Grinning scarecrows and pumpkins are out and about

Instead of looking for them in farmers’ fields, look for scarecrows and pumpkins at three fun-for-all-ages festivals where you can make or carve an inspired personality. The festivals are happening Oct. 6-8, 2017.

Highwood, a North Shore town, is holding its now nationally famous Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival. St. Charles, west of Chicago, has its 32nd Annual Scarecrow Fest. The Chalet Nursery, a fun place to find holiday items and indoor/outdoor décor pieces near Edens Expressway, is doing its annual scarecrow-making festival.

Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival has thousands of lit pumpkins at night and fun activities during the day. (Highwood photo)
Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival has thousands of lit pumpkins at night and fun activities during the day. (Highwood photo)

Great Highwood Pumpkin Festival

You’ll never see as many pumpkins and different pumpkin faces as in Highwood, IL this weekend. The tiny (little over a square mile) city tucked between Highland Park and Lake Forest, has been trying to break the Guiness World record of 30,851 carved pumpkins for the past few years. The streets on the east side of METRA’s Union Pacific North Line tracks are edged with tall, metal pumpkin stands where lit pumpkins cunningly grin at visitors at night. Festival doings day and night range from pie eating and costume contests to hay, pony and camel rides. There is also a Super Hero walk-run to honor a Make-A Wish child plus pumpkin carving, entertainment, food, tricks and treats.

A $3 per day or $5 for the weekend admission charge benefits the Make A Wish Foundation. Last year the festival raised $60,000. But also go just because the event is fun.

Some events need registering. For the Fun Walk/Run click here. For the entertainment and full event times and other registrations visit schedule. Hours are Friday 4 to 10, Sat. 9 a.m Fun Walk/Run and general opening 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 9 p.m,  847-668-1213

Best plan is take the train because parking will be scarce. Or go north to Old Elm Road then east to Sheridan road and back south to Hotel Moraine at 700 Sheridan Road where a shuttle will take visitors to the festival.

St. Charles Scarecrow Fest

More than 100 scarecrows will populate St. Charles Oct. 6 through Oct. 8.

Make your own scarecrow at the St. Charles Scarecrow Festival or at the Chalet Nursery in Wilmette. (Jodie Jacobs photo taken at the Chalet)
Make your own scarecrow at the St. Charles Scarecrow Festival or at the Chalet Nursery in Wilmette. (Jodie Jacobs photo taken at the Chalet)

The event also includes, Arts & Crafts show, vintage autos, entertainment, pumpkin displays, make-you-own scarecrow stations, pumpkin carving and food. Most events are free. The festival is divided into sponsored activity zones along Main Street (Hwy 64) between Fifth and Third Streets east of the Fox River and just south of Main Street across the river.

Hours: Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more activity information download the detailed map pdf by visiting brochure.

Chalet Nursery Scarecrow Festival

The Chalet Nursery and Garden Center  has lots of Halloween decor plus visitrs can make their own scarecrow. All that is needed is to bring the scarecrow’s clothes because the Chalet will provide a head and straw. Hours: Oct. 7-8,  11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Chalet is at 3132 Lake Ave, Wilmette across from Edens Plaza. For more information call (847) 256-0561 and for general Chalet information visit Nursery.

 

Around Town: Labor Day Weekend

If  you don’t want to compete with other drivers going out of town Labor Day, take advantage of the long weekend to visit events and places in the Chicago area.

Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico, is under the Big top next to the United Center now through sept. 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.
Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico, is under the Big top next to the United Center now through Sept. 3, 2017. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Cirque du Soleil

“Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico” will leave Chicago after this weekend. The final performance is Sept. 3. An amazing mix of color and culture, the show is under a tent at the United Center in Parking Lot K. For tickets and other information visit Cirque du Soleil Luzia.

Chicago Jazz Festival

Enjoy great music to sway and tap to under the stars in Millennium Park or surrounded by wonderful mosaics in the Chicago Cultural Center at the Chicago Jazz Festival this weekend. Admission is free. Millennium Park stages (201 E. Randolph St.) host music from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. For Cultural Center, (78 E. Washington St.) times and for who is playing where and when visit ChicagoJazzFestival.

Chicago Jazz Festival is in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center Labor Day Weekend. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Chicago Jazz Festival is in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center Labor Day Weekend. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Art Fair on the Square

Wander around historic Market Square downtown Lake Forest Sept. 3 or 4 to see 180 exhibitors at Art Fair on the Square. Sponsored by the Deer Path Art League, hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Admission is free.
For directions and more information visit Deer Path Art League.

Gauguin

Catch the Gauguin exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago before it leaves. It is an exceptional show of Paul Gauguin’s sculptures, ceramics, paintings and etchings, but it ends Sept. 10 so try to fit it in during the long Labor Day Weekend. The exhibit is so popular it requires tickets. They’re included in admission price but they are date sensitive. For information and tickets visit ARTIC.

Paul Gauguin, "Self Image with Yellow Christ." Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Paul Gauguin, “Self Image with Yellow Christ.” Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Breakfast and hike

Go to Morton Arboretum for waffles, eggs and other yummy treats in the Ginko Garden Restaurant, Saturday or Sunday.  Then, hike the trails to work it off. The weather is supposed to be perfect for exploring the Arboretum, 4100 IL Hwy 53, Lisle. For more information or restaurant reservations call (630) 968-0074 and visit Morton Arb.

Hear UB40 or Aretha Franklin

Picnic on the lawn at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park where UB40 performs Sept. 2 and Aretha Franklin gets respect Sept. 3. The UB40 concert is 7:30 p.m. Aretha Franklin, original scheduled for June 17, also starts at 7:30. Original tickets will be honored. Ravinia Festival is at 418 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park. For directions, parking, tickets and other information visit Ravinia.

Enjoy the weekend and be safe.

Art Shows to put on the calendar

 

Even though summer activities are winding down some of the best art shows in the Chicago area are yet to come.

Port Clinton Art Festival attracts top artists to the annual Highland Park fair. Jodie Jacobs photos
Port Clinton Art Festival attracts top artists to the annual Highland Park fair. Jodie Jacobs photos

The first three festivals listed here are at the end of August. They mark the end of summer for their communities just as Labor Day Weekend festivals  signal the beginning of fall.

September 16-17 is particularly a popular art festival weekend. The top one that weekend is ACE, The American Craft Exposition. Some folks may recall it used to be on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus then moved over to the Botanic Garden a couple of years ago. It is ticketed but the proceeds benefit NorthShore University HealthSystem research.

 

Aug. 26 & 27 Oak Park

The suburb of Oak Park, just west of Chicago is holding its Oak Park Avenue-Lake Arts Crafts Show in Scoville Park at Oak Park Ave and Lake Street. Operated by the American Society of Artists, the hours are Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tip: You might want to look up Frank Lloyd wright’s Oak Park designed structures before you go so you know where to look on the way to or from the art fair. For more information visit the American Society of Artists.

 

Aug. 26 & 27 Highland Park

The annual Port Clinton Art Festival features about 265 artists from several countries and states downtown Highland Park. Spread across the Port Clinton shopping square, Central Avenue, it also now crosses Central at 1st and 2nd Streets. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For other information visit Amdur Productions.

 

Aug. 26 & 27 Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood

The last weekend in August is also the Annual Bucktown Arts Fest. Approximately 200 artists will be in Senior Citizens Memorial Park, 2300 N. Oakley Ave & 2300 W. Lyndale St.11 am to 7 pm 200 Artists The Bucktown Arts Fest is a non-profit, all volunteer-run, neighbourhood celebration of the arts. The fair benefits arts education programming at Holstein Park and in the Bucktown/Wicker Park neighborhoods. For other information visit Bucktown Arts Fest.

Artist Mark McMahon who usually sells from his studio and on commission, can be found at a corner of Lake Forest's annual Art on the Square.
Artist Mark McMahon who usually sells from his studio and on commission, can be found at a corner of Lake Forest’s annual Art on the Square.

 

Sept. 3 & 4 Lake Forest

Art Fair on the Square, sponsored by the Deer Path Art League, fills historic Market Square and Western Avenue across from the METRA station downtown Lake Forest from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features 180 exhibitors. For more info: visit Deerpath Art League.

At the same time, visit the Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Artisan Guild Fall Fair adjacent to Market Square in the parking lots of Lake Forest Bank & Trust to see 45 more booths. There is live music, a BBQ cookout and homemade ice cream. This fair benefits C.R.O.Y.A, the local youth group.

 

Sept. 9 & 10 Lakeview East, Chicago

Lakeview East’s Festival of the Arts showcases 150 exhibitors at Broadway Street and Belmont Avenue, Sat. 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit Lakeview Festival.

 

Sept. 9 & 10 Wicker Park, Chicago

The annual Renegade Craft Fair featuring 300 crafters takes place at Division Street between Damen Avenue and Paulina Street from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit Renegade Crafts.

 

Sept. 15-17 Glencoe 

The American Craft Exposition showcases high quality works at its annual fair at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
The American Craft Exposition showcases high quality works at its annual fair at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

 

The American Craft Exposition returns to the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 E. Lake Cook Rd. (east of Edens Expressway.  The Preview Party is Sept. 14: 6:30 to 9 p.m.  General admission is Fri. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is extra if not a Garden member. For ticket prices and other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit ACE.

 

Sept. 16 & 17 Park Forest

The Park Forest Art Fair, considered among the oldest juried fairs in the area will feature more than 90 exhibitors  downtown on the Village Square at at Main & Cunningham Streets. Presented by the tall Grass Arts Association, the fair is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit tallgrassarts.

 

Sept. 16 & 17 West Loop, Chicago

The West Loop Art Fest has 180 exhibitors on Washington Boulevard from Halsted to Racine. The fair is 11 a.m. to 7 p.m..  For more information visit Amdur Productions.

 

Sept. 16-17 Ravenswood, Chicago

The annual Ravenswood ArtWalk is along Ravenswood Avenue from Irving Park Road to Leland Avenue from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Co-presented by the Greater Ravenswood Chamber and Community Council and the sponsor, Access contemporary Music, ArtWalk combines its arts and creative industries.m See Ravenswood ArtWalk.

 

Sept. 16 & 17 Naperville

The suburb’s Riverwalk Fine Art Fair has about 140 artists downtown at
Eagle Street and Jackson Avenue along the DuPage River. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See more information at Naperville Riverwalk.

 

September 23 & 24 Highwood

A tiny suburb known mostly for its restaurants, Highwood started its  Annual Starving Artists Show last year and drew a crowd. Its 2nd annual show will showcase 120 artists along Sheridan from Highwood to Webster Avenues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. For more information visit Amdur Productions.

 

Sept, 23 & 24 Barrington

Art in the Barn features 166 exhibitors on the grounds of the Good Shepherd Hospital, 450 W Highway 22. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information visit Art in the Barn.

 

Sept. 23 & 24 Edgewater, Chicago

The Edgewater Arts Festival, formerly Edgewater fall Art Fair, is a popular neighborhood get together that now attracts visitors from other Chicago communities. Spread from 1040 to 1190 West Granville Ave. it features the performing and visual arts. Along with more than 100 juried-in Chicago area artists, the festival has three music stages, a beer garden and a children’s activity area. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit Edgewater Arts.

 

Lollapalooza tickets for next year

 

Yes Lollapalooza just ended Sunday, but Platinum and VIP tickets are already on sale for 2018.

Lollapalooza crowd Saturday. Photo by Scott Witt
Lollapalooza crowd Saturday. Photo by Scott Witt

Next year the mega music festival returns to Chicago’s Grant Park Aug. 2-5. So if at all interested enter the dates on your calendar. Pick up tickets for all four days or the day you want to go.

BTW some hotel packages are already sold out so if coming to town you probably should book your room now.

The tickets available now are still in 2017 mode. Though not cheap – well maybe not bad considering the headliners, eight stages and 170 bands and what their tickets often cost – the Lolla tickets are likely to be higher next year.

The 2017 Platinum four-day tickets are $4,200 and VIP four-day are $2,200.

Click Lolla to get a ticket and see what is included in the General , VIP and Platinum categories. And pray for no thunderstorms.

 

Around Town: Find Lollapalooza tickets and a great pub or listen to writer secrets

 

Lolla ticket raffle

Just found out there are a few free Lollapalooza tickets waiting to be won. The Boundary at 1932 W. Division St. and the Old Town Pour House at 1419 N. Wells St. have a raffle going for impossible-to-get tickets to Lolla-land.

The deal is that patrons at either bar who purchase a Red Bull anytime from July 28 through July 30 will be entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to Lollapalooza, Aug. 5-6, 2017. For more information visit the Boundary  and Old Town Pour House.

 

Hey Hey!

Brickhouse Tavern's upstairs deck overlooks The Park at Wrigely. Jodie Jacobs Photo
Brickhouse Tavern’s upstairs deck overlooks The Park at Wrigely. Jodie Jacobs Photo

 

Picture yourself sitting on a deck above The Park at Wrigley, a cold glass of Goose Island Green Line in one hand and a tasty buttermilk fried chicken sandwich in the other. I did that this week after a Cubs game at the just opened Brickhouse Tavern.

I loved the old baseball personality photos and Jack Brickhouse memorabilia around the upstairs bar. I’m also in love with the “Tuna Poke.” It was a great starter of diced raw tuna, mango, watermelon and other stuff.

The Brickhouse Tavern is at 3647 N. Clark St. But you can forget the address. Merely look for it at the north end of The Park. For more info visit Brickhouse Tavern.

 

Writers tell their secrets

If at all interested in penning a book and selling it go over to the American Writers Museum on Michigan Avenue near Lake Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m., July 27, 2017 to hear five writers who know from experience what it takes to succeed.

Sue Baugh will talk about “Five fiction techniques for compelling non-fiction.” Cyndee Schaffer will give “Five pointers you need to know about memoir writing”

Barbara Barnett will discuss “Five reasons you need an editor.” Reno Lovison offers, “Five important tips related to book marketing.” Cynthia Clamitt will cover “Five rules of nonfiction writing.”

You might also be inspired by the exhibits in the museum. Enjoy! The American Writers Museum is on the second floor of 180 N. Michigan Ave.

 

Chicago festivals fill out the summer

Taste of Chicago has been here and gone but there are lots more festivals to feed our culinary, cultural and musical cravings this summer. With a city as rich in ethnic neighborhoods and interest in music as Chicago you would expect an almost endless list. But here are a few of the festivals to enjoy before fall’s back-top-school and cooler temps change the social calendar.

Blue Angels return to Chicago in August for the city's Air and Water show. City of chicago photo.
Blue Angels return to Chicago in August for the city’s Air and Water Show. City of Chicago photo.

 

July

July 14 Ravenswood neighborhood

Think revolution. The French celebrate their rising up not July 4 but July 14 when the populace took over the hated Bastille prison in 1790. In Chicago, Bastille Day, also called French National Day is celebrated in French restaurants but also on the grounds of the French School translated as Lycée Français. Located at 1929 W. Wilson, the festival includes the game, pétanque to watch and learn, children’s activities,  music, a DJ, a waiters’ race with trays and a child appropriate film. Attendees bring their own food for a picnic. Wine and beer will be sold nearby because the public cannot bring alcoholic beverages on the school property. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. For other information visit Bastille Day.

 

July 14-16, West of River North

The popular Windy City Smokeout  is back with more beer, barbeque booths and bands. VIP tickets are sold out but individual tickets of $40 and $45 plus three-day $110 tickets are still available. The event is at 560 W. Grand Ave.nue a block west of the Chicago River. For more information visit Windy City Smokeout.

 

July 14-16, Near West neighborhood

Chicago’s famed Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park at Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue. The festival’s reasonable prices and predilection for featuring good bands draws about 50,000 music lovers from across the world. For hours and tickets visit Pitchfork.

 

July 21-23, River North

Taste of River North spreads across Kingsbury and Erie with music stages and food booths the fourth weekend of July. Hours are Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For other information visit Taste of River North.

 

July 22-23, Sheffield Neighborhood

Now in its 29th year, the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk has become a much anticipated summer event. Entered at Sheffield and Webster,the community festival asks for a $10 donation. Hours are noon to 10 p.m.. For other information visit Sheffield.

 

July 29-30, Wicker Park Neighborhood

Wicker Park Fest is all about neighborhood fun with music, food, crafts and children’s activities. For other information visit Wicker Park.

 

August

Aug 4-6, Jefferson Park neighborhood

Jeff Fest features is a music festival in the northwest Jefferson Park area of Chicago around 4822 N. Long Ave. For the band lineup and more information visit Jeff Fest.

 

Aug. 12-13, Boystown

The street-filling North Halsted Market Days returns to Lakeview with food, music and crafts centered at 3400 N. Halsted St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.  For other information visit North Halsted.

 

Aug. 18-20, Taylor Street

Go to Festa Italiana to enjoy the culture. There will be traditional food, music, folk dances and games and, of course, meatballs. The festival is on Taylor Street from Ashland Avenue to Racine Street. Hours are Friday, 5  to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. For other information visit Starevents.

 

Aug. 19-20, North Avenue Beach

The Chicago Air and Water Show, a wonderful, free event that draws folks to North Avenue B each and anywhere along the near north shoreline, features the U.S. Navy Blue angels this year along with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and other heart-stopping aerobatics. For more information visit City of Chicago.

 

Aug. 31-Sept 3, Downtown Chicago

The Chicago Jazz Festival ends  the summer in Millenium Park  and at the Chicago Cultural Center. Headliners include Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom and Rebirth Brass Band. For line-up locations and times visit Chicago Jazz.

 

 

Around Town mid June 2017

 

From bike riding to strawberry munching and concerts in a garden to music on a lawn, summer fun is tempting us to find our outdoor muse during or after work.

Chicago Botanic Garden soothes smooths away stress after work. Photos by Jodie Jacobs
Chicago Botanic Garden soothes smooths away stress after work. Photos by Jodie Jacobs

 

Bike to work

First, don’t be surprised if you see more groups of bikers around Chicago, this week. The annual Bike commuter Challenger is upon us asking people to ride a bike to work instead of a train or car. To participate in its fun events and “pit stops” go to Bikedown to register.

 

TGI M/T after work music

Then, for a different way to enjoy a balmy early evening, check out music with a Latin or Swing beat at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Different nights and different weeks feature different musical sounds and bands. For example, Mondays  at 5:30 p.m. there are carillon bells  and Tuesday, the music shifts over to the Esplanade for bluegrass or big band sounds.

Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Evenings for more information. The concerts are free but unless you are a member there is a parking fee per car. The Chicago Botanic Garden is east of Edens Expressway at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe.

Ravinia Festival's lawn is a great place to meet friends for an after-work supper.
Ravinia Festival’s lawn is a great place to meet friends for an after-work supper.

 

After-work stress-relieving music

Or get a lawn ticket (best price is ahead of time, not at the gate) to hear perfect after-work music at Ravinia Festival in Highland park.

The Julliard String Quartet is June 20. It’s in the Martin Theatre but usually those programs are broadcast on the lawn.

In the Pavilion are Gypsy Kings June 23, Common June 24, Michael McDonald and Boz Scraggs June 27 and Diana Krall June 28.

For show times and other info visit Ravinia.

 

Have a Strawberry weekend

Long Grove festivals are a chance to see the village.
Long Grove festivals are a chance to see the village.

 

If everything or anything strawberry excites the taste buds, go over to downtown Long Grove, a cute historic village northwest of Chicago, June 23-25.

Along with lots of booths with strawberry sandwiches and desserts there will be several music stages and stuff for kids. Entry is $5 anyone over age 12.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Strawberry fest’s center is at  308 Old McHenry Rd, Long Grove. Visit Long Grove for more information.

 

It is art fair and festival time

 

It’s that time of year again when shirt-sleeve weather encourages folks who want something interesting or fun for the abode to check out area art fairs and festivals.

Art Fair season is here. Enjoy!
Art Fair season is here. Enjoy!

 

June 17-18, 2017

For Father’s Day weekend, two really big fairs may tempt Dad or at least get people strolling around Grant Park and downtown Evanston.

The mega Gold Coast Art Fair takes over Grant Park from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Operated by Amdur Productions, it is among the top fairs in the country attracting about 300 juried-in artists. For other information visit Amdur.

Also this weekend the Annual Custer’s Last Stand sprawls across Evanston’s Main Street-Chicago Avenue area  with about 375 artists. Sponsored by the Evanston Festival Theatre and the Illinois Arts Council,  it goes from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.  For other information call visit CusterFair or call (847) 328-2204.

 

June 24-25, 2017

If this weekend doesn’t work or more exercise is desired, the Randolph Street market is at 1340 W. Washington St but spills over surrounding streets with about 300 vendors. It goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The next market is the last weekend of July. For other info visit Randolph Street Market.

Back in the northern burbs, the  Art Center of Highland Park holds its annual Festival of Fine Arts at the northeastern end of the suburb’s downtown on Sheridan Road south of Central Avenue. the fair goes from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See Festival of the Fine Arts.

 

Around Town this week in June

The sounds of the Blues will be wailing on State Street and in Millennium Park. On Clark Street magicians astound in Uptown. And the Chicago theatre community understands when a one-man show has to cancel.

 

Muddy Waters Mural

Muddy Waters Mural dedication is June 8, 2017. It's a good start to the Chicago Blues Festival. City of Chicago photo
Muddy Waters Mural dedication is June 8, 2017. It’s a good start to the Chicago Blues Festival. City of Chicago photo

 Stop by the west side of State Street between Randolph and Washington Streets noon Thursday, June 8, 2017 to hear about Muddy Waters and hear some fine blues.

The event dedicates the nine-story mural of blues legend Muddy Waters across the way at 17 N. State St.  He brought the Delta blues to Chicago where he turned it into his own Urban Blues sound that has influenced generations of musicians.

Along with some folks from the Department of Cultural Affairs and mural artist Eduardo Kobra,  Muddy Waters’ daughter, Mercy Morganfield, will be there plus the Muddy Waters legacy Band of Mud and Big Bill Morganfield.

Also on hand will be Chicago Blues Festival headliners Billy Branch and Che “Rhymefet” Smith. (See Blues Festival here).

A pop-up shop will sell limited poster editions and other merchandise to benefit the Muddy Waters Foundation.

 

Chicago Blues Festival

Considered the largest free blues festival anywhere, the Chicago Blues Festival will take over Millennium Park with five stages 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., June 9-11, 2017. The venue is a change from Grant Park where the festival began in 1984.

On June 9  the festival stars Billy Branch & The Son of Blues with special guests Lurrie Bell, Freddie Dixon, J.W.S. Williams, Carlos Johnson, Carl Weathersby, Bill McFarland and Chicago Fire Horns plus Mae Koen & The Lights.

Millennium Park hosts the Blues Festival June 9-11, 2017. Pritzker Pavilion photo by Jodie Jacobs
Millennium Park hosts the Blues Festival June 9-11, 2017. Pritzker Pavilion photo by Jodie Jacobs

Headliners June 10 are William Bell, Theo Huff and the New Agenda Band and Nellie Tiger Travis. The festival closes June 11 with Gary Clark Jr., Rhiannon Giddens and Ronnie Baker Brooks.

The Chicago Blues Festival attracts about half a million music lovers. For more information visit chicagobluesfestival.

 

Chicago Magic Lounge

Old timers might recall Frank Everhart’s Magic Bar at the Ivanhoe or remember when Chicago had other magic show venues. But the fascination that magic holds is still alive. The Chicago Magic Lounge has stepped in to fill the void.

Open now with shows every Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday night, the place is Uptown Underground at 4707 N. Broadway, Chicago.  Go Wednesday for the Mind Reading Show or Thursday or Saturday for close up magic and stage performances.

Admission is age 21 plus however age 16 will be admitted with guardian. For more information call (773-867-1946 and visit Chicago Magic Lounge.

 

Pamplona Update

Goodman Theatre plans to reschedule ‘Pamplona’ by Jim McGrath, according to a recently released statement.  A one-man show about Ernest Hemingway’s final years, ‘Pamplona’ was starring long-time stage and screen actor Stacy Keach. However, after a successful week of previews, the opening night performance stopped more than half-way through when Keach became ill.

Goodman spokespeople said medical testing showed that Keach had suffered a mild heart attack and that doctors expected him to fully recover after rehabilitation and rest.

Artistic Director Robert Falls said in the statement: “On behalf of Stacy Keach, his family and the Goodman, we would like to extend our gratitude for all of the generous support and concern shown to Stacy this past week. I remain awed by Stacy’s courage and strength after experiencing such a disturbing event; his spirits are high and he is resting and recovering comfortably. Jim, Stacy and I look forward to continuing our collaboration on ‘Pamplona.’’

People who already have tickets have a choice of a full refund or tickets to Eugene O’Neill’s ‘Ah Wilderness’ which runs June 17 through July 23, 2017. They will be contacted by ticket representatives and can call (312) 443-3800.

 

Around Town on the cusp of May into June

At Goodman Theatre 

At Goodman Theatre, "Pamplona" is in the Owen. Goodman Theatre photo
At Goodman Theatre, “Pamplona” is in the Owen.
Goodman Theatre photo

If you heard that Goodman Theatre’s opening night for the world premiere of “Pamplona,” a play by Jim McGrath that features Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway, stopped early, then don’t worry. The Goodman put out the following notice:

“Goodman Theatre had to unexpectedly halt this evening’s performance of Pamplona by Jim McGrath. The show’s star, Stacy Keach, had not been feeling well earlier in the day, but made the decision to go on with the performance. When it became clear midway through that Mr. Keach was struggling, Director Robert Falls took the stage and announced that the performance would conclude. Performances are expected to resume as scheduled.”

 

Gospel Fest

It may not seem as long as 32 years ago for Chicago to hold its Gospel Music Festival but considering that Chicago takes credit for gospel music it probably feels as if the genre has been around forever, at least in city area churches.

Gospel comes to Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park June.2-3. Jodie Jacobs
Gospel comes to Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park June 2-3. Jodie Jacobs photo

So, this weekend, June 2 and 3, 2017, the city is holding its 32 Chicago Gospel Music Festival. The concerts are on Friday. They are free and are taking place outdoors in Millennium Park and indoors (it may rain on and off those days) in the Chicago Cultural Center. Gospel music combined with workouts and wellness activities are on Saturday.

Here is the schedule but acts and times may change

June 2, 2017
Randolph Square area on the first floor of the Cultural Center
–       Noon is Iliani Morales, 12:40 p.m. is Selah St. Sabina Youth Choir

–       1:10 p.m. is R&R featuring Russ and Roe and 1:40 p.m. is Neicy Robertson and Friends

–       2:10 p.m. is “Chicago’s Next” with 2ndNature Band, Isaiah Freeman, Jazmin Jones and Denton Arnell Harris and 3:20 p.m. is Arthur Sutton & The Gift of Praise

Millennium Park in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion

–       5:30 p.m. is Glenn Johnson & The Voices of Innerpeace and 6 p.m. is University of Illinois Black Chorus conducted by Ollie Watts Davis

–       6:40 p.m. is Malcolm Williams & Great Faith and 7:20 p.m. is Celebration of Gospel Music Quartets with Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and The Warriors, God’s Posse, The Gospel Crusaders and The Stars of Heaven

–       8:30 p.m. is Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown and Travis Greene

June 3, 2017

Millennium Park’s Great Lawn

– 7 a.m. is Gospel Music Yoga with instructor Marta Bailey and 8 a.m. is Gospel Music Cardio Workout with instructor LaTonya Ellis

– 9 a.m. is Pilates with an East Bank Club instructor and 10 a.m. is Zumba® also with an  East Bank Club instructor

In the North Promenade Tent at Millennium Park

–       11 a.m. to 5 p.m. is Health & Wellness Oasis with screenings offered by Oak Street Health and Be The Match

–       Also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. are children’s activities in the Kids Activity Zone that include face painting, a balloon artist, Plaster of Paradise and the Imagination Playground

For more information visit Chicago Gospel Fest