Category Chicago

The cultural heritage practices of my people

  Before traveling to a new place, I like to study the cultural heritage practices of the people who live there—you know, like ceremonies marking the start of harvest season or maybe puppetry performed to ancient poetry.  Now that I’m in a quarantine with no opportunity to travel in the foreseeable future, I thought this […]

Home sweet Monster Tudor home

In 2014 someone tried to steal my apartment building. Her name was Tanya, a petite and nonthreatening-looking woman who had briefly owned a unit in the building that was foreclosed on in the 90’s.  One day she showed up in our lobby with a locksmith and he was already mid-way through changing our door and […]

Pandemic fear infrastructure in Rogers Park, Chicago

We’ve been in a quarantine lock-down for six weeks in Chicago.  While all my friends seem to be spending their time cleaning and organizing their homes, crafting, learning new languages and growing sourdough starters, it turns out that in quarantine I am still a slob.  So rather than magically transforming into a more productive person, […]

Quarantined travelers: these alleys are for you

I don’t own a car and I haven’t been on public transportation in over a month.  So I walk. I love walking and I especially love walking with HOB, though of course during this time of pandemic-avoidance walking comes with terms and conditions; no access to parks or the lakefront, we are advised to wear […]

Chicago’s north side bungalows: architecture for social distancing

Post WWI in Chicago, this was the dream: move out from crowded downtown apartment buildings to far flung neighborhoods, into bungalows. There are bungalow districts all over Chicago.  I live near the West Ridge Bungalow District and these photos are from the blocks around Talman and Arthur streets. (Pro tip #1: if you happen to […]

Mundelein College: resourceful nuns to the rescue

It was considered a skyscraper; a skyscraper college for Catholic women. And what did a Catholic women’s college need? Nuns, of course, to administer the college and teach the students. The nuns, like they so often have been, were ingenious heroines of Mundelien College. But before you hear about the nuns, you need to know […]

A walk through the intersection of Howard Street, Western Avenue and COVID-19 cancellations

On Thursday morning I was at an operations meeting at work, walking through a couple of weeks of programs with my colleagues—all the performances, films, community meetings, lectures, rentals, youth projects, exhibition load-ins and everything else that makes the museum vital and necessary. By Friday night, all of that was cancelled. The museums are shut […]

The dress code is linen at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple

HOB and I used to take a staycation every spring.  We’d run around Chicago, visiting far away neighborhoods, going to concerts and plays, and walking around with an architecture book doing self-guided tours.  On several of these vacations we took the train out to Oak Park, our visits always seeming to coincide with an event […]

Chicago vernacular

This time every summer I usually go to a conference.  This year that conference is in Chicago.  While I’m kind of bummed not to be visiting a new city, I’m thinking of this as an opportunity to see Chicago with my traveler’s eyes.  After all, travel is more than seeing sights—it is the experience of […]

All Saints Episcopal Church, allow me to introduce you to Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring

The way I understand art is through other art.  Like I don’t just look at something and say to myself, “Oh here we have a rare example of Midwestern Stick Style architecture from the 1880’s.” What I actually think is “Oh here we have an example of Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring in the form of […]