The Summer of Frida is my theme for this week’s Monday Window hosted by Ludwig Keck. People in the Chicago area – especially in the suburbs of Glen Ellyn and Wheaton – are going gaga over Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist who painted a variety of subjects reflecting her experience and Mexican culture, as well as many self-portraits meant to portray her own thoughts and feelings.
At the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, the theatre on campus built a brand new gallery in 2018-19 specifically to house an exhibit of 26 Frida Kahlo works borrowed from the Dolores Olmedo Museum in Mexico City. After negotiating with the museum for the exhibit, they planned for it to take place in the summer of 2020.
We all know what happened in 2020 – Covid-19 – so the exhibit was postponed, and opened with great success and fanfare on June 5, 2021. It will run until early September.
The exhibit is expected to draw large crowds, so one must buy tickets online with a specific date and time for entry. Already reservations have come in from 48 states and 6 other countries! Not wanting to lose the opportunity to capitalize on this event, the suburban communities of Glen Ellyn and its neighbor, Wheaton, have decorated their downtown areas with festive “papel picado” (colorful banners of crepe paper with designs cut in them), large pots of colorful flowers (Frida Kahlo loved flowers, which figure prominently in her work) and by painting images of the artist on the windows of stores and restaurants.
I have a good friend who lives in Wheaton and is a Spanish professor at the college, so after we toured the exhibit, we went to downtown Wheaton for lunch, where we saw several of these windows.
Frida Kahlo was born in Coyoacan, Mexico in 1907 to a German father and a Mexican mother. Her father was a photographer, so there are many photos of Frida and her family. At school, she was studying the prerequisites for medical school but in 1926, on her way home from school, the bus she was riding in was in a serious accident when it collided with another vehicle.
Frida was thrown to the ground and suffered serious injuries from which she never fully recovered, in spite of having several surgeries. While in a body cast, she began to paint on it, thus initiating her career as an artist.
She broke her pelvic bone, and fractured her back in three places, the result of which she was almost always in pain, and was not able to birth a child.
At the age of 20, she married the famous muralist Diego Rivera, and spent time in New York, San Francisco, and Detroit, where he had commissions to paint murals. Diego said of Frida that she was a better painter than he was! Anyone who sees the beauty of her subjects, and the intricate details and symbolism in her paintings would tend to agree!
Coincidentally, there’s a new biography out by Celia Stahr, called Frida in America. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in knowing more about Frida Kahlo and her work. Several of her works, mainly those painted while she lived in the United States, are featured in the book.
Yikes! I have a few days to catch up for Paula’s February Love Me challenge! Here are 3 more, in no particular order…
Feb. 6: I love…ice cream! Even though it is winter, and quite cold here, I can’t resist the temptation of ice cream once in a while!
Feb. 7: I love…art. I love to visit art museums whenever I can as well as do my own artwork! I just finished the book Frida in America by Celia Stahr, a new biography of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo focusing on her years in the United States with her husband, Diego Rivera. While reading the book, I explored her artwork on line and, although I was quite familiar with her work, I discovered a lot of her paintings I hadn’t known about before. I also love mural art wherever I find it – and usually stop what I’m doing to take a picture!
Feb. 8: I love…traveling. Anyone who reads my blog even occasionally knows how traveling is absolutely the thing I love most to do! And while traveling, I engage in one of my favorite hobbies, photography, and when I come back, I engage in another favorite activity, writing (or blogging). Below is a gallery random sample of travel photos from 2018-2019. There are no travel photos from 2020 due to not being able to travel during the pandemic! I have two international trips booked for 2022 and hopefully we can do a road trip in the fall of this year.
CCSC is an opportunity to share a photograph you have taken, that you were in somewhere. Maybe even by accident, or intentional.There are all kinds of selfies, the simplest is getting in the way of the camera. I’ve given up trying to get out of the way when attempting a window photograph. Of course there’s where your toes get in the way.
Anything Counts as a Selfieas long as you’re the one holding the camera. Some examples of Selfies and why you take them:
A photo of you doing something special. Boy I’m proud
Creating a memory. I was here doing this…
A photo of you in a mirror ( hair cut, new hat, should I get this dress?
An image where you only catch part of yourself (my toes get in flower shots more then I want.) sometimes it’s cute
Photo with you and one other person even a whole group of friends (screen shots of zoom groups count )
Just your finger pointing something out.
An I.D. Picture
Selfie from archives are welcomed
The Prime Directive is HAVE FUN.
I am including an example of three types of selfies. The first is the “partial leg selfie.”
The next could be called “in a mirror darkly.” This was completely unintentional, but I kind of like how it turned out!
Finally, a “full face” selfie – this is my favorite selfie!
I am finding photos in my archives that I have never blogged about before, some suitable for Norm’s Thursday Doors challenge. We were on our own our last day in Cairo, because we were going to Israel to join up with a tour group there. On recommendation, we decided to go to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA).
The MIA in Cairo is considered one of the greatest in the world. It has an extensive collection of rare wood and plaster artifacts, as well as metal, ceramic, glass, crystal, and textile objects of all periods, from all over the Islamic world and representing different periods in Islamic history ranging from the 7th to the 19th centuries CE. The collection occupies 25 halls in 2 wings, one wing organized by period and the other organized by category. The MIA displays about 4,500 objects, but their total collection equals approximately 100,000 artifacts.
These photos represent only a small fraction of the items on display, but they were ones I found especially beautiful or significant. And, of course, featuring doors!
One of the “must-sees” at the Chicago Art Institute is the Chagall windows. They are located at the end of a long hallway, in the same room with replicas of other famous artists’ Chicago artwork (such as the Picasso sculpture whose original is in front of the Daley Center).
I took this photo last June at the Louvre in Paris, at the meeting spot for our family group of four after a couple of hours roaming around individually. It’s not particularly complimentary to them, and I think maybe my son saw me taking it since he is looking right at the camera, but it’s a candid shot nonetheless. The person on my son’s left is just a random stranger.
We left Oklahoma City this morning, and acquired our new Oklahoma Route 66: The Ultimate Road Trip booklet along the way, which lists many more exciting attractions than the AAA guide we’d been using up to that point! This Oklahoma guide has the advantage of listing all the attractions in order as one finds them along the road. I would advise anyone traveling the Mother Road to visit a tourist bureau as soon as possible when entering each state to obtain whatever guide the state publishes.
On the other hand, one can’t possibly see everything, so must pick and choose according to time and interest. For example, in Oklahoma City, we missed… Tower Theater(ornate, historic 1,500 seat theater built in 1937), 425 NW 23rd St. Oklahoma History Center (Smithsonian-quality exhibits exploring Oklahoma’s geological, commercial, heritage and transportation history; has gift shop and café), 800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr. National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum (art museum featuring western artists,, including several large-scale works) Memorial Park Cemetery (often called the “Ozark giraffe!”), 13400 N. Kelley
…among other sites!
We were anxious to see Pops, where a 66-foot tall soda bottle, with a straw, rises in front! This is one of the newer attractions along Route 66, located 1/2 mile west of Arcadia, OK (660 W. Hwy 66, Arcadia, OK, pops66.com). This, perhaps the tallest soda bottle in the world, welcomes visitors to a store dedicated to 700 soda varieties. I had told Dale that I was willing to taste one or two, even though I haven’t drank soda in more than 2 years. Alas, we arrived before they were officially open for the day, so although we were allowed to walk around inside the store and take photos, they were not serving soda at that time.
Colorful soda bottles line the glass walls inside the steel-beam structure, but when we looked at them up close, we found that the bottles were actually glued to the shelves, for display purposes only. I suppose they have a storeroom full of (cold?) sodas of every variety, but I don’t know for sure.
From there, we stopped when we saw the Round Barn (107 E. Hwy. 66, Arcadia, OK, arcadiaroundbarn.com). It is the only wooden round barn in Oklahoma. We only stopped to take a photo, but apparently there are exhibits, a gift shop and outdoor displays of primitive farm implements. It also houses the Arcadia Historical & Preservation Society and the second floor can be rented for special events.
We then stopped to look at this plaque alongside the road.
We are not particularly interested in motorcycles so we didn’t stop in Warwick to visit the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum(336992 E. Hwy 66, Warwick, OK).
We did pass through Chandler but we didn’t check out the St. Cloud Hotel (1216 Manvel Ave., Chandler, OK), since we had visited some other historic hotels. It was built before Oklahoma became a state, in 1903, and provided lodgings for thriving commerce of salesman and travelers along the route that would become known as Route 66. This hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places.
A couple of other things in Chandler seemed photo-worthy, though: a historic, very cute Phillips 66 Filling Station, which is in the process of being restored…
and a weird bison statue that I didn’t think was a very good rendering of a bison.
If you are into pioneer history, it might be worthwhile to check out the Lincoln County Museum of Pioneer History at 719 Manvel Ave. in Chandler. This historical museum contains area history, children’s marionette exhibits and rare, silent movies by cinematographer Benny Kent. They also have materials for genealogy research! The phone number is 405-258-2425.
Our main destination in Chandler was theRoute 66 Interpretive Center, supposedly one of the best Route 66 museums along the Mother Road. Located at 400 E. Route 66 in Chandler, it is housed in a historical armory building. It features one-of-a-kind video archives covering Rte. 66 sights and sounds from the 1930s to present day.
We were given a brief tour,
the guide telling us about the history of the
building and other things;
then we were free to explore the exhibits.
We were ushered through a hall used for special events – they were in the process of setting one up.
Beyond this hall were the exhibition rooms. While we were there, we happened to meet a couple from Australia, who were coming the other way on Route 66. They told us to be sure to check out a vacuum cleaner museum in Missouri (more on that in a future post), which they found to be fascinating. We looked around but didn’t stay to watch the videos, although the exhibits were cleverly laid out where you could sit in period seats to watch historical videos from corresponding decades.
There was also a children’s play area, using characters and sites from the movie Cars to engage kids.
I admit, we rushed through this place – perhaps we were jaded after days of seeing Route 66 historical displays. I actually would recommend this place as one of the best Route 66 museums.
It was probably at the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, located at the interpretive center in Chandler that we picked up our invaluable guide to all the Oklahoma Route 66 sites. A lot of the information I am including in this and the previous post (which included the sites up to Oklahoma City) comes from this booklet, Oklahoma Route 66: The Ultimate road Trip. We found out about many other attractions that we otherwise would have missed (or already had!). Really, though, unless one is an absolute Route 66 fanatic, it’s impossible to see them all, and it depends on one’s interest.
The final Chandler site is the Lincoln Motel, built in 1939, with cottage-style rooms and a fine neon sign; it’s a retro haven! It is located at 740 E. 1st St. in Chandler.
Our next destination in Oklahoma was Rock Café at 114 W. Main St. in Stroud, convenient because it was time for lunch!
This iconic Route 66 landmark has been reopened after a fire, still retaining its walls made from rock leftover from building Route 66!
Around the sides and back of the café, the ground was covered with a layer of spongy chips, perhaps from old tires.
It’s an interesting place, with lots of fun memorabilia and bathrooms full of graffiti where everyone is invited to add their (tasteful) graffiti. I tried to do this, but first had trouble locating a vacant space to write and then discovered the pen I had available to write with wouldn’t write on that surface!
Bathroom graffiti: on the door, the walls, and the ceiling!
Stroud also has wineries: Territory Cellars, 1521 N. Hwy 99, Stroud. One of Oklahoma’s newest wineries with spacious patios and tasting room. You can make dinner reservations and include wine pairings. StableRidge Vineyards & Winery, 1916 W. Route 66, Stroud, has locally made wines and tasting room in a historic church built in 1902. It also offers tours and a gift shop.
Of course there are many sites to see in Tulsa, but we planned to get to Springfield, Missouri by the end of the day, so we only went to one: The Golden Driller statue. Located at 4145 E. 21st St. in Tulsa, this statue is 76 feet tall and weighs 43,500 lbs. It is the largest free-standing statue in the world. Installed for the 1966 International Petroleum Exposition, it is Oklahoma’s official state monument and the most photographed landmark in Tulsa.
Perhaps to capitalize on the Golden Driller as a tourist attraction, right next door was Josh’s Sno Shack!
Other Tulsa attractions: Circle Cinema, Tulsa’s only remaining historic cinema and non-profit art-house theater, showing independent, foreign and documentary films. 12 S. Lewis Ave., Tulsa, OK. Blue Dome Service Station, built in 1924, this historic building was a Gulf Oil Station and the first gas station in Oklahoma to have hot water, pressurized air, a car wash, and 24/7 service. The restored dome is a landmark of the Blue Dome Entertainment District, which has unique restaurants, shops and nightlife. 311 E. 2nd St., Tulsa, OK. Greenwood Cultural Center, 322 N. Greenwood Ave., Tulsa, OK, is home to Mabel B. Little Heritage House and a photographic exhibit of the tragic 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, and a gift shop. It’s located in historic Greenwood District, once known as “Black Wall Street.” Boston Avenue United Methodist Church – this one I am sorry to have missed. This church at 1301 S. Boston, Tulsa, OK is a significant example of Art Deco architecture. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places. Tours are available and admission is free. Call to find out if it is open: 918-583-5181. Cain’s Ballroom, at 423 N. Main St. in Tulsa, is a historic music venue on the National Register of Historic Places and has hosted many top musical acts including Bob Dylan, U2, Dolly Parton and many others. It is known as the “Carnegie Hall of Western Swing.” Cyrus Avery Centennial Plazaat 1390 Southwest Blvd. in Tulsa is a public plaza built to honor Tulsa native, Cyrus Avery, as the “Father of Route 66.” There are flags of all the Route 66 states around “East Meets West”, a large bronze sculpture depicting the conflict between early automobiles and horse-drawn traffic. The plaza sits at the end of a preserved 1917 bridge over the Arkansas River.
Two interesting art museums: Philbrook Museum of Art, a combination of historic home, gardens and collections, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is located at 2727 S. Rockford Rd., Tulsa, OK. The nationally acclaimed Gilcrease Museum,at 1400 N. Gilcrease Museum Road in Tulsa has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Native American and Western art, as well as extensive exhibits on America’s prehistory settlement and expansion, and 23 acres of outdoor gardens.
I think I’d like to visit Tulsa again sometime and spend more time exploring these places!