New resident at 833 West Randolph

doorway at 833 West Randolph
doorway at 833 West Randolph, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Former location of Marché, soon to be reopened under new management:

Nellcôte (833 W. Randolph St.; no phone yet), the previously unnamed venture by Jared Van Camp (Old Town Social). The restaurant is named for Villa Nellcôte, the mansion on the Côte d’Azur where the Rolling Stones threw a notorious house party that somehow spawned the album Exile on Main Street.

“Over-the-top luxury without pretense” is how a spokeswoman describes the look. “There will be white Italian marble, wrought-iron gates, [and] cartouche crown molding, but also irreverent accents like bohemian pop art,” she says. The menu will feature a changing-daily lineup of house-made foods using local ingredients, including pizzas and pastas made with house-milled 00 flour. The flour mill is a 9-by-11-foot leviathan that the kitchen was built around, and the finely milled flour will be available for retail sale. Van Camp is targeting November or December for opening.

Chicago Mag – Dish

Sounds somewhat intriguing, the proof will be if it is a place that Gram Parsons would hang out in while consuming heroic amounts of opium derivatives.

Streaking Home

Streaking Home

Lightbox is better. Less distracting.

I was too cold walking home to even consider using a tripod, so instead, rested my camera on a ledge, focusing on the Merchandise Mart (lit for the Christmas season), and a train happened to come whizzing by. If I had brought my tripod, perhaps the deep focus might have been a little sharper, but I don’t mind, I quite like how this turned out. I did bump up the color contrast a bit in Photoshop, using a Velvia emulator in a new layer, then changing the opacity to about 60% or so.

Dream caused by the flight of a bee near Presidential Towers

Dream caused by the flight of a bee near Presidential Towers

Shot with my Hipstamatic for iPhone

Lens: Salvador 84

Flash: Cadet Blue Gel

Film: DreamCanvas

Lightbox version for your viewing pleasure.

Title stolen from Salvador Dali’s painting: Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, 1944

Evening rush of dreams

Evening rush of dreams

New Hipstamatic add-ons include a multi-exposure lens called Salvador 841, and a film called DreamCanvas which adds a bit of texture and some weird edges to photos. I like them both a lot.

This photo is of the evening commute on Randolph Street, in a hail/sleet storm, the first frozen particulates of the season, and always worth celebrating.

Lightbox version.

  1. i.e., Salvador Dali, duh []

Brewing up beer, and community in Chicago

Very much looking forward to the Haymarket Pub and Brewery opening. Sounds like my kind of place, a mix of good beer, Chicago history, arts, and ambitious owners.

Micah Maidenberg of the Chicago Journal reports, in part:

Haymarket Riot Memorial 032

With the location in place, planning for the brewpub started in earnest. Crowley and Neurauter found a chef in Chris Buccheri, who was introduced to the pair by yet another mutual friend and recruited away from Three Floyd’s Brewing Company in Munster, Ind., to work at Haymarket.

The brewpub will be split into three areas. Up front near Randolph will be a dining room, outdoor beer garden and the main bar. The middle section — which Bar Louie and Blue Point used as a shared kitchen — will be opened up to showcase glass-encased beer fermenters, a walk-in cooler and the kitchen.

The back room, finally, will accommodate a second bar, seats and a stage for Drinking & Writing, a theater series that explores the connections between imbibing, creativity and literature through readings, personal narratives and audience participation during approximately one-hour performances.

Drinking & Writing will make the location its permanent home, and program the space with monthly shows, according Sean Benjamin, one of its organizers, including the forthcoming “The City that Drinks,” which will examine Chicago writers and their habits with alcohol.

“I think it’s going to be one of the first brewpubs … in the city that integrates a theater into it,” Benjamin said. During performances, Drinking & Writing will take a door charge, while Haymarket makes beer sales.

The back space could also be used for tastings, private events, televised football games and, eventually, for live music.

Evening Lullaby

As one meanders through the space, the idea is to carry a pint with you, Crowley said, and see the process of creation. In the open kitchen, Buccheri will prepare and plate homemade sausage, rotisserie chicken and smoked brisket. In the brewing rooms, Crowley and helpers will turn different grains into fermented, sudsy alcohol. Expect to see steam rising and water flowing, mashing, boiling, scrubbing and cascades of hops, malts and rye.

At any given time, Haymarket will offer 16 house-made beers on tap, ranging from classic Belgians and American pale ales to a rotating European-style lager and beers that combine different elements and flavors.

“There has been a really cool emergence in the craft brewing world of a crossover — we call them contemporary American styles — that might take some aspects of American beers, say IPAs, which are very hoppy, and making Belgians that way,” Crowley said.

From the basement, imperial stouts, barley wines and beers laced with coffee will age anywhere from three months to one year in at least 60 charred bourbon barrels.

Ten “guest taps,” meanwhile, at the main bar will be reserved for Chicago- and Midwestern-based brewers, and the bar will stock several dozen bottled beers from other microbreweries.

(click to continue reading Brewing up beer, and community in Chicago | News | Chicago Journal.)

Wonder if the owners would want any of my photos of the area or of the Haymarket Riot Memorial to display on the wall? I’ll have to inquire…

Haymarket Riot memorial, old version

(old) Haymarket memorial. Now removed.1

For some reason that I haven’t been able to track down yet, this photo has been viewed nearly 10,000 times in the last couple of days. A high profile blog or website has used it, in other words. If you’ve seen this image anywhere, I’d like to hear about it.

I don’t mind the photo being used, I just like to keep track of who republishes my work, and for what purpose.

For a reference point, my photos usually are viewed in the 20-100 range on the day I upload them, and a few topical images still get views later, 5 to 10 a day typically, but nearly 10,000 views in two days is unprecedented. Very curious.

  1. If you want a copy of this photo of your own, there is one available at Clustershot []

A Moment In Time May 2nd 2010

The Lens blog of The New York Times invited all photographers, of all levels of skill, to submit a photo taken at 15:00 UTC, which translated into 10 AM C.S.T. for me.

May Day Lingerers Chicago

May 2nd. Activists lingering at the Haymarket Riot Memorial Statue, with guitars and so forth.


Uploaded to the New York Times “A Moment in Time” global mosaic.

Where will you be on Sunday, May 2, at 15:00 hours (U.T.C.)?

Wherever you are, we hope you’ll have a camera — or a camera phone — in hand. And we hope you’ll be taking a picture to send to Lens that will capture this singular instant in whatever way you think would add to a marvelous global mosaic; a Web-built image of one moment in time across the world.

We extend the invitation to everyone, everywhere. Amateurs. Students. Pros. People who’ve been photographing for a lifetime or who just started yesterday.

What matters more than technique is the thought behind the picture, because you’ll only be sending us one. So please do think beforehand about where you will want to be and what you will want to focus on. Here are the general topics:

Nature and the Environment
Arts and Entertainment
Money and the Economy
Social Issues

[Click to continue reading A Timely Global Mosaic, Created by All of Us – Lens Blog –]

I was reading my Sunday papers (including, coincidentally, The New York Times), drinking my first coffee of the day, and almost forgot about the project. However, I remembered in time to put on a clean shirt and strap on my camera for a brief walk up and down my street. I took about a dozen photos, a few of which I’ve uploaded to Flickr. The photo above, of the Haymarket Riot Memorial Statue is the one I submitted, even though I’m not that happy with it, truth be told.

Here are a few others I took this morning. Click a photo to enlarge it…

Everlasting Broken Windows
Everlasting broken windows

Sunday Morning Parking Lot
Sunday morning Parking Lot

Contrained Urban Living
Constrained Urban Living – Polapan Blue

Roofs May Second 2010

Green Roof-esque
Green Roof-esque

Chicago Ice Age
Chicago Ice Age

Urban ritualized behaviors

Urban ritualized behaviors
Urban ritualized behaviors, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Developed in SwankoLab for iPhone using Vinny’s BL04, SwankoDev H1N,
and Grizzle Fix


seemed like a training session for office managers or something. Each had to receive instruction from a fireman, then take the fire extinguisher and put out the fire in the bucket. After, the bucket was relit.

There were huge, billowing clouds of presumedly toxic smoke, though because of wind patterns, most of the miasma went into SingleHop, and Meiji, and didn’t waft across the street.

Mayor Daley’s Fence Inspectors haven’t discovered this alley yet

Probably because the lot is owned by the Hyatt, and the Pritzker family can’t afford to clean up their property.

Developed in SwankoLab for iPhone using Jerry’s Developer and Larry’s Developer

After issuing only one fine for a landscape ordinance violation from 2005 until 2008, the city issued 51 in 2009, according to records from the Department of Administrative Hearings. The city meted out $29,000 in fines to businesses last year for landscape ordinance violations. Ninety percent of the violations cited a lack of the required fencing.

Deadlines for putting up fencing were phased in by area. Other parts of the ordinance require trees, hedges and screening of stored trash.

This alley has been this decrepit for several years, but I think the Hyatt purchased the lot in 2006 or 2007, and obviously they have higher priorities than urban beautification.

Turning a blind eye part two
Turning a blind eye, part two.
Another view of the fence and little shack of a lot owned by the Hyatt. Small businesses get fined by the City for eyesores like this; big corporations, not so much.

Maria Pinto liquidating boutique

Local high profile designed Maria Pinto (we’ve discussed her store before) is closing down her boutique, located at 135 N. Jefferson St in the West Loop.

Maria Pinto

All of the praise for Michelle Obama’s grape- and tomato-colored sheaths couldn’t bear enough fruit to spare their Chicago-based designer — Maria Pinto — from the recession’s blight.

Pinto, whose work has been worn by not only the country’s first lady but also queen-of-talk Oprah Winfrey, will open her West Loop boutique for five final days starting Tuesday. Her daywear, eveningwear, wraps and one-of-a-kind accessories will be liquidated at 50 percent to 70 percent off their original prices.

In January, Pinto arrived at the decision to close her shop and cease wholesale operations, she said. A fashion designer for 20 years who previously worked for Geoffrey Beene, Pinto launched her own line in 1991. Bergdorf Goodman, Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Takashimaya in New York, as well as high-end boutiques across the country, carried her pieces.

[Click to continue reading Maria Pinto: Chicago designer Maria Pinto liquidating boutique –]

I’ve glanced at her store window a few times, and I didn’t see any item that entranced me. Perhaps her best work was customized to particular customers, and not for display on a clothing rack.

And this statement mostly sounds true:

“In the general scheme of things, our store was doing very well. But our other retailers are paring down their open-to-buys (merchandise purchases) and looking to build sales through trunk shows,” she said. “It’s difficult because it makes your forecasted cash flow challenging. You’re waiting for the show to happen, waiting for things to happen. Before, the stores were committed to larger inventories.”

Any avid shopper can see the shift, she said.

“Walk through the stores and see how the stores are buying very differently. Saks had blast-out sales going in November 2008. November this year, there was very little in stores that was on sale. What was left was bottom-of-the-barrel. Everyone is having to reposition themselves.”

For 2009, total U.S. apparel sales fell 5.2 percent to $188.5 billion, market research firm NPD Group reported last month.