Heads up “Hamilton” lovers and anyone interested in Alexander Hamilton’s life.
“Hamilton: The Exhibition” (also called “Ham”), situated in an all-weather structure on Northerly Island, opens April 27. The island stretches south of the Museum Campus just west of the Adler Planetarium. The exhibition is at 1536 S. Linn White Drive.
“Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda narrates the audio tour with the musical’s original Broadway actors, Phillipa Soo (Eliza Schuyler) and Christopher Jackson (George Washington).
Go to learn more about Hamilton’s early years and the start up of the United States of America through multi-media and historical artifacts that take visitors to St. Croix, New York of 1776 and George Washington’s war tent.
Spring is not getting off to as slow a start as we think. (See Related below for earlier listings including Earth Day events). There is enough to see and do in and around Chicago for several outings. So here are more activities to add to the April Calendar.
An Iceland festival is coming to a few Chicago clubs, a restaurant, theater and collaborative space during Taste of Iceland April 11-14. Presented by Iceland Naturally, the festival is a check-it-out experience of spirits, food, film and music. The events are free except a dinner at Elske but may need reservations.
Elske, 1350 W. Randolph St. will do an Icelandic dinner each of the festival days. For reservations visit elskerestaurant . For more information go to Facebook/events.
Other Icelandic festival activities:
Spirits of Iceland: Cocktail Class, April 11, 6-8 p.m. at LH on 21, (Rooftop) London House Chicago, 85 E. Upper Wacker Dr., Floor 21. For more information visit Facebook LH Events/.
Iceland After Dark, April 12, 10-11:30 p.m. with craft cocktails, music by Solveig Matthildur and Kaelan Mikla at The Underground Chicago, 56 W. Illinois St. For reservations go to Evenbrite.
Reykjavik Calling, April 13, at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. beginning at 7 p.m. Concert at 8 p.m. Sets feature Hildur and Kaelan Mikla. Visit Facebook Event Page.
Shortfish Film Screening at the Logan Theatre 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., followed by cocktails of Brennivín and Reyka Vodka and chat with Icelandic winning bartender Tóta. Doors open at 11 a.m., the screening begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information visit this Facebook event page.
The Icelandic Literature Scene, April 14, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at evolveHer, 358 W. Ontario,3W to visit with Ambassador Stella Soffía Jóhannesdóttir and Words Without Border Editorial Director Susan. For more information visit this Facebook event page.
In the burbs
Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Foodie Fair Pop-Up, April 14, 1-4 p.m. at the West Lake Forest Train Station, 911 Telegraph Rd. at Everett, Lake Forest. Some of the vendors are Bonique Corp, Cake My Day, Elawa Farm, Foodstuffs Lake Forest, Flowers by Katie Ford, Full Belly Foods and Hungry Monkey.
Villa Park Spring Arts & Crafts Festival, April 12-14 at The Odeum , 1033 North Villa Ave. Hours: Fri. 11am-9pm; Sat. 9am-6pm; Sun. 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults $10; Seniors $9; Children Under 10, free. For tickets and more information visit Spring Festival Tickets.
“The Whole World a Bauhouse,” an internationally traveling exhibition making only one stop in the United States, is at the Elmhurst Art Museum just through April 20.
The exhibition marks the 100th anniversary of the famed Bauhaus school in Germany. Even though it operated from 1919 to 1933, it had a revolutionary influence on art, architecture and industry. Instructors included such influencers and artists and Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Wassily Kandinsky, Josef and Anni Albers, Paul Klee, László Moholy-Nagy and Lily Reich.
The Elmhurst Art Museum is at 150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst. For more information visit Elmhurst Art Museum.
Some schools still have spring vacation but not all places suggested here need be visited during the week. They all are destinations for adults and youngsters any time of year.
Chicago Architecture Center
Even though CAF is now known as CAC and is in a new location on east Wacker Drive overlooking the Chicago River and it is a place to get tickets for tours and its famed architecture boat excursion, the place has a wonderful diorama on its main floor and interesting exhibits upstairs.
However, it also has the ArcelorMittal Design Studio which on Sundays welcomes families interested in building something themselves. The studio is also a place to learn some architecture basics at themed stations. That doesn’t mean it’s just for older children. The age base is 3 and anyone younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
The $12 admission fee includes CAC. The studio construction program is at 10 a.m. Visit Family Build for more information and registration. For CAC information visit Architecture/Visit. CAC is at 111 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago
Illinois resident free-day at Adler Planetarium and The Field Museum in early April
Stop by the planetarium April 2-4 or April 9-11 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to learn about galaxies, black holes and more space phenomenon. During Illinois Resident Free General Admission Days.
General Admission provides access to exhibitions and experiences except for the “Atwood Sphere Experience” and sky shows. However discounted exhibit tickets are available on free days.
For more information call (312) 922-7827 or visit Adler offers. The Adler Planetarium is at the far eastern end of the Museum Campus at 1300 S.Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.
The Field Museum
The Field has free general admission and discounted passes April 5-7 . All access discount tickets are $23, adults, $17 children 3-11, $20 seniors and students with ID. Discovery passes that include one ticketed exhibit are $16, $12 and $14. Some of the ticketed exhibits are Evolving Planet, Trex, Mummies, Photographers of the Year, China and Egypt.
The Field Museum is the first and furthest west building on the Museum
Campus at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For more information call (312) 922- 9410 and visit Field Musuem and Field events/free.
American Writers Museum
For an experience of a different kind, (what word would you like to insert here?) visit a museum where families can write together, play word games together, visit a Children’s Literature Gallery, Learn about written words and quotes going back centuries and something about Chicago writers.
Admission is $12 adults, free to children 12 and younger,$ 8 seniors and students. For hours and other information call 312.374.8790 and visit American Writers Museum and AWM/exhibits.
Visitors and Chicago area residents are arguably familiar with the city’s Theatre District of show venues in the Loop and the Museum Campus next to Soldier Field.
Now add the Water Tower Arts District to Chicago’s cultural district scene.
Now, the city has officially designated an area both sides of North Michigan Avenue that stretches approximately from Streeterville to the Gold Coast as the WTAD.East of LaSalle Street from Illinois Street to North Avenue .
Launched at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago by Commissioner Mark Kelly of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on March 12, 2019, the new district includes these 15 cultural organizations: (1) The Arts Club of Chicago, (2) Broadway in Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, (3) City Gallery in the Historic Water Tower, (4) Graham Foundation, (5) International Museum of Surgical Science, (6) Lookingglass Theatre Company, (7) Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA), (8) Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), (9) the Newberry Library, (10) Poetry Foundation, (11) Porchlight Music Theatre, (12) Richard Gray Gallery, (13) the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, (14) the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, and (15) the Society of Architectural Historians.
Anyone old enough to recall “Bug House Square,” the once popular tag for Washington Square Park south of Newbery Library where people would debate social issues, will understand Kelly’s reference during the launch to the area as Bohemian.
Plus, he and Chicago historian Pamela Bannos noted that the area around the Water Tower, was once known as “Towertown,” a Bohemian arts stronghold, so the new designation was really a return to its roots.
“This tightly knit group of arts organizations raises the same spirit of camaraderie and collaboration as they reclaim the District and invite visitors to experience a diverse array of cultural activities…,” Kelly said.
Lookingglass Executive Director Rachel Fink likes that the arts organizations are joining together to attract attention. “It felt a little isolated over here…,” said Fink. “The Mag Mile has a different focus.”
The process of gathering together, which she recalled started about five months ago, has also introduced her to other arts organizations in the neighborhood.
“I like meeting our neighbors. It’s been an incredible opportunity for me” she said. “Now I know more the Driehaus Museum and I learned about the interesting (International) Museum of Surgical Science.”
She added, “It helps to do things as a community. Now we’re celebrating and brainstorming together.
For more information and descriptions of the 15 organizations and activities, visit the website Watertowerarts. The site and the graphic designation were created by Chicago designers Michael Savona, and Tobey Albright plus Mollie Edgar from Hour. Photographs of the institutions were done by Chicago artist Assaf Evron.
A new exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago should have viewers looking at the images, and then, looking again. It’s “Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera,” a multi-decade exploration of the roles people play, their expectations, how they see the world and how the world sees, or doesn’t see, them.
The images in many of the photos are very specifically placed there by Simmons. They are miniature dolls and doll-house objects. They are life-sized dolls. They are puppets. Some are real people. Some have their eyelids closed but had open eyes painted on. Some props are oversized to hide faces so emphasizing the object that was defining them.
A see-through box on a long table in one gallery displays a large collection of the miniature items used in some of the photos.
A post-war baby, Simmons grew up at a time when even though Rosie the Riveter had just represented women’s can-do role in a man’s world, the TV ads were promoting products women should use to have the whitest wash, cleanest floors, and makeup that would attract the guys.
A major retrospective, the exhibit shows how Simmons interpreted society over four decades. The show includes works from “Cowboys (1979), “Family Collision” (1981), “Color Coordinated Interiors” (1982-83), “Tourism” (1983-84), “Walking & Lying Objects” (1987-91), “Clothes Make the Man” (1990-92), “The Love “ (2009-11), “How We See” (2015) and “Some New” (2018).
There is so much to see and think about that the exhibit deserves several visits.
DETAILS: “Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera” is at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E Chicago Ave., through May 5, 2019. For admission, hours and other information call (312) 280-2660 and visit MCAChicago.
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.
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.
No, Lunapalooza is not a typo. The Adler Planetarium is celebrating the total eclipse of the moon late into the night of Jan. 20 with Lunapalooza and Writers Theatre is celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with a free Civil Rights production Jan. 21.
Pretty much every time our universe puts on a sky show, the Adler celebrates by sharing its astronomers and equipment. During the solar eclipse last August, the Adler was handing out the proper sunglasses and had a companion craft activity to safely watch the event.
For the lunar eclipse the night of Jan 20, Chicago’s world-class planetarium is celebrating with a free outdoor experience, no telescope or glasses needed but PJs are OK because the event goes from 8 p.m. to midnight.
But there’s a lot going on inside.
With the admission pass of $14 adults and $8 children age 3 to 11, guests can go to “Eclipse HQ” in the Space Visualization Lab which has a live feed and chat opportunities with astronomers.
The pass also is good for seeing the Adler’s new show, Imagine the Moon that opens Jan. 18 and charts how the moon was part of people’s lives through the ages.
Indoor activities include a glow-in-the-dark PJ party in the Family Zone and grabbing a cup of hot chocolate before going outside to witness the event.
Produced by Writers Theatre, the annual, one-person- show written by Yolanda Androzzo and featuring Angela Alise, will be performed free at the Chicago History Museum Jan. 21, 2019 at 10:30 a.m. The Chicago History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St. and Lincoln Park. The hour-long show will be followed by a discussion.
Writers Theatre takes the show, a meshing of interviews of Chicago-based Civil Rights activists with poetry and hip-hop expression that is directed by Tasia A. Jones, to 35 Chicago Public Schools, community centers and juvenile detention centers during a 6-week tour.
The production can also be seen earlier at Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Ct., Glencoe,on Feb. 2 at both 4 and 7 p.m. Those tickets are Adults $20, students $10. They are available by calling (847) 242-6000 and at WritersTheatre MLK Project.
Secondly, everyone is invited to celebrate with the Art Institute of Chicago by participating in a humongous group photo on the building’s front steps, 111 S. Michigan Ave. at 10 a.m. Dec. 8, 2018.
The photo is followed by Gallery Talks at noon and again at 2 p.m.
See the wonderful video to go with the anniversary celebration by visiting this YouTube Anniversary site.
The video’s scenes are delightful but what I remember is taking classes there back in the late 1950’s in rooms off, what seemed like an immense basement-like hall.
It appeared to me to have a ceiling three-stories up. But the space didn’t matter because before and after class I could wander the galleries, visit my favorite works and pick up postcard-sized pictures to take home.
Of course this space later was finished, additions were added as the museum kept growing until it looks like it does today and the school moved to other buildings.
But to me, changes and all, the Art Institute of Chicago still feels like a second home.