Friday, June 30, 2006

Greening the Infrastructure

Two major national organizations -- the United States Green Building Council and the American Society for Civil Engineers -- are currently drafting initiatives, that if approved, will deliver more comprehensive and integrated guidelines to practitioners about how to build sustainable infrastructure.

You can read more about it in an article I wrote that published earlier this month (here) in Revitalization: The Magazine of Community Renewal and Natural Resource Restoration. (And, remember subsriptions are free to those in the industry. Apply here.)

Representative quote:

"(Doug Farr, LEED-ND Chair and president of Farr Associates, an architectural, urban design, and historical preservation firm) said that LEED-ND represents only a first step toward looking beyond the sustainability of buildings to recognizing the importance of context, place, and location. He agrees strongly that practitioners need to stop making superficial gestures -- like planting native prairie grasses next to new highways -- in favor of more integrated approaches."

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The New Yorker Bids Farewell to CSO's Barenboim

Frankly, I don't know much about classical music beyond the fact that Dvorak's New World Symphony is beautiful, Beethoven's Ninth is my favorite, and Vivaldi's Four Seasons makes me happy.

I could not listen to a work and tell you how one conductor treats it versus another. That's why I'm grateful for Alex Ross and his article in this week's New Yorker (here) that explains the touch that Daniel Barenboim brought to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The only sound bite of press I heard about Barenboim's exit concerts earlier this month was that he got a 15-minute standing ovation. Here's an excerpt of some of Ross's richer insights:

"The performance advertised the fact that Barenboim has left the Chicago Symphony in splendid shape. People always marvel over the Chicago brass, and with good reason: they have no equal. Each time another f was added to Bruckner’s stepwise crescendos, you could hear the gradation clicking into place, and the sound towered ever upward without cracking. But the Chicago strings are also world-class these days. They have acquired that darkly throbbing tone that used to be the sole property of the Berlin Philharmonic. They seemed especially in synch with Barenboim’s roving beat; when he rocked backward on his feet, making the gestures of a drowning man, and then recovered to deliver a punching downbeat, they trembled and dug in with him. . .

During the fifteen-minute ovation that followed the Beethoven, Barenboim went around shaking hands with—or, in many cases, hugging and kissing—all ninety-one members of the orchestra. In the process, an ovation that had initially been directed at the conductor became an ovation for the players, with waves of applause rising up for the longest-serving veterans. You forgot the maestro, and focussed on those who had made the sounds. Barenboim could not have made a more graceful exit."

Three Penny Cinema is Spent

I don't know if it was inevitable that The Three Penny independent cinema on Lincoln Avenue was going to close, but yesterday the Chicago Tribune reported (here) the doors are locked and its owner is out looking for another job.

Apparently, he owed over a hundred thousand dollars in back taxes, and they revoked his business license.

I'm always sad when locally-owned enterprises can't make a go of it in our city, but The Three Penny provided consistently unsatisfying movie experiences. And, I'm not referring to their taste in films.

The seats were like-sitting-on-a-tuna-can lumpy. The roof leaked. You could hear the movie next door when you were watching your own. The films often stopped cold in middle of your viewing, and the floors could be pull-off-your-shoe sticky. Except for the retro-y ticket booth, there was nothing charming about its interior. In fact, it was even a little creepy.

So, I'm sorry to see a small-townish cinema go, but just can't get myself too worked up over it. Au revoir, Tres Pennies.

Image from the Adam Martin collection at Find more images of the Three Penny on their site here.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Exploring Abe Lincoln: Rodeo Abe

Here's a graphic from my ongoing series that explores how the image of Abe Lincoln is used throughout our state and, in this case, country. Here we see bandanna'd Abe serving as an icon for the High School Rodeo Association. Their finals will be held in Springfield this August.

You can see in a larger version (w/full bandanna view) at the rodeo site here.

You can pick up earlier threads in my Abe series by clicking here.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

On Hiatus

Well, it's probably a bit obvious given the lag in my posts that I need to take a hiatus, but here is my official notice. Don't know when I'll be back. Just need a break from the blog. Work, family, life beckon. Peace to all.