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.
Expect the unexpected when it comes to what’s happening in and around Chicago. Here are three items that add fun to spring.
Urban Art Pop-Up Trunk Show
Try to stop by the Museum of Contemporary Art’s store by April 11, 2019. Up on the second level of the store are about 100 unusual, expensive, street and art culture items on display that can be bid on through Heritage Auctions.
The items include a pair of “ Back to the Future II” shoes designed by Nike that have an auto-lacing system activated by the wearer’s weight on the sole. They were worn by Michael J. Fox as Marty Mcfly. There are also Jeff Koons’ “Balloon Animal Series, “Sunflowers by Ron English and items by Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, Damien Hirst and other artists.
The MCA, located at 220 E. Chicago Ave., is closed Monday, open otherwise at 10 am. Fri and tues until 9 othewise until 6. For more information call 312-397-4000 and visit MCA Chicago/Urban Art.
Earth Day Party.
Brookfield Zoo is celebrating our planet April 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with crafts, Zoo Chats, planting activities and recycle drop-off containers. Tree planting is at 11 a.m. and then pansies are planted near the Hamill family Play Zoo until 12:30. An Eco Expo of 20 organizations including the Lincoln Park Zoo Shedd Auarium and Indiana dunes National Park, will be stationed on the North Mall. The Party for the Planet is presented by Nicor Gas’ “energySmart” program.
Some of the other activities are meeting zoo animal ambassadors near the Carousel from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., a chat about bears in the Great Bear Wilderness at 11 a.m. and learning about the black rhino in the Pachyderm Building at 2:30 p.m.
As to recycling, the zoo will take electronics, textiles, and household hazardous waste items.on April 13 until 3 p.m. then electronics, textiles and paper (for shredding) April 14, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free parking in the North Lot, 8400 31st Street (First Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, is offered to visitors with one or more approved items to recycle on either day.
There will be a drop box for electronic items such as cell phones, cell phone accessories, pagers, hand-held electronic games, e-readers, laptops, iPods, iPads, tablets, and MP3 players (sent to Eco-Cell for recycling). For approved items visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet . Items have to be brought unboxed with no excess packaging.
Zoo admission is $21 95 adults, $15.95for ages 3-11 and seniors age 65 and older. Partyh for th Planet activities included in admission except for those inside the Hamil Familyh Play zoo. Parking is $14.00. For additional information call (708) 688-8000 and visit CZS.org/PartyPlanet.
Three Chicago Websites to know
Millenium Park Calendar – copy, paste and keep checking this website for birding, plant events, music festivals and more.
Chicago City Markets – The city markets are opening outdoors with fresh produce, baked goods, gifts and demos so check this website for dates and activities .
Chicago Riverwalk – find out where the sculptures are, what is happening with the Mart video art, when and where vendors are opening and other activities along the Chicago River at this website.
Certainly Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker,” Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” and Macy’s State Street holiday windows are on many folks’ traditional “do” list. But there are also other good shows to see and fun places to go as December 2018 turns into January 2019.
“Into the Woods,” Stephen Sondheim’s “not happily ever after” take on traditional fairy tales, is at Music Theater Works at Cahn Auditorium on Sheridan Road in Evanston Dec. 22-31. Music Theater Works was formerly called Light Opera Works.
“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is about magic, love, and in this production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, is backed by a mash-up of rock, jazz, blues and doo-wop., Dec. 6, 2018 -Jan 27, 2019.
“La Ruta” world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Dec. 13-Jan. 27. At U.S.-owned factories in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, La Ruta is just a bus. But to the women who live, work and often disappear along the route, it’s much more.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Brass plays numbers from Holst to Tchaikovsky, 8 p.,. Dec. 19, at Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave. and the CSO does Handel’s “Messiah” at 8 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Symphony Center.
Ice skate free in Millennium Park if you bring your skates, skate rental is $13 weekdays and $15 Friday-Sunday and holidays. Skating rink is street level on Michigan Avenue below Cloud Gate (The Bean) between Washington and Madison Streets. Hours and more information at Millennium Park.
Take a “Holiday Lights, City Lights’ bus tour with the Chicago Architecture Center, 111 E. Wacker Dr., Chicago and then check out CAC’s diorama on the main floor and skyscraper exhibit upstairs.
This year get into the Halloween spirit with an unusual parade and event downtown Chicago Saturday, Oct. 20. Follow up tasty treats the following Saturday, Oct. 27 and Wednesday Oct. 31 at Navy Pier.
First, get thyself and friends down to State Street between Lake and Van Buren Streets between 6 and 8 p.m. for “Arts in the Dark” to see floats, dancers, lantern carriers and a weird assortment of performers parade by. The fun procession is co hosted by the Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Loop Alliance.
Then , from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. be at the ”Bean” (Cloud Gate Plaza) in Millennial Park for music, circus-style side-show characters, magicians, video projections, fortune tellers and even a kids station for the younger crowd hosted by DCASE. Best stairway into the park is at the east end of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue.
Continue the fun in Maggie Daley Park east of Millennial Park (337 E. Randolph St.). Here, the Chicago Park District is passing out candy and showing the movie “Beetlejuice. For more exercise try Mini Golf at $11 or the Skating Ribbon and Climbing Wall with a $20 package price.
Next Saturday bring a treat bag to Navy Pier, receive a candy passport at Guest Services Desk at the main entrance for list of treat stations and participating businesses from 1 to 5 p.m. Then liten listen to music by different bands in “Sequence Chicago’s free fall/winter performance series.
The Halloween celebration ends at the Pier Oct. 31 with more candy handouts from 3 to 7 p.m. and bands. (Registration for the free Centennial Wheel ride is full)
Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. For more info visit Navy Pier.
An unusual free festival marks the end of summer in and around Millennium Park Sept. 22, 2018. It’s the YAS Fest, an all-day music, dance, art and theater event that showcases the arts talents of Chicago’s young people in the final weeks of “The Year of Creative Youth.”
“The Year of Creative Youth provides an incredible opportunity to support the creativity and growth of artistic children across Chicago,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This festival is our city’s largest showcase of youth artists, featuring the creative works of hundreds of young people from arts organizations in neighborhoods across the city. We celebrate their talents and the mentors who inspire them.”
YAS Fest has several performances and participatory events taking place from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. with some events extending to 7 p.m., held throughout the Millennium Park area from the Pritzker Pavilion, Chase Promenades and Cloud Gate Plaza to the Chicago Cultural Center across Michigan Avenue and the Art Institute of Chicago’s Modern Wing across from the park at Monroe and Michigan.
There are even kinetic sculptures a block west of Michigan Avenue on Wabash between Washington and Randolph Streets.
“When young people believe in themselves and are encouraged to bring their ideas forward, we know they’ll create the kind of society that uplifts us all,” said Vicky Dinges, Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility at Allstate.
“That’s why Allstate is focused on empowering our next generation of leaders by investing in programs like the arts that help young people build critical social and emotional skills. We care about the future of Chicago and our youth and are proud to recognize them as problem solvers, change agents and artists,” said Dinges whose company is a prime sponsor of the festival.
If you heard that Goodman Theatre’s opening night for the world premiere of “Pamplona,” a play by Jim McGrath that features Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway, stopped early, then don’t worry. The Goodman put out the following notice:
“Goodman Theatre had to unexpectedly halt this evening’s performance of Pamplona by Jim McGrath. The show’s star, Stacy Keach, had not been feeling well earlier in the day, but made the decision to go on with the performance. When it became clear midway through that Mr. Keach was struggling, Director Robert Falls took the stage and announced that the performance would conclude. Performances are expected to resume as scheduled.”
It may not seem as long as 32 years ago for Chicago to hold its Gospel Music Festival but considering that Chicago takes credit for gospel music it probably feels as if the genre has been around forever, at least in city area churches.
So, this weekend, June 2 and 3, 2017, the city is holding its 32 Chicago Gospel Music Festival. The concerts are on Friday. They are free and are taking place outdoors in Millennium Park and indoors (it may rain on and off those days) in the Chicago Cultural Center. Gospel music combined with workouts and wellness activities are on Saturday.
Here is the schedule but acts and times may change
June 2, 2017
Randolph Square area on the first floor of the Cultural Center
– Noon is Iliani Morales, 12:40 p.m. is Selah St. Sabina Youth Choir
– 1:10 p.m. is R&R featuring Russ and Roe and 1:40 p.m. is Neicy Robertson and Friends
– 2:10 p.m. is “Chicago’s Next” with 2ndNature Band, Isaiah Freeman, Jazmin Jones and Denton Arnell Harris and 3:20 p.m. is Arthur Sutton & The Gift of Praise
Millennium Park in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion
– 5:30 p.m. is Glenn Johnson & The Voices of Innerpeace and 6 p.m. is University of Illinois Black Chorus conducted by Ollie Watts Davis
– 6:40 p.m. is Malcolm Williams & Great Faith and 7:20 p.m. is Celebration of Gospel Music Quartets with Evelyn Turrentine-Agee and The Warriors, God’s Posse, The Gospel Crusaders and The Stars of Heaven
– 8:30 p.m. is Jonathan McReynolds with special guests Anthony Brown and Travis Greene
June 3, 2017
Millennium Park’s Great Lawn
– 7 a.m. is Gospel Music Yoga with instructor Marta Bailey and 8 a.m. is Gospel Music Cardio Workout with instructor LaTonya Ellis
– 9 a.m. is Pilates with an East Bank Club instructor and 10 a.m. is Zumba® also with an East Bank Club instructor
In the North Promenade Tent at Millennium Park
– 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. is Health & Wellness Oasis with screenings offered by Oak Street Health and Be The Match
– Also from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. are children’s activities in the Kids Activity Zone that include face painting, a balloon artist, Plaster of Paradise and the Imagination Playground