Archive for February, 2012

The Chicago Dental Meeting

February 28th, 2012

Since whenever, the Chicago Dental Society (CDS) has been holding their annual conference and trade expo in late February – hence the name ‘MidWinter Meeting’. As in New York, Chicago’s exhibitions were held in a hotel in the old days. That was the Chicago Conrad Hilton, which, for some time, was the largest hotel in the World. The exhibition was famous for its corridors and corners, with booths hidden in the strangest places.  Conference rooms were the hotel rooms upstairs. Yes, strange, but it somehow worked – or at last no one complained.

While the Hilton was being renovated, the expo was switched to the Hyatt on Wacker Drive. Some years later, the McCormick Conference and Exhibition Centre was opened, and since then, that’s where the show has been held.

(Have to add that the Hyatt did retain some fame, even till today: their ‘BIG’ bar, a focal point for all fun-lovers. Renowned for noise, for trumpet-playing barmen, for big windows overlooking the city, and lined with every possible bottle of alcohol).

There is a large conference centre. With multiple lectures etc. being held all the time.

One day before the start of the show, the Dental Trade Alliance (DTA) holds its ‘Preview Show’. That’s where all of its members (mostly manufacturers, but including others, such as Suvison, Infodent and this very Dental Tribune International) have 1 table each, and welcome dealers from all points of the World to view what’s new and have a drink and a chat. It has always proved to be a great meeting place….

But I am digressing. For the highlight of my stay in Chicago was a visit to Crabtree Farm in the little town of Lake Bluff, an hour’s train ride north of Chicago.

You all by now should have noticed that I am a collector of antique English drinking glasses. (It was the English who first put lead in glass and, during the years approx. 1680-1750 monopolised that wonderful world).

(A lovely example of an air-twist…from around 1760)

I won’t clutter your minds – and these pages – with the story leading up to this. For those interested, please contact me directly at Suffice to say that I was introduced to ‘a glass collector’, a gentleman who has a stunning art collection, which includes such a fantastic range of 17th/18th century glasses that an important book has now been written on them by the ex-director of Corning glass museum.

I have been asked to respect this gentleman’s privacy, so suffice to say that the visit to his over 100 year-old Crabtree farm, about an hour’s train-ride from Chicago, was a very special experience for my wife and myself.

To call the following ‘the highlights’ would be to diminish the beauty and importance of just about everything on display. This is just a sampling of the wonderful taste, and the manner in which the artefacts are displayed:

  • A regularly-used indoor tennis court, over 100 years old, surrounded by artistically-cultivated ivy – and radiators all the way round. Outside, what is considered to be the earliest portrayal of a tennis player, from the early 16th century.

  • Mind-boggling furniture, including tables, rugs, desks, cabinets, beds, gas cookers (still in use), lamps, chandeliers…

  • Makepeace furniture (look it up) at/on which we ate sandwiches before departure.

  • A combined manual/automatic Steinway grand piano

  • And a display of more contemporary American arts and crafts, details of which can be found at the Crabtree website.
  • (For those of you have been to Chicago in recent years, you will not have avoided to have been fascinated by the gigantic and fantastic stainless steel bean on Lakeshore Drive. It is a masterpiece of design and a photographer’s fantasy. One wonders how on earth it was constructed. At Crabtree Far, you find out. For, in the garden, you’ll find one of the origin panels used – and here’s me reflected in it).

This was a day to remember, spending time with a very special man – and his wife. Many subjects…but art was the focus, and we were in Heaven.

Smile – Promote your Dentist.

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To Chicago Midwinter via Toronto

February 22nd, 2012

We have friends in Toronto, so if we have to go to the Chicago dental exhibition, why not indeed via one of Canada’s finest cities?

One particular friend, so kindly inviting us to her home for the stay, also booked 2 evenings of very special culture.

The first was a concert at the Royal Conservatory, part of its 125 years celebrations. Wonderful.

Let’s start with the fabulous Koerner Hall. Plenty of images online, but I like showing my own snapshots, legal or not…

The first image is from the stalls, the third is from behind the orchestra, where there are 3 rows of seats. And the middle image is of the extension, across the roof, of the incredible wooden creations, like stretched leaves across the sky, which gives this hall one of the greatest acoustical reputations in the World.

We had the added honour of seeing Leon Fleisher in action. Check this man out on the net. He’s in his early 80s, one of America’s finest musicians. In mid-career, he lost the use of his right hand, and so concentrated on playing pieces specially composed for the left hand – and he started conducting, teaching and becoming known as one of music’s finest spokespersons. More recently, new medicines have helped him play 2-handed again, although last night, he played Prokoviev’s Concerto for Left Hand – then conducted the brilliant young musicians playing Beethoven’s 7th. Very special.

I met the man later (see below). I asked him whether music for the left hand can be played by musicians with just the right hand. ‘Of course no’ was his reply, and I accepted that, because hands are built differently from left to right and vice versa. But I wondered about this later. Yes, the thumb is certainly in a different category to the pinky. But if trained correctly, surely just about anything is possible.

For instance, I eyed the many violins and violas, and all played right-handed (despite surely some of whom were lefties). Can anyone enlighten me?

Our second evening of culture was seeing the Canadian Opera Company’s production of ‘Love from Afar’, by the Finnish composer, Kaija Saariaho. I think, unless I’m mistaken, that this is the first opera I have seen by a female composer. And I’m going to go out on a limb here, risking the departure of all my female readers, by saying that I hope this is the last opera I shall see by a female composer.

Visually, it was stunning (these images from Google):

The story is as banal as many operas. The singing was excellent – only 3 roles, baritone, soprano and mezzo. But the music….especially with jet-lag still in effect.

OK, been there, done it. No one can accuse me of being critical of that which I have not experienced..

The Four Seasons Hall is also an architectural speciality…

The ‘atrium’ effect is terrific, and again, as in the Koerner Hall above, an abundance of beautiful wooden effects. And glass. I love glass. I collect and write about glass. So to see people’s soles above us in the opera foyer was OK.

A lot of culture in Toronto.

Smile – Promote your dentist.

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Dental Israel

February 1st, 2012

Israel’s a place you must come and visit, and it’s connections to the dental world are not ignored.

Above is a very important image. It shows Johnny and Phillip in a marzipan mouth. And you can find it at the Marzipan Museum in Kfar Tabor. This is one of the 3 villages, this one Jewish the other 2 Arab, located on Mount Tabor, famous for being the location of the Transformation of Jesus Christ and also the site of the battle between Barak and the army of Jabin, commanded by Sisera during the leadership of the Israelite judge Deborah in the mid 14th century BCE. (Thanks, Wiki-P).

Dental people are usually fascinated by Israel. Jörg and Johannah Marchesani are spending a week here. Jörg is now semi-retired; he was the owner of the Willvonseder & Marchesani company in Vienna/Austria, which was, among other things, the agent for the Oral B line.

Here are the Marchesanis at Belvoir Fort, one of the 14 Crusader forts in Israel, and one of the best-preserved. The following is from Wikipedia:

“The Knights Hospitaller purchased the site from Velos, a French nobleman, in 1168. Standing 500 metres (1,600 ft) above the Jordan River Valley, the plateau commanded the route from Gilead into the Kingdom of Jerusalem and a nearby river crossing.[2] To the north was the Sea of Galilee and west were hills.”

We then visited Yardenit, where John baptised so many, and where, today, so many wish to be baptised. This picture shows some nuns feeding the ever-present and very friendly sea rats who share the limelight with the ceremonies.

And the following (I think great) image is of our Austrian couple lost in the Winter mist while walking on Mount Herzl, site of the graves of Israel’s past-leaders: Lea and Itzhak Rabin, Golda Meir, Levi Eshkol and the man himself.

So a place to see…


Smile – Promote Your Dentist

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