January 28: A visit to the Museum of Contemporary Photography for a reception celebrating the opening of a new exhibit, 50% Grey: Contemporary Czech Photography Reconsidered, as well as a collection of recent acquisitions of Czech photography from a pair of esteemed collectors. Lots of Europeans in attendance. Hooray. The pamphlets containing information on the exhibit posed a number of interesting questions regarding photography: “Where is the edge between abstraction and representation? What is the relationship between time and space? Between two and three dimensions? What sorts of spaces in the imagination are opened up by paring down information and exposing the basics of photography?”

January 29: Meet James and Tom. James is a friend from London whom I met while I was living in England in 2005-2006, and Tom is his friend/co-worker, also from London. They’re working in Chicago for a while, and we had ourselves a great night out Friday evening. Lots of catching up, story-telling, reminiscing and laughing. The only photos I took today were while we were “out”, and this was my favorite…boy, do I miss England.

January 30: A midnight showing of Fantastic Mr. Fox at the Music Box Theater on Southport. Absolutely loved the film…entertainment that was both simple and extremely complex all at once, with witty dialogue and the most adorable little stop-motion creatures dancing around the entire time. The New Yorker did an interesting article on Wes Anderson and the making of the film this past November. (If you can’t access the article but want to check it out, just say the word and I’ll scan a copy.) Fun facts: the figurines/puppets in the film had tailored clothing made with real fabric (Mr. Fox’s corduroy suit is made from the same material as a suit owned by Anderson) and tons of detail (tiny buttons and minute stitching on shirts); Anderson recorded the actors voices before shooting the scenes with his figurines, and had the actors (think George Clooney, Bill Murray, etc.) travel to a farm in Connecticut to perform the same actions the characters would perform (digging, climbing, jumping, running), to make them more realistic. Very cool.

January 31: Salinger’s section at Borders on Sunday afternoon. Nice work, Chicago…although the two books yet to be purchased are too good to be left behind. Hopefully someone bought these later on, and hopefully Borders will re-stock their shelves ASAP. A more detailed post on Salinger can be expected in the near future. In the meantime (because the connection is too good to pass up): Wes Anderson on J.D. Salinger.

February 1: Remember how excited I was about T.C. Boyle’s fiction in The New Yorker a few weeks ago? Well guess who did a reading at the library tonight? That’s right. Although it was more than your standard author reading. Boyle entertained and performed and told stories and answered questions for over an hour. He also read a short story from his new collection Wild Child, but read it so comfortably that it sounded as though he was recounting a personal tale to a group of friends. He touched on topics ranging from great white shark attacks to his Frank Lloyd Wright home in California to his favorite authors and inspirations. His obsession with writing and reading is absolutely contagious, as is his love for hearing stories told out-loud, and for reading them out-loud himself. It was evident he loved being there, which made me love being there even more. (Also: had the most delicious pressed sandwich at Cafecito before the reading. Go go go, if you’re in Chicago.)


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