The Macon I Know

I enjoy business travel.

Each time I leave home, and I have it in my head that I have to make it productive, worthwhile, and fruitful. That means doing my wurk and documenting it all. I especially love to go to a new city– somewhere I haven’t been before. I try to take my good camera on trips like this.

At the end of last month I went to Macon Georgia. It aa glorious, And had everything I liked–architecture, poetry bookstores, good coffee, and natural features of landscape and cultural history.

I stayed at a real Bed & Breakfast, mainly because it was cheaper than the chain hotel. I know it was a Bed & Breakfast  because when I got there they said. “what do you want for breakfast?” and I was like “oh wow  really?” and they were like “this is a bed-and-breakfast”.

As is my custom, I immediately set out for a bookstore that sold poetry. I took pictures along the way. This is a shot of a malformed set of bricks pulling apart from a solid set of bricks. There is a metaphor here.

“Stately” is a good word for a lot of the buildings. The heaviness of the plantation though.

The library was glorious. Going to a public library in a new Place is sort of like going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting– you basically know the configuration but something is always different.

The Wi-Fi is sponsored by the Knight Foundation. Everywhere I go, there you are.

I like their street sign system— no matter which street sign you’re looking at, you know what corner you’re on.

This building is a part of an architectural restoration drive.

Macon’s Fading Five

The real glory of Macon was nearby, at the Ocmulgee National Monument of the U.S. National Park Service.

Here’s all photos I took there at the monument.

First off, the Visitor’s Center is an Art Moderne masterpiece:

And the mounds are maintained with care and respect.

And here’s the whole set I took of my trip to Georgia.

The Tampa Municipal Office Building and its Adjacent Brick Courtyard are Brutalist Masterpieces

I have always loved Boston City Hall and its brick-colored, multi-layer courtyard. I understand this is a minority opinion. So it goes.

Until today, however, I did not know that Florida sported a rival Brutalist civic structure with an adjacent courtyard made of brick.

I was walking in a light tropical rain through downtown Tampa.

Behold the Tampa Municipal Office Building, rising over the old Salvation Army site.

And towering over an empty but nifty brick plaza at mid-morning.

The fronds and green and waterfalls made for oasis, and the plaza pavers climb the rough surface up.

There was evidence of other, inexpensive modifications— colorful glass bird-type / wall-climb holds to break up the height.

The plaza and its many layers are straight outta Boston.

Except again the tropical plants and intimate lawn furniture makes for a human scale.

The rising, and the harsh indoor lighting.

Again, height is broken and softened with palms.

Smoker passages.

The municipal function of rat baiting sits like art.

A plaque for MIAs / POWs, embossed with bamboo.

Evidence of the Rough Riders, too.

Inexplicable steel art takes its place in front of the brick-paved street, which makes for yet another texture.

Leaves, Concrete, Bird Glass.

God bless America.

Detail of concrete. Artful pocks.

Smooth joints.

Skaters cannot be stopped.

The main corner entrance, with glass rising for stories. Transparency.

Hidden entrances like Frank Lloyd Wright.

Under eaves. Color added as another sop to the heavy mental affect of Brutalism.

No one can stop the tropical gardens.

Or the deliberate passageways.

All hail the Tampa Municipal Office Building and its adjacent brick courtyard, which are Brutalist masterpieces.

Spring Break 2016: 36 Hours in Milwaukee

The New York Times has a travel feature called 36 Hours. The schtick is that they lay out a core set of things to do in 36 hours of real time. This year the kids’ Spring Break snuck up on us and I had nothing planned. So I put together a short jaunt to Milwaukee with some (planned and unplanned) stops along the way. S-L added the meal components. Here’s our report:

Racine: Trump Rally

We had to drop off Kitteh early on Saturday morning and then got donuts at Stan’s. This still left some goodly time to get to SC Johnson by 10AM, so we decided to detour to downtown Racine and take some pics at around 9AM. We saw a bunch of cops and people standing in line, then some Trump-oriented vehicles. We quickly realized we stumbled on a Trump rally. Fuck that guy. So we got out to take some pics.

Trump Rally Racine

Continue reading “Spring Break 2016: 36 Hours in Milwaukee”

Trellick Tower, A Brutalist Wonder Caught from a Passing Train

We were on a train from Slough this afternoon and I spotted this:

Trellick Tower

A Brutalist bookend-er of a building. I did a Street View search and found the name of it, and then the Wikipedia page for Trellick Tower. Stuff:

Brutal + Beautiful.

Here’s a video from our whole day, which included Windsor Castle and Notting Hill:


Custom Iron Work and Lucite Handle, 1714 W. Division, Chicago

S-L and I were walking last week and we noticed– for the first time– the great custom facade on this building.

The iron grate work over the front doors have a staggered pattern of cylinders:

Custom Iron Work and Lucite Handle, 1714 W. Division, Chicago

They look to me like slugs of metal from some other process, as if the person who made it just saved up scraps on a shop floor until they had enough for the whole job:

Iron Work Detail: Custom Iron Work and Lucite Handle, 1714 W. Division, Chicago

Then there is a marvelously intact lucite door pull:


Really well-done. Complete set here.