“Our Kind of Town”

April 18, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, TRAVEL | 0 Comments |

Chicago, April 2018

The wind comes howling in off the lake and gosh only knows if they ever heard of lobster Newburg” – Charles Foster Kane to his friend Jedediah in Citizen Kane, concerning Chicago.  We’re with Mr Leland. Chicago is our kind of town.

There’s a famous coffee chain named after a character in “Moby Dick”, but The Varnished Culture finds its slave-free coffee tastes like mud.  We went instead to this place (below) on West Adams Street with the impressive gold-vaulted roof. The Anglosphere, in the main, doesn’t seem to get what they do on the continent, or South America, and parts of Australia: ensure that coffee is properly made.  But Bowtruss gets it:

The ‘Second City’ is to New York as Melbourne is to Sydney, but we don’t have to put up with the grotesque and amorphous Picasso monstrosity at Federal Plaza, or this;

At least you can tell what Miró was trying to do

It’s a construction town, and The Varnished Culture took an architectural tour on the Chicago River, by way of the sublimely-named ‘Wacker Drive’ (America doesn’t get that one)…(and the boat had a bar)…

Chicago River…note yet another Trump Tower

There’s a satisfying blend of good, bad, and evil to be seen in the Chicagoan built environment…

Image result for gaudi chicago

After Gaudi

and Blake, clearly a real architectural student, conducted us through Chicago’s construction-alley with wit and erudition. We do have to venture the opinion that architects act like mathematicians who wished they went to Art School or the English Literature Department, because a lot of their lingo comes off as pure metaphysical tosh.

Superb Empire-style homage to chewing gum – The Wrigley Building

Before we undertook this most didactic of river tours, we fortified ourselves at a favoured Mediterranean eatery…the splendid Petterino’s on 150 N Dearborn St (try the veal – the best in the city);

…and also took in the 3rd highest view in the western hemisphere, atop the boxed conglomeration of the Willis Tower…

Sears Tower (sorry, Willis Tower) – described on opening in 1973 as “not unlike staggered stacks of catalogs.”

and then we enjoyed sights from the River –

Art Deco fortress…Merchandise Mart

The ‘Screaming Skull’ would have conducted the orchestra in works of  Wagner, and others, here…

…and Nathan Hale showed Chicago that it was no ‘Second City’….

“What pity is it That we can die but once to serve our country”

Blake forgot to mention the superb foundry:

… but he mentioned the Herald newspaper Building…

…and across the way, after we looked beyond Yellow Man:

…we went to one of the many grills in Chicago where you can get the 2nd city’s legendary stockyard steaks;

Smith & Wollensky was great for filet mignon and lobster BLT, but our waiter, Igor, insisted on calling L “dear” and “honey” which was somewhat against the grain (to massively understate the case)…

But then we beheld a Pale Horse that made us realise it was time to leave the Windy City; “Pretty Woman – The Musical”…what a nauseating concept.


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