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Post An Unforgettable Visit to Chicago and Wisconsin
Created by John Eipper on 11/20/23 2:16 AM

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An Unforgettable Visit to Chicago and Wisconsin (Consoly Leon Arias, Spain / Canary, 11/20/23 2:16 am)

Recently, and encouraged by my dear Tony Candil, the man I love and admire, I had the pleasure of continuing the exciting travel experience I began last summer in the USA. Just a few months ago, I discovered with fascination the state of Texas.  This time, the states were Illinois and Wisconsin, respectively.

In Chicago, together with Tony, I had the pleasure of discovering a cosmopolitan city on the shores of Lake Michigan, defined by its imposing skyscrapers, museums, parks overflowing with works of art, and the sound of jazz and blues reverberating everywhere, to put a unique touch on this wonderful city.

My interest in Chicago arose during my college years, and naturally, it was linked to the figure of the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, whose principles were forged in the Chicago of the late 19th century. In Chicago Wright began an architectural journey free of any European influence, a bold style through which he managed to offer the world a type of construction linked to a modern lifestyle. A very American approach.

Most probably based on his architectural philosophy, Wright said: "In time, I believe that Chicago will be the most beautiful great city left in the world." This quote is a sample of the multiple sensations that this city has produced in me.

I enjoyed icons of modern architecture and skyscrapers like the Willis Tower, the Aon Tower, the Tribune Tower (a neo-Gothic style building that once was the headquarters of the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and whose facade includes ashlars of different iconic monuments around the world such as the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, and the Parthenon), and the John Hancock Center, whose main attraction is its observation tower with full-length glass windows. Definitely not suitable for the faint of heart.

Our visit also included the Field Museum, whose lobby is presided over by the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, and where we were able to contemplate the legendary Tsavo lions, along with the tour of the Art Institute of Chicago, where we were able to enjoy an imposing and impressive collection that houses more than 300,000 works of art by renowned artists of the world. The more than 1,000 works of art by renowned artists such as El Greco, Rembrandt, Hopper, and the French Impressionists, have aroused in me something similar to the syndrome that Stendhal suffered during his visit to the Santa Croce, in the Italian city of Florence.

We also enjoyed the legendary musical Hamilton at the James M. Nederlander Theater. It is a contemporary take on US history, set to the rhythm of hip-hop, and jazz, which tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers of the USA, and whose staging has received numerous awards, such as the Tony, Grammy, and Olivier awards.

We also experienced shopping sprees on the Magnificent Mile, pizza tasting at Giordanos, the popcorn at Garret's, dinner at "Jaleo", the restaurant of the Spanish chef, Jose Andres, as well as a magnificent evening at Ralph Lauren's RL restaurant, which I will never forget, where we toasted America with an exquisite California wine.

Thus, I agree that as Frank Lloyd Wright said, Chicago is a city that leaves an indelible mark on the memory of the viewer. Therefore, I am convinced that for every tourist, Chicago will always be one of the most beautiful cities they have ever traveled to.

However, that is not all, for another of the most significant moments of this trip to the USA was my meeting with the legendary Hispanist, Professor Stanley Payne. Nothing made me foresee, at the end of the 1990s, that the books my history teacher recommended to me in high school, and that are part of my personal library, would be dedicated to me by my admired Professor Payne. The meeting with Stanley was another of the many surprises that Tony had prepared for me, and which I enjoyed intensely from the very first moment. In Wisconsin, in addition to its University and its delicious and varied cheeses, I had the great honor of meeting a genius dressed in simplicity, with a beautiful smile, who exudes culture and wisdom, has a great magnetism, and transmits peace. Our in-person meeting confirmed what I had discovered in previous meetings in which we had met online.

Naturally, sharing those hours with Professor Payne, his time and kindness, moved me. Today I joyfully remember those wonderful moments, and for which I thank Professor Payne warmly. My admired Maestro.

Finally, I return to Spain happy with the experiences shared with Tony and Stanley, and thinking about a next trip, which may take me to a new US state, and help me to deepen my knowledge of the American culture and lifestyle, which I like so much, and from which we have to learn so much.

JE comments:  Consoly León Arias confirms what many of us have suspected, and which Tony Candil shared with me a few weeks ago en confianza:  Consoly and Tony are an item!  I believe this is a first for our organization, and I couldn't be happier for the novios.  Their meeting with Stanley Payne in Madison truly completed the "WAISfecta."

In aesthetic terms, I would place Chicago as the most "American" city, with the caveat of course that this is a subjective definition.  I am thinking about skyscrapers, museums, and, well, optimism.  Or perhaps we should call it attitude.  Such urban dynamism of the 19th and 20th centuries has somehow been lost in the US, to be taken up elsewhere, in places like Dubai.  I should note, however, that yesterday the storied Chicago Bears were defeated by--who else?--the Lions of my gritty Detroit.  (Apologies here to David Duggan.)

Consoly, excellent travelogue.  I hope the Chicago Tourism Bureau will take notice!  They certainly should.

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  • Lions, Bears, and Ford Stock (David Duggan, USA 11/20/23 12:38 PM)
    Maybe there's an inverse relationship between Ford stock (down 18% this year) and the performance of the team that family owns, the Detroit Lions.

    Lions Are 8-2 for 1st time since 1962.

    The Chicago Bears gave the Lions a run for their money in yesterday's game, but Detroit notched their third straight win thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback that included 17 points in the final frame. The Lions beat the Bears (31-26), and they're 8-2 for the first time in the Super Bowl era.

    Wasn't it in 1962 when Ford made overtures to buy Ferrari?


    What would have happened had the situation been reversed? The Lions would have been sold to somebody who knows something about football, and Ferrari would have disappeared, except for museums.

    JE comments:  David, your thesis is provocative, but how about that annus horribilis 2008?  The Lions achieved perfection that year, with no wins in 16 tries.  You would think then that Ford stock would have skyrocketed.  Nope:  it was down 66% for the year.  Not a lot of joy in Mudville, or on Wall St.  Or Dearborn.

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