How to Have Fun in Chicago Next Week

June 24 at 9:30pm: Divina Natura Italian light show. Free

This event promises to be super cool. To celebrate the Year of Italian Culture, the Field Museum’s grand façade will transform into a mesmerizing panorama of light created by internationally renowned Italian artist Marco Nereo Rotelli. Through a magical performance of music, poetry, and spectacular light projections, Rotelli will showcase his contemporary twist on Dante’s “Divine Comedy” that celebrates the history and achievements in Italian culture. Divina Natura will incorporate projected text and images that will interact with the building’s classical architectural elements, taking attendees on a voyage that delves into the mind of Dante and his struggle through the sinful circles of hell. The event will incorporate spoken word with readings by respected poets, both in English and a variety of global tongues, and the sonic atmosphere will include a soundtrack by soprano Karolina Dvorakova and a soundtrack by Adrian Leverkuhn and Thomas Masters.


June 24: 1st day of Flamenco Dance Summer Sessions with Clinard Dance Theater. 20% off  beginning level lessons for Chicago Urbanite followers. 

If you have ever been to one of Las Guitarras de Espana show, you have seen Wendy Clinard, the Artistic Director of Clinard Dance Theater, perform with them (see below). Wendy is offering a  7-week Flamenco dance summer session that culminates in a performance at the National Museum of Mexican Art with special guest singer Alfonso Cid. Get 20% off when you mention Chicago Urbanite when you register. Click here for more information. 

June 25 (8-10:15pm): Chicago Full Moon Jam Chicago  at lakefront park, between Foster and Lawrence Avenues. Free

The Chicago Full Moon Jams began in 2004 with a group of friends coming together to celebrate a simple birthday. Since then, it has grown into a monthly celebration, bringing together a diverse community of performers, musicians and spectators. Once the sun sets, dozens of fire dancers 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. Fire spinners include everyone from hobbyists to professional performance artists. The whole thing feels very tribal and earthy. Bring a percussion instrument and join one of the drum circles or just joining them as a dancer in the middle! The jams take place during the warm months on the night of the full moon falling between Sundays and Thursdays. They begin at sundown and end at 10:15pm. Go HERE for detailed jam schedule.

June 27: 1st day of SummerDance Fest. Free

My favorite festival – and the largest annual outdoor dancing series in the United States – starts this Thursday.  This a great public space that congregates a very diverse crowd: you will see people from different ethnicities, backgrounds, and ages getting together to dance with music from around the world, and all for free! Thanks Chicago! My recommendation: Mark your calendar for Romanian Fanfare Ciorcalia concert on July 12. It will be a blast! Click here for the complete calendar.

June 28-30: Milwaukee Ave Arts Fest. $5 suggested donation

This fest is a celebration of the art, music and culture of  trendy Logan Square. It has  great drinks and food from some of Logan Square’s most renowned restaurants. There is also a global funk dance after-party happening on the 29th .Get all the scoop here.

June 29th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM  Bronzeville Historic Bike  Tour. $25-35

The bikes will be hitting the streets of Bronzeville to visit historical sites, like Louis Armstrong and Nat King Cole Homes.  Enjoy food, jazz and big fun! Tickets are available through Eventbrite

June 30 at 1am: The L.A.T.E Bike Ride. Prices vary

Friends of the Parks’ L.A.T.E. Ride is a 25 mile, fun-filled tour of Chicago offering a unique nocturnal experience.  The LATE Ride starts at 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 30 at the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park (Columbus and Congress Avenues).  From there, the course follows a route that winds through a dozen of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods including Chinatown, Little Italy, Greektown, Bucktown, Humboldt Park and Lincoln Square, culminating in a sunrise trek down the Lakefront Trail. Click here for more information.

June 30 at noon: Chicago Pride Parade at the intersection of Broadway and Montrose. Free

I ALWAYS have a such a great time at this parade!  (see picture below). Funny, colorful, and loving people get together to celebrate Chicago’s LGBT community.  The parade will feature 200 registered entries such as floats, decorated vehicles and marching groups representing organizations, groups, businesses, elected government officials and individuals. Click here for more information.

Gay Pride Parade


Chicago is more than Halloween in October. Here are some fun things to do this month that go beyond the “boo” in Halloween.

Chicago Marathon on October 7

This annual favorite attracts over 40,000 runners and thousands of cheering spectators. The marathon goes through some of the city’s most popular and historic neighborhoods. The Chicago Marathon has become a world-class marathon attracting the world’s top runners. Course distance is 26.2 miles with one of the world’s flattest surfaces and unpredictable October weather condition. Click here for more information about this event.


OktoberFest is big in Chicago, and as such, there are many places loaded with goodies for the occasion. Need some suggestions on where to get your German on? TimeOut Chicago magazine recommends seven spots in the city to get an Oktoberfest pint. Get the scoop here.

Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández

Venue: Auditorium Theatre
Dates: Saturday, October 6 – Sunday, October 7, 2012
Times: Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3:00 pm
Price: $74-$30 (Save $10 with code ARTEYVIDA)

Journey through the past with Ballet Folklórico de México, performing within the dance traditions of Mexico for 60 years. Credited as the Cultural Representative of Mexico to the world, Ballet Folklórico offers a lively performance that is full of movement, rhythm and technical perfection. Buy your tickets here.

Fashion Focus Chicago

Fashion Focus Chicago 2012 returns for its eighth year October 15-21. The week-long celebration of Chicago’s thriving fashion industry showcases some of its top designers and features runway shows in Millennium Park and fashion events at various locations around the city. This includes a variety of free and affordable industry happenings, shopping and designer events. Find more information about this event here.

You should also come  see “Fashion and The Field Museum Collection: Maria Pinto at the Field Museum”. The museum gave the Chicago-based designer—whom locals know as a go-to outfitter for fashion-forward professional women, but whom the rest of the world knows as one of the First Lady’s preferred dressmakers—free reign to select pieces from its vast collection of artifacts. From there, Pinto wove loose stories about how the garments relate to present-day fashion, using a few of her own designs as examples. It runs from September 14, 2012 to June 16, 2013.  More information at

Jovanotti in Concert in at Vic Theater in Chicago

Jovanotti–one of Italy’s best performing artists–is coming to the Vic Theatre Oct. 17! He mixes rock, rap, world folk music into an innovative melodic style. His musical career spans 20 years on the Italian music scene. Buy your tickets at

Hubbard Street Dance 35 year Anniversary

Hubbard Street’s 35th Season will kick off October 18th with the world premiere of One Thousand Pieces. Choreographed by Hubbard Street’s Resident Choreographer, Alejandro Cerrudo, this full-length piece features the music of Philip Glass and is inspired by Marc Chagall’s America Windows on display at the Art Institute. The piece is dedicated to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. More information at

Open House Chicago

The Chicago Architecture Foundation’s Open House Chicago is a free public event that offers behind-the-scenes access to over 150 buildings across Chicago.

No reservations are required and everyone is welcome. Explore the hidden gems and architectural treasures of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods — all for free.

150 cool places | 48 hours | Go.

More information at

Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts

Wed Oct 17, 2012 –   Sun Feb 3, 2013

Nearly 200 stunning treasures spanning 250 years bear witness to a period of dramatic change in India. Beginning in the early-1700s as the power of the Moghul Empire waned, the exhibition traces the shift in political control to strong regional powers, colonization by Great Britain, and the emergence of the modern, independent nation in 1947.

Through stunning objects—including beautiful paintings and costumes, fabulous jewelry and weapons, and a golden throne—the exhibition explores the concept of kingship in India, and illuminates the world of the maharajas and their extraordinarily rich culture.  These are the objects they used, commissioned, collected, and loved and through which they realized their multifaceted—and often, conflicting—role as military and political ruler, religious leader, and cultural patron. More information at http://FIELDMUSEUM.ORG/happening/exhibits/maharaja-splendor-indias-royal-courts

48th Chicago International Film Festival

October 11-25, 2012

This annual film festival is the longest-running competitive film festival in North America. Cinema/Chicago, the presenting organization of the Chicago International Film Festival, is a year-round cultural and educational non-profit organization dedicated to fostering better communication among people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image.  Their goal is to serve Chicago’s diverse and under-served citizenry by providing access to world-class cinema and to enrich Chicago’s cultural environment by presenting film in contexts that encourage discussion and debate. More information at