Margaret and I celebrated our pseudo-pre-second-honeymoon (that is, “a week at home while Pippa is away at choir camp, before we celebrate our twenty-fifth anniversary next week, but not by any means a real vacation or second honeymoon”) by taking a day in downtown Chicago at the Art Institute and Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me. We had a glorious time, and I commend both activities enthusiastically, especially combined, with a simple dinner of omelette and salad at Maxim’s (where, despite the reviews, we were served a quite suitable dinner at a reasonable-for-downtown price by a friendly server).
The Art Institute — words do not suffice to sum up the banquet of treasures to be found there! Margaret and I wore ourselves out strolling from room to room, but we could hardly stop. I will say that, among all the stunning beauties we encountered, none struck me so forcibly as Van Gogh’s Self-Portrait; were I ever to live in a space with a masterpiece of art, this is a painting whose effect would take a very long time to become routine to me. I didn’t see any of the Matisses that I most love, and although I have long admired Monet, the paintings I saw here — marvelous and intensely lovely as they are — didn’t pierce my soul as did Van Gogh. Chagall’s White Crucifixion stood out in the same numinous way. Margaret cited some of the Picassos (the casual way in which oe can say, “some of the Picassos” about one’s local museum’s collection itself flummoxes me) as particularly compelling; she also loves Joan Miró’s The Policeman (larger, darker photo here), among other Miró favorites. She envisioned an exhibition that juxtaposed surrealist paintings from some of the images from the International Gothic and Renaissance styles.
Footweary and heavy-legged, we settled in at the Chase Auditorium and laughed uproariously at our favorite radio personalities. It’s well worth a visit, if you’re in Chicago; we didn’t even see our very favorite panelists, but Adam Felber, Roxanne Roberts, and Paul Provenza bantered at the highest pitch of wit. Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell presided with great good humor, and the live-in-auditorium version entertained with various slips, gaffes, and non-compliant ripostes that you won’t hear on air. (Email me if you want to know who won before the program airs.)
Now if only I hadn’t dropped my wallet while I was down there — but, thankfully, a security guard found it and it’s waiting for me at the Chase Tower. Looks like another trek to the big city.