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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

Call the Whole Thing Off by Harrison McEldowney_photo by Quinn Wharton (1) copy_1

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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Four Must-See Films at the Chicago Latino Film Festival

Posted on April 8th, 2015 by

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Latinos have been a driving force in the film industry for decades from José Ferrer being the first Latino Academy Award winner in 1950 to Alfonso Cuarón being the first to win Best Director in 2013 to Alejandro González Iñárritu recently winning both for Best Director and Best Picture. If you want to see tomorrow’s Oscar winners today then don’t miss out on the Chicago Latino Film Festival.

With over 120 films from across Latin America, the United States, Spain, and Portugal, the 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival has films for every type of film lover in every genre. The Latino film community has grown so much that over half of the films being shown at the festival were made by first time filmmakers. Here are some must-see films at this years festival.

The Festival is kicking with a true epic tale that lies in the heart of all Latin America with “The Liberator/Libertador.” The film covers the military and political fights of Simon Bolívar, the leader of the 19th century Latin American Wars of Independence. Though born into aristocracy Bolívar considered himself a man of the people and instead of conquering the lands that he fought through he liberated Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia from Spain.

“Casa Grande” by Fellipe Barbosa is a perfect example of a first-time feature filmmaker hitting it out of the park. The Audience Award winner of last year’s Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival portrays a semi-autobiographical story of a privileged Brazilian teenager realizing and trying to come to terms with his family’s financial struggles. Part coming-of-age tale and part social commentary on Brazil’s class divide “Casa Grande” is a must-see for all.

In his “His Wedding Dress/Vestido de Novia” there are two intense struggles going on in Cuba: the people are rioting for freedom and fleeing the island in rafts, and Elena Rosa and Ernesto’s marriage is falling apart after he finds out about her transition to becoming a male. A film that confronts the Cuban regime’s homophobia head on, “His Wedding Dress/Vestido de Novia” is eye-opening cinema.

Of course, a latino film festival without music would be criminal, and there is plenty of music and laughs in “Ciudad Delirio.” Javier escapes his boring life in Spain for Cali, Colombia where he gains the interest of Angie a dancer in Colombia’s prestigious Delirio dance company. With plenty of songs, dancers, choreography, and charisma “Ciudad Delirio” is a good time.

The 31st Chicago Latino Film Festival takes place April 9 – 23 at AMC River East 21 located at 322 E. Illinois St. All films will be presented in their original language with English subtitles. For tickets and more information visit chicagolatinofilmfestival.org.

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Small Business Expo at Navy Pier

Posted on April 8th, 2015 by

SmallBusinessExpoNavyPier2015The annual Small Business Expo returns to Navy Pier on April 9 and is already slated to welcome over 5,000 registered attendees and 100-plus interactive booths, demos and brand exhibits.

The national event, which travels through the country’s top 10 cities for small business, is expecting an unprecedented turnout for one of their largest and most activity-packed shows ever. Chicago’s own Bill Rancic (first winner of NBC’s The Apprentice, media personality, and Chicago area luxury real estate developer) will be headlining the event to talk about innovation and entrepreneurship in corporate America, this year’s theme at the Expo.

The free, one-day event will include dozens of open workshops and educational seminars specifically geared toward the unique needs of Chicago’s small business leaders. Topics include online and social media marketing, SEO, managing employee benefit plans, small business financing, email marketing, sales and revenue strategies, and team productivity among other valuable programs.

Additional Details
The Chicago Small Business Expo will take place on April 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall B. To learn more about The Small Business Expo’s full schedule of Chicago events and free online registration, visit http://www.thesmallbusinessexpo.com/chicago/

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Swing into Spring at Navy Pier

Posted on April 1st, 2015 by

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Navy Pier is blossoming into a wonderland for seasonal family fun as Swing into Spring returns April 1-12 with a lineup of amazing events the pint-sized set is sure to enjoy.

Swing into Spring features $1 swing rides, $7 You-Ride-2 value tickets (good for any of the two following attractions: Ferris Wheel, Wave Swinger, The Links Mini Golf, or Light Tower Ride), and visits with the Easter Bunny in the Family Pavilion.

New this year is an interactive golf installation—presented by the Kids Golf Foundation of Illinois—where children and families can try their hand at the basics of golf.

  • Visits with the Bunny: April 1- 5 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Give-It-A-Go Golf Activities: April 6-12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Purchase tickets here: https://navypier.com/ferris-wheel-rides/#

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Still Time to Make Easter Brunch Reservations in Chicago

Posted on April 1st, 2015 by

It’s Wednesday, and Easter is Sunday. Do you have reservations for brunch? No? Don’t worry neither do I, but there’s still some tables available to have an absolutely delicious Easter brunch with friends and family. The places below still have some reservations but who knows for how long.

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Dusek’s brunch is already fantastic, but their adding bacon-wrapped rabbit loin with spring fricassee, one hour hen egg and grain mustard as an Easter special. It’s ok if you need to take a moment to wipe the slobber off. Wash that rabbit loin down with their Easter punch—consisting of gin, lemon, lillet blanc, crème de violette, orange bitters, and soda water. Within the same building go to Thalia Hall and enjoy their first-annual free egg hunt for both adults and kids where eggs will be filled with goodies from Thalia Hall, Dusek’s, Punch House, The Empty Bottle, The Promontory, SPACE, La Catrina Café, Honky Tonk BBQ, Modern Cooperative, Carnitas Don Pedro, Market Supply Co., Belli’s Juicebar, and more.
Dusek’s, 1227 W. 18th St.
Thalia Hall, 1807 S. Allport St.
Egg hunt starts at 12:00 p.m.

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For a Southern-style brunch check out Chicago q. Along with their popular carrot cake pancakes, pulled pork and fried green tomatoes egg benedict, or smoked chicken over honey-buttered cornbread benedict, they’ll have smoked deviled eggs with pickled shrimp and apple-smoked rabbit confit as Easter specials. Kids will enjoy a visit from the Easter Bunny, some face painting, and an egg hunt.
Chicago q, 1160 N. Dearborn St.
Brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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Although relatively new to the brunch game, Bar Takito is coming on strong and spicy this Sunday for Easter. Experience pambazos, spicy Mexican tortas with guajillo sauce, house chorizo, potatoes, eggs, crema, queso fresco, lettuce, and cilantro; huarache, a spicy corn pancake with pork belly, beans, smoked queso fresco, yellow peppers, fried eggs, cilantro, and sesame; and posole, pork and hominy soup with New Mexico chiles, cabbage, radish, cilantro, poached eggs, and tostadas. You can cool the tongue down with their avocado shake made with El Mayor Blanco, Chareu Aloe Vera Liqueur, avocado yogurt, cilantro and coriander.
Bar Takito, 201 N. Morgan St.
Brunch from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

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