Chicago festivals reimagined

 

Yes, the City of Chicago has reopened. However, look for your favorite festivals at different times in different formats and at different places. There are more events and new celebrations across the city’s many neighborhoods in 2021.

Music fests will return but at different times. (City of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events photo)
Music fests will return but at different times. (City of Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events photo)

Don’t be Blue

Because some noted annual fests as Blues, Jazz and Gospel are arranged way ahead of performance dates but COVID interfered, plan on attending each of them in a three-hour, early-evening version this fall. As part of the city’s new “In Tune” program, they all will be free and run from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion in September 2021.

Gospel is Sept. 3.  Hosted by Jonathan McReynolds and Inspiration 1390’s Sonya Blakely and Deandre Paterson, it will include La Shon Brown, the Carson Sisters, Nicole Harris, Illiana Torres and the Tommies Reunion Choir.

Jazz is Sept. 4. Presented by the Jazz Institute of Chicago, it features Ari Brown, Marquis Hill and Lizz Wright.

House celebration is Sept. 11 featuring “Sanitize Your Soul,” a debut Gospel House Choir collaboration between Mark Hubbard and DJ Terry Hunter.

Blues is Sept. 18. The evening will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Alligator Records with Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials and the Nick Moss Band . Also hear Dennis Gruenling, Cash Box Kings,  Shemekia Copeland, Billy Branch and Wayne Baker Brooks.

Taste of Chicago To Go is July 7 to July 11 in different parts of the city. (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events photo)
Taste of Chicago To Go is July 7 to July 11 in different parts of the city. (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events photo)

Don’t Diet

Work off the Taste of Chicago treats after July 11. The celebration of Chicago dishes and restaurants starts July 7 but instead of everything happening in Grant Park  it will be a week of pop-up food from nearly 40 eateries and take place in neighborhood markets. Plus there are cooking demos, music and community meals with local nonprofit organizations.

Pop ups are July 7, 2 -7 p.m. at Pullman City Market, July 8 from 1-7 p.m. at Austin Town Hall City Market, July 9, at 4-8 p.m. at iWEPA Mercado del Pueblo, and also at 5 -8 p.m. for Taste on Tap at Goose Island Brewery.

They continue July 10 from 10 a.m. -2 p.m. at The Hatchery, and from 10 a.m. -4 p.m. at Eli’s Cheesecake Company and from 1-8 p.m. on 63rd street in the West Englewood neighborhood.

The event culminates July 11 from noon to 3 p.m. with women restaurateurs in Millennium Park.

For more information and addresses visit Taste of Chicago To-Go/Schedule

Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (J Jacobs photo)
Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (J Jacobs photo)

Wait, there’s more (as tv announcers say)

The city’s new programs include  “Chicago Presents” community events; a nine-part House City  series in the neighborhoods that helped create the music genre; two Latinx and World Music celebrations; two  films  and more just-announced special events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion; and a mash-up of public art and dance at Lurie Garden in Millennium Park.

Enjoy summer in Chicago

Jodie Jacobs

Tribecca Festival goes hybrid

 

Tribeca Film Festival closing night is the world premiere of Dave Chappell's documentary.(P:hoto courtesy of Tribecca Festival)
Tribeca Film Festival closing night is the world premiere of Dave Chappell’s documentary.(Photo courtesy of Tribecca Festival)

Certainly, the Covid pandemic dramatically changed the arts and entertainment world including that of film festivals. But it also taught us we could work from home and enjoy plays and movies on line at home.

Some popular film festivals have been postponed yet another year to 2022. However, the New York’s Tribecca Festival is going ahead with its culturally and politically focused films in hybrid – at home and in-person – mode, June 9-20, 2021.

The festival includes Talks such as from storytellers John Legend and Mike Jackson, Games, Comedy and Films.

In person films range from “In the Heights” to “Johnny Mnemonic.” See In the Boroughs.

A highlight is the premiere showing of Dave Chappelle’s Untitled Documentary. To see it in person at Radio City Music Hall June 19, you must be fully vaccinated. And have proof.

Tickets are available for in-person showings  in NYC and the boroughs and for at home viewing. For ticket info visit  tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets.

 

Chicago celebrates Saint Patrick differently this year

COVID canceled parades and green Chicago River but look for green lights on downtown buildings (City of Chicago photo)
COVID canceled parades and green Chicago River but look for green lights on downtown buildings (City of Chicago photo)

Céad míle fáilte, a hundred thousand welcomes, may greet customers of Chicago area eateries and bars in March. And expect the city’s skyline to be filled with green lights from March 11 through March 17.

Even though the city’s famed downtown and the two neighborhood parades, Southside Irish and Northwest Side Irish, have been canceled for 2021 and the plumbers union that turns the Chicago River green shows no sign of doing so this year, the easing of restrictions by Governor J B Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot means many restaurants and bars will be happily welcoming customers in time for March’s St. Paddyh’s Day celebrations.

Expect them to ask guests to mask when entering and when their server is present. And check on reservations because they will be operating at 50 percent capacity and shortened stay time.

“The City of Chicago is encouraging St. Patrick’s Day celebrations that follow current city and state health guidelines,” noted a Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events statement.

In addition, the statement said, “The Chicago Loop Alliance is asking downtown buildings to light up green for ShamROCk Chicago, and other neighborhoods are hosting socially distance scavenger hunts and other reimagined programs.”

As an example, Southside Irish Parade committee is hosting a Shamrock our Blocks celebration with signs and decorations. The South Side Irish Parade

“Each year, the South Side Irish Parade draws thousands of people to our community and to our neighborhood businesses.  The parade committee’s goal is to create a plan that gives back to local businesses as well as offer a family-friendly festive way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year,” said 2021 Committee Chair Tim McSweeney

Northwest Side Irish are in the planning process. Visit Northwestsideirish.

As to a few places to hoist a Guinness or chow down on something supposed to be Irish or green, check out the following businesses:


STAN’S DONUTS

From now until March 17th, Stan’s Donuts (all locations0 is offering all things green. Guests can get Emerald-dipped donuts, Green River Glazed donuts, Green Mint Hot Chocolate, Irish Cream Cold Brew and Mint Cream Cold Brew topped with Cold Foam, Mint Oreo Shakes, and more.

PB&J 

West Loop hotspot PB&J offers a St. Patrick’s Day experience for up to six guests. Starting at 8 a.m. March 13, guests can book these pre-paid packages:

St. Patrick’s Brunch Kit –  1 bottle of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label, Carafes of Green Orange Juice,Green Beer, and guests choice of 2 Brunch Pizzas at $50 per person.

Leprechaun Package – 1 bottle of Jameson, Don Julio Blanco or Ketel One, Green beer, 2 Pizzas, and St. Patrick’s Day party swag at $75 per person.

Dealers Choice –  Guests can order any food or beverage item off PB&J’s menu a la carte with a $75 minimum per person.

In addition to these pre-paid packages, PB&J will also have a “Pot O Gold” pop up bar outside. Guests can purchase Green beer, Guinness, Red Bull Cocktail, Slane shots, and more. As a proud sponsor of the 2021 St. Paddy’s Day 5k and 8K Run/Walk, participants will receive a free Dogfish Head beer, while supplies last.

THE DEARBORN

For two Ireland-born sisters, the reopening of The Dearborn this month comes in time for their home country’s celebrated holiday. Besides iconic Irish dishes like Fish & Chips (which Chef Aaron Cuschieri made and won with on Food Network’s Beat Bobby Flay) and a Corned Beef Reuben, The Dearborn will offer specials such as Seafood Chowder, Beef & Lamb Shepherd’s Pie and a Strawberry & Crème Roulade cake. Also  available Guinness on draft, Irish Whiskeys and Irish Coffee.

The Dearborn is also partnering with Vanille Patisserie for those who can’t make it to the Loop but still want to celebrate with Irish fare. Throughout St. Patrick’s week, order a three-course family meal featuring the Seafood Chowder, Shepherd’s Pie and a special Irish Apple Cake with Shamrock Cookies from Vanille for dessert. Available through TOCK from March 10-17 for pick-up at Vanille’s Lincoln Park location or at The Dearborn.

Erin go bragh

Jodie Jacobs

 

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.

 

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

 

Better than a blood pressure pill to forget Covid and political strife

 

Even the pundits don’t know when the full election results will be known or get through the courts. So, folks who welcomed the spirit of Halloween for personal and family feel-good time, now need another good-ole’ standby, holiday shopping, to raise spirits.

Christkindlmarket and the One of a Kind Show Chicago will both go virtual in this pandemic year of 2020.

Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza (J Jacobs photo)
Christkindlemarket in Daley Plaza (J Jacobs photo)

Christkindlemarket

A European-style holiday event sponsored by the German Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Christkindlemarket moved online from downtown Chicago, Wrigleyville and Milwaukee on Nov. 1.

Shoppers can visit the fun market for its signature mug, mulled wine, holiday ornaments and activities through Dec. 31, 2020.

For more information visit Christkindlemarket.

 

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

One of a Kind Show Chicago

A popular event that features art and food items upstairs at theMart (that huge building formerly known as Merchandise Mart on the Chicago River), the One of a Kind Show opens online Nov. 12.

Shoppers can browse and buy jewelry, wearable art, paintings, photos, yummy treats and a slew of other gift items through Dec. 6, 2020.

To view participating artists visit Artists.

.For more event information visit OneofaKindShow.

 

Halloween doings

Drive through suburban Highwood to see the skeletons that populate its downtown (J Jacobs photo)
Drive through suburban Highwood to see the skeletons that populate its downtown (J Jacobs photo)

Pumpkin? Check. Candy? Check ((don’t forget some kids have nut allergies) A special fall and Halloween outing?

If not sure yet about where to go or what to do this crazy, upside down year, here are some ideas.

 

Take a selfie at Brookfield Zoo and watch animals noshing on pumpkins. (Brookfield Zoo photo)
Take a selfie at Brookfield Zoo and watch animals noshing on pumpkins. (Brookfield Zoo photo)

Brookfield Zoo 

Even though the zoo is not doing its annual Boo event, it has cute selfie stops, a sweepstake contest, animals being fed pumpkins and fall color and decorations. The zoo, operated by the Chicago Zoological Society) in suburban Brookfield, is a place to go if you want to be outside.

Admission is free Tuesdays and Thursdays in October and November. Admission and parking ($15) must be arranged ahead of time. In addition, Pace Bus 331 goes there. The zoo has two Brookfield entrances. North Gate is at 8400 31st Street, South Gate, the main entrance,, is at  3300 Golf Rd..  For more information visit CZS/fall/BrookfieldZoo.

 

MSI pulls out gruesome items from storage for Boo Fest (Museum of Science and Industry photo)
MSI pulls out gruesome items from storage for Boo Fest (Museum of Science and Industry photo)

Museum of Science and Industry

Located in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, the popular museum is holding Boo Fest. Costumes encouraged. MSI has pulled out some of its creepy curiosities from storage for a scary exhibit recommended for youngsters age 8 and older.

But it also has a Trick-or-Treat area where guests who bring their own bag can get non-food goodies from a chute operated by MSI staff.  And there are cool Live Science Experiences stops where visitors can make Frankenslime or watch a pumpkin drop.

In addition, there are Halloween haunted mine and superstition motion simulators, a crime lab chance to see werewolf files and a Sleepy Hollow building experience.

MSI follows the Covid protocols. For protocols, time-tickets admission and ticket information visit MSI/Explore/Events.

Peanuts crowd move to AppleTV (AppleTV and WildBrain Shows photo)
Peanuts crowd move to AppleTV (AppleTV and WildBrain Shows photo)

Charlie Brown

Watch the classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” streaming on demand on AppleTV, Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Premiered in 1966 on CBS, it moved to ABC but now, in 2020, it can be found on AppleTv.

You can see it without a paid account by visiting the Apple TV+ website.

According to the company’s news release, Apple is working with WildBrain, Peanuts Worldwide and Lee Mendelson Film production on Peanuts holiday specials.

“A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” will be on Apple TV+ on Nov. 18 and stream for free from Nov. 25 to Nov. 27. “A Charlie Brown Christmas” will be free Dec. 11 to Dec. 13.

For more information visit AppleTV/News2020 and AppleTV.

Jodie Jacobs

Halloween doings

You never know where you may encounter a ghost. J Jacobs photo)
You never know where you may encounter a ghost. J Jacobs photo)

For the family

First off, if you didn’t make a reservation for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Night of 1,000 Jack o Lanterns, try for next year. The 2020 event is sold out.

However, there are fun pumpkin patches where families can have fun, pick up the perfect pumpkin and some tools and ideas for carving their own Jack o’ Lantern. No tickets needed to pick a pumpkin or purchase store items. Rides and some events need tickets to observe social distancing.

Among those in the Chicago region are Didier Farm  at 16678 W. Aptakisic Rd., Lincolnshire, Goebbert’s GardenCenter at 40 W. Higgens Rd., South Barrington and Tom’s Market 10214 Algonquin Rd., Huntley.

Putting on the dog

Humans aren’t the only ones who can dress up for Halloween according to Pasquesi Home and Garden in Lake Bluff. The long-time family-owned business is doing a Howl-o-Ween so dogs get to participate. The event includes photos the shop will take and put online and a goodie bag for pooches. For information visit Pasquesi/howloween. Pasquesi is at 975 North Shore Dr., Lake Bluff, (847) 615-2700.

For teens and adults

See the movie “16 Candles” Oct. 9 at ChiTown Movies or go there later at night for one of Music Box’s horror films. The drive-in movie lot is at 2343 S Throop St, Chicago, IL 60608. If no car, check Row A during ticket purchase and bring chairs for your group. For the schedule, tickets and more information visit Musicboxtheatre/boxofhorrors.

Or get your thrills driving through the zombie and demon-filled alley at the arcade bar in Lincoln Park, 2833 N Sheffield Ave.  For tickets and more information visit alleyofdarkness.

 

Lollapalooza is back sort of

 

Lolla 17 aerial photo By Charles Reagan Hackleman
Lolla 17 aerial photo By Charles Reagan Hackleman

Of course, it had to happen. Calling itself Lolla2020, instead of drawing thousands of fans to Grant Park this year, the mega entertainment festival can be seen, enjoyed and danced to for four nights on YouTube beginning 5 p.m. CT, July 30, 2020.

Its free of charge but donations to Lollapalooza donate campaign for the Equal Justice Initiative, When We All Vote and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund are appreciated.

 

What to expect

See classic performances from Lolla sets and new ones from more than 135 artists including Paul McCartney, Chance The Rapper, OutKast, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metallica, Lorde, Kehlani, Alabama Shakes, Run The Jewels, LCD Soundsystem, H.E.R., Tenacious D, Tove Lo, Ellie Goulding, Vic Mensa, Kaskade, Alison Wonderland (Live Set), and others.

The full schedule, posted Wednesday, July 29 on the Lollapalooza subscription YouTube channel, can be found by clicking here .

In addition, Lolla2020 will feature conversations between sets from Perry Farrell, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, LL COOL J, Selema Masekala, and others.

CSO and Ravinia send music to you

 

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (A CSO photo)

 

It doesn’t matter that some of the memorable concerts conducted by Pierre Boulez or Sir Georg Solti were during the 1990s. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has pulled some of their programs from the Rosenthal Archives so that music aficionados still have great music to enjoy while Orchestra Hall is dark.

Calling the initiative “Gems From the Vault,” the online program lists historic broadcasts available with a click on a free subscribe link.

Among the offerings is Boulez conducting a 1999 concert that starts with Stravinsky’s The Song of the Nightingale followed by CSO principal harpist Sarah Bullen with Debussy’s Sacred and Profane Dances then concluding with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.

Another CSO initiative brings its musicians and guests from their homes to yours.

For more information and program listings visit CSO/gemsfromthevault and also check out CSO/fromhome.

 

Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)
Ravinia Festival. (J Jacobs photo)

Ravinia Festival has joined the growing list of arts organizations presenting special programs while their in-person venues are shuttered. Dubbed RaviniaTV, the program is a 20-minute weekly variety show that can be found on YouTube and Facebook. Fridays at 7 p.m. CDT.

The series starts with Ramsey Lewis performing from home on July 3 and with Chicago performances recorded last year.

Future episodes will include CSO concertmaster Robert Chen, pianist Kevin cole, vocalist Sylvia McNair, and other performers.

“It broke our hearts when the Covid pandemic forced Ravinia to cancel a season for the first time since the Great Depression, so the whole team got together to create ways to stay connected to the Ravinia Family, our artists, and audiences in what would otherwise be our silent summer,” said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.

“So many of the longtime legends, as well as nascent stars, associated with Ravinia shared the same sense of urgency to keep the music playing as we all struggle with the hardships of this strange new reality. The solution was a show that not only shares music but offers a casual, conversational feeling like you would have on the Lawn at Ravinia,” Kauffman said.

The series, the brain child of Ravinia Communications Director Nick Pullia, is a mix of new, past, home and in-house (on Ravinia’s stage) concerts.

Episodes also have interviews with such guests as Ravinia Chief Conductor and Curator Marin Alsop and such topics as how civil unrest and the pandemic and its economic fallout might affect the art produced in this era, or how to help your kids keep sane while social distancing.

For more information visit YouTube/Ravinia festival.

Jodie Jacobs