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.
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 Nayarand 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.
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.
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”
There is so much going on in and around Chicago that it is easy to miss something good.
Here are just a few of the fun things to do this week.
See “Jane Eyre,” The Joffrey Ballet’s production. It opens Oct. 16 at the Auditorium Theatre (at Roosevelt University) 50 E. Ida b wells drive (Former Congress parkway). For tickets and other information visit Joffrey.
Find art for you house while The Art Center holds its annual Recycled Art Sale. Works have been donated by private individuals and corporations so TAC can raise funds for its classes and exhibitions. The art work is offered at a fraction of its market cost. General Admission Benefit tickets for Oct. 18 are $85. The rest of the weekend is $5. But check TheArtCenter for more information. TAC is at 1957 Sheridan Rd., Highland Park.
Go downtown Oct. 19 to State Street for Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade. It runs from 6 to 8 p.m. starting at Lake Street on the north and continues south to Van Buren Street. It’s theme honors “Year of Chicago Theatre” so the parade features several theater companies and other groups such as The Joffrey Ballet. Visit Arts in the Dark.
Visit Intuit, the Outsider Art Museum Friday night from 6 to 9 p.m. because museum officials understand it is hard to fit in a visit during the day. The museum is at 756 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. For all extended hours see IntuitArt.
For kids, there’s a redone, restaurant up at tree-level in Lincoln Park Zoo. For adults, there’s an art show to view high on a building on Wacker Dr. And for adults who want to relive a kids-experience, there’s a museum field-trip night that will take them down a shaft.
Restaurant at Lincoln Park Zoo
When entering the main entrance at Lincoln Park walk straight ahead and look up, tree-level for the Bird’s Eye Bar & Grill perched above the gift shop. There is a ramp around the side for strollers and folks who can’t do stairs.
Formerly the Café at Wild Things, the space is geared to families with Foosball and air hockey tables, and games such as Jenga plus a menu that includes burgers and BBQ sandwiches. But there are also salads and flatbreads.
Recently opened, the restaurant is seasonal with hours from 11 a.m. to 4 p., Monday through Friday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. However, the space can be booked for private events. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago. Admission is free. For more information visit lpzoo.org.
MSI adult field trip
Adults get to go down to the popular Coal Mine, board the U-505 Submarine and visit Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle and other stuff at the Museum of Science and Industry after hours (age 21+) on Sept. 20 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Some things they didn’t have when on a kids’ field trip is Improv Comedy iO Theater Chicago doing behind-the-scenes MSI stories and a chance to play such board games as Clue, Operation, and Guess Who (courtesy of Lakeview’s Bonus Round Café). Plus take part in a scavenger hunt.
Admission is $30 (MSI members: $25). It includes free parking in the underground garage, coat check, light snacks, a complimentary drink, and access to select exhibits. A cash bar will also be available. For more information visit msichicago.org/fieldtripnight
New art projected on theMART (former Merchandise Mart) kicks-off Sept. 21 with food trucks and a DJ on Wacker Drive at 6:30 p.m., the projection starting at 7:30 p.m. and fireworks at 8 p.m. The projections feature works by Charles atlas and Petra Cortright. For more information visit visit artonthemart.com.
There still are a few days left to explore the Shedd Aquarium, the Museum of Science and Industry and some of Chicago’s other world-class museums without dipping into fall school supply funds.
Some museums are always free. Others have free admission on certain days or hours of the week. But check what is available with free admission because at some museums general admission is free but there still are ticketed exhibits. A valid ID with proof of residency is needed. if the free day is for Illinois residents or Chicago youth.
Children under age 14 always admitted free. Chicago teens under age 18 are also admitted free. In addition, admission is free to Illinois residents on Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m. The Ryan Learning Center near the Modern Wing entrance is always free to families and children’s care givers.
The main entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Ave. but there is also an entrance around the corner at the museum’s Modern Wing, 159 E. Monroe St. For hours and more information call (312) 443-3600 or see artic/visit.
The museum is at 220 E. Chicago Ave. just east of Michigan Avenue’s Magnificent Mile. Admission is free for youth 18 and younger every day and for Illinois residents on Tuesdays. For hours and more information call (312) 289-2660 or see MCAChicago/visit.
The museum is free to Illinois residents Tuesdays from 12:30 to 9 p.m. and always free to Illinois youth under age 18. Located at 1601 N Clark St., the museum is on the edge of Lincoln Park. For more information call (312) 642-4600 or see ChicagoHistory/visit.
Located at 740 E. 56th Place in Washington Park at 57th and cottage Grove, the museum’s exhibits feature augmented reality when tied to an app that can be easily downloaded. Admission is free every Tuesday.
The museum is at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive at the west end of Chicago’s Museum Campus. It has free basic admission for Illinois residents on Wednesdays from Aug. 14 to Nov. 13, 2019.
Go to FieldMuseum/exhibitions then click on the individual exhibits to see which ones are included in basic admission or needs an All Access or Discover Pass. For more information call (312) 922-9410 or see Field Museum/visit.
Think of this museum as an iceberg with much of what there is to see below the Michigan Avenue and Upper Wacker Drive level. It is inside the Southwest Bridgetower but entry is down at river level at 99 Chicago Riverwalk at the northwest corner of Michigan and Wacker. Sundays are free. Visitors learn about the historic structure, the river’s bridges and the Chicago River.
Located at 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive in a building from the 1893 Columbian Expostion, MSI is among the world’s largest science museums so there is plenty to see on free general admission days for Illinois residents even though they don’t include the ticketed exhibits. Coming free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.
The museum is at 1852 W 19th St, in the Pilsen neighborhood, south west of downtown Chicago. Admission is free, daily. For hours and more information call (312) 738-1503 or see National MuseumofMexicanArt/faqs.
The Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, is the second building on Chicago’s Museum Campus. Lines are long any day but particularly on free days so go early. Capacity is limited so some people reserve their tickets on line for a $3 transaction fee. Illinois resident free days are Aug. 26-28, 2019.
Illinois residents get access to all exhibits, chats, presentations and Stingray Touch. For more information call (312) 939-2438 or see Shedd/visit.
Instead of saying “oops” after “Miracle,” “Manet” and “Head Over Heels” have left Chicago, fit in the one you really hoped to see. Then, if good at planning ahead, look for tickets to “Six.”
Tickets are available just through Sept. 29, 2019 for this fun show that ties the life of a Wrigleyville bar-owning family to the Chicago Cubs. “Miracle,” whose full title adds on “A musical 108 years in the making,” is at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. For Tickets and other information call (312) 988-9000 or visit MiracletheMusical. For the review visit Wrigleyville and Cubs story make great theater. For the backstory see Miracle Musical.
Two weeks have been added to Kokandy Productions’ hit musical comedy but after Sept. 8, 2019 it will be gone. The show is at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. For tickets call (773) 975-8150) or visit KokandyProductions or stop by Theater Wit. For the review please see Head over Heels has got the beat.
The sold-out concert-style show about Henry VIII’s wives just closed at Chicago Shakespeare but even though it is headed to Broadway it will return to Chicago in 2020. The touring production will open July 8 at the Broadway Playhouse next to Water Tower Place and the Ritz-Carlton through the Broadway in Chicago series. Groups of 10 or more can get tickets now. Watch for the Broadway in Chicago single tickets this fall. For group tickets visit GroupSales@BroadwayInChicago.com. For more information and single tickets visit BroadwayInChicago.
Celebrate summer while it’s here. This weekend, art booths fill downtown Glencoe and Renee Fleming is doing Stoppard’s “Penelope” at Ravinia. Next week the Oriental Institute in Hyde Park has Hieroglyphics for kids and the Edgewater neighborhood celebrates summer with food,beverages and music
What: Festival of Art
When: July 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days.
Where: Center point is 700 Vernon Ave. near Park Avenue west of Green Bay Road in north suburban Glencoe.
In Chicago, the place to go to hear about and celebrate Apollo 11’s historic moon landing 50 years ago is the Adler Planetarium July 18-20, 2019.
Those folks around 50 years ago likely remember where they were when they heard “The Eagle has landed.” That was July 20, 1969 when the Apollo 11 lunar module, Eagle, landed on the moon.
They likely remember where they were when Commander Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon’s surface six hours later on July 21. Televised across the world, they heard him say the famous “one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”
Buzz Aldrin, the lunar module pilot, stepped out 19 minutes later. The two of them collected lunar material during their more than two hours outside while Michael Collins kept their command module, Columbia, in the lunar orbit.
They rejoined him, using the Eagle’s ascent stage. Leaving the Eagle in space, they maneuvered out of the lunar orbit and splashed down in the Pacific on July 24.
Now, 50 years later, the Planetarium starts its three-day celebration with Adler After Dark, its regular, Third Thursday fun evening for adults that mixes cocktails, music with the museum’s shows and exhibits from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Calling the July 18 event “Moonshot,” the Adler celebrates the anniversary with period-themed cocktails, a special double-dry IPA called “Project Apollo, music by the Stingers covers band, and a tuning-in to The Washington Post’s “Moonrise” podcast in the Grainger Sky Theatre among immersive visuals before it is released to the public. Oh, and late 60’s style apparel or space=age attire is encouraged.
Then, “Moon Bash” programs follow on July 19’ and 20. From 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Incuded with Museum Entry pass and frree to members)
Friday’s events include:
Exploration Stations. Launch a rocket, train like an astronaut, and learn all about the Moon with hands-on programs.
To The Moon, with I Play Games. Relive the Apollo 11 mission in virtual reality. Sit in the cramped cockpit of the Eagle, see Earth from a different perspective, and take steps on the surface of the Moon.
Sketch the Moon. Explore the work of noted space artist Chesley Bonestell and imagine a future mission to the Moon in this art activity.
Small Steps, Giant Leaps – Voices of Apollo. Explore a series of personal stories inspired by this historic event in a temporary exhibition and share your own stories with us. Check out our related online exhibition Voices of Apollo.
Saturday highlights Include:
The Day We Walked on the Moon. This documentary from the Smithsonian Channel tells the story of how he got to the Moon through spectacular footage and interviews with key figures in the Apollo 11 mission.
Exploration Stations. Launch a rocket, train like an astronaut, and learn all about the Moon with hands-on programs.
Performances & Talks. Live puppet performances, museum theater pieces and special talks from astronomers & other experts, some of whom worked on the Apollo program.
Chicago’s Moonshot Mural. Help create a community mural that highlights the Apollo 11 anniversary and your own “moonshots.”
Small Steps, Giant Leaps – Voices of Apollo. Explore a series of personal stories inspired by this historic event in a temporary exhibition, and share your own stories. (11 a.m. to noon)
The Adler planetarium is at 1300 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. For tickets and more information call (312) 922-7827 and visit Adler Planetarium.
You don’t have to be interested in entomology to enjoy and be fascinated by the new exhibit opened the end of June at Chicago’s Field Museum. You are even likely to go home from the exhibit, called “Fantastic Bug Encounters!” with some interesting facts to pass along such as how one of the species, the jewel wasp, performs’ brain surgery” on cockroaches to turn them into zombies.
By the way, the word “fantastic” is a perfect description because the exhibition is on loan from New Zealand’s famed Te Papa Tongarewa museum where it developed the exhibition with the Academy Award-Winning Weta Workshop.
Think “Lord of the Rings” and you will walk in prepared for what you will encounter. The Weta Workshop produced sets, costumes, weapons, armour, and creatures for director Peter Jackson’s film trilogy. And Weta is the name of a giant, flightless prehistoric cricket group native to New Zealand.
So be warned, you walk into giant, pod-like homes of such real bug creatures as the Japanese honey bee and the jewel wasp. Take a selfie if you dare turn your back on one of them.
But for those visitors who would like to know more about the insects and some spiders, there are several interactive stations that tell about different creatures’ wing design, camouflage, speed, reflexes and superpowers.
Not all of insects will be dead. The exhibit includes a small Live Bug Zoo where a museum staffer will handle some of them so visitors can see them up close.
These encounters are on the hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with a patent leather beetle, a lubber grasshopper, a death feigning beetle and a Madagascar hissing cockroach.
Plus, there are some live bugs in glass enclosures to see and not touch such as the emperor scorpion, a stick mantis and a pink-toed tarantula.
“Bugs are weird, beautiful, and fascinating creatures, and we’re proud to be able to share them with visitors of all ages in Fantastic Bug Encounters!” said Jaap Hoogstraten, Field Museum Exhibitions Director. “This exhibition is full of gorgeous larger-than-life models that show what these animals look like close-up and how they’ve perfectly adapted to the world around them—our visitors will never look at bugs the same way again.”
DETAILS: Fantastic Bug Encounters!” is at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, on Chicago’s museum campus near Soldier Field, Chicago now through April 19, 2020. For hours and ticket information call (312) 922.9410 and visit Field Museum.