As I write this Friday evening, I think I’m finally ready to take a journey to Chicago on Saturday, December 20th to join with a few other fans of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage and experience the final film in Sir Peter Jackson’s masterwork Tolkien trilogy, “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.”
My previous post has our itinerary and all particulars. So I won’t repeat myself here. A first, I know. Ha! But I will remind those joining us that apart from the other Chicago sights, we will meet to see the film together around 1:15pm to see the 1:30pm film at the AMC River East 21. I hope that you have bought your ticket ahead of time as I did.
I am excited to see the final film, to bring to a close this epic tale of one man’s quest to “reclaim our homeland”. I have read the book, so I know the general outline of events. And yet, how Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Phillipa Boyens, and the talented cast lead by Richard Armitage portraying King Under the Mountain Thorin Oakenshield [left, Grati’s manip] will dramatise the events is the great unknown. And yes, I am taking lots of tissues with me, because I will surely be crying at several of these moments.
Yet, I also think of recent world events where real people were killed, children were killed and it breaks my heart. We cannot seem to escape a day without hearing about some heart wrenching tragedy befalling someone around us–to our neighbors next door, or to our neighbors across the world in other countries. And I grieve for them and their families, even though I don’t know them.
But perhaps, escape is what we need sometimes. And art and literature–like Tolkien’s The Hobbit–and its portrayal in film and theatre, is a way to both reflect and to impact our culture. And sometimes we need to see a film that through its artistic vision reminds us that good can triumph, that lives can be saved, that people big and small matter, that coming together and setting aside our differences for the common good is possible–even when that which we seek comes at great cost. “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” symbolizes that hope for a better world for me–and so much more.
I am certain that after seeing the THBOFA film, I will have thoughts about it and reactions to it. And I might even need to wait a few days and then see the film again to let my thoughts germinate. So you’ll find no spoilers on my blog here for a few days. But I do intend to weigh in at some point.
In the meantime on Saturday, I’ll be checking my Twitter account @GratianaL for #THBOFAChicago news, tweets, and DM’s, etc. So, I’m signing off for now (Friday Evening).
P.S. And to get us primed for seeing THBOFA, here again is the main official trailer released by Warner Bros. Pictures , one last time:
***Update! December 21, 2014*** Grati’s Travelogue for the THBOFA Chicago Trip December 20th!
My reactions to “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” –beyond, Loved it!–will come in a later post this week after I have seen it again, so no spoilers here. Ha! And all pix below are mine or my hubby’s, excepted where noted as belonging to the Art Institute of Chicago.
But first, I must give a very big thank you to Obscura Forenow (of the Ancient Armitage blog) for organizing the event with her at the scene helper Melinda. Though Obscura could not join us due to time conflicts with family events, we carried her with us in spirit. And I do so love her blog with her essays weaving information about the ancient world as it intersects with Richard Armitage’s career. She has a very unique and always interesting perspective and I encourage you to avail yourself of her insights. You’ll be glad that you did.
So what follows is a brief travelogue of my fun day meeting the gals in downtown Chicago for the THBOFA RA Fans Meet up. We were four fan ladies of RA–FLORA for short–as we intended to meet to enjoy the day and to see the film.
My day started as it usually does, at 5:30am showering and primping. Ha! Then my hubby and I headed to our local Uptown Amtrak Station for him to drop me off to head to downtown Chicago. I like Amtrak, I had seat side plugs for my mobile–and it even has wifi should you want to use theirs. So the multi hour trip went quickly as I read a story online. However, it was a trifle warm. So I wished that I hadn’t worn a sweater.
Arriving in Chicago’s Union Station was fun to be amongst the throng of people heading to their multiple destinations–and it was festively decorated (left). You may also recall that the Union Station stairs (right) were famously featured in the film The Untouchables. We arrived a little late into Union Station due to waiting on an outboard train. Amtrak is famously on time 99.99% of the time, so no need to worry for future trips.
But I then had to hustle to get to the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) to meet RA Fan Melinda–Obscura’s planning helping on the scene. I even hopped the #126 bus to get there for $2.25–saving the taxi fare–and the bus drivers were most helpful as I interpreted the Downtown bus transit map. Thanks! My exterior and interior shots of the AIC’s lovely and festive holiday decorations are left and right.
It has been some time since I had been at the AIC–and it did not disappoint! I had especially wanted to see again the glass paperweights room, the Thorne Miniature Rooms–love them!–and also the new Byzantine exhibit that Melinda had scoped out. I am especially fond of the Impressionists galleries as part of the AIC’s continuing collections—Monet (Water Lillies, 1906), Renoir, Gaugin, DeGas, Lautrec, etc. We made a good hour long circuit of the two floors, front to back. Every square inch of the AIC–including hallways–has art and artifacts from antiquity to the present on display to marvel and enlighten you. And of course, I had to see the changed spot for the Chagall Windows installation since I had last been to the AIC about ten years ago or so. So below are some pix of these current exhibits as shared by the AIC:
The Art Institute of Chicago is a treasure of cultures from around the world! I highly recommend it! Then Melinda and I had lunch in the AIC food court–the chicken salad wrap and their own fried potato crisps were very yummy.
Then we taxied to the AMC River East 21 to meet up with Saharaobsessed and Judiang to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (THBOFA) at the AMC River East 21 theatre. I loved the film! And I managed to only have to excuse myself once–during a Tauriel and Legolas moment–a real plus about the slightly shorter (by only 15 minutes) final film. Ha! Other than to say that I loved it and the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage portraying Thorin Oakenshield (right) in THBOFA was amazing, I’m embargoing my film review until I have seen it again. So no spoilers here! Ha!
Afterward, we walked a block over to Volare Ristorante Italiano in Chicago and we had very enjoyable meals. Mine was the Mezzi Rigatoni in a cream sauce. Even at the half order I had, it was a lot of food. So come hungry. We topped our dinners off with coffee’s or capucino’s and dessert–tira masu for me. Yum! Our dinner conversation was delightful–talking about all things Armitage, past, present, and future. And since we are all well versed in Richard Armitage’s career, his portraits (left, recently bytalented photograper Sarah Dunn), and our favorites among his character portrayals, we tend to speak in a kind of short hand. And I wonder if patrons in the surrounding tables in the busy restaurant wondered if we were speaking in code. Ha!
Too soon, we had to part from each other so that Judiang and I could catch our respective trains at Union Station, and then head home. There was a bit of a hiccup in that the parking ticket station machine inside the AMC Theatre that didn’t want to work for Sahra–it ate her parking ticket and then it ate her credit card. Yikes! Judiang and I had waited around to see if Sahra got it back, but eventually we were running up against train crunch time and had to leave and hail a taxi. As it was, Judiang had to sprint into Union Station to catch her train leaving 10 minutes later. I had another 25 minutes to go. But happily, Sahra tweeted us later that she had gotten both her ticket and her credit card back, and she was able to retrieve her car. Whew! Thanks to Melinda for being able to stick around to lend moral support to Sahra while she did that.
My train ride home was delightful–less warm, so they must have fixed the temp controls. Note to self, don’t wear a sweater the next time I take the train. Ha! I again read a story online to while away the hours on the trip home. Then my hubby picked me up and I enjoyed seeing these Uptown Roundabout holiday lights (right) as a festive end to my day. All in all it was a lovely day! After showering and getting into my jammies, I checked a bit online then headed to bed around midnight Saturday night. And I didn’t wake up until 10am this morning! Ha! So restful! Fresh air, good friends, and a fun outing will do that for you.
Now I can’t wait until our next Chicago area RA Fans film gathering/viewing adventure! Will it be for Urban and the Shed Crew? Or maybe Sleepwalker? Or perhaps for some as yet to be revealed Richard Armitage film project? Who knows! But I’m up for it! And I hope that you can join us the next time!
Holiday Cheers! Grati ;->