Did you miss the Santa Speedo Run at Magnificent Mile (see picture below)  yesterday? If you did, then keep on reading so you don’t miss all the fun going on this month around Chicago.

Christmas Around The World at the Museum of Science and Industry

Nobody does the holidays like MSI. Enjoy a one-of-a-kind seasonal celebration by joining them for Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light, a Chicago tradition which began in 1942 with a single tree dedicated to the Allies of World War II.

As always, the Museum’s 45-foot Grand Tree takes center stage in the Rotunda with more than 30,000 lights and 1,000 ornaments, surrounded by more than 50 smaller trees beautifully decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent their various cultures and holiday traditions (see picture on top of this page). Stroll through the trees, enjoy intermittent falling “snow” and savor the performances on the Holiday Stage. School choral groups perform during the week, and ethnic song and dance performances take place on the weekends in conjunction with the exhibit. I had the pleasure to perform this year with Pachacamac Folk Dance group. Click here to check the schedule of performances.

Lincoln Park Zoo Christmas Lights

Enjoy the brilliance of this annual fun and free  holiday celebration, featuring luminous displays and holiday-season activities throughout zoo grounds. Find more information about this event here.

Sing A Song

Caroling at Cloud Gate has returned on Fridays through December 21. Each Friday night at 6pm during the holiday season, a different choral group will entertain and everyone is encouraged to sing-along. The Windy City Gay Chorus and Aria kicked off this year’s performances. The lineup is the Merit Conservatory Choir – November 30; Chicago Children’s Choir – December 7; Janet Sutton and The Voices of Acme – December 14; and Apollo Chorus of Chicago – December 21. Oh! And don’t forget to ice skate at Mc Cormick Tribune ice rink while you are there.

Maxwell Street Market Dog Holiday Costume Contest

The Maxwell Street Market is getting into the holiday spirit with a special Dog Holiday Costume Contest on Dec 9. You can register your dog at The event begins at 10:30am with the judging at noon. Prizes are for the top two dogs. Event takes place in the market’s parking lot. Also, Santa Claus will be making a stop at the Market that same day and your dog can take a picture with Santa. The man in the red suit will also visit with children and return again on December 16.

Dance-Along Nutcracker (December 9, 2012)

Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St, Preston Bradley Hall). Performances – 12 Noon and 3 pm. Dance Lessons at 11 am and 2 pm by ARCC Ballet – 5th Floor of the Chicago Cultural Center. FREE admission.

Sugar-plum fairies and toy soldiers of all ages return once again for the ninth annual Dance-Along Nutcracker, an interactive holiday event presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.  Audience members, young and old, are encouraged to dress in their finest tutus and hit the dance floor alongside professional dancers. Music will be provided by the Lakeside Pride Symphonic Band.

The Second Annual Afro-Caribbean Improvised Music Festival (December 12-16, 2012)

The Afro-Caribbean Improvised Music Festival takes place throughout Chicago and its suburban areas and it’s possible thanks to a collaboration between Agúzate, Latin Street Dancing, Lázaro Law Group, Old Town School of Folk Music, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, Sound Culture and The Willowbrook Ballroom.

Free and ticketed concerts will feature both local and touring talent from New York and Puerto Rico. Find more information about this event here

ChristKindlmarket Chicago

Each year, people from all over the world visit the Christkindlmarket Chicago. The outdoor market in the Chicago Loop has become so popular and loved by everyone that any Chicagoan will tell you that they could not imagine the city without it. Christkindlmarket Chicago is no longer just a German tradition, it has become a Chicago institution. The unique shopping experience, typical German food and drinks, as well as diverse holiday entertainment make the Christkindlmarket Chicago a preferred and popular destination. Admission is FREE!

CTA Holiday Train

The Chicago Transit Authority is getting into the holiday spirit with our popular Holiday Train! Santa and his elves will ride the train passing out candy canes and season’s greetings. The spectacular train is an amazing sight – during the daytime and at night. The outside of the six-car train is adorned with holiday seasonal images. Thousands of twinkling lights outline the shape of the train and windows, with even more lights running across the tops of the cars. Interiors of the cars are decked out with thousands of multi-colored lights, red bows, garland, and red and green overhead lighting. The hand poles are wrapped to look like candy canes. As the train pulls into each station, Santa waves to the boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees. Click here to see the train’s schedule.



Friday Nov 2- Sunday 4, 2012 at Navy Pier (600 E Grand Ave). Cost: $15

This event is highly recommended.  It features beautiful masterworks of contemporary and modern art and design, sculpture, functional art, non-traditional and visionary art, plus related special exhibits, lectures and demonstrations from artists from throughout the world.  We took a sneak peek last night and really enjoyed it. Visit our photo gallery here.  Visit for more information.


MOULING ROUGE® – The Ballet”

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s

7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway; $30-$74; 

The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (ATRU) welcomes Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet (RWB) to the stage for the Chicago Premiere of “Moulin Rouge® – The Ballet” November 2, 3, 4. Based on the world’s most infamous cabaret, the ballet features high kicking choreography and a passionate story of love, ambition and heartbreak, transporting audiences to turn of the century Paris. It is a rare appearance by the Royal Winnipeg with a show that has been getting positive buzz. Click here for more information and to buy your tickets.


Nov 01 – Nov 09 at 8PM at Casa Michoacan (1638 S Blue Island Chicago). FREE

A festival offering concerts, workshops and conferences about Latin American Guitar. Find more information about this event here.


Nov 02,  4:00 pm – 8:00 pm at Dvorak Park (1119 W Cullerton St. Chicago), FREE

Pros Arts Studio proudly presents the 33rd annual Dia de Muertos celebration, Muertos de la Risa in breathtaking Pilsen. Join a community procession featuring giant pole puppets, face painting and street-level ofrendas—a memorable evening of thigh-slapping carcajadas and belly laughter. Find more information about this event here.



November 1-11 , various locations and prices

The Chicago Humanities Festival’s mission is to create opportunities for people of all ages to support, enjoy and explore the humanities. This festival offers very interesting lectures about Arts and Architecture, History, Literature, Philosophy, Public Affairs, and Science and Technology. One lecture we are interested in attending is the “America Dances” lecture. Find a complete list of presentations here


November 2-4. Lycée Français de Chicago (613 W. Bitterweet Pl. Chicago) $5 for the festival.

This market will have French cooking demonstrations and holiday shopping to choose from the best of French merchandise and cuisine. Visitors enjoy live French music. Proceeds will go to support students at this French-speaking school. A Vietnamese-themed cocktail party on Friday Nov 2 kicks things off ($35 in advance, $45 at the door). Find more information about this event here.

UMBRELLA MUSIC FESTIVAL: European Jazz Meets Chicago

Wednesday, November 7th & Thursday, November 8th at the Chicago Cultural Center

Umbrella Music is a Chicago-based collective dedicated to presenting jazz and improvised music. Artists from Austria, France, Germany, and Lithuania will perform at this event. For more information please go to


November 17 8pm-10:30pm, Underground Wonderbar (710 N CLARK ST. Chicago between Superior and Huron)
Nearest El station: State and Chicago Red Line Stop
Cover: $10
Chicago Urbanite, Chicago’s top blog promoting world music and dance, invites you to come celebrate and be grateful with us! Live music by NuBambu, the hottest rumba-reggae band in Chicago.  Cover includes access to all of Underground Wonderbar stages. Free giveaways. If you have never attended a Chicago Urbanite event, now is the perfect time to experience an amazing time.  RSVP on Facebook to get more information about this party.


Thursday, November 22, 2012 8-11 AM, Downtown Chicago on State Street—from Congress to Randolph. Live national broadcast on WGN America

Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1936 when Walter Gregory, then president of the State Street Council, created the “Christmas Caravan” intended to stimulating economic development on State Street and also to cheer people up during the Depression. Find more information about the parade here


Tuesday November 20 4:30pm at Daley Plaza (Washington St. & Dearborn St. Chicago)

The City of Chicago and UL are proud to present the official start of the holiday season with the Tree Lighting Ceremony. This is a highly-anticipated event drawing people of all ages to the heart of Chicago’s downtown “Loop.” Musical performances and festive holiday music begin at 4:30 pm and the holiday season officially commences at 5:00 pm, when the switch is flipped and the lights begin to dazzle in Daley Plaza. The 2012 Tree Lighting Ceremony will include performances by Gentleman’s Rule and the Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol.

Also, “the Bean” highlights the season with song. Caroling at Cloud Gate returns with evening concerts on five consecutive Fridays at 6 pm beginning with Friday, November 23. And remember skaters, the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink opens for business again on Friday, November 16. Skating is free and rentals are available for $10. It’s the perfect way to burn off those holiday calories. Also, there is a Magnificient Mile Lights Festival & Parade happening on November 17 at 5:30pm


West African, Flamenco and Samba for today

Good morning! My picks for today are:

LunchBreak – Music Without Borders: L’Orchestre Super Vitesse

Modern West African Dance Orchestra

Randolph Cafe :: 78 E. Washington St.
12:15 PM
Modern West African Dance Orchestra L’Orchestre Super Vitesse performs a free lunchtime concert as part of the Music Without Borders Friday series.

LunchBreak’s Music Without Borders Friday concerts feature music styles from around the world. 

Ottmar Liebert + Luna Negra

Old Town School of Folk Music at 4544 N Lincoln Ave Chicago

$30 General Public/$28 Old Town School Members/$26 Seniors & Children

Ottmar Liebert composes, performs and records music in a “nouveau flamenco” style, which mixes elements of flamenco with jazz, bossa nova and other genres. Ottmar Liebert’s music can be difficult to categorize, which is welcomed by the artist himself. It is usually placed in the new age section at record stores, or under world music from Spain. He has recorded with his band, Luna Negra, since 1990. Liebert describes Luna Negra as a “rubber band” — it changes with the seasons, members are always coming in or out.

Alfonso Ponticelli FLAMENCO PROJECT

9pm. Doors open at 7:30 pm

$15 (buy your tickets here)

Mayne Stage, Chicago
Pansequito, Alfonso Ponticelli on guitars
Gil Alexander on percussion
Rami Gabriel on oud and guitar
Tony Ballog on violin
Cristina Dominguez Gutierrez on castanets and dance

Chicago adored gypsy jazz artist Alfonso Ponticelli returns to Mayne Stage showcasing his Flamenco Project. Alfonso will feature very special guest Pansequito, a famed Flamenco singer from Spain, percussionists and Flamenco dancers. Alfonso Ponticelli introduced Chicago to gypsy jazz in the 1990s with inspiration from Django Reinhardt, pioneer virtuoso jazz guitarist and composer. Alfonso is a multi-instrumentalist, who has played banjo and guitar with the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra and has studied abroad with the great gypsy flamenco guitarist Rafael Riqueni.

Also El Payo performs!

Brazilian Tropical Night


Logan Square Auditorium

2539 North Kedzie
Chicago, Illinois
Micareta style dance evening by the Chicago Samba Group.
– Age Limit: 18 and older to enter – Must be 21 or older to drink alcohol.
– Admission fee at the door: $10.00 after 8:30pm.
– Event’s Time: Doors open at 9:00pm it closes at 2:00am, show starts at 10:00pm
– Samba dance lesson.
– Carnaval costume parade by: Samba One Dance Group. Carnaval costumes from 2011’s Brazilian carnival…
– Brazilian Food by Sinha Elegant Cuisine will be available during the event for a separate charge…
– Brazilian drinks, Caipirinha special $5.00
– Directions: By train, Blue Line at Logan Square Station Click here.
– Parking: Street parking, or park in the parking in lot behind the Band Popular.
– Salsa, merengue, bachata, regaton and other styles will be played during the band’s breaks.
For more information:

Bossa Nova for Lunch and Bhangra-Celtic Fusion for Dinner

Friday is here and I have a couple of options for you to start your weekend on a high note. Here they are:


If you happen to be in the Loop today at around noon, then get some summer hotness during your lunch break with Brazilian Bossa Nova trio BOSSA TRES at the MUSIC WITHOUT BORDERS  series  at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St., Randolph Cafe). The members are talented Brazilian musicians Luciano Antonio, Dill Costa & Marcos Oliveira. They have created a wonderful new groove that has influences from Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinicius de Morais, Jorge Ben Jor, Chico Buarque, Djavan, Ivan Lins, Elis Regina, Guinga, Joao Bosco, Joao Gilberto, Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and Zeca Pagodinh. The event is free and starts at 12:15pm.   You can hear a sample of their fabulous music here


The people at Bhangratheque are bringing Vancouver’s hottest bhangra celtic band ‘DEHLI 2DUBLIN’. This is a group of musicians who mash up electronica and world music, keeping it heavy on the bhangra, celtic and dub flavours. Fusing tabla, fiddle, dhol, punjabi vocals, and electric sitar with scorching electronic beats, the crew takes listeners on a wild ride through global sounds and synchronicities. The band is peforming live tonight at DARKROOM (2210 W Chicago Ave) in the Ukranian Village neighborhood. Along with them, DJ Jimmy Singh and DJ Krush will be on the turntable and dancer Ajanta will be offering a Bhangra dance lesson.  Show starts at 9pm. $15 limited advance tickets available here

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