Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Diorama Delivery Adventure Part 2 - Chicago

(Aside: Twice during the weekend someone mentioned that our diorama reminded them of the movie Dinner for Schmucks. I guess some guy in the movie makes tiny vignettes starring taxidermied mice or something...which apparently reminds people of our Peeps diorama. Interestingly, it reminds me of Jeffrey Dahmer.)

(Bonus aside: My first-ever post on this blog (June 15, 2004) is entitled "Chicago" and is about a trip I took there. The trip included an architecture tour of the river, which is when I first learned about the Brutalist architecture style and is the reason I subsequently named this blog Brutalism. Full circle, my brothers and sisters, full circle...)

Almost immediately after checking into our hotel on Saturday, Hillary's friend, Lauren (who lives in the Chicago area) met us there and the day o' photo opportunities began. A brief note about Lauren: everyone needs a Lauren. She was a combination chauffeur, photographer, negotiator, motivator, agent, planner, friend and mom (she packed snacks). She is the reason we covered as much ground in Chicago as we did during the two days we were there. She is also the reason we were on television (did I mention we were on television?). We'll get to that in a moment...

Me, Lauren and Hillary and our reflection in the Bean.
Our goal was to take as many photos as we could with our diorama in front of recognizable Chicago landmarks, and in one day, we covered the following: Wrigley Field, Lou Malnati's (for deep dish pizza and buckets of diet coke), Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), Chicago Theatre, Chicago Symphony, Art Institute of Chicago, an El Station, Marshall Fields department store and Millennium Park. And all of that was before 5:00pm. At Millennium Park, we spent a lot of time taking photos at the Bean, which is where we met lots of new friends:
  • A group of fraternity boys from the University of Nebraska who were adorable and cool enough to put on Peeps visors and take photos with us (and even edified us about Nebraska being the home of Kool-Aid -- who knew?). True, they did mention on Twitter that they were on a "fratcation" which would normally be completely unacceptable, but they were fun, so we had to give them a pass. (Also, I believe we may have used the word "peeptastic" during the weekend, so we really were in no position to point fingers.)
  • Yes. They are about 12. And yes, I'm holding my purse like a grandma holds her pocketbook. Thanks for noticing.
  • A woman named Lauren (different Lauren) who is a Northwestern grad student in journalism who had stationed herself at the Bean for a 24-hour period with the intent of writing a story about interesting people she came across during that time. When she saw us with a large group of guys wearing Peeps visors and holding a Peeps diorama, she came over to talk. She was hilariously funny and interviewed us and we will be in the story she writes about this experience. (Sadly, she was booted from the park at 11:00pm, so she was not there 24 hours as planned, but she did get a number of  fascinating stories in the hours that she was.)
  • The CBS 2 folks -- Suzanne Le Mignot (who I will heretofore refer to as the "impossibly gorgeous Suzanne Le Mignot") and her cameraman, Scott. They were by Lake Michigan near Millennium Park to do a follow-up story on a woman in a wheelchair who had fallen into the lake the day before (the woman was fine). Well, the indispensable Lauren marched right up to the news truck and told them that they needed to do a story on our trip from the DC area to Chicago to deliver our diorama. She was very persuasive, because a couple of minutes later, they both got out of the truck and started setting up shots and asking us about the trip. (And shooting b-roll to use as part of the story. B-roll that included Hillary and I walking down a sidewalk holding the diorama TOGETHER. As though we had walked around the city all day doing that. Ridiculous. We took TURNS holding the diorama and walking through the city.) The impossibly gorgeous Suzanne said that she could not promise the story would run, but took our contact information in case it did.
    Scott the cameraman getting an excellent shot of the diorama.
    Us, with the impossibly gorgeous Suzanne Le Mignot. We are squinting because we had to look into the sun. I have no explanation for my lobster-claw hand.
  • It is here that I would like to remind you all that we did not make it back to the hotel in time for their complimentary wine hour. That, my friends, is dedication to a mission.
  • We made it back to the hotel at 6:30 and collapsed for about an hour. (Hillary and I had been up and going for about 15 hours at this point.) I was suffering from a bucket of diet coke-induced stomach ache, so around 8:00pm when Hillary and Lauren rallied for dinner in Greektown with flaming cheese, I stayed in and took a bath. During dinner, Hillary received a call from the impossibly gorgeous Suzanne letting her know that our spot was going to run at 10:15 during the evening news.
  • Hillary and Lauren came back to the hotel in time to see our story (which had a teaser leading up to it, and which focused on the diorama a lot and happily included some of the ridiculous b-roll). We are currently trying to get a copy of this, which I will gladly share on this blog.  (The best part? As a lead-in to the story, the impossibly gorgeous Suzanne's narration says that "they saw us and had to do a story". Which is slightly different and much kinder than the truth -- that Lauren strong-armed them into doing a story.)
I'll be doing one more installment from this trip tomorrow, which will culminate in the ultimate delivery of our diorama to the Chicago Tribune. Did I mention that you can vote for our diorama until Thursday at noon? www.chicagotribune.com/features/peeps (Larry Peep Live -- but you already knew that, didn't you?)

Also, if you'd like to see the complete photo album from this weekend, you can visit our community page on Facebook.


dilettante07 said...

I have now voted for you twice. The Tribune will not allow me to vote thrice. I hope they get lice.

dilettante07 said...

Also-- What IS up with the lobster claw? Did you get a new prosthetic? If so, I think they put it on the wrong way. You should get that checked out.

Brutalism said...

Tante - You're nice. And cool as ice.

Tante (again, stalker) - No idea. Isn't that totally freaky. Maybe looking into the sun turns me into a crustacean. Good to know.

Stacey said...

Don't knock the sun squinting/emerging claw, it could be a super power, then you'd REALLY get some tv coverage.
Missing free wine truly IS dedication, on second thought, maybe that is your superpower!

Trout Almondine said...


Trout Almondine said...

Also, how do you take an architecture tour of a river? "And here is where God decided to put a gentle bend, typical of the 'More or Less Straight Line' school of waterway design. This aesthetic is of course one of the most popular ones in this particular dimension, as opposed to the giant purple corkscrews of Xanadu 26^5."

Ed said...

This whole trip is so wacky, I can't help but laugh.

Straight Guy said...

After reading this, how can there still be people who doubt the greatness of America? If you think this type of experience is possible in Eastern Europe or South Asia, think again.

You made a craft project out of processed sugar and ended up on the evening news in a distant city.

I'm glad you chose the news van over the fratcation van, or this may have ended badly.

Brutalism said...

Trucking T - That is like the stepchild of superpowers. Therefore, I kind of love it. My arch nemesis could come after me with a bib and some drawn butter...

Trout - Dunno. I didn't really pay attention until they said "Brutalism" -- you know, 'cause it sounds dirty.

And it IS Sunday at 11:59 pm on Xanadu.

Ed - I know. And I just met our new next-door neighbors for the first time. The woman half of the couple thought this was funny (she had read the blog). Therefore, the new neighbors seem promising...

Straight Guy -- Tell me about it. All fun and games until someone gets roofied.