Home of the World Series Champions, the Windy City, My Kind of Town.
I’ve spent the weekend in Chicago, possibly my favorite city in the entire world. But, I haven’t gone nearly as many places as I should, so don’t take my world as gospel. It’s been a weekend of experiences, difficult to find a dull moment.
I saw the product of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genius on Friday night: Hamilton, an American Musical. Anyone who knows me, knows that I have listened to the music probably 50 times. I know every word, I know every part. I’ve blogged about it, I’ve converted my family, I’ve even performed it (Part of the ‘converting-my-family’ process). Let’s just say that seeing the musical live was expected to be the peak of my physical existence. And it was. The Chicago cast was not the original Broadway cast, but that was okay. They probably performed it just as well as the New York cast, and each actor brought their own twist on the characters. Jefferson was silly and aloof, Madison was uptight but had comedic timing, Washington was tall and serious, Burr was full-bodied and subtly emotional, and Hamilton… Hamilton was great. He was wonderful. Everything I could have asked for from a Hamilton that’s not Lin-Manuel Miranda. Short in stature, Miguel Cervantes played the first Treasury Secretary as emotive, powerful, and confrontational. You could witness Hamilton’s character evolution in the 2.5 hours that you have in the theater, which is a high compliment in my mind.
So yeah, my life is complete.
I had one other goal in my mind, being in Chicago-museums. I was lucky enough to go to two art museums this weekend, and I greatly enjoyed both of them. The Art Institute of Chicago gave me the exposure to classic artists that I love, like Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, while the Museum of Contemporary Art introduced me to alternative ways of thinking about art. I learned about modern artists and timeless artists; both sides of the coin.
I also went to some very cute coffee shops! I insisted on going out for my morning coffee, so my dad and I walked to an Italian café called Lavazza. I gave them a 5 star review on Yelp! for their Orange Mocha coffee, which tasted like a liquid truffle. The next day we went to another cute coffee shop called Two Zero Three, which was poppin’. Literally, we sat four of us at a two person table, it was so busy. My latte was ‘ight, but the entire vibe of the place was super artsy and cool. Sunday morning we went to a bakery called Goddess and the Baker, which was also packed with people trying to get their morning cup of joe. My latte here was mostly milk, but I also had a passion fruit macaroon, which made up for it. I think I was born to explore cute coffee shops-I don’t know what other simple thing I get so much enjoyment from.
Lastly, on Saturday night, the gang and I went to see “Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles”. Now this was a good time that flew out of left field. I wasn’t expecting to love this show as much as I did, but I had an amazing time. The show was really well done, and the Oriental Theatre is a beautiful place to be. I found myself surprised repeatedly by how many Beatles songs I knew, as well as how completely the iconic British boys were captured by the tribute band members. It was cool to see how their music spans generations-my grandma and I were singing along in harmony. I was also quite possibly the youngest person there, which gives me feelings of both pride and disappointment.
My weekend in Chicago was filled with both things old (The Beatles, the Art Institute) and things new (Hamilton, the Museum of Contemporary Art ). It was fun to experience it with a large chunk of my family, and to bring my camera along the whole way. An important fact I realized is that, as a people, we are always finding new ways to entertain ourselves. But that doesn’t mean the old ways aren’t entertaining anymore. There is a reason that ‘old’ things like the Beatles and Monet are still admired today-time does not apply. Decade to decade, generation to generation, some things are just good.
Chicago, it’s been grand. You know I love you. I’ll be back. In the meantime, keep the coffee strong, the museums open, and the theaters full.