After the nine month coma Chicagoans call “winter,” it is summertime. Suddenly, schedules are filling up and free weekends are becoming scarce. Similarly, tourists are flocking to North Avenue Beach and the Taste of Chicago will literally block any hope of getting around town.
One of my favorite parts of living in the city is constantly going to unique events and trying new things. Last week, I somehow found myself on a rooftop in Uptown listening to live music. It was the perfect evening, the skyline was in clear view, and I had one of those “I can’t believe I really live here” moments.
Don’t get me wrong, these moments can happen with your best friends when visiting Navy Pier, but at the same time, isn’t city living all about exploring? Here is a sample of some things you can expect to find when exploring Chicago.
As a city that is credited by the greats as the place they learned it all, Chicago is sprawling with great comedy. One show in particular, Seven Minutes in Purgatory, has taken Chicago by storm in the last year, and is now branching out.
Created by Ian Abramson, this show sets comedians in one room, preforming on camera to the audience in another. “The comedians have no idea how they are doing while they are performing live,” Abramson said. “They know the audience is listening and able to see them, but do not know how they are responding. It is a fun experiment.”
The last show of Seven Minutes in Purgatory was May 28 at The Hideout, but the show is sure to return again in the future. For more great comedy in the area, Abramson recommends checking out the Lincoln Lodge at Subterranean every Friday night at 8:30 p.m.
You could go see a show at one of the crowded theaters downtown, or you can get a local experience right in the neighborhood. Currently at Lakeview’s Stage 773 is Lady Windermere’s Fan presented by Dead Writers Theater Collective. This is the play that Artistic Director, Jim Schnieder, said made Oscar Wilde Famous.
“Wilde wanted the actors to speak and act naturally which was a first. Dead Writers is also presenting it much in the manner it would have originally been presented, true to Wilde’s intent.” Schnieder said.
What makes this particular company unique is they only produce plays written by or about dead writers. “We do not skimp or take plays out of their original eras or impose a ‘concept’ on them,” Schnieder said. “We let them speak for themselves to show our audiences why they are classic and have been around for many years. We present them with the integrity for the author.”
Lady Windermere’s Fan runs at Stage 773 through June 7, and runs two hours long – including a fifteen minute intermission. Tickets can be purchased through Stage 773 or Dead Writers Theater Collective.
With a strong dance community in Chicago, it can be difficult to even decide what performance to go see. Noumenon Dance Experience is a little over a year old but taking great strides in the Chicago dance scene. Assistant artistic director Alia Simon explained what makes Noumenon unique is their athletic approach to dance.
“One of the founding principles of this company is to challenge the notion of common place dance aesthetics by showcasing the grace and magnitude that can be exemplified by athletic female dancers,” Simon said. “Furthermore, as an exclusively female company, Noumenon seeks to challenge male, female relationships found in most dance mediums.”
That being said, those attending a Noumenon performance can expect to see fast-paced modern dancing, with a technical approach. “It is going to be extremely entertaining. A really great way to challenge traditional ideas of dance,” Simon said. Their next performance is the New Beginnings Spring Gala at King College Prep on June 20, including performances by Joel Hall Dancers and Inspiracion Dance Chicago. Tickets start at $22.
My summer nights fill up with Chicago Park District’s Night out in the Parks events, and I am not just talking about the big movies in Millennium Park. Did you know that there is at least one activity, if not more, happening around Chicago every night of the summer? From watching a movie on a blow up screen to enjoying live music, the Chicago Park District does a great job of putting a myriad of events together for local Chicagoans. And chances are, the park nearby is hosting a few of them.
Plus, they just released an app that will give you every listing of everything you can do. My suggestion? Grab a bottle of wine, some of your friends, and head down to your local park. It will definitely give you one of those “I can’t believe I really live here” moments.
What about you? What are you up to this summer in Chicago?