[UPDATE: Happy birthday, Shag! I feel guilty I forgot. That's a photo of one of Shag's cats in this post, BTW. My brother in Phoenix also had his birthday this week and I felt guilty for not calling him, but it turns out the number wouldn't have worked anyway...And I added a couple more food links since first posting this]
An astute new reader pointed out that my last post really wasn't that much cheerier as I'd promised, and this one...well, it's mostly happy, as aside from dismal weather and ongoing iPhoto problems (it'll take a few more trips to the Genius Bar to fix that. BTW, weird that a few minutes after me, Katherine H.'s appointment, was "catherine h.") things are okay. I had great fun with that previous post; it made me feel I'm edging towards being a "real" blogger, with lots of links and opinions and stuff.
So my Flickr friend Citizen Pioneer curated a show called "Ward 7: America's Abandoned Asylums" by a young urban explorer/photographer from Atlanta, Shawn May. I didn't get around to promoting the show here, but I did distribute over 100 promo cards for it at many of Chicago's cooler stores and coffeeshops. And I did go nuts making cupcakes for the reception Sat. Jan. 19: 2 dozen Cookies 'n' Cream, 1 dozen peanut butter with chocolate glaze, 1 dozen coconut-accented vanilla with raspberry buttercream frosting, coconut flakes, and pink sprinkles. The cupcakes were a hit (good thing, after I dragged them all there on TWO buses in ZERO degree weather); too bad I didn't get good enough photos to post them to the Vegan Cupcakes Flickr group.
Anyway, the show had photos of different asylums May had explored, and some disturbing medical books and artifacts he'd picked up from them. This was at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Bridgeport, and got a great turnout for such a cold night. Claire was in Chicago briefly from St. Louis; I wish I'd gotten to talk to her more. (I still haven't posted about my adventures a month ago with Claire and CP/Alma.) I met the photographer and Flickr people and talked to Noah a lot and watched the cupcakes disappear. (In an alternate universe, my friend Jason attended a literary event I would have gone to if I didn't have the asylum show; I would have gotten to meet some of my Goodreads friends for the first time.)
I haven't read about the history of the mental health system in a while, but it's something I know a fair amount about, so none of the disturbing things in the show were new to me. People certainly need to know about them. On my reading list now: The Architecture of Madness, about the design of mental hospitals. And Project 17, a new young adult novel (I found an advance proof for 50 cents yesterday at the Sulzer library!): "On the eve of [Danvers State H]ospital's demolition, six teens break in to spend the night and film a movie about their adventures. For Derik, it's an opportunity to win a filmmaking contest and save himself from a future of flipping burgers at his parents' diner. For the others, it's a chance to be on TV, or for a night with no parents. But what starts as a playful dare quickly escalates into a frenzy of nightmarish action..." Of course, UE always does.
Blog-related news: last night I commented on feminist blogs for the first time (under my real name, so my comments link to this blog), at Feministe and Pandagon. I've got to get in the habit of that. Of course, I'm always freaked out about checking back to see if anyone responded to my comments...I should get in the habit of mentioning new additions to the blog- and website-roll, so here's some recent ones:
The Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection at Indiana University; Cushman was a photographer who left IU 14,500 Kodachrome color slides of shots around the world from 1938-1969, including many great photos of Chicago (like of old Maxwell Street); it's often hard to find midcentury color photos. A recent Flickr contact is setting out to rephotograph many of Cushman's Chicago shots this year to show how things have changed. Speaking of obsessive projects, my new heroes are the guys at Illinois Pancakes, a great site that I found last week in Time Out Chicago (they said it was a blog by people with way too much free time). More food links, since I recently made that its own category: Steve Dolinsky's "Hungry Hound" ABC-7 segments and Gapers Block Drive-Thru (I sometimes put photos in their Flickr group pool, and those'll show up on this site).
There's Bright Lights, Dim Beauty of Chicago, "Showing the past and present views of vintage Chicago and surrounding suburbs"--combining Chicago and vintage stuff, awesome! Forgotten New York, which is related to a book I bought on my last NYC trip but haven't read yet. The Next American City, a terrific magazine about city issues; I think I first discovered it when I finally visited the legendary Chicago-Main Newsstand in Evanston for the first time last year (I was hoping to go up there and grab a copy this week); there's a blog section. And The City Desk--just check it out. I found it through Noah (you're on their blogroll, congrats!)