Actor Robert De Niro in 'Taxi Driver'
You Looking at Me?

In 1975, the journalistic lensman Steve Schapiro was invited by Robert DeNiro to become the exclusive on-set photographer for Scorsese’s Taxi Driver, and given unprecedented behind-the-scenes access to Jodie, Marty, and Bob, as well as the production. He’d taken on the same role four years earlier when he was hired by Paramount to chronicle the making of The Godfather, as the film’s special photographer. Catherine Edelman has combined images from both heady cinematic experiences for a powerful show at her River North gallery, opening tomorrow with an artist’s reception from 5–7 p.m. and running through April 30. All images are available in three sizes and in small editions, and they range in price from $1,600 to $5,500. These are a couple of my favorite flicks, Edelman is one of my favorite Chicago galleries, and it’s Schapiro’s first solo show in Chicago, so this is an offering I recommend you don’t refuse.

A sleeper sofa from Blu Dot

Sing for Your Sofa

As Blu Dot says in its mission statement, the Minneapolis-based modern furniture company’s goal “is to bring good design to as many people as possible,” and in true practice-what-you-preach fashion, it’s throwing a virtual swap meet. The puckish Dotters are inviting barter offers of services, talents, objects, and collections, which they have posted online and opened for comments. Choose a specific piece of furniture and tell them what you’ll be willing to do/give/make/donate for it; they’ll either accept it, turn it down, or make a counteroffer, and if you are successful they will ship the goods prepaid once you’ve done the deed. Get creative—someone is getting this sleeper sofa once he films himself busting out the worm move in 25 random public locations. Blu Dot has also agreed to trade pieces of furniture for a full-sized popsicle-stick motorcycle, a year of weekly Sunday phone calls, cookies, and socks and undies at Christmas from someone’s mom, 130 ideas from an industrial designer, and a collection of 34 lovingly collected sporks. As of yet, the company is on the fence about offers of an entire day of air guitar, a man who’ll dress in Victorian garb and insult your enemy, and naming rights to the main character in a young-adult novel. Sorry for the late notice, but the deadline is midnight, March 11 (hop to it!). Of course, if you miss the deadline or can’t come up with anything to trade, you can always pick up Blu Dot furniture for plain old cash at local retailers ID, @Work Design, Home & Office Solutions, and EuroFurniture.

Patrons at the Chicago Flower & Garden show

Fading Flower Show

Chicago is melting down and heating up faster than Charlie Sheen, and before you know it it’ll be time to start gussying up your gardens and outdoor spaces. There are a few more days left to explore the Chicago Flower & Garden show at Navy Pier, as it is continuing through March 13. It’s a nice source of horticultural heads-up inspiration and a colorful getaway for a couple of hours. Smells great, too. Friday night they’re having a Mix & Mingle cocktail party from 5–8 with live music, food, and a cash bar. Tickets are $13, which is the regular admission price for the show (but check Goldstar ticket discounters before you go—they’ve had half-price offers up, and I’m told it’s likely there will be more).

A sculpture of an eagle on an Andersonville building

Bring Your A Game

The Edgewater Historical Society has launched an Andersonville scavenger hunt, only instead of trying to collect coinage from your date of birth or persuading a ginger to give you a lock of hair, they’ve got us searching for 15 architectural details from buildings in the neighborhood. Download the brochure here, or pick one up at the society (there’s a reception for a historical district exhibition tomorrow from 6–9 p.m. that might be a convenient time to grab one) and start searching for dentils, medallions, and pediments. It looks tough, but entries aren’t due until May 29. Truth be told, the prizes at stake aren’t likely to induce heart palpitations (tote bags from the Eco-Anderson Re-bag project and recycled journals from GreenSky), but the hunt might be a fun thing to occupy kids while their guardians check out Larry Vodak’s latest at Scout, or shop for wallpaper and paint at the new Thybony.

A stove at the Sub-Zero and Wolf showroom

Chilling at the Mart

There’s always something cooking at the Merchandise Mart, with an expanding LuxeHome (which has always been open to the public), new showrooms on the upper floors, and a freshly democratic approach that welcomes laymen to the formerly trade-only businesses on these floors. (If you’re confused about the new rules and regs for shopping the Mart, there is a concise, clear article in the current issue of Chicago magazine, “Demystifying the Mart,” that is also available here. One of the newest kids on the block is the Sub-Zero and Wolf showroom, purveyors of sleekly modern kitchen appliances and hi-tech refridgeration systems. It’s located on the first floor, LuxeHome, in suite 134, and now open for show-biz.