Sunday, June 25, 2006

Millennium Park: I'm Lovin' It

I'm reading: Millennium Park: I'm Lovin' ItTweet this!

It's great being just a skip and a hop from Chicago. We've made several trips to the city since school let out in early June. Mr. Smartypants and I recently spent the morning at Chicago's Millennium Park. Some say this new park is a multimillion dollar debacle but we are lovin' it.

Smartypants and I made it to the Pritzker Pavilion in time for a free, early morning Latin dance class. Neither of us are what you might term dancers, but we had a great time following along with the hundred and fifty or so other uncoordinated participants. The ever-image-conscious McDonald's is sponsoring weekend yoga, Pilates and dance classes on the Great Lawn. The man who introduced the dance instructors made liberal mention of McD's promised decade-long sponsorship the park's exercise classes and free bike valet service.

Ironically, just as I'm stating my public, but tentative, appreciation of the golden arches, I have an essay, "You call this a Happy Meal?" that is slated for publication in the August issue of Chicago Parent. Perhaps they can be a force of good, not purveyors of artery-clogging highly processed gunk? When we stopped at McDonald's on our way home from Wisconsin last week, Smartypants shocked us all by ordering a Caesar Salad. "It seems like a healthy choice," he said. And he and Splinter are enjoying the McDonald's handy slide calorie counter we got after the dance class. Sweaty from dancing, we picked up our free M water bottle and made a quick stop at The Bean (technically Cloud Gate). This is one of the coolest public art displays ever. It's not only interesting to view from every angle, but it's fascinating to watch people interact with it.

Then we headed to the Crown Fountain to cool off. On our way to the parking garage (we live a bit far to take advantage of the bike valet), we were stopped in our tracks by the very unsiren-like cacophony of Chicago's premiere (and perhaps the world's only) circus punk marching band. Mucca-Pazza consists of a motley crew of marchers wearing mismatched, thrift store uniforms accompanied by a guy playing electric guitar wearing a Bickford Schmeckler helmet. An equally mismatched duo of cheerleaders wearing army boots waving poms made of shredded plastic bags added to the festive, but somewhat disturbing atmosphere.

I truly am lovin' the early morning exercise deal on the Great Lawn and I'm going to sponsor another Hormone-colored Days Happening once I check on some calendar details.

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