Annual Orchid Show goes modern and brilliant

Chicago botanic Garden Orchid show focuses on color. (J Jacobs photo)
Chicago botanic Garden Orchid show focuses on color. (J Jacobs photo)

 

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Orchid Show takes on another dimension in 2020.

“We’ve done destinations. This time it’s more modern,” said Visitor Events and Programs Coordinator Sara.Harlow.

Titled “Brilliance,” the show also calls attention to orchids’ colors. “Color is important because it is part of the survival strategies of wild orchids so they can reproduce,” Harlow said, referring to how color attracts pollinators.

When visitors walk in to the exhibit in the Garden’s Regenstein Center, they will see towers of colorful orchids in the Nichols Hall, gorgeous groupings with bromeliads at their base and interesting pipe ensembles above and around them in the area leading to the greenhouses. The bromeliads add even more color.

The exhibit continues around to the left in a semi-circle of greenhouses. On the way to each greenhouse, the corridor’s walls tell stories about the importance of color and offer more orchid information. The greenhouse walls along the corridor display charming metallic circle planters filled with artistically arranged orchids.

Orchid Show at Chicago botanic Garden goes modern with lights. (J Jacobs photo)
Orchid Show at Chicago botanic Garden goes modern with lights. (J Jacobs photo)

What visitors will see during the day are sun-lit orchids seemingly planted along colored stones, orchids filling towering frames and orchids hanging from the ceiling between colorful tubes of light.

However, those rivulets of stones really cover lighting circuitry that will create a different dimension during special evening hours, according to Harlow.

“Visitors should also try to come at night We are doing After Hours Thursdays. It will look different,” she said.

To learn more about the orchids in the show from Cattleya to Cypripedium visit Chicago Botanic/Orchid Species.

The Orchid Show is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through March 24. General hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. After Hours goes until 8 p.m. on Thursdays and Feb. 14. For tickets, parking and more information visit Chicago Botanic/Orchid.

Jodie Jacobs

Groundhog Day relived

 

Woodstock Square where Phil the weatherman and Rita the reporter had their snowball fight in the movie ‘groundhog Day’ (J Jacobs photo)

Maybe groundhogs Woodstock Willie in Illinois and Punxsutawne Phil in Pennsylvania will not see their shadows on Feb. 2, 2020, this year’s Groundhog Day. So maybe spring will come early.

However you feel about a creature’s ability to predict the end of winter, the place to be if you are an early riser and live in Illinois is the village of Woodstock where Harold Ramis had filmed “Groundhog Day,” the popular 1993 movie that he and Danny Rubin wrote.

The celebratory highlight is a very early morning wake-up call for Woodstock Willie. The prognostication takes place Sunday in the town’s historic Woodstock’Square at 7 a.m.

But even if not willing to witness the weather prediction first hand, the town’s Groundhog Day festival is worth the drive. Woodstock has been celebrating the movie and it’s filmed locations for more than 25 years with a free movie showing, marked locations and tours.

To learn more about the event visit Woodstockgroundhog.

To learn about Punxsutawne Phil and the location where Bill Murray was supposed to go as TV weatherman Phil Connors, and how repeating each day until he could get Rita, the accompanying reporter to like him (Andie MacDowell) visit Groundhog.

Jodie Jacobs

From parades to performances Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

 

celebrates with its annual Argyle parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown Assoc.)
Uptown Chicago neighborhood celebrates with its annual Argyle parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown Assoc.)

Lanterns, dragons, colorful dances, art and instrumental music – there are Chinese New Year events in the next couple of weeks that will enrich our appreciation of Chinese culture.

But do you know your zodiac animal? If you go to any of the Chinese New Year programs in Chicago, you will likely hear that 2020 is the Year of the Rat. Because different elements also take turns, you might hear that it is the metal rat. A good, easy place to find out your animal sign and more about the Chinese Zodiac is the astronomy site of Time and Date.

Now you’re ready to check out the following events to see which fits into your calendar. They are free, open to the public and in Chicago unless otherwise noted.

Chinese Fine Arts Society Chinese New Year Kickoff

On Jan 24 at noon go to the Chicago Cultural Center during the lunch hour to see  lion dances, martial arts, traditional Chinese  dance and hear  China’s Zhejiang Shaoju Opera Theatre. The location is the Preston Bradley Hall on the third floor of the Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. For more information visit ChicagoCulturalCenter/events.

Continue reading “From parades to performances Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year”

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

 

 

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