Around Town for Martin Luther King Jr Day

Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington DC. (J Jacobs photo)
Martin Luther King Jr memorial in Washington
DC. (J Jacobs photo)

Often called MLK Day, the third Monday of January has been officially observed to honor the civil rights leader in all 50 states since 2000.  It is an American federal holiday so schools, banks, and some business are closed.

The day has become a chance to honor Martin Luther King Jr with service projects, free museum visits and special programs. Here are some of the events and places to spend quality time on MLK Day this year, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.

 

Performance of The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights”

Glencoe-based Writers Theatre holds annual performances of “the MLK Project.” Written by Yolanda Androzzo, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar and featuring Adhana Reid, “The Fight for Civil Rights” production will be held Jan. 20, 2020 at 10:30 a.m. at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark Street in Chicago. The event is free and includes a post-show community discussion. Attendees also have free museum admission for the whole day. Folr more information visit Writers Theatre/Education.

The Writers Theatre production is a tour that goes to schools and community centers then closes at the DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago, 7 p.m. Feb. 28, 2020. The performance is free and can be reserved in advance by calling (773) 947-0600.

DuSable Museum MLK Day events

The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, has a full day of activities from crafts to discussions 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 20, 2020. Admission is $5 for children (age 6 and up) to adults. For more information visit Dusable Museum/Events.

 

Free museum admissions on Chicago’s Museum Campus

The Adler Planetarium at the far eastern end of the Museum Campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., has one of its free General Admission days for Illinois residents on Jan. 20, 2020. It is also an Illinois Resident Discount Day which means that tickets to other exhibits and shows not included in General Admission can be obtained at discount prices. For more information call (312) 922-7827 or visit Adler Planetarium/special offers.

The Shedd Aquarium, located in the middle of the Museum Campus at 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., has a similar arrangement for MLK Day. There is free general admission and discounts for special exhibit and shows for Illinois residents. For more information call (312) 939-2438 or visit Shedd Aquarium/discount and free days.

The Field Museum, sitting at the entrance to the Museum Campus at 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., also has one of its free general admission days on Jan. 20, 2020. As part of the Illinois Resident Discount Days, passes to special exhibits are available at lower prices. For more information call (312) 922.9410 or visit Field Museum/free admission days.

 

Free Museum of Science and Industry admission.

MSI, south of downtown near Hyde Park neighborhood at 57oo s. Lake Shore Dr., has an Illinois Resident Free Day Jan. 20, 2020 so general admission is free plus special exhibits can be seen at discounted prices. For more information visit MSI tickets.

(See other free general admission and discount days at each museum link listed. The free days are for Illinois residents so valid ID is needed. Also check for other categories such as active military and education personnel.)

 

Martin Luther King Day of Service

Some communities have projects planned for MLK Day. North suburban Highland Park is holding its 11th annual Day of Service 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 20, 2020 at the Recreaction Center of Highland Park, 1207 Park Ave West, just east of IL Hwy 41. The projects will help area agencies. For more information visit Park District of Highland Park/MLK.

Jodie Jacobs

Ravinia tickets to Train concert available in January

 

 Ravinia Festival Gate at the Metra train stop, (Photo by J Jacobs)
Ravinia Festival Gate at the Metra train stop, (Photo by J Jacobs)

If you want to see Train, that multiple Grammy award band at Ravinia this summer, be ready to grab your tickets in the next couple of weeks.

The calendar says January but Ravinia Festival in Highland Park has already scheduled Train, a big summer draw, for Aug. 21-22. However, tickets to the sure-to-sell-out concert are going on sale to Ravinia donors at the Patron level and above beginning Jan. 17, 2020 and to the public Jan. 24. The place to go for tickets is Ravinia.org.

Featuring frontman Patrick Monahan, guitarist Luis Maldonado, bassist/singer Hector Maldonado, keyboardist/guitarist Jerry Becker, drummer Matt Musty, and backup singers Sakai Smith and Nikita Houston, Train has quickly sold out in the past.

Among their hit singles are “Calling All Angels,” “Get to Me,”  “Ordinary” from Spider-Man 2, “Meet Virginia,” “Drops of Jupiter,” and “Hey, Soul Sister.”

The complete Ravinia season will be announced on March 12 but if you go to the Ravina site now look for winter concerts in  Bennett Hall. “Coming to America: Songs of American Immigrants” will be in Bennett on Jan. 25.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

How to sample great dishes and where to make a reservation

 

First Bites Bash at the Field Museum is a fun, yummy way to sample Chicago restaurants' fare. (Choose Chicago photo)
First Bites Bash at the Field Museum is a fun, yummy way to sample Chicago restaurants’ fare. (Choose Chicago photo)

Foodies, listen up. First Bites Bash, the yummy event that annually kicks off Chicago Restaurant Week. will be at the Field Museum Jan. 23, the night before Restaurant Week begins.

The event is a chance to sample dishes that will be on more than 60 Chicago Restaurant Week menus. Plus there are always wine tastings from different countries and restaurants’ specialty cocktails.

Several ticket levels are already sold out so to snag a ticket go now to  firstbitesbash.com

A portion of the proceeds from First Bites Bash will go to the James Beard Foundation’s Chicago EATS Week Scholarship Fund that provides financial assistance to a Chicagoland student seeking a culinary arts career.

Celebrity chef/director/owners this year are Thai and Danielle Dang of the award winning HaiSous Vietnamese Kitchen and Cà Phê Dá in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood.

“First Bites Bash is an amazing opportunity for Chicagoans to meet many of the most celebrated chefs in the city and to preview a range of exciting flavors that will only be found during everyone’s favorite culinary moment of the year, Chicago Restaurant Week,” said Chef Dang. “We are also very passionate about the cause it supports, which bolsters opportunities for our next generation of culinary leaders.”

Visit First Bites Bash for list of participants.

Co-organizing agency Choose Chicago’s President and CEO David Whitaker pointed out that First Bites Bash celebrates Chicago as a “culinary destination.”

“The breadth of both neighborhoods and cuisines represented at this event and throughout Restaurant Week provide an unparalleled opportunity to make memorable dining a part of an amazing Chicago experience,” said Whitaker.

Chicago Restaurant Week, showcasing more than 400 restaurants actually takes place for well over a week. Going from Jan. 24 through Feb. 9, it features restaurants across Chicago neighborhoods and culinary styles.

Operating with prix fixe menus, it’s a chance to dine at upper-end restaurants for $24 at brunch or lunch and $36 or $48 for dinner. Reservations can be made at eatitupchicago.com

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Theater Week and more

 

Theater venues range from Chicago's historic Water Works (top left) to the new The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier, bottom right. (J Jacobs photo)
Theater venues range from Chicago’s historic Water Works (top left) to the new The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier, bottom right. (J Jacobs photo)

Chicago Theater and Arts coverage of what to look forward to in 2020 that had started with Three fun festivals and shows, continues with what’s on stage.

First, there’s a chance to see some Chicago area productions at bargain prices thanks to Chicago Theatre Week, Feb. 13-23. But because the shows will be $30, $15 or less during this special week, tickets go fast.

Continue reading “Theater Week and more”

Three fun festivals and shows start 2020

 

Enough of looking back at 2019. Instead, start putting some of the great shows, exhibitions and festivals of 2020 that you’ll want to see on the calendar. To start with, here are two biggies at McCormick Place (2301 S .King Drive) and a festival that takes place all across the city.

Dream and have fun at the Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show at McCormick Place. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Boat RV and Sail Show)
Dream and have fun at the Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show at McCormick Place. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Boat RV and Sail Show)

Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show

The Chicago Boat, RV and Sail show celebrates 90 year anniversary at McCormick Place, Jan. 8-12. Sponsored by Progressive® Insurance, the show features more than 700 of the newest power and sailboats and 100 RVs.

Along with oohing and dreaming while meandering the aisle, there are fun activities including learning to sail with the Chicago  Sailing’s Sail Simulator, fishing in the Huck Finn Trout Pond, remote control sailboat racing and a chance to build a boat with aluminum foil (see if your design can hold golf balls and not sink). For more information visit www.ChicagoBoatShow.com

 

Larey sets the table for Chicago Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy of Lawry's)
Larey sets the table for Chicago Restaurant Week. (Photo courtesy of Lawry’s)

Chicago Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week, Jan. 24 through Feb. 9, is a chance to experience a restaurant at a favorable price. For example, The Signature Room with great views from the 95th floor of what used to be called the Hancock Building (875 N. Michigan Ave), will offer a special three course dinner (includes coffee or tea) for $48 and Lowry’s Prime Rib in the historic McCormick Mansion (100 E. Ontario), will have also have a dinner for $48.

Actually going for 17 days one week really isn’t enough to visit even a few of the 400 participating restaurants. After all, Chicago really is a foodie town with new restaurants constantly coming on the dining scene. For more information visit and restaurant choices visit  Choose Chicago Restaurant Week. For participating restaurants visit Chicago Restaurant Week restaurants.

 

Subaru press conference at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. (CAS photo)
Subaru press conference at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show. (CAS photo)

Chicago Auto Show

The Chicago Auto Show, the country’s largest display of what’s coming in design and technology, is at McCormick Place Feb. 8-17. First staged at the Chicago Coliseum in 1901, the show features everything from what was, what is, what will be and what may be categorized as science fiction in some minds.

In 2020 look for concept cars, super cars, sedans, sport utilities, hybrids, crossovers, electric vehicles, minivans, luxury cars,, sports cars, convertibles, pickups, minivans, economy vehicles, hatchbacks, sporty coupes, vans diesel vehicles and wagons. Of course there will be interactive displays, test drive opportunities and simulators.

For a fun look back visit Chicago Auto Show history. For interactive displays, see Chicago Auto Show Interactive.  For tickets and general information go to  Chicago Auto Show.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Where to find unusual gifts

One of a Kind gift show at theMart includes a good gourmet food and candy section. (J Jacobs photo)
One of a Kind gift show at theMart includes a good gourmet food and candy section. (J Jacobs photo)

 

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”

Holiday Happenings Part Three

 

Skating is fun at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink where you move to music, grab a hot chocolate and skate against a backdrop of the Chicago skyline. (City of Chicago photo)
Skating is fun at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink where you move to music, grab a hot chocolate and skate against a backdrop of the
Chicago skyline. (City of Chicago photo)

 

Around Chicago it’s that time of year to see such holiday shows as those listed in Holiday Happenings Part One and walk paths of twinkling, colored lights highlighted in Part Two.

Holiday Happening Part III brings you places for fun holiday shopping, ice skating and traditional events. Continue reading “Holiday Happenings Part Three”

Holiday Happenings Part Two

Tulips at the Chicago Botanic Garden's Lightscape. (J Jacobs photo)
Tulips at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lightscape. (J Jacobs photo)

Chicago might as well be called Holiday Central given all the fun, light-filled events taking place across the city and suburbs. So, to make it easier to figure out the where and when, we are dividing up the what.

Part One listed some of the holiday shows and date specific events such as parades because shows need tickets and some events are only one day or weekend.

Part Two is about light shows in and around Chicago. Most go through Jan. 5, 2020. Lights typically are on from about 4:30 to 9 p.m. Check each event’s site for hours and dates either not on or by holiday limitations. Continue reading “Holiday Happenings Part Two”

Holiday Happenings Part One

Seeing A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (2018 production)is a holiday tradition. (Goodman Theatre photo)
Seeing A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre (2018 production)is a holiday tradition. (Goodman Theatre photo)

Instead of going crazy trying to get to even a quarter of the all terrific festivals, shows and events in and around Chicago this holiday season, make a plan. Figure out which show and happening you and/or your family want to see most, put them on the calendar, then list the next couple of things you would like to do.

Because there are so many events, they are divided into two parts with shows (because they need tickets) and special events (because they may be one-time, date-specific)  in Part I which is a sampler and not a complete list.

Continue reading “Holiday Happenings Part One”

Three sip and savor and shop events

 

Sip and Shop (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)
Sip and Shop (Photo courtesy of Morton Arboretum)

When the weather turns frightful (even though Halloween is over)   it’s time to look forward to something delightful. First up are some wine, culinary and shopping events coming in the next two weeks.

Holiday Sip and Shop

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.

 

Antiques + Modernism Show

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.

 

Chill LuxeHome

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.

Jodie Jacobs