Celebrating Chicago: Totally Tap-ular: You know, It’s like Tap Dance to 80s Music!

Totally Tap-ular: You know, It’s like Tap Dance to 80s Music! is today’s entry in the 175 Days to Love Chicago calendar.  And the first thing I thought of when I saw the picture was aerobics and Jane Fonda.  Y’know, the pre-step aerobic days of the movement (look closely — that woman has a BELT on her leotard – and the non-matching leg warmers really complete the perfect ensemble. Oh, and those overdone cheeks too — totally 80s). So anyway, this performance is brought to you by the Chicago Tap Theatre, which is a non-profit endeavor that provides story-based performances, led by the efforts and energy of Artistic Director Mark Yonally. The company boasts seven more members, which include musicians, composers, apprentices, dancers, and a rehearsal director.  So if you really can’t imaging your life without this in it (I can – I lived the 80s once thank you very much and will be happy to relive it through Brat Pack movies only and besides I’m still trying to get myself to Jerry’s for the last night of the Independent Chicago Songwriter Festival), you’ll need to head over to the Athenaeum Theatre at 2936 N Southport later tonight.  Maybe you’ll enjoy it so much that you’ll tap your way home. . .

Celebrating Chicago: Sleep Under the Skyscrapers: Family Campout at Lincoln Park Zoo

As I continue to learn about ways to celebrate the uniqueness that is Chicago through the City‘s Office of Tourism‘s 175 Days to Love Chicago, today I am grateful for the children in my life.  I don’t have children of my own, but I am grateful that even though I don’t see K & R very often, and I’m not related to them (they are my baby brother’s niece and nephew by marriage), they let me read to them and they hug me good-bye.  And that their mom is cool enough to trust me when they get a bit older to take them to events like the one posted for today: Sleep Under the Skyscrapers: Family Campout at Lincoln Park Zoo. So very modern of us to be the family we create in our hearts, not the ones into which we are born, right?  Plus I’m more patient with sleeping in an uncomfortable position than their uncle, my lovely baby brother.

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Celebrating Chicago: Independent Chicago Songwriter Festival

Today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago brings us the Independent Chicago Songwriter Festival, a celebration of “some of the most diverse and creative musical voices in the region.” Wow. How cool is that? See, I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, so this completely impresses me — most of these people can not only carry a tune, but can also create music so powerful that they are willing to put it up for scrutiny for a competition. Publicly. And in sharing with each other their talents too I bet. In that way, I love and adore artists.  They create and collaborate, and are usually punished for their prolific talent by all too often not being able to make a living out of it.  Or at least the kind of living that allows you to actually retire or have paid vacation time or even health insurance. Risk averse me, well, I’ve got to tip my hat to them because that TERRIFIES me.  Which is odd, because I have an end of life directive to not use extraordinary means. Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Chicago Metro History Fair Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition

Today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago entry celebrates the Chicago Metro History Fair Blue Ribbon Student Exhibition, which will be held at the Newberry Library. Showcasing in-depth research projects from across the metropolitan area, the Exhibition launched on June 23rd and runs through July 18th.  More than three dozen projects were selected for this exhibit, all of which interpret Chicago history from the perspective of local students  Te Fair itself is hosted by the Chicago Metro History Education Center, for which this is their annual signature event. The Center also offers yearlong support for teachers and students, of which I had to send the links for their toolkit and curriculum materials to a friend who teaches elementary school (relax, this month he is participating in a fellowship program to teach students about Abraham Lincoln’s political life in Illinois — I know he’d be interested in learning more about this too). Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Gospel Music Festival

Today’s entry is for the 175 Days to Celebrate Chicago is about the four day Gospel Music Festival, which kicked off this past Thursday at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.  On Friday, it moved to the Chicago Cultural Center for a lunchtime performance.  Yesterday and today, it moved into Bronzeville‘s Ellis Park for nine hours each day of truly soulful gospel music.  Ellis Park is located at 37th & Cottage Grove, next to Doolittle School, and here’s the history of this just under 10 acre park came to be: Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Chicago Sailing’s Summer Sailstice

Today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago is Chicago Sailing’s Summer Sailstice, which I have now just learned is a GLOBAL event, “celebrated on the longest sailing day of the year.” Huh, so by waiting for the weekend, does this mean that not everyone who sails is crazy rich so they understand that people have to work. Oh, wait, I think I confused sailors with yacht owners.  Yes, many yacht owners have jobs, especially if they bought said yacht at some kind of fire sale during this economic downturn.  I don’t want to ever own a yacht, but I wouldn’t mind having the means to do so.  It is always nice having options, but there are a few organizations near and dear to my heart that I would prefer to fund with lavish donations.

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Celebrating Chicago: Get Up & Dance!

Today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago entry is  all about the Gay Pride Fest, which is celebrated today and tomorrow. I’m mostly excited about it because I’ve never been (I’ll get to the dance part in a minute).  This is the first year that I’m in town the same weekend as the Fest.  So sadly, I don’t have a lot to say about it because I’d like to experience it first.  That said, this description from the City of Chicago’s Tourism post (with the added emphasis my own) is what excites me: Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Northerly Island

Today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago brings us to Northerly Island, which the site tells us is ninety-one acre peninsula (I wish it was an isthmus — that word is just so much cooler), as a northern end cap to the lakefront area from Jackson Park on the south side. I love riding my bike through the area’s wildflowers, which were in bloom a couple of weeks ago. I’ve also been to a couple of concerts at the Charter One Pavilion and my biggest piece of advice for that is to have bug spray (we did).  Or to be wealthy enough to own a yacht from which you can hear all the concerts from Lake Michigan anyway. Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool

Today’s entry for the 175 Days to Love Chicago brings us Lincoln Park‘s Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool.  It is an “officially designated National Historic Landmark,” which was designed by landscape architect Alfred Caldwell in the prairie style (huh, so yesterday was FLW, seeing some patterns here). The site was completed in 1938 and in 2001, the Chicago Park District partnered with Friends of Lincoln Park (now the Lincoln Park Conservancy) to restore the site to its former glory with modern twists. The rehabilitation efforts “included replacing non-native, invasive trees and shrubs with appropriate bird-friendly native varieties including thousands of prairie, woodland, and aquatic plants. The project also included the careful restoration of all of the site’s historic elements and the addition of accessible paths” (yay for the Americans with Disabilities Act). Continue reading

Celebrating Chicago: From Afar & Contributors

I missed posting yesterday due to my weekend visit to Indiana, where I saw old friends and was able to see how South Bend has been changing since I left nearly four years ago.  It was good to get away for a weekend, though I am that much further behind on my housecleaning than ever!  I drove out after work on Friday, returning this afternoon; enjoying a bit of the weather and wondering what we did before the iZoom and iPass lanes.  So in a way, I was celebrating Chicago from afar, enjoying the things I never do in the city — go to the mall, drive a car (I rented all weekend as I no longer own a car), and see a newly released movie (Rock of Ages — we had so much fun singing along but were grateful that we only paid non-Chicago matinee prices as we did find Tom Cruise to be highly annoying after about six seconds of his first appearance).  So I missed yesterday’s Taste of Randolph entry.  I really don’t have much to say about that as really, isn’t there at least one food festival in Chicago every weekend all summer? I work two blocks from Taste of Chicago and avoid it due to the teenagers, suburban moms with strollers the size of Mini Coopers (those women are even more annoying at Macy’s during the holidays but that’s another rant for another day), and overpriced food.  So I’ll focus on today’s 175 Days to Love Chicago entry: Wright’s Roots, an exhibit at Expo 72 located at 72 E Randolph, and running through September 30.

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