Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

It starts with the Bean, really. If it weren’t for the obligation to haul out-of-town visitors to Millennium Park so they can gawk at fun-house-mirror versions of themselves and the surrounding downtown, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to lead them ten yards east to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, place my elbow on its western sill, and act like I know what’s what about the outdoor venue’s state-of-the-art acoustics system. Dreamed up by Frank Gehry, the Pavilion is designed to distribute sound evenly across a spider web of suspended speakers, so that those lounging on the lawn, glasses of Malbec in hand, can enjoy the same aural experience as those sitting fifth row center—or something like that. It’s like you’re in a concert hall but you’re not; the sound system blocks out the city noise, and the cellist onstage will be able to clearly hear cues from the bassoonist. But never mind all that—check out the collection of metallic tufts peeling back from atop the pavilion. Doesn’t it kind of look like a Decepticon, midtransformation?