Isn’t it wonderful? It’s June, summer is in full swing, the weather is suddenly quite warm and frequently hot, and there is so much to do. Let’s get started.
Do you remember when we saw that play at the McAninch Arts Center (MAC), “Andy Warhol’s Tomato”? Well that great play was just a warm-up for this summer’s exhibit: “Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop”. Please meet us about 1:00pm, this Sunday, June 4th, at The Cleve Carney Museum of Art, https://www.theccma.org/, and we’ll take in this impressive project together. There are seven exhibit areas, ranging from a large collection of his objects and works, to an even larger collection of his photographs, to an immersive “Silver Clouds” experience. It’s at 425 Fawell Dr., Glen Ellyn.
We just discovered this fabulous art gallery, and hope you’ll join us Thursday, June 8th, for “Artini” at Gallery Guichard, 446 E. 47th Street, https://www.galleryguichard.com, in the Bronzeville Artist Lofts. Since 2005, the Guichards have been hosting: “a rotating collection of modern and contemporary works from numerous global artists including, Abiola Akintola, Stephen ‘Sayo” Olalekan, Pearlie Taylor, Marlene Campbell, Andre Guichard and many others.”
The gallery has a complex mission to bring recognized artists together with rising talents and those perhaps in mid-career, onto multicultural, multimedia arenas, united through their emphasis on the African Diaspora. Here they are carefully curated for their beauty, creativity and energy, beyond their historical and cultural significance.
“Artini” runs from 6:00pm until 9:00pm, with free vodka martinis and other cocktails for the first hour with a cash bar after that. What a great introduction to a fine gallery, don’t you think?
It started yesterday, but we were busy, so this afternoon, Friday, June 9th, meet us in Millennium Park for the Chicago Blues Festival, http://chicagobluesfestival.us. The Rosa’s Lounge stage on the North Promenade features many of Chicago’s legendary and rising star Blues musicians. Visit Mississippi is hosting the Juke Joint Stage on the South Promenade, and the main stage is the Pritzker Pavillion.
The are so many fine performers, on three stages, it’s impossible to hear them all. I’m singling out, especially, the Delmark Records 70th Anniversary Celebration, on the Pritzker main stage at 2:30pm, but before that there’s Mzz Reese and Lightning Malcolm at Juke Joint and Big Mike and the R&B Kings, 1:35pm at Rosa’s, This is Blues, real, genuine, from-the-heart music that will have us dancing, swaying, smiling, crying and laughing out loud.
Delmark is undoubtedly the world’s finest Blues label; there’s a long and distinguished list of their musicians for their concert set. I’d also like to hear local legend Rico McFarland (Rosa’s, 5:00pm),
and today’s headliner, John Primer and the Real Deal Blues Band (Pritzker, 7:45pm). With a style all their own, these wonderful musicians will really show the full depth, and the high energy fun, that the Blues can bring.
Today, Saturday, June 10th, we’re back at the Blues Festival, especially to hear Chicago native Precious Taylor perform with Chicago Wind (1:30pm, Rosa’s). She has an unbelievable five octave range, and her voice will carry you away. Other not-to-miss artists are Demetria Taylor (6:30pm, Pritzker) followed by tonight’s headliner, Mud Morganfield, the oldest son of Blues legend Muddy Waters, and an accomplished musician and songwriter in his own right.
On June 14th, 1777, in the midst of the American Revolution, the colonial representatives to the Second Continental Congress: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” But it wasn’t until August of 1949 that President Truman signed Flag Day into a permanent observance. So, let’s have a toast to the Stars and Stripes today and reflect a bit on how America has changed in the last 246 years.
Today, Friday, June 16th, let’s go to the Bridgeport Art Center, https://www.bridgeportart.com, 1200 W. 35th St., for “Free Third Fridays”. In this monthly event we’ll meet artists of many sorts: painters and sculptors (of course), fashion designers, photographers, ceramic artists, and more. They have a full spectrum of classes in these arts. Didn’t you tell me you wanted to learn to work with ceramics? Classes are right here, https://chicagoceramiccenter.com/. The best part of our visit may well be meeting the people from Project Onward who will tell us of their work to provide an inclusive place where people with disabilities can develop their artistic talents and showcase their work. We’ll be there when the doors open at 7:00pm.
Today, Sunday, June 18th, is Father’s Day. Celebrate! Give dad the day off by volunteering to do some work on the house for him, and don’t get mad when he insists that you do it his way. You could treat him to the Cubs vs Orioles game at Wrigley Field, https://www.mlb.com/cubs. The game starts at noon, don’t be late. Relax and have fun, whatever he decides he wants to do together. “Together” is the key ingredient to a great Father’s Day.
Today, Monday, June 19th, is officially “Juneteenth”, which is now an official Illinois state holiday. It celebrates the day in 1865, two years after President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, that all enslaved people in America were finally freed. Let’s take more than a few moments today to reflect upon the almost every-day events that show how our American goal of “liberty and justice for all” still is not realized.
It’s summer and it’s time for a long summer weekend. We’ve taken a day off work and hope you will join us. This morning, Friday, June 23rd, we’re heading to Door County, Wisconsin. Door County is on the Door Peninsula, that “little finger” of land that separates Green Bay from Lake Michigan. There are three hundred miles of coastline, two national wildlife refuges, five state parks, and nineteen smaller county parks, collectively ensuring that future development will be limited and the natural beauty preserved.
Door County gets its name from the passage between the northern tip and nearby Washington Island. The strait is dangerous, with tales of death, danger, and shipwrecks dating back to Pottawatomi tribal history from the 1600s. Early French traders named the strait “Porte des Morts”, and the name, translated to English, “Death’s Door“, stuck. To this day the strait can be a difficult passage, with shifting winds and currents, and lots of rocky shoals.
One of the best features of the county is that no large chain or fast-food retailers have been allowed. There is not a single McDonalds or Starbucks once you leave Sturgeon Bay “the gateway to Door County”. We’ve made the necessary reservations for dinner at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant. We can sit and enjoy a relaxing drink or two and a superbly cooked Scandinavian style meal. Yes, you really did see “Goats on the Roof”, and it’s Al Johnson’s trademark.
On Saturday, June 24th, let’s drive up to North Port and take the ferry across to Washington Island. We’ll visit the Maritime Museum with its displays from commercial fishing, the Coast Guard, and even shipwreck fragments. There’s time for a walk-through Fragrant Isle Lavender Farm. (Isn’t that just a visual joy?) We can stop at any number of beaches and walk through the sand or on the trails, then our last stop will be the Arts and Nature Center. It’s in an old schoolhouse and features local artists and hands-on exhibits.
We’ll have dinner in Bailey’s Harbor, at Florian II Supper Club, where the service is fast, the staff both knowledgeable and genuinely friendly, and the food is seriously delicious. Eat slowly, let’s savor and enjoy this time together. There’s even live dinner music, the perfect touch.
Sunday morning, June 25th, meet us at Nor Door Sport & Cycle, in Fish Creek, where we’ll rent off-road capable e-bikes and head out on the trails that lead through parts of Peninsula State Park, one of the gems of Wisconsin’s park system. The trails can be challenging, even to experienced riders, so the electric assist will come in handy. The scenery continues to astound our eyes with its beauty, doesn’t it? But, alas, our weekend is over, let’s turn in our bikes and head home.
Today, Saturday, July 1st, you can find us at Montrose Beach, Dunes and Bird Sanctuary, 900 W. Montrose Harbor Dr., where we’ll walk the trails and look carefully around. The beach actually has dune formation in progress, and hosts dozens of migrating birds, some of which are still endangered.
The whole place is not that big, only about 18 acres, tucked here between the public beach and the boat harbor, but look at the amazing diversity all around us. We’ll take a lot of time, walking slowly and observantly, maybe we can recognize a few of those unusual birds.