Last week, my brother was visiting from Switzerland and we had great fun exploring some of our old Chicago haunts. One of my absolute favorites is the old main branch of the Chicago Public Library, now the Chicago Cultural Center. This gorgeous building, worth a visit just to see the elaborate mosaic floors and staircases, as well as the stained glass domes, hosts many art and musical exhibitions and concerts. We happened upon a most interesting art installation, Write Now, Artists and Letterforms. This exhibition features works by more than 60 artists, using letters and texts in diverse and creative ways. The letters and the words are the art itself. It runs through the end of April so if you find yourself in Chicago, do go to see it!
I was lucky enough to have spent the past ten days on Sanibel Island, to my mind, one of the most beautiful and most relaxing spots on earth. The beaches are amazing, the sand is fine and white. I walk uninterrupted for hours. At this time of the year, the water is the same temperature as the air. One floats in paradise. But now that I have returned to Wilmette, here, too, the beach is amazing. Certainly a different beach than the beach in Sanibel, but for me, perhaps more precious as the season here is so much shorter.
As I walked along the shore, picking up pieces of sea glass, my mind wandered to the beautiful and vastly different way that poster artists have captured the magic of “la plage”. Marquet has recreated tranquility in his lovely “Plages de France“. Villemot, on the other hand, has illustrated the passion of the sand and sun in his “Perrier Couple on the Beach” and Negrita. Van Dongen with Trouville sur Mer and Lobrot with Trouville la Reine des Plages show us the joy and fun to be had.
So while we are blessed with “l’Ete”, please get out and enjoy “la plage”. For me and for the poster artists an afternoon spent on the beach is bound to evoke a postive emotional experience. I welcome your beach stories!
This weekend, I went to see Woody Allen’s newest movie, Midnight in Paris. While it is not at all the usual complex plot and complex characters (not even all that funny) that I generally associate with his movies, I loved it! It was romantic. Not romantic if the “falling in love” sense, rather romantic in the way it captured the protagonist’s longing for and then actually experiencing the life that he dreamed of living, life in the “roaring ’20′s”. The movie opens with glorious footage of belle Paris. As you can all probably tell by now, “j’aime cette cité”. I was enchanted by the movie before it even began.
It is the story of a disenchanted young man who ultimately follows his dream. Gil, Owen Wilson, is a successful screen writer who yearns to write a novel. He is engaged to the lovely Inez, Rachel McAdams, but it is obvious that they are not well suited. Going out to wander the Parisian streets on his own, at the stroke of midnight he is picked up in a vintage car, given champagne and magically wisked back into the vibrant night life of the 1920′s. Now here is where the movie really began to grab me! Gil drinks with Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. Gertrude Stein critiques his novel. But even more amazingly, he danced with Josephine Baker and hung out with artists Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso and Man Ray! Can you even imagine how incredible it would have been have actually spoken to these major artists?! Gertrude Stein speaks of buying a painting from Henri Matisse!