Join the World Naked Bike Ride Chicago Tonight

word naked bike ride

Tonight the World Naked Bike Ride rolls across the globe promoting freedom from oil and the beauty of people in hundreds of cities. This year is the 10th annual Wold Naked Bike Ride in Chicago. Chicago’s ride runs for 14 miles and draws over a thousand participants.  If you want to join them, just jump on a bike, lace up those skates or grab a long board! As long as you travel by the power of your body and conscience you can roll with this group. Bare-as-you-dare outfits range from fanciful costumes, body paint and undies, to nothing at all. Yes, that’s right, you can get naked tonight and tour this great city to be cheered on by thousands like a rock star.

Here  are the organizers’ instructions on how to join this ride:

PARTICIPANTS must show Person-Powered Wheels.

FANS see  ChicagoNakedRide.org  MassUp.us  @ChiNakedRide  #WNBRC

CHECK-IN (Today, Sat Jun 8, 6pm):
900 West Adams – Mary Bartelme park – Participants on people powered wheels will be forwarded to start location. Do NOT show up naked.

LEAVING EARLY (8pm):Ride leaves before sunset for slightly better light and warmth. DON’T BE LATE! Or we will leave you behind. Make sure your bike’s ready and that you’re capable of 14 miles in under three hours (slow to medium pace, stops often).

CROWDING:Weather and publicity and history may bring record turnout. Pro Tip is to come pre-decorated, hang streetside, and disrobe upon launch. However, if you arrive early, we have body painting supplies on hand.

GAWKERS:We invite the public to join us in protesting British Petroleum’s abuse of our planet when we give the station at Fullerton & Ashland a big swirlie. Please keep in mind to not ride too close to bystanders, a lot of people just want to high five you, but some might slap more than your hand, so be careful and stay to the center of the road to avoid being grabbed.

Visit http://MassUp.us/ or http://ChicagoNakedRide.org/or text WHERE to wnbrc@massup.us to follow the action live.

READ THE RULES & BASICS: http://ChicagoNakedRide.org/about

 

Lyric Opera and The Second City put the fun in dysfunctional!

So you probably watched the CBS’ Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show a couple of nights ago and thought it was very glamorous huh? Well, do you know that there is a Chicago institution that produces shows that are more fabulous and whose productions have such racy subjects as  sex, revenge and betrayal? No, it is not the Jerry Springer Show. No, it is not Oprah. I am talking about the Chicago Lyric Opera, one of the leading opera companies in the United States.  The Lyric Opera is a thrilling live entertainment option that takes audiences where no screen can. I had the fortune to be casted as a supernumerary for the production of Aida this last season (see picture and video below):

Me as Amneris attendant for Aida
Me as Amneris attendant for Aida

The experience of being part of  such glamorous productions is so thrilling that people keep doing it for years, even decades.  The Opera is certainly a passionate affair! However, many think of the Opera as boring and elitist. The Lyric Opera wanted to change these perceptions and asked themselves: How can we convey the excitement of the opera experience in a way that removes perceptual barriers? Enter Second City, the world’s premier comedy club/theatre and school of improvisation. This other Chicago institution is partnering with the Lyric Opera in a production that will present Opera in a more contemporary, accessible, and inclusive way. Their debut collaboration is a production titled The Second City Guide to the Opera, a mash-up of improv comedy and music. The January 5, 2013 event will feature the celebrated soprano Renée Fleming, along with performers from the fabled comedy troupe. It will be a funny, fabulous evening that will delight both opera aficionados and those who thought an opera house is the last place they’d ever come to be entertained. Unfortunately, the show is sold out as of now, but here is a couple of videos that resulted from this collaboration.  The first one is a parody of Hansel and Gretel, the opera production that opens tomorrow.

By the way, there is an exclusive offer for young professionals (21-45) to get tickets this production at up to 65% OFF and help hungry kids at the same time. If you become a member of the Lyric Young Professionals group, you can attend Hansel and Gretel at special reduced prices! Enjoy great entertainment and join Lyric in helping the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Choose Friday, December 7 or Tuesday, January 8. Then, bring a bag of non-perishable groceries to the Civic Opera House for your performance. Complimentary reception begins at 6pm. Performance at 7:30pm. Click here and use promo code GRETEL to order tickets. $39, $59, OR $79. Up to 65% OFF regular prices!

The second video is about another production that will open later this season: La Bohème.

Are you interested in participating in these productions? On Monday, December 10th at 7:00pm, the Lyric Opera of Chicago will audition male and female adult supernumeraries (extras) for La Bohème.  To obtain an information packet about becoming a supernumerary please send your information to Bill Walters, super captain, at bwalters@lyricopera.org  or call the Supernumerary Hotline at (312) 827-3538.

Also, if you are a full-time college student, you can get discounted tickets (as low as $20) through the NExT ticket program.  Click here to learn more.

I hope you get the chance to experience all the glamour and excitement that the Opera has to offer. Long Live Passion!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Imports Cuban Goods

The other night, I was at the Orchestra Hall of  Symphony Center,  waiting for the start of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. While waiting,  I was admiring all the beauty that this place beholds. I felt grateful for living in a city that has such an amazing space for music and such a magnificent orchestra. Did you know that the Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center was designated a National Historic Landmark and that Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the five American orchestras commonly referred to as the “Big Five“? The CSO does not only hold classical music concerts, but also world music events. This year, I had the pleasure of  seeing the Sowetto Gospel Choir from South Africa and Flamenco guitar virtuoso Paco de Lucia from Spain there.

This Friday, it is Cuba’s turn. Vibraphonist Stefon Harris, saxophonist David Sánchez and trumpeter Nicholas Payton cross the 90-mile divide between Cuba and the United States in a session that blends traditional Cuban rhythms with jazz. Not only do these three virtuosos combine to generate a unique musical force, they create a true Cuban-American musical collaboration that defies political borders. Kicking off this double bill is Grammy® Award-winning Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba with an extraordinary solo set.  You can buy tickets for this show here. And if you want to see a panoramic view of the Orchestra Hall, just double click the picture below. You will feel as if you are sitting there!

 

Cycling in Chicago and SummerDance Fest

Who knew I was going to enjoy cycling in the city so much? How did this happen? Well, my friend Ezra, an expert in fixing and customizing bikes,  recently got me this beauty of a bike:

It is a 1970s Schwinn Le Tour Tourist . This beauty is just what I needed: It is light so I can easily lift it, with curvy handles so I don’t have to lean too much when riding, and it has a nice and comfy seat. I have been using this little bike as much as I can since I got it and I am having so much fun. I feel so free when I am riding it : I enjoy the sensation of the warm summer breeze caressing my face, the sound of the birds chirping, and the sight of the scenery around me. I know, it sounds cheesy, but I feel so much more relaxed when I bike  than when I drive that I am now trying to go everywhere on it!  So far, I have used it to go to Pitchfork Fest and to Montrose Beach this weekend and it has been a blessing. No more wasting time looking for parking or dealing with traffic! (I deliberately choose the quietest routes). What’s more, everybody has been cordial and yields at the sight of my bike (!). I guess they are aware of the laws that protect cyclists’ safety in this city.  The bike lanes located on  main roads also help make the experience safer and enjoyable. My favorite bike route so far is the Lakefront Trail and I cannot wait to explore the rest of the city’s trails!

Because of this bike fever that I have, I am discovering interesting facts about biking in this city. For example, did you know that Chicago has been distinguished as one of the premier cycling locations in the United States? In fact, according to Matador Network, a travel website,  Chicago is one of the 15 world’s most bike-friendly cities. If you want to find out why, then visit the City of Chicago website  to get facts and information about biking in this city.

Anyway, I hope my experience entice you to start biking more often. It is not only good for the environment, but it is also good for your soul, your body, and your pocket. In fact, why not try to bike to SummerDance Fest for its opening show at Grant Park tonight? For those of you unfamiliar with this festival, it is the largest annual outdoor dancing series in the United States, and one of my favorites festivals of the summer. The series offers free, introductory one-hour dance lessons by professional instructors followed by music and dancing. The diverse musical lineup showcases dance styles from all corners of the globe.

However, if you need to get  a bike or fix/customize the one you already have, then send a message to my buddy Ezra and mention that you saw his information on Chicago Urbanite to get a discount for being my follower. He does a superb job!

Oh! One last thing: I am new to this biking thing. So please feel free to leave any recommendations in the comments section for this post. Thanks!

Celebrate St Patrick’s Day in Chicago

Irish American Heritage CenterIf you live in Chicago, you know that St Patrick’s Day is an important holiday here thanks to the big concentration of people of Irish-descent living in the city. It does not matter where you are from, everybody feels Irish on that day!  If you need ideas on how to celebrate,  then let me suggest the following activities:

Enjoy the Lights and Sounds of St Patrick’s Day on LightScape with the Trinity Irish Dancers

Friday, March 16, 11 am – 12 Noon
State Street between Lake and Van Buren

Enjoy lunchtime dancer performances along State Street as the Chicago Loop Alliance’s Lightscape celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish soundtrack all month.

Learn more about this event

Get a free Irish Breakfast 7am-10am – March 17at Christina’s Place

Click here for more information about this event.

Dyeing the River Green – 10:00 am – March 17, 2012
Turning the Chicago river green has been unique to Chicago for the past 43 years. Most people did not know that this is a privately funded operation, which gets more expensive each year. In 2012, the plumbers union will be turning the river green on Saturday March 17, starting at 10:30 A.M.! This year they will be east of Wabash Ave, and west of Columbus Dr. The dyeing operation can be best viewed from the East side of the Michigan Avenue bridge, the West side of the Columbus Drive bridge or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive.Do you want to know the history behind dyeing the Chicago river green? Then click here

Chicago Official 2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade – March 17 at noon

The free 57th annual St Patrick’s Day parade takes place at 12:00 noon, Saturday March 17, 2012, which begins at Balbo and Columbus Dr. and follows Columbus to Monroe St.     The Parade begins at noon on Saturday, March 17th. Head to the Buckingham Fountain Viewing Stand to see floats, bands, bagpipers, dancers and this year’s Irish Queen and her court.The parade is held on Saturday, the actual calendar date of Saint Patrick’s Day and takes place at 300 E Balbo Dr.

St Patrick’s Festival Saturday, March 17 at 1 pm
Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave.

The Irish American Heritage Center celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with a full day of festivities, including appearances by the Shannon Rovers, Trinity School of Dance, and more!

Learn more about this event


St. Patrick’s Day After party
Sunday, March 18 at 10:30 am
Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox Ave.

Live music, step dancing, face painting, and other festive entertainment follows morning mass and a full Irish breakfast at the Irish American Heritage Center.

Learn more about this event

Hope you get in the spirit and join me in celebrating Irish heritage in Chicago. Happy St Patrick’s Day to you!


Happy Chinese New Year!

It is time to visit Chicago’s Chinatown to celebrate the 2012 Lunar New Year, the Year of the DRAGON 4710, with a parade that will include marching bands, floats, lions teams, a mystical dragon, and Miss Friendship Ambassador. This year’s parade also kicks off celebrations of the Chinatown Centennial 1912-2012.

Dates:

Jan 29, 2012

Hours:

Parade steps off at 1 pm, other activities start at 11:30 a.m.

Location:

Chinatown

24th St. & Wentworth Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616

Admission:

FREE

Website:

For additional information please visit www.chicagochinatown.org

Public Transportation:

For travel information, visit www.transitchicago.com 

Learn more about Chinese culture in Chicago:

Check out Chicago Chinese Cultural InstituteThey have events from showing you how to cook a Chinese New Year Family Dinner, to The Chopstick Dining Club, and even Chinese Kite Making and Paper-cutting Workshops.The following websites also offer Chinatown group tours:

Chinatown Tour Chicago

Chicago Food Planet