A real smooth talker

In the days leading up the official opening of Millennium Park, RedEye sat down--and looked up--to talk with the area's biggest new attraction.

It didn't take long. You're known as "The Bean." Your thoughts?I don't really want to talk about it.

Why? Because "Cloud Gate" sounds like some sort of airline scandal. (Cloud Gate stares ahead, doesn't say anything.)

OK, so do you mind being touched by visitors?I won't lie. I've had intimacy issues. I'm cold steel, not exactly a cuddly bear. But that was long before they applied the shine. I feel like I've lost a lot of weight, and I want to show the world.

How many tons do you weigh?Ah, let's just say 109-ish.

People stare, right? You get a lot of staring?That's what I'm here for. Look at me and see a wonderful reflection. I stare back. Haven't lost a staring contest yet. Try me.

I'll pass. We were told you have a navel. Innie or outie?It's called the omphalos. Climb under and have a look. You tell me.

Maybe later. You've got a nice plot here. The lake is nearby, the skyline is right here. And there's Soldier Field.Is that what that is? I thought it was spaceship.

Yeah, haven't heard that before. You know, you'll likely draw huge crowds in summer but ...Love it. Cool lake breeze, blue skies, sunshine. I LOVE this town, just love it.

Right. I'm sure you do. But what about winter time?I'm not familiar with the term. What's "winter"?

Never mind. Ten years from now will you stand among the Hancock Building and the Daley Plaza Picasso and Mike Ditka's moustache as one of the major Chicago icons?Honestly, I don't think that far ahead. I mean, sure, sometimes you dream about being on a postcard or having your image etched into one of those shot glasses sold at the airport, but I plan to take it one day at a time. Let the people decide.

And the whole "bean" thing doesn't bother you?Did I say that? I didn't say that. Why would you say that I said that? Because I didn't. I never said that.

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