OK, so it turned into love week here at the Hummingbird. But why the heck not? It is something worth celebrating. Hope you enjoyed looking at love in all its incarnations. But back to our regularly scheduled program, your Friday Five:
GO Garfield Park Conservatory In the dead of winter, few things lift the spirits more than a visit to an old-fashioned conservatory. In the Chicago area, we blessedly have several, the loveliest being Garfield Park, also known as “the crown jewel of the West Side.” It is one of the largest and oldest conservatories in the nation — renowned as much for its architecture as for its botany — and was conceived to represent “landscape under glass.” After a major renovation in the late ’90s, the conservatory began offering all kinds of new programming from gardening techniques to environmental responsibility. However, still my favorite thing to do on a gray February afternoon is to wander through the lush tropical gardens, breathe in the heavy humid air and be reminded that the color green really does exist in nature.
BAKE A New Recipe If you haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day yet, and want to woo someone with the perfect recipe, I have three words for you: Salted caramel brownies. So grab your mouse and click over to Smitten Kitchen site, which gives amazingly clear and detailed instructions on how to make this surefire love bomb.
GO Nora Jane Struthers at the Red Line Tap Our favorite Nashville-based musician is back in the Chicago area and we will be out of town! This is killing me, because not only is she going to be in Chicago, but she will be performing in a bar on my street. I can’t recommend her live performances highly enough. Specializing in America Roots music, Nora Jane is a smart, beautiful and uber talented (and nice!) singer-songwriter who left her job as a Brooklyn English teacher to play music full-time. In just a few short years, she got wired into the Nashville scene, recorded several albums, had a top-requested song on the local radio station and continues to attract killer musicians to her stage. She’s wonderful live, so please go in our place on Saturday night.
LISTEN The Underground, 87.7 FM Can I tell you how long it has been since I have been excited about a new radio station? But miracles do happen, and a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across this relatively new Chicago-area station that apparently plays Smells Like Teen Spirit on a daily basis. Not only does it put my favorite alternative bands from 90s and beyond on heavy rotation, but it also seems to cherry pick the best of the new bands. Just when I thought radio was on its last legs…give it a listen.
WATCH The Cat Cam movie short Don’t laugh, but the other night I became a middle-aged single lady cliche by actually watching a cat video on the Internet. The fact that I found it on the public television site (and it was an official selection at last year’s SXSW film fest) makes me feel a little better about myself, but still, I was watching a movie about a cat on my iPad! Cat Cam is a lovely little short, however, about a family that takes in a stray cat — who they name Mr. Lee — then wonder what he is up to when he wanders off for a day or two. The dad, a German engineer, jerry-rigs a camera to the cat’s collar, and voila, the secret life of cats revealed. You can find it at PBS.org under the POV section.