Around Town in August: Think Port Clinton Art Fest and Windy City Smokeout


U.S. Navy Blue Angels featured in Chicago Air and Water Show. (City of Chicago photo)
U.S. Navy Blue Angels featured in Chicago Air and water show. (City of Chicago photo)

As the weather has already let us know, summer events still have a month to go. Some of the Chicago area’s big events are in the weekends to come. Most are free.  Think, Air & Water Show and Port Clinton Art Festival. Then, get out the calendar. 

Fun Festivals

Aug 4-7  Windy City Smokeout 
West Loop at the United Center
Cost: $50 and up

Combine country music stars such as Tim McGraw and Miranda Lambert with pit master food bites from Kentucky and other famed smoke-it regions and you have Chicago’s annual Smokeout. More info at Home Page – Windy City Smokeout

Aug. 13 is Chicago’s famed Bud Billikin Parade and Festival, 10:30 a.m. to noon.

It’s in Bronzeville along Dr. Martin Luther King Drive from Oakwood Boulevard to 51st Street and continues Ellsworth Drive through Washington Park to 55th St. The event has floats, dance teams and bands plus food and other booths. It started in 1929 as a way to generate excitement about back to school shopping and activities. For more information visit Bud Billikin event. 

Aug. 20-21 Chicago Air and Water Show 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at North Avenue Beach. 

The 2022 show features U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Amy Golden Knights Parachute Team. However, some of the show can be seen on Friday when the participants have practice run-throughs. For more information visit Chicago Air and Water Show.

Aug 26 4-10, Aug. 27-28, noon to 10 p.m.  Taste of Greek Town

The food fest is on Halsted Street from Van Buren to Adams  St. For more information visit Taste of Greektown.



Port Clinton Art Festival. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Port Clinton Art Festival. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Free popular Art Fests

Aug 6-7 Wheaton Art Walk, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The art fair is downtown Wheaton centered at West Liberty Drive and Hale Street. For more information visit 2022 Wheaton Art Walk | Amdur Productions

Aug. 13-14 Printer’s Row Art Festival 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sponsored by the Greater South Loop Association and South Loop Neighbors, the fest includes local restaurant booths. Booths line Dearborn Street from Harrison to Polk. A parking garage is at 75 W. Harrison St. For more info visit Printer’s Row Art Festival.

Aug 19 noon to 5 p.m. Aug 20 and 21 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest. Booths are downtown Evanston along Church Street. For more information visit Evanston Art and Big Fork

Aug. 27-28 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Port Clinton Art Festival. Considered among the top art fairs in the country, the Port Clinton event showcases more than 260 juried-in artists who do sculpture, glass, painting, photography, wearable art and furniture. The art festival is downtown Highland Park on Central Avenue. For more information visit Port Clinton Art Festival.

Aug. 27-28 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Bucktown Arts Fest. An annual celebration of art, craft, food and music in Chicago’s Bucktown Neighborhood. For more information visit Bucktown Arts Fest.


Jodie Jacobs


 Turn this weekend into a treasure hunt


Randolph Street Market in the West Loop
Randolph Street Market in the West Loop

After a break due to COVID, Chicago’s famed Randolph Street Market Festival returns to the West Loop July 30-31, 2022, with booths full of well-curated, high-quality finds.

Open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Plumbers Hall, 1341 W. Randolph, the market features one-of-a kind items from 175 independent vendors and designers.

Treasure seekers can expect to see vintage, antique and modern jewelry, art, fashion and home furnishings/decor.

 Look for apparel and perfumes from Sugar Sequin Vintage, art and textiles from Global Attic & Naperville African Village, rock’n’roll and movie photos and posters at Atlantic Poster and vintage cowboy hats and paintings from Krava galleries.

In addition, find rare novels and interesting coffee table books at This Old Book, vintage French copper cookware at Challenge, mid-century modern goods at Tarkikngton antiques, vintage quilts at Spotted Horse Collectibles and Roodwood Pottery at Gin-For’s Oddities.

Among treats of the edible kind are lobster rolls from The Happy Lobster and gourmet cheesecake from Chicago Schweet Cheescake.

The Market can be reached through the Randolph Street and Washington Blvd Gate bordered by Ada Street on the east and Ogden Avenue on the west. 

For more information and advance tickets visit Randolph Street Market.



Susan Booth to helm Goodman Theatre


(Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre and Susan Booth)
Susan V. Booth named Goodman Artistic Director (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre and Susan Booth)

Susan V. Booth, Artistic Director of Atlanta’s Tony-Award winning Alliance Theatre, will be leading another Tony-Award winning institution, Chicago’s famed Goodman Theatre when Artistic Director Robert Falls turns over the helm this summer. Falls has led Goodman for 35 years.

Booth’s 21 year tenure at Alliance Theatre’s helm brought the Atlanta institution national recognition for artistic excellence, regional awards, world premiere musicals, a new theater plus rehearsal studios. Alliance was also recognized as a leader in literacy development for education programming by the US Dept. of Education.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we are thrilled to welcome Susan Booth, an incredible artist and civic leader of national repute, as Goodman Theatre Artistic Director following her long tenure at Atlanta’s most important theater company,” said Goodman Chairman Jeff Hesse and Board President Maria Wynne, in a joint statement.

Their statement continued saying, “Her breadth of innovative leadership experience, artistic triumphs, depth of creative connections, and the unparalleled care and commitment she’s demonstrated to the creative community makes Susan a great fit for the Goodman. She will be a dynamic force to lead us towards our Centennial Anniversary in 2025, and beyond.”

Falls said, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to pass the ‘Artistic Director baton’ to Susan Booth. She’s an inspired choice with outstanding qualifications, a keen aesthetic eye and long-standing ties to Chicago. I know she’ll bring inspired leadership, energy, and fresh ideas to an exciting new chapter for the theater.”

Booth is no stranger to the Chicago theater community. She taught at Northwestern and DePaul Universities and was Goodman’s Director of New Play Development from 1993 to 2001 when she shepherded new works from such writers as Luis Alfaro, Rebecca Gilman, José Rivera and Regina Taylor.

“The Goodman has long played a foundational role in my work as an artist and as an artistic leader. To have come up in a theater so deeply committed to bravery, authenticity and muscular aesthetics was a gift—a gift I’ve been able to take with me and build upon over the last twenty years in Atlanta,” said Booth.

Other Chicago theater experiences include a Theatre on the Lake co-artistic directorship and artistic and outreach roles at Northlight and Wisdom Bridge Theatres.

“Now, to come home to this place as its next artistic leader—particularly at this moment of seismic and invigorating change in our field—is profoundly moving and humbling. I’m beyond grateful to the Board, the staff, the artists and the leadership of the Goodman for this extraordinary opportunity,” Booth said.

Around Town: July art shows and festivals


rt fairs are a chance to find a treasure and visit another neighborhood
Art fairs are a chance to find a treasure and visit another neighborhood

The good news is that the Chicago area is filled with fun weekend outdoor events. The challenge is deciding what to fit in, how much to see (and eat), where to go, and when. Be adventurous. Instead of choosing just a local spot, add a place or event you haven’t tried.

Here are a half dozen events to check out in the rest of July 2022.


July 23 -4 Glencoe Festival of Art

Stroll the downtown of this upscale North Shore suburb to see more than 90 artists and artisans. The show features ceramics, paintings, jewelry, sculpture, glass and wearable art. A kid-friendly and pet-friendly event, the show includes artist demonstrations, kids’ activities and live music.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday. The show’s center is 700 Vernon Ave., Glencoe. Free admission. For more information visit Amdur Productions/Glencoe.

July 30-31 Art at the Glen

Visit the downtown center of a former Naval Air Station in Glenview that was turned into a residential/shopping area known as The Glen. Operated by Art show guru Amy Amdur, Art at the Glen features the works of more than 140 artists. 

The show is free. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday radiating out from 2030 Tower Drive, Glenview. For more information and a map see Amdur/The Glen

Food Fests

July 21-24 Taco Fest Highwood Days

The tiny (somewhat over a square mile) City of Highwood surrounded by the suburb of Highland Park, is known for the many restaurants that line its downtown on both sides of the METRA tracks. Those eateries, ranging from Italian and French to Caribbean and Asian will be ope but the featured foods this weekend are many kinds of tacos. The taco booths are in Everts Park, a block west of the train tracks and Green Bay Road between Highwood and North Avenues. Taco Fest hours: Thursday and Friday 5-11pm, Saturday noon – 11pm and Sunday noon – 9 pm.

The bonus for kids is a carnival set up in the METRA train lot on the east of the track. For more information and a map visit Taco Fest/Highwood Days.

July 22-24: Taste of Lincoln Avenue (Lincoln Park) 

Now in its 38th year and operated by the Wrightwood Neighborhood Assoc, the festival features restaurants in the area plus music and assorted vendors. Hours: Friday 3-10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. The event is on North Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton and Wrightwood.

For more information visit Taste of Lincoln Avenue.


July 31 Gospelfest

This annual Lake County Forest Preserves music festival is a free concert at the Greenbelt cultural center, 1215 Green Bay Road, North Chicago.

Guests included Vernill Pipes and Washington D.C.’s New Vizion plus Gospel singers from Lake County. The event runs from 3 to 7 p.m. .

For additional event details: call 847-968-3477. or visit Gospelfest.

Jodie Jacobs


Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins to hold Highland Park benefit


Benefit poster for HP at ZuZu's
Benefit poster for HP at Zuzu’s

If you pass Madame ZuZu’s, a café/tearoom and music event space on First Street in Highland Park, IL, you will see a sign with an angel and a couple of cute animals that says “Together and Together Again” (7.27.22).

The sign is an invite to a virtual benefit concert put together by ZuZu’s owner, Billy Corgan and partner Chloé Mendel, for the Highland Park Community Foundation.

Yes, it’s the North Shore town that never expected its July 4th parade to be on the news for a mass shooting. And yes, Corgan, frontman of Smashing Pumpkins, is an HP resident.

To be held July 27, 2022, 8 to 10 p.m., the concert will include, among others, Corgan, Smashing bandmate Jimmy Chamberlin, Frank Catalano (Jazz sax), the Bob Moses duo of Tom Howie and Timmy Vallance and the classical Lincoln Trio. Other entertainers will be named later.

Attendance and items to purchase are virtual through the Smashing Pumpkins YouTube site. For more info visit event.  Zuzu’s is at 1876 First St., Highland Park, IL.



Around Town: AIC Lions back home and a pygmy hippo finds a home


Photo courtesy of Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Photo courtesy of Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio and the Art Institute of Chicago.

If recently downtown Chicago did you notice the absence of the city’s kingly statues guarding the Art Institute of Chicago?

After getting a thorough cleaning and new coat of wax, the historic pair of the museum’s lions were moved back to their plinths by noon July 19, 2022.

The lion pair, created by artist Edward Kemeys and installed May 1894, were cleaned and reinstalled by AIC partner, Conservation of Sculpture and Objects Studio.   For more about their creation visit “The Lions of Michigan Avenue” and “Lion, one of a pair.”


Pygmy hippo Banan. (Photo by Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)
Pygmy hippo Banan. (Photo by Jim Schulz/CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

Meanwhile, in the southwest suburb of Brookfield, female pygmy hippopotamus Banana, is getting acclimated to her new home in Brookfield Zoo’s Pachyderm House and can sometimes be seen outdoors on that building’s west side. (Smaller than the river hippo, the pygmy weighs between 350 and 600 pounds and can grow to about 5.75 feet long,)

Jodie Jacobs


Around Town in July: Find fun musical show outdoors and interesting artworks indoors


Chicago Shakespeare Theater's annual Shake Fest
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s annual Shake Fest

Check Chicago Park District neighborhood parks for pop, hip hop and blues takes on William Shakespeare’s words thanks to the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Shakes Fest.  

The Chicago Shakespeare Theater has partnered with local music and dance groups to bring a musical revue of the Bard’s words to six CPD parks where their antics prove that the Bard isn’t boring. Shows are on Thursday, Friday and Saturday in different Chicago neighborhoods. They all start at 6:30 p.m.

So bring a chair or blanket this week to West Pullman Park, 401 W. 123rd St. on July 14, to the West Town Ukranian Village’s Eckhart Park, 1330 W. Chicago Ave on July 15 or Little V neighborhood’s Piotrowski Park, 4247 W. 31st St. on July 16.

Or go next week to Austin’s neighborhood Columbus Park, 500 S. Central Ave. on July 21, Englewood’s Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine Ave., July 22 or Chinatown’s
Ping Tom Memorial Park, 1700 S. Wentworth Ave., July 23.

For more information visit Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Shakes Fest.



American Framing at Wrightwood 659
American Framing at Wrightwood 659

Get to know Wrightwood 659 , an unusual exhibition space west of Clark Street in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Housed in what appears to be just a four or 5-story building outside, Wrightwood 659 has open spaces, stairwells and changeable exhibition spaces for art and architecture exhibits, inside.

Currently there are four very different exhibits on view that are up only through July 30, 2022: “American Framing,” “Rirkrit Tiravanija: Who’s afraid of yellow, red and green,” “Moga: Modern women and daughters in 1930’s Japan and “We shall defy: Shahidul Alam.”

For more information visit Wrightwood 659/exhibitions


Jodie Jacobs

More shows to see in July



Shakespeare's world premiere production of It Came From Outer Space, (Photo by Liz Lauren)
The townspeople of Sand Rock—Heckie (Sharriese Y. Hamilton), Frank (Jonathan Butler-Duplessis), Maizie (Ann Delaney), Ellen Fields (Jaye Ladymore), George (Alex Goodrich)— in Chicago Shakespeare’s world premiere production of It Came From Outer Space, (Photo by Liz Lauren)


You don’t have to wait until fall to get back into the show-going groove. The Chicago area is still vibrant this summer. Here are three shows to put on the calendar now.

At Chicago Shakespeare

Maybe you remember when the Broadway mega-hit, “Six the Musical” first opened in Chicago and you wished you saw it before it went on to Broadway. Six the Musical

A show about the six wives of Henry the Eighth written Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss, the Cambridge University Musical Theatre Society did its world premiere at the  Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017. Its North American premiere was at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in May, 2019 where it was directed by Jamie Armitage and Lucy Moss and was a sell-out before going on to Broadway.

Now Chicago Shakespeare has mounted “It Came from Outer Space,” another musical that has been so popular it has been extended and is likely on its way to Broadway. Directed by Laura Braza, the production opened June 22 to run about a month but has been extended to July 31, 2022.

Based on the Universal Pictures’s 1950’s cult sci-fi classic, the production was commissioned and developed into a musical comedy by Chicago Shakespeare with creative producer Rick Boynton. Book is by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair with music by Kinosian and lyrics by Blair, the pair who won a Jeff Award for their “ Murder for Two” in 2011 before the show went to Off Broadway.

The plot: Amateur astronomer John Putnam meets a spaceship in the desert but no one in his town believes him until the “visitors” appear causing chaos. Try to catch it at Chicago Shakespeare’s theater Upstairs before it moves on. For tickets and more information visit Chicago Shakespeare


Wizard olf Oz at Marriott theatre Lincolnshire.
Wizard olf Oz at Marriott theatre Lincolnshire.

At Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire

Don’t worry about age when seeing the “Wizard of Oz”, the Marriott Theatre’s current show for children (and all ages). Directed by Johanna McKenzie Miller and lasting just one hour, the production, as always with the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences, zooms in on the important parts and songs leaving audiences with something to hum, to discuss among themselves and talk about with whomever they bring.

Opened July 8, the show runs through Aug. 7, 2022 and then returns Nov. 15 through Dec. 31, 2022. It’s OK to sing along to “Follow the Yellow Brick Road,” Ding Dong the Witch is Dead,” and leave humming “somewhere Over the Rainbow.” 

The plot: A tornado sweeps Dorothy Gale and dog Toto from their Kansas farm to the Land of Oz. There they journey to the Emerald City to see the Wizard so they can return home. On the way they meet and become friends with a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.

Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire is at 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire at Milwaukee Avenue on the south side of Half Day Road (Rt. 22). For tickets, show dates and times visit www.MarriottTheatre.comoor call (847) 634-0200. 


Dear Jack, dear Louise at Northlight Theatre
Dear Jack, dear Louise at Northlight Theatre

At Northlight Theatre

“Dear Jack, Dear Louise” at Northlight Theatre from July 7 through Aug. 7, 2022, takes audiences back to the times of World War II.

The Plot: Army doctor Capt. Jack Ludwig writes to Louise Rabiner, an aspiring New York actress and dancer during World War II. The story relates the problems of Olivier Award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig’s parents’ courtship.

 For more information and tickets visit Northlight Theatre. Northlight Theatre is in the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts at 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie, IL

For more show ideas visit   Three play alternatives to computer time.

Jodie Jacobs


A trip into the past

Heartland by Cynthia clampitt
Heartland by Cynthia clampitt


I picked up Destination Heartland: A guide to Discovering the Midwest’s Remarkable Past by author Cynthia Clampitt, thinking it was a travel book. It’s not. Beautifully written, Destination Heartland is a well-documented probe into historically significant places in what may loosely be defined as the middle western region of the United States of America. It a fascinating read.

If planning a driving trip across the region you may want to know what to see and where to stop along your route or where to deviate from it to catch something special. Those destinations can easily be found in the pamphlets put out by each state and in the rest stops along your route.

Many of them are in Clampitt’s book but they are not grouped by state. For example: Fishtown in Michigan’s scenic Leelanau Peninsula, a rewarding stop when doing the Traverse City area, is across the page from the Amana Colonies, a Germanic, culturally rewarding stop but one that is off I 80 in Iowa.

Knowledgeable about food, Clampitt includes an Amana restaurant recommendation, stating the “menu will look familiar to those who love German food from J”jagershnitzel” to rouladaden.” She also includes a recipe.

Her descriptions are colorful and true. Having traveled to most of the destinations in the book, I love how her words paint the view such as in Fishtown, “”weathered wooden buildings hugging and even overhanging the water.”

Another example is Mineral Point, WI where she relates its Cornwall roots  saying the miners “built Mineral Point into a prosperous town of tidy Golden buildings,” (BTW Mineral Point and its golden buildings has become an artist colony and yes, it’s worth a visit).

Be prepared on the next page to cross state lines west to visit Minneapolis, a city known for its mills.

For a better idea of how her destinations are organized look at the Table of Contents.

First, she speaks of the interesting origin of the word “Midwest.” In Chapter 2, Clampitt invites readers to “Living History Venues.”

Chapter 3 mentions vintage sites, historic homes and museums while Chapter 4 talks about historic towns and enclaves and Chapter 5 talks about experiencing history with reenactment and other opportunities.

As to where to stay or eat, in Chapter 6 she recommends the DeSoto House Hotel in the historic (most of the town is on the National Register of Historic Places) Galena, IL. The hotel is a fun stop with a fine staircase and political history. Plus, it is the oldest, continuously operating hotel in IL.

The next page takes readers to The Village Tavern in Long Grove, IL that opened in 1847, followed by a visit to The Whitney (mansion and restaurant) in Detroit, MI.

Clampitt unapologetically takes readers on several history field trips. Along the way, readers are treated to fine prose and good historic information. They may also want a notebook at hand to jot down some places to consider as destinations on the next road trip.

Clampitt is the author of Midwest Maize: How corn shaped the US, Heartland and Waltzing Australia. Heartland is published by the University of Illinois Press, 2022.

Jodie Jacobs

Three play alternatives to computer time


Midsummer's Dream by Midsommer Flight in five Chicago parks.
Midsummer Night’s Dream by Midsommer Flight in five Chicago parks.

Chicago theaters companies and venues are not on summer break. Here are three shows to put on the calendar when looking for more than a day at the beach or time off from the computer.

Irish playwright John Millington Synge’ lyrical classic, “The Playboy of the Western World,” is at City Lit Theater now through Aug. 14, 2022. Directed by Brian Pastor, the play is set in a pub in County Mayo, it follows Christy Mahon who leaves after announcing he has killed his father (he hasn’t). The theater is upstairs the Edgewater Presbyterian church at 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., Chicago. For tickets and more info visit City Lit Theater Company or call (773) 293-3682. Masks and proof of vax required.

“Ends,” an award-winning socio-political drama by Chicago playwright David Alex, opens DayJasFran entertainment venue July 14 and runs through July 31 at Dreamers OLO, 5419 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago. Directed by Davette J. Franklin, the play pits the ideas and experiences of 30-year-old African-American Kingsley in his forest cabin against Vietnam veteran Gober who wants to escape society. For tickets and more information visit, Dayjasfranentertainment. ENDS (BY DAVID ALEX) – Davette J Franklin (

Midsommer Flight is doing Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” outdoors in five Chicago parks. They are free, 90’minute shows with no intermission running July 15 to Aug. 21, 2022. Directed by Beth Wolf, the season opens in Lincoln Park, Stockton Avenue between Armitage and Dickens, July 15-17. For the complete schedule visit  A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Midsommer Flight.