Archive for the ‘Art’ Category


Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Last night, Andy Warhol’s Empire, an eight hour 1964 film consisting of a single shot of the Empire State Buliding, was projected in its entirety from the Modern Wing of the Art Institute onto the Aon Building in downtown Chicago.

New York City

Monday, May 9th, 2011

New York Downtown

Just a little glimpse of a story I’ll tell ’bout an East Coast city that you all know well…

At the end of April, Apryl and I took a trip to New York. We had actually planned the trip a few months back, but then this happened. Actually, it worked out better this way. The weather was far superior, making it more enjoyable getting around.

Hotel Indigo

We checked into the Hotel Indigo, which was nicely located in Chelsea near the Fashion Institute of Technology. Unfortunately, Apryl had to finish up some work when we first arrived, but it did give me some time to wander around the neighborhood.

I was fascinated by the parking lots in the area. Check out this lot below:

NY Parking Lot

I decided on a destination of a record store in the Flatiron District, which gave me plenty of sight-seeing opportunities like running into the district’s namesake.

Flatiron Building

After shopping, I randomly picked a route back to the hotel, and ended up walking right pass the infamous Chelsea Hotel, primarily known to me by the Leonard Cohen tune and the Warhol flick. There was a film crew on site, shinning a light down a stairway that led to the basement.

Hotel Chelsea

As soon as I passed the hotel, I walked right by Clearview Cinema where the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival was taking place. I actually worked on a film that debuted at the festival in 2007.

On the way back, I couldn’t resist taking a photo of these New Yorkers checking out apartment complexes for rent. The average price for a small, one bedroom unit was $2,500 – $3,000 a month. But then again, I suppose it’s all relative.

NY Apt Searching

That night, while Apryl and I were walking to dinner, we passed that same parking lot I mentioned earlier. Only this time, it looked like this:

NY Empty Parking Lot

After dinner, we walked up 8th Ave (pass Madison Square Garden) to Times Square. I had seen Times Square last year on a shoot, but it was during the day, which is like not seeing it at all. Here we are taking in the view:

Apryl Times Square

Hayden Times Square

I couldn’t get over how many taxi cabs were congregated in one place. I really got a kick out of seeing how many cabs could drive one after the other before a non cab got through.

And then there was also this:

Viewing Party

The next morning, I had my favorite breakfast of the trip, an everything bagel with lox spread from the Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company. Yummy!


After breakfast, we made our way on the subway headed to Central Park. As soon as we got out of the tunnel, it started pouring rain. We waited for the rain to subside before entering the park. Here are just a few photos of the park:

Park and Buildings

Park Walkway


(I remember this sculpture because of this image.)

Before we could make much headway into the over 800 acres that make up Central Park, it started to rain hard again, and we retreated into the dry, Metropolitan Museum of Art:


We spent a good three hours at The Met, and yet still only scratched the surface of what it had to offer. A few photos from the exhibits:

Wall Art



(This study of Sunday at La Grande Jatte is a bit smaller than the original found at the AIC.)

The Met Kid

After hours on our feet walking around, we started to feel like the kid in the photo above. Where or where could we rest our bones? A ballpark, perhaps?

Hey, it was my birthday. And the White Sox were in town playing the Yankees. Actually, we had this event planned for quite some time. All we had to do was get on transit and head on over to Yankee Stadium…

Only we got lost. The transit directions on the Evo were wrong because it gave us the wrong address for Yankee Stadium. Instead of the Bronx, we were spat out in East Harlem, utterly confused. Luckily, a helpful cabbie drove us to the correct subway where he ventured on a short trip to the Bronx.

Yankees Stadium

Now, I’m not going to go into detail about the game since I’m planning on writing a separate game post, but it was fun time. Even despite the lousy playing by the White Sox. I told Apryl that if the Yankees scored more than 12 runs on the Sox that it would stop be fun for me. The Sox lost 12 – 3. The highlight of the game was Apryl brought out my birthday card. Since I’m still not eating meat, it was my hot dog at the ballpark.

Yankees Card Dog

Next morning, we decided we would visit the Statue of Liberty. Before heading out, I got online to see what the procedure was for going on the tour. To my horror, I read that lines for tickets were 2 hours long and that once you obtained your ticket you were then diverted into a security line that took up to an hour and a half. If you wanted to bypass the wait, you could purchase your tickets online in advance. Way in advance. The next available advanced ticket was in June!

However, Apryl informed me that there was another way to see the Statue of Liberty…

Staten Island Ferry Entrance

If you only got a nickel, it’s the Staten Island Ferry.

Actually, the Staten Island is free! Before having such knowledge, I moved around the station looking for a ticket booth. Finally, I asked a security personnel where one could purchase a ticket for the ferry. He gave me a curious stare, and then proclaimed, “it’s free.” Forgive me, I am new here.

The ferry makes the trip every thirty minutes, so we only had to wait about ten minutes before the the boat docked. While we waited a scrolling text above us congratulated the newly wed Prince William and Princess Kate. Apryl turned to me and asked, “Are they suppose to be able to read that?”

The ride over to State Island is quite nice with plenty of photographic opportunities. And you float right by the Statue of Liberty. The statue was smaller than I imagined, but it was still an awe of a sight. Some photos of the ferry ride:

Downtown from Ferry

Statue of Liberty

Coast Guard

Ferry and Statue

When he didn’t spend any time in Staten Island, but instead took the ferry right back over to Manhattan. We walked around downtown, spending the most time a the Trinity Church cemetery, Wall Street, and the future site of One World Trade Center. Below, photos:



One World

For dinner, we went to a gluten-free restaurant I had read about in the West Village called Risotteria. The restaurant was very good and had the best tasting gluten-free bread. Below, Apryl is amazed at all of her options:

Apryl Menu

And, the food:


My pizza

When we were done eating, we noticed that the restaurant sold bags of their gluten-free flour. We were very excited until Apryl noticed on the package that the flour contained gelatin from animal protein. Disappointing.

After dinner, we went to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Brooklyn Bridge

Check out this website that gives a detailed list of every known worker killed during construction of the bridge.

Another view from the bridge, including the traffic below:

Bridge and Traffic

And, how about a photo with the both of us?


Despite being extremely tired, we pressed on into the evening…

Mister Rockefeller sets up as high as a bird, Old Mister Empire never says a word.

I had read that the lines were extremely long for the Empire State Building. And that they weren’t as great as the view from Rockefeller Center. So, we decided to give it a shot. In fact, the line was almost nonexistent. After having to watch a poorly produced video, we were shuffled into an elevator and taken to the top of the Rock. Check out this video of the elevator ride which allows you to look up at the clear ceiling as ascend:

Unlike the observation towers at Willis Tower and the John Hancock, Rockefeller Center’s viewing point is at the actual top of the building. You right out there in the elements. For safety, they have plastic walls around the building, but there are slits between them so you can put your hand right out in the open and feel the stone ornamentation. Below, the view:

Rock View

We topped off the evening by celebrating the Grizzlies victory in our hotel room!

Grizzlis Win

The next morning, we decided to check out a popular breakfast spot called the Clinton Street Baking Company. Unfortunately, it was too popular, and we told we would have to wait an hour and an half for a table. We left and found the Remedy Diner, which wasn’t anything too special but it did give me the opportunity to have my first egg cream.

Egg Cream

It was okay. Thankfully, it didn’t have a worm in it.

After breakfast, we only had a little time left in New York before we had to get to the airport. Apryl suggested that we go Grand Central Station. We had arrived only a day before something really big happened. If we had visited just a day later we would have seen images like this. Thankfully, we had visited when we did and got this photo of us together:

Hayden and Apryl Station

We then returned back to the hotel, grabbed our bags, and hailed a reluctant cabbie to take us to LaGuardia airport. There were a lot of things we didn’t get to see in New York, but yet we saw more than I ever imagined. Without a doubt, it gave me a better understanding of the city that is a part of every American. Goodbye, New York.

Goodbye NY

When I leave New York, I’ll be standin’ on my feet.


Saturday, February 27th, 2010

On Saturday, I attended the William Eggleston exhibit at the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. For those who don’t know, Eggleston, who hails from and lives in Memphis, is an influential photographer who revolutionized the use of color photography. His work is often described as having a snapshot quality with colors that are heavily saturated.

The exhibit was quite impressive in it’s scope, covering even Eggleston’s early dabble into black and white photography (several examples from Memphis Sate programs). But the main attraction were the dye imbibition color prints, many of which were quite famous as album covers, including the new record from Spoon. I really wanted to take a photo of the display with LP’s from Big Star’s Radio City and Alex Chilton’s Like Flies on Sherbert but photography is only allowed in the permanent collections. Even so, here are few photos from the opening day of the exhibit:

William Eggleston’s rare appearance for the opening, which was met with fever of excitement from his fans.

Eggleston signs a copy of his latest monograph books, William Eggleston: Democratic Camera, Photographs and Video, 1961-2008

The screening display for Eggleston’s film Stranded in Canton which my friend John Olivio edited.

My dad’s winter visit.

Monday, February 8th, 2010

The Bean

Typically, we don’t get guests during the winter months. But, for my dad, who actually enjoys the cold weather, it was the perfect time for a visit. Now, usually when my dad comes up, we attend a sporting event. But this time, we stayed clear of the arenas, and instead entertained ourselves with a series of tourist stops and dining adventures.

Below are some photos from my dad’s visit:

My dad shows off his Chicken Parmigiana from Da Luciano, a small Italian restaurant that known for having a separate, gluten-free kitchen.

Dan's Tackle Shop

Here’s my dad at Dan’s Tackle Service, an oddity of a fishing store found right in our neighborhood. My dad and Dan had a nice conversation about Arkansas fishing.

Art Museum

During the entire month of February, admission is free at the Art Institute of Chicago. As you can see, we took advantage of it. My favorite thing my dad said, while staring at Grant Wood’s American Gothic, was “this is the only one? This isn’t a copy?” Nope, it’s the real deal.


We finally ate at a Rick Bayless restaurant. The above photo is my chicken chorizo tacos from Frontera Fresco, located on the 7th floor of Macy’s (once Marshall Fields) on State Street.

Chicago Cultural Center

On the left hand frame, you can see Apryl sharing information to my Dad about the Chicago Cultural Center.

WIllis Tower

Towards the end of our day on Saturday, we went to the SkyDeck at Willis Tower (better known at Sear’s Tower). This was our visit after the inclusion of The Ledge. My dad would not step foot out there for nothing. But Apryl and I did…

And, a short video:

Oh, and, I suppose I should share the view:

On Sunday, my dad and I visited the Chicago History Museum. Below, my dad points to where his seats were when he attend a White Sox game during a business trip in the 70’s at Old Comiskey Park.

Good seats!

Later that day, my dad and I ventured over to Montrose Harbor and caught this amazing view:

We also saw a few ice fishers:

That evening we watched the Saints win over the Colts while eating Chicago deep dish pizza from Lou Malnatis. Sorry, no evidence of this taking place.

On Monday morning, before my dad’s flight back home, we enjoyed a Chicago breakfast institute, Ann Sather. Below, their famous cinnamon rolls:

As always, it was nice spending time with my dad. I was hoping we would have snow blanketed over the city for him, but most of it was melted. There were a little flurries on his first night in town, but nothing compared to the 14 inches we are expected to have tonight, or the 8 inches expected when he arrived back in Memphis. Until next time…

Check out all the photos here.

The Modern World.

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Yesterday, Apryl and I took advantage of Free Week over at the Art Institute as the museum was celebrating the opening of its Modern Wing. The new addition of 264,000 square feet makes it the second largest art museum in the country!

Inside the new space, one can find contemporary art from 1960, early 20th century European art, new photography, architecture and design, and video media. The best part, which we didn’t get to try out, was the Nichols Bridgeway which is a walkway from Millennium Park to the third floor of the Modern Wing. No wait, the best part was that it was free! Check out photos from our trip:

The third floor entrance from the Nichols Bridgeway.

Inside the Modern Wing.

Jeff Wall’s The Flooded Grave. Silver dye-bleach transparency in an aluminum light box.

Apryl walking on the second floor of the Modern Wing.

In contemporary art from 1945-1960. Of course, this is Jackson Pollock. Greyed Rainbow is the title.

Apryl inside the contemporary art after 1960 section. Check out the Elvis Warhol!

David Hockney’s American Collectors.

More Warhol.

Roy Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke with Spatter.

Hey, I wonder why I like this one so much???

Two Candles from Gerhard Richter. Seem familiar?


Perhaps, this is why.

Inside the early 20th century European section. Above, Matisse’s Bathers by a River.

The Old Guitarist from Pablo Picasso.

They even had this maquette from Pablo Picasso of the 50 foot tall, 162 tons sculpture which was commissioned by the original Mayor Daley. Today, it can be seen at Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago.

Full photostream found here.

End of the Year – lists

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

So, we’re back home. And it was a great holiday break (short sleeves, really?) But as always, even though it seemed like we were always visiting, we still didn’t manage to see everyone. Hopefully, we will see all those we missed on our next trip back South. Of course, I took photos, which I will load on Flickr today or tomorrow. Until then, I thought it would be appropriate to end the year with a few End of the Year lists. So, here we go:

Top 10 Favorite Songs of 2008
10. Dent May – Meet Me In The Garden
9. TV on the Radio – Family Tree
8. Silver Jews – Strange Victory Strange Defeat
7. The Avett Brothers – Murder in the City
6. Bon Iver – Re:Stacks
5. Arthur Russell – Love Is Overtaking Me
4. Breathe Owl Breathe – Playing Dead
3. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
2. Destroyer – Foam Hands
1. Vic Chesnutt – You Are Never Alone

Top 10 Concerts of 2008
10. (tie) Harlan T. Bobo – Schubas/Caleixco – Millennium Park
9. Dolly Parton – Chicago Theatre
8. Ornette Coleman – Chicago Jazz Festival
7. Radiohead – Lollapalooza
6. Jarvis Cocker – Pitchfork Music Festival
5. Magnetic Fields – Old Town School of Folk Music
4. Girl Talk – Lollapalooza
3. Animal Collective – Pitchfork Music Festival
2. Bill Callahan – Millennium Park
1. Andrew Bird – Millennium Park
Honorable Mention: Vanilla Ice – Cans

Top 5 Cities Visited (work related) in 2008
5. New York
4.New Orleans
3. Charleston
2. Boston
1. Reno/Lake Tahoe

Top 5 Places Visited (non work related) in 2008
5. Mount Horeb
4. Memphis
3. Nashville
2. Greers Ferry
1. McGregor/Prairie du Chien

Top 5 Celebrities met in 2008
5. Bill Rancic
4. Mark Wahlberg
3. Garrison Keillor
2. Cookie Monster
1. Svengoolie

Top 10 Tourist Stops of 2008 (in no particular order)

  • Mustard Museum in Mount Horeb
  • Sears Tower Skydeck
  • Architecture Boat Tour, Chicago
  • Hopper/Homer Exhibit at the Art Institute
  • Fenelon Place Elevator Cable Car in Dubuque, IA
  • College Football Hall of Fame in South Bend, IN
  • Cafe du Monde in New Orleans
  • Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, IA
  • Cheers Bar in Boston
  • Weird Chicago Tour

Top 5 Most Memorable Moments in 2008 (other than Obama)
5. Sox win the AL Central.
4. Apryl graduates from IIT.
3. Eva gets cancer. And is okay.
2. The Tigers play in the NCAA Finals.
1. McKenzie Hayden Madden is born.

Top 5 Favorite Personal Photos of 2008 (in no order)

Sox seats


Lake Tahoe

Apryl Graduate

house show

Perhaps more lists to come later. Perhaps not. Either way, here is a selection of other photos from the past year. Goodbye 2008!

Scavenger Art

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

Free Art

Here in Chicago, there is an artist that goes by the name of Skoff. Skoff creates pieces of art work that he places around town for anyone to merely pick up and take home for free. These free pieces, which are typically abstract, are found in parks, train yards, bridges, etc. After Skoff places one of his pieces in a spot, he then photographs the work in its surroundings. Then, he puts the photos on his website along with clues on where to find the location. Free art!

Since you never know when Skoff will be making another offering, you have to keep checking his website. Well, Sunday, he placed nine new pieces around Chicago, including one that apparently had money in the canvas. Skoff suggested the finder use the money on someone other than themselves. “Who is he, Oprah, ” Apryl asked.

One of the pieces, which was shown propped up on a train car, was in a place I knew that was near Fletcher, popular camera/audio rental house. So, I got in my car and made a dash to the railroad tracks. Unfortunately, I got there too late and the piece was long gone. As I was leaving I spotted another piece on a bridge. It looked so funny just resting on the bridge, waiting for someone to come by and claim it as their own. Even though it’s abstract, it reminds me of Andrew Bird’s Mysterious Production of Eggs cover.

Me and Free Art

Now, I have no idea what I am going to do with this art work, but it sure was fun to find!

Hopper vs. Homer

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

Hopper vs Homer

All through the month of February, general admission to the Art Institute of Chicago has been free. Special exhibits, like the Edward Hopper/Winslow Homer showing we were attending, were half off the regular price. So taking full advantage of the discount and the fact that it was a leap year, Apryl and I took in some culture Friday night. I have been a fan of Hopper since college when I was properly introduced to his work by my friend Anna. She used to have a few posters of his paintings in her apartment, and it was quite amazing to see the originals up close and personal. I was also interested to see the Homer collection since my former college professor had just recently produced a documentary about the artist. Below are a few photos from our afternoon visit:

Hopper Exhibit

The entrance to the Hopper exhibit.

Hopper and blank canvas

Edward Hopper posing in front of a blank canvas that would soon become Nighthawks.


The original Nighthawks. The first time I visited the museum, Nighthawks, which is in the permanent collection of the Institute, was on loan to the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.

Homer exhibit entrance

The entrance to the Homer exhibit.

Hopper background

Since photography wasn’t allowed for the special exhibits, I wasn’t able to take photos of the paintings like I did in my last post about the Institute. And even though Nighthawks is part of the museum’s collection, I was surprised I still wasn’t thrown out when I photographed it. Well, at least warned. I did see someone about to get hassled for talking on his cellphone. Luckily, the guy left the exhibit on his own before the guard could get his attention.

As for the artists, I was most impressed with the work of Hopper. Homer’s paintings of the sea or wilderness hunts just don’t have the same effect as Hopper’s modern, cinematic view. However, I should say I was impressed with Homer’s early work such as his journalistic illustrations of the Civil War and a series he did on children while vacationing at a friend’s summer house. I was also amazed at how much skill Homer was able to achieve even without a formal education. Perhaps I enjoyed Hopper the most because I have had the most exposure to his work like Chop Suey, Automat, and New York Movie. Of all the Hopper pieces, I think I was surprised to enjoy Sun in an Empty Room the most. One of his last paintings, it simply shows the effect of light shining in the corner of an empty room. Most of Hopper’s paintings seem to be studies of how light, particularly a late afternoon sunset, create shadows along static images of man and his objects. And here with the Empty Room, it’s like he’s saying in his late career that sure he’s experimented with various settings and created any number of ambiguous story lines, but what it really comes down to is light. Anyway, I bought a postcard of it to send to my grandmother.

Afterwards, we ate a delicious meal at The Gage.