Mookie Jam 2005, Body Worlds, Toulouse-Lautrec at Montmarte

At the cafe. The guy heard me say ‘passionfruit smoothie’ when I’d really said ‘jasmine green tea’. But the smoothie is good so I’m pleased.

Teleseminars start next week – got about 50 people in the blogging course. Not sure how many are in the podcasting course.

Ran today. Didn’t make it running all the way from Belmont to Montrose, had to walk some. But I lifted yesterday and the day before that. Managing four meals a day lately. Need to ge thta tup to the full five or six.

Mom, dad, sister, brother-in-law and Ron had an absolutely fantastic time in the city. I was really glad they could all come to visit.

Body Worlds was amazing. People always make faces when I explain what it is but it is truly a monument to the human body. It is amazing our bodies even work. To see entire muscle systems in full detail, inches from your face is amazing. As was the exhibits of arthersclerosized veins, smoker’s lungs and other maladies. Really amazing was the exhibit that had a man riding a horse and the horse had also been plastinated. Astounding. Get tickets in advance and go early.

Toulouse-Lautrec at Montmarte was at the Art Institute and was a great exhibit as well. I’d always known that Degas and T-L had both painted dancers and artists but never really understood that Degas pretty much stayed in Paris among the nice-folks and Toulouse went slumming in Montmarte (home of the Moulin Rouge, of course). I also had seen the poster style of Toulouse many times before but never really understood that he was a pioneer of that style of lithograph and motif. What always blows my mind at the Art Institute is you can go up real close to a famous painting and see the individual brush strokes of a masterwork. I think to myself, "Van Gogh painted that brush stroke centuries ago and here I am looking at it centuries later." That always blows my mind.

I realize I really can’t stand 15th-17th century European painting. It all looks the same and it is all too religious. And it all looks so grungy. Not by bag, baby.

Toured the American modern/post-modern halls as well and those are alright. I’ve always liked Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol was always on my research list since he is a fellow Andy W.

I also love the Hindu icons, I love the images of the gods and goddesses with many arms, faces or chimerical forms.

Monday night we attended the fifth Mookie Jam benefitting artists with multiple sclerosis. It wasn’t where it is was last year which was more open and cabaret-ish. This was up at the Morseland bar venue which was a little more cramped and smoked up. I knew mom and dad really hated the smoke but was glad that once the music started up we were regaled with artist after fantastic art including Mierka (the founder of the foundation who has been in remission for many years), Rebecca (one of the most amazing voices I’ve heard in person), Ann Harris (a Chicago treasure) and a bunch of other folks I didn’t know by name. Oh and Brando, Mierka’s husband on guitar. Ron wasn’t able to attend because he didn’t want to call in sick. I bid on the teeth whitening in the silent auction and won it so I will soon be sporting pearly whites as soon as I can trick Brigitte into driving me out to the dentist. Act II of the revue was going to feature celebrities and so I assumed it’d be famous Chicago musicians that I didn’t know. Even better! All the singers from Act I came out impersonating their favorite artists. Anne came out with a massive afro wig as Whitney Houston how started to sing but then heard she had an 8 ball waiting for her in the dressing room. Rebecca did great as Patsy Cline and a stoned out of her mind Janis Joplin. Mierka rocked out as Pat Benatar and I immediately bought ‘Heartbreaker’ on iTunes and have been compulsively playing it all week. Other favorites included David Bowie, Neil Diamond and the B-52’s doing ‘Rock Lobster’ complete with plastic lobsters and beehive wigs.

As always, the giving away of the grant to an artist affected by multiple sclerosis was a moving event. Especially moving also was Nicole reading a poem about her mother who passed away recently. Her mom was a true party girl until the end and the evening was dedicated to her memory. Not a dry eye in the house.

Overall a great visit with the whole famn damily. We all agreed that by day three we all needed to be by ourselves and we ate tons of great food (of course). I was glad Ron got to hang out with us for most of the – I think he really understands me better when he sees me interact with my family. He can tell that mom’s the quiet one and dad was the disciplinarian – and the implied assumption that though mom might not have been the enforcer – she knew enough about guilt and disappointment to motivate us to do anything.