More Than Meets the Eye


Walking down the street this week, I see this:

Bus stop shelter with broken roof and twisted back

“Wow,” I think. “What on earth happened to that poor bus stop?”

Behind the battered shelters is a lot with some car parts and torn up pieces of asphalt. Some men are milling around. I don’t think much of it…an empty lot in the middle of the city, I guess the industrial trash has to go somewhere, might as well be here. But the piece of asphalt draws my attention back to it. It’s almost pretty. Torn up and just a piece of road, true, but the way that the jack hammer cut through it and the way that it exploded up kind of make it look like a piece of modern art.

What a silly train of thought. I move on.

Day two, I walk past the same lot. This time, someone has her phone out and is taking a picture. That’s odd. Then I see what she’s taking a picture of: a crane in the lot is moving a beautiful marble building facade. There’s a face carved into what looks like part of a turret. I can see why she’s taking a picture. They certainly don’t make ’em like that any more…and I’m suddenly sad that the building, whichever one it was, is being destroyed. I hope that they’re keeping the facade to use again.

As the crane continues to lift, the facade turn slightly…just enough for me to see the plywood backing.


This is the Transformers 3 set lot. Helicopters have been flying low when I’m at work. Michigan Avenue has apparently been destroyed by robo-battle. I feel like a dork for thinking the set pieces were real.

I hurry on my way, but complete my dorkiness by making sure I walk past the lot again the next day and I whip out my own camera phone.

Building facade and destroyed roadway

More destroyed roadway and building

I love recognizing places in movies and TV shows. The Dark Knight? You know that scene from the preview, where Batman drives his motorcycle down the street and swings it around to face the Joker, who is walking away from the flaming debris of a bus? I mostly remember “What a great view of LaSalle and the Board of Trade!”

ER? Those outside scenes drove me crazy. Why on earth would they choose that El stop? You can’t say you’re going to the red line then walk up stairs.

There’s a Scottish film called My Name is Joe (very good and very depressing). I was over in Scotland when it first came out and saw it in the theater. During an intense scene, I’m thinking: hey, that’s Glasgow’s Botanic Gardens! I was just there! How cool..oh, wait, not the time in the movie to be excited. Be sad, be sad, be sad.

So, all this is to say that I’ve never seen the Transformer movies and I never really planned to, but now I’m curious…if only for the location/set watching.

What does this have to do with writing? Nothing really. I suppose I could stretch it and give some lecture on making the sense of place real. But, nah.

PS. The modern art sculpture/destroyed street is actually signed. Sorry, didn’t get a photo of that.


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