It’s October? Already? Where has the year gone? Well, dear friends and readers, it’s not over yet, and October is a wonderful time to enjoy a very large variety of what surrounds us in this great city.
If you work downtown, and can leave work early, by all means join us at The Cloud Gate in Millennium Park and start the month off with this wonderful concert “Crowd Out.” Yes, October first is a Monday, so make your arrangements, or apologies at work, and come share in “a 1,000 voice experience by and for the people of Chicago” in ways that reveal what it means to be part of a crowd, and the larger community that surrounds us. The 1,000 singers are from all over Chicago. The performance will start at 3pm; let’s meet a bit early, shall we? crowdoutchicago.org
We’ve never been to Heartland Cafe, yet, have we? You’ll find it at 7000 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago, 773-465-8005, https://heartlandcafe.com. Meet us for dinner, Saturday, October 6th, and we’ll share some of the most wonderful, genuinely farm-fresh, organically grown, expertly and deliciously cooked food you’ve ever eaten. It seems that few people I talk to know about this place, even though they’ve been serving “great food with a hippie vibe” since 1976. Let’s meet early, shall we, say about 5pm? That will give us plenty of time to catch up, chat, select appetizers, (I think I’m in the mood for some “mushrooms stuffed with a fresh blend of brussels sprouts and garden herbs with a splash of zesty lemon drizzle”. How about you? Maybe a bowl of Bison Chili, with avocado and green onions? (Doesn’t that sound fabulous, especially now as the weather chills?)
Wait until you see the dinner choices: the Mango Cod, with coleslaw and mango salsa, seems to be whispering “try me, try me!” so I will. Unless, of course, the Three Cheese Squash Lasagna whispers louder… We’ll sit for a long time, listening to the music, doing some people watching, and relaxing a bit, but by 7pm or so, it’s time to get up and walk around before we head back to the car. No, we’re not going home yet, the night is still young!
So here’s the surprise for you tonight – the capable company Music Theater Works – is putting on one of their remarkable musical productions, “Judy Garland: Come Rain or Come Shine”, just a few miles away. It promises to be a truly wonderful experience, and if you’re not yet familiar with Judy Garland’s legendary voice, the singer here is Angela Ingersoll, who has been called “the best Judy Garland Chicago ever saw, barring the real one.” (Chicago Tribune). We’ll hear her classics – “Somewhere over the Rainbow”, “The Man That Got Away”, “Get Happy”, as well as a host of others, and I can’t wait! The show has many open dates this month, so while you’re telling your friends about the great show, you can let them know they can see it too! Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, IL. musictheaterworks.com
The Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL-53, Lisle, IL, https://www.mortonarb.org, is always a beautiful place, hundreds of acres, beautifully landscaped, meticulously maintained, where walking or bike riding will take us to spectacular views of both natural forests and tended gardens. In October, for the Fall Festival, we’ll be here twice! Once, likely on Saturday, the 13th, with the whole extended family to walk and ride through the 1,700 acres to see hundreds of thousands of trees, from all over the world, in full Autumn glory of bright red, glowing yellow, and brilliant orange. We’ll take in the Children’s Garden, encourage the youngsters to ask millions of questions for the gentle, knowledgeable staff to answer, then walk the Scarecrow Trail to see if we can find Dorothy’s friend, before driving home.
We’ll be back on October 20th for the adults-only Cider and Ale Festival, where the tasty offerings of more than 45 local breweries will be available for us to sample. Remember to bring your own chairs, so we can sit and chat while we listen to the live music, taste test – another cider, perhaps? – and breathe in the crisp air breezing softly through the trees. This event will be a bit more expensive, so be sure to get tickets early and avoid the extra charge at the gate. https://www.mortonarb.org/events/cider-and-ale-festival.
This is over at 5pm, and I’m already quite hungry (aren’t you?). Let’s head east and stop in at Lao Sze Chuan, 1331 Ogden Ave, Downers Grove, for some truly excellent Sze Chuan style Chinese food, shall we? Crab Rangoon, and Shanghai Spring Rolls to share amongst us all? After that I’ll probably order some spicy Yu Shiang Pork, but it’s been years since I’ve eaten rabbit and there are several dishes on the menu. Sigh, too many choices, and they are all very good. (630) 663-0303
The day before, October 19th, is the Third Friday and so the perfect day to visit the Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th Street, Chicago, where, once each month, artists in many different media open their studios to interactive demonstrations that might include sculpture, painting, even fashion design! Entrance and parking are both free, and wine and refreshments are served as well. We must do this, and then do it again in a few months or so, don’t you think? https://bridgeportart.com/3rd-fridays/
Did you know that one of the best ballet companies in the entire world is right here in Chicago? The Joffrey Ballet, has been dazzling lovers of ballet since 1956. This is the first dance company to “perform at the White House, at Jacqueline Kennedy’s invitation, the first to appear on television, …the first to commission a rock ‘n’ roll ballet, the first and only dance company to appear on the cover of Time magazine, …and the first company to have had a major motion picture based on it, Robert Altman’s The Company.” Dancers are trained to the highest standards, their repertoire embraces new, cutting-edge ballets as well as the masterpieces, such as Swan Lake. Let’s go see Swan Lake!
For the start of the new, 2018-2019 season the Joffrey gives us a new interpretation of the story, still set completely to the stirring, compelling, beautifully graceful music of Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky. My friends, let’s not miss this! I’ve never seen a live ballet, what better introduction than Swan Lake? It runs from October 17th through the 28th, but our tickets are for October 27th and we both hope that you can join us. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago, joffrey.org.
“It’s Halloween!” you say, “What about Halloween?” Well, Halloween can be great fun, especially for those with young children. We do however worry about trick-or-treating outside, door to door, in the dark, in weather that is frequently cold and possibly very wet. Never fear, dear readers, our beloved Chicago Park District is coming to the rescue: just take a little time to go online and see all the Pumpkin Patches, Campfire Horrors, Harvest Fests, and Costume Parties anyone could wish for, all over town. I might just go visit my favorite, Kilbourn Park, for their Halloween Campfire, just to roast a few marshmallows. What fun! https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/halloween.
Hasn’t this been another adventurous, exciting month in our fair city? Chicago will never, ever cease to amaze us, we only need to keep our eyes and our minds open to all the beauty and adventure that surrounds us here in the Windy City. Until next month, dear readers, enjoy Chicago.