Labor Day agenda: Food, art and street signsPosted: August 31, 2013 Filed under: Art & architecture, Chicago, Food, Theater | Tags: A Red Orchid Theatre, Blue Sky Bakery, Jack Kerouac, Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, State and Madison streets 1 Comment
A few things on my mind today, some of which you might want to think about too.
I’m fond of the fruits and vegetables from the farmers’ market but I’m also a superfan of good bakeries. I discovered a new one today and you should try it. It’s Blue Sky Bakery at 3720 N Lincoln, just north of the Addison stop on the Brown line. Street parking should be pretty easy too. I bought some delicious berry scones and an apple-brie croissant baked in a muffin cup. Mmmm-mmm. Lots of delicious-looking cookies and cakes too.
There’s another reason why you should visit Blue Sky Bakery. They provide employment and training for homeless and at-risk youth. So those deliriously luscious baked goods are also helping bring about social change. CBS Channel 2 did a story on Blue Sky recently. Check it out.
Borders at Solti Park
I wrote about these intriguing figures earlier this week in my Art Around Town roundup. Here’s another photo.
Simpatico by Sam Shepard runs until September 15 at A Red Orchid Theatre. It’s a terrific show with a gripping first act so get a ticket if you possibly can. That may not be easy because (1) the play has gotten four-star reviews and (2) it’s showing in the tiny A Red Orchid Theatre on Wells Street. The theater describes it like this: “High society meets low life in the slippery netherworld of thoroughbred racing. This tragic-comedy explodes when a simple phone call threatens to undo years of blackmail and false identities.” The small tough cast features Michael Shannon and Guy Van Swearingen. It’s sold out but a standby ticket line forms one hour before each performance.
The Mexican Girl by Jack Kerouac. I confess that every once in a while I look at the obituary page if I’m reading an actual newspaper, to see if anyone interesting or important died. One day last week, there was a gem of an obit. The woman who inspired the character Teresa or Terry in Jack Kerouac’s On the Road died at 92. The wonderful part is that she didn’t know the identity of the young man with whom she had a brief affair in 1947.
The short story, The Mexican Girl, was excerpted from the manuscript of On the Road and first published in The Paris Review in 1955. The review paid Kerouac $50 for the story. It was a big hit and resulted in the whole book being published by Viking Press in 1957. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading the story–it starts on page 74 of my edition of On the Road. If you can’t find yours, you can listen to an audio version of the story recorded in 2003.
Chicago street signs
Chicago has a lot of weird and amazing engineering achievements. Reversing the flow of the Chicago River, sending it downstate rather than into Lake Michigan. Raising the grade of the city and all its buildings by five feet to lift the city above the mud and sludge of the unpaved streets. My favorite bit of reengineering, however, happened in 1909, when all the streets in the city were renumbered with State and Madison as the zero point. State Street became zero for east-west streets and Madison for north-south streets.
Hear that, Manhattan? In Chicago, you know exactly where an address is going to be because you have memorized the arterial streets in each direction. Every good Chicagoan does that. You know if you are going to the 2700 block of Halsted Street that it will be a block south of Diversey, which is 2800. In New York, you have to ask what the cross street is because streets are haphazardly numbered as they were built in centuries past.
Patrick Reardon did a nice story on this in the Tribune this week. The story marked the occasion of officially naming the corner of State and Madison streets as Edward Brennan Way, in honor of the private citizen who devised the plan and fought for its acceptance by the City Council.