Cleveland – November 2018 – Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

In Mexican culture the Day of the Dead is celebrated the first two days of November. This celebration honors the memory of those who have passed on.

Presented by the Cleveland Public Theater and Artistas Latinos Unios, Cleveland has had a Dia de Muertos for 14 years.

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Most participants paint their faces.

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While it might seem morbid, it is in fact a joyous occasion that is intended to dispel fear of death and embracing the cycle of life.

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In Cleveland many non Latino people participated.

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While most had face paintings, traditionally hand made clay skulls are also used.

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The Cleveland Public Theater is housed in a former church. Inside they had a number of exhibits set up.

This young lady had one honoring her family.

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As did this young lady. Note in the back numerous photos and offerings to her deceased family members. Throughout the church/theater and outside in the ‘pop up’ cemetery were a number of such altars (known in Spanish as ofrendas)

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One of the event coordinators was ready.

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It was a really cool event, with lots of great looks.

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Stylish and macabre at the same time.

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Finally it was time for the procession to begin…..

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One of the bands lead the march.

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Anyone who had signed up and was in ‘costume’ could participate.

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Some clearly had spent more time putting together their look.

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One of my favorites.

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Many entire families participated.

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This young lady had the face painting but the rest of her family wore the masks.

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Happy skeletons!

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The origins date back thousands of years and coincide with the annual harvest. It combined Aztec and Christian practices.

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Today is has become so popular in the United States even places like Party City sell merchandise for the celebration, although these ladies clearly did better than going down the local Party City.

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Not sure why, but it seems every Cleveland parade has a number of people on stilts. But what’s not to like in a 10′ skeleton lady coming down Detroit Avenue!

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More stilted skeletons.

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A few had more simple masks, which this guy used to accent his great suit.

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Historically in Cleveland most of the Latinos were Puerto Rican, but they too have embraced the event.

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Also participating was a Horse Drawn Funeral Carriage. Note the very stylish job on the horse’s hooves.

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The carriage had a mannequin complete with mask.

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Dia de Mertos was a fantastic event – I can’t wait for next November. Look for one in a city near you.

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Chicago – October 2018 – Open House Part 1

Our Chicago Open House weekend started on Friday, before the official event started on Saturday. We made our own tour of places that were open.

 

James Thompson Center – Designed by Helmut Jahn, the Thompson Center is a 17 story curved glass building housing many government offices. From the interior all 17 floors are visible in the impressive atrium.

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On the plaza in front of the building is a sculpture from Jean Dubffet called Monument with Standing Beast. Standing at 29’ high, the sculpture weighs in at 20,000 pounds.

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Cook County Office Building – A classical 12 story office building located in the government section of downtown Chicago, to me it is most famous for where the Blues Brotthers went to pay the property tax for the childrens home (and yes the Cook County Assessors office is located in this building).

The building has the classic Art Deco look on the interior.

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Chicago Temple – The First United Methodist Church of Chicago was the first church to be founded in the city, even before it was a city, in 1831. In 1838 it moved to it’s current location at the corner of Washington and Clark.

In the early 1920s with downtown Chicago rapidly developing the church debated selling their valuable land and moving out to one of the neighborhoods. Eventually they decided on a novel approach, build a skyscraper with a church included, and in addition, put a chapel on the top. The result was a 568’ tall building with what is to this day the highest church from street level in the world.

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The first level has a traditional church.

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Known as the Sky Chapel, it was part of the original building but not fully completed until 1952 as a gift from the family of the Walgreen’s Drug Store founder.

To this day the church is self funded by the rents paid by other tenants in the building, allowing it to fully focus on serving the diverse community it serves.

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Outside is some unique art.

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Marshall Field’s (Macy’s) Tiffany Dome – With over 1.6 million pieces it is the largest Tiffany  mosaic in existence. Designed by Louis Tiffany in 1907, over 50 artisans worked on scaffolding for 18 months to complete this amazing masterpiece.

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The Pedway hosts a collection of stained glass.

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Some general scenes around the city.

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A tourist boat on the Chicago River.

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One of the lift bridge control buildings frame by a 60 floor building.

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Classic Chicago – The Merchandise Mart with a Brown Line El train coming in.

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Old street light and new skyscrapers.

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Up Wells Street from the 10th floor of a parking garage.

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A building along Madison Street.

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Millennium Park

Cloud Gate is a public sculpture located in Millennium Park. While the artists inspiration was liquir mercury, it is commonly referred to as The Bean. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.

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The buildings along East Randolph Street.

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Pritzker Pavilion – A Frank Gehry design, the pavilion is a band shell that hosts numerous events each year. For this mid October night it was quiet, but still stunning with it’s red lighting.

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Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States. From this part of the park, you get a great view of one of the modern additions along with the Michigan Avenue skyline.

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tomorrow the official events starts.

 

 

Macedonia, Ohio – September 2018 – Wizard of OzFest

The small Cleveland suburb of Macedonia held a ‘Wizard of Oz Fest’ in the town park. Being in the area we decided to stop by.

Generally the festival was a bust, with just a few vendors peddling Wizard of Oz related trinkets. There were however some people from the local community theater dressed as characters from the movie.

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The people from the theater embraced their parts, doing a good job of staying in character.

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In addition there were a couple of other people who came dressed for the occasion, but very few. Perhaps we timed it wrong as earlier in the day they had a ‘Dorothy 5k’, but I am unsure if many came in costume.

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One of the Wicked Witches guards was on hand.

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One guy put on a one person show where he did the entire movie in 20 minutes, changing his hats/hair/etc and doing a brief piece from the movie.

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The community theater Dorothy.

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The witch.

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The twenty minute Oz wishes everyone a good day. While not the best festival we have ever been to, those in character earn points for effort.

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Cleveland – September 2018 – IngenuityFest

Each September IngenuityFest occurs in Cleveland. It is tough to explain exactly what IngenuityFest is, but their website describes it as ‘sparking creativity among artists, entrepreneurs and innovators of all types, through job and collaboration, in service to civic progress.

What that means is you will find music, lots of music….

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Interesting art….

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Unique performances like a belly dancer will lit candles on her head….

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A lampshade that looks like a cloud….

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A lamp made out of an old drill….

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Really cool art….

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More music….

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A room that you stand in front of a projector and it turns you into a stick person that moves as you move….(a selfie)

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More music….

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The musicians we heard were all quite good.

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The octopus that ate the Terminal Tower.

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These guys were demonstrating their robot that can paint lines on roads, but for this they were making a large painting on the parking lot.

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Held in a hundred year old former factory (where Fuel Cleveland was held a few months ago), even the venue was re-purposed.

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IngenuityFest is one unique event.

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New York City – September 2018 – Historic Skyscraper Details

As noted on other postings New York City has a plethora of skyscrapers, many that have been built in the last 50 years that are massive glass boxes.

Prior to that the buildings were built with much more style. This posting looks at some of the architectural and artistic details of those early skyscrapers.

The Corbin Building is at Broadway and John Street in lower Manhattan. Dating from 1889, it was built in the Romanesque Revival style with French Gothic details.  It was restored in 2014 by the MTA as part of the Fulton Subway station complex.

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The Woolworth Building was completed in 1912 as the world’s tallest building, at 792 feet high. The exterior is limestone colored, glazed Terra Cotta panels.

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The Woolworth Building is built in a Gothic style, with it’s impressive crown visible still above most of the buildings in the city.

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The Equitable Building is a massive structure on lower Broadway. It has been credited (or cited) as the reason for the 1916 set back law to allow light and air to reach the streets, as this building goes 40 floors straight up from the sidewalk.

With this density it provides 1.2 million square feet of office space on a plot of less than 1 acre.

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The  Equitable Building does provides this impressive eagle.

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The sculptures above the New York Stock Exchange Building. The original sculptures from 1904 were replaced in 1936 as they were too heavy and were causing cracking in the building.

The theme of this sculpture is to show that money is not the root of all evil, rather it is required for the betterment of man.

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The buildings along Beekman Street show the contrast to the new  Frank Gehry 76 story ‘twisted’ skyscraper.

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Surrogate’s Courthouse, completed in 1907

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A sculpture outside of the Custom’s House on Bowling Green.

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Rockefeller Center provides numerous reliefs and sculptures including these two.

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The French Building on Fifth Avenue in Midtown has an impressive entrance.

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A contrast of style along East 42nd Street.

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The Brunswick Building is on Fifth Avenue at 27th Street. Completed in 1906 is has served as a hotel, a warehouse and a sales showroom for gift wholesalers, thus earning the unofficial name as the New York Gift Building.

It is now luxury apartments.

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The famed Flatiron Building. Everyone takes a photo of the narrow front section, this is the side section.

Clearly it does not have central air conditioning.

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A detail on the Flatiron.

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A close up of the Met Life clock.

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The Met Life Building crown.

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The classic art deco – with the ubiquitous eagle. There are eagles on nearly all the older skyscrapers.

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Another contrasting styles view.

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70 Pine Street – Completed in 1932. The top area of the building was once an observation deck.

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Detail of a building along Broadway near Trinity Church.

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Cascading cornices in downtown Manhattan.

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The very cool American Express building.

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Another sculpture in front of the Customs House.

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Cunard Lines building – note the ships.

The new buildings like the World Trade Center are great, but nothing beats the detail on the early 1900s skyscrapers.

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New York City – September 2018 – Chrysler Building

The Chrysler Building is the most stylish skyscraper in New York City. Built in the late 1920s, it was for a few months the tallest building in the world – losing out to the Empire State Building once their construction completed.

To most, it is most famous for it’s ‘hood ornaments’, befitting a building built for a car company.

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Built in the classic art deco style, it appears to have perfect symmetry, but in reality the building is built in a trapezoid shape. This shape is a result of it being built on land that had been laid out along the path of the old Boston Post Road, which pre-dated the 1811 Manhattan Grid Plan.

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With a height over 1,000 feet it is the tallest brick building in the world.

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The 61st floor features eagles.

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In 1916 New York City enacted a ‘setback’ law. This law did not limit height, but required setbacks in the design to allow light and air to reach the streets below.

As a result many of the buildings built from then until the 1950s have a ‘wedding cake’ style to them.

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As noted previously the ‘gargoyles’ on the Chrysler Building are hood ornaments. The ones featured on the 31st floor are enlargements of the exact hood ornaments on the Chrysler automobiles of the day.

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The style and color of the ornaments blend perfectly with the lightly colored bricks.

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The crown is capped using ‘Nircosta’ stainless steel, as are the ornaments, window frames and needle.

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An entrance to the building continues the art deco theme.

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According to the documentation, the lobby is representative of German Impressionism.

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The lobby floors are massive pieces of African red granite, with Italian travertine in the elevator entrances.

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In addition to the travertine, the elevator lobbies have ornate wall designs.

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While many New York City landmarks won’t even let you in the lobby (talking to you Woolworth Building), visitors are welcome here, albeit only in the lobby.

The security guard did point out to me that we should wait for this specific express elevator to arrive and open as it has a unique interior.

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The ceiling has a large mural called ‘Transport and Human Endeavor’.

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A longer view of one of the elevator lobbies. There are 32 elevators in total.

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The lower level continues the art deco look, only in black.

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The Chrysler Building – One of the best.

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New York City – September 2018 – Faces at the Met

An afternoon at the Met gave me a subject – The Faces at the Met (real and art).

They speak for themselves.

 

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