If you have the ability to turn sound into images in your mind, spoken word performances can be great theater.
Moth StorySLAM events are open mic storytelling competitions held in several large cities around the U.S.
The event I attended this week took place at The Promontory in Hyde Park at 53rd and Lake Park, an attractive modern glass and steel second floor facility in what was previously a Barnes & Noble Bookstore.
It seats over 100 people, has a large well lighted stage and a full cash bar in the back. The venue is used mainly for music although there is a nice, full-service restaurant on the first floor.
Be prepared for a considerable number of stairs to the performance area. They claim to have handicap access but it is an awkward service elevator accessed from the restaurant.
Moth StorySLAMs are held in this location the second Tuesday of every month. Tickets are $10 and available online at The Moth.
Ten volunteer storytellers are chosen at random to tell a true story without using notes. Each story is five to six-minutes long. Then, they are scored on a scale of one to ten based on how well the story is crafted as well as presentation and entertainment value.
Winners have an opportunity to advance to The Moth GrandSLAM. Selected stories recorded at the various venues can be heard on the The Moth Radio Hour. In Chicago listen Thursday evenings on NPR Station 91.5 FM.
Each event has a topic upon which to base the stories. When I went it was DISCOVERY.
The first fellow spoke about what he discovered about his deceased parents through an interaction with a man who had been his father’s best friend and his mother’s first husband.
Another woman spoke about what she had discovered about childhood friendship the summer she and her friends rode a mattress down an infrequently used stairway at a major department store in St. Louis.
The winner incorporated a good deal of humor. His discovery related to his determination to hang on to his childhood dream of owning a monkey.
My friend, Robert, a frequent public speaker, talked about discovering that true winners help others to succeed.
There were other stories dealing with the discovery of love, romance and personal pain.
Some speakers are professionals while others may be making their first public speaking appearance which provides for great entertainment with an element of danger.
Though I have been something of a devotee of the radio show, I would say in this case I discovered a great new venue and an enjoyable event that I would easily recommend. Perfect if you enjoy exploring the diversity of the human experience.
Other MothSLAMs are held on Chicago’s Northside and in Evanston.
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.
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.
More than 100 scarecrows will populate St. Charles Oct. 6 through Oct. 8.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Even though summer activities are winding down some of the best art shows in the Chicago area are yet to come.
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.
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 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.
Yes Lollapalooza just ended Sunday, but Platinum and VIP tickets are already on sale for 2018.
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.
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.