Thursday, November 17, 2016
Sand Castles at the Cultural Center
I'm a big fan of the Divvy bike system, but it does have a flaw, and I'll tell you what it is. Since the Divvy bikes need to be left at Divvy stations, that discourages spontaneously stopping places en route. Oh, you could carry a light cable lock in your helmet bag, and I've considered that. But then you have the half hour limit, and you can't really pause and idle places with the meter running like that. They get you quickly from Point A to Point B, but if you suddenly want to pause at Point C, you're shit out of luck.
For instance. Tuesday I Divvied from the paper to Millennium Station, then strolled over to The Gage for lunch. After, I was about to hop on the bike back, when I thought, "What's your rush?" bypassed the Divvy station and began to walk back. There, right in front of me, is the Cultural Center.
The Cultural Center is the old main Chicago Public Library, which Richard J. Daley announced the city would pull down, on general principles of replacing gorgeous and intricate older buildings with plain, ugly brutalist new ones. But Sis Daley, his wife, in her only public intrusion into city affairs, said, in essence, "The hell you will." And so the Cultural Center was born.
Despite its huge Tiffany dome and interesting exhibits, I never set out for the Cultural Center as a destination: I've never said to myself, "I think I'll head over to the Cultural Center and see what's cooking." Not once.
Which is a shame, because they have neat things going on, like Spectacular Vernacular, a show of design elements put together by the duo behind the British Parsons & Charlesworth design studio. It was a typical Cultural Center show -- odd, not quite museum quality, but engaging for a few minutes nevertheless, particularly these sand ziggurats constructed using wooden blades designed by Tim Parson's great-grandfather, Henry Ingham, an engineer in a cotton mill. I spent 10, 15 minutes gazing about the show, which had a vast array of Japanese artifacts for reasons I couldn't fathom, then went on my way -- perhaps not infused with culture, as such, but certainly distracted.