Shopping the old fashioned way, leisurely browsing in person without worrying that the items will be gone by 8 a.m. or that the internet will be overloaded, can be a treat at museums and annual gift shows.
Listed here are two examples of excellent gift shows and really good, large museum shops. They are likely to take a while to explore and are fun excursions while filling the gift list. Continue reading “Where to find unusual gifts”
In Chicago’s western suburbs, seasonal bites, spirits and shopping the Morton Arboretum way with botanical designer showcased “tablescapes” and browsing the store, welcome the coming holiday season. The event is Nov. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes a Patricia Locke Trunk Show and mixology demonstrations. Tickets are members $45.00, nonmembers $50.00.
The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Highway 53, Lisle, IL 630-446-0537.
In the northern suburbs, an annual show benefiting the Winnetka Community Housegoes the whole weekend of Nov. 8-10, 2019. But a fun preview party known for its buffet stations and open bar is Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. This is when collectors and people in the know go for the first peek at exceptional jewelry, furniture and art. Tickets are $150 but $30 of the ticket price will be donated back to the North Shore Art League.
The Winnetka Community House is at 620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL , 847-446-2870 or 847-446-0537.
Downtown Chicago, Chill, an international wine and culinary event co sponsored by Luxehome and Wine Spectator Magazine, features terrific food from Chicago chefs and excellent wines from around the world. It’s held Downtown Chicago at theMART, Nov. 14 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.. Tickets are $145. Funds raised go to different charities.
the MART is at 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago.
Bring the kids to Navy Pier this Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019 for a free, hands-on, design-it and build-it activities from noon to 4 p.m. Co-sponsored by the Chicago Architecture Foundation with the City of Chicago and Navy Pier, the Architectural Biennial event is geared to ages 5 through 12. Look for it in the Cultural Corner across from Ben & Jerry’s at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
Learn about your wine palate knowledge, Nov. 3, beginning at 1 p.m. at Geja’s Cafe, 340 W. Armitage, Chicago. The tasting begins with eight unmarked carafes of wine. Professionals and amateurs are challenged to identify the grape, place of origin and vintage of each wine. To enter the competition, contestants pay a $30 fee and must be 21 years of age or older. To RSVP, call Geja’s Café at (773) 281-9101.
“The world of wine is incredibly diverse,” says Geja’s owner Jeff Lawler. “That is why this contest is such a challenge. It takes a wise nose and an equally sensitive palate to identify the characteristics of each individual wine.”
Held Nov 3 through Nov.10, 2019, primarily at Victory Gardens, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, the event is the first-ever festival in Chicago that is dedicated to Jewish Theatre. It overlaps the annual Alliance for Jewish Theatre Conference, hosted by ShPIeL at Victory Gardens Theater and The Theatre School at DePaul University, Nov. 3-5, 2019.
The Jewish Theatre Festival at Victory Gardens includes staged readings, solo performances, storytelling, cabaret, and comedy at Victory Gardens and features “The Ben Hecht Show” with playwright/actor James Sherman, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m. For conference information visit All Jewish Theatre
Visitors to the Art Institute of Chicago’s new blockbuster, “Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again,” will see that the famed artist moved way beyond commercial illustration.
Before entering the exhibit, read the copy on the wall either to the left or right outside the hall where it says to start here. Then go into the foyer to admire the celebrities he pictured and walk through the wallpaper edged doorway into the world of Andy Warhol.
Primarily known as a leader in the Pop Art movement, Warhol’s work reflected his cynical attitude towards advertising and how it influenced the public.
If one picture of a soup can, a Coke bottle, a celebrity is good, would multiple images of that person or object be better?
He wondered if people believe they will be happier, for example, if they have a nose job because they saw an ad. (He eventually did.) See his “Before and After” series.
Then there is his sober side which includes disaster and death motifs, both of which are in the exhibit.
In an Art Institute show of Warh’s workol about 30 years ago that gave an excellent interpretation of his views on life and trends, there were more examples of how seriously he took guns, car accidents and other tragedies.
However, the current exhibit illustrates with newspaper clippings covering a wall and his work of Jackie before and after.how he was affected by the Kennedy assassination.
Plan on spending enough time at the exhibition to get to know the different sides of Warhol. Filled with more than 400 of his works, it includes drawings, paintings, prints, films, art installations and videos.
Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the exhibit goes beyond the too easily dismissive pop art label.
Born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh in 1928, he died of surgery complications in 1987. But in his short life he was an author, rock-band producer, magazine founder and a collector of a broad spectrum of people from celebrities and intellectuals to street people and those he was comfortable with as an openly gay guy before being gay was understood and acceptable.
Many of them were invited to The Factory, his New York studio where he often experimented with different processes including oxidation, his thumb the nose view of some artists’ works. No alert here, because you should go to the exhibit and hear more.
By the way, Warhol is also credited with the “15 minutes of fame” expression.
DETAILS: Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again” is at the Art Institute of Chicago, from the Michigan Avenue entrance at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe, St., Chicago, Oct. 20, 2019 through Jan. 26, 2020. For tickets and other information visit ARTIC/AndyWarhol.
There is so much going on in and around Chicago that it is easy to miss something good.
Here are just a few of the fun things to do this week.
See “Jane Eyre,” The Joffrey Ballet’s production. It opens Oct. 16 at the Auditorium Theatre (at Roosevelt University) 50 E. Ida b wells drive (Former Congress parkway). For tickets and other information visit Joffrey.
Find art for you house while The Art Center holds its annual Recycled Art Sale. Works have been donated by private individuals and corporations so TAC can raise funds for its classes and exhibitions. The art work is offered at a fraction of its market cost. General Admission Benefit tickets for Oct. 18 are $85. The rest of the weekend is $5. But check TheArtCenter for more information. TAC is at 1957 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park.
Go downtown Oct. 19 to State Street for Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. starting at Lake Street on the north and continues south to Van Buren Street. It’s theme honors “Year of Chicago Theatre” so the parade features several theater companies and other groups such as The Joffrey Ballet. Visit Arts in the Dark.
Visit Intuit, the Outsider Art Museum Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. because museum officials understand it is hard to fit in a visit during the day. The museum is at 756 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. For all extended hours see IntuitArt.
Expect to see really good ceramics, fiber art, metal work, wood working, jewelry and other crafted items when walking through the Regenstein Center at the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend. But also, expect the unexpected.
While browsing the American Craft Exposition during a Thursday preview party that benefited mental health services at NorthShore University Health System, an attractive wall piece that looked as if it could have been painted clay turned out to be wood.
There was also a charming floral wall arrangement that might have been aluminum or steel but was pewter and works that appeared to be oils and water colors were actually fine stitchery.
But it’s not all serious. A booth of unusual and fun objects turned out to be jewelry.
Just don’t expect a visit to ACE, as it is known in the art show world, to be a quick walk through.
A highly competitive, juried show of nearly 150 artisans, ACE booths stretch from a tent at the north end of the Regenstein Center through the building to the Greenhouses at the south end and into rooms and hallways on either side.
Visitors will likely see old favorites but many crafters, such as St. Joseph, MI artist Rebecca Hungerford who works in peweter and Marquette, MI artist Joseph Graci who works with wood, are first timers and good show addiions.
However, as glass worker Joseph Pozycinski of Pozycinski Studios in Sparta, Missouri said, pointing to its high quality.. “I’ve been coming over 25 years. It’s a very good show.”
Tip: Don’t neglect the side rooms indicated to by signs that say More Art. The works there are just as good as what is seen on the main walkways.
DETAILS: The American Craft Exposition is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., just east of Edens Expressway, Glencoe, IL, through Sept. 22, 2019.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is by three-day passes, $18 for Garden members and $20 non-members. A three-day pass with one-day parking is $35. General admission to the Chicago Botanic Garden is free but parting costs $25 weekdays and $30 Saturday and Sunday.
It’s free. It’s open to the public beginning Sept. 19, 2019. And it’s a very different experience and scope from two years ago.
Titled” And Other Such Stories,” this year’s exposition focuses on neighborhoods, their make-up and revitalization in countries and cities across the globe, environmental and industrial impact and it encompasses North America’s indigenous populations.
The main venue is the gorgeous Chicago Cultural Center, a city treasure at 78 E. Washington St. formerly known as the People’s Palace, where there is a southern marble staircase lined with beautiful mosaics, a third floor that has two glass domes including one by Tiffany and exhibits on first, second and fourth flours.
Off-site curatorial venues range from the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, 8000 S. Halsted St. and the former Anthony Overton Elementary School at 4935 S. Indiana Ave. to the National Public Housing Museum at the Jane Addams Homes, 1322 W. Taylor St. and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at Homan Square, 906 S. Homan Ave.
In addition, are more than 100 institutions partnering with the biennial such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Architecture Center, Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Beverly Arts Center and Dusable Museum of African American History. Go to the Chicago Architecture Biennial for a complete list and more exhibition activities and places.
For kids, there’s a redone, restaurant up at tree-level in Lincoln Park Zoo. For adults, there’s an art show to view high on a building on Wacker Dr. And for adults who want to relive a kids-experience, there’s a museum field-trip night that will take them down a shaft.
Restaurant at Lincoln Park Zoo
When entering the main entrance at Lincoln Park walk straight ahead and look up, tree-level for the Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill perched above the gift shop. There is a ramp around the side for strollers and folks who can’t do stairs.
Formerly the Café at Wild Things, the space is geared to families with Foosball and air hockey tables, and games such as Jenga plus a menu that includes burgers and BBQ sandwiches. But there are also salads and flatbreads.
Recently opened, the restaurant is seasonal with hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p., Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. However, the space can be booked for private events. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago. Admission is free. For more information visit lpzoo.org.
MSI adult field trip
Adults get to go down to the popular Coal Mine, board the U-505 Submarine and visit Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle and other stuff at the Museum of Science and Industry after hours (age 21+) on Sept. 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Some things they didn’t have when on a kids’ field trip is Improv Comedy iO Theater Chicago doing behind-the-scenes MSI stories and a chance to play such board games as Clue, Operation, and Guess Who (courtesy of Lakeview’s Bonus Round Café). Plus take part in a scavenger hunt.
Admission is $30 (MSI members: $25). It includes free parking in the underground garage, coat check, light snacks, a complimentary drink, and access to select exhibits. A cash bar will also be available. For more information visit msichicago.org/fieldtripnight
New art projected on theMART (former Merchandise Mart) kicks-off Sept. 21 with food trucks and a DJ on Wacker Drive at 6:30 p.m., the projection starting at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 8 p.m. The projections feature works by Charles atlas and Petra Cortright. For more information visit visit artonthemart.com.
There still are a few days left to explore the Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and some of Chicago’s other world-class museums without dipping into fall school supply funds.
Some museums are always free. Others have free admission on certain days or hours of the week. But check what is available with free admission because at some museums general admission is free but there still are ticketed exhibits. A valid ID with proof of residency is needed. if the free day is for Illinois residents or Chicago youth.
Children under age 14 always admitted free. Chicago teens under age 18 are also admitted free. In addition, admission is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. The Ryan Learning Center near the Modern Wing entrance is always free to families and children’s care givers.
The main entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. but there is also an entrance around the corner at the museum’s Modern Wing, 159 E. Monroe St. For hours and more information call (312) 443-3600 or see artic/visit.
The museum is at 220 E. Chicago Ave. just east of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Admission is free for youth 18 and younger every day and for Illinois residents on Tuesdays. For hours and more information call (312) 289-2660 or see MCAChicago/visit.
The museum is free to Illinois residents Tuesdays from 12:30 to 9 p.m. and always free to Illinois youth under age 18. Located at 1601 N Clark St., the museum is on the edge of Lincoln Park. For more information call (312) 642-4600 or see ChicagoHistory/visit.
Located at 740 E. 56th Place in Washington Park at 57th and cottage Grove, the museum’s exhibits feature augmented reality when tied to an app that can be easily downloaded. Admission is free every Tuesday.
The museum is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive at the west end of Chicago’s Museum Campus. It has free basic admission for Illinois residents on Wednesdays from Aug. 14 to Nov. 13, 2019.
Go to FieldMuseum/exhibitions then click on the individual exhibits to see which ones are included in basic admission or needs an All Access or Discover Pass. For more information call (312) 922-9410 or see Field Museum/visit.
Think of this museum as an iceberg with much of what there is to see below the Michigan Avenue and Upper Wacker Drive level. It is inside the Southwest Bridgetower but entry is down at river level at 99 Chicago Riverwalk at the northwest corner of Michigan and Wacker. Sundays are free. Visitors learn about the historic structure, the river’s bridges and the Chicago River.
Located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in a building from the 1893 Columbian Expostion, MSI is among the world’s largest science museums so there is plenty to see on free general admission days for Illinois residents even though they don’t include the ticketed exhibits. Coming free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.
The museum is at 1852 W 19th St, in the Pilsen neighborhood, south west of downtown Chicago. Admission is free, daily. For hours and more information call (312) 738-1503 or see National MuseumofMexicanArt/faqs.
The Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, is the second building on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Lines are long any day but particularly on free days so go early. Capacity is limited so some people reserve their tickets on line for a $3 transaction fee. Illinois resident free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.
Illinois residents get access to all exhibits, chats, presentations and Stingray Touch. For more information call (312) 939-2438 or see Shedd/visit.
Instead of saying “oops” after “Miracle,” “Manet” and “Head Over Heels” have left Chicago, fit in the one you really hoped to see. Then, if good at planning ahead, look for tickets to “Six.”
Tickets are available just through Sept. 29, 2019 for this fun show that ties the life of a Wrigleyville bar-owning family to the Chicago Cubs. “Miracle,” whose full title adds on “A musical 108 years in the making,” is at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. For Tickets and other information call (312) 988-9000 or visit MiracletheMusical. For the review visit Wrigleyville and Cubs story make great theater. For the backstory see Miracle Musical.
Two weeks have been added to Kokandy Productions’ hit musical comedy but after Sept. 8, 2019 it will be gone. The show is at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. For tickets call (773) 975-8150) or visit KokandyProductions or stop by Theater Wit. For the review please see Head over Heels has got the beat.
The sold-out concert-style show about Henry VIII’s wives just closed at Chicago Shakespeare but even though it is headed to Broadway it will return to Chicago in 2020. The touring production will open July 8 at the Broadway Playhouse next to Water Tower Place and the Ritz-Carlton through the Broadway in Chicago series. Groups of 10 or more can get tickets now. Watch for the Broadway in Chicago single tickets this fall. For group tickets visit GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com. For more information and single tickets visit BroadwayInChicago.