Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Super Tuesday, magniloquent

“Have fun. Pace yourself. Chicago can be a 24 hour party.”

It’s Super Tuesday. The rest of the country is out voting. Today, I passed a police barricade set up for ‘Obama’s rally.’ We’ll see what happens tonight. Jaz just called: could I come down and take some photos of the installation? They’re torching and spraying - and the paintings are magnificent. Some kind of storm is pelting my window, I hope it's snow.

Let’s just preface today’s blog with one of the recent words from Doctor Dictionary: magniloquent: lofty or grandiose in speech.

First of all, the paintings. You'll see them here in various stages of freezing -- from frosty to glassy. The frosty - suggestive of ice bergs melting into the ocean -- and the glassy = good enough to eat. Remember, temperatures went from very freezing to a balmy 45 degrees, to snow to rain to sleet to slush, and ice responds differently to those conditions.

Overheard at the opening itself, "Where's the artist’s signature? And Adrian Goldberg, who created the lighting, said, “If you’re the only person in the world who’s doing this, there’s no need to sign it.”

Colleen Duke, Academic and Cultural Affairs Officer at the Canadian Consulate woke us up, the morning after: “Well, are you basking in the media’s love affair with Paintings Below Zero?”

“It’s the coolest thing going on in the city,” said Todd Stablein, the Concierge at Hard Rock Hotel (whose favorite band is Poi Dog Pondering). “It’s the most amazing thing to have in your backyard.“ Here’s Todd & Gord with The Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun Times, on Feb 1st, when the full page, full color stories were printed in both papers.

We received congratulatory emails from all over the country: Patrick Firpo in San Francisco, my sisters, Gord’s brothers, even a long lost relative on the McLellan side in Michigan, among others.

“Congratulations. Wow! The wall looks awesome!” Debbie Hicks, Phoenix, Arizona.

“Congrats on a wonderful installation. You have every reason to be proud.” Mary Hicks, San Diego, California

"Congratulations!!!! Your work is beautiful (said warmly from our California home in front of a fire!!!) Hugs!" Bernie Milbury, Chino Hills, California

From New York: “The project looks fantastic. It’s even worth a trip to Chicago BRRRRRR in February.” Marilyn Meyerson.

From J.C. in B.C.: "Hey Gord, Congratulations!!!!!! Looks FANTASTIC!!!" (Photo credits, above: Colleen Duke)

I am in awe at the depth of mastery going into every segment (of the painting). There are many here watching in complete amazement at how fine this project is.” - Katherine Denham, the dancer who changed River’s life.(see River’s bio on the right for more info on that). (Next 2 photos: Patrick Pyszka).

“Out of this world! A fantastic, colossal job.” Al Burns, Roberts Creek, British Columbia, Canada.

From Chicago: “The city seems to think it can lift our cold, broken spirits by taking the sould-crushing Chicago winter and adding the word “festival”. (The city would be right).“ Emily Withrow (flavorpill.com)

Please pass my congrats to Gord and Caitlin. This looks absolutely stunning and I wish I could be there. The residents and visitors of Chicago are indeed lucky to have the installation.” Jane Fernyhough, City of Richmond. B.C., Canada.

It looks fabulous!” Marielle Camozzi, Vancouver (Former intern with PBZ).

Here are a few of the Canadian Women’s Club of Chicago who hosted me at a lunch the day after -- and posed in front of a frosty painting. Photo by Susanna Doolin.

News was that the restaurant on the park was dead-of-winter-quiet -- and after opening, jammed to the rafters, busy, busy, busy. Over 12,000 visitors came to see the site on Saturday and Sunday. Gord didn’t get near it, but Jaz, Ari, and Tim kept it going over the weekend.

We had a delicious lunch at Vong's with River’s parents and his cousin, Jeremy.

We did pizza in the suite for Super Bowl.

We had dinner with Colleen Duke and her chef husband Kieran, an absolutely yummy affair which had us in a real home for a few hours. They brought out their best wines -- including Inniskillin ice wine.

We did a tour of the Chicago Art Institute - what a fabulous collection of impressionistic paintings! And it’s free to the public in February!

We said goodbye to River, and this morning, to Erik.

Last photo: Colleen Duke; all others not credited: Caitlin Hicks

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