April 15, 2012

Someone please tell Trump Pere that it’s not 1930 and his son should not be shooting large prehistoric animals “on safari” in Africa. Only Troglodytes do it, like Go Daddy’s Bob Parsons whose blog could be the worst on the web.

The measure of a civilization is how it treats children, the needy, and animals. The best of the best is the Trio Animal Foundation that pays medical expenses of stray and homeless dogs and cats; check www.trioanimalfoundation.org for details of the May 19th fundraiser Rockin to the Rescue hosted by Alpana Singh; Joan Cusack is on the host committee.

On Michigan Avenue

Read Peter Nolan’s new book Campaign!, the story of the 1983 mayoral election, as in Harold Washington versus Bernie Epton. Peter was a news anchor at the time so we get his first hand portraits of the major dramatis personae in this sad chapter in the history of racism in Chicago politics from Jane Byrne to Richie Daley, the two Fast Eddies in the Council Wars (how soon we forget!), Bilandic – remember when local yokels made such a fuss about his wife Heather serving canard a l’orange to the Carters? Or Byrne’s calculated “move” to the Cabrini Green projects?

County Board Chairman George W. Dunne was always pro- Washington and was as fine a politician as we ever encountered; now that’s a biography that should be written.

Finally watched Mad Men with all its anachronisms: never heard the word “bitchin” in the 60s when we worked in advertising at Van Nostrand, but every day, or almost every day, we went to lunch at 1 0’clock at the Princeton Inn for martinis and mushrooms on toast and returned to the office around 3 or 4 to turn off the lights at the desk. All that stopped when a colleague fell down the stairs and broke a leg. Yes everyone smoked Winstons and got woozy and flirted with the waiters but it was fun and perhaps should revisit the custom in the Joyless Pol Cor World of 2012 of yoga and diuretics.

Silence - No Problem

What the hell happened to the Cultural Center AKA Preston Bradley Hall? Always a refuge from the elements with a nod to literacy, (if a bit unkempt,) it is now Alphaville, devoid of life and vitality, sterilized by the administration.

Went on annual visit to the Art Institute, ($18 entrance fee) such dix neufieme optimism, grand scale, such a pursuit of beauty, whatever that meant. Another world in a time capsule, though all the bored school children scooting around and kissing teenagers never fail to distract. God — give them a special day of the month to themselves.

What would the AIC have been today without the late James Wood’s steady guidance and cautious administration not to mention his graciousness to the press (we loved him) those years after the Shestack Fiasco and sword crossing with Leigh Block. Cuno didn’t stay very long and bolted to the Getty in California last year.

Oh Dear!

The old Post-Impressionist favorites still glow but the Modern Wing needs to be reconsidered, as in this “offering” by Mike Kelley. Who approved this? They have a lot to answer for, though the Brancusi or two suave and inoffensive and the Richters great. The museum shop needs a facelift.

Journalistic Ethics Time: we inquire periodically about travel writing for magazines and newspapers. There is a grey ambiguous area that is centered around the old conundrum Objectivity and Conflict of Interest. New York Times Travel section, Travel & Leisure and all Conde Nast publications unequivocally state that they do not accept press trips, and have a “no freebie” policy –i.e. nothing gratis from food to drinks to air tickets to hotel rooms for writers both staff and free lancers.

The acceptance of gratuities is seen to bias the reporting. This would apply to restaurant reviewing too on a different scale, but there you are. Maybe the time has come to stop the cant and just say magazines are about advertising pure and simple and content just an added feature, a sideline so to speak. Do Chicago glossies have this no-freebie policy? Just asking!

What do you think of the Kingdom of the Rich Fantasy wherein poor writers (as we have usually been) who live modestly imagine they are in the Room at the Top because they write about those who are? Is it because as Taki said the secret is out and it is more fun to be rich than poor, so we pretend? Well, there is no more genuinely exclusive group or class as there was in the pre war years. The 1980s finally killed them off and made money the sole defining principle of “class” with all those no-culture hedge fund crooks, ball players and entertainers.

Cindy Sherman

Here’s the look of the self-styled society lady from the brilliant Cindy Sherman exhibition at MoMA. More 1990s than the hot mamma look of today.

Salman Rushdie is becoming the Richard Meier of the lit world, ubiquitous lover of living the social life and getting press. Like Hemingway.

Colin Clark, who’s diaries about his liaison with Marilyn Monroe were the basis for the absurd movie, was the son of Kenneth Clark, Lord Clark of Saltwood (or Civilization) whom he approached to allow the crazed actress (who probably thought Raphael or Leonardo were old boyfriends) to view the Royal Collection. You must read Another Part of the Wood, a captivating memoir of K’s early life in Scotland and beyond.

Che Guevara’s last name was Lynch and his father was from Eire; he said his son had the blood of Irish rebels in his veins. Motorcycle Diaries a dreary biopic of the revolutionary’s early days though Oliver Stone’s JFK a far more important film than acknowledged at the time. Speaking of conspiracy, Jonathon Wells informs us from London that there is a movie about Diana’s death funded by the dogged Fayeds.

Another World

D’ya luv actors who get paid too much to pretend they’re someone else then do a Jane Fonda and have major statements about politics, world affairs, everything, as in De Niro’s offensive remarks about (Caucasian) first ladies or Ben Affleck’s new found passion for The Congo? Very Comical.

We would review more theatre which we love except that even the cheapest matinee ticket is $45. The much lauded “dinner theatre” Lookingglass production of Cascabel, an old idea, was too costly had we even wanted to witness the grab bag, hedge your bets entertainment extravaganza. We look forward to the very smart Freud’s Last Session at the very smart Mercury.

Angels in America is at the Court. We are invited to see it in Kathmandu where it is being produced and directed by One World Theater’s Deborah Merola, our college roommate in Madison.

At the Graham

With Chris Newman, former editor of Chicago Magazine and the person responsible for many a literary career before the mag succumbed to Second City provincial boosterism (local media and that irritating Our Town’s So and So and Our Town’s blab bla, –tres Omaha!) went to the Stanley Tigerman exhibition at the Graham Foundation’s austere Madelener House. Every floor festooned with drawings of his architecture and crafts and though he is a fine architect, as in the Holocaust Museum in Skokie, we could do without the imaginative flights into literature, crafts, design, and so on.

Now that Paige Rense, who had her favorites, is gone from AD will Margaret Russell give more space to Chicago architects and designers?

Bravo to Robert Feder who had the chutzpah to mock the perpetually genial, perpetually smiling (said he wanted to shake Allison Rosati) Channel 5 news team for schmoozing with Blago during The Long Goodbye. And to The Reader for its fearless reporting issues others don’t touch like the article about Columbia College and Prez Warwick Carter’s distinctly bad form performance in telling a student to Shut Up in a meeting.

JDM and New Harmony

Are you involved with the Save Prentice preservation debate? Should Bertrand Goldberg’s New Brutalist concrete structure be razed? We tend to agree with the Prince of Wales that more often than not the products of that concrete-heavy style of architecture are like “monstrous carbuncles on the face of an old and beloved friend.”

Well what about Ann Romney’s hanging around the house and choosing not to be shackled to a desk all day staring at a blue screen while pursuing a CAREER, always a massive headache? It pays to remember Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, from 1970, arguing that women do not realize how much men hate them; we rarely have a chance in business unless a father or husband shepherd the way. Men Who Hate Women is the original, Swedish title of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

A visit to John David Mooney’s environmental sculpture studio on Kinzie is always stimulating. He showed us his plans to take the utopian town of New Harmony, Indiana off the grid and harvest energy from the sun. We need more visionaries like John who is a player on the international art scene.

Sabatino's

Maria Lampros and Olga Geocaris are chairing the April 29th fundraiser to benefit the Friends of University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) Pediatrics with author Sherrill Bodine. The cocktail reception is being hosted by Gabrielle Herberstein at152 W. Huron St. Chicago. RSVP to Mv1101@aol.com Friends was founded just three years ago to support of Children’s Hospital at UIC. Helen Applegate is chair of the 46 member council. For information: 947-615-7107

Vittle Notes: Sabatino’s on Irving Park Rd. a red sauce restaurant from mid 20th century, loved the ambiance, large glasses of rosso and everything parm; Delightful Pastries on North Wells, a Polish bakery, so precious, so good; Publican’s sandwicherie heavy on the bread but best soup in the city; Third Coast on Dearborn always good fare—they are also in Flagstaff now; Airport Captive Audience – you can’t bring decent sized bottle of water through security so they hit you up $5 later, then provide no WiFi; Good Eats’ host Ted Brunson should forego the bad taste double entendre.

 

 

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