See the 75 minute “Short Shakespeare! Macbeth” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Saturday at 11:00 a.m., Feb. 16. It will continue Saturdays through March 16, 2019. Chicago Shakespeare Theater is on Navy Pier, 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. For tickets and more information visit ChicagoShakes/Macbeth.
Dr. Seuss’ creative genius is on stage at the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences Feb. 16 at 10 a.m. The show continues through March 31, 2019. The theatre is at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire. Created by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (the Tony Award-winning team behind the acclaimed musicals Ragtime and Once on this Island), the production combines more than 14 Dr. Seuss stories. For tickets or more information call (847) 634-0200 or visit Marriott Theatre.
Chicago Botanic Garden holds Story Time for ages 2 to 5 on Mondays through March 25, 2019, including Presidents’ Day March18. Story Time goes from 10 to 11 a.m. in Lenhardt Library. Afterwards, get a bingo card to go find objecgts in the garden and greenhouses. No drop offs.A caregiver must be present. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, just east of the Edens Expressway. For more information visit Chicago Botanic or Story Time.
Go to the Chicago Museum Campus. All three of the museums on the Campus, the Adler Planetarium, Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, have free general admission for Illinois residents on Feb. 18, 2019. (Free days’ general admission does not include special exhibits and shows.)
The Adler Planetarium is at the far east end of the Museum Campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr. General admission is free to Illinois residents Feb. 18-21. For more information on what to see and admissions visit Adler Planetarium .
At the Field, all of February is free to Illinois residents. There is a lot to see that does not require a special exhibit ticket. The Field is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. at the west end of the campus. For more information visit Field Free.
Go as a couple or go as friends but just do something appealing. Either way works if you want to share good food or a really nice experience. Our three suggestions combine food with a fun evening.
Dinner and a Show
Three Embers, Lincolnshire Marriott’s upscale restaurant has a Valentine’s Day Dinner Special but you can also order off the regular menu. However, go early to include “Million Dollar Quartet,” the show currently getting rave reviews in the resort’s theatre. It’s more than just a show. It’s a terrific concert.
Expect chocolate to be part of the meal at The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee. You can have chocolate bread, chocolate butter and a chocolate dessert if you’d like, but also get a box of zodiac chocolates from the boutique up front. The restaurant has a special menu for Valentine’s Day but you can also order from the menu. If you want you can go early for dinner and stay for the entertainment, “Eaglemania.” Ask about a dinner and show package price or when it’s best to go just for dinner.
Navy Pier has free Centennial wheel rides Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. but pre-registration is needed. Don’t worry about the cold, you can cuddle but the gondolas are also heated. There will also be a drawing that combines dinner, dessert and gift basket. Free rides are limited so register as soon as possible. After the free tickets are gone there will be paid ticket rides on a first come, first serve basis.For information on reserved VIP gondolas call (312) 595-5021. (Note: The wheel temporarily closes when weather gets really bad)
To enter the dinner for two and other Valentine Day gift drawing, complete this form. After the Pier has preselected three finalists, he grand prize winning couple will be chosen by public votes via poll on Navy Pier’s Facebook page. Runner-ups will also receive a small package to be redeemed at a later date.
Several other Navy Pier retailers and restaurants will offer discounts. For more information visit Navy Pier Valentines Day .
For more wheel information call (312) 595-PIER (7437) and visit Navy Pier.
312-595-PIER (7437) or following Navy Pier on Twitter (@NavyPier). For more information, visit Navy Pier.
If you have a Chinese restaurant near you it is likely decorated for the Chinese New Year and offering a special menu. During the Chinese New Year celebrations Feb. 4 through Feb. 17, 2019.
Go. Enjoy. And look at the paper placemat that might be at your place setting because it likely has the Chinese Zodiac on it or information that this is the Year of the Pig.
Then, if looking for something special to eat or do here are some suggestions.
The Furama Restaurant in the Uptown Argyle neighborhood is holding the Lunar New Year Celebration for the South-East Asia Center at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 2019. The special event features entertainment and a 10-course traditional, Chinese-style banquet of seafood chowder, taro duck, roast chicken, walnut shrimp, mushrooms, vegetables, noodles with beef and broccoli, plus dessert. Cost $25.
Entertainment will be cross-cultural music and other performances representing Asian and non-Asian cultures because the South-East Asia Center strives to “Build Bridges” of understanding between all cultures. For reservations visit SE Asia Center New Year. Furama Restaurant is at 4936 N. Broadway at Argyle.
Hing Kee Restaurant holds its annual New Year Dumpling Making Dinner at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, 2019. The event includes storytelling, Lion Dance, dumpling making and a 10-course, traditional Chinese meal. Cost is $40 adults, $35 children under age 12. Call (312) 842-1988 or visit Chinese New Year Dumpling Making Dinner Eventbrite.
Hing Kee Restaurant is at 2140 S. Archer Ave., 2nd floor. For more Chinese cultural information visit ChicagoCCI .
Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a Chinese New Year themed afternoon tea in The lobby at the Peninsula Chicago Feb . 4-10. There will be a Lion Dance show. For tea reservations call (312) 573-6695 or visit Peninsula Chinese New Year. The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. at Michigan Avenue.
Two shopping centers, Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, and The Shops at Northbridge, Chicago, will be handing out Chinese New Year-style red envelopes with special store offers Feb. 2-17, 2019.
At Fashion Outlets go to Concierge Services on Level 1 near Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH for an envelope containing : Year of the Pig Savings Pass that provides up to $800 in savings and a complimentary bag. For more information visit Fashion Outlets of Chicago . Fashion Outlets is at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont.
At the Shops at North Bridge go to Concierge Servies on Level One near Nordstrom for the red envelope. In addition, North Bridge visitors can see the Huaxing Arts Troupe and visit activity booths from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. The Shops at North Bridge is at 520 N. Michigan Ave. For more information visit Shops at North Bridge.
If the new year that began Jan. 1, 2019 didn’t bring much luck so far or you really enjoy celebrating a new year, join in the fun and good luck of Chinese New Year 4717 that begins on Feb. 4.
Chicago celebrations kick off with a pre-New Year’s celebration Downtown Feb. 2, continue Feb. 5 and beyond until they end Feb. 16. However, Chinese New Year celebrations do go from Feb. 4 through Feb. 17 and end in some places with a Lantern Festival.
There is a lot going on in the city to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac’s lunar year sign – the Year of the Pig.
Also known as the Spring Festival, this Lunar Festival (there are others, particularly in Asia,) begins the eve before the first day and is often a time for families to get together.
Think “new moon” to know when it begins. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, 2019. This year, the new moon is Feb. 4, 2019.
Head over to the Art Institute at 111 S. Michigan Ave. on Feb. 2 for music, crafts, stories, games and some talks in English and Mandarin about the museum’s Chinese art collection from 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Then, cross Monroe Street to Millennium Park and the Lurie Gardens for more activities. A Lantern Procession will line up about 5 p.m. and wind with a lion dance over to Maggie Daley Park about 5:30. Crafts and ice skating take place there until 7:30 p.m. The event is a partnership of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Choose Chicago.
Celebrate the Year of the Pig with the Chinese Fine Arts Society at noon Feb. 5 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Watch lion dancers, Silk Road pipa master Yang Wei, martial arts and the Flying Fairies dance troupe. A special feature will be the China National Peking Opera Company including a sneak peak of comedic and acrobatic “At the Crossroads,” a famous opera based on a story from Water Margin.
The event is co-sponsored with Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Preston Bradley Hall is up the south stairs of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E Washington St Chicago Find more information at (773) 935-6169
Join Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood festivities Feb. 9 for the Chinese New Year parade of dragons, lions and floats. It starts at 1 p.m. at Argyle and Winthrop near the Argyle “L” stop then goes east on Argyle Street to Sheridan Road, south to Ainslie Street, west to Broadway and then back to Argyle.
At the Apple store on north Michigan Avenue there will be Music Lab of Chinese Instruments with Yang Wei, artist-in-residence at Chinese fine arts society on Feb. 9. The event, running from 1 to 3:30 p.m. also includes hands-on GarageBand on the iPad for the digital version and Sound-of- Wishes Ensemble. Plus, calligrapher Yijun Hu will draws to the music on an iPad. Apple is at 401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade attracts thousands of folks from all over the Chicago area. The celebration takes place at Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street in the heart of Chinatown from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb 10. Cosponsors are the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation and Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Symphony Center’s fifth annual concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 10. The event features the China National Peking Opera Company and the Hubei Chime Bells National Chinese Orchestra. This is a ticketed program.
A pre-concert performance is in Buntrock Hall at 1:30 p.m. featuring the Dong Fang Performing Arts Association, Yellow River Performing Arts and the Chicago Chinese Qipao Association. These performances are free to ticket holders of the 3 p.m. concert. Orchestra Hall is at, 220 S. Michigan Ave.
Navy Pier celebrates the Chinese New Year with colorful performances and crafts and food booths in its AON Grand Ballroom, Feb. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Performing are the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, pipa master Yang Wei, Mongolian throat singer Tamir Hargana, the Flying Fairies dance troupe, Beidou Kung Fu, Zhong Hua Kung Fu plus traditional Chinese music by the Eight Tones Chinese Instrument Ensemble, Cheng Da Drum Team and others from Chicago’s Chinese community.
The Chinese Marketplace opens at 12:30 p.m. Performances are at 1 P.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.
Two shows that are completely different but always brighten February winter days and nights are the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place and the Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Both start the second weekend in February.
It’s understandable that the Chicago Auto Show has to be held at McCormick Place. It is the largest of its kind in North America. That means there is space to space to show off new cars, experimental cars, antique cars and accessories and to test drive some cars (different makes on different days. Visit Interactive Displays to learn about the test tracks.
Details: The Auto show runs from Feb 9 to Feb. 18, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. except closes at 8 p.m. Feb. 18. Admission is $13 adults, $7 age 62 and older and ages 7-12 and free to age 6 and younger if accompanied by an adult family member. McCormick Place is at 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago.
Go at night after work. Go in the morning to take photos. Go to get orchid advice from experts. And go to buy an orchid. But for sure go to be surrounded by more than 10,00 orchids hanging from trees in the greenhouses and lining the rooms and corridors of the Regenstein Center.
The theme this year is “In the Tropics.” So let orchids transport you to South Pacific islands or the Amazon’s rain forests. Bromeliads and birds of paradise add color to the show’s lush landscape.
Details: The CBG Orchid Show runs from Feb. 9 through March 24. Garden admission is free but there is a parking fee. The show’s cost is Adults $12 (members $10), ages 3-12 $10 (members hildren $8). The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. For tickets and other information call call (847) 835-5440 or visit CBG.
Maybe you knew that Dec. 24, 2018 was the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, the first manned mission to the moon. Instead of watching the moon rise from earth, Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and William Anders saw the earth rising from the lunar orbit, photographed it and did a live broadcast.
“The vast loneliness is awe-inspiring and it makes you realize just what you have back there on Earth,” Lovell said. It was Christmas Eve. The crew ended the broadcast reading from Genesis.
Almost 50 years from that memorable date, the Adler Planetarium’s own crew, that of astronomers and other staff members, were considering what they could do to not just mark the Apollo 8 crew’s occasion, which they did with a program that included Lovell, but also put it into perspective with a program that wasn’t just one day or week long.
The result is “Imagine the Moon,” a fun and exciting half-hour movie in the Grainger Sky Theater that includes Apollo 8’s earth-rising moments, the Apollo 11 landing with Neil Armstrong’s famed first words and a lot of literary and historic views of this orb that is Earth’s night light.
“We wanted the audience to reconsider the Moon as an object in the sky. It is something we might notice but not really pay attention to, but our hope is that the audience will pay attention to it the next time they see it, be awed by it, and be inspired to consider what else they might have taken for granted in the sky,” said Adler Presentation Leader, Nicholas Lake, the movie’s writer.
Among the interesting thoughts about the moon and even how to reach it that the show considers are mythological and early astronomical associations plus literary references and wishful attempts such as the use of a bullet and cannon.
Indeed, Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon 1865 novel told of a Baltimore gun club’s idea to build a Columbiad space gun to send the club’s president and two others to the moon.
Beautifully illustrated, the show’s imagery was produced by Adler Director Patrick McPike and project animators using material from the Adler collection, the European Southern Observatory and such institutions as Harvard, New York University, and the Smithsonian.
So, go. Sit back in the theater as far as you can, look up and enjoy.
For ticket and other show information visit Adler Imagine the Moon or call (312) 922-7827. To see some of the stories in the show scroll down to exhibition.
The Adler Planetarium is at 1300 Lake Shore Drive at the far east end of the Museum Campus.
Depending on your generational reference, the word “puppet” may elicit memories of Shari Lewis’ adorable Lamb Chop or the stage-managing Kermit the Frog of “The Muppets Show.”
But puppetry actually is an ancient tradition of storytelling that is rooted in diverse global cultures. More recently, technical and creative innovations have launched the art to new heights of theatrical expression.
The 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival celebrates this renaissance through Jan. 27. More than 100 performances of 24 shows and events are being given at 19 Chicago venues by professional puppeteers from 11 countries.
The 2019 edition of the biennial Festival showcases an entertaining and eclectic array of experiences and cultures from around the world. A wide range of puppet styles and approaches are presented including marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, paper scrolls and even anthropomorphized plastic shopping bags.
Some of the productions are lighthearted and family-friendly, while others are dramatic or political. Some incorporate dance, song, multimedia, live music, kites–or total silence. All are thought-provoking and moving examples of the power of puppetry to foster compassion and spark insight into lives beyond our own..
A few of the shows that are coming up
“Pescador/Fishermen” by Silencio Blanco of Chile is a series of quiet portraits of men at sea. Engrossed in their solitary work, fishermen absorb nature’s overwhelming immensity.
In “Suspended Animation,” the stunning Huber Marionettes from Cookeville, Tenn., dance, play musical instruments and perform complex acrobatic tricks.
“Schweinehund” is inspired by the true story of Pierre Seel, a Frenchman deported to a concentration camp in 1941 on suspicion of homesexuality. Performed on a wooden table, skeletal puppets interact with projected video-animations evoking powerful snapshots of the atrocities Seel endured juxtaposed with wistful memories of yesteryears. It was produced by puppeteers Andy Gaukel of New York and Myriame Larose of Montreal.
This year’s schedule also includes the Neighborhood Festival Tour, a series of 12 free performances by Italian and Puerto Rican puppeteers.
The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was formed in 2014 to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry. Founder and artistic director Blair Thomas, known for his work in spectacle theater, previously co-founded the now-defunct Redmoon Theater.
DETAILS: The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival runs in various city theaters and venues through Jan. 27. For tickets and a full schedule, visit ChicagoPuppetFest.
Pamela Dittmer McKuen
(Ed note: McKuen saw the first show, “Ajijaak on Turtle Island” but because it isn’t on the continuing agenda, she didn’t write a review for readers who might want to go. However she said she would have given it our top rating of 4 stars.)
Don’t let Chicago’s Brr-rated temps keep you from going out when you could be enjoying beach and equator-like weather and fun. One of the places you can shed coats, hats and gloves and sit in a deck chair is The Beach at Navy Pier. The other place envelopes you in tropical warmth and greenery at The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.
You know you experience is going to be interesting when one of the rules to enter The Beach is to empty pockets of keys, jewelry, phones and fit-bits because they can be lost, not in the sand but in an ocean of a million plastic balls.
Play, relax and watch youngsters uninhibitedly dive because this ocean is safe. BTW, no shoes allowed so wear fun socks.
Designed by Snarkitecture founder Daniel Arsham and his crew, The Beach is a fun architectural installation that has gone into an arena in Tampa, a national museum with a large lobby in Washington D.C. and now, the large ballroom at Navy Pier.
Opened Jan. 19 and going through Feb. 3, 2019, The Beach is just in time to counteract Chicago’s icy winds.
But check rules ahead of time for dos and don’ts such as no strollers, eating or drinking or throwing the balls and do use self-service lockers for valuables.
Presented by Navy Pier and Expo Chicago, entry to The Beach is free. For parking fees and locations and public transportation check Navy Pier. To see the Tampa installation visit Youtube TampaBeach. To learn more about the beach installation visit Snarkitecture. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. For more information call 1-800 595-PIER (7437) and visit The Beach Chicago.
Escape to temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the Semitropical Greenhouse surrounded by ferns, delightful gardenia and bougainvillea. Look for penguins and cranes. They won’t waddle or fly off. The Semitropical Greenhouse has topiaries around each corner.
Then feel the warmth of the Tropical Greenhouse and breathe in its wonderfully moist air. Look for cocoa pods on the “chocolate tree,” orchids growing on the Botanic Garden’s constructed trees and bromeliads hanging from other constructions. Look for the large leaves and maroon-colored flowers of the banana plants.
Go from moist to dry climates in the Arid Greenhouse. Daytime here is really warm between 80 and 90 degrees but when the sun goes down these plants like cold so the temperature drops to half that. Look for interesting cacti shapes but don’t touch. Many of these plants are prickly.
Entry to to Chicago Botanic Garden is free. For parking fees and public transportation suggestions (about half a mile from the Braeside Metra stop) visit Chicago Botanic. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For more information call (847) 835-5440.
Just as many Chicago restaurants are offering special prices and deals during Restaurant Week Jan. 25-Feb. 7, 2019, several Chicago theater companies will have particularly low ticket prices for shows the following week, Feb. 7 to Feb.17. ( BTW don’t be bothered that some companies spell theater the old-fashioned and British way of theater and others spell it theatre).
Ranging from $15 to $30 a ticket, Theatre Week deals are too good to pass up. The catch is that there are a limited number of tickets at the bargain price so theater-goers in the know snap them up ahead of time.
Of the Chicago area’s 250 theater companies, about 120 are participating with their current productions. A sampling includes Goodman Theatre’s “How to Catch Creation,” Paramount Theatre’s “The Producers,” Windy City Playhouse’s “Noises Off,” Shattered Globe Theatre with Theater Wit’s, “The Realistic Joneses” and Steppenwolf’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2.”
To see what shows are available at what discount price during Chicago Theatre Week visit, Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism site. Choose Chicago is working with the League of Chicago Theatres (also known as ChicagoPlays).