Five art venues worth braving Chicago temps

UPCOMING

Installation view, decor for 'Views on Stage, 2004 in "Dance Works II: Merce Cunningham/Ernesto Neto, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2012, Photo by Gene Pittman
Installation view, decor for ‘Views on Stage, 2004 in “Dance Works II: Merce Cunningham  – Ernesto Neto, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 2012. Photo by Gene Pittman

It’s a given that Chicago winters are defined by how much snow has to be shoveled and how many layers are needed to protect against the cold. But, hey, Chicagoans know the city doesn’t shut down. So, Instead of hibernating the question is – what’s happening in and around the city to see and do early in 2017?

First was a look at some theater offerings premiering in Chicago. Now, let’s take a look at what is happening on the art scene.

Two of the exhibit sites, Intuit and Chicago Artists Coalition, may introduce you to art spaces you didn’t know or hadn’t visited.

The next two exhibits are in well-visited art museums but are quite unusual. The last venue hosts art exhibits throughout the year but the place is often under the radar.

 

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Midwest and World premieres in early 2017

UPCOMING SHOWS

When those New Year resolutions include taking advantage of the Chicago area’s superb theater scene, consider getting tickets to a show that is a World or Chicago Premiere.

Theatre Wit gives a clever behind-the-curtain glimpse of a play rehearsal. Theatre Wit Photo
Theatre Wit gives a clever behind-the-curtain glimpse of a play rehearsal. Theatre Wit Photo

The productions listed here are at six venues that typically do at least one new production a year and often host productions by other theater companies.

Thus they can have more than one show scheduled each month. So, while checking out the suggestions here also look at the venue’s season.

Theater seasons don’t usually coincide with a calendar year. The premieres mentioned here open by the end of March 2017.

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Holiday fun times five

The signs of the season are there. Macy’s windows have come alive with moving characters, holiday market tents are going up in Daley Plaza, a giant evergreen is hoisted in Millennium Park and people are wondering if we should pray for cold to have good ice in the park or warm weather for good shopping.

The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography
The Nutckracker is at Marriott Theatre. Amy Boyle Photography

No matter what the weather holds, here are a few of the jolly, holly ways to celebrate the season in the Chicago area.

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Three things to blot out 2016 election static Nov. 3-6

Instead of subjecting oneself to all the election noise on TV and social media, try to feel good about the world, at least for a little while, by going to a fun event. An old fashioned musical opens this week.  See what creative folks are doing with functional art. Visit an outdoor destination that has an unusual indoor exhibit this weekend.

Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo

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Three shows for the Halloween Season

Chicago area theatres do their part to provide fun or spooky entertainment. A show opening this weekend in north suburban Lake Forest is geared to families. A production out in the western suburbs is best for teens and older but is also interesting by the way it asks the audience to move with each scene through an old estate. Another show that will open in mid October at a Chicago theater, will leave audiences with perhaps a different understanding of a Shakespearean tragedy. Check them out this Halloween season.

"Dr. Seward's Dracula" takes audiences through the Mayslake-Peabody Mansion in a forest preserve. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
“Dr. Seward’s Dracula” takes audiences through the Mayslake-Peabody Mansion in a forest preserve. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

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Six free and discounted museum visits to ease the budget

Listen up if looking for a weekend activity that won’t empty the pocketbook. Think outer space, mummies or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat’s famed painting.  With the apple picking season beginning to wind down, the coming weekends are a good time to visit one of Chicago’s world class museums whether interested in art, history or science. Fortunately, free and Illinois discount days offset the necessary fees the museums have to charge to make up for cuts in state and other government subsidies. Here are six free and discounted museum ideas.

The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.
The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.

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  This Weekend: Art, Festivals and Music

Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival… If looking for a fun festival atmosphere with lots of local dishes, beer and wine plus bands plus art to see or buy go downtown Evanston, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, 2016. The event is a chance to shop for gifts ahead of the holiday crush and try some of the suburb’s restaurant’ fare. The festival center is at 800 Church Street. Hours: Art Fair – Fri. 4 a.m. –dusk, Sat. 10 a.m.-dusk, Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Food and Music – Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For other information visit Art&Fork.

Evanston's Art & Big Fork Festival. Photo Amdur Productions
Evanston’s Art & Big Fork Festival. Photo Amdur Productions

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Theater: Fall shows to put on the calendar

'Wonderful Life ' revival comes to Goodman Theatre this fall
‘Wonderful Town ‘ revival comes to Goodman Theatre this fall

With more than 200 theater companies in Metropolitan Chicago there’s no lack of choices in all price ranges, genres and locations. Here is a small sampling of a half-dozen shows that will be in area theaters this fall. Of course you know that ‘Hamilton,’ the mega Tony-Award winning rap musical, opens Sept. 27. But it’s an open run so you might want to check availability later in the year or 2017.

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Upcoming: Two spectacular free events at Millennium Park in September

On Sept. 9, “Stars of Lyric Opera at Milllennium Park” showcases arias from Carmen, Eugene Onegin, The Magic Flute and Lucia di Lammermoor for a taste of the Lyric Opera’s 2016-17 season plus other operatic numbers by Mozart, Verdi, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and Wagner.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Five days later, on Sept. 14, the “Third Annual Fifth Star Awards” honors blues musician Buddy Guy, The Second City improv theater, actress/Black Ensemble Theater founder Jackie Taylor, photographer Victor Skrebneski and National Museum of Mexican Art founder Carlos Tortolero.

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