Several weeks ago I asked a friend of mine to accompany me on a photographic safari to begin capturing Chicago’s fascinating and varied Street and Lobby Art.  This will, of course, be an on going project since we have so much ground to cover (no pun intended!).  We began our journey at Roosevelt Road and South Michigan Avenue, actually wanting to capture the new wooden Buddha (which we couldn’t find) in the skating park…I’ll go back in the near future to find it.  Being a native Chicagoan I thought I knew most of our wonderful Street Art history, boy was I wrong! We had a perfect day, my goal was to go from Michigan Avenue to the Metra/South Shore train tracks and photograph all that we found and what a glorious variety it is!  I had projected we would stop at Congress but there were street crews working on sidewalks so a detour was in order, actually crossing Michigan Avenue for a couple of blocks and returning to the East side of the Avenue at Jackson.  We ended at the Art Institute and the North Garden which is filled with goodies.  The photograph below is one of my favorites so far and one I just happened to notice while taking multiple shots of the Henry Moore Large Interior Form, The Art Institute of Chicago gift of the artist 1982. I was looking East on the North East side of the Garden and it drew me toward it.  It is mounted on the wall of the building at the far East of the Garden.  It is simple, elegant and finely detailed.  To me, it is thought provoking and beautiful just what art should be.



Isn’t it beautiful and notice how the polished background of the wall of the buidling frames the raw stone which has been chiseled in a subtle graph pattern and it is sitting on dusty pink gravel…perfection!


A strange place to begin my Chicago art story but it actually ties in with my weekly recipe because of the color…you will see what I mean when you continue reading….I will be giving you recipes from my recipe box and will also be sharing some personal favorites from my friends who are kindly sharing them with me to pass on to you!  Enjoy….

Today’s recipe comes from my friend Elenor Hawley’s collection of yummy recipes.  She is a master at creating wonderful nibbles for events and is a superb baker as well.  Here is one of her favorite cocktail party recipes…Shrimp Pizza Appetizer…why does this fit my art piece, I think the gravel is actually the color of shrimp….too far a stretch, you be the judge.  You will definitely judge the dish as delicious….


From Elenor Hawley

16 ounces Philadelphia Cream Cheese

2 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 Tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 heaping Tablespoons Mayonnaise

Small amount of grated onion (she uses dry onion)

Dash of garlic salt

Ingredients continued in text below

Beat above well, until smooth, with hand mixer and spread evenly on a 13″ round glass platter (Anchor Hocking works well – the sides help keep the pizza intact.)

Combine one bottle chili sauce and one bottle Hoffman House Shrimp Cocktail sauce and return to bottles.  Use 1/2 of one bottle and spread on cheese mixture.  Mark the remaining bottles “sauce for shrimp pizza” and refrigerate for later use.

At least an hour before using or the pizza will be wet… rinse and drain well 2 cans of tiny shrimp.  Crumble evenly over pizza. Sprinkle with dried parsley.  Cover and refrigerate until serving.  Elenor always makes the day before.  Refrigerate  leftovers (Nena’s note…no need for this step because there won’t be any, but just in case!) Elenor uses aluminum foil and then puts the platter in a large plastic bag, sealed tightly.

Serve with cocktail crackers or (her family’s favorite) Fritos Scoops Corn Chips, they hold more!!  Yum Yum….my comment!

Expect more from Elenor’s collection.

My suggested drink either a dry Martini or a chilled glass or two of champagne or a dry white wine.





I had planned a totally different book posting for today that was until I got a special package delivery on Saturday.  It was a book that I had ordered months ago having been intrigued by the subject and prospect of a great adventure (I subscribe to many book blogs and sites, to be discussed in future postings, and read about upcoming publications and if they strike my fancy I put them on my “want list”!) .  Well, I wasn’t disappointed, in fact, it is even more than I could possibly imagine!


This magnificent book by Andrew Ginger with forward by Cecil Beaton’s biographer, Hugo Vickers, is a must for anyone interested in art, interiors, gardens, photography and on and on just an in-depth, fascinating telling of a unique lifestyle lived by a true creator.  I can’t touch on everything I want to discuss in one article it would take me weeks to cover everything I like about this book and that is just by glancing at its captivating materials…everything from never before published photos, to sketches, and interiors that we have heard about but not seen before to all his intriguing friends.  It is not a small book in size and nor in its content.  Did I mention the photography…glorious! It tells of a genius, his extraordinary talent, his insecurities, and his many accomplishments.  Cecil Beaton lived a life we can only imagine.  As is usual with someone as talented, his life was filled with glamour but had its dark sides as well. This book tells it all. Always striving for perfection, and in my and many other opinions achieving it, he strove for more.

I have been an avid admirer since I first saw his costumes for the original Broadway production of My Fair Lady on my first trip to New York in 1957.  Seeing the original cast, Rex Harrison, and Julie Andrews, et al and hearing that wonderful Lerner and Loewe score for the first time at my very first Broadway show on Broadway you can’t get any better than that!

imageNena’s very worn LP cover

imageFrom Nena’s My Fair Lady program

I have gone to the theater since birth, well almost, and when I was young we either had  pre-Broadway shows open here or we had the original casts performing (Yul Brenner in The King and I, Ethel Merman in Gypsy, you get the idea).  This original production was magical, to say the least, not the least of which were the exquisite costumes. It was love at first sight for the whole package.  A love that carried me to one of my two top movies of all time, My Fair Lady, where Cecil Beaton not only did the costuming but all the set decorations, setting the mood for a total immersion in the period of the Shaw play…amazingThe Ascot Scene alone is worth the price of a movie ticket, no, own it and replay it often there is so much to absorb.


I guess that lead me to want to know more about this creator and I began collecting his many books, either written by him or about him and yes, there is a shelf devoted to  Cecil Beaton in my library…just a work in progress. There are many more to be added.  Up to now, my favorite is his Glass of Fashion (the dusty pink dust jacket at the top of the pile), now, of course, it is Cecil Beaton At Home…. Get it, read it, study it, you won’t be sorry!>book