Search This Blog


Swedish American Museum Offers a FREE DAY.

Enjoy free admission, complimentary coffee, and treats at the Swedish American Museum today. Check out their just opened exhibit “Sweden Through My Glasses” featuring the intimate, dream-like paintings of Swedish artist Anders Hultman. 7:30a.m. to 8p.m. 5211 N. Clark, (773) 728 8111.

Mitt Romney comes to the Windy City. Last night, Larry King, tonight Chicago. Mitt Romney is out promoting his book, “No Apology: The Case for American Greatness.” It’s probably safe to guess that he will also give his opinions on Health Care in his appearance as part of the McCormick Freedom Project at Chase Auditorium. Tickets, $25, includes the book. 6p.m., 10 S. Dearborn. (312) 445 5111.

If you’re looking for a bite after the program, you’re in the right spot with nearby restaurants including the Italian Village, Trattoria No. 10, Vivere, Lockwood and others.




Drummer Dana Hall and his quartet will bring alive the noon hour crowd at the Chicago Cultural Center today with their SPRING FLING program featuring Improv drumming. 12:15p.m., Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington,  Randolph Hall.   Free.  (312) 744 6630.
Get a first-hand view of the future of Chicago Theater at tonight’s panel discussion, “American Theater:  Writing for Change,” presented by the Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Headed to the table for the panel discussion will be Tarell Alvin McCraney, author of Steppenwolf’s “The Brother/Sister Plays” trilogy; Kristoffer Diaz, author of Victory Grarden hit, “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity”; Tanya Saracho, who adapted last year’s “The House on Mango Street” for Steppenwolf; and Jean Lee, author of The Shipment” to be performed at the MCA (March 26-28).   Jonathan Wilson, director of TimeLine’s recent production of Master Harold will moderate the panel.  Free admission, but reservations are recommended. (312) 397-4010 6p.m. to 7:30p.m.,  Museum of Contemporary Art, MCA Stage, 220 E. Chicago.

BEN AND JERRY’S:  Free Ice Cream cones today in honor of their founding day.  Noon to 8p.m.
STARBUCKS:  Free pastry with coupon available on their website.  Opening until 10:30a.m.


A Dance Preview and Bargain Meals


Enjoy a bite of culture for lunch. Hedwig Dances’ is celebrating their 25th Anniversary with a FREE preview of dances from its upcoming concert celebration that will be held at the Dance Center of Columbia College (April 1-3). Just stop by the Harold Washington Library Center today for this complimentary contemporary dance presentation. 12:15p.m., Cindy Pritzker Auditorium, 400 S. State Street, parking at CPS Parking 645 S. Wabash and 651 S. State.


Chicago Chef Week kicks off today with 21 of Chicago’s finest dining establishments offering three-course lunches for $20 and three-course dinners for $30. Choose from Avec, The Bristol, Duchamp, Eve, Publican, Spring, Vie and more. See the entire list and make reservations at Through March 28.



One never knows what to expect on the first day of spring in the Windy City.  Today’s snowy, windy and foggy weather calls for a special getaway.  How about a walk through prehistoric ferns beneath trickling waterfalls; stop and smell the tulips and marvel at the pinks, whites and blues of the giant Hydrangeas all inside the warmth of the historic Garfield Park Conservatory.  You can spend the entire day at the Conservatory, shop, grab a sandwich, salad and dessert at the Gift Shop, attend workshops, a plant clinic, a craft program and more.  9a.m. to 5p.m. FREE Admission and Parking (just south of the main entrance), 300 North Central Park Avenue, (312) 746 5100.

Head to Wicker Park for dinner at SPRING RESTAURANT.  The seasonal menu offers contemporary America fare with a strong Asian influence.  Among the favorite choices are a crispy pork belly, grilled duck, and a Lemon Grass and Coconut. Soup that is soooo good.  The restaurant has a full wine menu along with a creative selection of cocktails. $$$, Street parking available, but challenging, watch for neighbor only permit parking signs on side streets. 2039 W. North Avenue, (773) 395 7100. 


Line-up for the Blockbuster Henri Matisse Exhibition OPENING tomorrow at the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago has announced the world premiere of MATISSE: RADICAL INVENTION, 1913-1917 concentrating on 117 of the artist’s paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints from this period.

There are two ways to enjoy this thoughtful collection of one of the 20th century’s greatest artists Henri Matisse (1869-1954). One, visitors can go to the exhibition, walk through the galleries and enjoy the beautiful art. Or, two, visitors can explore the exhibit more deeply through the wall text and audio tour. If you decide on the latter, set aside a minimum of an hour and a half.

Two important paintings in the collection, Bathers by a River (1909-10, 1913, 1916-17) and The Moroccans (1915-16) are explored in their entirety in relationship to change in this period of the artist’s life. An examination of these works reveal how Matisse began to turn down color for form. Working in a restrained range of colors allowed Matisse to focus more fully on the construction or deconstruction of the pictorial form.

Perhaps most important to this exhibition is Gallery 7 dedicated to Matisse’s work during 1916, a very difficult year for France and the artist during World War I. The art in this room features some of the most pivotal works of the artists’ career. Look closely at the surfaces of the art to get a feel for the change Matisse was creating. You’ll be able to observe surfaces thick with the trails of repeated reworking, products of the artist’s attempt to reconsider and adjust his approaches to familiar motifs. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan, (312) 443 3600. Through June 20, 2010.

Special dated, timed tickets to Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917 are NOT required.
Admission to the Art Institute includes all special exhibitions and coat check.

An audio tour of the exhibition is available. Audio tours may be pre-purchased with any ticket or purchased at the exhibition entrance, Michigan Avenue lobby, or Griffin Court. The audio tour is free to visually impaired visitors, and a typescript of the audio tour is available for the hearing- impaired.


Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917 will be on view:

• Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday: 11:30 am–5:00 pm
• Friday: 11:30 am–8:00 pm
• Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 am–5:00 pm



BEWARE: THE GATHERING STORM is set to arrive today at the Museum of Science and Industry. After three years in preparation and just in time for the tornado season, the Museum of Science and Industry has one-upped Mother Nature by creating a 26,000 square-foot interactive exhibition, Science Storms, that recreates the worst nature has to offer from tsunamis to hurricanes and everything in-between. STARTING TODAY visitors to the new permanent exhibit can experience nature’s most brutal events in the safe confines of the Museum.  Only the brave will muster the courage to step inside the 40-foot tall twister to be surrounded by massive winds cycling around them.  Others will release their creative spirit by making their own tsunami by unleashing waves across a 30-foot wave tank.  Young and old alike can witness a high-voltage lightening storm, wage a battle of fire vs. water, make giant  rainbows and more at this awesome educational phenomena created by researchers from NASA, Harvard and the University of Chicago.

To celebrate today’s opening of Science Storms, admission the Museum will be FREE all day. Other days general admission is $15, adults, $14, seniors, and $10, children ages 3 to 11. City of Chicago residents receive a discounted price of $13, adults, $12, seniors and $9, children 3 to 11. Hours are 9:30 to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Parking is available in the Museum’s underground garage. The entrance is located at the northwest corner of the building. 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive. 
Exhibit photo by: J.B. Spector, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago


What could be more appropriate than to sip a little vodka before watching Strawdog’s Jeff-nominated production of Anton Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. Join Strawdog in their Hugen Hall Gallery for a preshow discussion of the history and importance of vodka to the Russian Culture and Russian Literature hosted by Seth Rickard from the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. from 7p.m. to 7:30p.m. Then stay and enjoy the show. Tickets $25, 3829 N. Broadway, (773) 528 9889.


Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration continues…

"Those who drink to forget, please pay in advance"

Top o the morning to you. Finally it’s St. Patrick’s Day—and once again Chicago is pulling out all the stops. The original St. Patrick’s celebration began in Ireland in the 1600s as a relatively quiet one-day break from Lent to honor their patron saint, Patrick, with feasting and alcohol.

It seems the holiday gets bigger each year, with the Windy City taking a back seat to no one when it comes to partying. Among the many celebrations taking place today is one of the most authentic at the IRISH HERITAGE CENTER. Two good things about this daylong party are that you don’t have to be Irish to attend and it is a real bargain at $10 a head.

If you are Irish and Catholic or just Catholic and not Irish you may want to start the day with 11:30a.m. Mass. Otherwise, you may want to wait until 1p.m. and then come for the rest of the activities that extend into the evening. There will be Irish dancing, song, food, children’s activities, and drinks.

The Center boasts a 658-seat theatre, library, museum, art gallery, authentic Irish pub, dance practice studios, meeting rooms and banquet rooms for parties. Today’s party will be held in the pub, known as The Fifth Province, where you can grab a pint and enjoy the festivities. The menu offers typical pub food including fish and chips, corned beef sandwiches and Irish sausage.
1p.m. to 11p.m. 4626 N. Knox Ave. (773) 282 7035. Free parking is available.


Over 50 years of tradition make this legendary Irish Pub on Chicago’s Gold Coast a great spot to ring in the holiday. Butch McGuire’s St. Patrick’s celebration started out with a few shamrocks and green beer in 1961 but quickly grew to a full out over-the-top spectacular with every inch of the pub covered with Irish decor. Enjoy the casual pub menu and grab a beer or a green river. 20 W. Division, (312) 337 9080.  Metered parking on Division and Dearborn, if you’re lucky.

Both the inside and outside of Fado Irish Pub will make you feel like you are in Ireland. Today’s celebration starts at 9:30a.m. and goes into the wee hours. There’s all the Irish Pub food favorites along with what many say is the best Guinness in Chicago. The drink menu also offers a selection of other Irish beers like Harp, Smithwicks and Kilkenny, proper Irish coffees, Baileys Irish cream, and a wide selection of Irish whiskeys. The live-music line up begins at 2p.m. with the Shannon Rovers (pipers) taking the stage at 7p.m. followed by Midnight Nappertandy with Celtic Rock. Cover charge $10 after 4p.m. 100 W. Grand, (312) 836 0066.



Learn the inside story of what goes on behind-the-scenes in Hollywood at tonight’s lecture and screening at the Gene Siskel Film Center.  Film professor and author Virginia Wright Wexman explores “the star system” in the 6p.m. screening of the 1937 making of A STAR IS BORN with Janet Gaynor, Fredric March and Adolphe Menjou.  This version, the first of three that were made (1937, 1954 and 1976) features more comedy than the other two, as it recounts the ill-fated romance between the young ambitious Gaynor and the much older fading star March. 6p.m.  164 N. State Street.  (312) 846 2600. Parking at InterPark Self-Park, 20 E. Randolph, $14 for nine hours.


Trattortia No. 10.
On a budget or just looking for something light…try the Bar Buffet at the Tuscan-themed Trattoria No. 10 restaurant just a little over a block away from the Film Center. They offer an excellent “all you can eat” buffet that features shrimp cocktail, antipasti, pasta, salads and more for $12 with a $6 minimum drink purchase. The restaurant also serves a full menu of contemporary Italian fare with handmade ravioli a house specialty.  The buffet special is available 5p.m. to 7:30p.m., Tuesday through Friday. 10 N. Dearborn, (312) 984 1718.

Even closer to the Film Center is Petterino’s, a Chicago original, named after the legendary and beloved Arturo Petterino, who was maitre d’ at the famed Pump Room for 35 years.  The steakhouse brings back the elegance and sophistication of that time with its dark wood décor, red leather booths and framed celebrity photos lining the walls.  The menu is straightforward offering a selection of steaks, fresh fish, pastas and a crowd favorite veal chop.  Many dishes are named after celebrities including the excellent Irv Kupcinet Chicken Chopped Salad with corn, avocado, bacon, egg, olive and blue cheese that can be ordered full-size as an entrée or as a small salad before the entrée.  150 N. Dearborn, (312) 984 1718.


A Winning Combination.

Fruits of the Vine, Fruits of Knowledge at the Book Cellar...

The Book Cellar in Lincoln Square has something for everyone. Of course, there are books, lots of books along with a friendly and knowledgeable staff that is ready with recommendations. There is great atmosphere including a window nook furnished with oversized plush chairs perfect for relaxing with a good book after a long day at the office. Even better, there is wine, gourmet sandwiches, soups and Julius Meinl specially brewed coffee—delicious! Top all that off with one of those award-winning cupcakes from Southport Grocery (try the chocolate chip) and you’re good to go or better yet stay for tonight’s ESSAY FIESTA.

Every third Monday the Book Cellar hosts this special event. This month local writers Keith Ecker and Alyson Lyon relate humorous, true-life tales by Chicago-area comedians, novelists, poets, journalists, bloggers and playwrights. Come early, if you can, and walk the unique Lincoln Square neighborhood consisting of approximately 300 local businesses including The Old Town School of Folk Music. Then settle in at the Book Cellar, check out their rotating list of reds and whites, warm up with hot cocoa or a hot caramel apple cider and laugh the evening away at the ESSAY FIESTA. 7p.m., 4736-38 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Square. (773) 293 2665.



 It’s Selection Sunday and many Chicago eyes along with the rest of the nation will be watching closely.  Who will be chosen, who’s already in and who will be snubbed.  Last year North Carolina was belle of the ball.  This year she’ll be lucky to get a date to the NIT. No wonder they call it the Big Dance.

Only a few more games to watch early in the day and then the moment of truth arrives.  CBS will broadcast the selections live starting at 3p.m. If you want to share the countdown with friends, Chicago offers something for all viewing tastes from cozy neighborhood haunts to the ESPN Zone.

If you’re routing for Kansas and want to be with like-minded people Kincaide’s is the Jayhawks home away from home.  Relax with $3.50 mimosas and $.25 wings while you find out who will be joining number one seed KU.  950 W. Armitage. (773) 348 0010.

Michigan State fans head to the Gin Mill for $2 beers and multiple TV’s to cheer on their beloved Spartans. 2462 N. Lincoln Ave. (773) 549 3232.

Badger fans will feel right at home at Will’s Northwoods Inn—a little slice of Wisconsin in the middle of the Windy City.  University of Wisconsin is looking good and cheeseheads can enjoy it all on big screen TV’s while  downing free hot dogs along with their favorite brews.  3030 N. Racine, (773) 528-4400.

Durkin’s, home of the Purdue Club of Chicago, is the gathering spot for Boilmaker fans.  With Purdue a sure thing to be in the tourney, now all fans have to do is watch and wait to see where they’ll be seeded.  810 W. Diversey Pkwy. (773) 525 2515.

If  Kentucky is your team, you might have to share.  Junior’s Sports Lounge in University Village is the hangout for UIC fans but since they’re not in the race they are backing the Wildcats all the way. They will be featuring daily specials throughout all the Madness.  724 W. Maxwell St. (312) 421 2277.

If you’re a gambling man or woman, Stretch Run offers betting along with TV’s, food and drinks.  544 N. LaSalle St. (312) 644 4477.

One final spot, 10pin Bowling Lounge, will be covering all the NCAA tourney action on big screen TV’s while you bowl and enjoy munchies. 330 N. State St. (312) 644 0300.



Even though St. Patrick’s Day isn’t until Wednesday, Chicago begins the celebration in earnest today.


10:45a.m. (approximately)
Dyeing of the Chicago River.
This time-honored Chicago tradition is visible from the east side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the west side of Columbus Drive bridge and upper or lower Wacker Drive between Columbus Drive and Michigan Avenue. The river is dyed a very bright green that should remain that way throughout the day even if you sleep in for the actual dyeing event. However it is most spectacular right after its initial dye job and with today’s rain will be fading faster than usual.

The Parade.
The 55th annual Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off at Columbus and Balbo Drives, then heads north of Columbus to Monroe St.

After the Parade.
Head over to Goose Island Brewpub for STOUT FEST featuring more than 30 stouts on draft from more than 12 local brewers. Through 5p.m. 1800 N. Clybourn Ave.

If you’re not into the St. Patrick’s Day celebration there are other options:

Lillstreet Art Center is inviting anyone who is interested to their Spring Open House featuring workshops for adults and art-making activities for kids.

Kids Activities 12-5pm (1st floor)
Open Studios 12-5pm (2nd & 3rd floor)
Drawing Workshop 12-1pm (3rd floor)
Digital Imaging Workshop 12-2pm (3rd floor)
Screenprint Workshop 1-2pm (3rd floor)
Glass Bead Workshop 1-3pm (3rd floor)
Band Rings Workshop 2-3pm (1st floor)
Wheelthrowing Demo 2-4pm (1st floor)
Embroidery Workshop 3-4pm (3rd floor)
Metal Bracelet Workshop 4-5pm (1st floor)
12p.m. to 5p.m. 4401 N. Ravenswood Avenue. (773) 769 4226.

Rebecca Gilman’s world premiere based on the 1889 Johnstown Flood and the devastation it caused is brought to life in A True History of the Johnstown Flood. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. Through April 18. 
NOTE:  DISCOUNT TICKETS were available at press time for Sunday’s 7:30p.m. performance of A True History of the Johnstown Flood at all Hot Tix outlets.


Deep in the heart of Pilsen


Explore the East Pilsen neighborhood at tonight’s Chicago Arts District Second Friday Gallery Night. The area encompasses several contiguous blocks where artists work and live. Approximately 30 neighborhood spots including galleries and some retailers will be open for the walk from 6p.m. to 10p.m. Tonight’s featured event is Blind Date taking place at 1915 S. Halsted St. This exhibit features 15 visual artists and 15 writers exploring the relationship between created image and the written word highlighted by the interplay between opposites. Starting point for walk, 1800 S. Halsted. Street parking available.


Try Nightwood, a sophisticated contemporary American restaurant with a handwritten menu consisting of 10 appetizers and 10 entrees with new items popping up daily. Tribune critic Phil Vettel described the relatively new-to-the-scene restaurant as “Lula’s all grown up.” Lula’s is the popular 10-year-old Logan Square hangout that is run by the same duo of Amlalea Tshilds and Jason Hammel. If you don’t make it tonight put in on your list to try for Sunday Brunch. 2119 S. Halsted St.

If you’re looking for something more casual, Honky Tonk BBQ may be just the spot. It’s pork shoulder took 3rd place and their wings were 13th out of 101 entries at the 2008 Memphis World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. You can enjoy BBQ and more right in the heart of Pilsen. 1213 W 18th St, Chicago


A New Chicago Jazz Spot –OPENING FRIDAY

From early indications the new West Town “Club Blujazz” looks like it’s positioned to be a winner.  For starters the husband and wife team of  jazz guitarist Greg Pasenko and his wife, jazz violinist Diane Delin, who are running it are not neophytes. They have worked with the best including legends Mel Torme and Frank Sinatra.  Not only that, they have their own label, Blujazz, after which the club was named.   And that’s not all. They are starting smart by opening with jazz pianist MIKE MELVION who has toiled as music director at venues including the Grammys and arranged for the best from Tom Waits to Lou Rawls.

Another plus is that the club is small therefore, intimate, with seating for no more than 100.  The drink menu is peppered with the high-end stuff from classic martinis to single malt Scotches and imported beers.  With the main emphasis on the hooch and the music, the food menu, although not an afterthought, is simple but ample.  Selections include hummus platters, flatbread pizza and an assortment of marinated olives and imported cheese.

Expect to hear top national and international jazz talent at “Club Blujazz.” Expect to pay a cover charge from $10 on weekdays to $20 and up on weekends.

TIP:  For nightowls—you can get into the weekends 11:30p.m. late shows FREE, no cover.  Hours:  Monday through Saturday, 6:30p.m. to 2a.m. Sunday, 6:30p.m. to midnight.  1540 W. North Ave.  (773) 360 8046.


The Chicago Cubs are looking for a few good men/women

The Chicago Cubs are looking for 25 to 30 friendly, energetic and happy people to be ambassadors for the team. The gig is great. There you are basking in the sunshine of Wrigley Field while fans are shouting, cheering and chugging and Cubs management is paying you to be there.
Of course, there is work to be done. As an ambassador you will move around the stands and concourse looking for new fans and visitors and welcoming them to Wrigley Field, answering questions and helping in anyway you can. Maybe they can’t find their seat, maybe they have a question about the game, or where to go after the game. You are there to make their day at the ballpark a positive and exciting experience.
The job may take you outside the ballpark. Some days you might be stationed at the el or surrounding areas to help people navigate their way into the park.

When the Boston Red Sox started their ambassador program, 4000 people applied, 25 were hired.

For a more detailed job description, click on "Job Opportunities" at the bottom of and then scroll to "Wrigley Field Ambassadors." The pay is yet to be determined. You must submit a resume to: Human Resources/Ambassador Program, and can either send it via fax at (773) 404-4742, or e-mail at GOOD LUCK!



Just Opened at the Field:  Mammoths and Mastodons:  Titans of the Ice Age

Move over SUE.  Lyuba, a 42,000-year-old baby woolly mammoth, is the most complete mammoth ever discovered.  Currently she is stealing a little of the spotlight from the Field Museum's beloved dinosaur SUE.  But not to worry, SUE is part of the Museum's permanent exhibit.  Lyuba is here for the Field Museum’s new interactive exhibition Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age which opened March 5 and will be on view until September 6, 2010 when, sadly, it must close and Lyuba will be gone.  The new exhibit allows visitors to mingle with Lyuba and other giant pre-historic creatures including short-faced bears and saber-toothed cats.  Visitors are encouraged to touch the furry creatures-- after all they don't bite.  They can also create cave art and learn why these ancient species were both hunted and honored by early humans.  $22 adults, $18 seniors and students with ID, $15 children.  Through September 6, 2010.

While at the Museum check out…the Crown Family PlayLab.  Dad and Mom or Grandpa and Grandma can chill out while the kids dig up fossils, conduct a symphony or paint a masterpiece. 

Coming April 2:  kip fulbeck:  part asian, 100% hapa.


EAT inside the Museum at McDonalds or the Corner Bakery.

Or EAT NEARBY at OPERA—a blend of Chinese cuisine with modern presentations.  Opera is open for lunch Monday through Friday 11:30a.m. to 2p.m.  Try one of Opera’s special lunch boxes that feature soup, entrée, side and dessert all for $14.95 (dine in only).  Dinner hours are Sunday through Thursday, 5p.m. to 10p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 5p.m. to 11:30p.m.  1301 S. Wabash, (312) 461 0161.  Valet parking available for $10.

The Field Museum came to be as a result of the 1893 Columbian Exposition and was originally named the Columbian Museum of Chicago.  It was established in 1893 (in a different local) along with The Art Institute, Marshall Field & Company and the Chicago Public Library.  What an exciting time for the Windy City.

Museum hours 9a.m. to 5p.m. (last admission 4p.m.)  1400 S. Lake Shore Drive.  (312) 922 9410.

Parking is available in all four lots on the Museum Campus for $16 for the first 4 hours and $19 thereafter.



Monday is the slowest day of the week for most restaurants and bars and that is exactly why it is a good day to eat out--no lines, fast service and good deals.

Listed below are a few of today’s bargains:

In Wrigleyville stop by Murphy’s Bleachers for $1 BURGERS, drink specials and between 4p.m. and midnight 25-cent-WINGS. 3655 N. Sheffield, (773) 929 7061.

In Lincoln Park you can fill up at McGees Tavern and Grill with an all-you-can eat CHILI BAR for $6 and wash it down with a $2.50 Bud or go pull out all the stops with a $3 import. 950 W. Webster, (773) 549 8072.

Play Trivia, enjoy a $3 Bud and split a $7 pizza with a friend at The Black Beetle in Humboldt Park. The pub is a favorite of neighborhood regulars. It offers a simple and comfortable atmosphere with exposed brick and wood tables. 8p.m. to midnight. (773) 384 0701.

Meze Tapas Lounge in the Fulton Market part of town offers a $3 Tapas Menu all day. Thirsty? How about a $15 sangaria carafe or a $5 Tjitos Vodka cocktail. 205 N. Peoria, (312) 666 6625.



Today,’s all about OSCAR.  The Official Chicago Party at the Gene Siskel Film Center is SOLD OUT—at $100.00 per ticket—get in line for next year.  Many other parties are happening from the “The Land of Avatar Party” at Kit Kat Lounge in Boystown, 3700 N. Halsted, to the Oscar party at The Palm Court at the Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton on the Mag Mile. If you're looking for something a little easier on your wallet, try the price friendly $15 a head party at Lobby Lounge, 150 W. Roosevelt Rd in the South Loop featuring the show on 50-inch HDTVs along with crab pizzas. However your best bet could be the party at your neighborhood bar or at home.    

A Chicago Special…Get Up Close and Personal with Oscar…

Kodak and The Shops at North Bridge on Michigan Avenue will give movie fans an opportunity to view and have their picture taken with the real thing at their "Meet the Oscars, Chicago," exhibition.  Stop by between 11a.m. and 6p.m. today and see what it feels like to hold an Oscar.  Admission free.  520 N. Michigan.

Chicago's connection to Oscar…

R.S. Owens and Company, a Chicago based manufacturing firm located at 5535 North Lynch Avenue, makes the Oscar statuettes for the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences along with other statuettes including the Emmy, Clios, MTV and many others.


There’s no place like Nome…or is there?

Everyone knows about Alaska’s Iditarod where teams of dogs pull sleds across the tundra. In last decade or so Iditarod copycats have been rearing their ugly heads in the name of fun and charity across the nation. New York has its Idiotard (note the first 5 letters) (est. 2003), San Francisco established their Urban Iditaron back in the last century (1994) while a growing number of others are cropping up each year from Washington D.C. to Portland, Oregon.

These Iditarod wannabe races consist of teams of four people each often in outrageous costumes substituting for the dogs. They are attached by ropes to shopping carts led by a musher. The object is for spectators to help fill the shopping carts with food (last year over 7000lbs.)—that will be distributed to the needy.

Spectators are invited to come today to Chicago’s OWN Fifth Annual Chiditarod and asked to bring packaged or canned food to donate. The starting horn sounds at noon at Wollcot and Hubbard (1900 W. Hubbard). The race and the fun continues its way winding through the Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village and Bucktown neighborhoods. All and all it’s a good time for a good cause…thank you very mush.

More on the CHIDITAROD:
Entries will be judged on:
Best art cart
Worst fashion
Most pathetic display
Best in Food
And more.
Where should I watch the race?
The race will follow a course inside these boundaries:
• North Avenue on the North
• Madison on the South
• Halsted on the East
• California on the West

Calling all Losers…
The Biggest Loser is having a casting call for the new season. The weigh off starts at 10a.m. at the NBC Tower and continues to 6p.m.  Be prepared for a long wait—so bring a snack. Don’t even bother to come if you don’t need to lose at the very least 100lbs. 455 N. Cityfront Plaza.

Sign of Spring...
The Chicago Garden and Flower Show returns to Navy Pier. Today through March 14.


An Art Happening and more...

The trendy Bucktown area kicks off the 2010 festival season tonight with its 3-day art extravaganza The 2010 Spring smART show. Three days of ART where visitors can peek into artist studios and private living spaces, view unique, quirky, cutting edge offerings, enjoy impromptu performances, refreshments and all the Bucktown/Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village area has to offer. 6p.m. to 10p.m. tonight, noon to 10p.m. Saturday and noon to 6p.m. Sunday. Flat Iron Arts Building. 1579 N. Milwaukee.

Stop by the trendy shops along Damen and Milwaukee Aves.

Then stay for the great food/drinks and atmosphere:
Two of many choices…

The Violet Hour

Hot date, trying to reconnect or just looking for great atmosphere and a wide array of cocktail choices-- the Violet Hour may be just the spot. Lauded by publications including Esquire, Conde Nast and GQ, The Violet Hour serves up a heady mixture of classic cocktails and innovative appetizers that can substitute for dinner. Everything here is deliberate and impeccable. The serene space is full of floor-to-ceiling curtains, chandeliers, candles, and high-backed blue leather chairs; the eclectic music is loud enough to comment on but muted enough that you can hear your friends. Sexy, fun and affordable. 1520 N. Damen, (773) 252 1500.

Hot Chocolate

A couple of blocks north of The Violet Hour is Mindy Segal’s HOT CHOCOLATE. Segal, named best pastry chef of the year by Chicago magazine, offers an outstanding menu. While recognized for her sweets, her haute comfort food will get you through the worst of a Chicago winter day. Try the Reuben with house-brined corned beef followed by her legendary Banana Volume VI, a banana cream pie with caramelized bananas, banana sherbet, butterscotch and fudge—a meal in it self—that you may want to split with one of your tablemates. By the way the HOT CHOCOLATE is not bad either and you can order it to your liking—all the way up to 90 percent (bitter).
Saturday and Sunday Brunch 10a.m. to 2p.m. or dinner Friday, Saturday and Sunday,
1747 N. Damen, (773) 489 1747.

Discount tickets available for tonight’s performance.
An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin
Cadillac Palace
151 W. Randolph St., Chicago
click on tickets then enter code: "hottix"



The City Celebrates 173 years...

Chicago is looking good for her age.  On this day in 1837, the City of Chicago was incorporated with a population of 4170.  Today’s Chicago is hovering around 2.9 million citywide—add the rest of Cook County and you’re talking 5.3 million.  Now that’s something to celebrate!  Stop by The Chicago History Museum for this awesome event, sponsored by the Mayor’s Office of Special Events.

The party, complete with a very special birthday cake by Bleeding Heart Bakery, kicks off at 11a.m. There will be musical performances featuring the Latin School Jazz Band and Chinese musician Kerry Leung along with cake for all.  Entrance to the museum will be free and you can stick around after the celebration to tour the permanent and special exhibits at this Chicago treasure.  Step back in time at the ABRAHAM LINCOLN TRANSFORMED exhibit and learn what changed Lincoln’s mind on the question of slavery.  Then travel south of the border to Mexico for a look at a parallel struggle that changed the face of Mexico in the special exhibit BENITO JUAREZ AND THE MAKING OF MODERN MEXICO.  Both exhibits will close April 12, 2010.  

Tired and hungry?  Grab a bite and relax in one of the comfy armchairs at The North & Clark Café in the museum.  The menu, inspired by Chicago history, offers something for all tastes. Top picks include the classic Chicago-styled hot dog and the original recipe for the brownie that was served at the 1893 World’s Fair.  1601 N. Clark St. (312) 642 4600.  Public parking is conveniently located one block north of the Museum at Clark and LaSalle Streets; enter on Stockton Drive.

Looking to make a day of it.

The museum is at Clark and North Avenue, just two blocks east of OLD TOWN.  Go west to Wells, then head south or north along Wells to visit the unique shops and restaurants of Old Town.

OR stay the evening and take in a show at Chicago’s second to none, SECOND CITY.  Now featuring Taming of the Flu and Rush Limbaugh! The Musical. 1616 N. Wells,


The Write Stuff in Wrigley

RUI: Reading Under the Influence: Tonight’s theme: Envy.

From the Left Bank in Paris to Key West to Chicago--drinking and writing seem to be linked in some mystical manner that brings out the best and worst in writers. Just for fun, you can decide if drinking makes writing appear better or worse at tonight’s RUI: Reading Under the Influences’ first Wednesday event at Sheffield’s in Wrigleyville.

The evening showcases author John McNally reading from his just published book, “After the Workshop: A Novel.” Joining John will be local writers/performers reading short selections of recognizable published work related to this month’s theme of envy and punctuated with strategically placed shots—plus trivia and prizes. If you’re a first timer, you might want to sit back, grab a seat and watch the many regulars who show up for this first Wednesday event. Stick around afterwards for conversation with the authors and audience at this unique Chicago literary happening. Readings start at 7:30p.m. or come at 7p.m. for food and drinks. $3 cover, back room, Sheffield’s, 3258 N. Sheffield. 773 281 4989

ALERT:  Coming to Sheffield’s April 6, 7p.m to 10p.m.
The Chicago History Museum and Sheffield’s Bar and Grill team up for a NEW BEER’S EVE salute to the end of Prohibition which took place at the stroke of midnight on April 7, 1933—after thirteen long years of illegal or no consumption.
The evening will feature drinks and an appetizer buffet included in the ticket price.
Tickets are available at $55, $50 members.

Not the Literary Type…

Chill out at the EMPTY BOTTLE in Ukrainian Village, where the Nothingheads, Yours Truly and The Heroes perform—indies to oldies. First time at the bottle—don’t be put off by the façade—it’s what’s inside that counts. No cover. 9:30p.m. 1035 N. Western Ave. 773 276 3600. Parking on Western free unless two inches of snow or more.


It's a Draw-in at the MCA

 Artists and artist wannabes are invited to a free and quirky FIRST TUESDAY Drawing Extravaganza, DOODEGANZA, at the Museum of Contemporary Art.  Bring your sketch pad and be inspired by Chicago artists Scott and Tyson Reeder as they lead an informal art class.  The "class" is not exactly an art class, not quite a party; more of a gathering for those who want to have a hands-on encounter with art. The event starts at 6p.m. but participants are welcome to come early and enjoy the galleries then stick around for art lessons, entertainment and grab a snack or a glass of wine or cup of Joe from Puck’s Café.  If you get a chance, check out the Alexander Calder in Focus exhibit that will be closing  March 21.  6p.m. Free admission and class. 220 E. Chicago Ave.  (312) 280 2660.

If you are still hungry two nearby choices are:

RL. You can’t go wrong with RL, the popular Ralph Lauren restaurant that delivers the ambiance of a private club, with a menu featuring American classics including all the usual suspects—seafood, steaks, chops, salads and sandwiches. Pricy but not ridiculously so. 115 E. Chicago Ave. (312)475-1100.

NoMI.   NoMI, a high-end offering, which regularly appears on the top 10 lists of Chicago restaurants, creates a French dining experience for those with discriminating tastes and a wallet to match.  Seventh Floor of Park Hyatt Chicago. 800 N. Michigan Ave. (312) 239-4030.


Holy Cow...More Fireworks!

It’s Casimir Pulaski Day in Chicago. The holiday—a Chicago original—celebrates the Revolutionary War hero Casimir Pulaski. Most city schools, libraries and government offices are closed. No garbage pickup in the city.

It’s ALSO the 12th Annual Worldwide toast to Harry Caray at the Grand Opening of HARRY CARAY’S TAVERN at Navy Pier. The festivities kick off at the pier at 5a.m. with food, prizes, games and celebrities throughout the day cumulating with THE TOAST at 7:40p.m. followed by FIREWORKS. The big party is at the Navy Pier location but smaller toasts and discounts will be offered at the Kinzie St. location, Rosemont and the recently opened Lombard local. For more info go to

A Silver Anniversary Celebration. Explore what is means to be an American at the American Theater Company’s 25th anniversary celebration, The Silver Project, Part II. This ambitious year-long festival features 30 world premiere short plays showcasing the years between 1985 and 2010—the 25 years the company has been in existence. Tonight’s part II will begin at 7:30p.m. 1909 W. Byron, (773) 409 4125.  Dine nearby the AMC at Lakeview’s popular Sola Restaurant with its Hawaiian inspired menu featuring locally raised ingredients. 3836 N. Lincoln Ave. (773) 929 5171.

A Foodie Event. Common Threads fifth annual World Festival fundraiser featuring food by Rick Bayless, David Burke, Tyler Florence, Gale Gand, Stephanie Izard, Graham Elliot Boelrd, Ming Tsai, Art Smith and Hubert Keller takes place this evening at Soldier Field. Tickets are sold out.



Free Event…The Civic Orchestra of Chicago offers a free interactive performance today at 3p.m. at the Washington Park Refectory. Recommended for ages 5 and up. While there take a peak outside at the Aquatic Center which houses a pool built by architectural legend Daniel Burnham in 1891—two years before the Columbia Exposition. 5531 S. Russell Dr., just east of Martin Luther King Drive.

If you want to make a day of it, stop by C’est Si Bon in the Hyde Park area for Sunday Brunch. The fusion of French, Creole, Cajun, Southern and Soul flavors is amazing. Try the collard green eggroll and if you’re still hungry most definitely have a slice of sweet potato cheesecake. 5225 S. Harper Ave., (773) 363 4123.

If that’s still not enough, head to the Museum of Science and Industry and catch the just opened Omnimax feature the ULTIMATE WAVE TAHITI showcasing world surfing champion Kelly Slater filmed in Tahiti among the islands of French Polynesia—a nice escape from Chicago’s winter. Sunday’s shows are at 11:40 a.m., 1:20 p.m., 3 p.m. You can by tickets online at

Other happenings…
CHICAGO WING FEST 2010. Twenty of Chicago’s best wing making restaurants will be competing for the title of Best Wings in Chicago and you get to try them all. Journey Plumber’s Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. Beware tickets are scarce and you may have to go online to find them or wait until next year. 1p.m. to 6p.m.


Think Chicago...think food.

At the Notebaert…

2430 N. Cannon Drive

Free parking is still available along Cannon Drive or you can park at the Lincoln Park zoo lot or take public transportation. The 151 Sheridan bus stops on the Southeast corner of Fullerton Parkway and Stockton Drive. From there it is just a short walk north across Fullerton, then east to the entrance.

Yum. Check out today’s Green City Market indoors at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum for artisanal cheeses, meats, micogreens, root veggies, baked goods fresh pasta and more. 8a.m. to 1p.m.

While at the Museum it is always fun to stop by the live butterfly exhibit where you will be able to interact with those exotic creatures. Also on tap is the newly opened exhibit “The Birth of Coffee” which traces the origins of this popular brew. Through May 19.


North Pond is a hop, skip and a jump away at 2610 N. Cannon Drive (dinner only). (773) 477 5845.


To celebrate CHICAGO RESTAURANT WEEK 2010. 170 restaurants (many 5-star) are offering 3-course prix fixe menus at $22 lunch or $32 dinner. Check them out at

New York City’s sexy Mex MERCADITO restaurant looks like a game changer for the Windy City. Recently opened in the River North area this restaurant is among the 170 offering Chicago Restaurant Week’s prix fixe menu. If you go, plan on wearing something tight and shinny or finding a dark corner where you can people watch. 108 W. Kinzie St., (312) 329 9555


Something Fishy plus a new era for the CSO

World Renown Maestro Riccardo Muti brings a new era…a new vision to the CSO with yesterday’s kick off event to his Inaugural Season with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

It's been almost two years since May 2008 when "the great Riccardo Muti" said yes to Chicago. Yesterday, Muti, the tenth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, stood before a packed house of CSO patrons, invited guests and the media to announce the 2010-2011 season.

Renown as one of the top maestros in the world, Muti impressed the crowd with his vision, outstanding resume having conducted most of the important orchestras in the world, from the Berlin Philharmonic to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestre National de France, as well as the Vienna Philharmonic; and his wonderful unassuming manor along with a sharp sense of humor. If Muti ever wanted to give up conducting there's no doubt he could have a successful career as a stand up comic.

His vision is to use music to improve people's lives. "In a world full of violence, anger and crime, Muti believes that “music can educate people’s souls and make society better.” He has shown this commitment with visits and performances before earthquake victims, prisoners and troubled young people throughout the world through his "Paths of Friendship Project.”

Muti will be reaching out across Chicago with a free concert at Millennium Park on September 19th along with open rehearsals in Chicago and the Pilsen neighborhood throughout the upcoming season. Look for some exciting new programs aimed at bringing younger audiences to the CSO. Stayed tuned--it looks like the CSO may become an all ages venue. For a look at the upcoming season go to

Whether you are a fish lover or have gone cold turkey by giving up meat on Fridays you don't have to starve. Here are a few places to dive in:

Try English a River North spot where you can eat fish and chips for only $8.
Wash it down with a cold pint and you're ready to go full speed ahead into the weekend.
444 N. LaSalle St. 312 222 6200.

For 95 cents more head to Patsy's Place in Lincoln Park for an all you can eat fish fry featuring fish and chips. If you're a fan of cheap eats but not fish you may want to wait until the weekend and try their brunch at 5.95 for an entree. 2825 N. Lincoln 773 248 2825.

Mac's American Pub--a popular Ukrainian Village hang out cooks up a mean plate of fish and chips for $8. The mac 'n cheese is also a big fav.
1801 W. Division St. 773 782 4400.


Fun on tap

Celebrate Black History Month. If you’ve never been to the DuSable Museum of African American History why not stop by this evening to enjoy the museum, explore its offerings and stay for a 6p.m. screening of a new WTTW special documentary “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis.” 740 E. 56th Place. (773) 947 0600.

A Novel Idea. Join the discussion of the graphic novel “Planet Hulk,” watch the film version while enjoying pizza and drinks at Chattingers in Bucktown. 1845 Western Ave. 2R. 7p.m.