Chicago museums opening now and next two months

Some Chicago museums are opening to members beginning Jan. 23 and then to the public in the coming days. The museums’ reopening comes on the heels of IL Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s announcement this week that the city has moved to tier 2  mitigation.

(Pritzker is expected to announce today, Jan. 23, that the city has also reached tier 1 thus restaurants and bars will be be allowed to re-start indoor seating at 25 percent capacity.)

The Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum on the city’s Lake Shore Drive Museum Campus are among the current open museums. The Art Institute of Chicago plans to reopen in February.

Shedd penguins (J Jacobs photo)
Shedd penguins (J Jacobs photo)

Shedd Aquarium

Visitors can start purchasing tickets to the Shedd Aquarium at noon, Jan. 23, 2021. The Shedd, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, is home to the penguins seen by thousands of viewers across the world on UTube.

Members can visit on the early access days of Jan. 27-29. To join the Shedd  visit  become a Shedd Aquarium member and visit free for a year and support its aquatic life.

The public can visit beginning Jan. 30. To obtain tickets visit Shedd aquarium/purchase. visit To get tickets.

Field Hall dinosaur (J Jacobs photo)
Field Hall dinosaur (J Jacobs photo)

Field Museum

The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, opened to members Jan. 21 and is opening to the public today, Jan. 23. To buy tickets visit Calendar/FieldMuseum/ticketing. Members should sign in at Verify your membership.

Illinois residents can visit for free on January 25 and 28. Tickets for Free Days are only available onsite and cannot be reserved in advance.

For hours, safety protocols  and exhibits visit Know Before You Go.

Chagall Windows at the Art Institute of Chicago (J Jacobs phto)
Chagall Windows at the Art Institute of Chicago (J Jacobs phto)

Art Institute of Chicago

A world-renown art museum, the Art Institute of Chicago at 111 N. Michigan Ave., will reopen Feb. 11. It will start with a limited schedule Thursday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and open to members only the first hour.

More museums have indicated they will open in March. For more museum information and future openings visit Choose Chicago/museum reopening, the city’s tourism site.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around town: What to put on the calendar

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

 

 INDOORS

Martin Luther King celebrations

The Art Institute of Chicago has a week of programs scheduled starting on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. That is the official “Martin Luther King Day” this year. “MLK Day” as it is often called, is the third Monday of January because it is close to King’s birthday on January 15

The first program is a virtual performance by the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble and In the Spirit from 5-6 p.m. CT. Registration is needed but is free.

For more information visit ARTIC/KingDay and KingDay/Virtual.

 

OUTDOORS

Put outside activities on the calendar. Your forest preserve district has suggestions of where to go and what is available. So go sledding, cross country skiing, hiking. Or ice fishing.

Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)
Cross-country skiers can enjoy nearly 189 miles of trails at forest preserves throughout Lake County, including at Lyons Woods in Waukegan.(Photo courtesy of Rick Myslinski)

Lake County Forest Preserves

As an example, check the winter sport’s page for Solar-lit Evening Hikes

On a 1.3-mile fitness trail at Old School Forest Preserve in Libertyville and a1.65-mile hilly section of the Millennium Trail next to the Winter Sports Area at Lakewood Forest Preserve in Wauconda.. This activity is for walkers, snow shoe and cross country skiiers evenings until 9 p.m. through March 14.

Also look for Sledding at Lakewood in Wauconda and Old School in Libertyville. Lakewood is lighted and open until 9 p.m. Old school is a day time hill. Snowboards, toboggans and metal runners not allowed.

For Cross-Country Skiing find groomed trails at Lakewood’s Winter Sports Area and at Old School, and along the Des Plaines River Trail between Old School and the Wright Woods Canoe Launch on Route 60. A 4-inch snow base is required for cross-country skiing at the Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods.

 

Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)
Snow Sculpture in Lake Geneva, WI (Photo courtesy of Lake Geneva tourism)

U.S. Snow Sculpting Championship plus festival

A more than two decades old annual event, Lake Geneva, WI’s Winterfest 2021 Lake Geneva, Wisconsin (visitlakegeneva.com)

is a fun outdoor getaway  that this year is Feb. 3-7. It includes the US National Snow Sculpting Championship between teams from across the country.

Best day to see the finished works is Saturday, Feb. 6.

There is also an ice sculpture tour downtown plus beach bonfires and a cocoa crawl.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Unusual holiday gift

Snow leopard cub Ahava is among the residents of Brookfield Zoo in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)
Snow leopard cub Ahava is among the residents of Brookfield Zoo in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)

Imagine a youngster (or adult) opening  a large envelope with a photo of a cute leopard cub accompanied by a certificate of adoption this holiday season.

Ahava, a six month old snow leopard and Sasha, a nine month old Amur leopard, are among  Brookfield Zoo residents in an Animal Adoption program.

Operated by the Chicago Zoological Society, Brookfield Zoo is doing different gift adoptions ranging from Basic Package of $35 to the Plush Duo of $120.

Basic includes a 5 by 7-inch color photo of the leopard, a personalized certificate, a species fact sheet, an Animal Adoption decal and an invite to the Animal Adoption summer event in 2021 (subject to COVID-19 guidelines).

Ahava is among Brookfield Zoo residents in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)
Amur leopard Sasha Snow leopard cub Ahava is among Brookfield Zoo residents in the Animal Adoption program. (Photo by Jim Schulz for the Chicago Zoological Society)

Plush starts at $65 to include a 12-inch plush animal, four free tickets to the Animal Adoption summer event in 2021 and all the benefits of the Basic Package. But if not sure which leopard to adopt there are the Basic Duo at $65 and Plush Duo at $120 for  adoptions of both Ahava and Sasha.

In addition, the gifts help pay for the animal’s care at the

The leopard cubs are among two residents the zoo is featuring as holiday adoption gifts. There are also 4-year-old African lions Brutus and Titus, orangutans Kecil and Kekasih and Zeus, a bald eagle.

For more information on the packages and animals to visit CZS.org/AnimalAdoption or call (708) 688-8341. To ensure holiday delivery, orders must be received by Dec. 15, 2020.

Three holiday shopping ideas

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone (expect the leftovers) just about every store and business is advertising Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. But sometimes the deals and gifts get lost in the over abundance of ad noise. So, here are a few places to check out this weekend. (More ideas next week).

The Olive Tap founder Rick Petrocelly (Photo by J Jacobs)
he Olive Tap founder Rick Petrocelly (Photo by J Jacobs)

 

Black Friday and Small Business Saturday

The Olive Tap in Illinois and Colorado has 15% off most oils and vinegars and 10% off some gift baskets  on Nov. 27-28. The owner and staff are very knowledgeable about flavors, shelf life and go-with foods.

Locations are Long Grove IL, Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs, Co. Covid protocols are observed. Curbside delivery is available. For information visit The Olive Tap.

 

 

 

 

Cyber Monday

Macy's Chicago (Daniel Boczarski/Getty images photo)
Macy’s Chicago (Daniel Boczarski/Getty images photo)

Maybe you watched  Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Thursday. No, it wasn’t canceled but the crowds had to watch from blocks away or on TV.

If the program’s wonderful floats and entertainment (included a number from “Hamilton” put you in the holiday shopping mood then go to the department store’s cyber Monday deals. They range  from clothes and shoes to stuff for the home. Find them at CyberMondayMacy’sSales.

 

 

 

 

 

 

RBG items at the Illinois Holocaust Museum (JJacobs and IL Holocaust photo)
RBG items at the Illinois Holocaust Museum (JJacobs and IL Holocaust photo)

Hanukah Holiday Gifts

Before Christmas, Dec. 25, and Kwanzaa, Dec. 26, is Hanukah which begins at sunset Dec. 10, 2020. The Illinois Holocaust Museum carries several gift items ranging from RBG stuff to menorahs and books. Visit the museum’s gift shop at IllinoisHolocaustshop.

 

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

Around Town: Filling December with joy

 

Larry Yando as Scrooge in Goodman theatre's audio version of 'A Christmas Carol' (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre
Larry Yando as Scrooge in Goodman theatre’s audio version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ (Photo courtesy of Goodman Theatre

 

 Marley as undead as a 1940s-50’s radio program

It’s OK not to reveal your age but does anyone remember sitting by the radio to hear the weekly broadcast of a favorite program? The “spirits” of good old family entertainment are back thanks to Goodman Theatre.

With renown Chicago actor Larry Yando once again portraying Scrooge, Goodman will put on its annual holiday treat, “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens as a free, audio broadcast beginning 7 p.m. Dec. 1.  The story line is adapted by Tom Creamer and directed by Jessica Thebus. It is  adapted for audio by Neena Arndt, Jessica Thebus and Richard Woodbury.

Visit Carol/goodmantheatre for more information. You can also tune in to WBEZ 91.5 FM and Vocalo 91.1 F.M. Dec. 24 at 3 p.m. and Dec. 25 at 11 a.m. The program will also be available through On Demand.

 

Joffrey Ballet's The Nutcracker (Photo courtesy of Joffrey Ballet)
Joffrey Ballet’s The Nutcracker (Photo courtesy of Joffrey Ballet)

A Joffrey “Nutcracker’ dance class

Remember when short, Nutcracker dance classes were available for youngsters at the Chicago Cultural Center? The Joffrey Academy of Dance is offering “Virtual enchanted Evening: The Nutcracker” in two sessions: ages 4-6, Dec. 4 and ages 7-9 Dec. 11. Hours are 6:30-7”30 p.m. CT. The fee is $15. To find out what is needed and for more information or to register visit Virtual enchantged evening/Evenbrite.

 

Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater)
Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure (Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure

It’s time after months of the pandemic for some faith and maybe,  a little pixie dust. You can visit Neverland via Chicago Shakespeare Theater, free, from noon Dec. 19, 2020 to 11:59 Jan. 1, 2021.

The production is a newly re-mastered, 80-minute feature film that was shot live of the 2018 production. Music is by the award-winning duo of Broadway’s “Mary Poppins” with a score by George Stiles and lyrics by Anthony Drewer.

Adapted from the play by J.M. Barrie with permission from Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children the production is presented by special arrangement with Concord Theatricals.

For more information and to get the stream visit ChicaoShakespeareTheatre/PeterPan.

 

Windows and Walnut Room say ‘Thanks’

 

Macy's State Street windows send messages of Thanks, Love and Believe. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)
Macy’s State Street windows send messages of Thanks, Love and Believe. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)

Macy’s State Street windows are packed with presents but the main messages they deliver to Chicago and to its front-line workers are Thanks and Love.

Meanwhile, upstairs in the Walnut Room, Macy’s employee put together thank-you food packages from the famed restaurant to be delivered to Chicago Police Department 001st District officers who are unable to spend Thanksgiving with their loved ones and to Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s COVID-19 Unit.

Walnut Room Manager Gino Tarallo loads up with food packages for front-line works. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)
Walnut Room Manager Gino Tarallo loads up with food packages for front-line works. (Photo by Daniel Boczarski/Getty images)

The window decorations and the Walnut Room’s Great Tree can be seen and photographed through Jan. 3, 2021.

The store currently remains open. Check protocols at Macy’s State Street.

Live holiday fun not canceled

 

City of Chicago holiday tree (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
City of Chicago holiday tree (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

Although indoor holiday events such as the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” has gone virtual, there are still outdoor places to visit. Three of them open this Friday, Nov. 20.

Chicago Tree

Drive or walk past Chicago’s holiday tree in Millennium Park. The lights officially go on Nov. 20. But the annual holiday ceremony goes virtual at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 on the city’s YouTube channel. For more information visit DCASE .

The program includes Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Percy Bady and Friends and a tribute to Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas.

Ice Skating

Maggie Daley Park’s Ice Skating Ribbon next to Millennium Park opens in time to see the Christmas Tree. Reservations needed to comply with Covid protocols. Visit  maggiedaleypark/skating.

Illumination at Morton Arboretum

The arboretum’s holiday light festival will be a half-hour drive through experience starting Friday as earlier announced, but bring your own refreshments because the concessions have been canceled and buildings will be closed.  Tickets are timed so visit Illumination for your time and date ticket.

 

Remarkable exhibition and art space come to Chicago

 

Immersive Van Gogh (Photo courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh)
Immersive Van Gogh (Photo courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh)

 

Imagine being surrounded by the art of Vincent van Gogh translated into movement, color and sound.

If you deliberately drive or walk past theMart to see what pictures are currently shown on the huge Wacker Drive side of the building as Art on theMart or it you tried getting tickets for last year’s sold-out last year and this year’s almost sold out Lightscape, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s stroll through immersive light and sound, you are likely to want to get to tickets when they go on sale this month to “Immersive Van Gogh.”

Tickets go on sale 11 a.m. CST Nov. 23, 2020 at VanGoghChicago and (844) 307-4644. Prices start at $39.99, adults and $24.99 for youth age 16 and younger. Tickets and space conform to pandemic protocols of social distancing and hand sanitizing.

The exhibition deconstructs Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh and several of his works including “The Starry Night” and some of the “Sunflowers” series during an hour-long, 360 degree experience among changing projections and music in a 500,000 cubic foot space.

 

Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition (Photo courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh)
Immersive Van Gogh Exhibition (Photo courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh)

 

The creative team responsible for the Parisian Atelier des Lumières Exhibition in Paris is getting the Chicago edition of “Immersive Van Gogh” ready to open Feb. 11, 2021, according to Chicago Commissioner of Culture Mark Kelly during an introductory conference Nov. 16.

However, as remarkable as the Immersive van Gogh exhibition will be, Kelly also considered the space as equally important. The exhibition which leaves early May is going up in the formerly dormant, now remodeled, historic Germania Club in Old Town. The building will be known as Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, a new venue for immersive art.

After noting that the Paris exhibition drew more than 2 million visitors, Kelly pointed out that Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago would, from a global view, become a new “art destination.”  He added that Chicago, already known for its art institutions, would be an “art powerhouse.”

Jodie Jacobs

Jeff Awards perform excellent virtual show

 

Drury Lane (Photo courtesy of Drury Lane)
Drury Lane (Photo courtesy of Drury Lane)

The Equity Jeff awards were announced virtually this year. The 52nd annual recognition ceremony of excellence in performances and technical aspects had a lot of pluses.

Even though the ceremony was Nov. 9, it is still worth seeing on the Jeff Awards YouTube channel.

The good part of the virtual event is you can tune in when you want, watch, take a break, see performance clips and meet the nominees from your couch. Among the clips are scenes from “Color Purple,” “Bug” and “Spamalot.”

So, grab a snack, glass of wine and hear who takes top honors among a field of superb nominees.

Jeff Chairman John Glover gives a fine introduction to the whys and therefore of the event. Popular Chicago actor (actress is seldom used now) and former Jeff award recipient Michelle Lauto handles  hosting duties.

Because Covid interrupted the season, the Jeff Committee attended a mere 78 shows this year. That may seem a lot to people outside Chicago but the theater community here counts approximately 250 production companies in and around the city.

Jeff Equity productions that qualified for an award were limited to those shown between Aug. 1, 2019 through mid-March 2020. The hope is that some of the interrupted and not staged shows will be performed next year.

Here are some of the top winners. But even knowing them it is still fun to watch the ceremony.

Drury Lane Productions collected awards for “An American in Paris,” (Production – Musical -Large and Choreography) and “The Color Purple,” Director – Musical.)

Windy City Playhouse was recognized for “The Boys in the Band” (Midsize Production, Director, Scenic Design and Ensemble).

Court Theater received awards for “King Hedley II” (Production – Play- Large and  Kelvin Rostin, Jr. Principal Role and A.C. Smith, Supporting Role).

Porchlight Music Theatre garnered awards for “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies” (Revue, Ensemble – Musical, Musical Direction and Lorenzo Rush, Jr. ,Performer)

Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Bug” received (Performer in a Principal Role for Carrie Coon, and technical awards for scenic and lighting design)

For a full list please visit Jeff Awards. For related information see ChicagoTheaterandArts.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Classes to take now: think art or cooking or even science

 

 

If tired of friends asking what are you doing with more time at home, put yourself into one of those cartoon frames with a lightbulb in the overhead cloud.

What would the next frame show? Learn how to make a holiday dessert or favorite ethnic dish? Learn to draw? Paint a portrait of your pet? Work with clay?  And what if the frame has another figure such as a young son or daughter/ So what about a fun science or comic-book or kids cooking class.?

Chicago Theater and Arts CTAA) checked out several resources in the Chicago area to come up with three suggestions for now. (More later in January to combat winter and Covid doldrums).

 

 

An Art Center of Highland class is on painting your pet. (TAC photo) Park the
An Art Center of Highland class is on painting your pet. (TAC photo)

The Art Center

TAC, as highland Park’s art exhibition and class space is called, has in person and online classes. A good website to know, TAC has online mini classes for adults and youngsters such as one for ages 15-100 to learn how to do a pet’s portrait, work with colored pencils or portray a winter scene.

Classes are online between Nov. 30 and Dec. 20, 2020 with most starting Dec. 1 and going on for two weeks using zoom. Youth classes, for drawing, cartooning, painting and clay,  are typically are  for age 9-13 but some begin at age 8.

Visit TheArtCenterhighlandpark for for information.

 

 

Chef Gale Gand (photo courtesy of Gale Gand)
Chef Gale Gand (photo courtesy of Gale Gand)

Kitchen Sisters Cooking School

Get dinner ideas. Cook and learn from famed chefs. Have the kids take a class.  Those are just some of the perks of going to Chefs Gale Gand and Jessica Dawson’s online Kitchen Sisters Cooking School.

Gand, an award winning pastry chef, cookbook author, Michelin star and James Beard restaurateur and cooking teacher works out of the Chicago area. Dawson is a traveling chef, teacher who was the youngest traveling America’s Test Kitchen host and has taught people around the world the science of cooking (when she stops long enough to teach in one place).

 

 

Forensics Chromatography (MSI Photo)
Forensics Chromatography (MSI Photo)

Museum of Science and Industry Resources Lab

MSI has a new, online spot for tomorrow’s scientists. Some of the topics are Mission to Mars: what to pack, Forensics Chromatography, and Engineers: building bridges. For more information visit MSIChicagoResources.

Jodie Jacobs