The PopCulteer
December 20, 2019

In this week’s PopCulteer we wrap up our Chicago Photo Essay, and also tell you about a cool Holiday show. This is actually the first PopCulteer that your humble correspondent has put together since December 3, when I prepared all the posts for this blog that ran while I was out of town. To ease yours truly back into things, it’s just a photo essay and a plug for one local event.

First up, we have our photographic trip to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. Located in the former Palace of Fine Arts from the 1893 World Expo, this is a massive, sprawling museum, and our photos probably don’t even show you five percent of the cool stuff you can see there. If you ever have the chance to visit the MS&I, take it. Plan to spend the whole day there, too. We didn’t even make it to the Submarine room before we ran out of time.

I decided that on this trip I wouldn’t knock myself out shooting photos and videos, so I only whipped out the phone for some of the things that immediately impressed me…and my work as a smartphone photographer is sorely lacking, so most of the photos I took were out of focus. While this meant that I was able to enjoy the experience more, it also means I have less material to share with my readers.

I did manage to get a few striking images in a few of the exhibits, so here they are.

The Museum, right before we went in. The place is massive.

Impressive, eh? This is just the entrance way, with the ticket booth and gift shop.

We walked into the Henry Crown Space Center, and I came face-to-face with an actual, space-flown Mercury 7 Space capsule, which was the model for the GI Joe Space capsule I had when I was a kid (and still have now). I was trying to explain to Mel that, for me, this was way bigger than when she met Glenda Jackson.

The entrance to the flight simulator looks like the nose of a Space Shuttle, but reminded me of a scene from the movie, “Airplane.”

A space-used astronaut suit. If I had one, I’d wear it everywhere. Seriously. People would get sick of seeing me in it and say, “Here comes that damned guy in his astronaut suit again!”

One of these days, Mel, to the moon!

I’ll go witcha!

This lovely Apollo * Aurora capsule orbited the moon. As someone who grew up as a huge NASA nerd, I can’t quite convey how amazing it was to see this in person.

I even took a photo from another angle, and they’re both in focus, too!

Their seasonal display had this giant tree, and hundreds of other smaller trees (eight-footers or more) all over the museum.

It was so cool I took another shot from the balcony. This exhibit wraps up January 5.

And then we walked into The Transportation Gallery. I can’t exactly find the words to explain what it’s like walking into a room and finding a full-sized Steam Locomotive, with a Boeing 727, A Stuka, A Spitfire and a Jenny suspended above it, and more amazing vehicles as far as the eye can see.

It looks sort of like this…

This is where I really began to regret not bringing a real camera.

The Great Train Story is a massive HO Scale layout, located at the back of the room with the Locomotive. It recreates Chicago’s Loop District in detail, and is massive enough to leave the Windy City and wind up in Seattle.

One of the many trains on this epic layout (with 1,400 feet of track) is equipped with a camera to give viewers an engineer’s eye view of the layout. It’s shown on a big screen near the layout, but it’d be really cool if they live-streamed it.

When you get to the balcony you get to see the hanging aircraft close-up. This is the upside-down flying Jenny Stunt plane. You can also walk into the 727, and check out even more cool stuff.

Like I said, we really only scratched the surface here. Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry requires repeated visits.


There is one big event this week. The Company Stores will host a holiday show at The Clay Center. Let’s see what they say on their Facebook page…

This year, for their 5th Annual Holiday Show, The Company Stores will be joined by The Opus Chorale of West Virginia, one of the premier chorale groups in the state. Expect a night of fresh, rock opera style arrangements on holiday favorites, as well as the best of their original tunes. This also will be a farewell show, and lead vocalist Casey Litz’s last Charleston performance with The Company Stores. Kicking off the evening is Cleveland’s own funky sextet, Tropidelic, who is no stranger to the area or the Clay Center stage. This event will be a held in the Maier Performance Hall, with full auditorium seating and a Dance Zone in front of the stage.
Ticket seating is first come first serve, so order now to grab the best seats in the house!

Check with The Clay Center to see if there are any tickets left.


And with that, we wrap up this week’s PopCulteer and prepare to jump into the last weekend before Christmas. Check back for our regular features and maybe a few extra treats, and have a great holiday!