Finding myself unexpectedly without a job, I decided to quit wallowing on the couch and use my influx of free time to go on adventures. This is what led me to from the frigid hills of New England to the flat Windy City! The midwest was a bit of a shock to me; used to the confusing winding streets of Boston, I was amazed that I could see straight into the city from miles and miles away. Not to mention that it actually felt like spring out there! My awesome Whovian, Potter Head cousins were kind enough to let me crash at their house, constantly feed me, and show me around, and I also met up with a few friends who moved out there.
All in all, it was a great trip! I saw so many sights and tried so many “true Chicago” experiences. I could write a whole twenty blog posts about all the things to do out there, but instead I’m going to put a geek girl spin on things show you all the ways I’ve geeked out in Chicago!
Sights for the Lit Lover
I need to get my book on no matter where I go, and that certainly wasn’t hard staying in the suburb of Oak Park. It just so happens that Ernest Hemingway was born on these very streets! Unfortunately, he couldn’t stand the place and got the hell out of there as soon as he could. I can’t imagine why? Oak Park was friendly and idealic, plus only twenty minutes away from the city. I guess it just doesn’t compare to living in Paris and the Keys.
Regardless, the Hemingway Museum (erected in his childhood home) is tucked among quaint Victorians and only a few blocks away from Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio. I love picturing a little Hemingway walking these streets or sitting in the old wing of the high school that my cousins attend (even if that might not have happened). I wish he once ate Italian beefs!
My absolute favorite literary stop was a hole-in-the-wall used bookstore called The Looking Glass. This place was a book lover’s paradise! Not only did it have shelves of books galore, but it had a wealth of nerdy items like literary-scented candles, old maps and prints, every type of bookmark you could imagine, and book themed kids’ toys. We spent at least two hours perusing the stacks. In the end, I spent way too much money on a short mystery to read on the flight home called The Final Solution, a painting of a bookshelf that basically mirrored my own, and a copy of Arabian Nights from the turn of the century.
It sounds a bit insane, but The Looking Glass inspired me; it is my dream to someday open a similar store myself. Someday…
Well, this statue at the Art Institute of Chicago looks like Gollum!Sights of Comic Genius
I’m currently dating a bonafide comedy nerd. Me? I’m slowly learning, but I do know that Chicago is a comedy mecca. It was my duty as a good girlfriend to educate myself by going to a show at The Second City, one of the most prolific comedy theatres in the world, and starting place of… basically everyone.
My friend and I saw their 103rd Mainstage Sketch Review, Panic on Cloud 9, and it was hilarious! Not only were they great comedic actors, but they wrote every side-splitting sketch themselves. Seriously, all these comics are going to be on SNL someday, just you wait.
We also took the time to stop in one of Chicago’s many comic book stores. Despite a brief obsession with manga in high school, I’ve never been much of a comic book or graphic novel person, but have always wanted to be one. At Chicago Comics, I had never seen such a wide collection of comics, so what could be a better place than there to start? I picked up Hark! A Vagrant! by super awesome, history lovin’, book readin’ web comic artist Kate Beaton, and the first issue of Lumberjanes, which I’ve already torn through. Squee! It has butt-kicking feminism, hipster yetis, and I’ve already determined that the character April is my soul sister.
Sights for the Art Nerd
No trip to Chicago would be complete without a stop at the Art Institute. I’ve already shown you Gollum, but the geekdom is strong at this place. Here are some highlights:
I know one of my favorite Dr. Who episodes is Vincent and the Doctor, and there is a fantastic Vincent Van Gogh collection here. Give him some love!
The Institute also played a huge role in the classic movie Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. You can recreate a scene in any of the museums collections!
They say a picture is worth one thousand words, but here you can see words jump off the page into art. Some of my favorite interpretations are Fuseli’s Macbeth and the Armed Head and Ivan Albright’s Portrait of Dorian Gray. The latter is genius! I love how he depicted the decay and madness within the portrait. And it’s absolutely twisted.
These, of course, are not the only nerdy things to do in Chicago; just a smattering of some of the things I saw and did. I certainly hope to return and see even more history and culture!