Oh, I am envious of all of you. This is going to be one of the best weekends of the year in Chicago, and I’m going to be out of town. My 20-year high school reunion (yes, in case you’re wondering, I did graduate when I was 9 – ha!) is in Carmel, Indiana, so I’m trekking south on I-65. I haven’t seen most of my classmates since graduation, so this will be an exciting event.
For those of you who aren’t traveling down memory lane, there are so many really cool events I almost don’t envy your struggle to choose!
The first ever Chicago Gourmet sets up on the Great Lawn at Millennium Park, and celebrates Chicago’s world-class cuisine. There will be gourmet samplings and premium wine tastings and celebrity cooking demonstrations in the gorgeous Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Also in Millennium Park is the WIRED NextFest. For my fellow geeks, this will be like giving kids free reign at Great America with no lines and unlimited tries at the whack-a-mole – “oh, look at that! wait – let’s go over there! wow, I want one of those!”
Down the street, the Art Institute is opening “360 Degrees: Art Beyond Borders“. This year long celebration brings together several of Chicago’s leading institutions to explore art and culture around the world. Check out the exhibit on Saturday, and everything else this amazing museum offers, for free. Then you can cross the street to Symphony Center for Macy’s Day of Music. Also free, the home to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is hosting concerts starting at 2 in the afternoon and running all day, on four different stages!
Banned books are the bane of any democratic society. As a member of the Fourth Estate, I especially abhor the idea that someone can tell me what to read or what to write. That’s why I’m particularly disappointed that I will miss Saturday’s Banned Books Week Read-Out. Several authors, including Judy Bloom, a favorite from my youth, will be reading passages from books that some high-minded authoritarian figure thought should be removed from our lexicon. Forgive my soapbox, but I’ve been on it since Wednesday when I heard that the city’s asking bars around the baseball stadiums to stop serving alcohol after the 7th inning during the playoffs.
While I’ve gotten you all riled up, also consider checking out Sacred Spaces Fundraiser and Art Show. This event will raise money for a church in New Orleans that survived Hurricane Katrina but was destroyed by the city. Since the event’s in Downers Grove it’s a bit of a hike, but you can make a donation online.
Well, I can’t leave you like that, so we’ll end on a much happier note, talking about the Blues. The first ever Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival will be at the Congress Theater on November 22. 16 bands for only $31, and right now they’re looking for that last band – the Last Banjo Standing. If you or your friends are in a Bluegrass or Blues band, submit two songs for a chance to be on the same stage as the Avett Brothers and The David Grisman Quintet. Submissions end October 1, so be sure to enter right away! For those of you who are fans, I’ll be offering ticket giveaways.
Have a great weekend!