Artists who use sidewalks as their canvas know that their art is temporary. If you are lucky enough to see one of these 3D-looking masterpieces, it’s best to take a photo right then and there, because next week it could be gone! I have only myself encountered one of these sidewalk paintings – usually I see them online somewhere – so I was happy to find this one, which was done on the sidewalk in front of the Des Plaines Public Library last August. I have not seen it since, so I assume it was removed or washed away.
Dipping into my archives, five years ago this month, we were in Brazil. These photos are of the new museum Museu do Amanha (Museum of Tomorrow) in Rio de Janeiro. Designed by the renowned Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava, this science museum is very interesting, with many interactive exhibits that pose questions about our planet’s future.
The city of Sao Paulo has a variety of interesting architectural structures, dating from colonial times to futuristic modern buildings. The first images were taken along Avenida Paulista, which is closed to vehicle traffic on Sundays, so that pedestrians and bicyclists can enjoy the many interesting places along this avenue in the downtown area. First are several modern buildings and facades, followed by details of a Victorian era house called Casa das Rosas because of its rose gardens in front. The Instituto Tomie Ohtake complex is another example of modern architecture. Finally, in central Sao Paulo is the cathedral, built in neo-Gothic style topped by a Renaissance type dome. Downtown Sao Paulo is a good place to see Portuguese colonial style buildings, such as the Anchieta History Museum (closed the day we were there!). Farther out from the city center is Luz Railway Station, a hub of subway lines crisscrossing the city, as well as trains for travel outside the city. It was built to serve the British-owned Sao Paulo Railway and was built with influences of classic late-Victorian architectural style. Its most iconic feature is its clock tower. We took a subway line back to our Airbnb from Luz after visiting the Pinacoteca, one of Brazil’s most important art museums.
We also visited the capital city of the state of Parana, Curitiba, where we stayed with good friends. One of the most interesting structures is the ultra-modern Museu Oscar Niemeyer (MON) named for the architect who designed it. Its 17 thousand square meters of art exhibit space is now the largest in Latin America.
These “hanging” trees were for sale in a Curitiba mall. Christmas trees, perhaps? I took this photo in mid-November; in Brazil, Christmas is celebrated in the summer, so some of its wintery themes that are copied by Brazilians are rather incongruous, but these little pines will surely thrive in Curitiba’s climate.
Head over to Becky’s July #Tree Square challenge and see more trees!
A quote that another blogger posted about trees prompted me to create this post as my contribution to the 9th day of Becky’s July Squares, with the topic of trees.
The author of this quote, Jaime Lerner, is a Brazilian who in the early 1970s was the mayor of the city of Curitiba, the capital of Paraná, a state in southern Brazil. Anyone who has been to Curitiba will recognize how appropriate this quote is for his city and his impact as urban planner and mayor. Between my first visit in 1971 and my last, five years ago, the city has not only grown to over 1 million inhabitants but also contains a number of beautiful parks, including several dedicated to ethnic groups in the city, a pedestrian area in downtown, and a comprehensive system of rapid transit buses (BRT), among many other innovations which began during Jaime Lerner’s tenure as mayor.
I hold Curitiba in my heart as my favorite city in Brazil, and one of its attractions that I am particularly fond of is a tree native to southern Brazil, araucaria angustifolia, better known as o pinheiro do Parana’ although it is not actually a pine. It belongs to the conifer family. I had never seen a tree like it before; it is so unique and is found only in southern Brazil and some parts of northern Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. All over Curitiba are these wonderful trees, which I feature in square photos below.
The Wikipedia article about this araucaria species says that it is critically endangered, having lost 97% of its habitat to logging and agriculture.
The species is spread via its seeds, called the pinhão, by Parana’s state bird, the azure jay, and other animals.
The article also says that this tree is dioecious – some are male and some are female. The male produces an oblong cone (the photo below shows how they look when they are dried up). The female’s cones are spherical and quite large, and inside are the pinhão seeds (100-150 per cone), which are about 2 inches long and taste sort of like pine nuts or chestnuts.
The shell of the pinhão is also used to make small crafts.
Spots and Dots is the creative topic for Leya’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.
flowers (2 orchids at Chicago Botanic Gardens, sunflower at Cantigny Park-Robert McCormick estate, Wheaton, Illinois)
art: sculpture (dalmations in Sao Paulo, Brazil; abstract sculpture in St. Charles, Illinois; giant pumpkin somewhere in Japan – this photo was a screenshot; Chinese lion at Cantigny Park, Wheaton, Illinois)
museum art (tapestry, light display)
Lightscape light show installations for the holiday season, (Chicago Botanic Gardens, Dec. 2019 and Dec. 2020)
On Monday, Ludwig hosts his weekly challenge Monday Window. I looked in my archives and kept coming across window pairs. Here are a few of them, taken in Brazil, Mont St-Michel (France), Amsterdam, and Germany.
I have stopped watching the news….I have dropped all social media, except for my blog, which I try to keep to positive vibes…. there are a lot of folks in the world, who are everyday folks, just trying to provide food and shelter and love……….they are trying to make a living…….keep their kids educated and basically just take care of their families, without an agenda. Me too. I think there is more of us…. Just trying to live our lives….. So, I would like to take the time to focus on one person a week to bring us together, to celebrate ordinary folks.
Feel free to join Just One Person From Around the World by creating your own post and then share your link in the comments!
In 2016, my husband, Dale, and I took a 3 1/2 week trip to Brazil, to visit friends and sightsee on our own. We spent the first week in the southern city of Curitiba, where we stayed with friends. The person who had prompted this trip was a 92-year-old woman, Dona Lais, whom I have known since 1971 when I stayed in her family’s house during a summer exchange program. We have written each other off and on, but for years she was always faithful in sending newsy letters during the holidays. She does not do that now, so when I realized she had turned 92, I thought I should visit her right away, because this visit could be – probably would be – the last. Here is Dona Lais playing the piano at her home in Curitiba. She had stopped playing the piano after many years, but she took it up again a few years ago, because, she says, it helps alleviate the arthritis in her fingers.
I’m ready for another Share Your World Meets Harry Potter! The Harry Potter questions this week are inspired by The Goblet of Fire, but you don’t have to be a Harry Potter fan to answer them. These questions come from another blogger, Roger Shipp, who is collaborating with Melanie and her Share Your World, which are the second set of questions.
Roger’s Magical, Mystical Questions:
Many local regions, especially rural areas where I live, have haunted houses. Have you ever spent the night in a house that was supposedly haunted? Anything ‘strange” happen? No, the closest I came was when my son was a little boy and we would take walks together. The route we usually took passed a 2- or 3-story, dark gray house on a large lot. It always seemed dark and that no one lived there. My son had already made up a monster, who plagued his dreams. So I told him that the monster was actually nice and wanted to make friends. Even so, he was spooky and so was that house. That house became the monster’s house!
The Quidditch Cup (riding broomsticks while chasing a small ball) was a huge sporting event in the land of Hogwarts. What is the largest sporting event (or concert, etc.) that you have ever attended? Not being a sports fan, I doubt the crowds were as big at the Packers games I attended as the concerts I went to.
The biggest might have been when a friend and I went to see the Beatles in concert – we were in the 104th row of an old stadium in Chicago. From our vantage point, the Beatles were about an inch tall and we couldn’t hear anything they played because most of the girls (including my friend, but she tried to restrain herself for my benefit) were screaming. I think I heard later that the Beatles sometimes just pretended to sing because the screaming was so loud no one could hear them – so why waste their voices?
The other times there have been huge crowds when I was attending were at Ravinia. Ravinia is an outdoor concert venue with a bandshell and stage in front located in the north suburbs of Chicago. They have a schedule of performers starting in June and ending in September, which they mail out to people. (Needless to say, there wasn’t a schedule this year.) People pay much less to sit on the lawn and it has become popular to bring snacks, wine, tables and chairs (Ravinia also rents these out) and share with one’s friends during the concert. The largest concert I ever attended there was last year, when Ringo Starr and his band were at Ravinia. We tried to go early but the crowd was already so huge that it was hard to find a patch of lawn for our folding chairs. If you wanted to get up for something, you could not help but step in other people’s set-ups. I ran across several friends there while I was walking around – they weren’t together nor did they know each other, and I didn’t know they were at Ravinia that night. I wanted to see Ringo and his band but anytime I lingered near the bandshell, guards shooed me away. At least no one screamed!
When you go for a swim, do you prefer an ocean, the seaside lakes, or a pool? I enjoy the ocean because it is warm, but prefer a bay where the water is calmer. Since I rarely go to a beach, except when on vacation, the rare times that I swim is in a pool. I don’t like it much because afterward my hair smells like chlorine.
Ron Weasley received a horrid robe to wear as formal wear to the Christmas dance at Hogwarts. Tell about the most ‘ghastly’ fashion statement that you have ever made. It was probably in the late 60s, when everyone (including me) wore inside-out sweatshirts, long strings of beads and huge bell bottoms. But I have to say, I still like bell bottoms better than straight-legged pants!
Muggle Questions (from Melanie):
What is the last song you sang along to? I’m not sure – there’s always music in my head, and sometimes it isn’t what I’d like to have repeating ad nauseum, but I think the last one I sang along with the recording was Old Man River a couple of days ago. What was your scariest nightmare about? I can’t remember it anymore, but I screamed out loud and it woke both me and Dale up. What food do you crave most often? ice cream, cookies, chocolate in general What’s your grossest bug story? The grossest and most horrible bug I’ve ever seen is a giant cockroach. Any cockroach, really. They usually appear where I least expect them and they run incredibly fast.
When I lived in northeastern Brazil with my first husband, we had all our personal effects shipped to us, and they arrived in these huge boxes, so we had large cartons sitting around the house for quite awhile. One day I was sitting on the couch in our living room and I heard a scratching noise. I went to look for the source and found a giant cockroach climbing up one of the boxes! These cockroaches lived in the grass in the surrounding area, which is why I never, ever, laid anything on the grass there. We also had a cesspit, and had to get it cleaned out occasionally – of course, that pit was crawling with them. It makes me shiver to think of even now. I thought of downloading a picture from Google and posting it here, but I can’t bear to even look at a picture of those horrible things!!
Black Cat Alley, Milwaukee, Wisconsin: This alley near downtown Milwaukee has become a place for street artists to share their art. This mural includes a door to a formerly industrial building.
A converted warehouse complex in Lincoln, Nebraska has become an artists’ co-op, its outside walls decorated by local artists.
Cuba, Missouri is located on the famous Route 66 and a popular stop along the historic road. There are many murals throughout the town, depicting historical events (including the Civil War) and scenes of daily life.
Pontiac, Illinois is one of the first, or last, stops on Route 66 (depending on whether you are taking the historic road west or east), and as such caters to Route 66 tourists. Besides murals, there is a museum/shop containing all kinds of Route 66 memorabilia and you can visit the bus-converted-to-home of possibly Pontiac’s most well-known native son, Bob Waldmire, who traveled the Mother Road and lived in his bus-home for several years in the Arizona desert.
Whether real or painted, a door is still a door!
For mural/graffiti/street art connoisseurs, Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) in São Paulo, Brazil is a must-see. “Graffiti artists” have covered this residential neighborhood – walls, streets, doors, windows, anything paintable – with art!
Street artists in São Paulo find “canvases” for their artwork in many other places as well. These are found in the vicinity of Ibirapuera Park, a large park with museums, bike paths and other amusements.
For Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge with the topic Murals and Graffiti, I have a wealth of photos in my archives, because I love photographing public artwork! I include here a sampling of each location. Note that I have blogged about most of these places before, so there will be some duplicates.
Tucumcari, New Mexico: A town I had never heard of before has apparently achieved renown due to at least two songs about the town, and a novel set there. It’s a stop on Route 66.
Cuba, Missouri: This small town on Route 66 is famous for its murals, depicting historical scenes and events, and scenes of daily life. Many are scenes of the Civil War, but I have not included any of those here. Cuba is a “must-see” for any Route 66 trip!
Pontiac, Illinois: one of the last (or first, depending on which way you go) along Route 66. In Pontiac also is a good-sized museum and store selling all types of Route 66 memorabilia.
Black Cat Alley in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an alley flanked by old industrial buildings, which has been converted into a “canvas” for local mural painters! Located in the downtown area, it is easy to get to and I would recommend it for anyone visiting Milwaukee that has an interest in mural art.
Lincoln, Nebraska is a surprisingly interesting city. I had never been to Nebraska before our 2018 road trip and since we like to visit capital cities, we spent a day there. There is a section of town we discovered by accident while finding our way to a restaurant recommended online. Across the street was an old warehouse converted into an artists’ co-op workshop with interesting art on the outside walls.
Denver, Colorado: We stayed at a fantastic Airbnb in the artsy part of town. On Tennyson St. (where the first of these photos were taken), they have weekly art fairs during the summer season.
Dubuque, Iowa – near the Mississippi River Museum
Des Moines, Iowa
In Amsterdam, Holland we took a private boat tour on the canals and harbor. We discovered several trailers painted in vivid colors.
Brazil is very rich in culture and teeming with artists of all kinds. The more famous ones display their art in galleries and museums. However, the street art is amazing, painted by very talented “graffiti artists.” In the city of São Paulo, there was literally art everywhere – you could barely walk one block without seeing street art.
For connoisseurs of “graffiti art” (although most of it is much more beautiful than graffiti), there is a neighborhood in São Paulo called Beco do Batman (Batman’s Alley) – wander its cobblestone streets to see an explosion of beautiful and/or humorous murals and sometimes political statements. The first two photos were taken outside Beco do Batman proper, which is residential – and we needed lunch so these were our view from the small café where we ate.