Where to Celebrate Cinco de Mayo in Chicago

It has been a while since I last posted, but I am back to tell you where to celebrate the next big holiday in Chicago. Historically, Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the victory of Mexico over France in the battle of Puebla in 1862. This holiday, however, is more popular in the United States than in Mexico. Why? Changing demographics and the enormous repercussion this victory had on the outcome of the U. S. Civil War. Some historians state that had Mexico not defeated the French in Puebla, France would have gone to the aid of the Confederacy in the U.S. Civil War and the United States’ destiny would have been different. Nowadays, Cinco de Mayo’s historical significance got lost in time and the holiday is more of a cultural celebration of everything Mexican and and an excuse to party than anything else. 

Chicago holds one of the largest Mexican-American communities in the country and the city offers many choices to celebrate on May 5. However, out of all those options, my recommendation is to network and socialize with a great organization that will be hosting a huge Mexican-American celebration in Chicago: the Cinco de Mayo event put on by HispanicPro at the Godfrey Hotel. HispanicPro is the premier networking organization for Hispanic professionals in Illinois and the largest producer of networking events targeting the Hispanic professional community in Chicago. It’s free to join, you get access to some of the coolest venues in Chicago and meet interesting people from different professions. I was invited to their April event at Ronero, and while enjoying some light food and beverages, I had an interesting conversation with the president of the Chicago Symphony Latino Alliance (CSLA). CSLA is another great organization that hosts pre Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert networking events with special guest artists who give insights into the evening’s concert. I learned a lot about their membership (it’s free!) and some of the interesting events they offer. If HispanicPro hadn’t invited me to their professional event, I would never have learned about this unique experience from CSLA. HispanicPro functions are not only great for networking, professional tips, and discovering unique opportunities, they’re also festive events to attend. The music and the conga player at the end of the event I attended had many of us going to the networking floor and turning it into a dance floor. This organization definitely strikes the perfect balance between function and fun. If you want to find out more about them and their upcoming Cinco de Mayo event, visit their website.

A couple of days later, on May 7 at noon, head to the Cinco de Mayo Parade in Little Village, one of the signature Mexican neighborhoods in Chicago and home to more people of Mexican ancestry than any other community in the Midwest. It is one of the largest Cinco de Mayo celebrations in the city. The parade goes from Cermak Rd. and Damen Ave to Marshall Blvd. By the way, did you know that Little Village retail strip is the second highest grossing shopping district in Chicago after glamourous Michigan Avenue? Now that you know, on Cinco de Mayo, let’s raise our Margaritas and make a toast for the brave Mexican and Mexican-American people who contributed and keep contributing to the greatness of the United States of America.



Fun events in Chicago this weekend

Sorry for the delay of this dispatch my friends, but only good things have been taking my time away from this blog, such as moving into my new place and planning a trip to Peru! I’ll miss our dear Chicago for a few days in November, but I promise to make time and post about all the excitement and fun I will have in Peru (like paragliding in Lima and doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!). So without further due, here they are, my picks for this weekend:

10/11: Jovan D. Mihailovic – The Renaissance Man – SOLO Art Exhibition Closing Reception

Jovan is a 78 year old Serbian painter, violinist, writer and theatre director. His visual art is themed on the idea of the Venus of Venice and painted with oil on canvas. The current collection spans the last 20 years of Jovan’s life in Chicago and includes his newest work based on commemorations to Van Gogh and Renoir. Jovan also plays music from all over Eastern Europe as well as American Jazz standards. Read More

10/11: Tango, Samba, and Miami Style Salsa dance events

Tonight, Tango Che is having a  milonga (325 N. Hoyne, dial *05
$15/$20 with class), Swing Brasileiro is playing Samba at Revolver, or you can catch a free casino salsa/rueda class at Dylans. Which one would you like to explore?

10/10-24: Chicago International Film Festival

The 49th Chicago International Film Festival kicked off yesterday at the Chicago Theatre with the movie THE IMMIGRANT. The festival opens a window onto new worlds to Chicagoans through the exploration of other countries, languages, cultures and different ways of thinking, all the while confirming our shared stories and common humanity. Wanna see what the festival has in store for us? Check the schedule here

10/11-12: Pilsen East Artist’s Open House

Coinciding with October 2nd Fridays, the Pilsen East Artists’ Open House is a well-loved neighborhood tradition, open to visitors to the Chicago Arts District. The Open House is a self-guided walking tour of the intimate world of the working artist. Not only can visitors experience the 30+ galleries that comprise the Chicago Arts District, but they are also invited into the otherwise private artist residences. Read More 

10/13: Chicago Marathon

In its 36th year and as a member of the World Marathon Majors, the Bank of America Chicago Marathon annually attracts 45,000 participants, including a world-class elite runner and wheelchair athlete field, and an estimated 1.7 million spectators. This is a sports spectacle that is worth watching. You will feel an exciting and festive atmosphere along the 26 miles of the race. You might even find enthusiastic DJs and musicians cheering up the runners. Click for useful spectator information. My favorite spot to watch is somewhere along 18th Street in the Pilsen neighborhood. What’s yours?


10/13-11/03: Contemporary Dance Made in the Midwest at the Chicago Cultural Center and Storefront Theater

 This is a free month-long series of work by emerging and mid-career Midwest-base choreographers and dance companies. Read More

Ongoing: Chicago Artists Month (CAM)
The annual month-long celebration is going “In the Neighborhood.” Discover the work of hundreds of Chicago artists through exhibitions, openings, art walks, open studios, performances and opportunities for learning/making. Each weekend CAM focuses on a different neighborhood with a series of art events in curated by a local arts expert. This month, the event will feature the Portgage Park, South Shore/South Chicago, Pilsen/Little Village and East Garfield Park neighborhoods. Featured events are:
Celestial Bodies: September 29 –October 31st
Boundless Shores: South Chicago/South Shore. October 1-31
Jazz Brunch at the Parrot Cage in South Shore Cultural Center: October 13
Click here for more information.

10/13: Chicago Humanities Festival

The Chicago Humanities Festival kicks off this weekend and runs until November 10. Its mission is to create opportunities for people of all ages to support, enjoy and explore the humanities. They fulfill this mission through our annual festivals, the fall Chicago Humanities Festival and the spring Stages, Sights & Sounds, and by presenting programs throughout the year that encourage the study and enjoyment of the humanities.Here is the full festival line up for October 13 and the other days.  


Fun events in Chicago Oct 1-6

So October is here already! The government shutdown is on but Chicago does not stop offering us fun activities throughout the month. Look out for the Chicago Marathon, a couple of Fashion Weeks and the International Film Festival in the upcoming days. Here are my picks for this week:

Ongoing: Chicago Artists Month (CAM)
The annual month-long celebration is going “In the Neighborhood.” Discover the work of hundreds of Chicago artists through exhibitions, openings, art walks, open studios, performances and opportunities for learning/making. Each weekend CAM focuses on a different neighborhood with a series of art events in curated by a local arts expert. This month, the event will feature the Portgage Park, South Shore/South Chicago, Pilsen/Little Village and East Garfield Park neighborhoods. Featured events are:
Celestial Bodies: September 29 –October 31st
Boundless Shores: South Chicago/South Shore. October 1-31
Jazz Brunch at the Parrot Cage in South Shore Cultural Center: October 13
Click here for more information.

10/1-5: Latino Fashion Week

This is the only full week and tour dedicated to Latino Fashion in the United States, showcasing top Latino designers from Central and South America, the Caribbean and the U.S. Read More

10/3: The Rhythm of Rajasthan Concert

The Rhythm of Rajasthan performs an exciting fusion of traditional rhythms and melodies from the state of Rajasthan. The group captures the romanticism and heroism of the north Indian desert in a visceral hypnotic performance of poetry, dance, and music. The hereditary caste musicians perform the traditional music of the Langa and Manganiar in addition to Kalbelia dance as a component in the group’s colorful and stunning performance.Read More

10/3 5-8pm: Pop-Art Loop Gallery Walk

Enjoy art, beverages and good company in the Loop’s newest galleries. It’s the final Pop-Up Art Loop gallery walk of 2013. Free and open to the public. Read More

10/3: James Bond themed Masquerade Soirée
A party to bring clean & safe drinking water to those in developing nations (Charity Water), as well as to benefit the Chicago Basket Brigade. The Basket Brigade’s mission is to help local struggling families enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together by anonymously delivering them a surprise gift of a beautifully wrapped basket of food for the holidays to enjoy.Read More

10/3 8:30pm: First Chicago International Festival of Organ and Instrumental Music at Holy Trinity Polish Church, 1118 Noble St (free parking)

Gedymin Grubba – organ (Gdansk, Poland) http://www.gedymin.org and Ian Maksin – cello (USA/Russia) http://www.ianmaksin.com
Tickets: $12 online discount at http://www.ianmaksin.com $15 at the door
Music by J.S. Bach, Buxtehude, Janca, Guilmant and Maksin. Portion of the proceeds for this performance will be donated to the music program at the Holy Trinity High School.

Ongoing: Second City’s a Clown Car Named Desire
A spectacular night of illusion featuring brave, multitasking mothers expressing themselves, hyper hipsters competing for the ultimate in cool, and long-term monogamous couples desperately trying to remember how they got that way. Read More

10/5: Opening of Chicago Lyric Opera 59th Season: Otello

The curtain rises on Lyric’s 59th season on October 5 with Verdi’s OTELLO!  If you can’t make it to the opera house, tune in to the live broadcast on 98.7WFMT and streaming worldwide at www.wfmt.combeginning at 4:45pm CDT!

10/6 Art Depth’s Annual Party: Goddess
Artists will be creating on-site during GODDESS – an official program of Chicago Artists Month. Their work as well as select work of others will be presented later that month in a pop-up-exhibit. As always, inspiration will provided by Lady Jack | Lindsey Marks,Randi Russo and Maja Bijedić will be adding something special to this evening! For more details visit GODDESS (Art Depth’s 4th Annual) or http://www.artdepth.org

Fun Events in Chicago: September 16-22

9/16: Krar Collective at Constellation – World Music Festival

If you missed Sunday’s show at Millennium Park due to the rain, you have a chance to see this show indoors tonight! Live dance and music with the internationally-acclaimed Ethiopian band, Krar Collective, as part of the World Music Festival. Come enjoy the diverse sounds and rhythms of Ethiopia tonight at 9:00 – come early for the opening act! Read More

Ongoing: World Music Festival

The Chicago World Music Festival is in full swing until the end of this week. Check the calendar of event for this week here. Don’t miss the “One World Under One Roof – Closing Night” at the Chicago Cultural Center this Sunday September 22nd. Free

9/17: Live Salsa Tuesday at Alhambra- Carpacho Y Super Combo on stage!

Carpacho and his Super Combo started in 1986 with the main idea of integrating the band with musicians from various countries. The objective was to demonstrate the typical sound of music of each Latin American country. The band is succeeding to this end. They currently have musicians from the United States, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, and Colombia. I have been to a couple of their performances and the band surely puts you to dance all night long. Read More

9/19 Dîner en Blanc
A “secret” event that started in Paris and has become global. At the last minute, the location is given to thousands of friends and acquaintances who have been patiently waiting to learn the “Dîner en Blanc’s” secret place. Thousands of people, dressed all in white, and conducting themselves with the greatest decorum, elegance, and etiquette, all meet for a mass “chic picnic” in a public space. Read More

9/20: Chicago Music Summit
Calling all musicians and music industry professionals! There’s still time to be part of the inaugural Chicago Music Summit, September 20. It’s your chance to meet, mingle with and learn from leaders in the industry. Read More

9/19 Particle Party at Adler after Dark
Exclusively for adults, this 21+ evening event offers you open access, unlimited shows, and unique entertainment. For one night a month, the Adler’s Doane Observatory is exclusively open for Adler After Dark guests. This tour of Chicago’s largest public telescope is not to be missed. Music, a cash bar, and the best views of Chicago’s skyline round out the night. The theme for this Wednesday is “Particle Party.” Explore the world of particle physics at this subatomic Adler After Dark. People from Fermilab will be on hand for a special panel discussion exploring the “Three Frontiers” of particle physics-energy, intensity, and cosmic, all of which are radically altering how we understand the universe. Discover otherwise invisible particles with a special Cloud Chamber, check out how particle accelerators work, and enjoy all the museum has to offer-cocktail in hand. Read More

9/21 Expo Chicago
The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, will once again present over 125 leading international galleries at Festival Hall at Navy Pier. These exceptional galleries represent 17 different countries and 36 different cities, offering a broad spectrum of modern and contemporary artwork. Building on the success of the exposition’s inaugural year, EXPO CHICAGO/2013 will ensure Chicago’s place as an annual international fair destination. Read More

9/21 Art for The heart event at The Polish American Museum
Art for Heart is again proud to present Chicago’s talented Polish and Polish-American artists and share their artwork with the community. This year the event runs from Saturday, September 21st through Friday, September 27th with the exciting open night held on the 21st from 7 to 11 pm. Come mingle with the artists, enjoy complimentary appetizers, a cash bar and a live DJ. Read More

9/21 M.A.K.U* SoundSystem + SOULPHONETICS at Navy Pier

M.A.K.U. SoundSystem makes big music that begins in traditional Afro- Colombian rhythms and ends somewhere in the punk-jazz stratosphere. Free. Read More

9/22 Learnapalooza in Logan Square
The Learnapalooza Festival is a community-building event offering free workshops and classes lead by volunteers and hosted by local businesses. Read More

Fun Events in Chicago: September 9 – 15

Ongoing until 9/15: Beethoven Festival: Love 2013

A festival inspired by the creativity and genius of Ludwig van Beethoven. Music of all genres fully integrated with visual, performance and installation art of all styles, plus education, parties, great conversations, good food and drink. LOVE 2013 will be headquartered at Merit School of Music’s Joy Faith Knapp Music Center, with substantial programming taking place throughout the surrounding West Loop neighborhood. Read More

9/11 World Music Wednesdays with Andreas Kapsalis and Goran Ivanovic at Old Town School of Folk Music

Steel string ten finger tapping guitar prodigy Andreas Kapsalis, and nylon string classical guitarist Goran Ivanovic have fused their musical roots with modern, classical, world, jazz, and beyond in this experimental duo. Read More

9/11: 15th Annual Concert for Peace at Millennium Park

Come for an evening of gong and songs. Fulcrum Point New Music Project, commemorates the events of September 11th with its annual Concert for Peace. This year’s program will showcase compositions by South Asian composers. This interactive concert of music for strings, gongs and song features an international processional of Chicago Public School students, the World Premiere of Robert and Kathleen Lombardo’s tribute to Holocaust survivors, “Against Forgetting”, Param Vir’s tantric prayer for peace, “…beyond the reach of the world…”, and “Shanti Paath: One Resonance: One Peace” by Elizabeth Basta and Kalyan Pathak to which you can sing your prayer and ring a gong for peace! Read More

9/12-22: World Music Festival Chicago Returns to Millennium Park and Citywide

The World Music Festival Chicago will once again present traditional and contemporary international music September 12-22 in multiple venues throughout the city. More than 75 free events are scheduled including concerts, live radio performances and interviews and educational workshops. In 2013, the festival will open and close with five days of performances at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavillion featuring the music of Latin America, India, Africa and Asia, among others. Don’t miss the legendary Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra with Plena Libre & AfriCaribe on Thursday, September 12. The festival also includes a Festival au Desert – Caravan for Peace and an all-night celebration (9pm-8am) of Indian Classical Music at the Chicago Cultural Center. Read More

9/13: Cafe Tacvba in Concert

Café Tacvba, one of the most important Latin American rock bands mixes influences from indigenous folk traditions, Jarocho, and electro punk to form a style known to their fans as Rock en Español. They’ll be performing in Chicago this Friday at Aragon Ballroom. Read More

9/13-15: American Indian Center of Chicago’s 60th Annual Pow Wow

Enjoy native foods, artists, vendors, singers, and dancers – ALL are welcome!!
Busse Woods Forest Preserve-Elk Grove Village, IL (Rt. 72 nera Rt. 53). Read More

9/13-15: Riot Fest
Riot Fest is an annual punk music festival happening in Humboldt Park, but This year’s edition offers reunions, hip-hop, ska, folk and rock & roll hall-of-famers. My favorite act this year is Blondie! Read More

9/14: Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater 15th Anniversary Fall Concert

Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre is a unique dance theatre company that fuses contemporary Latin dance, live music, and visual art to express the stories of American diversity. The company is celebrating its 15th anniversary with the premiere of new works, featuring original live music and contemporary dance. The company does a wonderful work in the community exposing youth in underserved communities to contemporary dance, cultural diversity, and conflict resolution. I had an interesting conversation with Wilfredo Rivera (Artistic Director) and Stu Greenspan (Musical Director) a few weeks ago for CAN TV’s show Perspectivas Latinas. Watch the interviews and some videos of their beautiful work here:

9/15: Guatemalan Independence Day Parade

Guatemala celebrates its independence from Spain this Sunday at noon at the corner of Montrose and California Avenues. Don’t miss it!

9/15: Buen Provecho Pilsen – A Restaurant Tour

Eighteenth Street Development Corporation is proud to sponsor this end of Summer event. Tickets to this event are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. You can sample over 30 different restaurants for only $25. This year’s Buen Provecho! Pilsen will be held on Sunday, September 15, 2013, from 2pm-7pm. Read More

9/15: 5k Run for Huaytara, Peru

From the Illinois Peruvian American Medical Society (ILPAMS). Proceeds from this event will be used to for their next mission: to convert an existing small clinic into a Medical-Surgical Center. Read More

9/15: Open Streets Chicago
Open Streets Chicago temporarily closes streets to vehicle traffic, so that people may use them for walking, jogging, bicycling, dancing, skateboarding and more. This year’s Open Streets will take place in Wicker Park/Bucktown/Logan Square. Families can get out and have fun while promoting community culture in a car-free public space along 3 miles of Milwaukee Avenue. Come and enjoy healthy recreation including biking, running, yoga classes, skate parks, interactive playgrounds, and climbing walls. Read More

9/15 The Bucktown 5K
The Bucktown 5K is a 5 Km Chicago neighborhood race that is a warm-up to Chicago Marathon. Read More

Fun Events in Chicago: August 26 – September 01

8/26: Free Eastern Blok Concert at Webster Wine Bar

The Chicago-based world fusion jazz ensemble Eastern Blok performs at Webster Wine Bar (1480 W Webster Ave) at 9pm . Their inventive re-interpretations of old standards and innovative original compositions are a by-product of the artful blending of many diverse styles with jazz including classical, Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Serbian folk, Klezmer, rock and a smattering of Middle Eastern flavorings as well. Read More

8/27: Venezuelan Movie Screening and Food – Rock Paper Scissors

Enjoy traditional Venezuelan food plus wine and beer followed by the screening of the 29th Chicago Latino Film Festival box office hit ‘Rock, Paper, Scissors’ (Piedra, papel o tijera). Read More

8/28: Logan Square International Film Series

In my book, this is one of the reasons why Logan Square is the coolest neighborhood in Chicago: it offers a free outdoors International Film Series featuring classic & emerging foreign films from every corner of the globe, all in their original languages (with English subtitles). All movies are screened every Wednesday at 8pm on the Comfort Station Lawn (2579 N. Milwaukee Ave); in case of bad weather, the movie will be screened inside the Comfort Station. This Wednesday, you will have the chance to see one of my favorite movies: The Motorcycle Diaries. Read More

8/28: 2013 Jazz Club Tour

The Jazz Club Tour takes its patrons for a ride to venerable jazz clubs, small joints, and community centers throughout Chicago. Explore and enjoy the longstanding bebop traditions of the Jazz Showcase in the South Loop, the upscale environs of the Drake Hotel’s Palm Court and Coq d’Or, and everything in between. All you have to do to join the fun is buy a promotional button ($25) that gives access to all participating clubs as well as trolley transportation between clubs. Read More

8/28: Red Baraat at World Music Wednesdays

This Wednesday at 8:30pm, The Old Town School of Folk Music (4544 N Lincoln Ave) presents Brooklyn’s band Red Baraat, a pioneering eight-piece band that has drawn worldwide praise for its singular sound – a merging of hard driving North Indian bhangra rhythms with elements of jazz, brass funk, and hip-hop. Free with a $10 suggested donation

8/29-9/01: Chicago Jazz Fest

Join hundreds of thousands in celebrating Chicago’s rich jazz history in this free event, the first of which began as a tribute to Duke Ellington in 1974. Currently the largest, free festival of its kind in the world, the Chicago Jazz Festival regularly draws top names in the genre. The festival’s mission is to showcase Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside national and international artists to encourage and educate a jazz audience of all ages. Read More

8/29: Salsa at Lincoln Park Zoo
Dance to live music beneath the stars at Lincoln Park Zoo. This new event, held on the rooftop café in the heart of the zoo, features performances by Latin dance bands and group instruction by leading salsa dance instructors. This Thursday, the event will feature the Celia Cruz Tribute Band. Dance lessons by Saladeen from Chicago International Salsa Congress. Read More

8/29: Fandanguero & Soulphonetics-Tropical Addictions Series at The Dock Montrose Beach

Free. All Ages. By the beach. Read More

8/29-31: West Indian Folk Dance Company presents “Marley” – One in a Million (Bruce Hayden Theater – Malcolm X College – 1900 W Van Buren St)

This lyrical piece is set to a medley of the Rasta icon’s best-loved music, with a fusion of traditional and contemporary choreography designed to spotlight the meaning behind those songs. Featured is a jazzy reggae-type dance style which underscores the other side of Marley, the global relevance of his message, and what his work means to the World. Read More

8/30-9/02 Taste of Polonia

Music, food, and movies from Poland will be showcased at Copernicus Center this weekend (5215 W Lawrence). Read More

8/31: Fiesta Boricua

The 20th Anniversary of Fiesta Boricua a.k.a. Bandera a Bandera will be celebrated this weekend. This is a festival honoring Puerto Rican traditions, heritage & culture.Read More

8/31: Son Jarocho International Exchange Project

In a special concert that marks the opening of the new Ruiz Belvis Center, Afrojarochos will be joined by members of the world renown Muntu Dance Theater Ensemble and the community based Puerto Rican ensemble, Buya. This concert will demonstrate the popular interpretation of African and mestizo culture in the context of maintaining traditions in “the new world” and in extraordinary circumstances – as the practice of maintaining ones “roots” has been routinely discouraged and even outlawed throughout centuries. 2pm at Calles y Sueños (1900 S Carpenter St). Read More

8/3-9/2: African Festival of the Arts

Annually during Labor Day Weekend, the Festival grounds in Chicago’s Washington Park come alive in a simulated African village. Attendees are transported across the Diaspora with interactive demonstrations, vibrant drumming, historical artifacts, colorful and rich fabrics, informative health and wellness workshops, as well as fascinating entertainment. Read More

Fun Events in Chicago: August 19-25

August 20-24: Chicago Dancing Festival
Where can you see Hubbard Street, Giordano, the Joffrey Ballet, Ensemble Español, Natya Dance Theater and the Chicago Human Rhythm Project for free? At the best Dance Festival in the States for free. The Festival’s mission is to present a wide variety of excellent dance, enrich the lives of Chicago residents and provide increased accessibility to the art form, thereby helping create a new audience. Its vision is to raise the national and international profile of dance in the city, furthering Chicago as a dance destination. If for no other reason, you must see the Ensemble Español do their Bolero number. One of the most spectacular things you will ever see. Ole! Last year, more than 2,500 people showed up at Millennium Park for the closing performance, so make sure you get there early to find a good spot. Read More

8/20: Chicago Full Moon Jam

The jams are monthly celebrations, bringing together a diverse community of performers, musicians and spectators. Dozens of fire spinners perform to music provided by local percussionists, using performance tools such as poi (a set of chains with weighted ends), staff, hula hoops and fans. It’s a display that is part artistry and part athleticism, inspired by a long tradition of fire performance with roots in South Pacific cultures. They begin at sundown and end at 10:15pm. The jams take place at the Chicago lakefront park, between Foster and Lawrence Avenues. FREE. Read More

8/20: Movies at Millennium Park – DreamGirls

The Dreamettes are seeking fame and fortune and a Cadillac salesman seizes the opportunity to make them stars but not before he replaces the big booming voice of Effie with the slimmer Deena. The two singers take very different paths as Effie ends up on welfare and Deena becomes a star. Hudson won an Oscar for her first film, starring as Effie. 2006 (130 min.). FREE. Film will begin at 7:30 pm

8/21: How to be an Artistic Entrepreneur

Are you an emerging artist looking for guidance on how to get to the next level? Perhaps you want to learn how to take better pictures of your work? How about opening your own store? Well, then come to this amazing FREE event at CARAVAN BEADS OF CHICAGO (3339 N. Lincoln Ave). There will be four guest speakers to help you become a better Entrepreneur. They will also have free food, wine, and even a musical performance. Read More

Ongoing: SummerDance Fest
This week Summerdance offers Eastern European, Steppin’, Gypsy and Swing sance lessons and live music. FREE. Read More

8/22-25: Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana celebrates the history and heritage of our city’s Little Italy neighborhood. This four-day festival welcomes everyone looking to enjoy a taste of Italy. Shop on Taylor Street, eat authentic cuisine and bring your kids to the Momsay Kids Stage for family-friendly entertainment. There will also be three stages packed with lively musical acts with lineups to be announced. Read More

UPDATE: 8/23-25 Taste of Latin America has been POSTPONED until 2014

The 2nd annual Taste of Latin America that was supposed to happen this weekend in Humboldt Park has been postponed until 2014Read More

8/23-25: Brazil Fest

Celebrate Brazilian culture at the 2nd annual Brazil Fest Chicago! Immerse yourself in the richness of Brazilian culture through food, music, dance, folk art, kids activities, carnaval parades, and other art forms. By the way, I will be with Passistas Samba Dance group sharing the fun on stage on Sunday. Read More

8/24: 50th Anniversary Celebration of the March of Washington
This is a tribute by the DuSable Museum of one of the largest political rallies for human rights in United States history. It called for civil and economic rights for African Americans, and is where Martin Luther King, Jr., standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, delivered his historic “I Have a Dream” speech advocating for racial harmony. FREE. Read More

8/24-25: Taste of Greece 2013 at Chicago’s Greektown

Hellenic pride will take center stage when this acclaimed annual culinary fest on Halsted Street in Chicago’s happening West Loop returns for its 24th year. As most Chicagoans know, this strip of Halsted has been the epicenter of the city’s acclaimed Greek restaurant scene for decades. If you have a sweet tooth, you should definitely try the Loukomades! Yes, food is great at Taste of Greece, but what I love the most is dancing! Greece is one of the few countries in the world where folk dances are as alive today as they were in ancient times. And here you have the chance to share a circle dance with perfect strangers to the sounds of great live Greek music. Don’t miss the chance to experience this. Read More

Fun events in Chicago: August 5-11

8/5: Ebony Fashion Fair

The Chicago History Museum presents Inspiring Beauty: Ebony Fashion Fair, an exhibition of an American story that explores the show’s legacy, vision and creativity of Eunice W. Johnson. You’ll see priceless garments collected over the fashion show’s 50-year history, including works from fashion icons Oscar de la Renta and Christian Dior. Read More

8/6: Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents The Comedy of Errors for its 2013 Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks season! A specially equipped truck will roll into parks around the city, a stage will unfold, and a company of professional actors will share the delight of Shakespeare with families and neighbors of all. Read More

8/6-8: The Garfield Park Conservatory Hosts a Twilight Dance Performance of Paradis

Paradis, by a canary torsi | Yanira Castro is a site-specific contemporary dance performance and audio installation with live piano performed at the Garfield Park Conservatory (300 N. Central Park Ave.) Inspired by the final section of Jena-Luc Godard’s 2004 film, “Notre Musique”, Paradis continues Castro’s exploration of the space between the performer and audience member: The tension in the simultaneous experience of distance and intimacy inherent in the live performed moment.
To reserve a free admission ticket, visit dcase-eorg.eventbrite.com. This performance is not recommended for children under the age of 12. Read More

8/7: Tall Ships Chicago

Majestic and historic tall ships from the world take over Navy Pier at this annual event! You’ll have the chance to view, board and sail on various international vessels. Parade of Sail August 7: See the fleet of 14 international Tall Ships in this official kickoff to the event. Read More

8/7: Black Harvest Film Festival

The Black Harvest Film Festival is our city’s largest and longest-running Black film festival and the Gene Siskel Film Center’s most vibrant annual showcase featuring provocative films that tell stories, spark lively discussions, and address issues relating to the experiences from the African diaspora. Read More

8/7: Concerto for Saxophones with James Carter

Summer heats up with jazz virtuoso James Carter performing Roberto Sierra’s Concerto for Saxophones with Grant Park Orchestra in Millennium Park. Works exploring Brazilian folklore, the tango, and the prairies of Argentina round out this night of Latin American music. This is the program:

Piazzolla: Milongón Festival
Ginastera: Pampeana No. 3
Sierra: Concerto for Saxophones
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras No. 7

Read More

8/9-11: Serb Fest
Experience Serbian culture at its best.
Read More
8/9-11: Ginza Holiday Festival

Throw on a yukata, the summer kimono, at this 57th annual celebration. Meet and buy crafts from master craftsmen called Waza. Live martial arts, cultural songs, classical dances and Japanese food give Chicago a taste of Japan. Get to the fest early Saturday before the entrance fee rises to $10 at 7pm for Yoko Noge’s Japanesque Band. Read More

8/9: Spanish Galician & Irish Bagpipe Music with Carlos Nuñez at Summerdance Fest

A master of the Galician gaita, Carlos Nuñez has travelled the world over as a musical ambassador representing the Spanish-Celtic enclave of Galicia collaborating with The Chieftains, Ry Cooder, and Jackson Browne along the way. Read More

8/9: Kevin Leeds and Global Cooling with Elev8tor Party

This will be a funk/rock/downtempo global dance party at Mayne Stage. Read More

8/9: Babaloo Nights at Park Tavern

This is the grand opening of new Salsa event on Friday nights with Rico No Suave and Eddie Mozkito Cruz. Read More

8/9: Samba Night with Swing Brasileiro

This is another edition of the Pagode Do Marcao (Samba Night) at Revolver Bar (3759 N. Damen Ave) from 10pm to 2am. Read More

8/9: Los Macuanos and Cumbia Machin

Los Macuanos carry disparate influences, which range from minimal techno and dubstep, to more experimental styles like glitch, noise and no wave, while adhering to a strict discourse on traditional Mexican sounds. Cumbia Machin is an Electro-Cumbia project that combines the use of live electronics and sequencers to create an original Dub-Style Cumbia. Read More

8/9: Rhythmic Resistance Caribbean Edition

Celebrate the Existence and Resistance of the Afro-Caribbean people in Panama and Costa Rica. Read More

8/10-11Armenian Fest
Saint Gregory Armenian Church, 6700 W. Diversey
The annual Armenian fest takes place every August during the Feast of the Assumption of the Holy Mother of God. Two days of Armenian music and food on the grounds of St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Church. Read More

8/10: North Halsted Market Days

For 48 hours, the neighborhood of Boystown becomes filled with food, art, music and fun. The 32nd annual Northalsted Market Days is the largest two-day street fair in the Midwest with more than 40 musical performances and 400 food and art vendors. Read More

8/10: Retro on Roscoe

Enjoy top Chicago talent and entertainment on 3 main stages, six full blocks of artisans, antique vendors, and cool merchants, tasty treats from local restaurants, and summertime samplings of regional favorites along this tree-lined street. Read More

8/10: Reggae Beach Party

From 5 to 10pm at Ohio St. Beach. Read More

8/10: Estamos en Salsa Saturdays

Every 2nd Saturday at Taxim (1558 N. Milwaukee Ave). Read More

8/11 : Clinard Dance Theatre Flamenco Summer Culmination Event

I will be performing with Clinard Dance Theatre at this event. It will show student and professional work August 11th at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W 19th St., Chicago, IL) at 2 PM to celebrate the close of its summer session of flamenco classes. The performance will share student studies ranging from beginners to emerging professionals and an excerpt from the Company’s latest original work. Featuring special guest artists Alfonso Cid and Las Guitarras de Espana. Buy your tickets here

8/11: Bebel Gilberto

See Bebel Gilberto live August 11-12 at City Winery. Read More

8/11: Ecuador Parade

The Ecuador Parade will take place in Albany Park (4346 N California Ave) and will feature a vibrant train of floats, along with Andean music and dancing from local folkloric troupes, all celebrating Ecuadorian independence. Free.

8/11: Gipsy Kings

See Gipsy Kings live August 11 at Ravinia. Read More.


How to have fun in Chicago: July 29- August 4

7/30: “The Bad Intentions” at Latino Cultural Center

Spanish with English subtitles
Enjoy traditional Peruvian food plus wine and beer followed by the screening of the 28th Chicago Latino Film Festival box office hit ‘The Bad Intentions’ (Las malas intenciones) by Peruvian director (born in Chicago) Rosario Garcia Montero. With the return of her ever-depressed, pill-popping and now pregnant mother, eight-year-old Cayetana prepares for battle convinced the birth of her brother will end her life. She slips into fantasies with Peruvian war heroes to find acceptance and existence far from her reality – a life of neglect expressed in her malicious behavior, devious planning and cruel wishes. Read More


7/30: Buena Vista Social Club at Millennium Park

A group of legendary Cuban musicians, some in their nineties, were brought together by Ry Cooder to record a CD. In this documentary, we see and hear some of the songs being recorded in Havana and watch as many of these musicians resurrected their careers. 1999 (105 min.) Film will begin at 7:30 pm.

7/31: Sexomedy with Melissa DuPrey

SEXomedy is a raw and edgy comedy show of one’s woman attempt to reveal her truth about sex. In it, Melissa unveils her many tales of frustration, surprise, and pleasures in the bedroom. Read More

8/1: Novalima Concert and After-Party

Founded by four friends from Lima with a shared passion for both traditional Afro-Peruvian music and modern DJ culture, Novalima searches for the common ground between tradition and innovation. Their efforts have helped bridge the divide between the Peruvian mainstream and the Afro-Peruvian community, a minority population that has struggled against discrimination and the threat of cultural dissolution for generations. Read More

8/2-4 Cuban Fest 

Featuring performances by:
Cachao Mambo All Stars, timba superstar Manolín “El Médico de la Salsa,” and award-winning salsa singer Jerry Rivera. Also, Xiomara Laugart, “La Voz de Cuba,” will beperforming with violin virtuoso Alfredo de la Fé’s orchestra. Read More

8/3-5: Lollapalooza Fest and After-Parties

Lollapalooza is Chicago’s biggest music festival. Each year in August, music legends from the alternative, hip hop, punk and pop world join more than 100 bands and musicians in Grant Park for a  3-day musical event that brings hordes of people from all of the city, suburbs, and beyond.  Tickets are sold out, but if you can somehow get one, check out the performances by The Killers, Nine Inch Nails, New Order and Thievery Corporation on Friday, Mumford and Sons on Saturday and The Cure on Sunday. Click here for the complete lineup and here for a list of after-parties starting this Wednesday.

8/3-4: The World of Faeries Festival at Raas Park

This is an annual fest about wizards, dragons, unicorns and anything else related to that fairies world. The festival also has  live acoustic music, fairy art and handcrafts. Read More

8/4 Belize Day in The Park

Try food, crafts, and music from Belize at Hawthorne Race Course(3501 S Laramie Ave). Read More

How to have fun in Chicago: July 15-21

July 15 6:30pm: Fatoumata Diawara+ Alasdair Roberts and Friends Concert at Millennium Park

Fatoumata Diawara‘s debut album, Fatou, is almost entirely her own work: self-composed and arranged, with her own backing vocals and percussion. The artist, raised in Mali, but now based in Paris, creates her own sound with a distinctly African spin. Inspired by Wassoulou tradition, jazz and blues, Diawara has overcome cultural prejudice faced by women to make her own music that is well-received by giants in the industry. Opening the stage this evening is Irish Folk group and Drag City Recording artists Alasdair Roberts and Friends. Free

July 16: Tuesdays on the Terrace

The Museum of Contemporary Art’s Terrace turns into a jazz concert every Tuesday this summer. Hosted by Al Carter-Bay along with Richton Guy Thomas, Linda Hall and Leslie Keros from WHPK 88.5fm, this live entertainment event will let you unwind while enjoying the company of others outside. Read More

July 17th 6-8:30pm: Sounds of History Jazz Series – A Tribute to Nancy Wilson, Nina Simone, & Abby Lincoln

Bring your blankets & chairs and enjoy a jazzy summer on the patio of the DuSable Museum! Jazz Treats will be available for you to purchase-Food, Spirits & Cds. Free. Click here for more information

July 19-20: Latin Jazz Festival at Humboldt Park Boathouse

Friday: 7 – 9 p.m.
Saturday: 1 – 8 p.m.

Celebrate Latino traditions old and new at the 7th Latin Jazz Festival. This year’s theme, Celebrating Community Through Culture, features music, dance, art making, parades and more for the whole family to enjoy. Read More

July 19 6-9pm: Steppin’ Under the Stars

Put on your dancing shoes and head to the DuSable Museum for a night of Steppin’ Under the Stars this summer! Each night features celebrity “Steppin'” DJs and host V-103 Personality Herb Kent. Food and drink will be available for purchase. Schedule July 19 August 16 September 20. Free. Read More

July 19-21: Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork is considered one of the most comfortable and reasonably priced weekends of music in Chicago, featuring both emerging and internationally renowned acts. It’s all about positivity and fun so both the musicians and crowd can have a great time! Watch out for Bjork and R Kelly performances. Read More

July 20-21: Celebrate Clark Street

From vibrant rhythms that get you moving to flavorful treats from around the globe, Celebrate Clark Street will please your senses. Now in its eighth year, this street festival is all about showing off the unique Rogers Park community. It continually breaks the mold of Chicago’s street festivals. Read More

July 20-21: Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival

Dawes Park turns into a global village for the annual Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival! Flags of more than 100 nations will be flown to honor diversity. Experience the colors, sounds and tastes of countries represented by every continent. The free festival includes live music, dance performances, arts and crafts. Read More

July 21: Chinatown Summer Fair

Enjoy the best in Asian cultural entertainment including live music, food, Chinese arts and crafts exhibits, street vendors, and a children’s play area. Music & Dance Dragon and Lion Dance procession Old and New World music acts Folk dancing Martial arts demonstrations Food Participating Chinatown restaurants haven’t been announced … Read More

July 21: Sheffield Garden Walk & Festival

The 45th Annual Sheffield Garden Walk & Festival is the perfect event for anyone with a green thumb. You can enjoy the outdoors while taking in the sights and smells of lovely gardens, live music and fresh food. The Tours Self-guided tours of more than 80 gardens Guided Architectural. Read More

Chicago Skyline from a boat

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