Back to the Midwest

We spent the holiday break with Hannah’s family in Indianapolis and Chicago, and got to see a bunch of friends while we were there, too. As expected, it was cold, and it was fun.

We started off in Indianapolis, and we stayed for a night at our friend Sarah’s. She lives downtown in an area that reminds me a lot of SoMa in San Francisco, with old buildings right next to new condos, and lots of office buildings, including their very own Salesforce Tower. This isn’t it.

I haven’t read much Vonnegut, but for some reason it seems like he would not have liked to have a painting of himself on the side of some random parking lot.

While at this restaurant I kept thinking about the now famous Cheesecake Factory Twitter thread, and our conversations later kept going back to Venkatesh Rao’s Premium Mediocre. This was a recurring theme of the trip, and it didn’t feel great to notice that about myself.

These three made me take twenty photos from different angles, so I felt like I had to post at least one one.

Sarah took us to the hipster side of town: Fletcher Place. The signature drink at this coffee shop was a very strange capuccino with honey and cayenne. I liked it, but probably wouldn’t order it again.

Then we went back to Chicago. Being back in the city is always a bit surreal.

I’ve taken many variations of this shot. This one might be my favorite ever.

The fact that we can stay at Hannah’s grandma’s condo downtown is always very convenient, and makes for some great city shots.

We hung out a bunch at Maduro and Kathleen’s new apartment. The 44th floor is not too bad.


I had a meeting near the Chicago Cultural Center, and they were hosting the Architecture Biennial, so I walked in. It looked awesome, so I made Hannah come back with me the next day and do a tour.

Hannah’s grandma took us out to dinner, and the decorations at the restaurant were pretty strange.

H: “That looks cheesy, why did you edit out all the colors?” A: “I didn’t, that’s just what the mirror by the elevator looked like.”

Back at the Biennial. There were some seriously awesome pieces. Some of my favorite were Cameron Wu’s Baroque Machinations, Charles Waldheim and Siena Scarf Design’s Heliomorphic Chicago, Filip Dujardin’s Chicago Shuffle photos (which I could not find better links to, sorry), Dogma’s The Room of One’s Own, and the various aritsts who participated in Vertical City (pictured).

As you circled the building, you got different views from this internal courtyard. The reflections on the windows made it a trippy experience.

This set of towers made me think about my own project, Wikitropolis.

Then we went back out to the cold. This was our one “warm” day: 15F/10C. Regardless of the weather, I made a point to walk up and down the city. Walking past the Trump Tower on Michigan Ave. (a few blocks north from where I took this photo) still feels dystopian. I am sad the city was never able to make them take down the sign.

Since I was in an architectural mood, we went to photograph Mies van der Rohe’s Lake Shore Drive Apartments.

The whole day made me think of Einat - “Is that a Mies?!”

Hannah’s grandma freezes blueberries, since “you can’t get good fresh fruit in Chicago in the winter.”

Hannah’s grandma’s cousin Erwin plays every week at Barrelhouse Flat. We went to see him with Hannah’s family, and then our friends joined us, too.

“You have too many photos of me making that face.”


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