Not Watching the St. Paddy’s Day Parade

Feet First | 186

Saturday, 12 March

Feet First | 186

Here I am, standing in the middle of Monroe Street, between the Art Institute Modern Wing and Millennium Park. Just because I could. The parade was going down Columbus Avenue and cops had blocked off Monroe.

Saturday was crazy downtown, with revelers starting the party before the midday parade. I escaped into the Art Institute to see the exhibit on John Marin's watercolors and Kings, Queens, and Courtiers (Art in Early Renaissance France.)

American Gothic

Visitors snapping fine art with their cameraphones. A moment later, someone held up their iPad to take a shot.

I did manage to catch a glimpse of the Chicago River, which had been turned green hours early, per tradition. I can't recall if I'd ever seen it before. It is quite green.

Saturday, 3 pm

Saturday 3 p.m. ~ Big Stone Things

Big old head

I visited the Oriental Institute in Hyde Park yesterday to see the exhibit Visible Language, which included the earliest example of cuneiform writing (from 3200 BC Mesopotamia) and Egyptian examples from 3300 BC. Very interesting.

The trip was a good excuse to visit some old friends, like the impressive two-story high fellow above. This museum is one of my favorites, filled with great old stuff and big stone things. It's quiet, rarely crowded, and has an old-school museum vibe that I like.

Afterward, I took a spin through the fantastic book stores nearby, the Seminary Co-Op and its sister store 57th Street Books, my favorite book shop in the city. I found a book I've been looking for that's not available in my library, Goat Song by Brad Kessler (whose book Birds in Fall I loved) about a year spent on his goat farm) as well as a nice copy of Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans–a classic I've long wanted to read.

Saturday 3 p.m. ~ Slogging Through Henry James

Based on our success with Washington Square, my book club chose The Ambassadors for our annual discussion of a classic over tea at the Peninsula Hotel downtown. We're all discovering it to be a bit a challenge, which is good, but tough reading at a stretch. After a few minutes, I find the words floating off the page, jumbling in my brain. Reading the notes and criticism in my annotated edition is helping.