June 1


June 1, 2012

Julius Meinl's on Montrose

Have you registered with www.GuideStar.org yet? It’s free and you can get nonprofit IRS 990 returns as a matter of public record. Great rainy afternoon activity to check out the bottom line of grantors and grantees – revenue received, expended, admin costs, benefit costs and where your ticket price goes.

U.S. senators are investigating charges that the Disabled Veterans National Foundation has spent little of the tens of millions of dollars it has raised on programs to help veterans,  and paid $60-million to a direct-marketing firm for candy, hand-sanitizers.

Hey if you have to hire a “consulting” firm to write your mission statement or figure out where to spend the money you should close your doors. We worked for a local charity that hired mega bucks consultants to create meaningless proposals.

Trio's Joan Cusack, Jill Cahr, Sue Naiden

The Trio Animal Foundation event at Double Doors was a great success. Stalwarts include Joan Cusack who is often in her shop Judy Maxwell at 1151 N. State. It is really a changing diorama of objects around a theme, with the objects for sale. Charming.

Do yourself a spiritual favor and log on to www.Laikipia.org to learn about the efforts to preserve large mammals, black rhino and elephants in this magical district of Kenya.  Laikipia has no government designated protected areas and there is no plan to ensure this extraordinary wildlife asset can be maintained in the face of human population growth. Filmmaker Elizabeth Lagercrantz sent us a copy of her film about the Laikipia Wildlife Forum show at Cannes.

Mental illness is as biological as cancer or heart disease and there is no excuse for abandoning a spouse and bolting off with a starlet. Robert Kennedy Junior blamed the booze for his late wife’s problems but he helped create the behavior. Come on. We know that!  Kennedy Men the worst! Remember when Teddy left Joan in the parking lot at the Palmer House when he was campaigning here for President?

 Spare Time

 We were so looking forward to the film Gerhard Richter Painting at the Gene Siskel movie theater showing him in the act of creation, squeegee-ing paint onto giant canvas but alas it was sold out before opening so we amused our disappointed selves by reviewing all the usual donor names on the wall. So many intimations of immortality.

Despite The Siskel and its neighbor The Goodman, the Loop is still a desert at night except for the after work drinks crowd at Petterino’s where we spotted Robert Falls going in to dinner and viewed a thousand handsome 30- something young men at the ultimate bar.


For the smart crowd of writers and reporters from the Big Two it used to be Riccardo’s after work; all became ex-pats when it closed, victims of diaspora like the regulars at Elaine’s.

Rarely go the Hollywood movies but a cold day drove us to the Century to see the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with its cascade of unbelievable story lines and the lamentable  depiction of seniors as washed up about- to- croak sad sacks. Enjoyed it anyway and Judy Dench and Maggie Smith reminded us to get a facelift; the English don’t fret about teeth and wrinkles the way Americans do.

Linc Thelen’s exhibition of paintings on Fulton runs through June 18th and is a must see. He reinterprets Delacroix with same scale, distills the images into circular whirling forms that capture the tumult of the French Revolution or the shipwreck of the Medusa.

While you’re on Fulton stop in at Christopher Fredericks’  Organic Looms.  Rugs from Tibet and Nepal.

Giacomo Ferrucci and Christopher Frederick at Linc's Exhibition

On a recent trip to New York Jonathon Wells saw the Cindy Sherman show at MoMA and shared a look at the catalogue of the retro – the secret of her Untitled photographs is mystery, sinister,  unspoken truth behind the facades of clowns or society women.

Choses Litteraire

Sun Times editor Jim Kirk – what was he thinking with that awful Daily Splash so old hat, about 10 years too late. We’re already drowning in celebrity chitchat and besides we have so very few in Chicago to go around.  The “Big Name” columnists earn $1,000 bucks for about 300 words and include very over-exposed Giuliana Rancic, Jenny McCarthy, an underwear model, the mayor, assorted ball players,  Denise Richards.  Some have made two lists in a month!!!! In the TCW Top 70 Brand list are Rocky Wirtz, Bill Kurtis, the Ricketts, a Pritzker.

As you already know Wrapparound LLC the parent company of the Sun Times has bought the Reader who’s alternative attitude has been waning anyway. Au revoir.

Madeleine and Doc SIlva at the Barry's

Kurtis and Jacobson resemble Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, Bill leading the way and Walter following when the prompter gets fuzzy.

 Jeffrey Gettleman from Chicago received a well-deserved Pulitzer this year for his incomparable reporting from Africa in the NYTimes. We never miss reading his columns, not should you if you want first-hand account of what is happening on that continent. This is the kind of reporting Chicago papers should be publishing.

ChiMag is however getting a little edgy again as in olden days, with the catty piece about Oprah (Vanity Fair also has one–God leave her alone) and an equally snarky article about the City Club’s Jay Doherty and the suit brought by PR person Kathy Posner. You wonder what is really underneath all this rancor and anger. What’s the real story here ?

Do you love it when the claws of Ann Gerber pop out occasionally (and not nearly often enough) in Skyline? She wrote that Beyonce Knowles “looked like a big tuna caught in a crazed fisherman’s net.”

Hidden Cars during NATO

Reminds us of Cindy Adams always so much spicier than Liz Smith who has used the Old Texas twang to best effect all these many years in the Big Apple.

Paul Fussell died last week. We knew him well at Rutgers and yes, he was as caustic as they come, but he broke the shackles of Academia with brilliant entertaining books such as British Literary Traveling Between the Wars  or BAD: The Dumbing of America in which he lamented we are living at a time “teeming with raucously overvalued emptiness and trash.”

And that was 1991 before the ultimate trash TV like the most recent offering Mrs. Eastwood. Gruesome and embarrassing. Feel so sorry for Clint whom we’d always hoped had found a classy wife not a loud mouthed char.


Vet's Memorial HIghland Park

Apizza and Ashopping

Bella Luna on Dearborn is a very neighborhood old fashioned pizza place, but if you’re going to sit outside go to Orso’s on Wells. We enjoyed the pepperoni and sausage with Joe Streeto on a gorgeous afternoon under the viney bowers out in the back yard.

The new Malnati’s on State …well the deep dish was undercooked and soggy. As you know the best pizza in the city is Pizano’s (gotta be the ovens) though we love the first pizza place in America– Lombardo’s in the Village. And Sally’s in New Haven!!!!

The Randolph Street Market should either stop advertising or close down altogether. Like misleading people luring them to kill half a day for nothing. You couldn’t make us buy a thing so tatty are the offerings.

View from Canal

Hotel occupancy rates in New York are 90 % and in Chicago under 80% according to Denihan Hospitality Group. Hey that’s better than South Beach which is in the 70s. We would travel far more as would most normal people if hotel rates weren’t so absurdly high. Tourism would soar here with a new approach to lodging.

We popped into Hermes for a few of those pocket squares and felt under surveillance in the cool empty store so we decided to buy them elsewhere.

And So Forth

 Nutty actress Charlize Theron cheering at ringside at the Ultimate Fighting Championship in Vegas where martial arts fighter Junior Dos Santos beat up Frank Mir in a bloody battle. These events like all boxing should be banned. No rich man ever entered the ring!

Bitchiest man of all time had to be Cecil Beaton. On Wallis: “Her back was coarse and her arms were heavy….she was rowdy and raucous.” Or calling Kate Hepburn a piece of decaying matter.

NATO  –  you’d have thought Chicago was preparing for World War II. During the first day we went to the Harold Washington Library and were very amused to see all the street people sitting at computers. Reminded one of Edinburgh during the Festival when they ship the homeless by bus to northern Scotland.

Too bad pedestrians!

The Memorial Day get together at Steve and Ellen Barry’s revealed the best balcony views in the city.  And in downtown Highland Park we spotted the Veterans Memorial, one of the few new monuments since doughboys and Union soldiers on pedestals.

From the Daily Telegraph obit of David Patrick Metcalfe the godson of the Duke of Windsor (who left him a pair of cufflinks in his will):

“One evening in 1982 Metcalfe brought together the blue-blooded directors of Sotheby Parke Bernet — including the Earl of Westmoreland and Angus Ogilvy, husband of Princess Alexandra — with a selection of Michigan high-rollers willing and able to rescue the teetering auction house from falling into the clutches of an aggressive and unwanted takeover. That night three billionaires — Alfred Taubman, Henry Ford II and Max Fisher — agreed to buy Sotheby’s, with Metcalfe proving himself the perfect society-business matchmaker.”

Happy Birthday, Donny!


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