Statue Stories Chicago launches city-wide; Steppenwolf celebrates its 40th anniversary with five plays by Pulitzer Prize-winning writers; and the Chicago Architecture Biennial makes its debut
Chicago’s creative and innovative spirit will be on full display this fall with a diverse celebration of the arts, including the debut of a dynamic architecture and design exhibition, exhilarating world music and dance festivals, pioneering theatre productions and celebrity chef fetes. This rich and robust fall events calendar is sure to offer visitors and residents a new look at Chicago. Here are 13 epic reasons to visit Chicago this fall:
1. STATUES COME TO LIFE
Statue Stories Chicago
Starting August 6, 2015
If Chicago’s statues could talk, what stories would they tell? Do the bronze lions enjoy guarding The Art Institute? Does “Chicago Picasso” mind being climbed, and why does Leif Erikson think that he discovered America? For one year beginning August 6, 2015, 30 iconic statues across Chicago will speak their minds.
The city that launched CowParade is set to host a new, extraordinary exhibit. The city-wide art project, funded by The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, gives voice to some of Chicago’s most iconic statues. In order to hear what the statues have to say, just pay them a visit and take your smartphone. Pass a talking statue, scan your phone on the nearby plaque and get a call from Abraham Lincoln, a bronze lion or a large reflective bean. Each statue has a story to tell and collectively they tell Chicago’s story. The exhibit is free, but network charges may apply.
British art producer, Sing London, has teamed with The Second City, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre and Goodman Theatre to commission Chicago’s most prominent writers and actors to animate these statues. Participating artists include Scott Turow, David Schwimmer, Renée Fleming and Malcolm London. To find out more, visit www.statuestorieschicago.com.
2. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE
Chicago Dancing Festival
August 25 – 29, 2015
Chicago Dancing Festival, the nation’s largest dance festival, returns for five free performances of the finest dance in Chicago’s top downtown venues. Festival highlights include: Miami City Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, Ballet Hispanico, Lori Belilove & The Isadora Duncan Dance Company and artists of American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago plus the world premiere of a new tap and percussive dance piece by Chicago Human Rhythm Project. An entire evening will be devoted to “Modern Women,” featuring works by female choreographers. Locations include Harris Theater for Music and Dance on August 25 and August 27, Museum of Contemporary Art on August 26 and Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park on August 29.
Performances are free, but tickets are required for performances at the Harris Theater and the Museum of Contemporary Art. No tickets are required for the Pritzker Pavilion. Patrons may watch the performance from the seating area or the lawn, which will be equipped with a large video screen. For more information regarding festival details, please visit www.chicagodancingfestival.com.
3. MARCH TO THE BEAT OF THE WORLD’S DRUM
17th Annual World Music Festival Chicago
September 11 – 22, 2015
The 17th Annual World Music Festival Chicago showcases international musicians September 11-22 at venues throughout the city. Celebrating the diverse music from nations across the globe, this FREE festival is produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and is the largest festival of its kind in the United States. Expanded to 12 days, this year’s festival features an Ethiopian New Year celebration, Ragamala (a celebration of Indian Classical Music) and more. Highlights include four concerts at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park by some of international music’s biggest names – on September 12 & 13, and September 19 & 20. For details and full schedule, visit www.worldmusicfestivalchicago.org.
4. GIVE PROPS TO CHICAGO’S CREATIVE STARS
2nd Annual Fifth Star Awards
September 16, 2015 – Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Join the City of Chicago in honoring exemplary Chicago artists and arts institutions who have made significant contributions in arts and culture, at a FREE public celebration at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The 2nd Annual Fifth Star Awards on Wednesday, September 16, will celebrate Chicago’s creativity-and feature tribute videos and electrifying live performances. The 2015 honorees are Sandra Cisneros, acclaimed author of several books including The House on Mango Street; beloved children’s music performer and educator Ella Jenkins; prominent architect, theorist and designer Stanley Tigerman; Norm Winer, program director of legendary rock station, WXRT; and The Joffrey Ballet, celebrating 20 years in Chicago this season. For more information, visit www.fifthstarawards.org.
5. THEATRE THRIVES HERE
Steppenwolf Celebrates its 40th season
Starts September 17, 2015
Steppenwolf celebrates its 40th anniversary with five plays by five Pulitzer Prize-winning writers in the 2015/16 Subscription Season. The season opens with John Steinbeck’s masterpiece East of Eden, a world premiere adaptation by ensemble member Frank Galati (Sept. 17 – Nov. 15). Galati adapted and directed the 1988 production of Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, which won two Tony Awards-Best Play and Best Director-garnering Steppenwolf international acclaim. The season also features the Chicago premiere of Domesticated written and directed by ensemble member Bruce Norris (Dec. 3 – Feb. 7); the Chicago premiere of The Flick by Annie Baker, 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner, directed by Dexter Bullard (Feb. 4 – May 8); the highly anticipated world premiere of Mary Page Marlowe by ensemble member Tracy Letts, directed by ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro (March 31 – May 29); and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner for Drama, Between Riverside and Crazy by Stephen Adly Guirgis, directed by ensemble member Yasen Peyankov (June 23 – Aug. 21). For more information, visit www.steppenwolf.org.
6. AN EPICENTER FOR GLOBAL ART
September 17 – 20, 2015 – Navy Pier
EXPO CHICAGO, The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, returns for the fourth year to Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, Sept. 17 – 20, 2015. Attracting more than 32,500 visitors in 2014, EXPO CHICAGO continues to showcase the city as an international cultural destination, while highlighting the region’s contemporary arts community and collector base. EXPO CHICAGO presents 140 leading international galleries from 16 countries and 45 cities in both the main exposition as well as the EXPOSURE section, showcasing younger galleries in operation up to seven years. In addition, EXPO CHICAGO will present the return of its key programs including the /Dialogues panel and lecture series presented in partnership with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago; IN/SITU and IN/SITU Outside, a program of curated site-specific installations in Navy Pier’s Festival Hall as well as throughout the city of Chicago; EXPO VIDEO, a curated selection of dynamic and cutting-edge film, video and new media works presented in partnership with Columbia College Chicago; Special Exhibitions featuring select regional, national, and international museums, institutions, organizations and non-profits; a dynamic selection of VIP events; as well as Vernissage, the opening night preview attended by more than 5,000 people in 2014, benefitting the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. For more information visit www.expochicago.com.
7. PRIDE ON THE BIG SCREEN
Reeling: The 33rd Chicago LGBTQ International Film Festival
September 17 – 24, 2015 – Landmark Century Centre Cinema
Reeling: The 33rd Chicago LGBTQ International Film Festival, the second longest-running LGBTQ film festival in the world, will take place September 17-24, 2015 at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood and at select satellite venues around the city. Presented by Showtime and Comcast, Reeling will screen approximately 75-100 independent films and videos over the span of the eight-day festival. The complete film schedule, along with a fresh lineup of venues, events, industry panels/seminars and celebrity guests, will be announced later this summer at www.reelingfilmfestival.org. Reeling prides itself on showcasing the most groundbreaking, outstanding, and diverse selection of LGBTQ films from around the globe. Reeling is a production of Chicago Filmmakers, a not-for-profit media arts organization that has been serving the independent filmmaking community in Chicago for over 40 years. Learn more at www.chicagofilmmakers.org.
8. FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD
September 25 – 27, 2015 – Millennium Park
Bon Appétit presents Chicago Gourmet, the nation’s premier culinary experience, spotlights Chicago as a global culinary destination and takes place September 25-27, 2015. Now in its eighth year, it champions both Chicago’s culinary achievements and the creative vision of the chefs, master sommeliers, and wine, spirit, and beer-makers that participate. The event was founded and is produced by the Illinois Restaurant Association, with title sponsor Bon Appétit magazine and presenting sponsor Southern Wine & Spirits of Illinois.
The Main Event – held on the stunning grounds of famed Millennium Park (Saturday, 9/26 and Sunday, 9/27) features live cooking demonstrations by celebrity chefs like Emeril Lagasse, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, April Bloomfield, Rick Bayless, Art Smith, Sara Moulton and countless more. Attendees can also take advantage of interactive wine and cocktail seminars led by the nation’s leading experts, book signings by their favorite personalities and food tastings from nearly 200 premier chefs. Wine enthusiasts will relish a selection of the world’s finest vintages at the Grand Cru presented by Eimer Stahl LLP, held both days at the nearby Harris Theater rooftop.
Foodies can further satiate their hunger and thirst with a stellar lineup of sister events including the ever-popular Hamburger Hop and Late Night Gourmet (Friday, 9/25); the newly added Punch Kings, Pigs n’ Tiki presented by Cochon 555 and Chicago Gourmet (Saturday, 9/26); and Rise & Shine Gourmet (Sunday, 9/27). Lauded Chef Emeril Lagasse will also present “Lunch with Emeril” (Friday, 9/25), a multi-course luncheon where guests can preview his new cookbook and help benefit the Charlie Trotter’s Culinary Education Foundation. Please visit www.chicagogourmet.org for more information.
9. A BACKDROP TO THE WORLD
Chicago Architecture Biennial
October 3 – January 3, 2016
The Chicago Architecture Biennial will take place from October 3, 2015 through January 3, 2016, and admission will be free. Titled The State of the Art of Architecture, it will include large scale exhibitions featuring new generations of the world’s leading architectural talent and a rich offering of public programs that engage an extensive network of cultural partners (over 60 to date). The Biennial is supported by Presenting Partners the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, with additional support from the Rebuild Foundation and the Chicago Park District. The Biennial is funded through private donations.
The Biennial’s current list of 63 participants includes architects and artists based in more than 25 countries, across five continents. In attendance at the public announcement of participants were three architects whose work will be featured in the Biennial. These include Tatiana Bilbao, a versatile and dynamic architect based in Mexico City with a significant body of work across the world, including a pavilion at the Jinhua Architecture Park in China and numerous projects in her native Mexico, and Chicago artist and architect Amanda Williams, whose projects and urban interventions thoughtfully investigate questions of race, urbanism, and the built environment. Also in attendance to show support for the Biennial was participant Jeanne Gang, designer of the iconic Aqua Tower, a MacArthur Fellow, and principal of the award-winning firm Studio Gang Architects, based in Chicago. Please visit www.chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org.
10. WHERE GREAT MINDS COME TOGETHER
Chicago Ideas Week
October 12 – 18, 2015
This October 12-18, Chicago Ideas Week will celebrate its fifth year of inspiring action through entertaining and accessible events, grassroots initiatives and thought-provoking content. With over 150 globally renowned speakers, including A-list actors, distinguished entrepreneurs, tech moguls, politicians and sports figures, Chicago Ideas Week is the world’s most accessible ideas platform of its kind, with most events open to the public at just $15 per ticket. The event annually brings together over 32,000 attendees from around the globe, creating a community of curiosity that inspires, connects and empowers individuals. For more information, visit www.chicagoideas.com.
11. GO BIG ON HALLOWEEN
The Halloween Gathering
October 24, 2015
On October 24, 2015 the Chicago Cultural Mile Association (CCMA) plans to launch one of the most exciting initiatives in its history-The Halloween Gathering. This powerful event will gather Chicago’s vast and diverse creative community in a parade filled with large-scale spectacle, music and performance. Drawing together world-renowned institutions like the Field Museum, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the AACM as well as unique local organizations like Louder Than a Bomb, Silent Theatre Company and guilds of artists in assorted fields, this dramatic display will activate Halloween as the “artist’s holiday” in a celebration along one of the most prestigious cultural avenues in the world.
This curated procession will take place from 6-8PM, moving north from Balbo to Randolph. Some organizations will build large spectacle, some will have large numbers of participants in costume interacting with the crowd, while others may incorporate music, dance and performance. The parade will be led by 13 of Chicago’s most influential creative leaders in various disciplines to be honored as “Creative Spirit Fellows.” Their dramatic entrance will set the tone for the spectacle to follow. During the day, the CCMA will promote family activities and event in the parks as well as at member organizations along the Cultural Mile. The CCMA also will work with partners to include fundraising initiatives into the overall program in order to support the Chicago Public Schools’ Creative Schools Fund through Ingenuity. For more information, please visit: www.chicagoculturalmile.org.
12. ROBOTS LIGHT UP THE HOLIDAYS
Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light
November 19 – January 3, 2016 – Museum of Science and Industry
From November 19, 2015 to January 3, 2016, the Museum of Science and Industry’s Rotunda will be alight with its Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light displays. This year, “gear up” for a 40-foot Grand Tree decked out in a robots theme to honor the Robot Revolution exhibit, supported by Google.org. Stroll through the forest of more than 50 dazzling trees and displays that reflect cultures around the world and take in festive choral, dance and storytelling performances that reflect various global traditions. Then, get explore, play with and learn from a collection of cutting-edge robots from around the world in Robot Revolution. Please visit www.msichicago.org for more information.
13. AVANT-GARDE OPERA
December 7 – January 17, 2016 – Lyric Opera of Chicago
Chicago’s must-see event is the world premiere of BEL CANTO. This riveting new opera is based on Ann Patchett’s best-selling novel, inspired by the Peruvian hostage crisis of 1996-97. BEL CANTO opens in December at Lyric Opera of Chicago, and is curated by Lyric’s creative consultant, Renée Fleming.
When Peruvian terrorists storm a high-profile party, international guests are caught in a political crisis. Trapped together, hostages and captors form unlikely relationships. Love, friendship, and a utopian community gradually flourish within the mansion walls confining the disparate group for 126 days. Roxane, a world-renowned opera diva, becomes the focus of everyone’s hopes and fears; her music is seen as both a threat and an asset by the terrorists. Roxane and Hosokawa, a Japanese tycoon, fall in love; his interpreter, Gen, and a female terrorist, Carmen, are also forced to keep their love a secret. The couples’ dreams and hopes for the future are abruptly shattered when the army storms the mansion to liberate the hostages, leaving many casualties behind. Their love, however, lives on in the form of music.
Peruvian-American composer Jimmy López and Pulitzer Prize-winning Cuban-American playwright Nilo Cruz have created a compelling score and libretto. Lyric’s music director Sir Andrew Davis will conduct the world-premiere production directed by Kevin Newbury and designed by an exciting young artistic team. Glamorous soprano Danielle de Niese stars as Roxane. BEL CANTO will be an unforgettable experience for Chicago. Just seven performances Dec. 7 – Jan. 17. Please visit lyricopera.org/belcanto or call 312-556-5600 for more information.
Rico Figliolini has published and owns blog sites related to travel and leisure, casting and entertainment news, parks and recreation and social media marketing. Traveling a weekend at a time with family and friends.