Archive for August 10th, 2010

More Mini Cooper Lovers

The event at Soldier Field on Sunday was called Mini Takes the States. The team was driving from Chicago to Denver, with several cities in between. After Chicago it was on to Indianapolis, where Mini Cooper lovers got to drive on the Speedway. Wow.  Anyway, back in Chicago on Sunday,  I had pre-printed 150 sheets of paper with the car and logo–this is possible because I draw at the rate of 3-4  minutes per person–but I only drew about fifty people, because of the weather conditions.  Of the people I draw at an event, only very few get a photo op, because of others standing in line.  Due to the wind on Sunday, the photo efforts turned into a slight of hand with wafting drawing paper.  Here, then, are a few more Mini Cooper lovers who congregated in Chicago on Sunday to celebrate their love of the Mini.  Ahhh.  Ohhh.  Oooo…  Btw, John Cooper (1923-2000), the designer,  had a passion for race cars, was a race car driver himself, and took his car through the Indy Speedway in 1960 at 144.8 mi/hr.  I’m beginning to understand why there were so many guys here in Chicago  on Sunday,  eager to speed through those turns in the parking lot.


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You drove your Chevy to the levee, maybe, and I don’t question that you loved that car.  But yesterday, in a Soldier Field parking lot I learned to what length people will go if they drive a Mini Cooper.  And apparently to drive one is to love one.  They drove their Mini Coopers from Ann Arbor to Chicago and from Madison to Chicago and from way up in Michigan to Chicago just to be with other Mini Cooper owners and to drive through a simulated race course set up in this parking lot. It was a love fest. (If there was a sales promotion involved, I saw no signs of such a thing.)  Mini Cooper drivers congregated to celebrate with others who shared their love of this car.  I was the only caricature artist in the area chosen to draw them, and I drew from nine to five, through rain and shine, literally.  At ten it started raining with blustering winds; at two the sun was out.  Everybody remained in good spirits, throughout. I for one, felt inspired.

Interesting people, these Cooperites!  Unusually verbal and communicative, story tellers, into all sorts of stuff, witty types, smart….A big burly tool maker,  who has owned six Mini Coopers, tells me that after the surgery on his skull the a gorgeous blond surgeon informed him that she had to drill a whole into his skull and he asked  her what size drill bit she used.  A writer who blogs about celebrities hair dos.  A woman, who drives a canary yellow Mini Cooper comes with her son and grandson, every one of them in canary yellow t-shirts and windbreakers,  tells me about her ancestors moving from Germany, where famine ruled, to Katherine the Great’s Russia and how her grandmother made it to Ellis Island with two small children and pregnant with twins and this narrative tickles  me to tell her about my ancestors who also had pioneering adventures in the 18th century and we exchange contact information and all this takes place in driving rain and wind under a rattling tent surrounded by these lovely cars, between the lake and the Chicago sky line.  You may be exhausted  just reading this, but I was exhilarated, as I listened and plunked my forearms onto the table to keep my drawing materials from blowing and rolling away.  There was a guy who impressed me with his job, fixing x-ray machines, and claimed it wasn’t hard, but I saw right through his modesty and told him so and he said when he first bought a Mini Cooper his wife said, Oh, a clown-car.  Well, to my design-loving  eye, it’s elegant and witty.  A man named Lewis, who sells Jaguars and Landrovers in Tinley Park, has a love of art history and an architect son with an inscrutable mind and we talked about the similarity between math and art.  All this, as I’m drawing them and battling the gusts of wind.  A tall skinny tanned extrovert has a tattoo on his upper arm in the shape of the heart beat rhythm recorded on the what’s-it machines and when I ask him about it he tells me it’s because he’s had numerous heart surgeries, but I find that hard to believe because he’s so young and this prompts him to ask me to guess his age, to which I say twenty-seven and he says, it must be the hair, which is falling over his forehead like too much of a good thing, and he slides his glasses onto the top of his head and tells me he’s fifty-two and then he keeps pouring out his vitality as if his life depended on it and I draw him twice, one front view and one profile, because he’s such good company and because everybody else standing around is in favor of the  double take.  There was a car lover (can fix anything) named Nick who said it was just a nickname.  And there were dancers.  A couple named Jason and Melanie will be performing this fall at the Harris Theater, that level of dancing, mind you, and I will look up the performances and go.  Beautiful people!  I drew them twice, also, front and side views, how could I not. Another dancer came with her friend who works backstage and these people stole the show.  When she, the dancer, discovered a  baby squirrel under the table, placed it on the table in front of me and got a banana for it,  a crowd of about fifteen onlookers immediately gathered around.  My art was upstaged. The squirrel nibbling at the banana was the center of attention for several minutes.   When I resumed my work, I knew it was time to upgrade my act.  I have to get a squirrel costume.  And I have to get a Mini Cooper.

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