Lafayette Vignettes, Part 2: The Works on the Walls

Biggie & Cobain!

Scene from an alternate timeline where Biggie Smalls and Kurt Cobain lived to cover “Ebony and Ivory”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

Once upon a time in 2019 Anne decide she wanted to celebrate her birthday with a jaunt around the city of Lafayette, an hour northwest of our Indiana home. She cobbled together a short to-do list of things she wanted to see, not lengthy but enough for a leisurely afternoon — a bit of Indiana history, a bit of downtown tourism, and a bit of healthy walking…

Once we escaped Purdue’s Homecoming weekend crowds, we headed east across the Wabash River to downtown Lafayette, where we simply wanted to walk around and take in the scenery. While most locals and students busied themselves with the main event across the river, downtown was deserted except for a small farmers’ market that was wrapping up their morning shift by the time we walked up.

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Our 2018 Road Trip, Part 34: Independence Mall: Resurgence

Rocky and Us!

Once again we didn’t make it to the official Rocky Balboa statue in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. His smaller, more colorful twin would have to do.

Our second time in Philadelphia wasn’t meant to be a total retread of our 2010 visit. Just the same, we couldn’t resist walking past a few of the major highlights. We also couldn’t help walking past them — the parking garage underneath Independence Mall was the most convenient place to leave the car for our first few hours in town, adjacent to several new sights we wanted to see. This year we had slightly more time, somewhat better cameras, and far better maps at our fingertips, given that neither of us owned a mobile phone till 2012.

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Our 2009 Road Trip, Part 7: The New Cornographers

Mitchell Corn Palace!

Anne outside the Mitchell Corn Palace. Thankfully there was no danger of the walls popping at us.

The day before, we had visited the overlord of canned vegetables in Blue Earth, MN. 200 miles later, we found a place that concentrated on just one veggie in particular. Other foodstuffs didn’t play large parts, but they had one heck of a corn section.

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The Art of a Downtown Knoxville Walk

Kool-Aid Man!

Kool-Aid Man now comes in new Graffiti Punch flavor! OH, YEAH!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Earlier in October Anne and I drove down through Kentucky and down to Knoxville, Tennessee, to meet a few fabulous folks at Fanboy Expo’s Totally Awesome Weekend, a convention we’d never done before. After we’d had another round of geek fun, we capped off our weekend with quite a bit of sightseeing (including but not limited to a giant dragon)…

After the convention and an elevator ride into the Sunsphere, lunch was an immediate necessity. Other than a restaurant choice pegged through the magic of Google Maps, we didn’t have complicated plans for our downtown wandering — head from point A to B; eat food; marvel at incidental sights along the way. The area in general and one alley in particular caught our eyes and brightened our day.

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Journey to the Heart of the Sunsphere

Sunsphere!

That’s over 266 feet (approx. 81 meters) worth of architectural achievement up there. Of course we had to visit it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: earlier in October Anne and I drove down through Kentucky and down to Knoxville, Tennessee, to meet a few fabulous folks at Fanboy Expo’s Totally Awesome Weekend, a convention we’d never done before. After we’d had another round of geek fun, we capped off our weekend with quite a bit of sightseeing (including but not limited to a giant dragon).

Knoxville’s most prominent landmark is the Sunsphere, one of two surviving major remnants from the 1982 World’s Fair, but this remnant enjoyed a spot of fame in an episode of The Simpsons. We showed you the iconic exterior from a distance, which for us raised an obvious question: what about the inside?

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An Afternoon Walk for Art: Our Cincinnati Comic Expo 2017 Coda

Toy Heritage!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last Saturday Anne and I attended the eighth annual Cincinnati Comic Expo in the heart of their downtown. Once we finished up at the show, the urge for exploration hadn’t faded yet. Last year we’d checked out a few of the local tourist attractions but had to leave some possibilities behind for future years. Our time was short, but we wanted to cross at least one objective off the outtake list.

Hence our lead photo: “Toy Heritage”.

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Our 2017 Road Trip #4: Morgantown RFD

Don Knotts statue!

One man. One career. Five Emmys. One hometown. One bullet.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Full disclosure: we knew we couldn’t reach Baltimore from Indianapolis in a single day by our own driving rules. A stopover would be needed along the way. We’d never heard of Morgantown before our research turned it up, but we’re grateful we found a nice place to hang out for a night and a morning before we moved on…entirely thanks to this man.

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Return to Paducah: Our Superman Celebration 2017 Coda

Welcome to the Atomic City!

One of 50+ murals painted along Paducah’s Ohio River flood wall. Anne took pictures of nearly all of them while the sunshine baked us in our skins and now we’re dead. The End.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

Across the Ohio River from Metropolis is the city of Paducah, Kentucky. We first explored their downtown on our first road trip to the area in 2001, but had found mostly empty storefronts, a few old antique shops, a couple of murals, a scary comic shop, and easy access to the Ohio River in case we wanted to take our chances on a dunking of questionable content. On our second through fifth trips to the area, we bypassed downtown and limited our Paducah exploration to our hotels and the restaurants closest to them.

On the occasion of our sixth visit, we dug more deeply into our online research, now that more resources are available to us today than we had in 2001. We learned of a few roadside attractions we missed the first time around and we found encouraging evidence that they’ve made some upgrades over the past sixteen years. Once we’d had our fill of super-hero glory, festival food, and sunburn, we decided to hop back across the Ohio and see how they’re doing.

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Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos, Part 8 of 7: On the Occasion of Rosemont’s 60th

Rosemont 60th!

If you attended Wizard World Chicago 2016 and stayed at the Hyatt across the street, or at another nearby hotel linked through the same skybridge network, you missed this mural.

(Consider this entry the scene after the “Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos” end credits.)

Though it’s named for the Windy City, Wizard World Chicago is held each year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the suburb of Rosemont, which was incorporated January 20, 1956. We’ve done WWC eight times and still find something new in Rosemont every time we visit. That three-story mural in the lead photo adorned the free parking garage attached to our hotel for the weekend, known to WWC fans as “The Other Hyatt” — i.e., the one a mile north of the con and far away from all the good parties. It’s cheaper, quieter, and easy to make reservations there by accident if you don’t pay attention to the differing street addresses on Rosemont’s two Hyatts.

The Other Hyatt’s mural was our first notice about Rosemont’s 60th anniversary. On Saturday as we walked through the center corridor of the convention center parking garage, from the con over to MB Financial Park for dinner, we discovered another tribute to Rosemont’s 60th in the form of famous paintings brushed large but altered with homages to various Rosemont points of interest (some more interesting to the locals than to us out-of-towners). Anyone who didn’t walk the same walk, or who didn’t look closely while driving in our out, would’ve missed them easily. We caught a few of our favorites to share here for posterity as a sort of post-con epilogue. Enjoy!

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You Can’t Spell “Elkhart” Without “Art”. Or “Hart”. Or “Elk”.

HEART Proverbs 4-23!

Or if we’re anagramming, in Elkhart you can also find “heart”, “heat”, “earth”, “talker”, “hater”, “lathe”, “kale”…

My wife and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. My 2016 birthday destination of choice: the northern Indiana city of Elkhart, with a bonus stopover in South Bend, both some 100+ miles north of here. Elkhart was regrettably cut a little short because the weather was miserable and tried to freeze us in our tracks, but we had enough fun to fill out another four-part miniseries starring a candy factory tour, a super-hero roadside attraction, and a selection of the “art” in Elkhart. Also, food.

Part Three of Four: a tour of the art of downtown Elkhart, which of course has deer statues, because “elk”. And “hart”, which is a bit more obscure except maybe to fans of Angel. And the sound of “heart” alone likewise doesn’t go unmentioned.

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2015 Road Trip Photos #9: Murals and Falls

Murals Though Falls!

Sunday morning in Birmingham didn’t stay cool for long. We walked away from Linn Park hoping to see art. Before long we were dying for water. North of the park, nestled between the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Boutwell Auditorium, we found a tidy spot that offered and hid the best of both.

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