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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.


A Special Treat

TOUR the Chicago Cultural Center. People from around the world travel to Chicago to see our great architecture but many natives don’t have a clue. Do you really look at your surroundings? Today is your chance and it is free. Meet in the Randolph Street Lobby at 1:15p.m. for a tour of this historic treasure. Walk the grand staircase, look up at the massive 38-foot Tiffany glass dome—the world’s largest—then walk the Sidney R. Yates Gallery, a replica of an assembly hall in the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
After the tour stick around to explore all the other nooks and crannies of this 4-story wonder including an area of books by Chicago authors, art exhibitions, a wealth of information on what to do in the city and more. You may want to arrive a little early as tours are limited to the first 20 visitors. 77 E. Randolph St.


Hop to it!

It’s NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY. Celebrate the occasion with a short stack of buttermilk pancakes at the West Rogers Park IHOP. Free with a $1.00 donation for children’s charities. All day. 5929 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Go North on Lincoln to the Lakeview’s Fizz Bar & Grill for SKETCH TEST featuring a hilarious roster of sketch comedians debuting new material for audience feedback.
Kicks off at 7:30p.m.tonight. 3220 N. Lincoln Avenue.


A Beautiful Sight for a Snowy Day

Celebrate African-American by viewing the exhibit Perseverance and Persistence: An Exhibition of Pride at Navy Pier. The exhibit showcases the work and accomplishments of African-Americans in math, science, film, literature, politics, music, education, sports and more. Before you head for the Pier go to and print out a sheet of coupons that offer money-saving discounts on restaurants, Imax and other venues on the Pier.


White Out

Enjoy a laid-back Sunday with singer, songwriter and visual artist PATTI SMITH reading and discussing her new memoir “Just Kids.” 2p.m. Cindy Pritzker at the Harold Washington Library Center.

Next head to the Swim Café in West Town for Scrabble Sunday to enjoy a Chicago snow day by keeping warm indoors as you match wits against other Scrabble devotees. 1p.m. to 6p.m. 1357 W. Chicago Ave.


Fireworks in February--What's not to love about Chicago

Everybody loves a parade. The South Side had its turn last week, now it’s the North Sides' turn to celebrate the Year of the Tiger. They’ll be dancing in the streets at todays' ARGYLE STREET CHINESE LUNAR NEW YEAR PARADE. FIREWORKS return to the parade this year—all part of the fun to usher out the bad vibes and bring in the new. 12p.m. to 2:30p.m. East along Argyle St. to Sheridan Rd. south along Sheridan to Broadway.

In you're looking for indoor fun, stop by the Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Cultural Center today at 2:00p.m. for the monthly showcase of Community Cinema. Today’s free program showcases advance screenings of the Emmy award-winning PBS series “The Eyes of Me” featuring “The Independent Lens.” 77 E. Randolph.



Family Fun:

101 Dalmatians Musical at the Cadillace Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph, (800) 775 2000. Tonight through Feb. 28.

Cutting Edge:

FOUR TETE at the Empty Bottle,1035 N. Western. $15, 9p.m. tonight.

Free for all:

Winter Dance at Jay Pritzker Pavillon, Millennium Park, Saturday and Sunday.
POLAR ADVENTURE DAYS. Enjoy the the great outdoors on what's predicted to be a beautiful day at this winter celebration featuring ice sculptures, an arctic dog sled team, storytelling and more. Northerly Island,1400 S. Linn White Drive and the Grant Park Museums. Saturday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Free Chicago

Get in touch with your creative side at The Art Institute of Chicago, extended hours and free admission on Thursday. 10:30a.m. to 8p.m.

ESCAPE from the frost and snow at the Lincoln Park Conservatory's SPRING FLOWER SHOW. Under its Victorian-style glass house, the Lincoln Park Conservatory boasts an impressive collection of palms, ferns, tropical plants and a show house for seasonal exhibits. Free admission.

HAPPY THURSDAYS at The Playground Theater.
Laugh your way into the evening with free flowing improv featuring
local actors Jeff Madden, Wendy Mateo and Paul Thomas and a special surprise guest as they perform comedic character monologues. BYOB. 6p.m., 3209 N. Halsted St.


Calling All Cubs Fans

Try your luck at getting those coveted tickets for your favorite match-ups for the Cubs 2010 season. Wristbands will be handed out today and tomorrow at Wrigley Field. Today: 10p.m. Tomorrow: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is a limit of one wristband per person. You will be required to show two forms of identification, one of which needs to be a government-issued photo ID. The lucky number will be drawn at 6a.m. Friday, the 19th.

While in Wrigleyville, stop by the new dog in town, the just opened Leo's Coney Island Chili Dogs. The beloved Detroit chain is taking on the Chicago dog and winning some converts if the 90 minute wait on Monday's opening day counts for anything. Try one for yourself and then vote for your fav.

3455 N. Southport Ave.
(773) 281 5367.


Get Ready for a Hurricane

It's FAT TUESDAY the traditional stuff yourself until it hurts day because tomorrow starts the Lenten fast. But whatever your excuse, here are a few Chicago hot spots to celebrate and enjoy a hurricane or two or not.
Expect a typical Fat Tuesday party with face painters, stilt walkers, masks, beads, Cajun food and hurricanes--did I mention Hurricanes. Be prepared for crowds and make reservations whenever possible.


702 W. Fulton Market, Chicago
Tel: (312) 850-5005


1927 W. North Ave., Chicago, Il. 60622.

Tel: (773) 772 4422

Heaven on Seven

Party at two locations:

600 N. Michigan Ave. - 2nd Floor, Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 280-7774

224 S. Main Street, Naperville, IL 60540
(630) 717-0777


Go to the front of the line

Single game CUBS TICKETS go on sale today at 10a.m. at Go to the front of the line with a 20% premium and be guaranteed the seats and games you want. Online at


Think Summer

Tickets go on sale this week for the following:

Feb. 15, 10a.m.: JIMMY BUFFETT's Under the Big Top, Tour 2010, Saturday, August 14 at Toyota Park.
Feb, 20, 10a.m.: Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival at Toyota Park's daylong celebration on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

Tickets will be available at, phone charge (800) 745-3000, or at the Toyota Park ticket office.


Love this freebie

In honor of love and Valentine's Weekend, The Field Museum, is offering free admission and champagne to the 1st 150 visitors who don their wedding day gear and wear it to the museum.
Today only. Love it.


Auto Show, ought to go

The 102nd Chicago Auto Show opens to the public today and even if your not in the market for a new car you really ought to go. Great for families, dates or just dreaming. Tickets are available online at Adults, $11, Kids, 7-12, $7, free under 7, Seniors $7. McCormick Place, North and South, 23rd and Lake Shore Drive. Through February 21.

Also on tap for the weekend:
Doom and Mos Def at the Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave. $26.50-$50 (ages 17+). Friday, Feb. 12, 7p.m.,

Frank Sinatra Jr. does it his way at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie. all ages, $65-$80. 8p.m., Saturday. (847) 673 6300.


One for the money, two for the show

A new blog Show Me Chicago kicks off today. The blog written by Chicago Freelance Arts and Entertainment Editor Carole Brewer will feature her picks for Windy City fun from dining and theater to clubs, music, festivals, sports and freebies. It will feature tips on how to score the best seats, where to park and even what to order. Stay tuned.