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More Tales From The Windy City

So far I have talked about art and baseball in Chicago, now it’s time for a few words on its architecture, which of course is amazing. While Tish got some rest at our charming hotel in Oak Park (home of Ernest Hemingway), I did a self-guided tour of the architectural highlights of The Loop, as they call their downtown. Most of all I enjoyed seeing the older highrises, like the art deco style Carbide & Carbon Building from 1929 (see picture above), but of course I also had to take the elevator ride up to the skydeck of the Sears Tower – after all it’s still the highest building in the western hemisphere. Technically it’s not the Sears Tower anymore, though. Some stupid company bought the name rights in 2009 (but I won’t do them the favor of mentioning their name). It was fun to look down on 412 meters of nothing between me and the ground.

And then there’s “The Bean” (or “Cloud Gate”, as it is officially called). There seems to a law that every tourist visiting Chicago has to take a picture of his own reflection on the seemless steel exterior of this sculpture by Anish Kapoor. And who are we to disobey the law?

Another thing you can do with The Bean is taking pictures for a quinceañera in front of it:

Finally: the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. Does it look familiar to you, even though you have never been to Chicago? That’s probably because you, just like me, watched a lot of episodes of the TV series „Married with Children“ („Eine schrecklich nette Familie“). Check out the first shot of the title sequence!

(Written in Hamburg, Germany, August 4, 2012)

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Go Cubs Go!

To most Europeans, baseball is an eternal mystery. We don’t understand the rules, we don’t know any of the teams nor players, and we have a hard time understanding where the fun in watching that sport lies. I tried to get into it a little more during our trip, but didn’t get very far, mostly because I couldn’t find anyone who was willing to do the tedious work of explaing those complicated rules to a complete novice („Just look it up on Wikipedia!“) .

So we were not very well prepared when we finally got a chance to watch a live game in Chicago. Unfortunately it didn’t take place at the old stadium Wrigley Field, but instead at the rather sterile U. S. Cellular Stadium. The good part was that we got to see a local derby (or crosstown rivalry, as I think they call it in Amercia), a game between the two Chicago teams, the White Sox and the Cubs. From what I read about this rivalry, the Cubs are the underdogs that are losing most of the time, which of course made me think of “my” local soccer team in Hamburg, the FC St. Pauli, who hardly ever wins a game against the other Hamburg team, the HSV (we did though in 2011, and Tish and I were there!).

So with our sympathies slightly on the Cubs side, it was cool to see them gain one of their rare victories against the White Sox (and note: at the Sox’ stadium, which once again reminded me of that glorious day in 2011). On the other hand, the final score of 2:1 tells you that with only three runs this wasn’t one the most exciting games in baseball history. And as for the crosstown rivalry, it seems that baseball lovers are much more relaxed and less fanatical about this kind of thing than German soccer fans. I leave it up to you to decide whether that’s good or bad.

M-Maybe

A visit to the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at the phantastic Art Institute of Chicago gave me the opportunity of a close-up encounter with one of my favorite paintings.

In the meantime Tish studied the details of another classic American work of art:

***

Many years ago the band Television Personalities released a song called “Lichtenstein Painting” that I have always loved:

State By State (20/21/22): Michigan, Indiana + Illinois

“Pure Michigan” – what is that supposed to mean?

Michigan, our second state in the Midwest, saw a wonderful Tish concert at „The Ark“, a great club in Ann Arbor. For the following day we had planned a trip to nearby Detroit, but then we literally forgot about it and hit the road instead. Most people I talked to told me that we didn’t miss a lot, but I would have preferred to find out myself.

Like with West Virginia or Maryland, we didn’t get to know Indiana at all. All we did was drive through its northern part for about an hour. Our stay in Illinois, on the other hand, lasted for three days, but it was strictly confined to visiting Chicago, so I don’t have a lot to say about Illinois as a state either. At least we took decent pictures of all three state lines …