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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

As a recent transplant from Chicago, I make an effort to study the local geography.  I look things up:   McCordsville, a suburb of Indy, was founded in 1865 by—surprise—the McCord family.  Just as well, Chicago was named after the indigenous word for onion.

You get to McCordsville by taking 96th east a bit.  You know you’ve arrived when mansion-envy hits you and you notice that everybody is looking way above average.

So, as a caricaturist I had to face these DNA winners. On the bell curve of photogenic, this family was on the rarified rim, like the bunch that passed the screen test.  But, luckily, I’m prepared for all sorts of thrills when I head out with the tools of the trade.

Thank you, Sarah and John!

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It’s a no-brainer. The way to attract people is to throw a party and hand out freebies.  At Nordstrom’s on Grant last December the freebies were exquisite sweets and, ta-tah, my sweet drawings.  We, the scoopable sweets and my laughable drawings were set up next to one another and, appropriately, just across the aisle from the party planning stuff.

The store had pre-printed 4” x 6” cards for me. I drew on the front and on the back it said in multi-color letters, “YOU ARE SO GIFTED.”  Awww!    Only verrrrry regular customers got the freebies.  They came after work down-town and were, obviously, smart shoppers. Including the kids, I’m sure, who had quickly been picked up from their after-school programs.  The whole scene was fascinating to watch and I enjoyed my two hours in the world of expert marketing.

Thank you, Allison.     ——————————————————————-

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Admiral is a posh retirement home on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. I was invited back to liven things up at their September luncheon.  People were tentative at first—this happens sometimes—but after a while there was a line and the conversation over the drawings got pretty lively.  A big factor at parties is food, which has to be enjoyed first before you join the crowd around the caricaturist for extra pleasures like laughing over your caricature and commenting on your friends’. When you’re planning an event, remember: laughter is therapy.

Thank you, Jennifer!

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They’re on Elston in Chicago.  They’re huge. Of course, they are.  Have you ever seen a corner mom and pop car dealer, where you quickly stop by after work to pick up a little something? Fox Ford Lincoln held a promotion in a top floor show room whose ceiling was at least three stories high, high enough, for acrobats hanging from ropes and twirling in strobe lights.  It was a promotion but also a party thrown for customers who already drive a Ford or Lincoln from Fox.  Nice.

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dEARBORN1

From Prospect Heights I drove directly downtown, taking LaSalle Street to avoid the distaste of Taste of Chicago.  A movie was being shot with the Board of Trade as the backdrop, like The Untouchables except this was all about touching.  A bride was puckering up to kiss her kneeling new husband. Camera men circling around. Ah, I love this town! Traffic was barely slowed by this.  Then I noticed the bridesmaids near the columns of Northern Trust.  Ermmm, not a movie scene after all.  This was a real wedding.  I love this town!

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The party on South Dearborn was equally glamorous. My hostess, the mother of the groom,  flew in from Washington DC.  The mother of the bride flew in from Las Vegas.  The wedding will be in (where did they say?) I think, California or Hawaii.  Much of the family is from the Midwest.  So, natch, you gotta throw the bridal shower in Chicago.  That’s because you love this town!

Thank you, Lou Ann!———————————————

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Hammond1

Hammond2A this party in Hammond, Indiana, some natives confirmed for me that Jean Shepherd’s 1983 movie A Christmas Story (based on his book and narrated by him) was set in Hammond, Indiana, his home town. When I got home after the party, I Googled Indiana jokes. Nice try, Hoosiers, but none of those jokes could be applied to Hammond– at least not as I experienced it on Kansas Street. My host was an ophthalmologist with four smart, talented Hammond3kids, one of whom had just graduated from high school.  There was a piano and a HARP in the living room!  Sophisticated, worldly, witty people, just hanging out in Ron’s driveway, being drawn by me.  I loved the repartee!  The puns! The nuances! I love it when people get what I’m doing, which is a form of lying, and lie right back to me—to test me.  As, for example, the top punster telling me that he works for the city—cutting grass.  Ha.

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Hammonders apparently think they’re living in a suburb of Chicago.  They just hop the South Shore train to take in some art on Michigan Ave or soak Hammond5up Lincoln Park.

I loved this party on Kansas Street. The best gigs are gigs where I learn stuff and stereotypes are toppled.

Somebody needs to post more up-to-date Indiana jokes.

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SocialTableA
You know how when you throw a party at your house everybody congregates in the kitchen?Exactly. Why not throw a party that’s held IN the kitchen. Take it one step further: rent someone else’s kitchen and engage a cooking teacher. That roughly describes The Social Table at Armitage & Halsted in Chicago.
To celebrate her husband’s 60th birthday, Lilia invited twenty six friends, mostly couples, to The Social Table, where they would participate in the cooking of their dinner under the expert guidance of a chef, this one named Ian. They worked on a stainless steel table (the chopping and slicing had already been done by the staff) and when everything was cooked, they cleared the table and, well, feasted. Feasted. What else could you call such eating! I was set up at another table, where people sat for me very briefly, maybe 3 minutes each, so that I could draw their faces. Later, while the cooking heated up, I added the bodies and finished the drawings. Then I presented them in clear plastic sleeves while the main course was still in progress and the wine glasses were being refilled. All to much applause and laughter. Then, guess what, I was invited to enjoy their perfect halibut-in-roasted-red-pepper-sauce. Thank you, Lilia!
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Christening1
Christening2From Bollywood in Milwaukee it was down to the European Chalet on South Harlem at about 54th in Chicago. Quite a day.
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Glessner1
That would be Indiana Ave just south of the Prairie Ave Historic District, near the Glessner House and the Clarke House. Sigh.
Anyway, Mikel flew in from L.A., where she’s working on her MA public health, to be with her school buddies from Brown in Providence where they were undergrads. As you can imagine, the conversation in this little upscale condo was pretty upscale. Well, with some colloquialism thrown in here and there. What better way to celebrate with school pals than to have caricatures of everyone individually and then for the finale one group “shot.” It was all Mikel’s treat. Thank you, Mikel!

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Monee7Forget the man who danced with his wife. I drew a finance man who Monee8drives up to LaSalle Street five times a week. From Monee. Monee! My host was a cardiologist names Srinivas whose twins we were celebrating on their first birthday. He also navigates I-57 from Monee and then the dare-you Dan Ryan all the time.
The caterers were fabulous. They were from Frankfort. Frankfort! I drew a couple from Frankfort and asked if there was life in Frankfort. “Oh, there’s plenty of life in Frankfort,” the woman assured me. Well, all kidding aside, small towns are not all that your Farmers’ Almanac says they are. I drew some self-assured young people who know all about tractors and go off to study business at college. I also drew a family from Glenview, walking distance from my house. Small world.

Monee3
The world conjured up in the party tent was, however, anything but small. The assemblage of tents was huge; the shiny balloons of lions, gorillas, chimps, etc. were huge; the plush and exquisitely detailed Serengeti animals measured at least three feet. The chairs were zebra-ribboned. I have been to a party or two, you know, but this was, ermmm, wild! It was wild in its extravagance and generosity.

Monee14
I drew thirty-eight people in full color in four hours. Amid much chatter, loved every minute. Here are some of them.
Srinivas, I looked it up, means Radiance in Sanskrit. Thank you, Dr. Radiance!

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Monee6Monee5Monee4I can recommend:
Caterer: Kristy Webber of Special Occasion Services, 708-307-0535, webber.kristy@yahoo.com. kristysos.com
Facepainter: Creative Face Art by Cheryl, 815-342-7330, onewolf2go@yahoo.com——————————————

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