Never Done: I went to Ravinia
When Karen invited me to visit, she actually built the invitation around Rufus Wainwright performing with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at Ravinia. I have never been to Ravinia, although I have many friends who have played there, and certainly friends who have gone to hear music there.
It turns out to be the classiest outdoor music venue I've been at. People picnic on the lawn, under the trees, with actual little tables and tablecloths, and beautiful spreads of wine and cheese whatever else they are eating. Nobody checked our bags to keep out alcohol, because actually, you can bring in as much as you want -- as long as it's an excellent vintage and you drink it out of crystal. OK, not really, but it's sort of the feeling you get.
A diversion: I just came very close to being one of the people to go to Diner en Blanc -- Dinner in White -- a flash mob picnic dinner, where everyone wears white, and brings their own table, dishes, white tablecloth, and picnic, and gets to eat en masse at some beautiful location that is kept secret until just before hand. Due to massive technology failure (and then some pretty poor decisions that followed technology failure) I (and hundreds of other people who actually registered before other people who got in) will not be going. In fact, it was lined up to be my Never Done activity for August 25. (Now I am thinking about organizing a big counter-picnic, Diner en Jaune.) Why do I bring it up? Because Diner en Blanc is all about participants following a set of rules to create a unified aesthetic. And the people at Ravinia knew the rules of picnicking at Ravinia. These weren't people on blankets with sandwiches, no. They knew to bring a little table, and a table cloth for it. They wore pretty hats, they put out bottles of wine, silver, and sometimes even candles. It sort of reminded me of Sunday in the Park on the Island of the Grande Jatte, only different. (Ravinia is not on a river.)
We, however, didn't sit on the lawn. We had had pavilion seats -- comfy seats under an open amphitheater roof, with a view of the stage (which the lawn seats do not have.) The audience was friendly, the music was lush, the evening was still and clear, and I was with my close friends on the last night of vacation. This could be as good as it gets.