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. (phto 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 10,00 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

 

Hilarious guide to inheriting a fortune

Emily Goldberg (Sibella Hallward) and Andres Enriquez (Monty Novarro) in A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder. (Photo by Michael Courier)
Emily Goldberg (Sibella Hallward) and Andres Enriquez (Monty Novarro) in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. (Photo by Michael Courier)

3 ½ stars

Few plays open in song or in verse giving advice to the audience that if they are too weak to listen to a story of revenge and punishment, they’d better leave the theater.

However, it’s laughter that greets the Porchlight Music Theatre’s ensemble when they sing the warning to open the 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder.”

Taking place in turn-of-the-century England, the “gentleman” is Monty Navarro played by Andres Enriquez. Monty is very poor, but Miss Shingle, played by Caron Buinis, helps him discover that he’s an heir to a fortune. Unfortunately, Monty is so far back in line he has to eliminate eight D’Ysquith relatives ahead of him.

Read More

‘How to Catch Creation’ is not a directional guide

 

Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Bernard Gilbert (Stokes) in the world premiere of How to Catch Creation. (Liz Lauren photos)
Ayanna Bria Bakari (Natalie), Jasmine Bracey (G.K. Marche), Maya Vinice Prentiss (Riley) and Bernard Gilbert (Stokes) in the world premiere of How to Catch Creation. (Liz Lauren photos)

3 ½ stars

“How to Catch Creation,” a world premiere at Goodman Theatre, may sound like a how-to guide. But Christina Anderson’s new play is nothing like a step-by-step process.

Six people making up three intellectual couples search for fulfillment. Two couples are presented in the present in 2014. The third couple’s actions begin back in the 1960’s. But their lives are all presented at the same time, almost as two syncopated poetry readings.

During their journey of personal exploration they encounter snags of same and opposite gender attractions, divergent artistic paths and stereotypical thinking.

And it’s all done on scenic designer Todd Rosenthal’s stunning set. It revolves as two halves – one for the two contemporary couples, the other for most of the 1960’s situation.

The location is a California town similar to San Francisco and its area.

Sorry we’ve been asked not to reveal the plot’s unusual twists. What you would realize early into the show, is that all the characters are black and that Anderson deliberately presents the actions and dialogue from a black perspective.

But important as that perspective is, fulfillment desires and gender issues transcend race. Thus the play is meaningful on many levels. And under the direction of Niegel Smith who did “Father Comes home from the Wars” the cast superbly interprets Anderson’s sharp and clever dialogue.

Read More

‘Photograph 51’ is a portrait of life

 

Chaon Cross Rosalind Franklin) in Court Theatre's Photograph 51 (Michael Brosilow photo)
Chaon Cross Rosalind Franklin) in Court Theatre’s Photograph 51 (Michael Brosilow photo)

3.5 Stars

“Photograph 51” written by Anna Ziegler and Directed by Vanessa Stalling at the Court Theatre is a snapshot of the life of British chemist Rosalind Franklin (Chaon Cross).

Until recently she had gone virtually un-credited for her contribution to the discovery that revealed the structure of DNA to be a double helix. But the discovery earned her research colleague Maurice Wilkins (Nathan Hosner) and two rival collaborators James Watson (Alex Goodrich) and Francis Crick (Nicholas Harazin) the Nobel Prize.

Franklin was hired by King’s College London for her cutting edge expertise in the field of X-ray crystallography and assured that she would be in charge of her own research. Instead, she was assigned to Wilkins’ DNA project thus leaving her status of independence unresolved at best. Read More

‘Imagine the Moon’ at the Adler

 

Earth Rising (Photo courtesy of NASA
Earth Rising (Photo courtesy of NASA

 

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.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

A million dollar evening’s worth

Nat Zegree, Shaun Whitley, Rustin Cole Sailors and Christopher J. Essex around the piano as in their characters' pose in the famed Million dollar Quartet photo
Nat Zegree, Shaun Whitley, Rustin Cole Sailors and Christopher J. Essex around the piano as in their characters’ pose in the famed Million dollar Quartet photo

4 stars

Going to Marriott Theatre for “Million Dollar Quartet” is like going to an amazing concert.

Some of the story-line is there on how and why future pianist extraordinaire Jerry Lee Lewis, the already famous Elvis Presley, the growingly popular Johnny Cash and the originator of “Blue Suede Shoes,” singer Carl Perkins, had all stopped by Sam Phillips’ Sun Records Memphis recording studio and service on the same December day in 1956.

But the reason to go to the show is to hear and see those four personalities come alive  during an extraordinary 90 plus minutes jamming of “I Walk the Line,” “That’s All Right (Mama),” Who Do You Love,” “Great Balls of Fire”  and their other hits.

The event, the only time these four future legendary entertainers were at the same place at the same moments, was captured by Phillips in a photo that would become famous. I saw it in the museum that is the Sun Records building in Memphis. The building is definitely worth a visit.

Phillips who became known as the “Father of Rock and Roll,” had recognized a future in syncing what was considered at the time to be “Negro” sounds and rhythms with other beats.

What the Marriott show doesn’t go into is the part radio personality Marion Keisker, a collaborator at Phillips’ Memphis Recording Service, played in bringing Elvis on board.

Originally conceived and directed by Floyd Mutrux with book by Colin Escott and Mutrux, the show is basically a jukebox musical. Premiered in Florida in 2006, it was produced in Chicago in 2008 first at Goodman Theatre and then moved to the Apollo Theater where it ran until fall 2014.

However, it does include short, spotlit, freeze points where Phillips interacts with each performer he developed while the other entertainers are in stop-action shadows.

It has Elvis accompanied by girlfriend Dyanne, portrayed with pizzazz by Laura Savage. She does a great “Fever” torch song during the jam session. As an aside, some stories about the event say he was accompanied by girlfriend Marilyn Evans.

From L. Laura Savage, Nat Zegree, Rustin Cole Sailors and Christopher J. Essex in Million Dollar Quartet at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. (Photos by Liz Lauren)
From L. Laura Savage, Nat Zegree, Rustin Cole Sailors and Christopher J. Essex in Million Dollar Quartet at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire. (Photos by Liz Lauren)

What does matter is that the whole Marriott cast is terrific. Christopher J. Essex who has played the role elsewhere, really sounds like Johnny Cash. Rustin Cole Sailors who has been in several musicals on the West Coast does a fine Elvis impression. Shaun Whitley who reprises his Carl Perkins role during part of the Apollo Theater run has the perfect voice and plays a mean guitar.

But the person who usually makes this musical fun and exciting for me is the pianist portraying Jerry Lee Lewis. After more than 300 performances as Jerry Lee, as the famed entertainer is often called, Nat Zegree can not only play the piano with one hand, backwards, upside-down and certainly not sitting, but he can also do it blind-folded and does so during the encore.

Longtime actor David Folsom who has performed in shows from California to New York is a believable Sam Philips. Other important characters, although they are off to the side, are Zach Lentino reprising his role in the Apollo production as Jay Perkins, brother of Carl Perkins, on bass, and Kieran McCabe as drummer W.S. “Fluke” Holland which he has also played in other “Million Dollar” productions.

I also liked the use of the usually darkened, glassed-in room where Marriott Theatre’s  musicians usually perform turned into Sun Records’ recording room.

Indeed, the entire staging was handled well. It felt as if we were all there at Sun Records.

So kudos to director James Moye, music director Ryan T. Nelson, set designer Jeffrey D. Kmiec, sound designer  Robert E. Gilmartin and lighting designer Jesse Klug.

On the nit-picking side of what is otherwise a great show, I found the constant lighting up of cigarettes to be a distraction even though smoking was very popular mid last century. I also thought there were too many dead spots mixed in with Zegree’s rant about devil music. The other characters looked as though they were supposed to say something but didn’t and those time lapses were too long.

But the Marriott production is good enough to see more than once and share with friends.

DETAILS:  “Million Dollar Quartet” is at Marriott Theatre, Ten Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL through March 16, 2019. Running time: approximately 100 min. no intermission. For tickets and other information call (847) 634-0200 and visit Marriott Theatre.

Jodie Jacobs

For more shows visit Theatre in Chicago

 

 

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

 

Where it’s summer: No plane ticket needed

 

Don’t let Chicago’s Brr-rated temps keep you from going out when you could be enjoying beach and equator-like weather and fun. One of the places you can shed coats, hats and gloves and sit in a deck chair is The Beach at Navy Pier. The other place envelopes you in tropical warmth and greenery at The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

 

Go to The Beach at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy PIer)
Go to The Beach at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy PIer)

The Beach Chicago

You know you experience is going to be interesting when one of the rules to enter The Beach is to empty pockets of keys, jewelry, phones and fit-bits because they can be lost, not in the sand but in an ocean of a million plastic balls.

Play, relax and watch youngsters uninhibitedly dive because this ocean is safe. BTW, no shoes allowed so wear fun socks.

Designed by Snarkitecture founder Daniel Arsham and his crew, The Beach is a fun architectural installation that has gone into an arena in Tampa, a national museum with a large lobby in Washington D.C. and now, the large ballroom at Navy Pier.

Opened Jan. 19 and going through Feb. 3, 2019, The Beach is just in time to counteract Chicago’s icy winds.

But check rules ahead of time for dos and don’ts such as no strollers, eating or drinking or throwing the balls and do use self-service lockers for valuables.

Presented by Navy Pier and Expo Chicago, entry to The Beach is free. For parking fees and locations and public transportation check Navy Pier. To see the Tampa installation visit Youtube TampaBeach. To learn more about the beach installation visit Snarkitecture. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. For more information  call 1-800 595-PIER (7437) and visit The Beach Chicago.

 

Escape wintery winds at the Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouses. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Escape wintery winds at the Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouses. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouses

Escape to temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the Semitropical Greenhouse surrounded by ferns, delightful  gardenia and bougainvillea. Look for  penguins and cranes. They won’t waddle or fly off. The Semitropical Greenhouse has topiaries around each corner.

Then feel the warmth of the Tropical Greenhouse and breathe in its wonderfully moist air. Look for cocoa pods on the “chocolate tree,” orchids growing on the Botanic Garden’s constructed trees and bromeliads  hanging from other constructions. Look for the large leaves and maroon-colored flowers of the banana plants.

Go from moist to dry climates in the Arid Greenhouse. Daytime here is really warm between 80 and 90 degrees but when the sun goes down these plants like cold so the temperature drops to half that. Look for interesting cacti shapes but don’t touch. Many of these plants are prickly.

Entry to to Chicago Botanic Garden is free. For parking fees and public transportation suggestions (about half a mile from the Braeside Metra stop) visit Chicago Botanic. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For more information call (847) 835-5440.

Jodie Jacobs