Tag Archives: Summer

2011 Chicago Jazz Festival

Don’t fear the Jazz! This event is a great way to get exposure to all different forms of jazz music… and it’s always a great idea to share the expressive sounds with your date!

Ornette Coleman live at Chicago Jazz Festival, Aug. 31, 2008.
Ornette Coleman live at Chicago Jazz Festival, Aug. 31, 2008. Flickr photo by mediageek

The word “jazz” (in early years also spelled “jass”) began as a West Coast slang term and was first used to refer to music in Chicago around 1915. And you thought we were just Blues!

The FREE Festival runs this Labor Day weekend (starting Thursday, Sept. 1 at Noon and running through to Sunday, Sept. 4 at 9:30 pm) at the Cultural Center and on to the Millennium and Grant Parks.

Bobby Watson at Chicago Jazz Festival - Photo by Paul "Tuna" Turner
The sax player, who I think is Bobby Watson himself, in the Bobby Watson's Horizon featuring Jeremy Pelt, Ed Simon, Essiet Essiet and Victor Lewis on the final night of the Chicago Jazz festival at the petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park.

The 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival is shaping up to be a tremendous Labor Day weekend in Chicago.

Once again the Festival will happen in multiple locations, starting on Thursday, September 1 with afternoon performances at three different venues located inside the Chicago Cultural Center.

Later that evening, at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, enjoy the final concert in the Made in Chicago series, with Randy Weston and the Chicago Jazz Ensemble featuring the arrangements of Melba, the festival’s opening night event.

Friday evening, the festival holds court yet again at Millennium Park with Saxophone Summit featuring Joe Lavano, David Liebman and Ravi Coltrane.

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival moves to its traditional home in Grant Park where four stages come alive with Jazz music including the Jazz on Jackson Stage, the Cricket Wireless Jazz & Heritage Stage and the Chicago Community Trust Young Jazz Lions Stage.

Headlining at the Petrillo Music Shell on Saturday evening is world renowned vocalist, songwriter and producer, Cassandra Wilson. And, closing the festival on Sunday evening is two-time Grammy Award winner and trumpeter, Roy Hargrove.

More information here from ExploreChicago.org

Hot Opera! SummerOpera: Maria de Buenos Aires

The 12th Annual Summer Opera presents three performances of “Maria de Buenos Aires” by Astor Piazzolla and Horacio Ferrer, August 12 – 14.

Catalina CuervoThe 20th-century Tango Operita, “Maria de Buenos Aires,” tells the story of the seductive Maria, played by the astonishing young soprano Catalina Cuervo, who embarks on a journey through life, death and the after-life with the hauntingly beautiful sound of the bandoneon, played by Grammy Award-winner Raul Jaurena. Cuervo performs in the company of highly praised baritone Ricardo Herrera.

Music Director Gerardo Moreira travels from Rio de la Plata to conduct the Chicago production of “Maria de Buenos Aires,” which he has been championing since 1992 in the most prestigious concert halls in the world including Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Teatro Solis in Montevideo, Uruguay and throughout Latin America.

Elbio Barilari narrates in the original dialect of Rio de la Plata, lunfardo. The fully staged production incorporates stunning tango sequences performed by guest dancer Victoria Vargas, of the Joffrey Ballet, and dancers of Tango 21 under the direction of Jorge Niedas, Artistic Director of Tango 21. Barilari and Niedas share credit for the Stage Direction of this production.

Raul Jaurena, along with the Maria de Buenos Aires Tango Orchestra, will also perform at Chicago SummerDance, Thursday, August 11 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. following a free Argentine Tango lesson by instructors from Tango 21 from 6 to 7 p.m. Chicago SummerDance takes place in Grant Park’s Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S. Michigan Ave, every Thursday through Saturday through Sept. 18. For the full SummerDance schedule, visit www.ChicagoSummerDance.org.

Summer Opera is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), in partnership with the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC). “Maria de Buenos Aires” is presented in collaboration with the Latino Music Festival, a program of the ILCC, International Latino Cultural Center. Accommodations are generously provided by Seneca Hotel and Suites in downtown Chicago. For more information, visit senecahotel.com.

For more Chicago Cultural Center events visit chicagoculturalcenter.org

2011 Chicago Blues Festival

Have a great musical date night out to the hot blues sounds in Grant Park June 10th, 2011 – June 12th, 2011.

Chicago Blues Festival flickr photo by gingerbydesignThe Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s Music Festivals. During three days on five stages, more than 500,000 blues fans prove that Chicago is the “Blues Capital of the World.” Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, B.B. King, the late Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy and the late Koko Taylor.

Admission is free so get your ears on for an evening stroll through Grant Park or bring some chairs, get a couple strips of food and beverage tickets (12 for $8) and settle in for some jams and people watching.

This festival is HUGE so be sure to get all the details about the various locations and preview events leading up to the big weekend.

Open Season for Chicago Beaches 5/27/2011 – 9/5/2011

It’s official: the beaches are open today!

Okay, we realize that it is barely over 50 degrees today so swimming may be out of the question but the lakefront is a great place to walk, eat, jog, catch some rays, bike, rollerblade, sail, play volleyball, explore, or just relax along Chicago shores.

Our favorite? Grab some snacks, an old blanket, and have some cuddle time on the beach!

The 2011 beach season runs Friday, May 27 to Monday, September 5. Swimming is permitted only when lifeguards are on duty at all beaches from 11:00 am to 7 pm daily. Some beaches open earlier for swimming mid-summer; visit www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/resources/beaches for details.

Chicago Beach Sunrise flickr photo by John Picken

Beach rules include: Swim only when lifeguards are present. Obey lifeguards. Follow posted beach rules. No glass on the beach. No alcohol. No smoking. Do not feed birds. Properly dispose of food, diapers and other refuse. Grilling is only allowed in designated areas and coals should be disposed in the provided containers.

Check the swim status before you go by calling (312) 74-BEACH (742-3224), visiting www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/resources/beaches, or texting the name of your beach to (312) 715-SWIM (7946)

We hope you enjoy this summer at the lake.

Lincoln Park Chill & Grill: May 21st-22nd

Yes, it is finally time for Chicago’s summer neighborhood festivals to begin! I know that winter stuck around a little longer than most of us would like, but grab your honey and head to Lincoln Park for a perfect ‘Date Day’. The festival is taking place near the corner of LaSalle and Stockton, at the south end of Lincoln Park.

Better Homes and Gardens is sponsoring this year’s Lincoln Park Chill and Grill, an opportunity for you to try some great local eats, learn a bit about grilling and to meet our own hometown celebrity chefs. You can also just enjoy the outdoors, drink a beer and listen to a local band on their Lakeside Stage.

The festival runs May 21st: 11:00am-6:00pm and May 22nd: 12:00-5:00pm. Entry is free and you can pre-purchase tasting cards on the event website for a discount. $12 purchased in advance and $15 at the festival. One tasting card will get you three beers , four small plates of food or combinations thereof. They will also be offering full-sized sandwiches, water and soda. Try some great eats from the West Town Tavern, Girl & the Goat, Belly Shack, Hot Chocolate and others!

Hands on grilling classes are available for $30, some of these classes offered by celebrity chefs such as Ted Allen and Stephanie Izard. Art Smith will be emceeing the Grilling Showdown Contest – celebrity contestents to be chosen prior to the challenge.

We will see you there! Bon Appetit!!

Culture Yourself! A Free Visit to a Museum

Money is tight but you and your partner need to get out? Chicagoland offers many great museums, quite a few with ‘FREE musuem days!’

  • The Field Musuem: The second Monday of Every Month.
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art: Free Tuesdays – Every Tuesday
  • The Art Institute of Chicago: Every Thursday up until May 26th, After May 26th every 1st and 2nd Wednesday of the Month.

Also many of our cultural centers have free admission EVERY day. To name a few:

  • Chicago Cultural Center
  • The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College
  • Jane Addams Hull House Museum
  • National Museun of Mexican Art
  • DuSable Museum of African-American History

Please try these out and let us know about your visit. We will continue to keep you updated on special events as well!