Chicago. The 2014 Summer Tour. Arriving on monday afternoon into O’Hare and having that great feeling knowing your hats arrived safely, then getting into a taxi for the journey downtown. Reading the taxi-cab list of pricing and hoping I’m careful this week as there is a $50. Vomit Clean-Up Fee listed.
A bit of rush hour traffic and then checking into the Public (formally the Ambassador East). The Public is one of the trendy hotels-of-the-moment, an Ian Shrager property up in the Gold Coast district, which houses the revamped Pump Room, unrecognizable from it’s former historic self. The Pump Room restaurant which opened in 1938, served a number of celebrities who were regular customers. Arturo Petterino was its maitre d’ for many years, steered celebrity patrons to the coveted Booth One. Amongst them were Frank Sinatra, John Barrymore, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Beverly Sills, David Bowie, Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall, John Steinbeck, Ronald Reagan, Clark Gable, Sammy Davis Jr., Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor, Woody Allen, Lena Horne, Joan Crawford, Tallulah Bankhead, Audrey Hepburn, Liza Minnelli, Robert Redford, Bill Murray, Josephine Baker, John Belushi, Eddie Murphy, Gene Wilder and Gilda Radner, Mel Brooks, Peggy Lee, Mick Jagger and many others.
But the Public is a very nice hotel with long-legged model type servers in the bar and stoic male models in the Library Cafe. It sports a great lobby and cafe lounge areas for your mobile wi-fi workflow.
Tuesday, the Portfolio Donut Road Shows begin. These are the mini assaults where we spend time visiting new and old friends, clients and agencies, showcasing new work from our stable of photographers. It used to be just donuts…big boxes of crispy cremes, piled high on a tray, but it’s somewhat healthier with bagels or breakfast burritos, fresh fruit, coffee and juices to break up all that photographic viewing. In the afternoon it’s wine or beer and sometimes bellinis or martinis along with some savory munchies. Of course there’s the boxes of sweets or other goodies for the brief mid-day hit a run visits.
Chicago is a big steak city so a midweek visit to Gibsons Steakhouse for a very dry martini, a new york cut and a side of sautéed spinach is a must.
Relaxing after 5 o’clock day at the Public’s bar and library lounge with an art producer friend. Viewing the many moons of light hanging over the revamped Pump Room.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, more shows, many more meetings. These are some of the best times. Showing the wonderful books to new viewers .
Right at the river there is Marina City , two iconic towers built in 1959. Younger folks will know them as being on the cover of Wilco’s Yankee Fox Trot record album, but Marina City was the first urban post-war high-rise residential complex in the United States and is widely credited with beginning the residential renaissance of American inner cities. Its model of mixed residential and office uses and high-rise towers with a base of parking has become a primary model for urban development in the United States and throughout the world, and has been widely copied throughout many cities internationally.
Being a fan of mid-century architecture, I’ve always had a love for these buildings. I frequently stay at the nearby Monaco Hotel, and these two spiral towers are always within my view, walking the neighborhood and surrounding areas. An exciting part of this trip, I was able for the very first time, to see inside and stand on the rooftop deck of one of them, as my friend and client, Kenneth Zane, recently moved into one of the apartments. Spectacular!
And then there are some presentations that are very minimal..intimate..personal…for a small group of people.
Final day in Chicago. It’s cool when three agencies you are meeting with are all in the same building. It’s unfortunate when those meetings are on three separate days. My third and final visit to 225 N. Michigan Ave.
Final night at the Chicago. Would love to have slept in, but needed to catch a flight to Indianapolis to see a new show of photographer Harold Lee Miller’s work….
So long for now Chicago.