Author Archives: The Wife of Bath

Brighton Park: Parisian novelties, Flemish rooflines and Mexican submarines

Though I’ve lived in Chicago since 1994, this was the first time I’ve visited the Brighton Park neighborhood. I was not expecting Parisian Novelty. This is where we jumped off the bus, 17 miles south of our neighborhood, Rogers Park. The Parisian Novelty Company dates from 1898 and—back in the day—made trendy celluloid cases and […]

A sprint through Toronto’s museums

At my goodbye party at my former museum job, I was presented with two official gifts “to thank you for your years of service”: 1: A gorgeous artist-designed bag, which once I pulled out of layers of fluffy tissue paper, I was told I couldn’t actually keep, but I would receive later by mail (I […]

The gentle density and radical façadism of Toronto

One of the reasons I like to walk great distances through new cities is to experience the zoning and density. (You thought I was going to say I do this for snacking opportunities, didn’t you?) We weren’t in Toronto long, but we got around, and I was continually impressed by how well Toronto does density. […]

Toronto: all wonderful (except the poutine)

Actually, we didn’t try the poutine. Yeah, I am the lady who always tries the local foods but… …it just looks regurgitated. Oh, did I mention we just came back from a flash trip to Toronto? I mean, what would make sense with me about to start a new job is that that I would […]

Leaving the Garden of Eden

At work I was known as a lifer. Museum work is exciting and I was living the dream of being in the center of the multi-disciplinary art world. I sought cultural capital, and for almost 25 years, I found it. A few months ago I walked out of meeting and said to myself “You’re not […]

My Art Institute of Chicago Squishy Jesus tour

In the late 90’s I worked at the Art Institute of Chicago for a few months. I was hired to work a variety of visitor services roles but was never actually trained for them: the AIC just dropped me off in the coat check and the other staff showed me what to do. Everything we […]

Tacos in the parking lot: how we do street food in Chicago

Last fall it was our 25th anniversary and HOB asked me how I wanted to celebrate, and I was like, “Hmmmm…I think I want to eat something in a parking lot while standing over a trash can.” We ended up eating dumplings from the food court in this ginormous grocery store. Due to various annoying […]

Frank Lloyd Wright’s System Built Houses in Illinois

There was a time, from 1911 – 1916, when Frank Lloyd Wright came up with a system to make beautifully designed houses accessible for middle-class folks. The idea of a Frank Lloyd Wright home being considered “affordable housing” is kind of hilarious. These days his homes are for rich people; really rich people. Wright was […]

Be the kind of tourist that goes to Pullman

Chicago is huge and most tourists see very little of it (probably true to say this of most residents too). I work in the tourist industry and often get asked for directions to Navy Pier, Giordano’s Pizza, and—if they are feeling daring—to Wrigley Field. So it really shocked me when a few years ago a […]

The Bridgford Foods Mural is Genius

If you’ve been keeping tabs, this would be the time you’d normally expect find HOB and I travelling somewhere. But here we are—another Chicago staycation. There’s still Covid, but now on top of that I’ve had vertigo for three months and I am unable to take long distance transportation, Anyway, not here to whine but […]