London House Noir
Those who have spent anytime reviewing my portfolio know that I use Photoshop/ACR to process photographs, with some dodging and burning, and layer adjustments. I am not a big fan of substituting skies or art filters. Once or twice a year, however, I do decide to have a little fun. This photograph reminded me of some charcoal prints that were on display in my grandparent's home back in the Sixties, so I decided to go for it.
It was shot from the third floor outdoor bar at the Chicago Loews Hotel in Streeterville, looking southwest to the famed London Guarantee & Accident Building on the south shore of the Chicago River at the intersection of Michigan and Wacker. The bar, dubbed Streeterville Social, is a nice place to hang on a warm summer night. We visited it after seeing Kathryn Bigelow's outstanding film, Detroit, at the nearby cineplex. We were seated on a coach under a large umbrella. The corn, pepper and mushroom flatbread, mussels, and watermelon feta salad were all excellent, as was the margarita.
Pictured in the center of the photograph is the London Guarantee and Accident building, designed by Alfred S. Alschuler. It was completed in 1923. Jazz fans will remember the building as the site of the London House, a jazz club that featured such notables as Bill Evans, Tommy Flanagan, Herbie Hancock, Coleman Hawkins, Earl Hines, Marian McPartland, Oscar Peterson, Bobby Short, Sarah Vaughn, Teddy Wilson, and Chicago's very own star pianists, Ahmad Jamal and Ramsey Lewis. The club opened in the Fifties and closed in the early Seventies. The fourth floor of the building also served as the site of Paul Harvey's syndicated radio show from the Sixties to the Eighties.
The top bears a resemblance to the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, Greece, which is appropriate because the patron behind that monument was a patron of musical performances in the Theatre of Dionysus (source Wikipedia).
The building is now connected to a 22-story newly constructed sliver building, which, together with most of the London Guarantee building, opened as the London House Hotel in 2016. The new building was designed by Goettsch Partners.