Thursday, January 22, 2015

Damien Hirst - welcome to Chicago!

After not visiting London for over fifteen years I went back in 2012 with one sole purpose : the first ever Damien Hirst retrospective on British soil.  And boy/girl was I impressed. It was one of the most mind blowing things I have ever experienced. 

You don't necessarily have to agree with the way Hirst creates his art, the billions people pay for it, his art or personality in general - and here comes a big but - BUT you have to admit he is great at making you think about art, or just giving people something to talk about and last but not least .. making you feel uncomfortable. Because that is exactly what he did to me at Tate Modern in 2012.

But hey:  I won't go on and on about that because last night was a very important night for all Hirst fans in Chicago and after all that's what I am supposed to write about here.

After Hirst spray canned a shark on the walls of Soho House Berlin, he now made  a painting for the recently (Aug 2014) opened Soho House Chicago.  For those who are not very familiar with the Damien Hirst: butterflies play quite an important role in his work. Whether you like that fact or not. And for this work he 'simply' put butterflies on a canvas and spelled out the word 'Chicago'. Sounds simple, looks great. MCA Chicago curator Julie Rodrigues took the stage last night to talk about Hirst, his art in general and this piece in particular. I really liked the way she took on the audience and the sometimes - pardon my French - stupid questions they had. Way to go girl.

NAIL/ART - NailArt 

After this interesting presentation and less interesting 'interactive' part of the evening, we moved on to meetAstrowifey, a nail artist, who focusses on ... ART!  My colleague and I both got one nail done and were very, very pleased with the result. We choose a Damien Hirst theme and she just ... eh ... nailed it! 

About Soho House
Soho House was founded twenty years ago in London as a private members' club for film, media and creative industry people. Now they have Houses across Europe and North America. We love the Soho House Chicago. So yes, you may consider this our membership application. Thank you! 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

CHIberia for dummies

Many warned us, even more just smiled when we told them it was going to be our very first winter in Chicago. After having survived some seriously cold days of minus 20 (celsius) we are back at more Belgium like conditions now: cloudy, foggy and temperatures around zero degrees (again: celsius - I haven't been here long enough to use Fahrenheit, don't even know if I EVER will). This means I am not all that desperate for (C)hibernation anymore and I am willing to try to share some of my experiences, tips, and concerns for those who might need them. Chiberia for dummies, part I.

* The outfit * 

I know your mother has taught you well: when it's cold, dress in layers. When it's very cold, use more layers. When in Chiberia: stop counting the layers, just use as many as humanly (and practically) possible. Don't forget to put two pairs of socks and warm snow/all weather boots.
You start with thermal base layer and then continue on building. Good news in the thermal underwear department by the way : Japanese Uniqlo will open a shop in Chicago late 2015.
We strongly recommend a visit to their store. Or webshop. This is high quality low price stuff !

Up next: the shoe department. I bought a pair of Merrell boots at Nordstrom Rack for less than $100. Happy with them, especially since most Chicagoans seem to be wairing Sorel. Except me. And my boyfriend. And my son. :-)

* The make-up* 

Or: the lack thereof. If you use water based make-up you are in for a special treat as you can imagine. My advice: use Bio Oil or plain and simple Vaseline and apply any other stuff only when absolutely necessary...

*The diet* 
Extreme cold always makes me crave for carbs, carbs, and more carbs ... But I lost over 25 pounds in about one year, thanks to my low carb diet. So I try to find alternatives. I really try! I swear I do!

*The work out* 

We  have a gym in our building. Which is great!  I have this gym used exactly one time.
To be honest : I almost used it ... There was this guy working out there and apparently he was in pretty good shape. I said 'hi', and went back upstairs. To have a sandwich. With mayo. Lots of it.

*The distractions*
My boyfriend and I both have the slight tendency towards buying too many books, records and dvd's. We know this is wrong but we simply cannot help it. I used to see more down than upsides but hey: when you cannot leave the house for several days because of that Polar vortex thing: it is a f***ing blessing to have so many entertainment options at hand. Hallelujah!

*The communication* 

Being an iFamily we are kind of addicted to our iPhones, iPads and iMacs. As you may already know battery life of the mobile Apple devices really sucks. And as temperatures drop, battery life drops too. So keep your phone warm, and your charger with you at all times.

*The calendar*

Do not, I repeat: DO NOT look at your calendar too often. April may seem a long time away. And well: it actually is almost three months from now. Which is a VERY long time. Really.

*The humor* 

Humor is a good remedy, often it even is the best one. Keep smiling!
And most importantly: keep warm!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gazette van Detroit: former Miss Belgium An Flamand

It looks like I now have a monthly gig in Gazette van Detroit. Which makes me a very happy woman. In the January issue I talk to former Miss Belgium An Flamand who's been living in Florida for almost fifteen years now. To read more about this successful, charming lady, please click here.