Lincoln Park Zoo announced some new and adorable zoo babies on Thursday - six trumpeter swan cygnets that hatched June 5.
The cygnets, the first born at the zoo since 2009, will be released into the wild in four months as part of a wildlife reintroduction program the zoo has been involved with for a decade. The zoo previously has released 35 swans into Iowa.
"Trumpeter swans were literally on the brink of extinction just a few decades ago," said Sunny Nelson, Hope B. McCormick Curator of Birds, in an email. "Now, thanks to reintroduction efforts like this one, these beautiful birds can be found throughout the region. Chicks hatched at Lincoln Park Zoo are actually breeding in the wild and creating the next generation."
Trumpeter swans are fiercely protective parents so don't get too close. The cygnets will triple in size in the next four months while acquiring skills necessary to live in the wild, Nelson said.
Costumes! Booze! Arm wrestling! Booze! Smack talk! Booze! That's what awaits you at the next CLLAW (Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestling) blowout -- its 16th -- on Friday, June 7 at the Logan Square Auditorium (2539 N. Kedzie). The mayhem begins at 10 p.m.
What you'll see at this theatrical fundraising event for Sideshow Theatre Company : becostumed women -- tough dames and indelicate flowers like the Killer Bee and Macho Ma'am Candy Savage -- berating and beating up on each other during refereed matches. Here's a tip, though: you can buy "Cllawbucks" to bribe the refs -- or anyone else who'll help put your favorite grappler over the top.
Check out this Sun-Times story on the group for more elucidation on the subject.
"ON BALANCE, OFF BALANCE, DOESN'T MATTER," Savage blustered on Facebook. "I'M BETTER THAN YOU! And tomorrow, at CLLAW XVI, I take my RIGHTFUL seat as the MACHO QUEEN when I defeat The Killer Bee for the Championship Title! OOH YEAH! CAN YOU FEEL THE MADNESS?! YEAH! DIG IT!"
Music is provided by the Black Laces and the Lucky Shiners, general admission is only $10 (drink available at cash bar) and proceeds benefit Sideshow as well as C4 -- Community Counseling Centers of Chicago.
This weekend (Fri. and Sat. at 8 p.m. and Sat. and Sun. at 4 p.m.) is your last chance to catch "The Silent Language," a magical production by TUTA Theatre Chicago. Anyone intrigued by the imaginative environments theater can conjure should try to see it.
Enter the second floor loft space of TUTA at 2010 W. Fulton and you might think you've stumbled into a wholly enchanted gypsy caravan camp, with great swaths of fabric draped from the rafters, a battered piano in one corner, battered trunks in another. The suggestive sounds of birds and other creatures can be heard in the background.
This is the fairy tale world of "The Silent Language," and the place where Poor Gasho, a hapless fellow, unexpectedly acquires the ability to hear and understand those animal "languages" and the those of the rest of nature, from the wind to the water. Gasho also becomes hellbent on saving an imprisoned princess held captive by a classic ogre. The show, in its U.S. premiere, is the work of Serbian playwright Miodrag Stanisavljevic. But the real enchantment here has less to do with the script than with the way director Jacqueline Stone has brought it to wondrous life.
Stone gets fine support from composer Wain Parham (a wacky Balkan band sequence is irresistible), from choreographer Ailen McGrody (who has staged a terrific Serbian wedding dance), as well as from her nimble cast of seven delightfully wily, frequently morphing actors (Max Lotspeich as Gasho , Laurie Larson, Jaimelyn Gray, Angela Bullard, Sean Ewert, Aaron Lawson and Carolyn Molloy). But the true brilliance here lies in the design team. Bravos for Michelle Lilly (set), Branimira Ivanova (costumes), Kirk Anderson (masks) and Joe Court (sound).
Tickets for the 90-minute show (a trim would have made it stronger), come in the form of suggested donations of $25 for adults and $15 for kids (age eight and up). The audience is seated on everything from posh antique chairs to settees. Call (800) 838-3006 or visit www.brownpapertickets.com).
Raymond Luke Jr. (center) as Michael Jackson with the Jackson 5 in"Motown the Musical." | JOAN MARCUS PHOTO
The Broadway smash hit "Motown the Musical," based on the life and career of Motown founder Berry Gordy, will kick off its national tour in Chicago next year. Broadway in Chicago today announced the show will play the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph, April 22-July 13, 2014.
The musical, written by Gordy and based on his 1994 autobiography ("To Be Loved: the Music, the Magic, the Memories of Motown"), is blessed with a treasure-trove of iconic songs (many of them truncated or sung in medleys, according to hugely positive, yet still mixed reviews out of New York) from the late 1950s to the early 1980s. The stars represented in the show include Jackie Wilson, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson, the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight, Mary Wells, Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, to name a few.
The creative team behind "Motown" includes Tony-winning producer Kevin McCollum, who has close ties to Chicago.
"It's an honor to launch the tour of 'Motown The Musical' in Chicago-- I attended Deerfield High School, and it's where I developed my love for Broadway," McCollum said in a prepared statement. "Chicagoans have always had a deep appreciation for great music, great theatre, and great history, which makes it the perfect place to be the first city outside of NY to host Berry Gordy's incredible story and the legendary Motown catalog. It is a credit to the State Legislature's support of theater for the Illinois Live Theater Production Tax Credit, which made 'Motown' launching in Chicago possible."
The show is directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox ("Blues in the Night") and Warren Adams ("Toy Story"), with music arrangements and orchestrations by Ethan Popp ("Rock of Ages").
Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling (312) 977-1710. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date. For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
Chicago native Chaka Khan has canceled four June concert dates after her doctor ordered a period of vocal rest. The canceled dates are a show at the Capital Jazz Festival in Columbia, Md., Saturday; Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Sunday; a concert with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Columbus, Ohio on June 14, and an appearance in "Joni: A Portrait in Song at Massey Hall in Toronto, June 18-19.
Despite the cancellations, Khan, 60, plans to attend the 8th annual Apollo Spring Gala on Monday at the Apollo Theater in New York City, at which she will be inducted into the Apollo Legends Hall of Fame. R&B artist Erykah Badu will present Khan, who marks her 40th anniversary in entertainment this year, with the Apollo's highest honor. The program will include tribute performances by R&B/soul artists Patti LaBelle, Mary J. Blige and Deborah Cox.
Khan's upcoming album, "The iKhan Project: Alive," originally set for a July 2 release, has been pushed to this fall. "Due to her doctor's orders, it's best that we move the date to give her the proper and adequate time to promote and market the new album," said Tammy McCrary of Chaka Khan Management and Enterprises in a statement.
On her site, chakakhan.com, she said, "Guess I won't be doing this for a little while. I really hate disappointing the audiences who were looking forward to my shows. Rest assured, I will be back and better than ever!"
The Sundance Institute is honoring former Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert by offering scholarships for the Indiewire Critics Academy at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. The "Ebert Scholars" program also looks to match the critics with more experienced critic mentors.
"You can help keep Roger Ebert's inspiration, spirit and passion for the Festival going for another generation," according to an announcement here, where you can also donate to the scholarship fund. "Independent film needs thoughtful, authentic and independent voices in journalism."
The goal is to offer $25,000 per year for eight scholars.
The Art Institute of Chicago opens "Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity," an exhibit jointly organized by the museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Musee d'Orsay, Paris, on June 26.
The exhibit, which features 75 figure paintings by Impressionists and their contemporaries, opened in Paris in October 2012, where it set attendance records. It aims to tell the story of the evolution of fashion in late 19th-century Paris and how that inspired artists like Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Gorges Seurat and Edgar Degas.
Museum admission and hour information, including information about extended summer hours, can be found here.
Only 26 and the new sous chef at Henri in Chicago, Brandon Zarb beat out his competitors to win the Midwest regional stage of the Chaine des Rotisseurs "Best Young Chef" competition. On Saturday, June 8 at Kendall College in Chicago, he'll take on nine other regional champs in a bid for national glory.
Should he win, here's what he'll get: a crystal trophy, a red-ribboned medal and a three-year membership to Chaine -- which bills itself as an "invitation-only" association for "professional chefs and non-professional gastronomic enthusiasts." He'll also be jetted to Istanbul, Turkey, for an international contest that pits him against 23 other chefs from 80 member nations.
Zarb hails from Detroit, Michigan, the state where he got his first taste of the culinary life washing dishes at a busy bakery. His Henri gig started in May.
"I can't think of any better way to push myself," Zarb said of the Chaine competition. "Competing at this level makes you a better chef, win or lose."
The rapper-songwriter-producerheadlines the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park at 7:30 p.m. June 9. Ke$ha shares the bill. $25-$140. Visit ticketmaster.com.
The CHICAGO BLUES FESTIVAL (June 6-9) is celebrating a storied musical road this year. The fest's overall theme focuses on music's journey from the Mississippi Delta to the legendary blues clubs of Chicago.
Headliners include: Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush and his Blues Band, Eddie Shaw, Larry McCray, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Otis Clay, the Bar-Kays and so many more.
The fest is free and it takes place in Millennium Park (June 6) and Grant Park (June 7-9).
IT'S A FIESTA!
The Fiesta Back of the Yards takes place along 47th Street, between Ashland and Damen, June 7-9. The cultural celebratoin features area merchants, food vendors, artisans, carnival rides, raffles and three stages of live entertainment. $50-$55. Hours vary. Visit bync.org.
PIVOT MULTI-ARTS FESTIVAL
Mucca Pazza, the 28-piece, punk marching band that thinks it's a rock 'n' roll band and is known to incite mass dance outbreaks, performa at 8 p.m. June 8 as part of the monthlong Pivot Multi-Arts Festival. Ami Saraiya opens.$15. FLATStheatre, 1050 W. Wilson. For a complete schedule of theater, music, dance, puppetry, community picnics and the rest of the fest, visit www.pivotarts.org.
The Features will perform at this weekend's Chicago Rib Fest.
DID SOMEONE SAY RIBS?
It's the 15th year for Chicago Rib Fest, one of Chicago's biggest street parties, featuring more than 50,000 pounds of pork and as many attendees over the three-day music/food extravanza, June 7-9, from 5 to 10 p.m. at Lincoln, Irving Park and Damen. Local grillmasters will be back to win the coveted "best of the fest" barbecue rib crown. Indie rockers The Features are among the musical lineup. The fest's "Kids Square" also returns for hours and hours of fun and music tailormade for the kiddies. Visit www.ribfest-chicago.com for all the specifics.
Kristin Cavallari's friends feted her with a West Hollywood bridal shower June 2 in anticipation of her summer wedding to Bears quarterback Jay Cutler.
Cavallari, who made a name for herself acting inappropriately on reality shows, surprisingly said she is nervous for the guests' first glimpse of the bride.
"I'm only nervous to walk down the aisle, because everyone's staring at you!" she told E! at her bridal shower, which was sponsored by Cîroc.
The timing appears to be right for the on-again, off-again couple, who have a 10-month-old son named Camden, Cavallari told the cable station.
"I feel like with Jay and I, now we're really ready to get married," she said. "Two years ago, we weren't ready. If we would have gotten married I don't think it would have worked out. But I feel like now we're in such a good place and it's the perfect time to do it."
He walked out onto the stage and proudly proclaimed he wants nothing more than to be a "one-hit wonder."
With that, the contestant, rapper/songwriter Tone the Chiefrocca, plunged into "B-Double-O-T-Y," otherwise known as "the booty song."
With it's catchy pattern, lyrics, rhythm and melody, the audience and the panel of judges (Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel) and host Nick Cannon, erupted into a full-out "booty song" dance party that spilled out into the aisles and the parking lot.
"I've met many guys in my radio career that have had one hit and they've lived off that one hit for the rest of their lives," Stern said just prior to the performance, applauding Tone's honesty. The singer loudly proclaimed his desire to be the next Psy, known for his megahit "Gangnam Style."
What would make for a very interesting season is if Tone, the Inglewood, Calif., native, continues in the competition singing the same song in future rounds, as Mandel suggested during his comments on the performance.
The eighth season of "AGT" got off on a very high note.
The name of "HGTV Design Star" is getting a makeover to "HGTV Star" when it returns at 7 p.m. Sunday, and an Antioch woman will be one of the competitors.
Wife, mother and designer Tiffany Brooks, 33, is among the 10 contestants taking on challenges in the home renovation competition in a bid to win prizes throughout the seven-episode season, including a product featured on the online shopping resource One Kings Lane, a feature in HGTV Magazine and their own show on HGTV.
Their handiwork will be judged by a panel of experts, including network stars Genevieve Gorder, Vern Yip and series newcomer Sabrina Soto. David Bromstad hosts.
A little more about Brooks, courtesy of the cable network: "Tiffany, a wife and working mom, says she loves spending time growing her residential interior design business. She first demonstrated her design talent when she was offered the opportunity to stage model homes while working in property management After one of her model-home designs won an award, she decided to follow her passion for interior design full time. She describes her design style as "classic funk" and enjoys mixing traditional pieces with a little rock n' roll."
Katie Chang greets Sophia Coppola at the Los Angeles premiere of "The Bling Ring" Tuesday night. | Getty Images
Add Wilmette to the jetset list.
New Trier High School and Actors Training Center alum Katie Chang returns to her roots June 17 for a hometown special screening of Sophia Coppola's latest film "The Bling Ring."
The event is a fundraising benefit for The Wilmette Theater, and kicks off at Gilson's Restaurant at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for the show are $75 and include an hour of cocktails and silent bidding on bling.
According to Deadline.com, "Breaking Bad" star Bob Odenkirk, who'll soon reprise his role as comically crooked attorney Saul Goodman on AMC's hit "Breaking Bad," is slated to write, star in and produce the film "Girlfriend's Day," though it isn't yet a done deal. The story of a greeting card writer (Odenkirk) "who gets entangled in a web of murder and deceit as he and rival writers vie to create the perfect card for a new holiday dubbed Girlfriend's Day," it will be directed by Michael Paul Stephenson and could start shooting as early as this fall in L.A. Besides Odenkirk, the cast (once said to include Odenkirk's "Breaking Bad" co-star Bryan Cranston as well as his HBO cohort Cross) hasn't been finalized.
Odenkirk grew up in Naperville and later cut his comedy teeth in Chicago, where he briefly did a stint on Second City's mainstage in the late 1980s. He went on to write for "Saturday Night Live" and created the HBO cult hit "Mr. Show" with David Cross.
You can also catch Odenkirk on the big screen in "Nebraska" (from "The Descendants" director Alexander Payne) and the comedy "The Spectacular Now," scheduled for limited release in August.
The Spazmatics are among the lineup for the "Rockin' in the Park" series in Rosemont.
MB Financial Park at Rosemont will be the site of a summerlong free concert series beginning June 6.
Eleven live bands, fireworks and food/beverages will be part of the mix on the great lawn at the park, 5501 Park Place, Rosemont. Fireworks will follow the concerts slated for June 6, July 3 and Aug. 8.
Admission is free (no outside food/drink coolers permitted); parking is free with validation. Concerts begin at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.rosemont.com.
The following is the concert schedule"
June 6 -- 7th Heaven (followed by fireworks show): 7th Heaven has charted No. 1 on the Midwest Billboard Charts twice in the past two years with their hits "Better This Way" and "Sing."
June 13 -- Hi Infidelity: For six consecutive years, this Chicago-based band was voted as the Best Rock Cover Band in Suburban NiteLife Magazine's "Best of the Burbs" contest.
June 20--Kashmir: The band recreates a full-out experience of a 70's LedZeppelin show, from the songs to utilizing authentic vintage stage gear, costumes and special effects.
June 27-- Spazmatics: It's all about the '80s as the band recaptures the best of the best and the best of the worst, complete with skinny ties, Brill Creamed-hair and horn-rimmed glasses.
Longtime Chicago Sun-Times reporter Dave Hoekstra will celebrate the publication of "The Supper Club Book," his latest credit as an author, with a release party Thursday at FitzGerald's, 6615 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn.
Doors open for the event, free and open to the public, at the dinner hour of 6 p.m. (708-788-2118).
Music will be provided by the pop-jazz-soul band the Letter 3: NRBQ's Scott Ligon on guitar and piano, NRBQ's Casey McDonough on lead guitar, Alex Hall on drums and bass. (Hall also plays with the trad jazz band Fat Babies.) Hoekstra begins signing books at 7, and the Letter 3 takes the stage at 8.
Expect brats from Miesfeld Market in Sheboygan, Wis., (a staple of the Old Fashioned supper club in downtown Madison) and a 60-inch relish tray with crackers and supper-club cheese spread from Shullsburg Creamery, established 1934 in Shullsburg, Wis. The cream cheese-sharp cheddar spread is based on a recipe at the Owl's Nest Supper Club in Central Wisconsin.
There will be drink deals, too, on Old Fashioneds and Supper Club Lager from Capital Brewery in Middleton, Wis.
The Blackhawks playoff game will be showing on a big screen under a tent.
Hoekstra's previous titles include the column collection Ticket to Everywhere and An Unofficial Guide to Chicago. In his new book, he samples the menus and salad bars of supper clubs in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Michigan, and Illinois. Look for an excerpt in the Books pages of the Sunday Show section this weekend.
While purchasing a car charger for her iPhone at an Apple store in L.A., rising stand-up comedy star Chelsea Peretti (a former writer on NBC's sitcom "Parks and Recreation" and "The Sarah Silverman Program," she'll star this fall in the Fox comedy "Brooklyn Nine Nine") talked about the positive and negative impact of technology -- in particular, the Internet -- on comedy.
Aptly enough, Peretti's upcoming shows at Chicago's TBS Just for Laughs comedy festival take place June 13-15 at Stage 773 on W. Belmont. Set up as the base of operations for podcasts and live streaming of performances via a variety of outlets (Twitter, Yahoo! Google+, DailyMotion and more), the space is designated as JFL's "Digital Comedy Hub."
Shortly after we capped our phone chat, Peretti tweeted: "This day is going what could best be described as 'doo doo.'" Not sure how to take that. Anyway, here's Chelsea.
Q: You just tweeted a Vine.com video of mold. Are you trying to get mold out of your home?
A: I'm trying to move right now, actually, because I've had mold since I moved in. I can't take it anymore. My landlord has painted over it like, six times. That's his way of dealing with it. I was like, "I can't have it painted over again." I have to move out.
Q: How do you have time to write comedy stuff when you're juggling Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram?
A: Well, I don't write for "Parks and Recreation" anymore. And the thing about entertainment, as you can see from many different well-known, established people who are on Twitter, is that there's a lot of down time and a lot of solitude. I think Twitter and other social media are perfect for people who are alone, stranded in a trailer for six hours or whatever. You have something to do during that time. Aside from that, even just at home, it doesn't take long to write one sentence and tweet it. I'm definitely super involved, but that's just the way my personality is, I guess.
Q: Your tweeting is sort of stream-of-consciousness.
A: I'm definitely not tweeting stream of consciousness [laughs]. I wouldn't say that. I'm tweeting jokes. There are some comedians that just tweet really crafted jokes, and every tweet is like, "OK, there's a reversal. OK, there's a play on words." It's kind of A plus B equals C joke writing. I like when someone on Twitter is more of a living, breathing personality than when they're just doing joke, joke, joke, joke, joke. That can get boring after a while.
Q: A couple of years ago Time magazine named your Twitter feed as one of the year's top, along with those of Bill Gates, Prince and lots of others.
A: That was huge for me. My mom read Time growing up. She's been on board ever since I started making any amount of money [in comedy]. Time magazine was an institution in the house, so it was cool for me.
Q: Did that attract a lot more followers?
A: I'm not sure. I don't really monitor my followers. Sometimes comedians will tweet, "I just lost 20 followers because of that tweet!" I just don't monitor it, because I want to be free to do whatever I want and say whatever I want and not be like, "Oh, my God, I lost five followers!" because of a tweet.
Q: Are you ever afraid you're going to pull a Gilbert Gottfried?
A: It's not even about Twitter. There's a culture right now where everyone knows best what everyone else should be saying all the time. That's a constant fear in today's society. And it's tricky. I'm liberal and I don't think there should be hate crimes and I don't think that teenage gay children should be bullied in school. But I also think that people should be able to say what they want, and if you don't like it, that's fine.
Q: The upside to technology is you can reach a lot more people than you once could.
A: [But] someone can go to a live performance and blog about it or tweet about it. There's a much more immediate review feeling to everything you do. Whereas my understanding of what it used to be like to do comedy was you were at these dark clubs or you were on the road, working on material...and you had a certain amount of privacy as you were working on stuff. Whereas today, people immediately can tweet or Tumblr or whatever they want to do, and if something you say didn't rub them the right way, they have immediate reviews they can put out to the public.
Q: There's no place to really cultivate your material anymore.
A: You can do it. It just makes it feel a little more stressful. But who knows? Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe it's good to be thoughtful and whatever.
Q: How has your embrace of technology and the Internet been an advantage?
A: I've been involved since the very beginning with Internet stuff. I had a blog back in the day. It's still up there; I should probably take it down. I've always had the Internet as part of what I do. I have some friends who are like, "The Internet is ruining society!" and all these things. For me, I just feel like I'm so lucky I live in a time in which I can have my voice without any interference. And if people like it, that's all that matters.
Q: Technology certainly has democratized comedy, among other things.
A: Yeah, and sometimes that's annoying. Sometimes I'll meet a comedian who started stand-up six months ago and they're like, "I'm selling a DVD of my hour of shows." And you're like, "You've only been doing stand-up for an hour." I think in some ways it emboldens people. But ultimately, I think the good outweighs the bad.
Eisenhower Junior High (Darien, Ill.) student Andrew Pawelczyk, who has become an internet sensation for dropping a cymbal (actually the handle broke off!) during a performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was featured on WGN-TV this morning. Video of the event has gone viral, the story has become national news, the TV appearance requests are coming fast and furious.
Young Andrew has got to be the most patriotic kid in the nation, explaining that he has family members who have served in the military and he was taught to always salute the flag.
The Field Museum announced on Monday it was hiring Emily Graslie, the 23-year-old behind the YouTube channel the "Brain Scoop," as the museum's "Chief Curiosity Correspondent."
Graslie and co-writer Michael Aranda will produce 50 episodes about the museum for the YouTube channel, which has more than 2.3 million hits. She will also appear in the museum throughout the year for question-and-answer sessions and will work in the field with scientists.
"We are delighted to have Emily on board. She will be a valuable contributor as we pursue our goal of communicating better to the public and reaching new audiences," said Field Museum President Richard Lariviere, in a statement. "We have wonderful, exciting stories to tell and her skills and enthusiasm will bring them to life in a new way."
Graslie is a long-distance master's degree student in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings have canceled their summer tour, including a June 25 date at the Ravinia Festival. No replacement concert will be announced, a Ravinia spokesman said Monday.
Jones was recently diagnosed with Stage 1 bile duct cancer (the kind that led to the recent death of the Doors' Ray Manzarek). She released this statement:
"Over the last few weeks I haven't felt good and I didn't know what was going on. We sadly had to cancel shows while I went through a series of tests and short hospital stays. We just found out that I have a stage-one tumor on my bile duct. Luckily we caught it really early and fast and the doctors say it's operable and curable! I will be having surgery very soon and will have to rest and recover. I'll be staying in touch and keeping my fans and friends updated on my progress. I'm looking forward to getting back on the road to give the people what they want!"
Ravinia patrons who bought tickets via credit cards will have the charges automatically refunded. For other methods of payment, contact the Ravinia box office at (847) 266-5100.
The Firefly Grill in Effingham, Ill., is among the nominees for the virtualtourist.com "8th Wonder of the World" contest. / virtualtourist.com photo
Website virtualtourist.com is asking the planet to vote for the "8th wonder of the world" in its online contest.
Voting runs today through Sept. 30 at the site. Among the dozens and dozens of nominees are these Chicago area/greater Illinois/neighboring states sites:
Cahokia Mounds State Park (Collinsville, Ill.): The largest prehistoric Indian city north of Mexico. Over 1,000 years ago, the Mounds people numbered nearly 20,000 people;
Hardy's Reindeer Ranch (Rantoul, Ill.): 16 Alaskan reindeer call the ranch home. You can also pick a pumpkin, take your turn at the paintball gallery, shop the country store or find your way out of the 10-acre corn maze.
Iowa 80 Truckstop (the world's largest truckstop, Interstate 80 and Exit 284, Walcott, Iowa): On the side of Interstate 80, you can't miss the tall sign with a giant arrow signaling the world's largest truckstop. Set on 220 acres, visitors can enjoy 8 eateries, movie theater, trucking museum, barber & more.
Firefly Grill (Effingham, Ill.): The modern roadhouse restaurant is located on the shores of Kristie Lake. Chef Niall Campbell & his wife Kristie own and operate this oasis of American-fresh cuisine in the heart of Midwest.
Galena's Main Street (Galena, Ill.): Main Street curves past over 100 19th-century storefronts, resembling what Galena (the second most-visited city in Illinois) looked like in the Civil War era. Now, the historic red brick buildings house boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.
The Associated Press reports that the "Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich" is 360 calories, 30 calories fewer than its turkey sausage sandwich. The recently released McDonald's Egg White Delight McMuffin, which is being pitched as a healthy breakfast option, has 250 calories.
The BoHo Theatre Ensemble has just opened it blistering production of the classic Kander and Ebb musical "Kiss of the Spider Woman," running through June 30 at Theater Wit. But it has wasted no time in simultaneously announcing plans for its upcoming 10th anniversary season.
The 2013-2014 lineup of four show corresponds to four essential "pillars" of existence as follows:
± The Pillar of Freedom (by way of Ira Levin's 'Veronica's Room," running Sept. 13-Oct. 13): This melodrama, by the author of "Rosemary's Baby," deals with an elderly couple who invite a young girl and her date, who they spotted at a restaurant, to visit the bedroom of a dead girl, Veronica. Before long, the pair is trapped in an unexpected situation.
± The Pillar of Truth (by way of Peter Shaffer's "Amadeus," running Feb. 14-March 16, 2014): In this contemporary classic, the jealous composer, Salieri, goes note for note against the young genius, Mozart.
± The Pillar of Beauty (by way of the song cycle/revue by Adam Guettel, "Myths & Hymns," running June 13 - July 13, 2014) : Guettel ("The Light in the Piazza") looks at the relationship of humans to gods, both past and present, with songs ranging from electronic jazz and piano ballad to gospel and musical theater.
± The Pillar of Love ("Parade," the musical with a book by Alfred Uhry and a score by Jason Robert Brown, running Sept. 12 - October 12, 2014): The story of the 1913 trial of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, who was accused and convicted of raping and murdering a 13-year-old employee, Mary Phagan.
For additional information visit www.bohotheatre.com.
All seemed routine at the Improvised Shakespeare Company show Friday at iO Theatre until the lights went up and there among the cast was Capt. Picard himself, Patrick Stewart.
The distinguished Shakespearean actor, in Chicago for the Official Star Trek Convention, found time to sit in with the all-male group that vamps an entire play, Bard-style, based on an audience suggestion.
On this night, the title was "The Taming of Winnie-the-Pooh," and the British actor -- no doubt familiar with the tales set in England's Hundred Acre Wood -- fell into the role of Christopher Robin. "He was amazing," said iO owner Charna Halpern. "He didn't miss a beat."
By show's end Stewart had slain the evil King Pooh, won the heart of a maiden (played by company regular Blaine Swen) and inhabited four other characters.
It wasn't his first time riffing Elizabethan dialogue with the group. As co-host of "The Second City Guide to the Opera" at the Civic Opera House in January, Stewart joined Improvised Shakespeare for a brief set, and a week later he was part of the actors' road gig in New York.
The city today announced the list of 20 "pop-up" restaurant's for this year's Taste of Chicago.
New this year, many of the restaurants will be on site for two days in a row. Also, one additional daily Pop-Up booth will be presented for more dining options for the July 10-14 food fest in Grant Park.
"The Pop-Up Restaurant feature was introduced at Taste of Chicago last year as a new way to showcase unique neighborhood restaurants and emerging culinary gems," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the announcement. "The program was successful last year and we're thrilled to welcome Pop-Ups back along with some new additions, giving residents and visitors a great way to enjoy some of our newer culinary and neighborhood choices during this year's festival."
New restaurants participating in the Pop-Ups program this year are: Hearty Restaurant, Punky's Pizza & Pasta, Pecking Order, Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina, Terzo Piano and Kilwin's Chocolates.
Pop-Ups will accept the same food tickets as five-day restaurants: Strips of 12 are $8; available at the on-site Taste ticket booths. Discounted tickets will be available at Dominick's food store locations ($7 for strip of 12) July 1-9 only. For complete information, visit tasteofchicago.us.
The lineup of Pop-Up Restaurants includes:
JULY 10: Jin Ju; Hearty Restaurant; Inspiration Kitchen; Riva
JULY 11: Pecking Order; Hearty Restaurant; Inspiration Kitchen; Punky's Pizza & Pasta
JULY 12: Pecking Order; Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina; Punky's Pizza & Pasta
JULY 13: Garifuna Flava; Terzo Piano, Cafe Vienna and Catering; Taco Joint Urban Taqueria & Cantina
JULY 14: Terzo Piano; Garifuna Flava; Cafe Vienna and Catering; Kilwin's Chocolates