It’s not too early to check out shows that are coming in 2017-18.
Because Metropolitan Chicago is rich in theatre and entertainment choices, what is happening and where next season is divided into areas. Click northern suburbs season options for that section. City sections will be next.
First, take a look at some of the go-to possibilities west of Chicago. They are exciting enough to attract people from other areas in and around the city.
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.
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.
Hey, any year still alive is a good time to celebrate a birthday. So with its new Polk Bros Park Performance Lawns now completed out front, the folks at Navy Pier decided to celebrate the 101st birthday of the pier’s existence with a free, all-day program July 15, 2017.
The birthday bash features programs on the Polk Bros Park’s lawns starting at 11 a.m. then culminating with Felicia Fields, E. Faye Butler and Victor Garcia paying tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Lena Horne and Dizzy Gillespie on the lawns’ Lake Stage beginning at 7:30 p.m.
Originally called Municipal Pier to handle freight and passenger traffic plus public recreation, Navy Pier opened July 15, 1916. It was built by famed architect Charles Sumner Frost based on Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennet’s design plan
Since then it has undergone several reincarnations including a World War II naval training center, a University of Illinois Chicago campus, home to Chicago Fest and an exposition center before it was redesigned in 1995 for retail and cultural use and updated in 2014 under what has been termed “The centennial Vision” to include more gardens, play areas and fountains.
If at the pier during the day Saturday, go to the Polk Bros Park at 11 a.m. to see Native American drumming and dancing by Seven Springs and World Champion Fancy Dancer Larry Yazzie. Return at 1 p.m. for an African drumming followed by Asian drumming and then a Lion Dance presented by the Chinese Fine Arts Society at 2 p.m.
Because the event is a birthday celebration Navy Pier is holding a Group Quinceañera Celebration that includes free group photos. Interested parites can participate by clicking register here . The photos will be at the Wave Wall staircase on the South Dock at 2 p.m. There will also be musical performances by the Mexican band, Sones de Mexico.
Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. For more information call (800) 595-PIER (7437) and visit Navy Pier.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
The City of Chicago is stirring some more exotic, well, at least, international and trendy, flavors into Taste of Chicago but is not neglecting comfort food or desserts or forgetting long-time faves.
Settling in along Columbus Drive (closed for the event) in Grant Park will be 67 vendors that include these 17 new-to-Taste places: American Glory, Aztec Dave’s Food truck, Ben’s Bar Be Cue, Bob Bar Truck, Brightwok Kitchen, Broken English, Cheesie’s Pub and Grub, Doom Street Eats, El Patron, Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls, Just Salad, Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp, the Little Beet table, Seoul Taco, The Cajun Connoisseur, Ukai Japanese Restaurant and Warm Belly Bakery.
Just hearing the names of these “fooderies” is mouth-watering enough to put stars on the calendar for July 5-9, 2017. But Taste aficionados can still count on getting their ribs at Robsinson’s, a slice of pizza at Lou Malnati’s and dessert fix at Eli’s Cheescake’s booths.
Yes, the event has been billed as the world’s largest free food festival but that just means no gate charge shape shifting into a crumb-snatching pigeon. Food and beverages are gotten by handing over the number of tickets required for each item the booths. Since a strip of 14 tickets cost $10, visitors would do well to purchase more than one strip.
However, checking out some of Chicago’s wonderful culinary choices is just part of Taste. There are good bands, excellent celebrity chef dinners, wine and beer gardens, dance and art events and cooking demonstrations.
Tickets starting at $19 can be purchased now for concerts at the park’s Petrillo Music Shell by Alessia Cara, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The O’Jays, Café Tacvba and Passion Pit. There will also be local bands playing on the Bud Light Stage.
A different celebrity chef will do a three-course, sit-down dinner in an air conditioned tent each night. Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance.
For more Celebrity Chef dinner information and tickets and concert tickets visit Taste of Chicago.
Taste of Chicago, July 5-9, 2017, is in Grant Park on Columbus Drive from Monroe to Balbo. Hours are 11am–9pm Wednesday through Friday and 10am–9pm on Saturday and Sunday.
There’s something for all ages and interests in and around Chicago. Just dress for the weather. After all this is Chicago.
There is just a short time left to catch the awarding- winning actors, playwrights and shows is Victory Gardens’ Up Close & Personal series. Begun April 27 and running through June 4, 2017, the series features three plays.
“A Little Bit Not Normal,” written and performed by Arlene Malinowski, can be seen at 7:30 p.m. May 20 and 21. “Where Did We Sit on the Bus,” written and performed by Brian Quajada, is at 3 p.m. today, May, 20, and June 2 and at 7:30 p.m. May 24, 26, 28, 31 and June 4. “St Jude,” written and performed by Luis Alfaro is at 3 p.m. May 38 and June 4 and at 7:30 p.m. May 25, 27, June 1, 2, and 3.
The shows are in Victory Gardens’ Richard Christiansen Theater at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue. For tickets and other information call (773) 871-3000 and visit Victory Gardens.
Chicago-area storytellers share experiences in “Israel: Many Voices from and of the Land 3:30-r:30 p.m. May 21 at the DoubleTree by Hilton. Doubletree is at 9599 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie. Local theater and TV actor singer (Steppenwolf, Drury Lane, CSI: NY) Dan Tatar is the emcee. Tickets of $5 advance and $10 at the door (if available) include complimentary Middle Eastern hors d’oeuvres before and after the program. For advance tickets and other information visit Spertus and call (312) 322-1773.
Interact with more than 40 robots at the Museum of Science and Industry’s Robot Revolution now through Feb. 4, 2018. Organized by the museum in 2015, the popular exhibit is back to have fun with Chicago area youngsters and adults following a highly touted tour. However there are also new robots such as Cube Solver that can do the Rubik’s Cube. But be sure to visit with RoboThespian, a humanoid robot that greets guests at the entrance and talk to Omron LD Mobile robot who roams the exhibit. Watch Soccer ‘bots play an autonomous competitive game and challenge Baxter, an industrial robot, to a game of tic-tac-toe. Visitors can also build their own robots with Cubelets.
The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. For admission and other information call (773) 684-1414 or visit MSI
Chicago Craft Beer Week started May 18 but goes through May 25, 2017 and it’s not only inside the city limits. Beer events are also in Itasca, Antioch Lindenhurst, Plainfield, Lisle and Oak Park. They are also happening in Aurora, Evanston, Buffalo Grove, Darien, Romeoville, Glen Ellyn, Mokena and Schaumburg. To find an event near you on the date you want visit Chibeerweek and click on the date.
OK, it’s raining Saturday, May 20, 2017 when the city celebrates its new fun area along the Chicago River next to Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. But you can also check it out any day. The May 20 events go from 9 a.m. through 9 p.m. Visit Riverwalk for event schedule and suggestions.