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Raise Your Fist for 30 Years of “The Breakfast Club”

Posted on April 22nd, 2015 by

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I’m about to age a lot of our readers right now with this little fact: “The Breakfast Club” turns 30 years old this year. However, don’t let the fact that so many years of your life have passed on make you sad but celebrate that after the all these years “The Breakfast Club” is still a great film.

You can celebrate “The Breakfast Club” at a screening at the Music Box Theatre. You’re encouraged to come in our best ’80s attire, and prepare to time travel to a time that is like no other in the history of the world.

One of the most nostalgic and best things about this John Hughes film, like many of his other films, is the soundtrack, which is why WBEZ’s “Sound Opinions” hosts Jim DeRogatis and Greg Kot are presenting the film. They’ll have a discussion about the New Wave soundtrack including the infamous Simple Minds track “Don’t You Forget About Me.” So get ready for a lot of fist raising.

 “The Breakfast Club” will be screening April 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the Music Box Theatre located at 3733 N. Southport Ave. Tickets at the door are $15. For more information visit musicboxtheatre.com/events/sound-opinions-at-the-movies-presents-the-breakfast-club-2015-apr-22-wed-0730pm.

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18th Annual Chicago Improv Festival

Posted on April 22nd, 2015 by

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Instead of laughing at our ridiculous weather spend sometime laughing at the 18th annual Chicago Improv Festival.

There are many Chicago staples in food, music, sports, and more, but when it comes to theater one staple is improv comedy. That’s why troupes and performers from around the world come out to perform at the largest improv festival in the world.

With 14 venues and countless acts there is a lot of great shows to see as the festival is tackling different themes and forms of improv. A lot of focus is on women rising to the top of comedy so you wont want to miss Wild Horses, featuring Lauren Lapkus from “Orange is the New Black,” and The Katydids, who just finished their first season of their TV Land show “Teachers.” For some Chicago-style comedy don’t miss Sheldon featuring Jon Barinholtz, who’s been on “New Girl,” and Rob Belushi, son of Jim Belushi who has been on “How I Met Your Mother.”

For a look back at the history of improv don’t miss the tribute to The Compass. This group consisting of greats like Alan Alda, Ed Asner, Del Close, Barbara Harris, Elaine May, and Mike
Nichols are responsible for creating The Second City, and the Chicago Improv Festival will be celebrating their 60th anniversary.

The 18th annual Chicago Improv Festival will run until April 26. For tickets and schedule visit chicagoimprovfestival.org.

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Eat, Drink & B. Mary aboard the Spirit of Chicago

Posted on April 22nd, 2015 by

Bloody mary Spirit of ChicagoOn Sundays in April, experience the Spirit of Chicago’s new Eat, Drink & B. Mary Brunch Cruises. Take in incredible views of the city skyline while enjoying a buffet-style brunch menu as you sip on custom Bloody Mary cocktails.

Build your own Bloody Mary from their selection of gourmet ingredients, including everything from bacon-infused vodka and blue cheese stuffed olives to antipasto skewers and more.

Departing from Navy Pier at noon and cruising from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., enjoy the Spirit of Chicago’s three climate-controlled interior decks with panoramic windows.

Prices for the brunch cruise start at $54.90 for adults and $32.95 for children ages 3-12, exclusive of taxes and fees. Bloody Marys are available for onboard purchase and are not included in the ticket price.

Tickets and additional information are available here.

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Comics, Zombies, Cosplay, and More at C2E2

Posted on April 21st, 2015 by

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2015 and 2016 are turning into big comic book and sci-fi years with the upcoming Avengers film, the Daredevil Netflix series, the new Star Wars film, and the upcoming Batman v. Superman film. Get your fix at this year’s  Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2).

C2E2 turns six years old this and is ready to bring out your inner geek with countless panels, booths, contests, screenings, and activities. For those who are fans of all the Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, and Iron Man movies get the opportunity to meet and get your photograph taken with the creator of those great heroes, Stan Lee. “Walking Dead” fans don’t want to miss the panel with Chad L. Coleman who plays Tyrese in the AMC series. Fans of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” need to go to the Game of Thrones: A Panel of Ice and Fire, featuring Jason Momoa, who plays Khal Drogo and Finn Jones, who plays Ser Loras Tyrell.

Probably one of the best things to do C2E2 is to just watch all the great attendees dress up in costumes and the best place to catch them this year will be at the Crown Champions of Cosplay. Your eyes will be amazed by how amateurs can create costumes just as good or better than the movies. The judges are heavyweights in costume design like Ann Foley, costume designer for “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” and Neville Page, creature designer for “Avatar” and “Star Trek.”

On top of all the screenings and events make sure not to miss the heart of C2E2—the comic book publishers, artists, and toy makers. Marvel fans won’t want to miss the series of panels on the future Secret Wars story line that will alter the Marvel universe as we know it.

The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo will be taking place April 24 – 26 at McCormick Place South Building located at 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr. For more information on the countless activities and ticket prices visit c2e2.com.

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‘Sense and Sensibility’ at CST

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by

SenseandSensibilityChicagoShakespeareTheaterThe Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) at Navy Pier will begin performances of the highly-anticipated world premiere of Sense and Sensibility, a musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s beloved novel, with book, music and lyrics by Tony Award®-nominated composer Paul Gordon.

Directed by Artistic Director Barbara Gaines, this lush period production traces the lives of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood—two sisters whose fortunes change following their father’s untimely death. One practical and dutiful, the other consumed by youthful passion, their quest for suitable husbands unfolds in a period-perfect production that you’re sure to love.

Sense and Sensibility will be performed in CST’s Courtyard Theater April 18–June 7, 2015. Tickets are on sale now for $48–$78 with special discounts available for groups of 10 or more, as well as CST for $20 tickets available for patrons under 35. All patrons receive a 40 percent discount on parking in Navy Pier garages. For more information or to purchase tickets visit the Theater’s website at www.chicagoshakes.com.

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Open the Doors to Chicago Dance Month

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by

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I know what you’ve been feeling as you walk through the streets of Chicago this week. You just want to dance in the sunlight and pretend your Gene Kelly on the street. Well get some inspiration during Chicago Dance Month.

Over ten dance companies and organizations will feature over 50 great dance workshops, performances, and events that occur in Chicago. This year the month will continue with the “Open Doors, Open Spaces” theme. Events marked Open Doors are performances starring the city’s best dance companies in buildings and landmarks throughout the Loop. Those marked Open Spaces occur every Friday during the month at “Thank God It’s Dance Friday” where some of the dance companies will hold performances at Pritzker Park. The best thing is that all Open Doors and Open Spaces events are free. Below are the remaining Open Doors and Open Spaces events you don’t want to miss:

April 16, OPEN DOORS: Chicago’s Landmark Building Performances at Modern Classics Furniture
April 21, OPEN DOORS: Chicago’s Landmark Building Performances with DanceWorks Chicago
April 22, OPEN DOORS: Chicago’s Landmark Building Performances at the Chicago Temple with Duncan Dance Chicago/Classical Modern
April 24, OPEN DOORS: Chicago’s Landmark Building Performances with The Blueprinting Project
May 1, OPEN DOORS: Dance Block Party at Block 37

Along with the free performances you can find discounts for many other performances and lectures throughout the month.

Chicago Dance Month runs until May 3 at various locations throughout the city. For tickets and more information visit seechicagodance.com/festival/chicago-dance-month-2015.

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Spring is Here with the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Antiques Garden and Design Show

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by

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The streets are clear of snow, the temperatures are reaching into the 60s, and the sun is out longer, but the only real sign needed that spring is here is the the Antiques Garden and Design Show.

The show used to be known as the Antiques and Garden Fair but has added the design element this year. With over 70 exhibitors from the U.S. and abroad, the Antiques Garden and Design Show will not only bring your spirit back to life but you might find some items that will bring your home back to life. The fair is perfect for the collector in search for the most precious artworks to the casual gardener or visitor who just wants to take in the beauty and possibly find that piece of botanical art that is missing from their garden.

The Esplanade and Searle and Runnells Courtyards of the Regenstein Center will be covered in tents filled with beautiful classical and contemporary furnishings, jewelry, and art. This year the Krasberg Rose Garden wil be transformed into a horticulture tent filled with tabletop topiaries, potted succulents, gardening resources, outdoor furniture, and more.

Along with the 21,600 square feet of spring, take advantage and learn great tips during lectures like the one with “The Prince of Chintz” himself, Mario Buatta, who is known for his English country-house style and counts Barbara Walters, Malcolm Forbes, Mariah Carey, and the Blair House as clients.

The Antiques Garden and Design Show runs April 17 – 19 at the Chicago Botanic Garden located at 1000 Lake Cook Rd. in Glencoe, IL. For tickets and more information visit chicagobotanic.org/antiques.

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Prepare Your Belly for Baconfest Chicago

Posted on April 14th, 2015 by

Photo by Anne Petersen. http://flickr.com/photos/opacity

Photo by Anne Petersen.

Once a year in this city probably the most beautiful thing in the world occurs—Baconfest. If you need to continue reading instead of just buying tickets and camping outside of the UIC Forum then I question your taste buds. Baconfest is back.

Baconfest Chicago is cured meat madness as over a hundred chefs create delicious bacon concoctions that last year included dishes like bacon risotto, bacon-wrapped maple and beer-brined pork belly with jalapeno bacon jam, and bacon mousse Drumsticks. Held over two days this festival will satisfy every bacon dream—even the ones you haven’t had yet.

This year you can expect some of the city’s best chef’s like Christine Cikowski and Josh Kulp from Honey Buttered Fried Chicken creating a fried chicken french toast with bacon honey butter and maple bourbon syrup; Rick Bayless from Xoco serving a torta of Gunthorp Farms pork meatballs, black bean spread, chipotle spread, chipotle sauce, anejo cheese, cilantro; and Brian Jupiter from Frontier serving bacon-wrapped fried oysters. The chefs are not only there to serve the public but they are also competing for the Golden Rasher Award. A portion of the proceeds also go to Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Baconfest Chicago takes place April 17 and 18 at the UIC Forum located at 725 Roosevelt Rd. For tickets and more information visit baconfestchicago.com.

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Three Must-Visit Chicago Empanada Eateries

Posted on April 8th, 2015 by

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Today is National Empanada Day. Why? I don’t know, but empanadas are delicious. So if we want to celebrate our delicious, mouthwatering pockets of [insert filling of your choice here] by eating a gluttonous amount then let’s do it. Here are three places to have great empanadas in Chicago.

 

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You don’t mention empanadas in Chicago without talking about 5411. This Argentinian spot offers 12 different empanadas from traditional beef empanadas to a banana and nutella empanada. These people are obviously empanada geniuses. However, don’t skip out on the empanada that combines the two best things about Argentina: beef and Malbec wine. Their Malbec beef empanada is a slow-braised beef and sauteed carrots and onions in a malbec wine reduction. Oh, and all their empanadas are only $2.50. Good luck stopping yourself from having all 12.
5411
2850 N. Clark St. and 2045 W. North Ave.

 

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Full disclosure: I’m Cuban. Cubans aren’t really known for empanadas. That doesn’t mean we don’t make good ones, but their far down the last when you think of Cuban food staples. However, 90 Miles Cuban Cafe seems to be trying to bring it up the ranks because they are making some flaky, hot, and juicy empanadas. Their chorizo and goat cheese is good and more original, but the ropa vieja one reminds me more of home. For those who don’t know ropa vieja is not literally old clothes it just gets the name because of its look. It is actually shredded beef cooked in a tomato sauce, and it’s the best.
90 Miles Cuban Cafe
3101 N. Clybourn Ave. and 2540 W. Armitage Ave.

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Behind arepas, empanadas are a big Colombian food staple. It is so ingrained in Colombian culture that Carlos Escalante, the owner of Lito’s Empanadas, didn’t even study to be a cook or a chef instead he studied business administration, was managing an auto parts factory for a while, and casually made empanadas on the side. They were so good that he eventually opened the now succesful Lito’s. They offer 10 different varieties from the traditional like chicken empanada to the more adventurous Hawaiian empanada with ham, mozzarella and pineapple.
Lito’s Empanadas
2566 N. Clark St. and 1437 W. Taylor St.

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Discover Frank Lloyd Wright Around Oak Park

Posted on April 8th, 2015 by

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Frank Lloyd Wright left his architectural mark all over the city of Chicago, but Oak Park is the place he called home.

Now offering their most exclusive tour, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust presents “Wright Around Oak Park.” This three-hour comprehensive tour presents Wright’s development as an architect, as a personal interpreter leads intimate group sizes through the Wright Home and Studio, on an expanded tour of the neighborhood where the architect lived and worked—including stops outside seven Wright residences—and on a tour of his greatest public building of the Prairie period: Unity Temple.

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Starting in Wright’s Home and Studio, visitors have the opportunity to learn more about Wright as a person, an architect, and a family man. Walking through the house he designed for his wife and children, tour guides offer an inside look into how the family lived, and how the architectural design choices, such as his functionality principles and dedication to compression and expansion of space, fit their life. Beyond learning why Wright chose to build a piano into a wall so that it’s body hung above the stairs, guides also provide interesting facts on his life such as how Wright helped shape his children’s imagination with block toys, and how much Catherine “Kitty” Wright enjoyed sitting on her balcony each morning.

After the home and studio tour, the three hour exploration takes a short 15 minute break before adventuring down the streets of Oak Park. Beginning with four Wright-designed homes just next door and across the street from his own, visitors will get to see examples of Wright’s design principles, material use, and even the Japanese influence on his designs; although, as the guides joke, Wright swore any connection to Japanese style must have been something learned from him.

Finally the tour concludes with an exterior and interior look at Unity Temple. A National Historic Landmark since 1970, this is the last surviving public building from Wright’s prairie period. Promising to create a bold design on a modest budget, which in true Wright fashion he did not stick to, Wright created a unique concrete space that, despite doubt from a board member who resisted the design, offers great natural lighting and even better acoustics.  Unity Temple was Wright’s contribution to modern architecture and as he remarked it made “an entirely new architecture, and is the first expression of it.”  Unity Temple is currently beginning the process of restoration, giving tour participants the opportunity to hear some of the restoration decisions and plans while they explore the building.

“Wright Around Oak Park” tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and begin at the gift shop of the Wright Home and Studio. Ticket prices are $55 for members, and $60 for non-members, and include special discount coupons to Oak Park restaurants to use for lunch after the tour ends. Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone ahead of time and picked up at the gift shop before the tour begins, which participants are recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to. Those interested in taking this tour should keep in mind that the three hour tour requires being on your feet for the majority of the time, but know the inside look is well worth it.

For more information on “Wright Around Oak Park” and to purchase tickets visit: cal.flwright.org/tours/wrightaroundoakpark

 

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