Sunday, May 17, 2009

My weekend in pictures and song

Well, actually there is no song. So I just lied to you. And that's not my only lie. It looks like I'm running with my training group in the picture below. But that's a lie too! You can't trust me! The reality is my car wouldn't start Saturday morning so I had to run a mile and a half to our meeting place and then my shin splints started acting up so I was pre-tired and in pain and I ended up lagging behind my whole group for the whole six miles we ran together, except for this little part of our run where everyone stopped for water in mile 4 and I actually caught up with them long enough to have our picture taken as though I'd been running with them all along. But I hadn't. And they quickly left me in their dust after this photo was taken. So I'm not only a dirty liar, but I'm a dirty slow liar. The worst kind!

But they waited for me at our finish line so I got to pose with everyone as though I weren't a giant mussy. Which could also be a lie, but I did run our full six miles (plus my bonus one and a half miles) so I still get full credit for Saturday's run.

Now we move on to verse two of our not-song about the weekend—the verse where I whore myself down to my underpants for money. But the money isn't for me, so I'm totally somebody else's whore. Or something like that. The whoring happened at an event called The Big Package, which raised money for the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus in a live auction for some pretty impressive packages of goods, services and travel opportunities. Our hostesses for the evening were a glamorous but sturdy trio of ladies with surprisingly resonant voices:

As a whore, I represented one of the packages: the GQ makeover package, which included a Tiffany watch, which I am photographed modeling here with Bill, who is holding a not-untoiletlike porcelain receptacle for lottery tickets:

The idea was that I was a nerd plucked from the audience and stripped one article of clothing at a time while the bids for my impressive package climbed higher and higher. The trouble is, I'm naturally such a fashionplate that the premise was laughably unbelievable. So here I am using my superior acting skills to come off as a nerd while our sturdy hostesses and our auctioneer struggle to contain their awe:

As the bids climbed, the nerd clothes fell to the floor. And the stomach got sucked in tighter than an aging diva's forehead.

And by the time I was down to my noticeably red underpants, my package had grown to epic proportions. It netted $1,300 for the chorus. Woot!

In a side story that I mention here solely for journalistic balance, a straight personal trainer did the same thing to sell his training services for the chorus. But they let him keep his pants on:

We close our non-song with verse three: Sunday Funday with Matthew, Todd and Brad. We started with a lovely (albeit long, as in our-waitress-disappeared-for-a-good-half-an-hour long) brunch at Pierrot Gourmet, the deliciously foo-foo French-ish restaurant in the Peninsula Hotel. Then we sauntered down Michigan Avenue toward the so-new-it's-FREE-this-weekend Modern Wing of the Art Institute, stopping long enough to let the paparazzi photograph us artfully re-creating the freakishly huge American Gothic statue in the Tribune Tower plaza. Note the way Matthew is holding his imaginary pitchfork in the wrong hand. Also note the napping homeless person.

We entered the Modern Wing via the shiny (as in blindingly shiny, as in so blindingly shiny it's actually a shockingly unfortunate design flaw) pedestrian bridge (officially called the Nichols Bridgeway) that connects Millennium Park with the Modern Wing's top-floor restaurant (officially called Terzo Piano) and glass-enclosed terrace (officially called the Bluhm Family Terrace).

Renzo Piano's architecture for the Modern Wing is striking in its combined intricacy and simplicity. The spaces are open and airy, and they neatly strike a balance between defining spaces and accommodating vast quantities of people. Here's the pergola-like roof over the stately, possibly-ideal-for-Jake-and-Justin's-wedding courtyard (officially called Griffin Court) that bisects the two Modern Wing buildings:

I have a new favorite Matisse painting: his 1920 Interior at Nice, which captures a breezy patrician noblesse (the casual chic dècor! the studied ennui! the rich silvery palette!) with a strikingly vertical perspective. And it lives here, in my favorite new Modern Wing of my favorite local Art Institute!

Here I am contemplating a large Joan Miró painting of Terrence with a horse. Or maybe it's Phillip. I always get those two confused.

I didn't realize this dress was between me and the camera when Matthew took my picture. But it sure gives me a nice bust. And broad shoulders. And a freakishly tiny head.

Motif! After we left the Modern Wing, we ventured into the Art Institute proper to visit some of our favorite paintings, including my old friends from American Gothic. We weren't sure if we were allowed to take pictures of the painting, so we snapped this one without spending a lot of time finessing our balance or composition. But we were able to crop the napping homeless person out of the picture. And Matthew got his imaginary pitchfork in the correct hand.

We finished our day with some disappointingly greasy and expectedly overpriced food at Terzo Piano (the restaurant at the top of the Nichols Bridgeway, for those of you who aren't keeping track). But we figured we were paying for the atmosphere. And the view. And the beautiful Chicago afternoon with friends.

Actually, we finished our day at Angels & Demons, which I freaking LOVED. So I just lied to you again. But we took no pictures, so there is no real proof we were there, lusting after select members of the Swiss Guard. So you'll have to take my word for it. Unless I've given you any reason to think I'm a liar.

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