Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sorry this is so long. We have had an amazing couple of weeks--and it's not over yet. Everything seems to be happening at once. From now on, I'll try to do this blog as things happen instead of waiting until there are so many things to talk about. (I was hoping photos would come with the links to break up the narrative.)

For the first time this year, we got tickets to some of the annual Humanities Festival programs. BTW, it's still going on, so check it out at:

Our first program was John Hodgman, the week before last. It was rainy and cold. As JH said, it was the kind of day you want to curl up with a quilt and watch old movies. But we braved it and went to see him and were so glad we did. He and Peter Sagal from NPR had a wide ranging, totally unorganized conversation that was fun and insightful.

My takeaway was his saying how great it is that now everyone can get their creative stuff out there. It's not like the old days when you had to wait for a publisher or publication to discover you, you can just do it. That resonated with me because that's exactly why I self-published A Sixties Story. I wanted it out there. I didn't want to spend 30 years getting rejected and then die with the unpublished manuscript in the basement gathering dust.

Then during the following week we saw Jeannie Lambert filling in with the Recession Seven (really five that night)--and how lucky was that? They were great. They all know each other and the tunes so well and play with such originality and style. We closed Katerina's that night. Katerina always has great people there, so we know we'll be back. I want to see Bob Dogan for sure.

Last Sunday we went to the Northlight Theater in Skokie and saw Woody Sez on it's last day of the run. We got there via public transportation in about an hour, so now we know we can go to the theater again. It was a wonderful play that told Woody Guthrie's story and the story of America in the dust bowl and depression years with 25 or so of his songs. There were three other performers with the man who played Woody and they were all talented. It was so nice to hear the old folk songs that we learned about and loved back in the sixties. No one does them any more, at least not that we know of. If anyone knows a place we can go to hear them, please let us know.

Wednesday we saw Crossing Paris or Four Bags Full (it has several English titles), which is part of a flim series at the Alliance Francaise. First, can I say that the Alliance Francaise is a beautiful place and the theater is very comfortable and modern. We got there a half hour early and had our free glass of wine sitting on the lovely navy blue velvet couch in the lobby.

The movie was incredibly good (how can you go wrong with Jean Gabin in 1957?). It was set in Nazi occupied Paris and although it was funny in many places, for me there was always an undercurrent of fear because the Nazis could appear at any time. It was thought provoking and there was an interesting discussion afterward. The film series is still going on. The listing is at

We talked about the film all the way home and tried to find out more about the writer, Marcel Ayme, which wasn't easy. We finally found a good write up on The Neglected Books Page,, which I didn't even know it existed, so that website got bookmarked.

Somewhere during the week we saw the HBO special on Ethel Kennedy done by her daughter, Rory. Although it's painful to go back to the sixties, watching her story made it worth it. What a remarkable woman. She went through all the sturm and dram of the sixties and the horror of her husband and brother-in-law and others being assassinated and managed to be a wonderful mother to the 11 children she was left to raise. Incredible strength and a positive outlook got her through. But how amazing is it that she didn't fall apart? It's HBO so I assume it will be repeated. See it if you can.

Yesterday we saw Elektra at the Lyric Opera--and it was electric, just like the TV ad says. We were riveted for the whole hour and 45 minutes. I don't have the words to do it justice. The set, costumes, orchestra, music, and the voices--all were perfect. What a piece this is. I'm no expert, but I've never seen anything like it. We want to see it again. We're looking forward to all four of the operas we're going to see this season at the Lyric. This was a spectacular beginning. For more information

And then there was Chicago Open House 10/13-16, which I am sorry to say, we missed entirely. It was  rainy and we had other things going on, but next year we want to go. We also didn't have time to catch the Chicago film Festival 10/13-25. Next year ...

This is why we retired in Chicago. We love to travel, but when we're home, there's so much going on all around us--boredom is never an issue. Fortunately most of our friends feel the same way, so we have all of them around us too. To quote the overquoted song, "It's our kind of town."

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