Author Archive | Lucia Adams

Anjelica Huston

 

November 22, 2014

 

monet (2)At the Union League Club, with its fine art collection including a first -rate Monet, was a book signing luncheon promoting Anjelica Huston’s latest autobiography Watch Me.  A nervous local actor Kevin O’Connor asked her pre-approved questions warding off any soupcon of spontaneity and posing the inevitable question about being Hollywood Royalty. The 62 –year- old actress (intelligently free of plastic surgery) said her family was more rag tag gypsy than regal. Even that seemed scripted.

No slave to fashion on this freezing Midwestern day (for the New York book party she wore a black dress and diamond brooch) the actress-producer was coolly cordial and of course very much aware of being Hollywood Royalty. Estranged from her father as a girl she said he and Jack Nicholson were “two big rocks” in her life; she shared the loony actor’s advice “Never give brown presents” whatever that means and never mentioned her late husband sculptor Robert Graham.

 

photo (39)Her mother, killed in a car crash when Angelica was 17, was an Italian restaurateur’s daughter from Brooklyn (way to go!) and they lived in the Little House on Huston’s estate in Western Ireland while he and his girlfriend lived in the Big House. She lamented that opportunities for women in film in Hollywood are few, worse than they were 40 years ago, “the boys should be more magnanimous when it comes to sharing.” Sensitive and a bit wounded by life (who isn’t?) she loves animals more then homo sapiens and offered universal advice: Never panic on a horse. Horses feel your heart. Breathe and let go.

A propos of horses we see The Daughters of the Famous, Spielberg, Bloomberg, Gates, Springsteen are now ubiquitously, conspicuously and ineluctably On Horseback.

 

Our friend Mary Daniels, a true horsewoman, and the Tribune’s art and design writer for many years died this month. If anyone has spotted an obituary in the newspaper please inform. Mary was pursued and lionized by PR hounds for a generation then poof !

 

photo (47)Drove over to Fulton Street to visit art galleries and turned back due to absolutely no parking spaces. None. Not one. How do businesses survive there? Speaking of the art world have you been following the Perelman-Gagosian lawsuit revealing the dirty side of a huge tradeable asset these days when the Mugrabi family of the Caymans offered more for a rather dull Twombly than Perelman and Gagosian broke his promise to sell it to him.

We enjoyed the Royal Oak presentation at the Casino of Clarissa Clifford, Baroness Clifford of Chudleigh, interior designer, second wife of the 14th Baron Thomas Hugh, stepmother to Alexander who appeared with a Kardashian on Filthy Rich, chatelaine of Robert Adam’s Ugbrooke House in Devonshire. She showed many slides of her impressive renovation always with elaborate thanks, with a wee hint of condescension to her “heroes”  (Let’s scrap that word for awhile) carpenters and other workmen and so forth.

Today this 17th century cadet branch of an 11th century family runs the stately home as a series of businesses, sand, gravel, waste, special events venue for weddings and conferences. This financial model appeared half a century ago with Longleat and has proven successful even without lions and circus tents

photo (53)Alastair Bruce the historical advisor for Downton Abbey has had rather a time of it with anachronism checks, such as reminding actors NOT to go around hugging one another or stuffing their hands in pockets like the always poorly behaved rebellious Duke of Windsor invariably did.

At the invitation of a friend Monroe Trout, investor wizard and Ayn Rander, Randolph Churchill and his sister Jennie gave a lecture in Knoxville, Tennessee reading some correspondence of their namesakes Jennie Jerome and Lord Randolph. This was all on a new find, www.Anglotopia.net which we enjoy.

 WSJ Magazine writes that Joss Kent son of Geoffrey was fired from A&K, returned, then resigned again in 2011 when the former family company was bought by a large investment group. He joined andBeyond a more au courant safari company with its community oriented Africa Foundation.

The Chicago History Museum, sigh! that name change, with relatively low admission rates, $14 and seniors $12, has a recommended memento mori of an exhibition currently on view (anyone who was even near Grant Park has been on a trip down memory lane recently). The 1968 Exhibit is a rather cramped assortment of posters and soundtracks of this tumultuous year with the most evocative item being a Huey helicopter actually flown in Vietnam. After August and the DNC Maire Daley the First was crowned as Beelzebub.

 

dukeA bête noir these days (no this is not an old person’s rant, a la Jerry Seinfeld) is the “Cultural Appropriation of Intellectual Property.”  We have a Watchlist of Offenders including Town and Country with its articles on Sylvia Beach’s Shakespeare & Co. and those ghastly Hemingway women. Basically it is a cynical commercial enterprise exploiting unique and valid cultural phenomena to sell magazine ads.

A petit rant. All is lost when the New York Times reviews the sounds produced by Brittany Spears and Taylor Swift with the same seriousness it once reserved for Renata Tebaldi or Joan Sutherland.

Raine Countess Spencer attended the luncheon of the Foreign Sisters recently in London. Remember when her Upset Stepdaughter Diana threw her down the stairs, or claimed to.

Someone or other said “We must select the illusion which appeals to our temperament, and embrace it with passion, if we want to be happy.” What is your illusion?  Our’s is a High Bohemia of the educated and irreverent as in D. J. Taylor’s Bright Young People which cites Anthony Powell, Graham Green, Nancy Mitford and Ronald Firbank, and Evelyn Waugh literary chroniclers of “a society, cosmopolitan, sympathetic to the arts, well-mannered, above all ornamental even in rather bizarre ways”.

At LUX bar Upstairs Adam Umbach and Tom O’Gorman impressed the large crowd with their latest paintings in as good or better a show than you find in many galleries in the West Loop or River North. Nice chat with art lovers Mark Schimmelpfennig, Nora Gainer, Layne Jackson (also of alice gallery), Diane OConnell, Rosie O’Neill, Stanley, Mamie and Cynthia.

Local Restaurant notes:

photo (45)We dined at Gibson’s several times this month for huge manly portions, great quality control and still the best hamburgers in Chicago.  La Luce has undergone a seismic shift from a good red sauce joint to chain restaurant quality food with designer prices. We were not impressed with Dove Luncheonette with Mexican fare a little too porcinely authentic. The James bar is lively but and like drinking in a railway station waiting room.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tells all the world his girlfriend, a TV cook, tall blond doll and Wisconsinite Sandra Lee is “an extraordinary lady”. Hmmmm. Is that so? Hey da man’s in love!

Malcolm Muggeridge’s papers are rather oddly in Wheaton, Illinois. Notre pere’s photographs have been added to the extraordinary archives of the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin.

On Wisconsin the alumni mag says that non-resident tuition per semester is now 26 thousand such an insane leap from the 600 when we labored there to pass endless examinations.

Anthony Bourdain’s Paraguay episode is truly compelling history of a sad country decimated by one family’s greed and home to Nazis after the war. It is however improving with oil blabla. Over 9000 Nazis took refuge in South America, and 2000 in Paraguay and Uruguay and thousands more north of the borders.

Encore sorry for the clunky placement of photos with stubborn WordPress

bientot !

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Robert Sackville-West

 

 

October 8, 2014

 

treeAt the Newberry’s annual book sale we spent $100 for a year’s worth of entertainment. Edith Sitwell’s autobiography Taken Care Of is a harrowing account of an Edwardian childhood that she survived thanks to Osbert and Sacheverell. In the last chapter she describes a meeting with Marilyn Monroe trotted out like a freakish pony for visiting intelligentsia like Edith, Karen Blixen and so forth.

Painting as a Pastime, 1932, by the Rt. Honorable Sir Winston Churchill notes how he used the art as therapy to overcome “worry and mental strain” during a lacunae in his career after the disgrace of Gallipolli. His Jungian anti-shadow created sweet Impressionist style paintings now in the collection of Chartwell House.

Also bought for pennies, Clive Fisher’s Cyril Connolly, Fawn Brodie’s The Devil Drives a life of Sir Richard Burton (the explorer), Crome Yellow, A.L. Rowse’s annotated Shakespeare Sonnets, Malraux’s Anti-Memoirs, Janet Flanner’s Paris Journals 1965-71, history of  Harrow. Diana Cooper’s Autobiography.

Diana Cooper was “an orchid among cowslips and a black tulip in a garden of cucumbers.”  In her later years she called Margaret Thatcher “my niece” because her own natural (she was illegitimate) father, the supernaturally handsome Harry Cockayne-Cust, was also the lover of the future prime minister’s great grandmother, a housemaid, who had a child Beatrice ….and so on….

EXPO beauty

EXPO beauty

Noel Annan in Our Age calls Diana a déclassé aristocrat like Nancy Mitford. The last of the Mitford lot Deborah Devonshire has been elaborately lauded in obituaries for being the dowager of Chatsworth, and an aristocrat. She preferred Elvis and chickens to reading and once said, “Oh Proust.  Shall I try it now or later? I do hope it’s too late.”

The Upper Ten Thousand was a 19th century term to denote Britain’s ruling elite who had divvied up all the land by the 11th century.

The surname Sackville-West is dazzling enough and Robert (“don’t call me Baron”) the current resident of Knole in Kent added an extra frisson at the Casino for a lecture about his latest book The Disinherited, another chapter in the upper classes illegitimate children saga, one of whom was the grandmother of Vita. Fourteen generations of Sackville-Wests have lived in the house which was built for show and always a drain on resources and psyches.

We are contemplating writing a book maybe to be called Keepers of the Piles, about the current residents of the grandest homes, Castle Howard, Knole, Chatsworth, Highclere and so forth. Crime writers and other nincompoops get 15 million dollar advances and we would have a smaller audience who can actually read.

Florence King in the stodgy National Review calls Claire Booth Luce a rapacious, stupid man-eater, another Pamela Harrington putain-type. We were misinformed that brains got the man.

Ken Burn’s Roosevelt extravaganza on PBS dwelled rather much on FDR’s polio and on Eleanor (early model Hillary) who raised the president’s blood pressure to 240 over 150 after every conversation. She loved being the center of attention and never had dinner alone. Teddy was Da Man! but we can never forgive him the slaughter of 11,000 animals including endangered (even in 1909) white rhino during his trip to Africa.

Robert Sackville-West

Robert Sackville-West

Eric Hobsbawn’s memoir Interesting Times laments the Lost Civilization of prewar Europa and Mittel Europa, a time when there actually was an elite not a pack of phony baloney Hollywood types jamming the canals in Venice; formerly “a place made sacred by building” it would horrify Ruskin and Mary McCarthy today.

The Gone With the Wind revival prompted another viewing and it was utterly impossible to get past the false depiction of the life of African-Americans under the yoke of slavery. As in Downton Abbey it embraced the Myth of the Loving Servant. Read Mary Chesnut or Ella Clanton to see what plantation mistresses were really like, even worse than the thoroughly loathsome Scarlet.

Hugh Lowther, the 8th earl of Lonsdale is a truck driver currently selling the mountain Blencathra (we called it Saddleback in our climbing days in the Lake District.)  The mystery bidder probably some “swivel eyed loon” who wants the meaningless title of Lord of the Manor of Threlkeld.

EXPO was bloodless this year, with the absence of those magnificent monumental –scale photographs. Jeanne Gang did a splendid job in the atmosphere-y communal spaces but the identical cubicles, so glaringly lit, created La Nausee.

Free community college to any student with at least a 3.0 in high school. Wunderbar, Now, Rahm, will you address the absurd entrance fees to the Big Five? Those who could most benefit cannot afford to go. And let’s not get started again on the parking costs on Museum Campus.

At the Casino

At the Casino

Fig and Olive served a ghastly tagine with dried rock-like apricots, mammoth stuffed green olives and a deconstructed cold couscous.  Prosecco on Wells is still wonderful however and a new rule emerges: let a restaurant prove itself for a year before dropping dollars.

Poor old Woody Allen looked more bummed out than usual here in Chicago for his latest movie premier probably to please backers Ron Chez and Michael Rose.

The new Aspen Art Museum by Pritzker winner Shigeru Ban was deemed an ugly squat box by Holland Cotter. Museum board members of the future should just hire Gehry and be done with it or if he’s busy call Libeskind or Renzo Piano.

A Suddenly-It- All-Became-Clear Moment occurred when director David Steinberg told Robert Osborne how he loved films and how art never really did it for him. All those years racing through the Uffizi or the Alte Pinakothek now made sense.

A Channel 5 survey concluded that New Yorkers, i.e. smart, are the unhappiest and Louisianans, i.e. stupid, the happiest people in America at the same time another survey claimed Utah the happiest and West Virginia the most miserable which makes more sense.  Monocle names the top 25 livable cities in the world and only one in America, Portland, borrrrrrrrrrring, makes the cut.

Wisconsin Huddle

Wisconsin Huddle

We note that owner Oscar Farinetti’s third food emporium,  Eataly on Ohio, is exploiting  locally born writer (he left as soon as he could) Ernest Hemingway to promote wares with posters of the Great Misogynist and an idiotic book.

At a recent benefit fashion show at the Fairmont, such an old dark renovated dog these days, we witnessed the spectacle of women coyly parading in front of other women and figured out it was less about the shmatte than about sizing up the competition.

Dickie Arbiter blows another lid off the Diana and Charles teapot, confirming that she was crazier than we thought (if that’s possible) and wanted to murder Camilla.

It’s medically official! We are now, along with many others in the civilized world who drink a glass or two of wine at dinner, “a mild alcoholic.” Makes you want to take up smoking again.

The Secret of Life: Do Not Dabble. We learned that one too late.

A bientot

 

 

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Door County

Lunch at Maxwelton

August 21, 2014

 

All the chattering about Route 66 induced road trip fever and Door County was only five hours away so off we went. In 25 years, nothing much has changed, still the land of Illinois and Wisconsin tourists in moldy cottages, milling around leather hat and moccasin shoppes waiting for the next meal, breakfast, brats, fish boils and something in between. Unless you’re exhausted from grueling factory work and need to regain your strength …you know what we mean….

In Sturgeon Bay with a hotels.com reservation, we drove straight past a peeling white stucco bungalow on 1st Street, nahhhhhh this can’t be it. It was. A stuffed crow on top of the plastic Christmas tree in the lobby of the Holiday Music Hotel on 1st Street said it all. We wrote a tart email to the site and the even more inaccurate trip advisor and repaired to Maxwelton in Bailey’s Harbor, a once fashionable golf resort and now a bit down-in-the-heels though still fadedly- glamorous.It must have been swell in 1936. Washington Island

Foregoing kayaking, hopefully just a fad unlike the more sociable and even somewhat elegant canoeing, we hiked buggy trails in Peninsula State Park past family campsites, human settlements, ratty tents and tarps, to the American Folklore Theater where on a red bearded preacher exhorted the audience to be all that they could be.

Fish Creek is the liveliest town on the peninsula and we booked a $28 fish boil in a jammed eaterie, dining on laps with paper plates before an iron cauldron that boiled over on cue, transforming whitefish into paper pulp. We asked a bartender what people do off season here? He said, “Drink.”

A car ferry across Death’s Door to Washington Island, a 25 mile gap in the Niagara Escarpment which freezes in winter with shipwrecks and lighthouses created some  sense of drama. (Never did we long more for the ferry to Sag Harbor).

On an early Sunday morning there was a fly-in, a mini-Oshkosh, Pipers, Cessnas, for, yes, a fish boil. Only on Washington Island can you find fresh lawyers, the fish, a ‘burbot’ cross between cod and eel. On the drive back to Chicago we stopped at the Island of Herb Kohler, unrepentant snob, for lunch at Whistling Straits and a return to a somewhat more advanced civilization.

Yokum's

Yokum’s

Our next road trip was longer,the monotonous interstates between Chicago and Baltimore, 13 long hours of the ghastly industrial landscape of northern Indiana and its dirty unkempt bathrooms, through Ohio, thence the high terror of the Ho Chi Minh trail of the Pennsylvania turnpike which has not upgraded in 50 years.

Who were these people lining up at Hardee’s in the plazas? The truck drivers should be on treadmills (why are they not available?) not killing themselves with Cinnabons. And were we the only ones of our tribe who take road trips? Do the others just fly or perhaps rent old beaters and paste on tattoos for class camouflage?

The Baltimore suburb of Columbia is middle American dog-obsession country for NSA employees at nearby Fort Meade and prosperous Asians. We attended a preseason football match between the local Ravens (Poe lives!) and the 49ers, all fireworks, big screen televisions, and thunderous screaming, forcing us to try Zen once more. Our host said he sat next to George Will at a recent Orioles vs. Padres (baseball) game and he was very grumpy indeed when recognized. Oh dear!

Annapolis, the Naval Academy, 300 acres on the River Severn, 4,000 undergraduates in blinding whites and braced shoulders preparing to be Marines or Navy men. Alums include Jimmy Carter, John McCain, Montel Williams, Jim Lovell, and our left-wing  history prof  in Madison, William Appleman Williams. Preble Hall’s museum is a shrine to alums, practitioners of sea warfare with memorabilia such as Don’t Give Up the Ship the personal battle flag of Commodore Perry during the war of 1812, which still looms very large in these parts.

Bloody WordPress will not let us upload other photos into the text for some bizarro reason. iPhone takes poor photos anyway so we’ll return to the Canon next time.

The small city of Annapolis with its 18th century human scale is utterly charming and relatively untouched unlike the manicured reconstruction in “colonial” Williamsburg. It takes however some sincere effort of the imagination to get inspired by old buildings such as the Maryland State House, where the first Continental Congress, 1783, took place now the oldest capitol building in use. We recommend the Old Stein Inn in Edgewater where a lecture in the bier garten was about the remaining (only 35) descendants of Germans in the Maroon country in Jamaica live.

Departing Baltimore, forgoing the usual return route north through Hagerstown and Cumberland that tiny northern strip on Maryland, so beautiful, we drove past Harper’s Ferry, through the Shenandoah Valley’s Winchester and Woodstock Virginia, all hunting, cabins, knives, tractor pulls, drag races, lawnmower pulls and demolition derbys. Country roads, take me home to the place I belong, West Virginia mountain momma take me home country roads.

Then we decided to head towards the Monongahela National Forest and Elkins, West Virginia, the county seat of Randolph County and the Mountain Highlands. Maybe it was John Denver, or Dorothea Lange, or The Song Catcher, but we wanted to visit West Virginia in the Allegheny Mountains, the core region of Appalachia, and the only state completely in the Appalachian Mountain Region. The mountain road winds past the Smoke Hole Caverns named for the Seneca Indians who smoked wild game in them before being relocated to reservations. At Seneca Rocks in Germany Valley near Riverton was a climbing school and a few young people convened outside Yokum’s general store before ascending the needle, Gendarme.

West Virginia seceded from Virginia in 1861, joined the Union, and abolished slavery but you wouldn’t know that today here in the High South, the land that time forgot, with the confederate flags still flying on top of log cabins and everything from rivers to restaurants named for Stonewall Jackson. Finally four hours later Elkins, one of Theroux’s “vast number of dying and depopulated towns” in the south. The largest regional municipality it was a boomtown from 1900-20 then died for good sometime in the 1980s.

Though not the Appalachia in last week’s 60 Minutes, poverty stricken southwestern Virginia, in West Virginia you just know that those who remain here, working men, inherit adversity. Elkins is located just a few miles from Sago Mine on the Buckhannon River where 12 miners died in 2006 after grave dancing Palm Beach fancy man Wilbur Ross ignored 21 citations times for toxic gas build up.

West Virginia’s new governor Earl Ray Tomblin is a progressive Democrat and native son who is trying to revitalize a feeble economy. After Wyoming it is  the top coal mining state in the country though exports fell 40% in 2013, population radically declined, and the state is last in the Gallup Economic Index, last in employment to population ration with the revenue growth in the country. There are two different Americas, and life is a lot harder in one of them not just in urban slums but in Appalachia.

We stayed in the showpiece of the town, the spotless but empty Holiday Inn Xpress in front of the defunct railway station, across the dusty path from the American Mountain Theater and the Delmonte Hotel where we just missed the Bluegrass and Southern Gospel Fests. The locals are elaborately courteous and mannerly in an ante bellum way or maybe they were just happy to see a tourist or two. The 1863 Grill with portraits of Robert E. Lee in the lobby didn’t serve drinks so we went to a deserted boarded up downtown and ended up in Scottie’s where the wiry chicken under thick white gravy was inedible. Sunday dinner was eight bucks and the parking lot was full.

There’s no obvious starvation here but malnutrition, bad teeth, and wrinkled, resigned demeanors on the faces of the Ulster Scots’ descendants. Passing up the Hatfield McCoy Trails for jeeps and dune buggies and nearby Weston’s tour of the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum we headed north.

 

Memorial -John L. Lewis

 

Miners mural in Weston

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Obama on Banks

July 15, 2014

Ophoto (2)ne hundred years ago, in the summer of 1914, Karen and Bror Blixen had just planted 1,500 acres of coffee in British East Africa when the war broke out, and today as Jeffrey Gettleman reports from Kenya, corruption and terrorism is worse than ever. There are only the rich and the poor, fancy high rises in Nairobi next to Kibera the worst slum in the world and complex tribal arithmetic.

Obama’s father was of the Luo tribe which bred generations of civil servants but when he returned from America he could not find a job because the Kikuyu were in power, the descendants of those Kikuyu we saw in the bucolic idyll, Out of Africa.

Comedic Relief: Kenya, Nigeria, the UAE elite and you mate, can learn how to run a country house, fire staff, write a Christmas card, fold a towel correctly, or make tea in the etiquette school in London, the English Manner (dot com).

brantRight next door to our dwelling on Astor and Banks, Obama entered the tented-over side door to the Polskys now living in Jamie Dimon’s old house (still looks like a funeral parlor) then a week or so later the corner is named for Ruth Edelman a great courter of the press. We were lunch mates with Mary Ella Smith when Harold was mayor.

Printer’s Row Book Fair was a shove-fest by ten on Saturday but we showed up earlier when the booksellers (that odd tatterdemalion lot) were setting up. We scored a first edition,1941, of Churchill’s  Blood Sweat and Tears for a fiver, a physical icon of the past with sturdy leatherette cover, gold embossed lettering, sumptuous paper.

The last sentence is his plea to Roosevelt to join the war effort, “Put your confidence in us. Give us your faith and blessing, and, under Providence, all will be well. We shall not fail or falter; we shall not weaken or tire. Neither the sudden shock of battle, not the long-drawn trial of vigilance and exertion will wear us down. Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.” Such oratory unheard today.

If you are in London this summer head over to the Tate for Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilization (Good Luck!) Some of you may remember the fulsome television series he hosted about the Western tradition of art. For an enchanted view of an Edwardian childhood read  Another Part of the Wood.

In the Garden

In the Garden

China is a land of superstitious peasants. Last year in Switzerland, in contrast to the polite Japanese, they were loud and offensive in public spaces. They are also the force behind the loathsome ivory trade, rhino decimation, and now destruction of snow leopards. The brand new Donggou, a massive theme park with reconstruction of world heritage sites, has a full sized replica of the Sphinx, in reinforced concrete. The Worst! Go see the bloody wall if you must but we’ll stick with Hadrian’s.

By the way, Bravo to Mexico City for barring circus animals! Let Chicago be the next to banish animal cruelty of this dimension.

The Food Network’s Pioneer Woman reminds us there is a big Other America out there on the hard-working farm where folks constantly say ‘yes sir’ after every ‘yup’ and ‘golly’, frequent church basements for pot luck casseroles (killers for urbanites) and abound in good lookin cowboys.

John Maynard Keynes secured 16% annual returns as a money manager from 1922-46. His portfolio included hedge funds and long term value stocks.

Of Nabokov’s Speak Memory Joseph Epstein writes it is, “a reminder of what good luck it is in life to love one’s mother and father”. Indeed! Would that Frances Mayes had heeded that in her recent memoir. The author of Under the Tuscan Sun savages her southern parents in order to create a Faulknerian “Gothic” feel. Shudder.

Karen and Bror Blixen

Karen and Bror Blixen

One gets the distinct feeling Barnes and Noble will soon fade into dust with non buyers treating it like a library, scouring magazines to kill time. We usually skim The Nation and the National Review, very left and very right, both wanly preaching to the converted, knowing their days are numbered.

The Lucas Museum is as unChicago as Trump Tower’s sign which thumbs its nose at Hicksville, and reminds us the coastals think the city is the metropolis in the cornfields.

Pugs, the exclusive London club, recently blackballed homely, abusive ad man Charles Saatchi and the singer Jay Zee. They were however admitted into the T&C 50 Most Powerfuls in the World,(good grief) where the mayor and carpetbagger Lucas also made the cut.

TakiMag takes frequent potshots at the Flyover State as in demolishing the painfully hip Write Club where local scribes compete for audience laughs in “funky” bars.  We like Bunky (yes another one) Mortimer’s “Black Tie for Dummies” and his other offerings.

It took a decade to get to Milwaukee to see Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion and breathtaking Brise Soleil. Oh that we had a suave new art palace instead of the Ode to Weimar. The MCA gets uglier each time we see it.

kandinskyThe Kandinsy at MMA, a retrospective organized in conjunction with the Centre Pompidou,  is weighted heavily on his last phase in Paris, 33-44,  when mired in theory- heavy Constructivism he created rather sterile works. His earlier works from Nabi to Blaue Reiter exquisite.

Bierstadt’s Wild River Mountain, Nebraska, 1862, and William Merritt Chase’s Gathering Wild Flowers of the time were a refreshing air filled contrast to the claustrophobic cartoonish Pop art collection.

Local restaurant notes: The Pump’s transformation in the New World Order of paranoid darkness and starkness never fails to remind us of the gaiety of Essie and Irv in white leather Booth One with a white telephone on the table.

Art Lovers

Art Lovers

Fred’s was empty at lunch; Nico’s louche crowd very Rush Street; Le Colonial a crowded railway station in Orlando/Saigon;  make a point of avoiding Brisciola on Damen and dreadful Hema’s on Devon where we had lunch with Susie Kealey and Vikki Jackson after searching for those nifty white men’s cotton Nehru jackets and trousers.

The Sun Times marketed Roger Ebert’s Pulitzer to the max. We know a half dozen recipients of the prize who never created into such a huge brand.

In the TCW issue featuring the 100 most inspirational women in the city we counted only 10% owing their success to fathers or husbands though there probably are a few more lurking beneath the figures.

Waiting for Obama

Waiting for Obama

Candy Spelling is still mad at the late Dominick Dunne for his Vanity Fair piece implying she had an affair with a county commissioner later jailed for extortion. The old gossip also wrote about Gary Condit and Chandra Levy’s murder for which he was sued. That still stung when we had over drinks at the Four Seasons when Nick was in Chicago to visit Conrad Black just about to enter the hoosegow.

Maureen Dowd’s show-offy ‘I Have a Way-with-Words’ columns seem composed by leagues of graduate students. She blamed Cheney and W, easy targets, for 9/11 when in fact it was Clinton who was asleep at the wheel, wink wink nudge nudge, when the debacle being planned.

David Pollock on the success of Bob and Ray, the funny men of olde (now on uTube), which came down to “how to seem lusty and purposeful when less than nothing is going on.” We know exactly what that means.

If you haven’t seen the Faberge egg of a movie The Grand Budapest Hotel do so. Divinely ersatz MittelEuropa the ancestral home of the Budapest Bombshells, Eva ZsaZsa and Magda, the Kardashians of their day.

Consumer Reports: a $2 nail polish, Sinful Color, beats Chanel ranked the worst at $35 based on wear.

Do you ever read www.secondcitycop. blogspot.com? It gives us updates on the “Rahm and Gary Show” and insights into wildings and other local phenomena.

The Duke of Northumberland had three of the five best sales at Sotheby’s disappointing Old Masters auction such as Gilbert Stuart’s Mohawk Chieftain Thayendanegea, AKA Joseph Brant from 1786.

Sorry for photo quality; WordPress has fiddled with the mechanics of blogging again.

A bientot

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