Lake Michigan and Labor Day Weekend

Chicago emptied out some over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Large rollerbags and their owners fill aisles of the Blue and Orange Lines. Some restaurants and independently-owned stores close for the long weekend or take a proper, well-deserved week away. The highways are even more congested than usual — to Rockford, to Wisconsin, to Indiana, to Iowa, to any place not-Chicago.

Those of us who remain, however, enjoy the last sweet breath of summertime — Labor Day Weekend. Continue reading

"Cloud Gate" by Anish Kapoor, Millennium Park, Chicago

Chicago’s Millennium Park with Flat Stanlina

Flat Stanlina was so surprised at all the people playing outside, even if it was so cold. My friend Jenny took Flat Stanlina and me to Millennium Park.

When we arrived there was a man polishing the ice rink with a special machine called a Zamboni. The Zamboni machine smoothes flat the grooves that the blades on the skates make into the ice. Soon after the ice was polished, many kids and adults skated. Some people skated fast or even backwards. Other people skated slowly and did not have good balance. A few people fell down, but they got back up again. It was fun to watch them and listen to the music.

Flat Stanlina asked me what that giant shiny bean was. We walked up to see the sculpture called “Cloud Gate.” It was created by British artist Anish Kapoor, and the sculpture was installed at Millennium Park in July 2004. It has a reflective surface that shines like a giant fun house mirror. But Flat Stanlina was right, the sculpture does look like a giant Bean. (In fact, most people here have nicknamed the sculpture ‘the Bean’.) Continue reading

What is Chicago Street Art

While we were visiting different places around Chicago, Flat Stanlina noticed that some buildings and street signs had interesting and colorful designs placed on them, either with paint or stickers. Some were like giant paintings or murals. Some looked like real life and others were like cartoons. She asked me what these are.

We went to see an exhibit about Street Art, “Paint Paste Sticker” at the Chicago Cultural Center. Street Art is a form of visual art made where people in public can see it – on buildings, sidewalks, signs and other public areas.

The artists are not usually trained in art schools. People make street art for different reasons: to make people laugh, to spread a message, to be seen or heard, to make others think, among others.

Sometimes the artists have permission to create their art on spaces owned by other people. The exhibit showed some examples of public art projects that the local government, street artists, homeowners and business owners worked on together.  Continue reading

Puppet Bike delighting Chicago's young and old

Puppet Bike, Chicago’s one and only!

“What’s Puppet Bike?” asked Flat Stanlina.

It’s a one of kind in Chicago. Puppet Bike is a miniature puppet stage built on a bicycle. Because it’s built on a bicycle, the puppeteer (the person inside the stage) can perform just about anywhere the bicycle can go. I’ve seen the Puppet Bike perform in different places around Chicago in all kinds of weather, and I’ve always stopped to watch, even for a little while. Puppet Bike always brings a smile to my face. Flat Stanlina agreed.

Continue reading