Weekend Chicago Vacation

This weekend the Mrs. and I were treated to a nice weekend downtown. As a Christmas gift, Margie’s folks booked us a room and watched the kids for us.

Ahhhh… So. Nice.

Anyway, here’s the pics:


We stayed at the Hotel Burnam, which is the old Reliance Building.


To Chicagoans of the 1890s, the glass-covered exterior of this building seemed to almost defy gravity. A century later, it is internationally recognized as the direct ancestor of today’s glass-and-steel skyscrapers. Extremely narrow piers, mullions, and spandrels, all covered with cream-colored terra cotta decorated with Gothic-style tracery, divide wide expanses of glass and clearly delineate the interior steel framework that supports the building. The light and airy facade is almost entirely windows–both flat and projecting bays–of the type known as a "Chicago window:" a wide fixed pane with narrow movable sash windows flanking it. A flat cornice tops the 14-story structure. The severely deteriorated exterior was completely restored by the City of Chicago in 1996.

Just a fantastic hotel, and gorgeous architecture to see around every corner.


The hallway to our room.

First we checked out Adler Planetarium. And, while perusing telescopes and Mars rovers, I ran across what looked like a cartoon:
Daumier’s 1844 "Un astronome satisfait"…
"…pokes fun of the ‘satisfied’ astronomer, who eagerly describes his wonderful discovery to a shocked listened; ‘Yes, my dear friend, I have just discovered a comet, and according to my calculations, I have great hope that in 45 days, it will encounter Earth.’"

Sidney Harris it’s not, but fun to see!

That night we went to see a show entitled "A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant" at A Red Orchid Theatre. Above is a quick shot of the set before the show.
The next day we spent the morning and some of the afternoon at the Art Institute:
 Double wow.
 Wowee wow wow.
Then dinner under the tree at The Walnut Room:


And a show:

AddamsFamilyMarquee.JPGReview coming soon.

Today we made a few smaller stops before heading home:

 The Chicago Cultural Center‘s Tiffany Dome.
 The Model Chicago at the Architecture Foundation.
 Chicago from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower).

It was a wonderful weekend, but I’m glad to be home and see the kids. More on the Addams Family Musical soon.

Addams Family Musical Not What You Think


Nice article in the Trib today about the new Addams Family show previewing here in Chicago before heading to Broadway.

I’m heartened to hear that the show is based primarily on the actual cartoons instead of the TV show or movies:

Once the decision was made to focus only on the drawings, “The Addams Family” gained a crucial advantage over most other musicals. The source material is just those 150 Addams drawings, all based on the premise of a family of creeps who happen to love each other very much. One typical example features Gomez and Morticia sitting by the fire in their gothic castle. “Are you unhappy, darling?” asks Gomez, in the two-line caption. “Oh yes, yes! Completely! ” answers Morticia. Another features the loving pair, accompanied by their children Pugsley and Wednesday, all staring out happily together at a view of a graveyard.

But the cartoons didn’t form a continuous narrative. They were just cartoons. And thus the show is not stuck trying to stage an existing story — an encumbrance that has torpedoed many recent Broadway musicals from “Cry Baby “ to “Nine to Five. ” Within the parameters of these characters and Addams’ basic mise-en-scene, the show can do its own thing.

Here’s a short video from the local news while we’re at it:


The Mrs. and I have had our tickets for a good while. Can’t wait to go see this!