When I was in high school I played guitar in the school band's Jazz Ensemble. One day we loaded up the bus with our ruffly peach pirate dress shirts with black vests and headed to Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida for a regional band competition. As they unloaded the bus, I stood there, blown away. I had no idea there was an entire community of structures in Florida so unique. As I would come to find out, it was entire college designed by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
I was hooked, I had to see more.
If I hadn't been bitten by music in my early teen years I could've easily pursued a career in architecture and design.
Since then I've driven to Chicago from Indianapolis in the early morning snow to tour his home studio, then slipped on the ice all the way down the street to the Unitarian Church in Oak Park. I've unsuccessfully stalked his singular house in Greenville, SC. I've driven around LA with a "map of famous homes." I've driven all day to see Taliesin in Wisconsin, where I donned booties on my shoes and bumped my head more than a few times on the low egresses and entryways.
A few years ago a friend and I flew to Pittsburg to see the Weakerthans play a show at Mr. Small's Theater in Millvale. The following morning I got dropped off at the airport early. 6 hours early I believe. What could I do to kill some time before my flight?
"Have you ever been to Fallingwater?" the lady at the Hertz desk inquired. "No, wow... how far away is that?" She looked at a map. She looked back at me. "I think you'd have enough time, but you'd need to leave now." 10 minutes later I'm in my 5-hour rental car headed south.
Last Summer, Robyn and I flew up to NY to check out Williamsburg. We've both been talking about moving for a little while now, so we took our friend Tina up on an offer to feed her cats and stay at her place while she was out of town. We loved it. The first night, thanks to the hospitality of my friend Gerald at The Bedford, we drank, and then we drank. And this, coming on the heels of running into my friends from the indie band North Elementary on the street earlier in the day and getting a solid head start at their show.
The next morning came quickly and with a decisiveness that's reserved for people who've decided that vacation drinking doesn't count somehow and need to be reminded of this universal fact that it does in fact count. The first part of the day was a wash, and then the day became a wash, literally, the rain came down in buckets.
"We need to go to the Guggenheim! Frank Lloyd Wright!"
Looking out the window was like staring into a front-loading washing machine filled with hipsters. We grabbed coats. We grabbed umbrellas. We grabbed the L and then the 6. Emerging from the 86th Street Station, the rain showed no signs of letting up. We trudged a few blocks, sloshing from Starbucks to Starbucks, wet socks, wet shoes, wet clothes, until we saw the line to get in. Our hearts sank.
"Around the block in this weather?"
"So it appears."
We stood in line with our umbrellas while we decided where we were going to go instead. But, while we plotted the line moved. Not fast, but just as we'd be ready to give up it would creep another 5 feet towards the door. Another 5 feet towards warm and dry.
Finally, we were in.
"Hi! Welcome to the Guggenheim!" the dry, warm cashier smugly exclaimed, "The Rotunda is closed today but the cafe and a few permanent exhibits are open."