04 January 2015

On 2014 Pt. 2

The second half of 2014 was tinted with changes. Slow at first, then following in rapid succession. I remember remarking with humor the year before that I had "chopped off all of my hair, quit my job, and found a new place to live" all in the span of two months with some sort of strange pride. In reality, I was completely freaked out by this stranger I'd let myself become while also being oddly comfortable in my own skin. What can I say? I' a complex and enigmatic creature.

In the latter half of 2014, I turned in a much anticipated letter of resignation (I had a countdown for this day on my phone for over six months). I spent a month "funemployed," a term I both love and hate. I bought a new swimsuit, but then realized my old one was much better. I read and binge watched The Leftovers and felt like I was missing something. I went on a lot of walks around Logan Square. I ate an immense amount of Italian ice from Mario's and Miko's, and made plenty of homemade popsicles. I packed my entire life onto a moving truck only to move less than a mile away from where I was currently living.

I started graduate school. I read a lot of articles. I set a rhythm with my writing practice. I made a handful of amazing new friends who love museums as much as I do, and I spent countless hours visiting museums all across Chicago. I traveled to New York, Michigan, and Florida. I stopped working out. I discovered The Carrie Diaries and American Horror Story and wowed my new friends and colleagues with my baking skills (challah back, y'all). I started interning at Gallery 400, and helped to curate an exhibition.

I accomplished most but not all of my 2014 goals.

+ This was the month I discovered Fly London shoes (I'm addicted).

+ I also made my first galette. The crust was the scary part. I think of this as baby-steps to learning how to make pie crust from scratch. 

+ Andrew and I traveled to NYC for a long weekend. I went on the Highline for the first time. We ate pizza only once. He had his first bagel at Murray's. We visited Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, where the security crew pulled me aside because they thought my inhaler looked like a small weapon in the x-ray machine. We visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum (I have a lot of thoughts). We ate dumplings in Chinatown and saw OWLS at the Bowery Ballroom. I spent an afternoon reading in Central Park and stumbled upon the Rosemary's Baby apartment complex. We didn't squeeze in the Met or MoMA but I went to the Museum of Natural History for the first time and left utterly exhausted and disappointed. The squid and the whale is NOT what I thought it would be.

Ghostbuster's Fire Station

Ellis Island was damaged by Hurricane Sandy and doesn't have much by way
of displays, but it's a breathtaking space.
Spencer Finch installation at the 9/11 Memorial Museum 
Museum of Natural History
If I lived in NYC, this would be my jam. Note: A family got into a huge fight
after sitting down on the bench next to me. The wife was yelling at the husband
and sobbing. I felt awful.
+ I went to Pitchfork Music Festival for the 8th or 9th consecutive year. This year I made the goal of listening to every single band and making a spreadsheet of who I wanted to see and how I wanted to spend my time. This was probably my favorite Pitchfork ever because I went in with intention. I also managed to spend very little money. Not drinking at a music fest might be one of my best discoveries this year. I also ate free Chipotle, free Twinkies, free KIND bars, and free coconut frozen yogurt popsicles. FREE.

+ I attended a number of events at my sister Mari's law firm. We took a cooking class at the Chopping Block, I heard Tina Tchen speak about what the White House is doing to even the playing field for the black and latino communities, and for women in general. It was a very excellent time to be a fuzzy armpitted feminist in a sleeveless dress at a law firm event. 

Note: Tina was also my commencement speaker, so I was able to shake her hand again and let her know how awesome I think she is (again). 

We also went to a Beyonce concert... so that happened. #FEMINIST

My sister has it figured out. And she looks damn good too. 
Donald Judd was 100% the inspiration for this part of the light show.
+ I met my long-time e-pal Marie. She did not disappoint. We ate cheese, drank wine, talked about feminism, and art. I want to go to the east coast to visit her some day.

+ I worked my last day at "the office." Andrew and I ate hot dogs for lunch and I said goodbye to a beautiful view.

Bye Felicia!
+ We celebrated Andrew's 29th birthday. I made a Devo cake, and we went for ramen at Yusho.

+ I attended the UIC Free Art School and went on a graffiti walking tour with the writer Kevin Coval.

+ I only attended one Millennium Park concert, but it was the most epic picnic. And we got rained out. It was a lot of fun.

+ Michigan vacation happened.
Making gazpacho 
Cotton candy ice cream at Oink's. 

+ I became a student again!!! I might've been called "sir" when they were taking my ID photo, but whatever. I use my ID to get into museums and movies at a discount, and to read all of the free library books and articles I want, so it was worth it.

+ I ate freshly baked pies on the Jane Addams Hull House Museum porch.

+ I ate fried smelts, fried oysters, and smoked shrimp at Calumet Fisheries for the first time!

+ I said my final farewell to Hot Doug's.

+ I started working at Gallery 400, and worked my first exhibition opening for My Barbarian Collective. Here I am vacuuming their stage!

+ I made the difficult adult decision to sell my Riot Fest ticket so I could stay in to work on my first grad school presentation on Olafur Eliasson.

+ I packed up my old apartment. Here's some of the "vintage charm" I left behind:

Note: This was "after" they fixed the wall. Yes that is mold...
+ Andrew introduced me to Syl Johnson. Why am I just discovering soul music now?

+ I attended a bunch of really excellent art openings and exhibitions. Mickalene Thomas' I was born to do great things was one of the exhibitions this fall that has completely stuck with me. I also visited INTUIT for the first time and lost myself in the Henry Darger Collection.

Mickalene Thomas is amazing.
Samantha Bittman at Andrew Rafacz was mesmerizing and dizzying.
Henry Darger Room at INTUIT.
+ Nick and I moved into a beautiful two-flat that I love in Logan Square!

+ I visited the Leather Archives & Museum in Rogers Park. Jakob, the archivist of LA&M, generously walked us through the climate controlled archive. It was a visceral, emotional, and eye-opening experience to say the least. I will not soon forget visiting this space. This was one of the first community-driven museums I visited that began to change the way I think about the definition of "museum." Who are museums for? Why do they exist? Do they need collections to be museums? What are artifacts? Who determines history? Who keeps history? 

I learned a quote that I often repeat to myself and my peers at the LA&M: "History was written by the victors." 

But why not write your own history? The leather community is a subculture who was greatly impacted by the AIDS epidemic in the late '80s and early '90s. Rather than see their life and culture dwindle and disappear, they found a home for it. Preservation and conservation were the driving factors for the creation of this space. I absolutely love that this museum exists, and am grateful for what this experience continues to teach me.

+ I worked Cheryl Pope's program on ending gun violence in Chicago. Another visceral and eye opening experience.

+ Andrew and I saw Tim Kinsella perform a rendition of the David Bowie album Hunky Dory at the MCA, then went for ribs and martinis at the Silver Palm.

+ I visited the Roger Brown Study Collection, another house museum on Halsted that absolutely blew my mind. A space created to inspire artists, a space full of kitsch and personality. A house museum that contains Brown's Pepto Bismol alongside some of the works by the Chicago Imagists. A museum that invites artists to touch (with care), explore, and be inspired by what is contained within its walls. I love love love this place.

+ The exhibition Here, There, Everywhere opened at Gallery 400. I may or may not have suggested a film by Guy Ben Ner that ended up in the exhibition...

+ I got to know and hold the cutest baby in the universe.

+ I visited the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago. Yet another small off-the-beaten-path community driven museum space. Unlike the previous museums mentioned, this one has a collection but does not possess the tools to care for or display the objects they inherited. I'm hoping to volunteer some of my time and energy (maybe my archival skills even) to help them problem solve this museum space and get this collection - the only one of its kind - ready for viewing.

Notice we are wearing coats inside. This space does not have proper heating or
climate control. The objects, especially textiles and works on paper, are at risk for
further damage if we don't act fast!!
+ We saw Disappears play David Bowie's Low at the MCA, then went for dinner at TGI Friday's and drinks at the 95th. Yes, this really happened.

+ Thanksgiving happened with a handful of full-on meltdowns. I cried,  I cried a lot. The holidays bring out the best and the worst in me, this year was the latter. But I came to my senses and was able to enjoy a wonderful meal with family and friends!

And then it was finals...

+ I spent the first two weeks of December pretty much holed up in my apartment researching, writing, and creating presentations for finals. I survived, and received very good marks! Also, after all of my anxiety melted away, it was really exciting to present my project on archiving Herb's collection and hear what everyone else had been working on all semester!!

I did a lot of my best writing in my bed.
+ I bought a new sweater that I am currently living in.

+ To celebrate surviving finals, Andie and I visited Vodou: Sacred Powers of Haiti at the Field Museum. Only museum nerds studying museums would celebrate all of their hard museum-based research by going to a museum. Amiright?

+ Andie, Alice, Andrew, and I also attended the Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists screening at Intuit. I only hang out with people whose names start with the letter "A" now. Barbara Rossi, Philip Hanson, and Lisa Stone led a conversation afterward that I delighted in!

+ To celebrate (again) being done with finals, Tori, Alice, Andie, and I went to art openings in the West Loop then got the royal treatment at Wildfire. The royal treatment involves creamed spinach and ALL of the desserts menu.

+ Then I was off to Florida to see my brother walk across the stage, turn his tassel, and wave goodbye to Florida. I ate an ungodly amount of fast food, read by a pool, ordered room service for the FIRST time, bonded with my siblings, and drank a lot of frozen cocktails. Bye Florida!
I was reading the chapter on sex in Amy Poehler's memoir,
my dad kept leaning over asking me what I was reading. It
was a wonderful airplane ride. It was sponsored by bloody
Sandy's first room service. It tasted better than it looks, I swear.
It never snows in Florida. - New Found Glory
Told you I loved my sweater and my Fly London sandals.
Decided to have a vodka and caviar themed 27th birthday
party while reading pool-side.
Frozen drink infused fun. 
He really wanted a photo of his cap in the air. I get it, I
completely get it, Ben
Only in Daytona Beach would there be a waterslide in the background of a
graduation photo.
Sweet family photo!
+ Andrew and I took an epic staycation. We went for drinks at the Whistler, brunch at Lula, visited David Bowie Is at the MCA, ate at Shake Shack, went to the Bulls game (thanks Dad!), went to Maude's for a late night treat, and fell asleep watching Sex and the City in a hotel room. I'm not making this up. We might have watched Law & Order SVU while eating hot wings and fried pickles (room service) for breakfast.
Try the pozole at Lula. It is the bomb.
At the "selfie wall" hamming it up. 
We do this thing where we see art, then we eat at Shake Shack. We did it in
NYC last year.
Me wishing Santa Clause a Happy Hanukkah. He was popping out of the
emergency hatchet in the Christmas bus.
Basketball bros.
"Sandy take my picture!" - Andrew
+ The beautiful juice-nymph Rose celebrated a birthday. It was a good reason to get me dancing and into a place I might not otherwise wait in line for, Slippery Slope.
Dancing while attempting to blow stolen bubbles.
+ And then it was Christmas. The time Andrew and I come up with "new traditions," visit Michigan breweries, catch up on podcasts and TV, and hang out by a fire with dogs. Lots and lots of wonderful furry dogs. This year we added Calumet Fisheries to our list of Christmas traditions.
1/2 an order of fried smelts and 1/2 a pound of smoked shrimp to hold us over
for the drive to Muskegon, MI.
In the bathroom at Oddside Ales. We both got accidentally drunk on one dark
beer each and had to go antiquing until the buzz wore off. Told you I liked that
I stumbled upon this in my post-beer stupor. No, I didn't put the monkey's tail
like that. It was there for my enjoyment. #destiny
Michigan skies, you're alright.
And then it was 2015. Now off to do 2015 things!!


  1. I am honored to have a mention! You are a beautiful hot dog nymph! Happy 2K15!

  2. Of course you made the cut, Rose!! You are a goddess. A woman who get's shit done. A lady who has spectacular dance moves and the coolest hair I know.