It’s Official, Spring is Here. March in Chicago
Your Chicago Correspondent
The weather is naturally unpredictable, but the days are, once again, long enough to spend time in the sunshine and shake off the winter blues. Spring starts this month, and there is a full calendar of fun ahead; let’s not delay.
This evening, Sunday, March 5th, that famous and fabulous trumpeter, Chris Botti, will be onstage at one of our favorite venues, the McAninch Arts Center, www.atthemac.org, 425 Fawell Ave., College of DuPage. Mr. Botti has thrilled audiences and earned Grammy nominations and wins for his incredible melodic prowess with his horn. He effortlessly crosses genres, flowing from classical through jazz and pop and back again, and his fellow musicians seem equally flawless. His performances are polished, exciting, expressive and imaginative. The show starts at 7:30pm, and will likely be sold out, so let’s get tickets together online, and meet there a bit before 7:00pm. This is exciting.
Did you know that today, Monday, March 6th, is the Jewish holiday Purim? It’s a celebration of how Esther, the beautiful Jewish wife of the Persian king, Xerxes I, and her cousin Mordecai persuaded Xerxes to retract an order for the general annihilation of Jews throughout the empire. The massacre had been plotted after the king’s chief minister, Haman, took offense when Mordecai would not bow to him as if he were from God. The date was chosen by casting lots (Purim). Instead, Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, and, on the day planned for their annihilation, the Jews destroyed their enemies.
This week is Restaurant Week out in Rosemont, https://rosemontrestaurantweek.com/, so Wednesday, March 8th, let’s get a big group together at Park Tavern, 5433 Park Place, Rosemont, https://www.parktavernrosemont.com/. We can start with some plates to share; how do the Smokehouse Wings and Greek Island Platter sound to you?
The Little Havana Cubano sandwich sounds like just the thing for me. Who said “Fish and Chips”? A Blue Ribbon Burger for you? That’s a delicious choice. How about splitting a pitcher of a good local draft while we eat and talk? Yes, indeed, there are lot of great choices here, and the casual atmosphere feels friendly and inviting.
We’ve been to amazing Immersive events before, and tonight, Friday, March 10th, it’s time to attend the premier of Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius, at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, 108 W. Germania Pl., https://mozartimmersive.com/. We have to go experience this, here’s how the Lighthouse folks describe it: “Mozart Immersive stands out from previous Lighthouse Immersive productions in that Mozart’s brilliant compositions are the primary focus, with captivating visuals built around the auditory experience… Audiences will be surrounded by bustling city streets, ornate royal auditoriums and lavish paintings, in addition to otherworldly dreamscapes featuring fantastical lucid imagery, all accompanied by some of Mozart’s most beloved melodies…”.
In order to properly translate his musical genius into a visual experience, the creative team also “recorded footage of actors presented alongside the animation. The legendary dancer and actor Mikhail Baryshnikov assumes the heart-rending role of Mozart’s father, Leopold, who launched Mozart’s early career but became estranged from his son later in life.” This will be yet another spectacular Immersive event. We’ll be at the 3:00pm show, please join us.
We’re going to skip the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festivities this year. Instead, this evening, Saturday, March 11th, let’s meet someplace for an easy dinner and then head back to the MAC, to hear Brass Transit – The Musical Legacy of Chicago. What’s not to like about “a rock ‘n roll band, with horns”? That’s how the band, Chicago, describes their music, and these guys, hailing from Toronto, put on a tight, powerhouse show that’s guaranteed to deliver a musical experience well worth seeing. This “cover band” has it all, great horns, rocking guitar, bass and percussion, as well as fabulous vocals. Meet us there, please about 7:00pm so we can chat before getting our seats for the show.
Sunday, March 12th, Daylight Savings Time begins. It’s time to “Spring Forward”, setting our clocks ahead one hour, to move sunset farther into the evening, giving us more time to enjoy outdoors after work and generally put more smiles on our faces. We’ll see you next weekend.
Let’s have lunch with us adults and the kids today, Saturday, March 18th, at the Hot Dog Box, 4020 N. Milwaukee Ave., in the Six Corners neighborhood, https://www.thehotdogbox.com/. Brooklyn, aka ‘boss lady” Moretti and her dad, Bobby, have just opened this location and we should go. They have been getting rave reviews on their classic as well as unique hot dog creations, so we should stop in and support them. Everybody loves hot dogs, so the kids will be happy and so will we.
After lunch, we can cross the street to Filament Theater, https://filamenttheatre.org/, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., a favorite small theater that specializes in performances for kids, and today’s show is appropriate for anyone over eight years old. It’s called “Think Fast, Jordan Chase!” and the show starts at 2:00pm. Chicago playwright Sonia Goldberg interviewed dozens of young people over the course of two years while writing this play. It’s written in a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style, and tells a story of remaining true to yourself, with old friends and new kids within our ever more diverse culture and social climate.
Today, Monday, March 20th, is the Vernal Equinox (First Day of Spring), marking the passage of the Sun across the equator. Our Northern Hemisphere is now receiving sunlight more directly, and warming up faster as a result. Because the Earth is not exactly spherical, the Equinox does not mark the day of 12 hours from sunrise to sunset. That actually happened a few days ago, on the 17th. Happy Spring!
Speaking of Spring, today, Saturday, March 25th, let’s celebrate the season with a visit to the Spring Flower Show at Garfield Park Conservatory. The Conservatory tells us that “This year’s show, “Bees Knees”, is a peek into the wondrous relationship between bees and blooms. Beautiful blooming spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth will be featured this year alongside hydrangeas, delphiniums, azaleas, and more. Empty observation and demo hives from GPC’s beekeeping program are set amongst the blooms, giving a glimpse into the world of a bee.” Bees are our most important pollinators and their numbers are dropping dramatically due to excessive pesticide use, disease and the spread of parasites called ‘mites’. Think about it, maybe you can put up a hive in your back yard and supply us all with a bit of honey.
The Conservatory is always a great place, especially now as winter wanes, but spring isn’t really here yet. The acres of green plants and colorful blooms are always so cheery and encouraging.
Join us, please, on this last day of the month, Friday, March 31st, at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St., www.harristheaterchicago.org, for the 7:30pm performance of “Celebrate Giordano!”. Our favorite dance company, Giordano Dance Chicago (GDC) is continuing their 60th anniversary celebration with a program that includes dancers from South Chicago Dance Theatre (SCDT) onstage with the Giordano dancers in numbers that include a world premiere from Kia Smith, who is Executive Artistic Director of SCDT and a special welcome choreographed by GDC’s own Associate Director, Michael Taylor.
The show is unlike any we’ve yet experienced from Giordano or Harris Theater. Forty years ago, Gus Giordano choreographed Benny Goodman’s instantly recognizable “Sing, Sing, Sing” into a mesmerizing dance and that is here tonight as well as other memorable GDC classics such as “Prey” and “La Belleza de Cuba”. Between the dance numbers we’ll be presented with short videos that will bring us from the past to the present, showing how, for SIXTY years, GDC has created this rich and vibrant legacy that lives on in Chicago and around the world.
On top of all that, Chicago’s own, the Bourné Family Singers, http://www.bournecrown.com/, will be bringing their joyful, angelic voices to “Can’t Take This Away”, a wonderfully engaging score that “starts at church and ends with pop gospel”. The Bournés are five sisters, three brothers and their mother who are singers, songwriters, musicians and arrangers who have had performances on TV, and venues that include the main stage at the world-famous Auditorium Theater. This will be the ‘show of shows’ for Giordano Dance Company and we really hope that you will join us for this event.
There is another performance tomorrow, Saturday, April 1st, and immediately afterward is their 60th Anniversary Gala. That will be on the Pritzker Pavilion Stage, 201 E. Randolph St. (right ‘next door’ in Millennium Park), If you want to support this enduring Chicago company, and get the VIP treatment for both the performance and the celebration (meet dancers, choreographers, and other principals and just have fun) get your ticket now at giordanodance.org or call 312.922.1332.
It’s still the weekend and we’re not at all done yet. Today, Sunday, April 2nd, Music of the Baroque is presenting “The St. Matthew Passion” at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, (northshorecenter.org), 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. Meet us there please, about 7:00pm for the 7:30 show. Mozart and Beethoven are more famous composers, but Johann Sebastian Bach’s “St. Matthew Passion” is widely considered one of the greatest creative achievements of all time, across all media. Bach wrote his masterpiece for two choruses, two orchestras, children’s chorus, and soloists. In keeping with the vision of the composer, Conductor Dame Glover leads the Music of the Baroque Orchestra, two choruses, a children’s chorus and a roster of world-renowned soloists. Yes, this will be emotional, compelling and thrilling. It’s not to be missed.
So once again, dear readers, friends and fellow adventurers, we have enriched and enlivened our lives all the way through the month and into the next. Who knows what April will bring? Until then, live life’s adventures.