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Spring is Coming, Chicago!

Frank Brichetto   

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Our beautiful city is just starting to shake off Winter’s chill, the days are finally long enough to get us into a relaxed evening mode and it’s time to celebrate the coming of Spring!

But first, Happy Birthday, Chicago!  Sunday, March 4th , will mark Chicago’s 181st birthday.  So where ever you are, whatever you’re doing, please remember to lift a glass and toast the official founding of this great place

Here’s just one example of how to spend a leisurely Sunday with your special someone:  in the mid-morning meet us at Bang Bang Pie, www.bangbangpie.com, for some very good coffee (make mine a cappuccino, please), and a slice of some special pie that will have you gushing words like “oh-my-gosh-this-is-so-incredible!”  They have two locations, 2015 N. California, and 4947 N. Damen.  Pick one, please and we’ll meet you there.

We’ll take our time, enjoy our shared company, then head over to Lincoln Park’s famed, and world-class Conservatory.  Here we’ll stroll through four display houses: Palm House, Fern Room, Orchid House and especially the Spring Flower Show in the Show House.  This is where we’ll find a lush, brilliant rainbow of blooming flowers, bulbs, annuals and shrubs.  “The Show House is a flood of fragrance from camellias, azaleas, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, hydrangea, geraniums, and many more,” https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/events/spring-flower-show-lincoln-conservatory. As we walk, there will be some rather secluded spots.  Feel free to give me a wink, gentlemen, and we’ll turn away while you steal a kiss. Or several.

That was a light breakfast, are you getting hungry?  Let’s head to one of the area’s many excellent restaurants for an early, quiet, romantic dinner.  How about delicious, and affordable Italian at Pasta Palazzo, right nearby, at 966 N Halsted St., Chicago, www.astapalazzo.com? Or perhaps we should try something different this time, such as Del Seoul, www.delseoul.com a Korean-Asian fusion place who describe their food as “Korean Street BBQ.”  The menu is a bit more extensive than that, we’ll pick out something to share, maybe a BBQ taco or two, or a Bento Box. 2568 N. Clark St. Chicago.

Wasn’t that Fun!  That’s just a warm-up because on St. Patrick’s Day, for strange and silly reasons, Chicago dies the Chicago River a very bright (but ecologically harmless) green, and one of the largest parades in the country takes off, promptly at noon on Saturday, March 18th, at Columbus Dr. and Balboa St., heading north to Monroe.  This is one to see, as Chicago has a deep Irish heritage.  In Chicago, just one parade won’t do; Northwest Side Irish Parade starts at noon Sunday from 6634 W. Raven St., running south, then north, ending at Harlem Ave.  You’ll see horses from the BraveHearts therapeutic horse riding charity. New this year is the St. Brigid Court honoring Irish women in the community.

The South Side Irish Parade begins at noon Sunday from 103rd and Western Avenue proceeding south.  The Air Force Honor Guard will be there, that’s enough for me!

The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark Street, Chicago, is still calling all of us to come visit the exhibition, “Race”.  I was going to pass on this until I learned recently that two IDENTICAL TWINS had their genes tested, with the result that their DNA, (which should test to be identical, right?) had a 30% variation between them.  There’s a lot more to this stuff than we know, it seems.  Always, there’s a lot more to learn about Chicago; I never tire of visiting. www.chicagohistory.org.

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You know I love the small, intimate theater scene that seems to be everywhere you look.  This month, take a seat at “Southern Gothic” a novel production set within a “cocktail party” where the audience (that’s us) gets to wander around the stage as if we are invitees.  Through the overheard conversation, we’ll discover secrets, strained friendships, and “juicy drama.” From now through April 22.  Many shows are already sold out, so get your tickets early.  Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago, www.windycityplayhouse.org.

Go, frequently, to the Chicago Cultural Center.  Just go, and plan on taking the entire day to walk and gawk at all the amazing architectural features (the TWO giant stained-glass domes, for instance), take in free music or a movie screening.  Whether your taste is classical, jazz, blues or something even more eclectic, this is the place to hear fabulous music for free.  77 E. Randolph St., Chicago, https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_culturalcenter.html/.

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Let’s finish up with two visits to museums on the opposite corners of town.  Clarke House Museum, 1827 S. Indiana Ave., is the oldest existing house in Chicago, built for Henry Clarke in 1836, when Chicago was quite young and most of the area was prairie.  No log cabin, this, it’s a Greek Revival mansion that has stood up to fires, was once a church, and spent two weeks dangling in the air.  Crazy, isn’t it?  https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/clarke_house_museum.html

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Way far up and out the Northwest side, there’s the Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins Ave.  Arguably the founder of the “Chicago Imagists” a very unique approach to visual art, Ed was a mentor, and educator, as well as a ground-breaking artist.  Words won’t do it justice.  Please, drop in some time.  http://www.edpaschkeartcenter.org

Until next month, my friends, enjoy Chicago.

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