My husband and I enjoyed a Thanksgiving sojourn in Chicago. In addition to the gratitude we feel for our family gathering, good food and the sharing of sweet memories while creating the stuff of new ones, we were lucky to spend some time enjoying a part of what Chicago has to offer. To Detroiters, it is an easy 4 to 5-hour drive (barring the orange cone season) and the energy of the city is exciting and stimulating.
Driving into the city itself I was, once again, struck by the beauty of the architecture! The city lights in the evening were beautiful and seasonal additions added to the twinkle! It is always exciting to see Millennium Park and the centerpiece sculpture, Cloud Gate, known affectionately as the ‘bean’.
A trip to the Art Institute of Chicago is a must, especially since they have recently built a major addition to the structure that currently displays Greek and Roman antiquities with the added bonus of the Chagall American windows behind these displays in the original structure.
Nearby is the Chicago Cultural Center. This was our first time in this beautiful, Historic building. I don’t know how it took us until now to find this treasure, since hundreds of thousands of visitors are drawn to it yearly. Originally built as the city library and a Civil War memorial, it now offers films, lectures, music and dance performances, art exhibits, and space for private parties, as well as the stunning beauty of the building itself.
We viewed a wonderful photographic retrospective of Chicago’s residential architecture, the art exhibit, peeked in on a wedding about to take place, and thanks to a guard who was kind enough to show us the way just before the private party would have made it inaccessible, we were able to see a beautiful array of glass mosaic detailing the world’s largest Tiffany glass dome!
Our Chicago evening was topped off with a visit to the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, a Chicago non-profit performing institution. The theater is a contemporary venue that boasts brilliant acoustics, comfortable seating and wonderful sightlines to enhance the audience experience. Featured in CHICAGO HUMAN RHYTHM PROJECT's Global Rhythms performance series was a Vancouver based group that call themselves ScrapArtsMusic. What incredible fun it was to watch and listen as five young amazingly talented and athletic Canadians created an unforgettable experience for the audience! Co-founder (with Justine Murdy) Gregory Kozak was joined onstage by Spencer Cole, Crista Mercey, Greg Samek and Malcolm Shoolbraid as they performed a 70-minute uninterrupted sensory explosion that combined athletic dance (at times they seem to be shot upwards from a cannon!), brilliantly delivered percussive rhythms and creative music. The troupe uses instruments devised from scrap by Kozak, who also wrote the music. It was almost as much fun guessing the source of the ecology-based instruments (industry, artillery, scrap heaps) as it was hearing the inventive sounds they could produce! Every sound on the stage, even the sound of the wheels moving the hand crafted drums from place to place, was rhythmic and musical! The percussive talent was explosively thrilling and was interspersed with delightful humor.
I’m told that the troupe performed in Detroit in January, 2011 for the premier of the Volkswagen and the Passat. Although I hope they will come back to a stage in Detroit, for Michiganders who enjoy trips into Ontario for a getaway and entertainment, please note that SCRAPARTSMUSIC , will be in our “neighborhood” from March 4th to March 8th when they are booked in Burlington, St. Catherine’s and Kingston, Ontario.
For more information go to:www.scrapartsmusic.com/
Photos: Larry Ferstenfeld. Lawrence Davis, courtesy of SCRAPARTSMUSIC