We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. ~May Sarton

from my bookshelf

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Chicago: my continuing love affair with a city 11/18-11/22/09 (and a little extra)

OK, so I had so much going on these last couple of months that I really fell behind on updating here, but better late then never, right?

In October, S had her annual Pumpkin Carving Party, which is always quite a bit of fun and a good way to start getting in the mood for Halloween. She usually hosts it the Sunday before Halloween, so we can all take our pumpkins home to have them for the big night!

Mine is the one with the witch hat.

Feeling a little wicked for Halloween.

My mom and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on Nov 2. I don’t know if anybody is familiar with them, but it has to be the strangest combination of music I think I can come up with: hard rock, headbanger Christmas and classical music. But it works. The guys all wear tuxedos and they are playing electric guitars and have long hair and thrash around on stage playing reworked versions of Christmas carols and then classical pieces. It’s so bizarre, but so much fun at the same time.

My mom went to Florida to visit family for a couple of weeks after that, so I stayed at her place to watch the dogs while she was gone. That first Thursday night, I met David Wroblewski (who wrote The Story of Edgar Sawtelle which I own, but have not read yet), at Nicola's Books. That was fun. I love getting to meet authors. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that night, so didn’t get a picture with him. The last Tuesday night that I was staying there, I again went to Ann Arbor, this time to meet James Dashner and get his book, The Maze Runner, signed. Again, no camera so no picture. **Note to self: ALWAYS CARRY YOUR CAMERA!

My friend K came into town on Friday 13 as she had a conference the next day in Lansing (she lives in Lapeer, which is just about an hour away), so she was going to stay at our place that night since I wasn’t home at the time. She, B, S, and I went to see the new animated version of A Christmas Carol. I read the book every year around the holidays, so I can say that I was pleasantly surprised by how close they stayed with the original book. They changed just a few aspects of the story to make it move a little quicker, and to show off the fancy-pants 3D technology that they used to make the movie, but these new bits really didn’t detract too much from the story.

C and I and some friends at Banana Shpeel.

C called and surprised me with tickets for us to go see the dress rehearsal of the new Cirque du Soleil show in Chicago, Banana Shpeel. I had already been planning on going down to Chicago to see the parade that lights the Magnificent Mile for the holidays anyway, so I just went down a few days earlier to see the show. I honestly have to admit that I was really shocked by how bad the show is. I honestly didn’t know it was possible for Cirque to make a bad show. I’ve seen almost all of their shows, either on TV or live, and I’ve been amazed by all of them. Well, I can say that I was amazed by this show, but NOT in a good way! It was their take on vaudeville, and they have never done a show like this before, and you can tell that it just didn’t come together for them. People actually left during intermission, and C and I both were glad that we didn’t have to pay for the tickets; all he had to do was be one of the first 100 people at the theater the week before with a banana and he got 2 tickets to the dress rehearsal. I’m glad that I got to see it, so I can say that I saw it, but I am still surprised by how bad some of it is. Oh well, they can’t win them all the time!

Thursday night C and I were able to able to get tickets to see the new Broadway production of The Addams Family, starring Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth! This completely made up for Banana Shpeel. We laughed from the time the curtain went up to the time the curtain went down. It’s a pre-Broadway preview of the show, so there is a chance that they may still change some of the show by the time it makes it to NYC, but I can’t imagine what they’d want to change. It was all so well done!

Friday, the Disney Store was unveiling a new window display for their upcoming animated film, The Princess and the Frog. They were really making a big deal about this window, and there was talk that Oprah was going to be coming down to take part in the unveiling (she never showed). Jim Fielding, the president of the Disney Store, was there however, and after all was said and done, and after al all the hoopla that they were making over this window, the crowd that had formed was expecting something really amazing. When they finally pulled the curtain and showed us what the big deal was about, it can all be summed up in the words from the woman right behind me, “Really? That’s it?” It’s pretty and all, but the way that they were going on, it just seemed like it was going to be something SPECTACULAR, and all it ended up being was a cutout of Tiana, the new princess, and an example of all the product for sale in the store. I’m sure Oprah is really glad that she didn’t come down for that!

After C got out of work (he works at that Disney Store), our friend K came into town and we ran back to his place so he could change and then we went to one of the bars in Boystown to catch a drag show, Snow White and the Drag Queen Who Stole X-Mas, which was hysterical!

C had to work Saturday afternoon, so K and I wandered around the city, and when she found out I had never been to Navy Pier before, we decided to head down that way and wandered around there for awhile. C got out of work early, so we ran back to his place so he could change, and then turned right around and went back down to the Mile to see the parade that Disney puts on to light the Mile for the holidays. C’s friend came along with some of his friends, so we had a nice little group down there to watch the parade. They had some of the Disney characters there on floats, and a couple of big balloons (like the Macy’s parade), some of the celebrities who are in the area for shows and whatnot, some marching bands from local schools and Santa, of course, so overall it was a good time. C has been trying to get me down there for the last couple of years to see it, so it was nice to finally be there.

C hadn’t seen A Christmas Carol yet, so we walked back down to Navy Pier and watched that at the IMAX theater after the parade.

Sunday morning, C, K and I went out to have breakfast at our favorite restaurant, Tweet, which is conveniently located just around the corner from C’s apartment. After breakfast, it was time for me and K to start packing to head home. It was a non-stop whirlwind of a trip to Chicago this time, but worth every minute of it!

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