Tag Archives: USA

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

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 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]