Category USA

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 […]

Chicago Loop Synagogue’s mid-century modern stained glass

Sandwiched between boring high-rises, the Chicago Loop Synagogue is one of those sacred spaces that make you say “Gah!”. The building, constructed in 1957, is nothing special, but step inside… And CHECK OUT THIS STAINED GLASS. Artist Abraham Rattner loaded his glass masterpiece with symbols of the Jewish faith. And G-d said, “Let there be […]

Brutalism makes a baby in Chicago

Chicago has quite a bit of Brutalism—particularly in hospital buildings and on college campuses—which is weird because this form of architecture does not suggest the nurturing of bodies or young minds. For an appropriate use of Brutalism, I give you the Metropolitan Correctional Center.  Yes, we’re so hardcore in Chicago that we have a Brutalist […]

Where to walk your wife in Chicago

I’m so tired from trying to learn to sleep without sleeping pills that my brain is in a deep freeze.  Talking and writing is like bobbing for apples must think of word stick head in tub of water and try to find the word grab the word with my mouth now what was I saying […]

I’m just here for the gift shops in the Aztec pyramid: a visit to Disney’s Epcot

A few nights ago I was in Norway, eavesdropping on a guy looking for a place to smoke.  The attendant told him “You can’t smoke here but there’s an approved area over by Italy.” I was at Disney’s Epcot Park, which costs $114 a day to visit.  But hey, that price includes the whole world […]

Arrows in our chandeliers: Native American-themed decoration in late 1920’s Chicago

Chicago was originally the domain of Native Americans, including the Pottawatomie, Illinois, and Miami nations.  In fact, in the name Chicago comes from a Native American word for wild garlic, which apparently grew all over the place (as a garlic fan, I wish it still did).  When the area was invaded by Europeans, native people were […]

The privilege of being a mutt

When I was fourteen I changed my last name.  It wasn’t legal until I turned eighteen and visited a judge, but that didn’t stop me from spreading the news of my changed nomenclature to everyone I knew.  I went so far as to use my school’s printing press to create hundreds of business cards featuring […]

The Yale Building of Chicago: atrium under the influence of cat figurines

The Yale Building is a survivor.  It was built in 1892 in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood to house visitors to the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, but unlike the lame neoclassical architecture from the World’s Fair, the Yale Building is has an unexpected and exciting interior design. Sure, the exterior is a handsome but not particularly thrilling […]

Chicago’s St. Benedict the African and the Four Strong Black Women in glorious stained glass

  We stepped inside St Benedict the African—thoroughly drenched from an apocalyptical rain—through a wooden door with an adorable stained glass portal and whoooooooaaaaaa holy mother of all immersion pools! Nope—I totally did not expect to find a full body immersion pool inside a Catholic church.  This was just one of many delightful surprises St. […]

Picnic at the Old Globe Theatre, San Diego

Things I did for the first time this week: Travel to California Present on a panel at a conference Wear a two piece bathing suit The last two items weren’t all that traumatic and San Diego—still the only city I’ve visited in California–is just lovely. I’m here for a conference but I’ve had bits and […]