Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday fun: Where IS this?

      There can be an Emperor's New Clothes aspect to elegance. You see something, presented as rich and marvelous, look at it for an admiring moment, then think, "Wait a second; that's hideous." 
     Much depends, of course, on an individual's particular taste. Me, for instance, as much as I generally admire the sense of casual, if not shabby, East Coast old wealth being purveyed by Ralph Lauren, and though I realize those bright green flannel pants with the ducks on them are supposed to be something your mad Uncle Percival would wear to a croquet match at the Rod & Gimlet Club, sometimes my jaw just drops. Lauren's Olympic uniforms did that for me, or his introduction of enormous logos, which I assumed were for Saudi Arabian sheiks and Mexican drug lords and others with far more money than taste, but are also found in the United States, though I see them in stores far more than I see them worn in the street. Maybe all the people who buy them are over in Kenilworth and Bannockburn and other high hat suburbs, and don't find their way into the lumpen world of Northbrook since they haven't been around long enough to show up at Goodwill stores in volume. Anyway,  I find them crass, but times change, and I'm probably saying more about myself than about the shirts. No doubt the logos will only grow bigger.
      Today's "Where is this" features a carpet. My wife and I were at a birthday dinner party for well-off acquaintance, a large, potlatch celebration, and we wandered off for a while to poke around, and found ourselves in this empty ballroom. 
      "That's the ugliest carpet I've ever seen in my life," I remarked, and snapped a few photos. 
     Why? The bright scarlet and cornflower blue, surrounded by these thick black lines, hurled across a mud beige background. The shapes themselves, in the foreground, clown face features interposed with wing frameworks, a starfish half run over by a truck tire in the background. One worried about its effect on drunk people.
     This probably can only be solved by someone who, like us, wandered by and saw it. It's a place where someone would hold a large birthday supper, with music and dancing and hundreds of guests. (It's the first party I've been to where the hosts hired professional models, apparently, to mingle during cocktails and then scram, because there was a platoon of tall, thin, gorgeous young people who stood around during drinks, who promptly vanished at dinner. Or maybe they were crashing, but they had an air of industry about them). As for a hint, well, I'll say, it's a famous place, whose name most anyone in Chicago would recognize. One that should know better when it comes to carpet. Or am I wrong here? Besides guessing for the contest, if anybody likes this, finds it aesthetically-defensible, my all means, please, let us know why. 
     Otherwise, the contest rules are the same. Post your guess in the comments section.  The winner gets a signed copy of my book, "You Were Never in Chicago." Have fun.


  1. Based on a few of your comments as to the fame of the place, I'll guess the Chicago Hilton ballroom, formerly the Conrad Hilton.
    I'm probably wrong though!

  2. “Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months.”
    Oscar Wilde

  3. Replies
    1. There has be a story behind this. A history of why its hideousness is on display

    2. Bingo -- the Drake it is. You'd think they'd know better.

    3. I guess gone are the days when you could just get a couple of your assistants to spend days investigating to see if there is a story worth pursuing. Sorry, guess my nostalgia for newspapers is showing again.

  4. I'd love a signed copy of "You Were Never In Chicago," but I see on FB that I was beaten to it. Oh well, maybe next week.

  5. That's the first time since my brother did a junior high school report on the Kwakiutl indians that I've seen the word "potlatch."


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