The Cicadas are coming


(Lake County Forest Preserves Banner)

We keep hearing that “the cicadas are coming.” But how much do we know about these insects or what to expect during their 2024 appearance?

Well, we know from 17 years ago that they are very nosy and seem to be everywhere. Also, that they are about 5 inches long, harmless to humans, loved as food by birds and that some homes with young trees are wrapping those in netting so that the cicadas don’t climb them to lay their eggs in young branches.

Illustrations of cicada eggs on a tree branch.

(Lake County Forest Preserve photo of Samantha Gallagher drawing)

A great place to learn more is “Celebrating Cicadas,” a special Dunn Museum exhibition at the Lake County Forest Preserves (LCFP) headquarters, 1899 W Winchester Rd. Libertyville.

Opened April 27 and going to Aug. 4, 2024, it includes terrific pictures done by science artist Samantha Gallagher. Among the works is an interactive piece called “Cicada Parade” that visitors can manipulate to mimic cicada sound.

Also, the LCFP is holding a free CicadaFest on Sunday, June 9 from 12–4 pm at Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods. (Overflow parking at the Lutheran Church to the north of Ryerson has buses).

Because this cicada phenomenon only comes every 17 years, the cicadas are featured in “Horizons,” the LCFP Spring publication as “17 Years, 64 Degrees, 100 Decibels.” See Horizons | Lake County Forest Preserves (


You get the 17 years bit but did you know the ground has to warm up to 64 degrees for the cicadas to tunnel up and that their sound reaches 100 decibels?

In addition, this 17-year cycle is also different because it includes two different broods, Brood XIII and Brood XIX, according to LCFP’s “Words of the Woods” POD Cast Host Brett Peto. Both broods will likely converge in Illinois near Springfield. The broods are part of the periodical (Magicicadas) cicadas. That’s periodical because there are also the annual cicadas that you probably have heard in treed areas in the summer. 

“The next time both broods will appear at the same time is 2245,” said Peto 

I really don’t bother with podcasts very often but Words of the Woods podcast, hosted by Peto is excellent. Listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts.

Peto will also be emcee of Cicada Fest June 9.

For more information visit Celebrating Cicadas | Lake County Forest Preserves (

Jodie Jacobs


April events to know and go

EXPO Chicago (2023) at Navy Pier (Photo by Justin Barbin)

After experiencing the extraordinary solar eclipse, other good, yet less unusual April events are likely to be missed. But two art experiences are on this month’s agenda for people who appreciate and enjoy really special artistic events.

EXPO Chicago

Expo Chicago, both an exhibit of the best art examples filling the top contemporary and modern galleries in 29 countries, and art programs, are going on now, April 11 through April 14, 2024 at Navy Pier and several Chicago area locations.

Begun in 2012, Expo Chicago, brings 170 international galleries to Chicago. This year, they come from Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Cuba, Denmark, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.

For more information see ArtWeek.

Among the local participating museums and institutions are the Art Institute of Chicago, Peninsula Chicago, Art on the Mart, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Driehaus Museum and the Block Museum of Art on Northwestern University’s Evanston campus in addion tgo the Barely Fair at the Color Club at 4146 N. Elston.  A loop shuttle will run between some of those venues. See ESPO Chicago. Visit Alignments.


One of a Kind Show (J Jacobs photo)
One of a Kind Show (J Jacobs photo)

 One of a Kind 

Also in April is the One of A Kind Spring Show April 26-28, 2024. Held at The Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza at the Chicago River between Wells and Franklin Street, it features, 350 artists, makers and designers in such areas as glass, furniture, sculpture, paintings and gourmet food. For more information visit Attend/One of a kind.

Jodie Jacobs

Inventing the World of James Bond


OO7 James Bond at MSI (Photo Reno Loviso)

OO7 – James Bond at MSI (Photo Reno Lovison)


Fantasy and reality merge in the world of fictional espionage as seen in “007 Science- Inventing the world of James Bond” now at the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. 

You don’t have to be a James Bond movie fan to enjoy this latest exhibit. Just consider what was make believe and what might be real, then and now.

You can see the prototype jetpack used in ” Thunderball” (1965) as well as suction cup climbers used in “You Only Live Twice” (1967).

Co-produced with Eon Productions who owns the rights to everything Bond, the exhibit features automobiles and an array of gadgetry found in several of the 27 films that make up reportedly the longest-running movie franchise.

Thirteen vehicles and over 90 additional artifacts are on display including a Jaguar, at least two Aston-Martins, a couple of motorcycles, the iconic lipstick and earpieces that allowed for secret communication in “No Time To Die” (2021), a Retina Scanner that enabled entry into the MI6 communications room in “Golden Eye” (1995), and other futuristic devices that indeed became part of our present.

The museum curators explained that they wanted to inspire a new generation of visionary inventors and show the intersection between art and science.

Various displays encourage visitors to consider the science behind many of the artifacts and why they might or might not actually work in the real world from a scientific point-of-view.

“007 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond”is open March 7 through October 27, 2024. There is a separate fee in addition to the museum’s general admission.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, is at 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL . For more information visit

Reno Lovison

The where and what of April solar eclipse across Illinois


Photo taken at 2017 Adler exhibit (JJacobs photo)
Photo taken at 2017 Adler exhibit (JJacobs photo)


Where: as defined by Southern Illinois

The place to be mid-day April 8 is Carbondale, IL. That is ground zero for the full-totality, solar eclipse that crosses the United States in 2024.

The town, home to Southern Illinois University, is holding a four-day festival that includes a program by Chicago’s Adler Planetarium in SIU’s stadium on April 8.

Mokena, IL, a tiny, arts community near Carbondale, is also holding a festival. This is where WGN meteorologist Tom Skilling did his broadcast during the 2017 solar eclipse.

Listeners will remember Skilling’s reactions to totality, the darkness the weather changes. Now it’s happening again in Southern Illinois.

Accommodations will be available (if not already booked) in both towns.


What: as defined by 2024 solar eclipse 

But if you live near Chicago and don’t travel down to Southern Illinois, the other place to be in the state is at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium.

“This one is different from 2017,” said Michelle Nichols, Adler Planetarium Director of Public Observing. (Nichols will also be doing the SIU program April 8.

She was talking about the unusual circumstance where the Carbondale area is again in the direct path of a complete solar eclipse

Enumerating the differences, she said, “The direction is different.”

After first talking about how it starts over water she continued, saying, “This eclipse goes from Mexico to Maine.” (Southwest to Northeast) She noted that the 2017 eclipse went from Oregon to South Carolina. ((Northwest to Southeast)

(NASA map readers will note the 2024 eclipse enters Canada in Southern Ontario, and continues through Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Cape Breton and will exit continental North America at Newfoundland’s Atlantic coast.)

“Also, the last was smaller,” said Nichols, explaining that the moon was further. “This is closer and the shadow covers a wider area.”

Other differences are the amount of time the eclipse takes and the area covered.

“This time the moon will be a tiny bit bigger. The shadow will be wider and will take longer in totality,” said Nichols. “In 2017 it was two minutes. This time it will be over four minutes.” she said.

“Chicago will go from 12:51 p.m. to 3:22 p.m. with the maximum amount of totality at 2:07 p.m.,” she said and added ghat Chicago would experience 94 percent totality.

At the Adler:

Nichols cautioned that safety was very important so the Adler will have solar-appropriate, disposable glasses available on April 8 when it holds a free watching event. “Glasses will be handed out beginning at 11 a.m. until the supply runs out.”

According to Nichols, people who still have their solar glasses from 2017 can use them only if in good shape and not scratched or damaged. (Regular sun glasses won’t work)

Another reason to go to the planetarium is that visitors can watch through telescopes equipped with appropriate filters made with a 3D printer.

“We will have telescopes, about five to ten of them, for people to look through but they don’t have to be up close to the lens. The lens is very wide and they can take a picture of what they see,” she said.

For people watching at home she suggested they make a pin-hole camera with a card to capture the eclipse on paper or the ground so they don’t look at the sun.

 (NASA and other scientific sites warn that looking directly at the Sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing will cause severe eye injury.)

Ed Note: The Adler has terrific exhibits up now about eclipses and more information on its website. Go to Explore/Chasing Eclipses and to Eclipses Over Illinois. For other information including safety precautions and a time chart of towns on and near the path visit NASA.

Jodie Jacobs

Around Town: Chicago MLK Day events

(Martin Luther King Jr Memorial on Basin Drive, Washington D.C.)

Don’t expect mail this Monday, Jan. 15, 2024. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, the third Monday in January, is both a Federal Holiday and in many states, a State Holiday. This year it also is King’s birthday. Many schools will be closed. But some communities and some museums use the day for special projects.

Before checking on some of the MLK events, here are a few quick facts to know about King. He was a Baptist minister who advocated nonviolent means to end racial segregation. King founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957 and famously led the 1963  March on Washington.  He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968.


January 13:

The DuSable Black History Museum is holding the free “Been to the Mountain Top” from 2 to 4 p.m.  with Kevin Powell. and see the exhibition “Freedom: Origin and Journey.” DuSable Museum is at 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago., (773) 947-0600. 

January 15:

Hyde Park Art Center is holding “Yesterdays, Todays and Tomorrows” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event includes artmaking, Black folklore material in a pop-up bookstore plus the Civic Orchestra of Chicago Chamber Ensemble performing from 2 to 2:45 p.m. The Hyde Park Art Center is 5020 S. Cornell Ave., Chicago

The Chicago History Museum is holding a Family Event for Martin Luther King Jr. Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Chicago History Museum is at 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago. It’s a free day at the museum for Illinois residents. Tickets include the event which features interactive activities, a singalong in the morning and a screening of Mighty Times: The Children’s March, followed by a discussion. 

Art Institue of Chicago is doing a Gallery Cconversation on a Letter from birmingham Jail.  from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Its an AIC free day. The Art Institute of Chicago Michigan Avenue entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Avenue.

January 30

The University of Chicago is holding an MLK Commeration Celebration at 6 p.n.  at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, the site of one of Dr. King’s first major speeches in Chicago.

 Jodie Jacobs

Dinos and fossils now at LCFPs Dunn Museum


Lake County Forest Preserves Dunn Museum in Libertyvill, IL ( J acobs hofot)
Lake County Forest Preserves Dunn Museum in Libertyville IL  JJacobs photo)

See the Tully Monster and the Dryptgosaurus Dinosaur plus the duck-billed dinos of the Hadrosaurs group. They are just some of the creatures now on exhibit at the Lake County Forest Preserves’ Dunn Museum in Libertyville, IL

If you walk into the exhibit from the front admission desk you see a couple of samples tempting you to see more.  Then you walk through the permanent exhibits on the way to “Dinosaurs. Fossils Exposed.”

However, if you turn into the corridor just past the desk you are in the temporary exhibition space for the dinos and fossils. You can then go on to the permanent exhibits and exit back at the desk.

Touching is permitted.\. Many of the exhibit’s bones are skeletal molds  including a TriceratopsTyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. The exhibit is interactive.

BTW, Tully monster is small enough to miss if you walk by its rocky fossile too fast.  When it existed it could be a foot long and look like a swimming sausage. The fossil rock was found in Lindenhurst in 1957 and has brachiopods, cephalopods and other ancient sea creatures.

Touching is permitted. The special exhibition is interactive. You can touch six full dinosaur skeletal molds including a TriceratopsTyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor. For photos, stand next to a 6-foot Apatosaurus femur. 

(Dinosaurs: Fossils Exposed was conceptualized by the Arkansas Discovery Network, The Preservation Foundation, the charitable partner of the Lake County Forest Preserves, provided support for the exhibition.)

This special exhibition is up through Jan. 15, 2024.

The Dunn Museum is at 1899 West Winchester Rd, Libertyville IL 60048. For more information call 847-968-3400.



Doing Butterflies and Beaches before Labor Day


Butterflies & Blooms at the Chicago Botanic Garden

(Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden)

MG It’s hard to believe but Labor Day, that official end-of-summer day, is just a few weeks away but there are still places to go and things to do on the summer bucket list.

The problem is some experiences will disappear at or shortly after Labor Day, Sept. 4, 2023.

Among them think butterfly and beach experiences.

Before they shut for the fall, try to get over to Brookfield Zoo in southwest suburban Brookfield or the Chicago Botanic Garden in northeast suburban Glencoe.

They both are located in suburban destinations that are open year-round but the butterflies like warm weather so these exhibitions close shortly.

Imagine strolling through screened in spaces where zebra longwings, swallowtails, monarchs,painted ladies and other species are flitting past and landing on shrubs in a safe outdoor space.

This colorful, picture-perfect experience is happening at Brookfield Zoo just to Sept 8 and at Chicago Botanic Garden to Labor Day.

For tickets, hours and more details visit Brookfield Zoo and Chicago Botanic Garden.



It may merely seem that swimming and filling the pail with lake water to build a giant sandcastle will las for at least another month but most Chicago-area beach towns will be sending their lifeguards back to school or wherever and swimming without them is not allowed. 

The Chicago Park District site explains that “Swimming is permitted in designated swim areas at the beaches when lifeguards are on duty from 11 am – 7 pm daily. Swimming anywhere else along the lakefront is strictly prohibited and dangerous.” 

The site notes that Chicago has 26 miles of free lake front and the beach season runs from the Friday before Memorial Day through Labor Day. Other Lake Michigan towns are likely to have similar lifeguard rules but different price points and admission rules.

Visit Chicago Beaches for more information.

Jodie Jacobs





See a historic L car or Native American wigwam on Presidents Day



Old time signs, and spaces are fun to check out at the Chicago History Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum
Old time signs, and spaces are fun to check out at the Chicago History Museum. (Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum

Maybe you know that Abraham Lincoln’s birthday was Feb. 12 and that  some states considered the date a state holiday. In Illinois, it was celebrated in Springfield. But schools and federal businesses are also off in Illinois on Presidents Day, the third Monday of February to recognize George Washington’s birthday. It was Feb. 22, 1732 on the Georgian calendar.

A couple of fun places to become immersed in history on Presidents Day are the Chicago History Museum in the Lincoln Park neighborhood and The Dunn Museum in north suburban Libertyville. 


Chicago History Museum borders Lincoln Park and Clark Street. (Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum)
Chicago History Museum borders Lincoln Park and Clark Street. (Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum)

Chicago History Museum 1601 N. Clark St.

Go any time this weekend but if you visit Feb. 20, 2023, admission is free to Illinois residents and the museum has family events.

 Among them are Oval Office activities that include an interactive Oval Office where the president works, a chance to design an Oval Office that would work for you and an “I Spy” game using President Joe Biden’s Oval Office.

OK, you know that Abe Lincoln once called Illinois “home.” But can you ID three other US presidents who lived in Illinois? The family events day includes an activity that connects facts and quotes from four US presidents who spent significant time in the state.

Clues: one was a military commander with a home in Galena; a second one was born in Illinois and grew up in Dixon and third was a recent president with a Hyde Park home, connections to the University of Chicago Law Schoo and soon-to-be presidential library and museum. Places to visit these presidential connections are at the Illinois tour site of
Enjoy Illinois

Visitors step onto an old platform and walk the aisle of L Car No. 1. (Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum)
Visitors step onto an old platform and walk the aisle of L Car No. 1. (Photo courtesy of Chicago History Museum)

The family events are interesting and fun but this is a once-upon-at-time museum so figure enough minutes in your visit to see and experience  forgotten times showcased in Chicago: Crossroads of America.

Walk the aisle of L car no. 1 which took riders from the Loop to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Jackson Park. Once upon a time old L cars had stained-glass windows and fine woodwork.

Although usually closed on Mondays, the museum will be open for Presidents Day. Upcoming 2023 Illinois resident free days include: February 14–17, 20–24, 28. For more information and tickets visit Home – Chicago History Museum.


Lake County Forest Preserves' Dunn Museum in Libertyville (J Jacobs photo)
Lake County Forest Preserves’ Dunn Museum in Libertyville (J Jacobs photo)


Dunn Museum, 1899 W Winchester Rd, Libertyville

The current exhibit is “Through Darkness to Light – Photos taken along the Underground Railroad.” An excellent photographic journey, it is up through March 19, 2023.

But visit the museum now, during Presidents Day, to take advantage of  what is called a “commemorative” day off school and work to honor two influential men in United States history.

A small treasure operated by the Lake Country Forest Preserves, the museum is an easy to stroll through history.

Small dinausaur at Dunn Museum Libertyville (Photo by Jillian getter)
Small dinosaur at Dunn Museum Libertyville (Photo by Jillian getter)

Visitors take photos of the prehistoric bones of a Dryptosaurus , a small tyrannosaur that roamed Lake County 67 million years ago and a fossil rock about 420 million years old.

Moving along they walk into a wigwam that is a full-scale reproduction constructed with help from a local Native American tribe. Arrowheads and other Native American artifacts are in cases further down. 

As to Lincoln’s time, the museum has American Civil War uniforms and equipment plus agriculture implements. The region was settled since the early 1830s and manned the 96th Illinois volunteer Infantry during the Civil War.

A fun stop for youngsters is the museum’s recreation of a one-room schoolhouse with a small stove, blackboard and benches. 

One-room schoolhouse reproduced at Dunn Museum, Libertyville (Jillian Getter photo)
One-room schoolhouse reproduced at Dunn Museum, Libertyville (Jillian Getter photo)

For hours, tickets and more information visit Dunn Museum.


Jodie Jacobs


Underground Railroad Exhibit


From Darkness to Light exhibit of photos along the Underground railroad (Dunn Museum photos by Jillian Getter)
From Darkness to Light exhibit of photos along the Underground railroad (Dunn Museum photos by Jillian Getter)


An old-time schoolhouse room, Civil War uniforms, farm equipment, dinosaur bones and a resort-style lake boat are all reasons to wander through Lake County Forest Preserves’ Dunn Museum.

But on view now to March 19, 2023, an Underground Railroad exhibit is added incentive to put the museum on the visit list. Just don’t be surprised it is shrouded in darkness. That was the safest time to escape slavery.

Titled “Through Darkness to Light – Photographs along the Underground Railroad,” the exhibit is how photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales captured the ways and paths slaves escaped to freedom.


Dress of the period is at start of the exhibit
Dress of the period is at start of the exhibit


Her photos were taken on pathways from southern plantations to north of the Canadian border.

The exhibition which also includes relevant items from the period and an interactive structure regarding lights, was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.


Jodie Jacobs


Celebrating Mozart at Lighthouse Immersive


Visitors get a sneak peek of Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius, Opening March 10, 2023 at Lighthouse Immersive. (Photo Credit: Reno Lovison)
Visitors get a sneak peek of Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius, Opening March 10, 2023 at Lighthouse Immersive. (Photo Credit: Reno Lovison)

Lighthouse ArtSpaceChicago, known for its presentations of visual artists, celebrated Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 267th birthday with a sneak-peak kickoff of “Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius,” The birthday celebration included complimentary treats of Prosecco and Eli’s Cheesecake.”

Past Artspace presentations featured the works of such artists as Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo by utilizing cutting-edge projection techniques to create a 360-degree immersive visual experience.

The Mozart presentation is the first to feature a musician. To craft dream-like 18th century inspired imagery, the producers partnered with the creative team of Massimilliano Siccardi and Vittorio Guidotti.  

Mozart Immersive’s world premiere is currently scheduled to open March 10, 2023 at the Lighthouse ArtSpace at the corner of Clark Street and Germania Place with no immediate plans for the exhibit to travel. All the more reason to be sure to check it out.

Terri Hemmert of WXRT Radio hosted the birthday bash with live music by the Ryan Center Ensemble featuring Wm Clay Thompson (Bass) singing an aria from Don Giovanni with Chris Reynolds on piano.

The excellent young basso and pianist duo were followed by an expert chamber ensemble comprised of four string players from The Music of the Baroque performing two Mozart compositions, the ever popular “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Divertimento in D Major.

The experiential projected images thoughtfully incorporated the monochromatically painted architectural interior features of the former Germania Club that is now the home of Artspace.

For instance, the inside frames of what had been windows were replaced by projected vintage images of the Austrian countryside.

They added to the enjoyment of the string ensemble by transporting us back in time to a place that might have hosted an elegant soiree, perhaps in a stately home or castle of one of Mozart’s benefactors.

The final production, a retrospective with highlights from Mozart’s short life, integrates video re-enactments with live actors alongside the animation.

Mozart Immersive (Photo credit Kyle Flubacker.)
Mozart Immersive (Photo credit Kyle Flubacker.)

Many visitors will be delighted to see legendary dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov in the heart-rending role of Mozart’s father, Leopold, who is credited for launching his son’s early career. They became estranged later in life.

Constantine Orbelian, New York City Opera’s music director and principal conductor, joined Hemmert onstage to discuss the production.

The music, arranged by composer Luca Longobardi, will accompany Mozart Immersive.  It was recorded by the Lithuanian Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra led by Orbelian.

Before the doors opened, I had an opportunity to interview the Maestro for my podcast. The four-time Grammy-nominated musician shared that he had not yet seen the visuals associated with the music and was as eager as the rest of us to get a sneak peek.

Details: Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago is at 108 Germania PL. For tickets visit Mozart Immersive.

Reno Lovison




Photo: Reno Lovison (R) recorded a podcast interview with Maestro Orbelian (L) which can be heard at (Photo Credit: Julie Lovison)

Photo: Julie Lovison, Director of The Lake Shore Music Studio with Constantine Orbelian, Director and Principal Conductor of the New York City Opera celebrating Mozart’s birthday at Lighthouse ArtSpace in Gold Coast / Lincoln Park. (Photo Credit: Reno Lovison)

Photo: Visitors get a sneak peek of Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius, Opening March 10, 2023 at Lighthouse Immersive. (Photo Credit: Reno Lovison)