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.
No matter what the weather holds, here are a few of the jolly, holly ways to celebrate the season in the Chicago area.
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.
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.
Hugh McMahon’s portrait of Hillary Clinton sat in the White House when husband Bill was president. His art work has been featured in magazines and on TV. But McMahon’s work is no ordinary art form. He carves pumpkins.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For a feel-good night about community-centered groups see Stories and Songs of Chicago at the Harris Theater Sept. 24, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
A free program arranged by Lyric Unlimited, Lyric Opera’s education and community outreach arm, the event showcases musical theater productions by “Harmony, Hope & Healing,” “The Kirin-Gornick Band” and “Tellin’ Tales Theatre.”
Assuming you are one of thousands of theater goers who plan to see Hamilton – the hit musical by multi-award-winning lyricist, composer, performer Lin-Manuel Miranda – when it is in Chicago because tickets are easier to come by and cheaper than in New York, think about why you want to see the show.