Cleveland – March 2019 – Chasing Away Those Winter Blues, Slovenian Style

Cleveland has always had a large population of people from throughout eastern Europe, including Slovakia. As a result there are a number of festivals coming from those regions.

For this cold Saturday we went to check out Kurentovanje’ – which is a Slovenian festival to chase away winter. Held at the Slovenian National Home on the east side of Cleveland, the hall was full of activities.





The band was playing polkas. They were very talented, and the audience appreciated it.








Numerous ladies had recently made headdresses









The highlight of the day is the parade. I have found for the best photos it is imperative to go to the staging area as they gather.

I am not really sure about someone sitting on his ‘throne’ with a shield, skull staff and motorcycle helmet, but it was just the beginning of the strangeness (and fun).





This pleasant young lady was soon to become the devil.





There were a number of groups dressed in historic ethnic attire.





The Krampus crowd came back from Christmas.









Another band was warming up, or just trying to stay warm.







The Polish apples?







Finally the parade started…. Slovenian flags were everywhere.





The parade featured all the ethnic groups, as well as the local high school drum and dance team.

















The Kurent wranglers were keeping them all in line.












The Kurentovanje Festival and Parade was yet another great celebration. Hopefully they do indeed scare winter away soon.








Cleveland – March 2019 – Check Out Those Wheels

Since we were in Cleveland, and the car show was going on – well everyone has their addiction. For this show the focus is on the actuals wheels.

I would assume some car today would come with hubcaps, but I didn’t see any.

We did check out complete cars, including this bright orange Camaro.







What’s a car show without ‘Product Specialists’. This guy was so still I thought at first he was part of the sign. Once again each car company had their Product Specialists dressed the same.







The amazing Lego Chevrolet Pickup made it’s way over from Chicago. Either they are glued together or those are some amazing Lego’s to stay together on the Indiana Toll Road.







While the really cool Camaro had all black wheels that didn’t make a statement this simple Chevy SUV had really stylish wheels.







Most high performance cars, like this Dodge Challenger, have their brake calipers in red to show off how large they are. I can see the all black wheels here.






Again – a high performance car with all black wheels. The Alfa Romeo Gulia.





A Nissan Altima near production prototype has fairly basic, but nice looking wheels.





Another excited Product Specialist. Although to be fair this has to be a tough job standing their all day as thousands of people come by asking questions. I love her look of ‘Scotty Beam Me Up’.





The Honda electric cars have these quasi fender skirts.





While this Toyota has also gone with the geometric styling approach.





Also at the show this year were a few movie cars, including the Scooby wagon and the Dumb and Dumber van.







A Product Specialist doing her thing.





If you surmised this is a sports car with the massive brake calipers, you would be correct – a Ford Mustang.





The Cleveland Browns have their first winning season in forever with a rookie quarterback named Baker Mayfield and they are painting cars for him.

To be fair a main street through the eastern suburbs is (and has always been) Mayfield Road.

Being the Browns I will bet they crash and burn this year, going back to their familiar last place 🙂





This Product Specialist is extolling the virtues of her car – but by the looks of the people in the background they aren’t buying what she is selling.







The dad – how cool is this. The mom – where does the car seat go?





I have been thinking what I will do when I retire, and really like cars. Maybe go into a auto detailing business….nah I will keep my day job.





I have found the next ride! And the wheels aren’t all black.









Chicago – February 2019 – Various Scenes

With our trip to Chicago complete some interesting photos did not make the various specific topic blog postings.

Starting with the long and thin – from commuter trains to 70 floor condo buildings.





Statuary on a South Michigan Avenue building.





Nearby the neighbors outdid them with this relief (only a portion of the entire sculpture).





The Carbide and Carbon Building’s gold top on a sunny morning.





Reflections.





O’Hare Airport is proposing to build a new terminal and is asking for the public’s opinion with a vote. It is Chicago – vote early, vote often.





It seems most of the newer hotel rooms in the city have photos that look like this – so I took my own abstract view of modern buildings.





If not modern, at least historic and modern combined.






Every time I go by this clock I look for a good angle to take a photo, but something always seems to be in the way. This angle is unobstructed, but doesn’t do it justice.





Wandering early one morning in the theater district I decided to focus on the signs.










Even the local McDonalds got into the act.





A snowy morning in Millennium Park.





Snow was gathering on ‘the bean’, and would come off in interesting ways.





It is an interesting view from underneath.





No concert at Pritzker Pavilion today!





Art in the snow behind Aon Tower.





The Chicago Cultural Center had a display on Jazz Music in the city.








The play Chicago was also featured – including some of the real life models for Roxie Hart – Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner.

Both Beulah and Belva had been charged with murder in 1924, but were acquitted. Amazingly the first play was in 1927 and Belva attended the premier!





Chicago – February 2019 – History Museum

Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.

During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.





In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.





Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.

His photographs were used for many album covers.





Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.





The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.





All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.





In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.

This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.





Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.





Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.





A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.





Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.





As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.





Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.





As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.






Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.








Chicago – February 2019 – American Writers Museum

The American Writers Museum is located in an Art Deco skyscraper on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago. Opened in 2017, it has been met with mixed reviews.

Apparently by ‘Writers’, it means any writer, including songwriters as the featured display when we were there was on Bob Dylan.





Among the collection were the handwritten lyrics to ‘Tom Thumb’.





Much was made about Dylan’s famed ‘electric’ set at the Newport Folk Festival in the 1960s. When Bob plugged in the crowd tuned out (literally booing him off the stage).





Among the collection was a copy of Catcher in the Rye with Dylan’s doodling.





The Nation of Writers hall is a long display chronicling writers throughout American history. Each had some small tidbits of information about them in displays that flipped around.





It includes only dead writers.





Another section featured vintage typewriters, along with notes encouraging you to start typing a story and leave it for others to add to it.





The other special display was on Fredrick Douglass.





The display touched on Douglass’s activism in equal rights.





It also included a couple of his personal items.





Finally there was a section of Chicago area writers. Amazingly while it included advice columnist Ann Landers it did not include Oak Park, Illinois born Ernest Hemingway!

If you are into literature, and catchy displays, the American Writers Museum is for you. Overall it could’ve been so much more.





Chicago – February 2019 – Art Deco Skyscraper Details

We continued the architecture tours with ‘Art Deco Along The Riverfront’. This tour took us into many buildings we had been in before, but each docent will focus on different details, so you always come away with a new appreciation of the building.

We started on the Wacker Drive side of 333 North Michigan Avenue.





This building has granite at the bottom and limestone the rest of the way with reliefs carved into the stone on the exterior.





The elevator lobbies are great. The concept of Art Deco was it was new, young and fresh, and the doors that have decorative panels by Albert Stewart called Night Day illustrate that.

The panels show two young adults in a manner that 5 years earlier would’ve been unacceptable with their ‘risque’ look.





All Art Deco buildings have great letter boxes, and 333 North Michigan was the same. The letter box became a favorite subject for me of this tour.






We went back to the Carbide and Carbon Building. Each docent we have had has a slightly different story on the inspiration of this building, champaign bottle, battery, etc.

Our docent Jeff said it was modeled after the American Radiator Building in New York. Below is the Carbine and Carbon Building.


This photo off of the internet is the American Radiator Building. It seems obvious Carbide and Carbon Building was designed from this look.






The Water Street view of the building shows much of the detail on the exterior.





The Michigan Avenue entrance is the most impressive.





Once inside it is Art Deco heaven. The radiator grills.





The lobby lighting and mezzanine railing.





The letter box.





The elevator door detail. The full elevator lobby photo is the featured photo for this posting.





Even the trash cans have style.





We moved just down the block to the Chicago Auto Club building, now a Hampton Inn.





Again it seems every tour took us into this building, but close observation reveals more details previously missed.





Yet another letter box – which is best is up to individual opinions.





The detail of the balcony, with the light reacting strangely in this photo.





Since it was once a motor club they have retained where the maps used to be set out for the travelers (alas no maps anymore)





Lighting and wall detail.





The famed mural/map of American roads of the mid 1920s.





As we continued down Wacker Drive there was evidence of other Art Deco style, including the lighting, since Wacker Drive was built at about the same time.





While not all of the bridge houses are in Art Deco, this one is.





We passed by 121 West Wacker without going in the lobby, as it is under renovation. This building is interesting as it mirrors closely the Chicago Board of Trade Building – visible way down LaSalle Street in the lower right of this photo.





At the corner of Lake and Wells is the Trustees System Services Building. This building is unique with the mix of materials and the progressively lighter to give the illusion the building is taller than it is.





The interior of the large windows has a great art piece.





The main stairs depict someone who saves as good (on the left) and someone who didn’t as bad (on the right). Ironically the people who built the building were shysters and went bankrupt early in the depression, causing a riot outside the building.





Our last stop was the famed Merchandise Mart. This massive building has nearly as many square feet as the Willis Tower, more than the World Trade Center in New York at 4 million square feet.





Built in the Art Deco style, it has less ‘bling’ than others, but still many nice features.





The building logo is in the granite floors.





The interior of the building is 2 blocks long.





Our last letter box of the tour.





Jules Gierin completed 17 murals for the lobby depicting commerce throughout the world.





Our last stop on our tour came to appreciate the up lighting common in Art Deco buildings. As I almost always end these blogs, our docent Jeff was entertaining and informative – never having to rely on his ‘cheat sheet’ cards.








Chicago – February 2019 – The Cars and People of America’s Largest New Car Show

What do you get when you take America’s third largest metro population combined with the largest convention center in the country – the largest new car show!





With over 1000 cars and trucks scattered over two of the halls, each auto maker had room to show their standard cars (and trucks) and some special ones, like this Chicago Bears football team truck.





Alfa Romeo brought an F1 car.





To be honest most new cars are boring, and all look alike, so for this show I emphasized on the cars and people, including the ‘Product Specialists’.

Fortunately the auto shows have moved away from the ‘booth babe’ concept and the presenters actually know what they are talking about.





I have found that the larger shows like here and Detroit have a lot of extra features, like this engine display. There were over 10 different engine displays like this scattered throughout the hall.





Cadillac took an interesting approach and displayed this mint 1959 next to current cars. The ’59 showed them all up, as far more people surrounded this car than all the new ones in their display put together.





Like this boring box on wheels. Good luck to the Product Specialist to bring something exciting about this car.





All car shows have people who are constantly wiping finger prints off the cars. Here they all were dressed in these cool overalls like a New Car Show Pit Crew.





Even Porsche has mostly boring SUVs and sedans – but at least the 911 lives on!





Somehow 1974 got mixed in with 2019.





Land Rover had a huge area in the back where they showed the joys of all wheel drive. Jeep and Dodge Trucks had similar setups but they pale in comparison to this.





Not sure exactly what they were seeing but they were getting into it.





I believe this group was shopping cars for their grandparents, because I can’t imagine anyone of this age would have any interest in the ultra safe, boxy Volvo.





Another Product Specialist excited to tell us about their vehicle. All the presenters were very professional and could talk for hours (well minutes) about their car.





There were a few concept cars present, but this one from Lexus looks close to production.





Does this car have enough room in the rear seat for my friend?





Locked? How can I get in?





Hit the starter and lets get out of here – even if you can’t see over the steering wheel.





Thank a Robot for staying off the display and automating most of the production jobs. Thanks Robots!





I will take the dirt bikes and leave the Jeep.





Easily the most passionate presenter was for the Dodge Hellcat – 800 HP of smoke and noise.





The Toyota Impossible – like it will be impossible for this to sell in America.





Where are we – oh yeah – Chicago.





It was Latino Day at the Car Show – even Telemundo Chicago had their new truck (or camión de noticias). Especially cool was the singer doing Sinatra in Spanish.





Did you ever wonder why the car next to you has to blast their music so loud you can hear it through their closed windows and yours. Well they have taken care of that – the speakers are on the outside!

Oh boy.





Yes it really is a full size Chevy Silverado made entirely out of Legos.





Enough of this reality – lets go virtual and get out of here.