Around Chicago – Festivals to know

 

Here are two places-to-go ideas for early May plus one for July. Chicago’s Riverwalk opens soon followed by Andersonville’s Annual Wine Walk. Then, skipping June which we’ll look at later, there is new info on Taste of Chicago.

Two representatives of Gordo's ice cream in back and a represenative of Luella's Gospel bird, front right ar listening as city officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel talk about this year's Taste of Chicago at Seoul Taco. (J Jacobs photo)
Two representatives of Gordo’s ice cream in back and a represenative of Luella’s Gospel bird, front right ar listening as city officials including Mayor Rahm Emanuel talk about this year’s Taste of Chicago at Seoul Taco. (J Jacobs photo)

Yes it’s early to put Taste of Chicago on the calendar but the city just had a preview Taste and it was GOOD.

Who knew that a Korean restaurant would pair well with tacos. David Choy of Seoul Taco, did. He has figured out that two trends, Korean flavors and a taco-styled sandwich would be poplar. His version is so good it is now a chain with food trucks in St. Louis and a place near the Loop and in Hyde Park.

Seoul Taco was where the city held a Taste preview  this week. Mayor Rahm Emanuel  pointed out that though Taste had gone through a rough period a few years ago it was again drawing crowds and attracting many more of the city’s good restaurants including several ethnic places that Chicago’s foodie will want to try. “Taste is back,” he said.

“As the culinary capital of the world, the Taste of Chicago will give residents and visitors alike the opportunity to sample some of the greatest foods this city has to offer,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Since its inception, the Taste of Chicago has become a summertime staple and this year’s lineup of world-renowned restaurants, food trucks and pop-ups will be even more vibrant and diverse than ever before.”

To answer questions asked by folks who knew I went to the preview, yes it will be in Grant Park for five days, yes it will be the second week of July going from July 10 to 14 (2019), and yes, there will be a lot more new eateries: 11 five-day participants, 17 pop-ups serving one or two days and 9 food trucks. Adding the newbies to the roster equals 82 eateries at Taste.

Seoul Taco will be going from a pop-up the last two years to a five-day eatery this year. BTW, along with Seoul Taco, newbies Luellas Gospel Bird and Gordo’s Homemade Ice Cream Bars had yummy samples at the preview.

Other big news is that DoorDash, yeah that company Millennials have found to be a convenient way to do dinner at home, will be a new sponsor. In addition, Some chefs will be concentrating on Taste’s specialty of the day ranging from mac’n cheese to spicy/hot. But one day will bow to the healthy-eating trend.

So this year, put Taste of Chicago on the calendar. For more information visit Taste of Chicago.

 

Chicago Riverwalk celebration May 13, 2019 (Photo courtesy of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs)

Chicago Riverwalk Celebration

Chicago will celebrate its spring re-opening with walking tours led by the Chicago Architecture Center, Fishing at the Jetty led by the Chicago Park District, some Year of Chicago Theatre programs and Art on the Mart,  May 13-19. Details will soon be up at ChicagoRiverwalk.us. Or just go down there to walk along the river, see art installations and dine at City Winery.

 

Andersonville Wine Walk

Sip your way through 28 Andersonville businesses on the neighborhoods’  Chamber of Commerce’s annual Wine Walk, May 19 from 3-6 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person in advance and $40 week Tickets available online

Tickets to Andersonville Wine Walk include admission, wine tastings, and a one of a kind commemorative wine glass. Check in for the Wine Walk will begin at 1:00 p.m. on  May 19 at the Swedish American Museum’s new storefront located at 5217 N Clark.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town – More April happenings

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.

Award-winning Icelandic bartender Teitur Ridderman Schioth crafted cocktails at last year's Icelandic Festival in Chicago. )J Jacobs) photo
Award-winning Icelandic bartender Teitur Ridderman Schioth crafted cocktails at last year’s Icelandic Festival in Chicago. )J Jacobs) photo

In Chicago

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.

 

Hungry Monkey will be at the Foodie Fair with chocolate chip and regular banana bread. (Photo courtesy of Hungry Monkey)
Hungry Monkey will be at the Foodie Fair with chocolate chip and regular banana bread. (Photo courtesy of Hungry Monkey)

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.

Related:

Around Town Pop-up Art Earth Day and Good Web Sites

Around Town in April: Kids and adult events

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Concert saluted singer Renée Fleming

Renee Fleming at the Lyric of Chicago in an anniversary concert. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)
Renee Fleming at the Lyric of Chicago in an anniversary concert. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

Fans of opera, American soprano Renée Fleming and the Lyric Opera of Chicago were treated to an extraordinary program March 23 to honor Fleming on the 25th anniversary of her Lyric debut in1993 with Carlisle Floyd’s “Susannah.”

Chicago audiences may have heard her in other operatic roles such as Marguerite in “Faust” in the 1995-6 season and more recently as Hanna Glawari, in “the Merry Widow” in the 2016-17 season.

But what the program and Lyric President Anthony Freud mentioned during the concert is that  there is a lot more to Fleming’s accomplishments than her vocal talent. As an advisor and innovator of public programs through the Lyric in Chicago and through the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Fleming has been behind several outreach initiatives.

Arguably less known is that she was on the soundtrack of Best Picture and Best soundtrack 2018 Academy awards for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and  “The Shape of Water,” is a 16-time Grammy nominee (four-time winner) and is on the movie soundtrack of the “Lord of the Ring” and “The Return of the King.”

Hosted by Tituss Burges, the program also featured well-known opera stars soprano Sondra Radvanovsky, tenor Lawrence Brownlee, baritone Quinn Kelsey, and bass-baritones Eric Owens and Christian Van Horn,  plus members of the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center. Patrick summers conducted the Lyric Opera Orchestra.

Fleming started out with what some consider her trademark piece of “Porgi amor” from Mozart’s “the Marriage of Figaro.”

Other pieces in the first part of the program were Eric Owens doing “O tu Palermo “ from Verdi’s “I vespri sicilarni,” Radvanovsky singing “Vissi d’arte” from Puccini’s Tosca,” Brownlee doing “Ahmes amis…” from Donizetti’s ”La fille du regiment,” Van Horn singing “Eddo il mondo” from “Boito’s La Mefistofele” and the Ryan Opera Center artists doing Faltaff’s “Un oro e terminiam la scena…”

Radvanovsky sang an aria from “Susannah” later in the concert. Then, to herald her role in a special musical production in December, Fleming did “Fable,” from Adam Guettel’s “The Light in the Piazza.” Tickets to the run,  Dec. 14-29, 2019,  go on sale March 28, 2019. For tickets and more information visit LyricOpera/light.

As a bonus Saturday, many of the designer gowns worn by Fleming were on display at the Lyric.  For the concert she wore a  navy tulle gown designed by Carolina Herrera and a rose-gold sequined gown by Vivienne Westwood.

Another interesting not is that the acoustic Pritzker Family Concert Shell designed by Studio Gang for Lyric’s 60th Anniversary Gala Concert in 2014 was the backdrop for Saturday’s concert.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Ravinia Festival schedule is out

 

Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

Summer events are not as far away as we may think when it comes to planning which Ravinia Festival concerts we want to attend. The Ravinia organization just released its summer schedule and it is jammed with pop, classic and rock concerts.

Lionel Richie June 11-12, Buddy Guy June 14, Tony Bennett June 21, Jennifer Hudson July 14 to Gershwin Concerto in F July 13, Renée Fleming July 28, Ringo Starr and the Beach Boys Aug. 3 and Sting Aug. 23, there’s something for everybody. Of course there’s the Tchaikovsky spectacular, 1812 Overture Aug 18

So the first question is where to see the schedule.

Go to Season at a Glance  to print an easy to copy Ravinia program to put on the bulletin board (or into your mobile devise). For an easy to read schedule visit Ravinia.

Next question is when tickets are available.

According to the Ravinia website, the first opportunity goes to patron and higher donors, March 19–28. Next, affiliate donors have access to tickets April 22–25. Then, tickets are available to Friend donors April 26–28 and Bravo and Encore donors can order Lawn tickets April 29–30.

Tickets will be available to the public beginning  May 7 for the May/June/July concerts. Then the tickets open for August/September concerts on May 8. Visit Ticket Info.

No, you don’t have to plan what to bring now but you might want to decide if you and family or friends are going to try one of Ravinia’s dining-in or take-out options.

Just reading over all the choices at the Ravinia Market, the new Lawn Bar, the Park View and the Tree Top makes me want to try all of them just to see which I prefer and experience something different than “I will bring dessert.”

Finally, print out the schedule or put dates on the calendar so you don’t miss the concert you really want to see.

Ravina Festival is at 418 Sheridan Road, Highland Park, IL

Jodie Jacobs

 

Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

Chinatown New Year's Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)
Chinatown New Year’s Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)

If the new year that began Jan. 1, 2019 didn’t bring much luck so far or you really enjoy celebrating a new year, join in the fun and good luck of Chinese New Year  4717 that begins on Feb. 4.

Chicago celebrations kick off with a pre-New Year’s celebration Downtown Feb. 2, continue Feb. 5 and beyond until they end Feb. 16. However, Chinese New Year celebrations do go from Feb. 4 through Feb. 17 and end in some places with a Lantern Festival.

There is a lot going on in the city to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac’s lunar year sign – the Year of the Pig.

Also known as the Spring Festival, this Lunar Festival (there are others, particularly in Asia,) begins the eve before the first day and is often a time for families to get together.

Think “new moon” to know when it begins. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, 2019.  This year, the new moon is Feb. 4, 2019.

Here are some events that honor the Chinese culture and arts. More information is at Choose Chicago Chinese New Year   and  Chinese Fine Arts Society. Unless otherwise noted, the events are free.

 

Art Institute of Chicago pre-New Year celebration followed by a Lantern Procession

Head over to the Art Institute at 111 S. Michigan Ave. on Feb. 2 for music, crafts, stories, games and some talks in English and Mandarin about the museum’s Chinese art collection from 1 to 4:30 p.m.

Then, cross Monroe Street to Millennium Park and the Lurie Gardens for more activities. A Lantern Procession will line up about 5 p.m. and wind with a lion dance over to Maggie Daley Park about 5:30. Crafts and ice skating take place there until 7:30 p.m. The event is a partnership of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Choose Chicago.

 

Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)
Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)

Official City kickoff at Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with the Chinese Fine Arts Society at noon Feb. 5 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Watch lion dancers, Silk Road pipa master Yang Wei, martial arts and the Flying Fairies dance troupe. A special feature will be the China National Peking Opera Company including a sneak peak of comedic and acrobatic “At the Crossroads,” a famous opera based on a story from Water Margin.

The event is co-sponsored with Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Preston Bradley Hall is up the south stairs of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E Washington St Chicago Find more information at  (773) 935-6169

 

Annual Argyle Lunar New Year Parade

Join Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood festivities Feb. 9 for the Chinese New Year parade of dragons, lions and floats. It starts at 1 p.m. at Argyle and Winthrop near the Argyle “L” stop then goes east on Argyle Street to Sheridan Road, south to Ainslie Street, west to Broadway and then back to Argyle.

Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization
Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization)

 

Today at Apple

At the Apple store on north Michigan Avenue there will be Music Lab of Chinese Instruments with Yang Wei, artist-in-residence at Chinese fine arts society on Feb. 9. The event, running from 1 to 3:30 p.m. also includes hands-on GarageBand on the  iPad for the digital version and Sound-of- Wishes Ensemble. Plus, calligrapher Yijun Hu will draws to the music on an iPad. Apple is at 401 N. Michigan Ave.

 

Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade

Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade attracts thousands of folks from all over the Chicago area. The celebration takes place at Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street in the heart of Chinatown from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb 10. Cosponsors are the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation and Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

 

A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)
A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)

 

Chicago Symphony Center Fifth Annual Chinese New Year Concert

Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Symphony Center’s fifth annual concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 10. The event features the China National Peking Opera Company and the Hubei Chime Bells National Chinese Orchestra. This is a ticketed program.

A pre-concert performance is in Buntrock Hall at 1:30 p.m. featuring the Dong Fang Performing Arts Association, Yellow River Performing Arts and the Chicago Chinese Qipao Association. These performances are free to ticket holders of the 3 p.m. concert. Orchestra Hall is at, 220 S. Michigan Ave.

 

Global Connections: Chinese New Year Celebration at Navy Pier

Navy Pier celebrates the Chinese New Year with colorful performances and crafts and food booths in its AON Grand Ballroom, Feb. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Performing are the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, pipa master Yang Wei, Mongolian throat singer Tamir Hargana, the Flying Fairies dance troupe, Beidou Kung Fu, Zhong Hua Kung Fu plus traditional Chinese music by the Eight Tones Chinese Instrument Ensemble, Cheng Da Drum Team and others from Chicago’s Chinese community.

The Chinese Marketplace opens at 12:30 p.m. Performances are at 1 P.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Around Town: Two indoor fab February shows

 

Two shows that are completely different but always brighten February winter days and nights are the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place and the Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Both start the second weekend in February.

 

Chicago Auto Show has three test tracks. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Auto Show 2017)
Chicago Auto Show has three test tracks. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Auto Show 2017)

 

Chicago Auto Show

It’s understandable that the Chicago Auto Show has to be held at McCormick Place. It is the largest of its kind in North America. That means there is space to space to show off new cars, experimental cars, antique cars and accessories and to test drive some cars (different makes on different days. Visit Interactive Displays to learn about the test tracks.

Details: The Auto show runs from Feb 9 to Feb. 18, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. except closes at 8 p.m. Feb. 18. Admission is $13 adults, $7 age 62 and older and ages 7-12 and free to age 6 and younger if accompanied by an adult family member. McCormick Place is at 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago.

 

Orchid in Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouse. (phto by J Jacobs)
Orchid in Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouse. (photo by J Jacobs)

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

Go at night after work. Go in the morning to take photos. Go to get orchid advice from experts. And go to buy an orchid. But for sure go to be surrounded by more than 10,000 orchids hanging from trees in the greenhouses and lining the rooms and corridors of the Regenstein Center.

The theme this year is “In the Tropics.” So let orchids transport you to South Pacific islands or the Amazon’s rain forests.  Bromeliads and birds of paradise add color to the show’s lush landscape.

To find out when to go night or day and about other show activities and bonuses visit Chicago Botanic Orchid.

Details: The CBG Orchid Show runs from Feb. 9 through March 24. Garden admission is free but there is a parking fee. The show’s cost is Adults $12 (members $10), ages 3-12 $10 (members hildren $8). The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. For tickets and other information call call  (847) 835-5440 or visit CBG.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

Academy Awards nominations announced

 

Oscar poster 2013. (Image courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Oscar poster 2013. (Image courtesy of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Did you see a movie last year that you thought worthy of an Oscar or a performance that should be nominated for that golden statuette handed out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

BTW the statuette is supposed to be a knight holding a crusader’s sword. He stands on a film reel with five spokes that represents  actors, directors, producers, writers and technicians.

Maybe the movie or performance you liked is among the list of Oscar nominees announced this morning by the Academy.

Top three categories

Best Motion Picture nominations: Black Panther, BlackkKlansman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Favorite, Green Book, Roma, A Star is Born and Vice.

Best leading actor: Christian Bale (“Vice”), Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”), Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”), Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) and Viggo Mortensen (Green Book”)

Best leading actress: Yalitza Aparicio “Roma,” Glenn Close (“The Wife”), Olivia Colman (“The Favourite”), Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

For the complete list visit www.oscar.com.

What you might want to put on your calendar

The 91st Oscar Awards will be Feb. 24, 2019 at the Dolby Theatre, Hollywood and televised on the ABC Network.  (Voting takes place from Feb. 12 through Feb. 19.)

Ten trivia facts

You might want to know these if holding an Oscar Party or just to impress your friends:

  1. Number of eligible feature motion pictures … 347
  2. Countries submitting foreign language films… 87
  3. Number of voting members (as of 12-21-18)…7,902
  4. S. audience for 90th Oscars…26.54 million
  5. Number of Oscar statuettes given at 90th Oscars…48
  6. Oscar statuette height…13 ½ inches
  7. Oscar statuette weight…8 ½ pounds
  8. Longest Oscars telecast…4 hrs., 23 min. in 2002
  9. Shortest Oscars telecast…1 hr. 40 min. in 1959
  10. Most often Oscar host… Bob Hope with 19

Jodie Jacobs

 

Puppet Master: Global Fest returns

Huber Marionettes Gypsy Dancer. (Photo courtesy of Huber Marionettes)
Huber Marionettes Gypsy Dancer. (Photo courtesy of Huber Marionettes)

Depending on your generational reference, the word “puppet” may elicit memories of Shari Lewis’ adorable Lamb Chop or the stage-managing Kermit the Frog of “The Muppets Show.”

But puppetry actually is an ancient tradition of storytelling that is rooted in diverse global cultures. More recently, technical and creative innovations have launched the art to new heights of theatrical expression.

The 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival celebrates this renaissance through Jan. 27. More than 100 performances of 24 shows and events are being given at 19 Chicago venues by professional puppeteers from 11 countries.

The 2019 edition of the biennial Festival showcases an entertaining and eclectic array of experiences and cultures from around the world. A wide range of puppet styles and approaches are presented including marionettes, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, paper scrolls and even anthropomorphized plastic shopping bags.

Some of the productions are lighthearted and family-friendly, while others are dramatic or political. Some incorporate dance, song, multimedia, live music, kites–or total silence. All are thought-provoking and moving examples of the power of puppetry to foster compassion and spark insight into lives beyond our own..

 

A few of the shows that are coming up

“Pescador/Fishermen” by Silencio Blanco of Chile is a series of quiet portraits of men at sea. Engrossed in their solitary work, fishermen absorb nature’s overwhelming immensity.

In “Suspended Animation,” the stunning Huber Marionettes from Cookeville, Tenn., dance, play musical instruments and perform complex acrobatic tricks.

“Schweinehund” is inspired by the true story of Pierre Seel, a Frenchman deported to a concentration camp in 1941 on suspicion of homesexuality. Performed on a wooden table, skeletal puppets interact with projected video-animations evoking powerful snapshots of the atrocities Seel endured juxtaposed with wistful memories of yesteryears. It was produced by puppeteers Andy Gaukel of New York and Myriame Larose of Montreal.

This year’s schedule also includes the Neighborhood Festival Tour, a series of 12 free performances by Italian and Puerto Rican puppeteers.

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival was formed in 2014 to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry. Founder and artistic director Blair Thomas, known for his work in spectacle theater, previously co-founded the now-defunct Redmoon Theater.

DETAILS: The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival runs in various city theaters and venues through Jan. 27. For tickets and a full schedule, visit  ChicagoPuppetFest.

Pamela Dittmer McKuen

(Ed note: McKuen saw the first show, “Ajijaak on Turtle Island” but because it isn’t on the continuing agenda, she didn’t write a review for readers who might want to go. However she said she would have given it our top rating of 4 stars.)

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

Top holiday shows and shopping plus light sights

The Joffrey Ballet's Nutcraker at Aurditorium Theatre. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)
The Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcraker at Aurditorium Theatre. (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

If you don’t want to be saying “Oops” this holiday season then 1. Don’t wait to get tickets to the shows you or your family want to see and  2. Do put those holiday events you want to go to on the calendar.

The good news is that there are numerous great holiday shows and happenings in the Chicago area. The problem news is that the many places to go, things to do and see make it hard to narrow down the choices to what is doable.

Tip: Be realistic when weighing what is manageable with kids, tired feet and meal breaks.

The following suggestions offer three Chicago area choices in each category – shows, shopping and spectacular lights and sights:

 

Shows

A Christmas Carol At Goodman Theatre (2017 photo by Liz Lauren)
A Christmas Carol At Goodman Theatre (2017 photo by Liz Lauren)

What: Goodman Theatre’s “The Christmas Carol” Nov. 17-Dec. 30, 2018

Where: In Goodman Theatre’s Albert Theatre at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

Why: Goodman’s production of Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol” is  a Chicago tradition that never gets old with new staging often added. But the show is also a talking point for families on what is important.

How:: See ticket and other information at Goodman Theatre/Carol

 

What:  Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” Dec. 1-30, 2018

Where: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. (50 E. Congress Pkwy) at Michigan Ave.

Why: Going to the Joffrey’s “Nutcracker” is also a Chicago holiday tradition. It was beautifully re-imagined  last year by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon as a visit by Marie and her mother to the 1893 World’s Fair. The mysterious Great Impresario turns the visit into an adventure. And it is all set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous music.

How: Find tickets and information at Joffrey Nutcracker

 

What: Lookingglass Theatre’s “The Steadfast Tin Soldier,” Nov. 7, 2018 through Jan. 13, 2019.

Where: Lookingglass theatre is in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N Michigan Ave, Chicago.

Why: Lookingglass productions are highly innovative, well acted and engrossing. This tale based on a Hans Christian Andersen story is being staged as an exciting spectable by ttalented, creative Mary Zimmerman.

How: Tickets and information are at Lookingglass Theatre.

 

Shopping

Good gift shopping at the Field Museum (J Jacobs photo)
Good gift shopping at the Field Museum (J Jacobs photo)

What: The Field Museum Store, anytime

Where: The Field is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, the furthest west building on the Museum Campus.

Why: The museum has a fantastic gift shop with items that would appeal to all ages.

How: For hours and admission visit Field Museum or shop on line

 

What: Christkindlmarket Chicago, daily Nov. 16-Dec. 24, 2018 and Naperville Thursday through Sunday Nov. 23-Dec. 24 2018.

Where: In Chicago at Daley Plaza on Washington Street between Dearborn and Clark Streets and in Naperville  at Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St.

Why: It’s fun to see, buy and taste the type of Bavarian gifts and treats popular at holiday markets in Germany.

How: More information is at Christkindlmarket

 

What: Art Institute of Chicago Gift Shop, anytime

Where:  On line and at the museum, front entrance at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern Wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe St.

Why: Gift shop entrances do not need admission fees or tickets. The shops carry one-of-a kind gifts that won’t bust the budget. The Modern Wing has good glass items and the main gift shop has excellent jewelry and ties. Both  shops have Frank Lloyd Wright  items and gifts inspired by other artists. Also visitors like to take holiday  photos with the wreathed lions in front.

How: For hours visit the museum at artic.

Spectacular lights and sights

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

What: Lincoln Park Zoo Lights Nov. 23-Jan.6

Where: In Lincoln Park at 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

Why: See the animals while strolling among 2,5 million lights thanks to Com Ed and Invesco. Also visit Santa, watch ice carving, sip warm spiced wine, snack on holiday treats and watch a 3D light show.

How: Find hours and admission at LPZoo Zoolights.

 

What: Chicago Botanic Garden Lights and Wonderland Express Nov. 23-Dec. 21,2018

Where: 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Why: the Garden’s event is called Wonderland Express but before going into the building that has trains zipping through Chicago landmarks, see trees and walkways lit by thouands of lights and visit the greenhouses’ topiaries and poinsettias. Then don’t worry about the “snow” falling on shoulders inside the exhibit building. It’s all about fun and winter wonders.

How: For hours and admission visit Chicago Botanic/Wonderland

 

What: Morton Arboretum Illumination Nov. 17, 2018-Jan 1, 2019

Where: The grounds of the Morton Aroboretum at 4100 IL Hwy 53, Lisle.

Why: These lights don’t stay still. They change color, they move to music, they’re interactive and Illumination, supported by Com Ed and Invesco, is fun.

How:: See hours and admission at MortonArb/Lights

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

Around town early November

 

Modern by Design at the Chicago History Museum is a stop on Design Chicago's Near North Day. (Photo courtesy of Chicago History
Modern by Design at the Chicago History Museum is a stop on Design Chicago’s Near North Day. (Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum)

Art Design Chicago event Nov. 10

Try to catch at least one of the places on Art Design Chicago’s free Near North Design Day.

From 10 a.m. to noon, activities range from celebrating the Zepher and “Chicago Streamlines America” exhibit at the Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark St.) to the Newberry Library’s (60 W. Wsalton St.) lecture and Ghawazee belly dancing related to its “Pictures from an Exposition:  Visualizing the 1893 World’s Fair” exhibition

Then, from noon to 4 p.m. they range from a clay printmaking workshop with Sharon Bladholm related to “Clay printmaking inspired by Edgar Miller at Art on Sedgwick to a photo workshop from 2 to 4 p.m. at the DePaul Art Museum (935 W. Fullerton Ave)  related to “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Someday, Chicago” exhibition.

Art on Sedgwick is at 1408 N. Sedgwick and the Sedgwick Stjudio is at 1544 N. Sedgwick.

There is also a viewing of the Roger Brown Study Collection at 1926 N. Halsted Ave. For the complete schedule of places and times visit Art Design Chicago.

A free trolley going between sites makes it easier to fit in at least a couple of places. Art Design Chicago is a Terra Foundation for American Art project to heighten awareness of Chicago’s role as a design center

 

Speaking of design

If you haven’t visited the Richard Norton Gallery at 612 Merchandise Mart Plaza, stop by to see “Kenn Kwint Linear Expressions” which opened Nov. 8 and some of the other artists represented by this major Chicago gallery. For more information visit Richard Norton Gallery.

 

And speaking of Near North

“Replay Lincoln Park,” a popular pop up bar at 2833 N. Sheffield is back beginning Nov. 9, The theme this year is “Friends” and includes Monica’s apartment and Chandler and Joey’s place. For more information, please call (773) 665-5660 or visit Replay Lincoln Park.

Jodie Jacobs