Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Presentation at the Newberry Library

Robin's presentation at the Newberry Library tonight was a very successful event, with almost a capacity crowd (about a hundred people). The audience seemed very into it. Quite a few people afterwards said they were convinced. Considering that Robin had to talk fast and to squeeze a two hour presentation into one hour, it was still fascinating, and I've seen it a half-dozen times.

After the presentation, Robin signed books that were purchased in the Newberry bookstore, then we returned to Virginia and Jim's apartment for cocktails, wine, wonderful food and visiting with Virginia and Jim, Jim Price and Don Newcomb, and other new friends Rosemary, Donna, Maria.

Tomorrow we take the famous El (Chicago's Elevated train) to Oak Park to have lunch with Jim Price and Don Newcomb. Later in the afternoon we'll return to the city for dinner and to attend A Comedy of Errors at the Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.




Robin prepares for the Newberry presentation

While I'm blogging, Robin is rehearsing her presentation.


Mo fotos froma da Casino

As it turns out, The Casino has nothing to do with gambling. The name supposedly originally meant a gathering place. At least that's what The Casino members say, and I'm not inclined to argue with anyone who's managed to keep a black, one-story private club house in the middle of downtown Chicago for more than 80 years.


Above: Jim Price introduces Robin, the Guest of Honor.
Below: Robin gives a brief pre-dinner talk.
Bottom: The double-swan motif that decorates the room.



The Casino - A Dinner Event

While I work on capturing images from the video tape, here's a couple of photos: One of the center pieces created by Don Newcomb and a shot of the room during setup.

Don and the harpist are shown below, getting things ready for the event.




Chicago apartment

Our Chicago friends Jim Price and Don Newcomb, arranged for us to use a downtown apartment owned by friends of theirs, Virginia and Jim. Jim Price picked up at Chicago's Midway airport and drove us downtown to a fabulous 15h-floor apartment on Delaware, about a half-block from Michigan Avenue. This is exactly how I fantasized that living in downtown Chicago would be like. Starbucks a half block away. An Apple Store 3 or 4 blocks away. Anything and everything a block or so away.

Jim Price spent the afternoon with us - a great lunch a couple of doors down the street, shopping for last minute items, then back to the apartment. Apartment owners/loaners Virginia and Jim, dropped by to meet us and to get ready for the ChicaGourmet event that Don had created in honor of Robin and her book, Sweet Swan of Avon: Did a woman writer Shakespeare? Happily, it turns out that Virginia and Jim are not only extremely nice and generous, they're also great fun to be with.

While Virginia and Jim got dressed for the event, Jim Price, Robin, and I walked the two blocks to the venue, The Casino. The Casino is a private club that's been here for about 90 years, and in its current location for about 80 years. Membership has always hovered around 400. It's a one-story, black building in the middle of skyscrapers. The survival of a one-story building in this zillion-dollar location basically means that some slightly influential/powerful people are probably members here.

The dinner event was fabulous, both in atmosphere and cuisine. Robin gave just a 5-10 minute talk, since ChicaGourmet events are, after all, really about the wine and eating experience. There were 47 people attending, counting us. Don created an incredible spectacle of swans and lilies for the table centerpieces. And the decor on the walls of the dining area just happened to be swans. A nice coincidence. A harpist provides background music.

Although we met lots of nice people, the only ones I really got to know were the ones sitting at my table. And they all ended up with invitations to Santa Fe. I hope they don't all come at one time.

Photos to come. The lighting in The Casino was too dim for my camera, so I shot video, which I'll grab some still captures from.

Jim Price relaxes in Virginia and Jim's beautiful apartment on Delaware.