gainesville’s harn museum of art

If Florida is home or Gainesville is within drive, I would get to the Harn Museum of Art right quick, as some Southerners say. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I visited yesterday. What I found was room after room of exceptional art.

Joseph Konopka’s 1986 acrylic on canvas painting, View from 6th Avenue Between 38th and 39th Streets.

Deborah Butterfield’s Rory sculpture from 1992. Butterfield fashioned this mare using steel, scrap metal and other industrial materials.

Patrick Grigsby creates a photo-like image by puncturing cotton paper sheets painted black.

Like Maurice Prendergast? The Harn Museum offers this 1914 oil painting, Idyllic Landscape.

Photography? This museum has that too.

A tapestry that unravels, forming fiber-based drawings? The Harn has got you.

Pre-WWII art–this 1935 painting is by Francis Criss.

Even works by internationally renown artists like Kehinde Wiley.

Admission is free (yes, free). Happy museuming, all.

handle with caution

One of my favorite Chicago haunts is the Garfield Park Conservatory on Central Park just north of Lake Street. It has an Aroid House, which is a large room containing all sorts of aroids, spiky plants belonging to the Araceae family.

Plant size and form vary considerably.

Bunny Ears Cactus. Notice the tiny white clusters of glochids.

Yellow Tower.

Aeonium.

Golden Barrel Cactus.

And Queen Victoria Agave.

Admire with ease, but handle with caution.

dark matter coffee

I love upstart independent coffee roasters, so couldn’t help but be intrigued by this Western Ave. storefront in Ukrainian Village.

And this roaster has quite the origin story. Jesse Diaz served coffee at Star Lounge in 2007. Two months into his employment, the owners shared that they wanted to sell. So Jesse got a $2,000 loan from a childhood friend, and Dark Matter Coffee was born. The coffee is great, and the blends are quirky, edgy fun.

There is Unicorn Blood.

The Bourbons of Dr. Funkenstein. (Seriously, this artwork!)

And for Guns N’ Roses fans, Warm November Rain.

The staff at the mothership location could not be nicer, BTW.

kungsholm puppet opera

Can you imagine Swedish fine dining and an evening of miniature puppet opera (yes, miniature puppet opera) at a restaurant off Magnificent Mile in Chicago? Imagine, my friends. It was the Kungsholm restaurant at Rush and Ontario that operated the Kungsholm Miniature Grand Opera from 1937 to 1971. For real.

Highly detailed puppets in miniature.

The venue even had an orchestra pit (complete with hydraulic lift) sporting 52 players. This is the conductor Tosci.

The Swedish American Museum in Andersonville currently has this episodic/operatic amazingness on display. Enjoy.