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USA v. New Zealand Rugby Match at Soldier Field

Posted on October 29th, 2014 by


Let’s face it. The Bears season hasn’t turned out as we’ve expected so far. We still have hope, but with the Bears on a bye it’ll be good to clear our minds and focus on another sport. What better sport to distract ourselves with than football’s ancestor—rugby.

The U.S. Men’s Eagles will face Rugby World Cup champions the New Zealand All Blacks on Soldier Field for a match that will surely attract regular and new fans. Although not as popular in the United States rugby is fastly growing and there are a lot of similarities between the classic English sport and American football. In fact, rugby came to the U.S. in 1883 and played heavily and then in 1905 John Heisman added the forwards pass, which is illegal in rugby, to make the game safer. Yes, this game is more dangerous than our beloved football. The U.S. even won a gold medal in rugby at the 1924 Paris Olympics.

As mentioned there are some key differences between rugby and football. Just like the NFL you try to get into an endzone to score points and you can convert by kicking through the goal. However, you have to make all passes laterally or behind, the protection is minimum, and there are other elements like scrums.

The Eagles versus the All Blacks starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1 at Soldier Field. You can meet the All Blacks at Howells and Hood on Friday, Oct. 31 and learn their infamous Haka ritual. For more information including tailgating, viewing parties, and more visit

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Chicago Theater ‘Hot Picks’ for October/November

Posted on October 29th, 2014 by

Krista Krauss, senior concierge at the James Hotel, a member of The Chicago Hotel Concierge Association, a native Chicagoan, and a local theatre artist, is this week’s concierge correspondent and shares her theater hot picks for October and November.

“The Night Alive” by lauded Irish playwright Conor McPherson is now in its Chicago premiere directed by Henry Wishcamper at Steppenwolf Theatre. The production marks the beginning of Steppenwolf’s 2014/2015 season which explores the question “How did I get here?” through five stories about losing—and finding—your way. One night while running out to the store Tommy stumbles upon a violent fight between a man and a young woman. He intervenes on her behalf, and then brings her back to his place to help care for her injuries. Hearing that, one might think Tommy is a stand-up guy who has his life together, but on the contrary. When we are taken to Tommy’s home we determine that Tommy might be just as bad off as his new friend, Aimee. We learn that Aimee isn’t Tommy’s first rescue when Doc, Tommy’s friend and sometimes co-worker, comes sneaking in. Doc is a bit of an idiot savant who would probably be completely homeless if Tommy didn’t offer him the occasional odd job and let him crash on the camp bed. The three lost souls find solace in one and other, and rescue each other in a way, but, whereas Doc and Tommy’s relationship is relatively easy and uncomplicated, Aimee’s hidden past comes back to haunt both Tommy and Doc. In the face of danger they each have difficult decisions to make. Henry Wishcamper’s production is both beautiful and heartbreaking, and the fantastic ensemble members nail their performances—making this a can’t miss production.
“The Night Alive” at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. Chicago
Runs through Nov. 16.
Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Friday at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays at 3 p.m.
Tickets: $20 – $82
Recommended for adults.

Time and time again, Steep Theatre proves that it is one of the best storefront theatres in Chicago, and that’s saying a lot considering storefront is Chicago theater’s signature. “The Vandal” by Hamish Linklater and directed by Shade Murray is no exception. The play begins at a bus stop on a frigid night in Kingston, NY. A spirited young man eagerly attempts to warm up the evening’s commute by striking up a conversation with a woman. The woman, who is quick to point out she is old enough to be his mother, is initially even colder than the winter air, but his persistence and charm eventually soften her. She even agrees to buy him beer at the nearby liquor store while they wait for the bus. However, the woman’s trip into the liquor store leads to an unexpected altercation with the store’s owner. The exchange revels surprising information about the young man as well as the woman, and when she returns to the bus stop their once polite and trivial banter turns much deeper. Linklater’s layered script is well served by the simple utilitarian set and Murray’s expert staging. As the story unfolds and the connections become deeper, the layers of each character are scratched away reveling the truth. “The Vandal” beautifully explores one of the deepest of human connections: loss.
“The Vandal” at Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn Ave
Runs through Nov. 8
Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. Sundays at 3 p.m
Tickets: $10-$35
Recommended for adults.

Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries brings to life one of our favorite children’s stories: “The Velveteen Rabbit.” Skillfully adapted by Elise Kauzlaric from Margery Williams classic book, the story written in 1922 has been a favorite for over 90 years, making it the perfect tale (no pun intended) to be brought to the stage. Children always dream their favorite toys are real and that they come to life while they are away or sleeping, and that’s just what they do in “The Velveteen Rabbit.” One special Christmas, a little boy is given a stuffed velveteen rabbit. Despite previously forming superficial bonds with his modern toys he forms a deep bond with the simple rabbit that eventually grows into true love. The rabbit, who unconditionally loves the boy in return, can only hope that their love is true enough to make her “real.” The story is special because it teaches children difficult life lessons about love and loss, without them even being aware that there is a lesson being taught. Watching the actors breathe life into the adorable toys is magical, and Amanda Link’s staging is perfectly charming. Lifeline’s performance of “The Velveteen Rabbit” does not disappoint fans of the cherished book, and makes for a captivating experience for children of all ages.
“The Velveteen Rabbit” at Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave.
Runs through Nov. 23
Saturday and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Tickets: $15
Recommended for ages five and up.

Chicago loves a good political drama, especially ones that expose the unsavory innards of our democratic government—perhaps it’s because we’re all too familiar with it. So it’s no surprise that a great company like Remy Bumppo would choose election season to stage a sardonic political play. Maxwell Anderson’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Both Your Houses” is the perfect choice. Though the play may have been penned in 1933, it’s relevancy to our current political climate is obvious. The play revolves around a new budget bill that the House Appropriations Committee is trying to craft and pass into law. As we peer into the meetings on Capitol Hill, we witness the ridiculous favors, under the table deals, and selfish personal pocketbook padding that the representatives partake in. Things get especially interesting when the new junior congressman Alan McClean voices his moral objections to the committee’s greasy dealings and vows to do everything in his power to prevent the bill from passing. James Bohnen’s careful direction paired with a superb cast makes for a thoughtful yet fast-paced production. Though the play is thoroughly enjoyable, and we snicker and laugh at the wicked old crooks and their antics, at some point it dawns on you that this satire isn’t as far from the truth as you would hope. It’s sobering to realize that our government hasn’t really changed in 70 years. Exposing this hard truth is what makes this production special.
“Both Your Houses” presented by Remy Bumppo at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Runs through November 9.
Thursday through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Sundays at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets: $42.50 – $52.50
Recommended for ages 13 and up.

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Jane Lynch, Renée Fleming, and The Second City at the Lyric Opera’s 60th Birthday

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by


For 60 years the Lyric Opera of Chicago has been providing quality, high-class entertainment to the residents and visitors of Chicago, and they’re blowing out the candles on the highest note.

For one night the Lyric Opera is putting on a great concert filled with opera stars and song favorites. Comedienne Jane Lynch (“Glee” “40-Year-Old Virgin”) will host the gala and will feature opera superstar and Lyric’s creative consultant Renée Fleming and The Second City. Audiences can expect to hear excerpts from classics such as “Carmen,” “Madama Butterfly,” and “Turandot” among others. All attendees will also receive a hardcover, commemorative book looking back on the Lyric’s 60-year history.

Highlights from The Second City’s collaboration with the Lyric Opera

The Lyric Opera has become entrenched in Chicago’s history. Housed in the Civic Opera House, the Lyric filled the void Chicago experienced for eight years without a resident opera company when it started in 1954. Since that time the Lyric has seen amazing talents shine like Maria Callas, Bruno Bartoletti, and Luciano Pavarotti. The Lyric has also been home to the premieres of great productions such as “Paradise Lost” and “Amistad,” and they have spread the art across the city’s neighborhoods through community programs and free performances.

Celebrate the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 60th birthday Saturday, Nov. 1 at 6:30 p.m at the Civic Opera located at 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr. For more information visit

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Tricks, Treats, and Frightful Fun at Navy Pier

Posted on October 28th, 2014 by


Oct. 31 Update: Due to inclement weather, The Fear Haunted House at Navy Pier presents Zombie Containment is canceled today. The haunted house is scheduled to reopen tomorrow, Nov. 1 at noon and runs through Sunday.

Looking for some spooky fun this Halloween weekend? The Fear Haunted House’s new attraction, Zombie Containment, is open through Nov. 2nd. Located on a barge in Lake Michigan just north of the Landshark Beer Garden at Navy Pier, Zombie Containment is produced by Zombie Army Productions, the producers of the famous Statesville Haunted Prison. Zombie Containment is a ground-breaking concept that incorporates a blend of horror and comedy as you slowly discover that zombies may not be quite as contained as you’re initially led to believe.

Following a zombie outbreak that devastated the nation, zombies are now held within a series of shipping containers on a barge where they are studied and researched by Merikorp Industries. In the interest of full transparency, Merikorp is inviting you to tour Zombie Containment, their facility and barge of the undead, right here in Chicago.

Before you come face to face with zombies, choose your tour based on your fear tolerance: nighttime High Scare (for ages 13 to adult) or daytime Low Scare (lights-on experience during the day). High Scare (nighttime) is open from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday. The Low Scare (daytime) is open from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets are now on sale and are $20 for the High Scare nighttime and $12 for Low Scare daytime and can be purchased through a link on a

Kids in Tow?

Children ages 12 and under that are in costume on Friday, Oct. 31, are invited to take part in trick-or-treating throughout Navy Pier from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Candy is provided by Ferrara Candy Company.

-Sponsored post

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See All of the Sights and Holiday Lights

Posted on October 26th, 2014 by

Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

Hop on Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Bus Company’s Holiday Lights Tour and embark on a journey of dazzling lights and holiday sights including ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo, the Magnificent Mile, State Street, and Macy’s iconic holiday windows. The tours begin on Nov. 28, so reserve your spot today.

Chicago Trolley Holiday Lights Tour

The lightly-narrated two-and-a-half hour tour shows the best of Chicago’s holiday lights and sights and stops at two brilliant holiday attractions. Sights on the tour include: The Magnificent Mile, Macy’s Holiday Windows, John Hancock Center’s Tree, Daley Plaza’s Tree, Millennium Park and more. Stops, 30 minutes at each location, include the Christkindlmarket, ZooLights, and the Magnificent Mile’s Hershey’s Chicago store for a hot cocoa and treat.

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Bus Company’s Holiday Lights tours are scheduled for Nov. 28-30 and Dec. 5-7, 12-14, 17-21, 26-30 and Jan. 1-4.

The tour runs at 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday’s schedule is 5 p.m., 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. On Dec. 17-18 tours run at 6:30 p.m. only. All tickets can be purchased online here:

-Sponsored post

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Journey through the Chicago Humanities Festival

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by


For 25 years the Chicago Humanities Festival has been providing thought-provoking panels, authors, films, and musicians for Chicago, and this year is no different.

With the theme of “Journeys” the Chicago Humanities Festival has more than 80 events that will surely be of interest to a wide variety of people. With most events being apart by only 5 or 10 minutes walking, you can learn and be inspired by multiple programs a day.


Anjelica Huston. Photograph by Paul Jasmin.

Foodies aren’t going to want to miss the presentation by renown chef Marcus Samuelsson about how to make great culinary dishes at home. Music lovers will have a lot of programming to choose from whether it be a bus tour of Chicago blues landmarks with historian Tim Samuelson, a conversation with opera singer Renée Fleming, a presentation from rocker Patti Smith about her critically-acclaimed memoir, or a few songs from one of the world’s great unsung voices Darlene Love. Political junkies won’t want to miss a panel featuring Steve Schmidt, David Axelrod, and Steve Edwards. Film fanatics need to check out “Life Itself,” the documentary on Roger Ebert, and a conversation with cinema star Anjelica Huston on her new memoir.

The Chicago Humanities Festival kicks off Oct. 25 and runs through Nov. 9 at multiple locations. For help picking out programs to see go to where you can pick events based on your interests.

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Special Autism Speaks and Blue Man Group Show

Posted on October 22nd, 2014 by


The Blue Man Group (BMG) has been entertaining audiences in Chicago for over 15 years and are always making changes and additions so the performances are never stale. With a new partnership BMG is making one of their performances more comfortable for certain visitors.

Autism Speaks and BMG are working together for a performance that will be slightly modified for autistic audience members. You’ll notice the changes in the lobby where a calming environment will be created with dim lights, quiet corners, and bean bags for a sensory break. For the show audiences will notice some volume reduction at certain points in the show and headphones will be available for those who want them. These changes should help those with autism and still be an extremely entertaining show. In addition, $5 of every ticket will be going to Autism Speaks, one of the leading autism science and advocacy organizations.

The special Autism Speaks performance from the Blue Man Group takes place Sunday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m. at the Briar Street Theatre located at 3133 N. Halsted St. For more information visit

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Hit the Sky with Chicago Helicopter Experience

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by


Chicago has some of the world’s best attractions, and they’re not too hard to get to on foot. However, if you’re not used to a lot of walking it can be rough, so this weekend put your feet up and enjoy the city’s best sites from a different vantage point.

Chicago Helicopter Experience (CHE) provides a unique way to see one of the country’s best skylines with an excellent fleet of helicopters. CHE offers daytime, twilight, night, and private tours that last 30 minutes on their newly acquired and beautifully painted EC130. The tour leaves from Wheeling, IL and only takes six minutes to get to Downtown Chicago, which gives you a chance to see the beauty of the greenery in the surrounding suburbs before the city’s skyline takes your breath away. The Hancock Center, Willis Tower, Trump Tower, Soldier Field, Wrigley Field, and more are part of the tour. The best thing is when the tour makes you appreciate landmarks that aren’t top of mind such as Graceland Cemetery.

Though I’m not a helicopter connoisseur the EC130 was more comfortable than I thought it would be. You’d expect a helicopter that fits six people to feel tight but actually it didn’t feel cramp and there was a lot of room to stretch your legs and move your body to see the amazing sights. The size of the helicopter helps provide big windows that gives great sight lines from anywhere in the helicopter even in the center seat in the back row. An added touch that CHE provides is that the pilot is a great guide in Chicago history and trivia that keeps the tour entertaining and educational.

With a clear weekend ahead book your tour at Chicago Helicopter Experience located at Chicago Executive Airport, 1071 S. Wolf Road., Wheeling IL  Hangar 10. If you return to the city later in the year you’ll be able to take off closer to the sights with their Downtown helipad. For more information visit


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Concierge Picks: Green Festival, Robie House, and Haunted Segway Tour

Posted on October 21st, 2014 by


Haunted Segway Tour

Anthony Gates, concierge at JW Marriott Chicago, is this week’s concierge correspondent and shares his top three picks for things to do around town.

For those who love to live a more sustainable and healthier life, head over to Navy Pier this weekend, Oct. 24 – Oct. 26 for Chicago’s Green Festival, a celebration of the best in green living. There is something for everyone to see, do, and eat! See a large variety of products and services to work, play, and live green. Shop from over 250 eco-friendly unique businesses for all and eat both vegan and vegetarian with cooking demos and samples.
Green Festival at Navy Pier
600 E. Grand Ave.

The Robie House was one of the most defining moments of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture career. Friday, Oct. 24 join the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust for a final night in October to enjoy his architectural masterpiece at After Hours at the Robie House from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wander in celebrated iconic spaces and enjoy music, drinks, and light hors d’oeuvres in an inviting atmosphere. Admission is $30 for members, $35 for non-members.
October After Hours Robie House
5757 S. Woodlawn Ave.

Get into the Halloween spirit with a haunted tour from Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. Helmets are decorated with creatures, brains, knives, and arrows just to mention a few. Glide with the undead-dressed guides as they explore the haunted and eerie in beautiful downtown Chicago. View the city skyline, river walk, and Michigan Ave. at night while they relate the history of Chicago’s terrible disasters—the East Land, the Iroquois Fire, the Green Hornet, and more.
Haunted Segway Tour with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours
238 E. Monroe St.

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Green Festival Returns to Navy Pier

Posted on October 20th, 2014 by

Chicago Green Festival 2014America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event returns to Navy Pier this weekend (Oct. 24-26).

Now in its ninth year, the Green Festival offers attendees the opportunity to learn from innovative green brands, national and local businesses, and pioneering thinkers about how to live healthier, more sustainable lives – and experience the latest in sustainability and green living.

With more than 200 exhibitors participating, Green Festival Chicago will include products and services from categories like food, sustainable beer and wine, fashion, pets, kids, yoga and health, to energy, home construction and design. Festival attendees can taste organic, vegan/vegetarian foods, take part in hands-on cooking and fitness demos, educational activities, and learn from inspirational speakers.

Green Festival Chicago will feature unique stages and pavilions for people of all ages including:

  • Sustainable Beer and Wine Garden
  • Yoga Pavilion, featuring free yoga instruction and classes
  • Family Fun Stage with interactive and educational activities for young eco-warriors
  • Vegan/Vegetarian Food Court, featuring local artisanal cuisine
  • The Lifestyle Stage, featuring experts on the green business and technology sector

In addition, as the show will take place the weekend before Halloween, Green Festival attendees are invited to celebrate HalloGreen with exhibitors. Families in costume will receive free entry to Green Festival and kids and adults can safely trick-or-treat and enjoy organic, non-GMO, vegan and vegetarian HalloGreen candy samples in the Family Fun Area.

Green Festival runs from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday and SundayFestival Hall  A. Tickets purchased online are $10 for a one-day admission or $15 at the gate. There is also a 50% discount on day passes for groups of 10 or more. Children aged 16 years and under and attendees arriving by bicycle are granted free admission. Discounts are also available at the gate for seniors, students and veterans. All tickets provide access to exhibit floor, workshops, speakers and films. Tickets can be purchased online at

-Sponsored Post

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