Around Town: February

Instead of organizing the desk (or you name it), and wishing the groundhog prognosticators were wrong about six more weeks of winter, take in a show, find a special event to dispel gray skies and moods and take advantage of museum free days.

Theatre

The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

If the family has a Saturday available, get tickets to ‘Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at The Yard, Chicago Shakespeare’s newly added theater on Navy Pier . The show is a fun 75 minutes that merges the Bard’s humorous mismatching of characters in his comedies. The production is offered Saturdays now through March 10, 2018 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.. To get tickets visit Chicago Shakes Plays.

 

Concert

Listen as famed tenor Lawrence Brownlee performs ‘Cycles of My Being,’ a recital that puts forth what it is like to live as a black man in America. Co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Lyric Opera/Lyric Unlimited and Opera Philadelphia, the program will only be in chicago Feb. 22, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the DuSable Museum of African American History. For more information visit Lyric Opera Cycles or call (312) 827-5600.

 

Walk around gorgeous, delicate orchids at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Walk around gorgeous, delicate orchids at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Botanics

Go to the Chicago Botanic Garden  Feb. 10 through March 25, 2018 to see orchids with an Asian accent. This year, the Garden’s Orchid Show blooms among kimonos, parasols and Asian plants. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. plus open later Thursdays to 8 p.m. For more information visit Chicago Botanic Garden orchid.

 

 

 

Museums

How about a night at the   museum,  that is among the fish?

Explore the Shedd during an overnight stay.
Explore the Shedd during an overnight stay.

 

For Presidents Day weekend stay the night Feb. 16, 2018 in a special program at the Shedd Aquarium that allows participants to explore the museum, see an aquatic presentation and do a scavenger hunt. The cost is $75 per person ($60 members).  For tickets and more information visit Shedd Aquarium Overnight.

 

Free Days

Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday when most schools in Illinois are closed to celebrate Presidents Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays, is Feb. 19, 2018. Fortunately, some of Chicago’s museums are free that day.

Some Chicago museums have free admission.
Some Chicago museums have free admission.

The Adler Planetarium’s general admission is waved for Illinois residents Feb. 19-22.  For more information visit Adler.

Art Institute of Chicago has free admission to Chicago residents under age 18, every day. See ARTIC.

Chicago History Museum is free every day to children under 18 who are Illinois residents. Visit Chicago History.

The Field Museum has free general admission for Illinois residents all of February. Visit Field Museum free days.

 

Art

The National Museum of Mexican Art always has free admission. See National Museum of Mexican Art.

Find this amazing dome and room at the Chicago Cultural Center
Find this amazing dome and room at the Chicago Cultural Center

The Chicago Cultural Center has a new exhibition on its fourth floor. Titled “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush,” it was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The Cultural Center also has other exhibits on its first floor. While in the building go to the third floor to see gorgeous glass domes and rooms. Admission is always free. Visit Chicago Cultural Center.

Get out and enjoy Chicago

Jodie Jacobs

 

Exquisite craft work nicely complements natural handiwork

 

Visitors going to the American Craft Exposition at the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend, get a two for one experience.

Works in wood by Michael Bauermeister, Augusta, MO, are among the popular objects available at the American Craft Exposition at the Chicago Botanic Garden Jacobs photo
Works in wood by Michael Bauermeister, Augusta, MO, are among the popular objects available at the American Craft Exposition at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Jacobs photo

ACE, as the show  is popularly known, presents the highest quality crafts produced by artists from across the United States.

Many of the artists, such as wood master Michael D. Mode of New Haven VT., have been showing their work at ACE for several years.

Mode who Started with the exhibition in 1996 explained. “It’s a good show with a good venue and it’s wonderful to be seen in a high quality show. It’s one of the top shows in the country,” he said.

When through admiring beautifully turned wood sculptures, gorgeous porcelain objects, amazing watercolor-like embroidery and lots of attractive, wearable art, visitors can relax at the café, then set out to see what is blooming in the gardens and what trees and plants are changing color.

Unfortunately, the exhibition is only up Sept. 15 through 17, so the show needs to be slotted into busy weekend schedules. However, it is worth the trip and admission. And the show, arranged by the Auxiliary of Northshore University HealthSystem , benefits orthopedic regenerative medicine and pharmacogenomics research.

Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL Jacobs photo
Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, IL
Jacobs photo

Tickets, whether used one day or for all three days, are one price with $13 for CBG members and $15 nonmembers. Children under age 12 enter free. The Botanic Garden is free but there is a parking charge for nonmembers.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, just east of the Edens Expressway.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For other tickets, parking and other information visit Chicago Botanic or call (847) 835-5440.

 

 

Around Town mid June 2017

 

From bike riding to strawberry munching and concerts in a garden to music on a lawn, summer fun is tempting us to find our outdoor muse during or after work.

Chicago Botanic Garden soothes smooths away stress after work. Photos by Jodie Jacobs
Chicago Botanic Garden soothes smooths away stress after work. Photos by Jodie Jacobs

 

Bike to work

First, don’t be surprised if you see more groups of bikers around Chicago, this week. The annual Bike commuter Challenger is upon us asking people to ride a bike to work instead of a train or car. To participate in its fun events and “pit stops” go to Bikedown to register.

 

TGI M/T after work music

Then, for a different way to enjoy a balmy early evening, check out music with a Latin or Swing beat at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Different nights and different weeks feature different musical sounds and bands. For example, Mondays  at 5:30 p.m. there are carillon bells  and Tuesday, the music shifts over to the Esplanade for bluegrass or big band sounds.

Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Evenings for more information. The concerts are free but unless you are a member there is a parking fee per car. The Chicago Botanic Garden is east of Edens Expressway at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe.

Ravinia Festival's lawn is a great place to meet friends for an after-work supper.
Ravinia Festival’s lawn is a great place to meet friends for an after-work supper.

 

After-work stress-relieving music

Or get a lawn ticket (best price is ahead of time, not at the gate) to hear perfect after-work music at Ravinia Festival in Highland park.

The Julliard String Quartet is June 20. It’s in the Martin Theatre but usually those programs are broadcast on the lawn.

In the Pavilion are Gypsy Kings June 23, Common June 24, Michael McDonald and Boz Scraggs June 27 and Diana Krall June 28.

For show times and other info visit Ravinia.

 

Have a Strawberry weekend

Long Grove festivals are a chance to see the village.
Long Grove festivals are a chance to see the village.

 

If everything or anything strawberry excites the taste buds, go over to downtown Long Grove, a cute historic village northwest of Chicago, June 23-25.

Along with lots of booths with strawberry sandwiches and desserts there will be several music stages and stuff for kids. Entry is $5 anyone over age 12.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Strawberry fest’s center is at  308 Old McHenry Rd, Long Grove. Visit Long Grove for more information.

 

Where orchids are in vogue

Valentine’s Day rose delivery has passed so should we be thinking about orchids now for Mother’s Day or prom?

Orchids fill the Regenstein Center and green houses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Orchids fill the Regenstein Center and green houses at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

It’s funny how potted orchids have become a popular grocery store item and how they are even on the shelves of big box hardware stores such as Home Depot. So instead of cut flowers, maybe an orchid in a pot makes a nice gift.

But if you want to see a lush variety hanging from trees or peeping out through tropical vegetation and you are in the Chicago area, go over to the Chicago Botanic Garden in North Suburban Glencoe.

The Botanic Garden’s popular annual Orchid Show has taken over the Regenstein Center and green houses, now through March 26, 2017.

The show’s theme this year is ‘Orchids in Vogue‘ so as you look at a wall of photos reminding visitors of how orchids were used through the ages maybe you recall giving or receiving an orchid for Mother’s day or a prom.

The show might even inspire you to buy an orchid for yourself or as a gift.

Tips: Experts are on hand weekends to answer questions on growing orchids. To see orchid artistry, go to The Illinois Orchid Society for its Spring Show and Sale March 11 and 12.

But mostly go to the show any day of the week to enjoy their beauty.

Cost: Adults: members/nonmembers: $10/$12, seniors 62+  $8/$10, children age 3–12: 8/$10. Nonmember parking is extra but can be bought in advance for easier garden entry and there is a Two Pack deal for parking and two tickets.  The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. For tickets and other information visit CBG and call  (847) 835-5440.

 

Around Town

 

Now that Super Bowl 51 is history, and yes, it made history, and Spring Training doesn’t start for a couple of weeks, it’s time to think about what to do away from the flat screen.

Fortunately Chicago has plenty of attractions to lure folks out of the house. Three ideas are offered here because they are either starting this weekend or will be free or discounted.

 

Chicago Botanic Garden 2017 Orchid Show opens this weekend. Photo by Maria Rebelo
Chicago Botanic Garden 2017 Orchid Show opens this weekend. Photo by Maria Rebelo

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

You can beat the crowd by going to the Members’ Preview Feb. 10, 5-7:30 p.m.  for cocktails and music  ($30). Or go Feb. 11 or 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when  orchids will be sold in the Orchid Marketplace and experts will be around to answer your orchid questions. The show starts this weekend but is extended to March 26, 2017 so there is time to return with more friends and orchid growing questions.

Cost: Adults: members/nonmembers: $10/$12, seniors 62+  $8/$10, children age 3–12: 8/$10. Nonmember parking is extra but can be bought in advance for easier garden entry and there is a Two Pack deal for parking and two tickets.  The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. Call  (847) 835-5440.

 

Museum of Science and Industry Black Creativity Program

It’s always interesting to see what’s going on at the museum and to check out two special programs there during Black History Month. But if you are an Illinois resident you can do so free of charges this week, Feb. 7-9, and next week, Feb. 14-16.

The Juried Art Exhibition, an annual show since 1970, features professional and aspiring black artists from across the country, now through Feb. 19, 2017.

The other program is the Innovation Studio where visitors learn about African American contributions to the sciences and can add their own ideas and solutions. It is there now through March 4, 2017. The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake shore Drive, Chicago.

 

Bigfin Reef Squid are now swimming at the Shedd Aquarium. Photo compliments of Shedd Aquarium.
Bigfin Reef Squid are now swimming at the Shedd Aquarium. Photo compliments of Shedd Aquarium.

Weird squid at Shedd Aquarium

What has eight arms, two long tentacles, looks right at you and isn’t venomous?

It’s a Bigfin Reef Squid. It’s fun to watch them glide on the mezzanine level of the Abbott Oceanarium. Having just been raised by the Shedd, they are new to the tank where visitor can see them.

Illinois residents have free entry Feb. 10-14, so this week –weekend is a good time to go. A free general admission day is also a discount day which means the Oceanarium charge is less.

The Shedd Aquarium is at 1200 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For other information visit Shedd and call (312) 939-2438.

 

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Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
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This Weekend: Three important art shows

Expo Chicago

The fifth International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art at Chicago’s Navy Pier, known as Expo Chicago, opens Sept. 22 with VIP parties and is open to the public Sept.23-25. More than a mere showing of works from 140 galleries across the globe, the fair showcases special exhibitions from art institutions and organizations and has panel discussions. There are also unusual suspended installations as part of IN/SITU.

Navy Pier, always a fun destination, adds art appeal this weekend as it hosts EXPO Chicago. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Navy Pier, always a fun destination, adds art appeal this weekend as it hosts EXPO Chicago. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Details: EXPO Chicago is at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL. Hours are Fri-Sat. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets are $20 one day, $30 3-day pass. For  more information visit EXPO Chicago. For Navy Pier information call (312) 595-7437.

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