Sunday, July 28, 2013

Flamingo Schlamingo

Y'all, it's a lovely cool weekend and Bears Training Camp has opened in Bourbonnais, IL, out in the intense cornfields.   It takes at least an hour for me to get there.  I went once, bedazzled by Love of Bears Syndrome.  I have since been stricken anew with the condition called If It Takes Over An Hour To Get There And I Am Not Getting Damn Autographs From Anyone But People Who Might Get Cut Then I Ain't Going.  If I want to be ignored I will go hang out in a hipster bar.  I can get to one of those within 10 minutes and I harbor no hope for how that might turn out.  The Bears want their fans to come and then basically ignore them.

I've stated this in  years past:  the fans are what make you a commodity, Messrs. Bears.  If the fans stopped caring about yours asses, you'd be bagging groceries and hanging on street corners, wishing you'd finished your degree programs.  Yeah, yeah, you heard me.  If you have fans, treat 'em nice so they stay your fans.  Of course there are exceptions!  There are always exceptions!  EXAMPLE:  Hunter Hillenmeyer, forced out of the NFL by a concussion, earned a sweet MBA at Northwestern, which means the bagging groceries/hanging on corners scenario does not apply.

After training camp, we will experience the extreme agony of exhibition football, i.e. why the feck does the NFL allow its best players to maybe get screwed up for the season?, followed by pre-season ball, i.e. good grief the NFL and owners value money more than the talent of their players.  "It's a business!" you might cry.  What's the cost of that particular business, y'all?

But then the season starts and in spite of my best efforts to do otherwise, I will pay attention, I will have discussions with other fans, I will sing "Bear Down Chicago Bears" a couple of times, and I will care.  I will also figure out a way to get this one view of Flamingo so I can drop that topic for good.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Did Someone Say "Flamingo"?

The Art Institute of Chicago has a show called "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity" and it's pretty darn cool.  There are wonderful paintings, amazing clothing (those dresses were done by hand and how the hell?), and makes for a stunning exhibition.  What fascinates me most about an exhibit of this nature is how long it takes to assemble it.  Bottom line:  years.

What came to my mind -- and I am sure I am missing steps -- is that first, they come up with a theme.  Next, they start researching museums and private collections that have pieces they might include.  Continuing,  they request permission to use the pieces in the respective collections or museum.   And onward, they collaborate with other museums and corporate sponsors to underwrite transit, insurance, packaging (including just what immediately springs to mind).  The pieces usually are together and moved to different museums as a unit -- this show was at the Musee D'Orsay in Paris, the Met in NYC, and will wind up on September 29th here in Chicago -- and they will no doubt never be together again.  Finally, the works need to be shipped back to where they belong.

What a lot of work!  And worth it.

I've been to the National Gallery in London when they've borrowed a single painting from a museum and advertised and raised a lot of excitement about just the single painting.  People flocked to see it because it may never again be out of the owner museum or private collection.  They flock there because art is often thrilling and satisfies an emptiness within our hearts, brains, and souls.

And while we were there, "Oh, say, do you mind if we go see the modelo of 'Flamingo'?"  A guard is consulted, "Might you please tell us where the Calder is?  The one like the big one in Federal Plaza?"  "You mean the red one?"  "Yes, that's the one."  Directions and thanks are exchanged and then, there is the Flamingo modelo, here for your viewing pleasure and mine as well.

There it is!  Not in the Post Office basement at all!

Panorama just makes it more awesome and the base seem curvy/bent

Sunday, July 14, 2013

More Flamingo!

So I was over by the Calder in Federal Plaza, having been disappointed by yet another day of zero mail delivery at the post office.  It had rained but the rain clouds had passed.  People love taking pictures of their loved ones when they are on vacation.  Sometimes they are taking pictures that I know will be a picture of the thing -- a Chicago landscape or some landmark or other -- and the person(s) will be a dot(s) in the picture as well.  I then have to decide if it's worth it to me to offer my services, i.e. "Do you want me to take your picture?" My photos of things are respectable but my pictures of people are really quite nice.  I don't know why but I can really get the best out of total strangers.

In this case, I let it go.  The young man kept sending the woman farther and farther away.  She was going to be a dot in the picture.  She could be a total stranger.  He missed the TV show I saw in the early 70s where a photographer, giving tips on how to take good vacation picture said, "Bring the person with you into the picture.  You're taking a picture of them and the Eiffel Tower, not the Eiffel Tower and them."  One can tell from demeanor if the person is approachable or not and the guy wanted to take his serious picture which was fine with me because one of my favorite things to photograph is people taking pictures of other people.  Thanks, Young Serious European Man!

(He was also opening himself up for serious Photobombing.  I've inadvertently been a photobomber -- a grandma lined up her daughter and three granddaughters on the steps by where I was sitting.  I was scanning the approaching crowd for the people I was meeting and not really paying attention to all the touristic scrambling.  Had they said, "Might you please move?" then I'd have done so.  They did not and I suddenly realized it was coming.  I smiled sweetly.  I've deliberately photobombed -- I was dining with a work friend, the two tourist couples at the next table asked their waiter to take their picture.  He lined it up perfectly with me in the middle.  Yeah, I smiled but it was that of a fricking-loser-idiot-asshole photobomber who was not at all sorry she did it.)

No, the lady in the black sleeves is not his subject (and l'auteur has a nice cigarette in his left hand)

Way off in the distance, his subject is the lady in the red pants

They left, I was distracted, and snapped.  The angle makes even me dizzy but I like it.

It rained!  Then it stopped!  Federal Plaza at 5:30pm on a weekday

Sunday, July 7, 2013


In 1974, Alexander Calder's 50-ton, 53-foot Flamingo was unveiled in Federal Plaza in Chicago.  Unlike some of Calder's better known works which are mobiles, it is an abstract stationary sculpture.  It's doesn't move with the wind but its designs makes it look like it might.

There used to be a modelo of it in the lobby of the post office that was an exact smaller scale made by Calder so the blind could experience it.  There was a plaque next to it describing it in American English and in braille.  It was quite thrilling for me to see it and touch it.  It disappeared from the post office and I imagined it languishing in the basement of that facility but have come to find out the modelo (also called a maquette) resides in the Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago, roughly three blocks east of its former location.

Flamingo is right in front of the post office where I have my PO box.  I have been trying to take pictures of it every day I am over there as long as (1) I remember a camera of some sort and (2) it isn't raining.  (I was there twice on Saturday and managed to leave the camera at home both times.  Clever, huh?)

I've tried different angles.  There are panoramas.  I have tried looking right up its legs at its underbelly.  I have done reflection shots.  I still think there are angles in there that I've not yet visited.

Allow me to share my latest photo fascination:
June 2013, looking at the underside, southwest and up

May 2013, looking east at it

May 2013, looking east with reflection
December 2012, looking northwest
First panorama, January 2013, during a snowless afternoon lull, looking southeast