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Oktoberfest Chicago
Friday-Sunday at St. Alphonsus Church (Lincoln and Southport); $5
As the festival season winds down, we now enter Oktoberfest season in Chicago. Find beer, brats and more. Music acts include locals 16 Candles and Rock Candy alongside traditional German acts like Die Musikmeisters Band. The area also has a lot of German history, and you could stand to learn a thing or two ... over a beer or two.

Lincoln Square Applefest
8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday at Gidding's Plaza (4700 block of N. Lincoln Ave.); free
This family friendly fest offers live music, cooking classes, plus an appearance by Scooby Doo's Mystery Machine. And don't forget the pie-eating contest (as if you won't be staging an unofficial one throughout the day).

Sonnets and Striptease
4 p.m. Saturday at The Spot; free
This sex-and-literature themed variety show features new writing, Shakespearean burlesque acts and something audience-participatory called "Strip Sonnet." The totally free event celebrates the publication of "Erratica," a play by local writer (and Centerstage contributor) Reina Hardy. After a reading of the first act, stick around for striptease, a bad poetry contest, naked librarians, and more. It's a lot of entertainment for exactly zero dollars.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival
All day Saturday at various venues in Hyde Park; free
This jazz marathon (over 30 performances in 13 venues) offers 12 hours of non-stop music. Performers include Orbert Davis, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Reginald Robinson, John Burnett Orchestra and Dana Hall. See the full schedule here.

The National
7:30 p.m. Sunday at Riviera Theater; $29
There's so much baggage in sharp-dressed New Yorkers The National and their ocean-deep LPs of despair. But when the lights hit the stage, front man Matt Berninger turns their quintessential brood into fierce lashes uncommon to what he and the band lay down in the studio, which almost always tears up his vocals, but surprises all who think they're solely a sad-sack set. The artist formerly known as Final Fantasy, currently known as Owen Pallet, opens, teasing Andrew Bird violin backbones with digi landscapes and a bit of Rufus Wainwright lull.


Mayfest Chicago
Thursday-Sunday at Lincoln and Leland; free
We're on board for any festival that celebrates its opening by tapping a keg of beer. At this traditional German fest, you can enjoy authentic food and music, including shows by the Polkaholics and Paloma. Oh, and beer. Lots of beer.


Manifest Urban Arts Festival
All day Friday at Columbia College; free
As the Columbia school year winds down, the college takes this opportunity to showcase student projects including art, music, film screenings, readings and more. Dozens of performances will take place throughout the South Loop campus, and local hip-hop duo The Cool Kids will perform (time and place TBA, learn more here).


Celtic Fest Chicago
Saturday and Sunday at Millennium Park; free
Come for the live entertainment (the Saw Doctors and La Botinne Souriante headline) and stay for the Men in Kilts Leg Contest at this popular fest, now in a new location. Also enjoy beer, traditional food, bagpipers and arts and crafts vendors.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Accanto
Italian fine dining in Logan Square.

Off the Beaten Path: Petra Inn
Middle Eastern eatery in Lincoln Square serves up more than just hummus.

Weekly Treat: Cheap beer night at Tilli’s
Bud Light bottles are just two bucks tonight.

Man We're Crazy About: Cuna
Quality food and swanky drinks that don’t break the bank in Lakeview.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant (and bar) openings and closings.

Dodo -- The popular breakfast spot is back, taking over the Dino's Morgan Inn space on weekends.
The Piggery -- The former Cordis Brothers Supper Club turns into a BBQ sports bar in Lakeview.
Fountainhead -- Expect better-than-bar food options from the menu of this gastropub on the border of Lincoln Square and North Center, and a quality beer list headed by Phil Kuhl, of Sheffield's "Beer School" fame.
Pizzeria Serio -- Get NY-style thin-crust at this 150-seat Roscoe Village spot.
Be Le Cafe -- This sister spot to Ba Le Sandwiches & Deli (just a storefront north) offers the same Vietnamese sandwiches (banh mi) in a more modern space.
Floriole Cafe & Bakery -- The Green City Market fixture opens up a new, two-floor spot in Lincoln Park. Don't miss the macarons.
Crepes A Latte -- This North Center cafe guessed it, crepes and lattes.
Wrigleyville Wild Wings -- The former Fly Me To the Moon has morphed into this wings-and-beer bar in the heart of Cubs territory.
Taco Fuego -- Want a foot-long burrito? This Lakeview/Roscoe Village spot is where to get it.

Joe's Cafe -- You'll have to go elsewhere for jibaritos in Berwyn.
Los Tamales -- Small Mexican shop in Cicero is no more.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just Opened: Aldino’s
Italian-themed restaurant and market focuses on local flavors.

Off the Beaten Path: Nicksons Eatery
Regional American fare in downtown La Grange.

Weekly Treat: Half-price wine tonight at 42n Latitude
Lincoln Square bar has cheap bottles of vino after 5 p.m.

Man We're Crazy About: The Purple Pig
Wine and cheese (and pork) for the Michigan Avenue tourist -- and foodie -- crowd.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.


Single City is a twice-weekly blog about the Chicago dating scene written by Sun-Times Media Wire reporter Sally Ho. Got a question? Email her!

There are few things I can brag about confidently. My cooking is one of them, so let me be the first to preach: "The way to a man's (or woman's!) heart is through his (or her!) stomach."

Cooking for your date not only shows you are thoughtful and skilled, it also (hopefully) results in a delicious, economical meal both of you can enjoy.

RICH MAN: Try a "Hands On" cooking class with The Chopping Block, which includes one-and-a-half hours of instruction and cooking, followed by the actual meal in full! Price varies from $65 to $85 with wine, depending on the cuisine, which varies to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. Choose from Italian basics to a Julia Child-themed course, and even ones dedicated to cupcake, cheese and sushi-making. With a professional instructor, it will be hard to go wrong. Classes are small enough -- no more than 20 participants -- not to feel intimidating, but big enough to feel like a social event. Here's a schedule.

POOR MAN: Anyone who can read can cook. So buy a cookbook. Let your date pick a recipe. Do the prep work (that means grocery shopping). and voila! You've got a homemade (and reusable!) date for a super-low price. And if things are really working out, here are some couples' cookbook titles to consider:

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant (and bar) openings and closings.

Floriole Cafe & Bakery -- The Green City Market fixture opens up a new, two-floor spot in Lincoln Park. Don't miss the macarons.
The Shady Lady -- This punk-themed bar takes over the former Garrett Ripley's space in River North.
Flo & Santos -- Get pizza and pierogi at this Italian/Polish spot in the South Loop.

Lincoln Restaurant -- No, not the diner with Abe's huge mug outside and the comedy club inside. The Korean eatery, further north on Lincoln.
Crobar -- The popular club spun its final record last weekend.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

87262472.jpgDancers Anna Fur Laxis and Kittne Deville enjoy the WCBF opening party. (photo: Twitpic)

Windy City Burlesque Fest
Friday-Saturday at Greenhouse Theater Center; get tickets
It's a virtual who's-who of the burlesque scene as more than 70 performers take the stage at this inaugural event. Headliners include Kitten DeVille, Anna Fur Laxis, Foxy Tann and Kellita. There will also be classes/workshops on Saturday.


102nd Annual Next Year Day
8 p.m. Saturday at Harry Caray's Tavern; $10-$15; get tickets
Party with the folks at satirical newspaper The Heckler as they celebrate another year of Cubs futility. There will be great prizes -- including tickets to Monday's home opener at Wrigley -- and music from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, as well as Sun-Times columnist Rick Telander's band, Del Crustaceans. Past parties have seen appearances by Bill Murray and Ronnie Woo-Woo, among others.


Here are some recent Chicago restaurant openings and closings.

Blue Star Wine Bar - Enjoy wine, microbrews, cheese and a full menu of Mediterranean cuisine (kabobs, paninis, flatbreads) at this wine bar in the former Ark Cafe space in Noble Square.
Delhi 6 Cafe - Indian and fusion dishes rule the menu at this coffeehouse in North Center, which has an outdoor patio and hosts Bollywood movie nights.
Just Turkey - This South Side spot opens its second location, serving up BBQ classics made with turkey instead of pork and beef.
Benny's Prime Chop House - The oft-delayed River North upscale steakhouse is finally ready to wow you.
Dolce Casa - The former Ventrella's Caffe has been renovated to create this Lincoln Square spot.

Va Pensiero - Evanstonites are already mourning the departure of this fine Italian establishment.
Fearon's Pub - The Lakeview Irish bar has closed to make way for...another Lakeview Irish bar. The Temple Bar opens on April 9.
Elliott's Dairy - The Harwood Heights spot has already inspired a Facebook page calling for its return.
Old Town Brasserie - The French restaurant has new owners as of Sunday, and they're making some changes.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

A day like today has us thinking about strolling through the streets...all the better if it's with a few glasses of wine under our belts.

That's the idea behind next week's Lincoln Square Wine Stroll, a progressive party with stops at several different neighborhood businesses for hors d'oeuvres and drinks. Stops include Provenance Food & Wine, Pizza D.O.C., Bad Dog Tavern, DANK Haus, Bistro Campagne, La Bocca della Verita, Cafe Selmarie and more (your trip will include four businesses). The only potential drawback? The forecast does call for isolated thunderstorms and a high of 59 degrees.But since when is the weather predicted accurately?

The fun runs from 7-9:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 8, and tickets cost $40. To reserve a spot, call (773) 728-3890.

Here are some recent Chicago restaurant openings.

Sable Kitchen & Bar -- This 158-seat "gastrolounge" is adjacent to the Hotel Palomar in River North.
Rendezvous Bistro -- Expect classic dishes like salade nicoise, steak frites and coq au vin at this French restaurant in Lincoln Square.
Frank's Deli - The folks behind Bertolli's Pizza have opened up an Italian deli/food shop next door in River Forest.

Bhabi's Kitchen - Guess you'll have to try one of the many other Indian spots in the area around Devon Avenue.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

3 Things To Do Today

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OatesRushdie (4)lg.jpgPhoto: University of Delaware

Joyce Carol Oates
2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Harold Washington Library; free
Columbia College's Story Week Festival of Writers really gets rolling today as superstar author Joyce Carol Oates makes two appearances at the downtown library to talk about, well, herself. At 2:30 p.m., Gavin Cologne-Brookes, the author of Dark Eyes on America: The Novels of Joyce Carol Oates, hosts a Q&A and signing session. At 6 p.m., the literary icon will read and discuss her work with Donna Seamon of Chicago Public Radio.

Essay Fiesta
7 p.m. at The Book Cellar; free
These aren't your high school English essays. "Essay Fiesta" features humorous nonfiction performed in the cozy confines of the Book Cellar, one of America's very few bookstores with a liquor license. The best part: Despite being a fundraiser for Howard Brown Center, the event is somehow free.

Woods, Real Estate, Netherfriends
9 p.m. at Lincoln Hall; $12
Chicago's Netherfriends will be the most cacophonous act of this three-pronged lo-fi bill, thanks to its yelping pop plateau. Real Estate bring things along with beach-comber guitars and floating choruses from the New Jersey band's best-of-2009 charting self-titled debut. Woods closes with enough sunshine pop to send this Chicago winter off for good.

Whether you got the day off or not, you should still give our ol' hero Casimir Pulaski some respect today. Here are five ideas:

  • Get an ethnic education. Head to the Polish Museum of America to learn more about where the great man comes from. Now that the crowds from this morning's celebration have died down, you'll be able to browse the archives with ease. Don't miss the Joseph Conrad exhibit. Open until 4 p.m.; $3 suggested donation.
  • Review your military history. Pulaski was a huge part of our country's Revolutionary War victory. Find out more about the past at the Pritzker Military Library, open until 4:30 p.m.
  • Eat Polish food. There's a Chicago restaurant specializing in pretty much any kind of traditional delicacy you crave. For pierogi, we'd suggest Kasia's, Podhalanka or one of these other favorites. If you're more into meat, the new Lincoln Square location of Gene's Sausage.
  • Take a trip. Hop on the Orange Line and get off at the Pulaski stop, where you'll find plenty to keep you entertained 'til late in the evening -- from pizza and donuts to a classic Chicago tavern.
  • Listen up. Does this Sufjan Stevens song have much to do with national history? Not really. But it's still a darn good listen.

Here are some recent restaurant/bar openings and closings.

Gilt Bar - The Aigre Doux space is busy once again with this gastropub from an all-star lineup.
Second City Subs - This quick-serve sandwich spot near DePaul already feels like it's been around for years.
Ameer Kabob - Call 'em up and order inexpensive Arabian favorites for less than Sultan's Market.
Klopa Grill & Cafe - Serbian BBQ cafe serves up "good food," according to its name.
No Man's Land Pizza & Grill - Wilmette pizzeria offers New York-style slices and grilled sandwiches.

Francesca's on Chestnut - The Italian empire expands with this Gold Coast location (in the Seneca Hotel), open any day now.

Your Kitchen - You've only got a few more days to get prepared comfort food from this Albany Park spot, which closes March 1.

Angelo's Taverna (we think) - Papered-over windows, disconnected phone don't bode well, but we're not totally giving up hope for this Old Town Greek eatery.
Marco Polo - Sorry, Skokie, looks like you'll have to get your fried-rice fix elsewhere.

Check back here every week for more openings and closings, and be sure to check out Centerstage Chicago's lists of new restaurants and bars.

Highlights from Centerstage Chicago's latest Crumb newsletter:

Just (Re-)Opened: Macello Ristorante
Just like old times at this West Loop Italian restaurant.

Off the Beaten Path: Rincon de Tabasco
It's always fiesta time at this Northwest Side spot.

Weekly Treat: Two tickets to Nneka
Do you really want to miss out on the Nigerian Lauryn Hill?

Man We're Crazy About: Tiny Lounge
The Lincoln Square incarnation is a little bigger and a lot swankier than the original.

For more Chicago bar and restaurant news, sign up for the Crumb newsletter.

You know the area around North Center, Lincoln Square and Ravenswood Manor? Mike Fourcher and Patrick Boylan do. The two longtime Chicagoans have launched the Center Square Ledger, a digest of pretty much everything you'd want to know about these 'hoods, from a profile of Half Acre Beer Company to notes about early voting among residents.

Locals can keep tabs on the growth of the site via Twitter (@CenterSq) and Facebook.


"Wild make my heart sing..."

"Just call me angel of the morning, angel..."

Two classic songs, one great songwriter. But Chip Taylor's much more than a two-hit wonder, having had several successful singles in the '70s as a performer, and gaining even more fans when he re-launched his career in the '90s. His latest album, "Yonkers, NY," brings further perspective to the life of the now-66-year-old artist. Taylor will bring out songs from this release and others when he performs at the Old Town School of Folk Music on Saturday with Kendel Carson and John Platania (Van Morrison's guitarist).

Centerstage wants to put you there, which is why it's giving away a pair of tickets to one lucky Facebook fan. Find out how you can win here.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Lincoln Square category.

Lincoln Park is the previous category.

Logan Square is the next category.

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