Chicago Day 2 – [Art Institute of Chicago only]

So since I took a ton of images at the Art Institute of Chicago, I decided to make it a separate blog post and share a couple more of them with you. First, before we got into the Institute, I decided to take a few panoramas of the Chicago skyline, since we were at a nice vantage point. These are probably the nicest skyline photos that I have. I took one extremely overexposed, but it somehow came out extremely high tech looking. I only recently stitched together the correctly exposed one, and it looks pretty sick too! Pretty much no photoshop was done in terms of brightness/curves but I did use Content Aware Fill to fill in some of the sky that was lost during the stitching…and I must say that Photoshop software is absolutely ridiculous in merging panoramas and doing content aware fill.

[Skyline 3] Panorama from Bridge

[Skyline 4] Panorama from Bridge Regular Exposure

Anyway, we trotted into the museum, and the first room we went to was my favorite…abstract art. Just kidding, it’s actually not that bad. But there’s not much to say about it. Then we went to modern design. It was pretty cool, with some modern architecture, and just all sorts of design forms. I think this was the most relevant to me, because I definitely enjoy whatever use of technology there is to be on the cutting edge of crazy. Some of the buildings were a bit too crazy for me, so I kept some photos of things that appealed to my eye a bit more.

Abstract Art. ‘Nuff said.

There are things you can and can’t do to a logo. Pretty well designed infograph telling you through Obama’s Campaign logo.

This is Ikea in 3 years.

More Ikea in 3 years.

We proceeded through the usual art forms, and pretty much got a taste of many different types of art from many different countries (Impressionist, modern, old, Asian, African, everything…). I guess I’m relatively uncultured so it was nice learning a bit of something about art.

Really want to draw the pepper spray guy in there.

Ok I gave in to temptation.

Alan doesn’t give a second thought to Chinese Art.

Badass knights of the medieval ages. I’d be scared to be against a rampaging knight.




Creepy Art

Alan and the Nighthawks

Finally, there was a special Lichtenstein exhibit going on. Lichtenstein (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Lichtenstein) was apparently an extremely famous pop artist, who did a lot of the art style in comics back in the mid-1900s. The gallery went through his life, which more or less involved being creative, then turning classic works into various other styles, then being crazy and drawing naked women all day, and finally being zen and doing Chinese art remakes.

Mickey mouse being dumb.

No idea but his modern art is moving into dangerously impressionist territory.

So basically the back is solid red…BUT ITS NOT.

Recreated Washington’s Crossing as impressionist…Basically he took http://goo.gl/Q3b6U and shit on it.

Recreating work from Piet Mondrian…by adding dots to all the solid colors…

As he gets older, he gets crazier

And um crazier

And finally he reached a zen state, and started recreating Chinese art.

Finally, we went through some other parts of the gallery…and had to head out =[

Alan wandering

Finally we got kicked out because some stupid art gallery wanted to set up :O

The end! See the rest of Chicago Day 2 at my blog post at https://brianylu.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/chicago-day-2/ (or on the side bar). Thanks for reading!


Chicago Day 2

We woke up for Day Two just in time for food at 11:30am. Showered at their nice dorms and proceeded to zombie our way towards food.

Chicago During the Day – Slightly more people and slightly less pretty

Fancy Schmancy McDonalds sign

The river just doesn’t look as nice at night =[

First, we headed towards this restaurant called XOCO (http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/xoco.html), a restaurant by the famous chef Rick Bayless. Apparently he had stopped by the restaurant an hour before we got there, according to Yelp. We were trying to look for him but since we didn’t really know what he looked like, it was rather difficult. I ordered the Carne Asada, which had some sour cream and pesto, while I have no idea what Alan ordered. The menu wasn’t cheap ($10+) for basically a Mexican sandwich, but everything fit amazingly well together. Unfortunately I did not bother to capture the food elegantly on camera, as I proceeded to devour my torta in only a few minutes.

From famous Chef Rick Bayless. Apparently he was there like an hour before we got there

We proceeded to explore the downtown area, which was significantly more packed than the previous night. I followed Alan around as he efficiently went from destination to destination. I went to grab some Claritin at a local Walgreens, and was surprised to see an epic conveyer belt of…wine.

This is a Walgreens. Yes. I repeat. This is a Walgreens.

Then, we proceeded to run over to Macy’s, which hosted some extra oomph compared to your regular Macy’s stores. We made it to the Chicago Cultural Center, which was this old-looking building that was only slightly renovated on the inside. Alan loves architecture and stained glass windows, and we saw plenty of those inside the Cultural Center. There was also an exhibit called “Morbid Curiosity”, which contained art on death. It featured statues made of bones, sculptures, photos, and paintings that all had some sort of death theme. Needless to say, I was intrigued but somewhat grossed out by all the skulls and dead bodies.

Just your run of the mill 8 floor badass Macy’s

…which also has this glass ceiling design.

A field of beautiful green unheard of in California

Creepy Morbid Death Exhibit in Chicago Cultural Center

No photos allowed…so I snuck an iPhone picture of these skulls. Yes I’m a badass I know.

The Cultural Center also had some amazing glass ceilings.

Next was Millennium Park, which was a huge expanse of greenery and fresh excitement. Aside from seeing this massive outdoor concert hall called the Jay Pritzker Pavilion (which is apparently classified as a “work of art” rather than a concert hall to avoid dimension restrictions), we were able to chance upon this large silvery blob. The blob, also known as the Cloud Gate Sculpture, was essentially a huge mirror perfect for self-photo whoring.

Called the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Cloud Gate Sculpture…what is it?

Adding color to the dull color of…buildings

Oh its like a giant mirror!

Yup a giant mirror…perfect for photo whoring.

Once we took some photos and watched hundreds of others take photos of themselves, and moved our way through the tourists, we headed up this unknown bridge that led us the Art Institute of Chicago. There was an overexposed skyline that I took, but I stitched it up anyway and it turned out pretty well! As for the museum itself, it was pretty comprehensive with all types of art. I have a separate list of images and quick blog post about it.

[Skyline 3] Panorama from Bridge

This is Ikea in 3 years.

Alan and a famous picture.

Mickey mouse being dumb.

We exited the Art Museum to witness the creepiest LCD display I have ever seen. And this was right next two few fountains that children were playing in. As we walked along the park towards home, we saw few interesting things, such as this massive Segway tour, people playing pickup chess, and a massive teacher’s Union strike.



Taking recreational chess to a new level.

Police kinda just chilling

The Teacher’s Union doesn’t mess around.

Nope…definitely doesn’t mess around.

Even telling cars whatsup.

Civil Discourse on the Merits of the Chicago Public Schooling system and the effectiveness of Strikes.

Teachers are harmless creatures, so the Chicago Police has nothing to do but chill.

We made it back to the Hostel around 5:30pm, in time for me to prepare for a phone interview (which I proceeded to bomb). We then headed over to this Italian restaurant called Davanti (http://davantichicago.com/) Alan took pictures of his food, but I didn’t, so no pictures for you! Even though this was supposed to be a ridiculously nice Italian restaurant, where you order small dishes and share, I just went with the fatty burger. Fortunately, it was a ridiculously good burger. It was so good (and good looking) that some students seated at an adjacent table saw it, watered up, and decided to order it as well. Then again, the menu description was “Our special blend beef burger + bacon jam + roasted tomato + cheese curd + arugula + roasted garlic mayo + shoestring fries.” When you have bacon jam you know something is up.

After filling up with glory, we took the bus over to the iO comedy club (http://ioimprov.com/chicago/) to watch this amazing Wednesday show. Unfortunately, when we got there, the show was sold out so we settled with an improv show called “Dummy”. We grabbed two beers, and sat down to watch a relatively crude but humorous collection of short arbitrary skits that made fun of cheating, gay relationships, wedding crashers, egging pranks, and few others. Then there was a nice long skit revolving around the one of the audience’s lives, which involved a couple: a filmmaker and an actor being separated because the guy (actor) had to go to Argentina to visit his grandpa. Along with the word “Soba noodles”, the improv duo turned it into a skit about a filmmaker filming his wife eating soba noodles for a commercial competition, even though the wife couldn’t stand them. She eventually became traumatized and started reminiscing about a college relationship with some high school student in order to swallow the soba noodles. So lo and behold were the sexual innuendos that make up lots of humor in our lives (:

Afterwards, we headed back, and chilled. And I got to skype with Lucy again and all was good.

Day 2 Route: [A] Home, [B] XOCO, [C] Chicago Cultural Center, [D] Art Institute of Chicago, [E] Back Home, [F] Davanti’s, [G] iO Improv


Chicago Day 1

A bit of background…I was dragged to Chicago by Alan. I had no other plans for summer so I decided to maybe enjoy a week or two of break before I have to do some hardcore job applications. So lo and behold…at 6am of the twenty second of May in the final year of Earth, we got on a plane to Chicago.

And few hours later we landed, boarded the train, and started the adventure (kinda).

Just a normal train you see in EVERY SINGLE MOVIE.

Bye bye airport!

Wait…we’re not in California anymore are we….?

We checked in to our Hostel (like hotel but have shared rooms with ~10 beds) and headed out into the real world.

The first thing we did was have the world famous Chicago Deep Dish Pizza. We went to the highest rated/closest place on Yelp called Lou Malnati’s, and ordered a medium (12’’) pizza for the two of us. It was a sausage pizza… and not only was there a 1 cm thick layer of cheese, but a LAYER of sausage. I’m not sure you understand the magnitude of this statement, so I would like to direct your attention to [Figure 1] for a graphical representation.

Asians taking pictures of Asians taking pictures of food.

[Figure 1] Explained above.

Even though we didn’t finish the pizza, we felt fat and headed out for a stroll. If you don’t know your Chicago geography, it is only couple blocks from the Great Lake Michigan. We stumbled across the Buckingham Fountain (one of the largest, sexiest fountains in the world), and commenced tourist action.

Chicago is so green everywhere!

Follow the rainbow…to the fountain


More tourism action

[Skyline] My first skyline panorama!

One cool thing about major cities is that they are so near lakes and rivers (obviously attributed to trade). It’s pretty amazing just taking a stroll along the coast, with the light breeze and fresh smell of the lake. Even though it’s only few blocks away from the city, it all feels so quiet, so natural, so relaxing. Unsurprisingly, there were any joggers, bikers, families enjoying a nice evening along the coast. Since it’s difficult to describe the serenity, hopefully the photos below will do it justice.

Nothing better than jogging with a nice ocean breeze

Looking into the distance

Looks like an airplane crashed into Chicago.

Just your average, beautiful trail.


Sailing along the skyline.

What I will do when I’m old.

Boats boats boats boats boats boats everybody.

LOL racist much


After almost an hour of walking, we reached a bridge. And we crossed it. We had no idea where we were going, but stumbled upon this “Navy Pier”. As we walked closer, we realized it was this huge amusement park similar to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Since it was already late (7pm) on a random Tuesday evening, the people were sparse and many booths were closed. We were still able to walk around the Pier, ride the Ferris Wheel, and even see 5 paramedics attending to a ridiculously drunk man passed out in front of McDonalds (no image, sadly).

Path to the unknown

Super sketch entrance…

What’s this place?

Oh what the heck, it’s pretty nice!

Oh its apparently one of the biggest amusement parks in the area. Oh and here’s Alan riding the ferris wheel at sunset.

And it even has a theatre…

LOL hmm how did they pick these cities…



Lost in the Artificial Jungle

[Skyline] Number 2 from the Navy Pier!

As we exited the Pier, we realized we were over an hour’s walking distance away from the Hostel, so we decided to take a detour through North Chicago Downtown area. The attraction was called the “Magnificent Mile”, where massive department stores lined up one after the other. But since everything was closed, we just spent some time taking photos, and decided we were tired and wanted to go back to sleep.

Chicago Night 1

Chicago Night 2

Chicago Night 3 – Under Magnificent Mile

Nighttime Cars 1

Nighttime Cars 2

Unfortunately, we saw a shiny tower, and took a small detour. I’d like to thank whatever god is out there that we took this detour, because it allowed for a few absolutely amazing shots of the Chicago River.

Overlooking the Chicago River 1

Overlooking the Chicago River 2

And right before we made it back to the hostel, I noticed something…

Hmm this kinda looks like that train scene from Spiderman 2… oh yeah it is. Nbd. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man_2#Filming

OK yeah cool story. So around 10pm, we made it back to the Hostel. I even had time to Skype with my favorite girl. And life was good. And I even bought a soda from the vending machine, starting a dangerous trend. Anyway…for another cool story, a map was drawn to depict our pedestrian struggles.

Path for day one. [1] Buckingham Fountain, [2] Navy Pier, [3] Magnificent Mile, [4] Trump Tower, River with Photos

Thanks for reading! Day two will be coming soon, to a blog near you!