit which was closing that I wanted to catch. Entitled "Ballyhoo!" it was a small selected display of items in their circus collection. The exhibit wasn't all that I might have expected. Circus fans often have larger rooms full of memorabilia. But it was interesting, nonetheless. They had a few old programs, a book or two, a bunch of pictures (some of which I hadn't seen before like the Barnum family portrait.)

My favorite item was a newspaper ad from 1891. A two page full spread for Barnum & Bailey's "Greatest Show on Earth"; it was delightful.

The promotions talk of that era was just brilliant - and believable! Why can't people write so well and credibly any longer? I spent most of my time on this one item, just carefully lapping up the entire piece.

Circus fans might have found of particular note or special interest an item which it mentioned. In speaking of the seriousness of the artistic exhibition under the big top, the chatter said that nothing was sold in the performance tent during the show. Rather, one would need to go to the appropriate vendor in the menagerie area. Now, I'm certain there was some business sense and scheme to this particular model. But it certainly isn't what has grown up over the past century in typical circus hawking tactics... until of late. The more "serious" artistic endeavors such as Cirque du Soleil or Big Apple Circus have similar policies now. They want your attention directed entirely to the show, itself, when the performance is underway. Hmmm... everything old is new again. I suppose you could say that it has come "full circle"!

Later that evening....

I mosied on over to the Loyola Museum of Art in the Lewis Tower campus across from the legendary Water Tower.

I've heard a lot of chatter about this museum and wanted to check it out for some time. They have late hours (open till 8) and free admission Tuesday. Plus the advertised exhibit on Pope John Paul and his role in Catholic - Jewish relations seemed interesting. It was better than I thought.

There's been a lot of discussion on the life if this man, and having lived through his papacy I am no stranger to it's extent. Therefore, I expected this to be a nice little, short walkthrough. As I entered, there was a docent led tour occurring. I kind of felt that it got in my way. So I hung back, figuring that the lady wasn't going to tell me anything that I didn't already know or couldn't learn from the exhibit, itself. I'm glad I did. This gave me the opportunity to spend more time with items of interest. I had the chance to let it breathe and speak to me in a unique and individualized way.

I quickly found that there were aspects of his life which I didn't understand at all. Who knew that the town he grew up in, for instance, was about equidistant (and only around 30 miles) from both Krakow and the eventual location of Auschwich?

The entire exhibit is extremely well done. You get a genuine feel for the things it is expressing. Like the window of his native apartment overlooking the neighboring parish clocktower. Or the environment of his hometown during the Holocoust.

There was even a display which discussed the language of Good Friday's liturgical prayers pre and post Council reforms. This seemed so pertinent considering the recent re-establishment of the old Latin Mass.

Indeed, the exhibit as a whole brought to memory and life things which I might never have understood as well before. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone who can attend!

Oh, and another tour caught up to me in the process. But this guide was more interesting, peppering her walkthrough with little stories of "Lolich"'s life (the childhood nickname of Karol Wotyla) and that of his friend, Jerzy Kluger, even adding in some local flavor. It made things interesting and I stuck it through with her little group.

On the upper level of LUMA is presently the artwork (largely religious oriented) of Chicagoan David Lee Csicsko. It's also worth walking through. His images are eclectic and thoroughly modern. Some of the stuff connected with me, other stuff just seemed weird. But, then, I suppose this is what art ought to do - cause us to have individual reactions and stir our emotions and intellects. EVERYONE has an opinion, afterall!

The funniest thing about his exhibit, however, was the room encircled with blackline drawings of Catholic saints. In the middle are some small statues and sculptures (perhaps not his work, but others on permanent display?) One is entitled, "Playboy Bunny". Well, now, how's that for offering artistic contrast!

Then for the nightcap!

I swung by Swirl to hear the jazz duo of Erin McDougald and Kyle Asche. They're appearing at this tony wine bar every Tuesday night from 8 - 11.

Whatcha been doin'?

I HATE this question!

I don't think a lot about what I've "been" up to, typically. It's already in the past. Rather, I focus on the present moment and worry about what's to come.

But, while it's fresh in my mind, I'll tell you - and you alone - what I've done in recent days....

Let me set the stage.

It's summer in Chicago. The best time of year. Summer seems so short, so we have to jampack everything into a few brief weeks. But every day is an opportunity. There's so much to do, so little time. Just enjoy as much as possible and make it last.

Over the following several entries, I'll detail my own escapades.

"Tim On The Town"

So, as I've mentioned, I never really much wanted to blog. Oh, occasionally, I've had something to "put out there" that I wanted to say. But I've always found a forum for it, when the need has arisen.

Why, then, blog? And what is this blog about?

It's been noted to me that I get out and about a bit around the City and Chicago, my native land. And friends often express that they enjoy how I write. I'm entertaining and intelligent in my manner of expression, they say. "Erudite and articulate" as commentator, I've been called. "One of the things I admire most about you is that you write and express yourself VERY well, even when you are 'ranting,'" said another. Some have asked me to offer a personal review of things I've seen or heard.

Does it sound like I'm bragging? Well, OF COURSE I AM! But, in all humility, I thought it would be worthwhile to share, rather than keep things to myself. It could be fun, afterall. Now, I've finally found an incentive to try it out online.

"And what was that," you dare to inquire?

It's been a busy week. I've discovered something cool, interesting, touching indeed. And I expect to take advantage of additional culture events before the week expires. So, as I wandered upon my stomping grounds downtown last night, Tim pondered what was all around. And a catchy something to call it came to mind: "Tim on the Town"! "That's IT!" I thought, and decided to make it a go. So here I am.

This, then, will be a blog to share my experiences of being "On the Town" in such a great city: Chicago. I'll offer insights and opinions about arts, culture, literature, entertainment, history, music, sports... or just happennings I have enjoyed (or maybe HAVEN'T enjoyed) with life in the big city. Mainly, it's merely my musings about, well, whatever I choose. I may even expose you to certain things around the town (and beyond) that you never knew about. Essentially, I'm inviting you to enjoy with me this journey through life, centered here in the wonderful City of Chicago. Here's hoping you'll tag along!

What is this thing called blog?

I've never considered myself much cut out for blogging. I'm more the conversationalist type. I like to interact: give and take, play off others. That's not to say I don't instigate at times. But, this too is intended to stimulate thought with the option of talking it through.

Yet blogging seems so unidirectional. I talk to you, plainly, it appears; the initial ideas all mine.

Still, sometimes there is something which just HAS to be said; that must be shared. And so, I'll let it out; not knowing if anyone will hear, listen, or even care. It isn't like Tim is short on opinions or words, afterall. Those who know this man often wonder why he won't shut up. So here I can have my forum. And you can choose: engage or ignore.

Now, then, it all begins. In the immortal words of Jackie Gleason, "And awaaaaaay we go!"