WBEZ | Frank Lloyd Wright http://www.wbez.org/tags/frank-lloyd-wright Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Congregation mulls yielding ownership of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed church http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-05/congregation-mulls-yielding-ownership-frank-lloyd-wright-designed-church <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/571160cr.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 479px;" title="" /></p><p><em>Updated at 11:06am</em></p><p>Ownership of Oak Park&#39;s Unity Temple could be transferred from its long-time congregation to an organization that would be responsible for maintaining the church, according to a $10 million deal aimed at restoring the internationally-recognized Frank Lloyd Wright structure.</p><p>According to an email sent to the congregation Tuesday evening by the Unitarian Universalist congregation&#39;s board of Trustees, Chicago&#39;s Alphawood Foundation would donate $10 million toward the restoration of the 105-year-old building, 875 Lake St. In addition, Alphawood would work to help restructure the 40-year-old Unity Temple Restoration Foundation or &quot;create a new preservation organization to manage fundraising, restoration, and preservation of Unity Temple as well as public programming and tours,&quot; according to the email, a copy of which was obtained by this &nbsp;blog late Tuesday.</p><p>But the plan is conditional. In order for the ownership transfer to be enacted, the church&#39;s current restoration campaign must raise 80% of the total funding needs, plus an endowment to maintain the building. The Alphawood funds would count toward the total. In the email, church leaders said the full restoration costs were still being analyzed but added the amount &quot;is likely to be substantially more than the combined total of the proposed Alphawood gift and any contribution the Congregation makes.&quot;</p><p>The congregation would continue using the building under the plan but the deal &quot;may help free us from the demands and expense of managing and caring for our historic building thus allowing us to focus on the Congregation&#39;s mission and long-term space needs,&quot; the email said. In a statement issued Wednesday morning, Alphawood Executive Director Jim McDonough said his organization is &quot;delighted that our gift will be an important first step toward the restoration and preservation of this international landmark.&quot;</p><p>&quot;For over 100 years we have made this wonderful building our spiritual home, gathering for worship, major life events, and community activities.&quot; Ian Morrison, president of the congregation&#39;s board of trustees, said in the joint statement with Alphawood. &quot;Wright designed the building for us and it embodies many of our values.We are proud to continue using it for its intended purposes.&rdquo;</p><p>The founder and chairman of Alphawood Foundation is Chicago businessman Fred Eychaner, CEO of <a href="http://newswebchicago.com/">Newsweb Corporation</a>&nbsp;and owner of AM radio station WCPT. Eychaner is also an architecture aficionado who lives in a sleek North Side home designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando.</p><p>Built in 1908, the blocky reinforced concrete church is National Historic Landmark and is one of Wright&#39;s best-known buildings.The architect himself called it &quot;my contribution to modern architecture.&quot; But Unity Temple&#39;s 16 separate flat roofs and a gutterless drainage system designed by Wright has made the building historically susceptible to water damage. The National Trust for Historic Preservation put the church on its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2008. The building is one of 25 structures Wright designed in Oak Park.</p><p>The congregation was invited to discuss the plan at a church meeting Sunday.</p></p> Wed, 15 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-05/congregation-mulls-yielding-ownership-frank-lloyd-wright-designed-church Wiel Arets: A Wonderful World with Robert McCarter http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/wiel-arets-wonderful-world-robert-mccarter-106586 <p><p>We live in an extremely exciting and complex world, in which the growth of technology has radically changed how we see ourselves in relation to an emerging global metropolis.</p><p>It&#39;s time, says internationally renowned Dutch architect <strong>Wiel Arets</strong>, to redefine our map of the world. Widely regarded for his sleek and minimalist geometries, Arets recently joined IIT&#39;s College of Architecture as Dean, and splits his time between Chicago and his active design practice in the Netherlands.</p><p>Author, editor, professor, and practicing architect <strong>Robert McCarter</strong> joins Arets in a discussion of their new book, <em>Autobiographical References</em>, published by Birkhäuser in 2012.</p><p>Wiel Arets&#39;s &quot;A Wonderful World&quot; is a part of Unity Temple Restoration Foundation&#39;s Break the Box program series. Break the Box is made possible by generous grants from the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council, an Agency of the State of Illinois.</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/UTRF-webstory.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div><p><br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Recorded live Monday, March 11, 2013 at&nbsp;Frank Lloyd Wright&#39;s Unity Temple.</p></p> Wed, 10 Apr 2013 13:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/wiel-arets-wonderful-world-robert-mccarter-106586 Eat this, drink that: Filipino cake, Frank Lloyd Wright wintermarket, and more http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/eat-drink-filipino-cake-frank-lloyd-wright-wintermarket-and-more-104844 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/ADn4cZg2du_b1vS1V1JPLNMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/manilamaxdesserts.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Dessert sampler with buko pandan, cream cheese brownie à la mode, leche flan, and Ube Creme Decadence at Max's Restaurant in Manila, Philippines (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></a></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><strong>Saturday, January 12</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://www.culinaryhistorians.org/">Culinary Historians of Chicago</a> presents <a href="http://www.wbez.org/frosting-filipino-cake-family-carries-their-matriarch%E2%80%99s-dessert-legacy-104709">The Frosting on the Filipino Cake: A family carries on their matriarch&#39;s dessert legacy</a>, at <a href="http://www.kendall.edu/">Kendall College</a>. <a href="http://www.mrsacupcakes-cookies.com/">Mrs. A. Cupcakes</a> chef/owner Delia Anama, who grew up in her native Philippines, will demystify Filipino desserts and delicacies. This event will be recorded for WBEZ&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified"><em>Chicago Amplified</em></a>, but you must attend to taste Mrs. A&#39;s samples of sweet Filipino rice cakes. Admission $5, $3 for students, and FREE for Culinary Historians of Chicago members and Kendall students and faculty.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">The <a href="http://sugarbeetcoop.com/">Sugar Beet Co-op</a> celebrates its first year with a <a href="http://sugarbeetcoop.com/the-latest.php#membership-kick-off-party">Membership Kick-off Party and Winter&rsquo;s Eve Farmers Market</a> at <a href="http://www.unitytemple-utrf.org/index.html">Unity Temple</a>&nbsp;in Oak Park. The Frank Lloyd Wright 1909 modern masterpiece will be transformed with magical candlelight and local vendors with beer, wine, seasonal snacks, and live jazz. Admission $20.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><strong>Monday, January 14</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="https://twitter.com/barcitochi">Pintxo the Perro</a> and <a href="http://ryanpoli.com/">Tavernita and Barcito chef/partner Ryan Poli</a> kick off <a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=470781236312629&amp;set=a.278752805515474.70616.259674997423255&amp;type=1">Amigos de Pintxo 2.0</a>: A series of all-star guest chef friends making San Sebastián inspired bites &mdash; all-you-can eat and for a cause no less &mdash; <a href="http://www.standandeat.com/">at Barcito</a>. <a href="http://www.peninsula.com/Chicago/en/Enticements/Chef_Lee_Wolen/default.aspx#/Chicago/en/Enticements/Chef_Lee_Wolen/">Lee Wolen of The Peninsula Chicago</a> and <a href="http://elideas.com/chef-bio/">Phillip Foss of EL Ideas</a> will serve their take on Basque <em>pinxtos</em>&nbsp;(tapas), this week benefitting <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/louisa-chu/2011-08-26/pilot-light-chefs-get-schooled-lunch-91042">Pilot Light.</a> Admission $25.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://baconfestchicago.com/">Baconfest Chicago</a> presents <a href="http://baconfestchicago.com/three-aces-11413-baconfest-satellite-dinner-update">the final pre-fest satellite dinner</a> at <a href="http://threeaceschicago.com/index.php">Three Aces</a>. Chef Matt Troost won the&nbsp;<a href="http://baconfestchicago.com/it-happened">Golden Rasher award (Most Creative Use of Bacon) at Baconfest 2012</a>,&nbsp;dinner session, for his bacon-bourbon milkshake which will be served. The full menu: First course of lemon-bacon cured scallop crudo with bacon glaze; second course of &quot;shake n&rsquo; bake&quot; bacon steak with bacon bolognese; third course of bacon-parmesan <em>sformato</em>&nbsp;(soufflé) with rutabaga <em>agrodolce</em>&nbsp;(sweet and sour sauce); fourth course of coffee cured pork belly with red flannel hash; fifth and dessert course of bacon-bourbon pecan pie with the award-winning bacon-bourbon milkshake &mdash; all paired with tasting cocktails and beers.&nbsp;Admission $75.</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><strong>Wednesday, January 16</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left;"><a href="http://soupandbread.net/">Soup &amp; Bread</a> presents this week&rsquo;s theme, Our Neighbors to the North: From Kenosha to the Arctic Circle, benefitting&nbsp;the&nbsp;<a href="http://irvingparkfoodpantry.com/">Irving Park Community Food Pantry</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hideoutchicago.com/event/192067-soup-bread-chicago/">at the Hideout</a>.&nbsp;Publican Quality Meats supplies freshly baked bread all season, plus gluten-free loaves from Rae Lynn Hill, aka <a href="https://www.facebook.com/thesweetpurveyor">The Sweet Purveyor</a>. Admission FREE, but please donate what you can and remember <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-04/season-soup-bread-and-pie-98220">Everyone LOVES the Generous</a>.</div></p> Fri, 11 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-01/eat-drink-filipino-cake-frank-lloyd-wright-wintermarket-and-more-104844 A Wright wronged in Phoenix? Presevationists rally to save a Frank Lloyd Wright in Phoenix http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-09/wright-wronged-phoenix-presevationists-rally-save-frank-lloyd-wright-phoenix <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/FLW Phoenix hosue.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/oocqyc2hYok" width="560"></iframe></p><p>A 60-year-old Arizona home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has become the subject of one of the hottest preservation battles in the country. (Well, that along with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2012-09/architectural-swap-meet-102583">our own dust-up</a> over the fate of the iconic former Prentice Women&#39;s Hospital.)</p><p>The unusual David and Gladys Wright House &mdash; Wright designed the Phoenix residence for one of his sons &mdash; was purchased earlier this year by a custom home builder who sought to demolish the structure, subdivide its two-acre site and build a pair of houses there. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Arizona chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and the Chicago-based Frank Lloyd Wright Building conservancy have sounded the alarm.</p><p>Watch the video above and it is easy to see why. Completed in 1952, the Wright Home is made from concrete block. A spiral ramp not unlike the one in the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York City leads to the home&#39;s second floor. For those who best know Wright through his Chicago area work in the early third of the 20th century, his midcentury work like the Wright Home is a revelation as the architect&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;thanks to advancements in technology&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;was able to experiment with even bolder forms and more materials while adopting a more naturalist approach.</p><p>The four bedroom, four bathroom house features an original swimming pool and a guest house. On the inside, the house has a rug, a table and four chairs all designed by Wright. David and Gladys were the home&#39;s sole residents. David did in 1997 at the age of 102; his wife owned the home until she died in 2008 at 104.</p><p>Last week, Phoenix&#39;s Historic Preservation Commission voted to recommend landmark status for the home. But the neighborhoods&#39;s planning committee and the city&#39;s preservation commission must also recommend the designation to Phoenix city council in order protect the home. The city council takes up the issue in November. And even if approved, the landmark designation would only halt demolition for three years&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;time enough, preservationists hope&nbsp;&mdash;&nbsp;to find a buyer who won&#39;t demolish the house.</p><p>If lost, the home would be the first significant Frank Lloyd Wright building to fall to the wreckers&#39; ball since Milwaukee&#39;s Arthur Munkwitz duplex apartments were demolished in 1973.</p></p> Mon, 24 Sep 2012 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-09/wright-wronged-phoenix-presevationists-rally-save-frank-lloyd-wright-phoenix While in Chicago, Springsteen drummer honors Frank Lloyd Wright http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-09/while-chicago-springsteen-drummer-honors-frank-lloyd-wright-102288 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P9068043-2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 615px; " title="" /></div></div><p>A day before sitting behind the drumkit for two of Bruce Springsteen&#39;s sold-out concerts at Wrigley Field last weekend, E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg entertained a small audience at Oak Park&#39;s Unity Temple.</p><p>&quot;Besides being my generation&#39;s biggest Beatles fan, I happen to be a true Frank Lloyd Wright nerd &mdash; I mean &#39;aficionado,&#39;&quot; Weinberg told a group of about 150 people assembled in the auditorium of the Wright-designed church at 875 Lake St. last Thursday.</p><p>Weinberg&#39;s lecture was part of the &quot;Break the Box&quot; series of distinguished speakers, sponsored by the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation.</p><p>The New Jersey native said he has been a devotee of the architect since childhood, when a relative allowed him to visit the Wright-designed Guggenheim Museum in New York while the modernist masterpiece was still under construction. As a teenager, he&#39;d search out Prairie School architecture with his high school buddy and future film producer (and fellow Wright devotee), Joel Silver.</p><p>Weinberg said traveling with the E Street Band allowed him to visit Wright homes in buildings across the country. When the band came to Chicago in 1977 to play the Auditorium Theater, Weinberg said he arrived equipped with a map he annotated with the location of Wright buildings.</p><p>&quot;Back in the 1970s when the E Street Band was starting out, my recreation was to seek out &mdash; some might say &#39;stalk&#39; &mdash; owners with homes designed by Mr. Wright,&quot; he said. &quot;I would knock on the door and introduce myself: &#39;My name is Max Weinberg and I&#39;m with the E Street Band.&#39; And I could tell by these folks, they&#39;d never heard of the E Street Band.&quot;</p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P9067969.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 515px;" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">Weinberg said he is active in the Wright preservation movement and talked about the need to restore Wright&#39;s famed Unity Temple, a blocky, 103-year-old structure that is among the first public buildings in the world made of exposed concrete. Though a functioning and nicely-maintained Unitarian church since it opened in 1909, the building has been damaged by water seepage, wear and time. In 2009, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Unity Temple to its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P9068028-2.jpg" title="" /></div></div><p>During his talk, Weinberg also shared some good non-architecture stories, such as playing on Meat Loaf&#39;s landmark 1977 album <em>Bat Out of Hell </em>along with E Street keyboard man, &quot;Professor&quot; Roy Bittan. Weinberg said he played on three of the album&#39;s songs, including <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9hLcRU5wE4">the title track</a> and &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMQzfncqOQc">Paradise by the Dashboard Light</a>&quot;&nbsp;&mdash; then was fired from the project by producer (and friend) Todd Rundgren.</p><p>&quot;He didn&#39;t like my drumming,&quot; Weinberg said.</p></p> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-09/while-chicago-springsteen-drummer-honors-frank-lloyd-wright-102288 The path not taken led to Frank Lloyd Wright http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/path-not-taken-led-frank-lloyd-wright-100147 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/YC%20Wong%20and%20Mies%20van%20der%20Rohe%20-%20small.jpg" title="The late Chicago architect Y.C. Wong with Mies van der Rohe at the Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill. during its construction circa 1951. (Courtesy of Ernest C. Wong)" /></div><p>Y.C. Wong was extremely disappointed by his son&rsquo;s choice of profession &ndash; even though the apple didn&rsquo;t fall far from the tree.</p><p>He was hoping his son would follow in his footsteps and become an architect. Instead that son, Ernest C. Wong, grew up to be a landscape architect. He admits he didn&rsquo;t tell his father what he really wanted to be: a park ranger or a social worker.</p><p>The career the younger Wong ultimately chose fulfilled what he describes as &ldquo;a combo&rdquo; of his interests: a love of the outdoors, a passion for social justice and a fascination with public space.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of his fault,&rdquo; Wong says, referring to his late father. As a child, Ernie discovered <em>The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces</em> by William H. Whyte in his father&rsquo;s home library. He was fascinated by the scholar&rsquo;s 1980 study of what made New York&rsquo;s parks and public squares successful or not, right down to how people chose their favorite park benches.</p><p>&ldquo;It all started to come to fruition with me when I started to take my lunch breaks at the First National Bank Plaza,&rdquo; Ernie says. &ldquo;I would watch people during my lunch hour &ndash; how they would interact in these almost festival-like performances.&rdquo;</p><p>The younger Wong pursued his interests and took Whyte&rsquo;s work to heart. The portfolio of his firm, Site Design Group Ltd., includes some of Chicago&rsquo;s most interesting and recently renovated public parks, including Palmisano Park (Stearns Quarry) in Bridgeport and Ping Tom Memorial Park in Chinatown. Wong currently has a bid in with several teams to work on the 28,000-square-foot field house scheduled to be built in the latter park by 2013.</p><p>Going back to Wong&rsquo;s father, though, Y.C.&rsquo;s disapproval of his son&rsquo;s career choice is all the more ironic when you consider his particular pedigree.</p><p>According to his son, Y.C. Wong came to the U.S. from China in 1947, having received a scholarship to study with Frank Lloyd Wright at his Taliesin studio in Spring Green, Wis. But Y.C. never made it to Spring Green. Instead, he was waylaid in Chicago by another architect, who persuaded him to stay in town: Mies van der Rohe.</p><p>In the audio above, Ernie Wong offers up the fascinating story of how his father became a disciple of one of America&rsquo;s most important architects, and how that enabled him to leave his own architectural legacy to the city of Chicago.</p><p><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range </a><em>showcases hidden gems unearthed from </em>Chicago Amplified&rsquo;s<em> vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Ernest C. Wong spoke at an event presented by the Illinois Humanities Council in May. Click </em><a href="../../amplified/green-spaces-ping-tom-memorial-park-hardin-square-park-and-sun-yat-sen-park-99969"><em>here </em></a><em>to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Sat, 16 Jun 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/path-not-taken-led-frank-lloyd-wright-100147 Photo exhibit to be held at Wright visitor center http://www.wbez.org/culture/art/photo-exhibit-be-held-wright-visitor-center-98268 <p><p>A new exhibit features photos of buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and architects he influenced.</p><p>It's being held at the Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center, where all the tours start of Wright's former home, Taliesin, in Spring Green.</p><p>It features the photos of James Caulfield, who with writer Patrick Cannon, has produced three books with images of Wright's buildings and other Chicago-area architects. The photos were taken while they were working on the books, which were released between 2006 and 2009.</p><p>Among the buildings featured are the 1892 Charnley-Persky House in Chicago and the Harry Adams house of 1913 and Unity Temple, both in Oak Park, Ill.</p><p>The exhibit is free and runs from May 19 through Oct. 31.</p></p> Mon, 16 Apr 2012 09:35:08 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/culture/art/photo-exhibit-be-held-wright-visitor-center-98268 Custom Frank Lloyd Wright house up for auction http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/custom-frank-lloyd-wright-house-auction-94669 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/ba_cafra.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.franklloydwright.org/web/Home.html" target="_blank">Frank Lloyd Wright</a> certainly left his mark on architecture. He also had something of a reputation for being inflexible on matters of design. But there’s at least one house where he let the client define the process. The Laurent house is one of Wright’s <a href="http://www.pbs.org/flw/buildings/usonia/usonia.html" target="_blank">Usonian houses</a> – a simpler structure built for middle class families. But it was also the first residence Wright designed for an owner confined to a wheelchair.</p><p>It was commissioned over 60 years ago by returning World War II veteran Kenneth Laurent and his wife Phyllis; they live there still today. When Dennis Rodkin of <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/" target="_blank"><em>Chicago</em> magazine</a> heard the house was on the auction block he insisted <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> talk with Mr. Laurent; both men joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> Wednesday.</p><p><em>Music Button: Charlie Chaplin, "Park Avenue Waltz", from the album Oh! That Cello, (Zebra Acoustic)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 14:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-07/custom-frank-lloyd-wright-house-auction-94669 Once more into the journalistic breach: Rescuing Spring Green, Wis. from the 'Tribune' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-30/once-more-journalistic-breach-rescuing-spring-green-wi-tribune-9119 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-29/springgreen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This weekend's Chicago <em>Tribune</em> travel section contained <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-27/travel/ct-trav-0828-spring-green-20110827_1_taliesin-frank-lloyd-wright-school-hillside-home-school">a piece about a trip to Spring Green, Wis.</a>--and if the married reporters' capabilities are truly reflected in this piece, it's no wonder the paper is circling the drain. Spring Green has only three attractions, and they are hardly of equal value; but the article gives one-third to <a href="http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/">Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin home and studio</a>, one-third to the bizarre accumulation of crap that styles itself <a href="http://www.thehouseontherock.com/">the House on the Rock</a>, and one-third to the excellent <a href="http://americanplayers.org/">American Players Theatre.</a>&nbsp;And, because the format of the article compared the current experience to that of the couple 25 years ago, when all was said and done the author had only one sentence to spare for the two plays she and her husband had seen. Actually, even that's false: she had only one sentence to spare for the entire playgoing experience, including the fact that the hill is steep, the weather was hot, and the air-conditioning and toilets work in the new downhill theater. I suspect much the same could be said of any storefront theater in Chicago. So the article leaves hanging the very question it purports to answer: Why go to Spring Green?</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-29/springgreen.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 400px; height: 303px;" title="">But, as ever, I'm here to correct to errors of the wayward press (when not making them myself). So here's a quick-and-dirty on a weekend in Spring Green--worth knowing about because the activities in the area continue through mid-October. First, the plays: I saw <em>Crime &amp; Punishment</em> (as adapted by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus), and though it was inevitably different from the world premiere version I'd seen at Writers' Theatre it did not suffer by comparison. Raskolnikov was played by Chicagoan Matt Schwader, who did us proud, managing the wild and constant changes of direction in the mood and morals of this young law student. And the pair of Milwaukee actors who play all the other roles in Dostoevsky's magnum opus are equally capable. James Ridge shone as Porfiry, the inspector who plays with Raskolnikov like a spider preparing his dinner, and Colleen Madden achieved the nearly-impossible task of making whore-with-heart-of-gold Sonia into a real person. She also ably distinguished between the murdered old pawnbroker and her murdered old sister, a non-trivial task.</p><p>And until this very second, writing these reviews, I had no idea that the protean Ms. Madden also plays Ruth, the brittle, infuriated and put-upon living wife in Noel Coward's <em>Blithe Spirit</em>. She's terrific in that role, as well, and gets as good as she gives from Deborah Staples as Elvira the other wife--charming, predatory and dead--who comes back invisibly to torment her. As husband Charles, Jim DeVita is the flywheel who makes this tricycle go. The show looks gorgeous, with a spare but elegant set laid against a spider-webby drop which goes perfectly with Elvira's pale limbs and grasping fingers.&nbsp;<em>Blithe Spirit</em>, in my opinion, is the best of the Cowards, and APT has given it the best of productions.</p><p>Meanwhile, the town of Spring Green itself is virtually dead, so we stayed in Mineral Point, about 15 miles the other side of the APT grounds. Mineral Point is like Galena, being an old lead-mining town which reinvented itself; but instead of Galena's antiques, Mineral Point offers fine crafts--pottery and fiber arts in particular. The quality is as high as in the galleries of Door County but the cost is considerably less. There are small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts galore (which you'll need, as Spring Green has fewer and fewer hostelries), an old-style cafe serving Cornish pasties (The Red Rooster Inn) and a couple of "high-end restaurants" whose prices, again, are easier on the wallet than equivalent fare in other resort areas, or in Chicago.</p><p>"Spring Green"--meaning the entire concept, outdoor summer theater in a beautiful and interesting setting--<em><u>was</u></em> wonderful 25 years ago--like the Tribune reporters, I was there. But today the theater is orders of magnitude stronger, and the environment richer and more charming. Of how many fondly-remembered things can one say that?</p></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-30/once-more-journalistic-breach-rescuing-spring-green-wi-tribune-9119 Frank Lloyd Wright's mile-high building http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-08-25/frank-lloyd-wrights-mile-high-building-90793 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-24/Frank Lloyd Wright.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There are plans to build a 3280-foot skyscraper in Saudi Arabia. It will be the tallest structure in the world, 500 feet higher than anything else.</p><p>But on this date in 1956, Frank Lloyd Wright announced plans for an even grander Chicago structure. His building would top off at 5280 feet--a mile high.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-25/FrankLloydWrightSpeaksNearIllinoisBuilding 2.jpg" style="width: 225px; height: 500px; float: left; margin: 7px;" title="">Wright was 89 years old, the dean of American architects. He'd never liked skyscrapers or what they represented. Now he'd changed his mind. "If we're going to have centralization, why not quit fooling around and have it," he said.</p><p>Wright insisted the mile-high building was no joke; it was "thoroughly scientific." He said that several prominent Chicagoans were already interested in the project. He had even picked out a lakefront site near the Adler Planetarium.</p><p>Most of the tower's 500-plus floors would be office space for city, county, and state government. Wright said that 100,000 people might be accommodated. The top nine floors would be TV studios, topped off by a 330-foot antenna used for coast-to-coast broadcasts.</p><p>Of course, the building would cost a bundle. But the total floor area was over 18 million square feet. On that basis, the price tag would be cheap. "I believe the cost would be the lowest per square foot of any modern building in the world," Wright said.</p><p>Six weeks later, the architect was in Chicago to push the project. By now the mile-high building was kinown as The Illinois. Chicago's movers-and-shakers were excited that the city might become home to "the eighth Wonder of the World." Mayor Richard J. Daley officially proclaimed October 17 as Frank Lloyd Wright Day.</p><p>Now Wright displayed a 22-foot-tall sketch of his skyscraper and outlined some details. The structure was to be steel and glass, with 528 floors extending out from a central core--"like branches on a tree trunk." Utility pipes and wiring were in the core. The foundation was wedge-shaped, sunk 150 feet into the ground.</p><p>Wright stayed in Chicago three days. There was a Wright exhibit at the Hotel Sherman, and a testimonial dinner, and a public lecture at Orchestra Hall. Some critics scoffed at the grandiose plan, while others were ready to haul out the shovels and start digging that foundation.</p><p>Then Wright left town, and took his charisma with him. Two years later he was dead. The Illinois never advanced beyond the talking stage.</p><p>And yet . . .</p><p>Back in 1938, Wright had designed a convention center for Madison, Wis. The proposal was rejected and languished for decades. But go to Madison today and you'll see the architect's Monona Terrace, finally opened in 1997.</p><p>Is it time to resurrect The Illinois?</p></p> Thu, 25 Aug 2011 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2011-08-25/frank-lloyd-wrights-mile-high-building-90793