Martin Luther King Day isn’t just a day off from work and school; it’s a day to remember (or learn about) the legacy of a great civil rights hero. Here are the three best ways to spend your day off today in Chicago: 1. Celebrate with the Chicago History Museum The Chicago History Museum is putting on family-friendly programming, including performances by Writers Theatre and the Chicago Chamber Choir. Take your little ones to the museum to learn about Dr. King’s timeless social justice messages. (Chicago History Museum, 1601 N Clark St, 10am–4:30pm. Free for Illinois residents with ID) 2. Take Dr. King’s messages into 2017 Through group break-outs, presentations and open dialogue, kids of all ages can learn for themselves how to apply MLK’s messages in today’s complicated world. The Stop The Violence Forum focuses on tactics for de-escalating violent situations and ways to empower neighborhoods that face gun violence. (Wicker Park, 1425 N Damen Ave, 1pm. Free) 3. Take in a classical music concert Young musicians from all over Chicago come together for Chicago Sinfonietta’s MLK Tribute Concert, an annual tribute to the life of Dr. King. (Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave, 7:30pm. $10–$60) Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
We’re a week away from Inauguration Day, and if you’re not celebrating, at least you’re not alone. Most of the inauguration-related events crossing our desks from Chicago’s creative community in recent days have been framed in terms of protest or resistance, or at the very least promise to funnel funds to the likes of Planned Parenthood or the ACLU. Here’s a selection of some of the marches, protests, performances and talks where you can take solace or take part. Stand Up! Fight Back! Trap Door Theatre hosts a staged reading inspired by Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, featuring Chicago actors reading a selection of activist texts from the last two-plus centuries of American political protest. Donations will be collected for Chicago’s Heartland Alliance. (Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W Cortland St. January 15 at 8pm. Free. Call 773-384-0494 for reservations.) Women’s March Button-Making Party On MLK Day, Busy Beaver hosts an all-ages button-decorating party ahead of the post-inauguration Women’s March events on January 21. Materials and snacks will be provided free of charge. (Busy Beaver Button Company, 3407 W Armitage Ave. January 16, 3pm–8pm. Free. See Facebook event page for more info.) The Ghostlight Project Spearheaded by theatermakers nationwide, the Ghostlight Project invites people to gather outside participating theaters at 5:30pm on inauguration eve in every time zone “to create a ‘light’ for dark times ahead” and pledge to stand for values of i
This week, Republicans in the U.S. Senate began efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In protest, a group of local elected officials and community leaders from Chicago will come together on Sunday to voice their frustration with a move that they say will upend the country’s healthcare system and put millions of Americans (not to mention the economy) in harm’s way. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Sen. Dick Durbin are among those officials attending the weekend rally at the SEIU Healthcare Illinois headquarters in Chicago. Their goal will be to show support for efforts to save the ACA and oppose Republican plans to repeal President Obama’s signature legislation. The rally, dubbed “Our First Stand: Save Health Care,” will take place from 1–3pm at 2229 S Halsted Street. It is part of a series of nationwide events being held on January 15 to oppose repeal of the ACA. “We'll be gathering at our Chicago office to stand up to those who plan to throw our health care system into chaos, harm seniors, patients and the economy, and end Medicare as we know it,” SEIU Healthcare said on its Facebook page. The Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Citizen Action Illinois, SEIU Healthcare Illinois & Indiana and Planned Parenthood Illinois Action are among the groups sponsoring the rally. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
We had our earbuds out this week and overheard some hilarious, out-of-context quips about teeth rings, weed smoke and legit taquerias. Did you overhear something crazy this week? Email us or tweet us @TimeOutChicago with #wordonthestreet, and you may find it in the next Word On The Street. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
Chicago isn't exactly known for being a superstitious city—sure, we toss salt all over our roads in the winter, but we're mainly trying to keep them from getting coated with ice. The recent Cubs World Series championship only goes to show that every perceived curse can eventually be broken (or transferred to the local football team). That being said, there are a few superstitions that are only applicable in Chicago—we've gathered 13 of 'em. Say “Tamale Guy” three times into the mirror and he’ll appear. This isn’t a curse at all, but quite the opposite. Indeed, the appearance of Tamale Guy is a magical byproduct of a drunken night on the West Side. Lucky Chicago bunny foot. Chicago is delightfully overrun by rabbits—make sure your lucky rabbit’s foot is a Chicagoan. You can tell your rabbit’s foot is a Chicagoan when it refuses to admit it’s cold outside. Wearing clothes with four-leaf clovers on them. Let’s not mince words here: if you choose to be a Notre Dame fan (or celebrate St. Patrick's Day multiple times throughout the year), you’ve already cursed yourself. When a 21-year-old improviser crosses your path. Tricky to avoid, yes, but by all means don’t let these bright eyed, bushy-tailed “yes, and”-ers cross your path. Tom Skilling voodoo dolls. We’re all secretly cursing the revered weatherman, especially when the temperature drops. Bisecting a six-way intersection in one swoop. Crossing your fingers for good lucky? Psh. Collect the ultimate good luck by crossing N
Excessive use of force, poor training and unjust targeting of minorities are just some of the findings of a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the Chicago Police Department. On Friday, the DOJ released a report outlining a pattern of behavior within the department that includes excessive use of force in violation of the Fourth Amendment caused by severely deficient training procedures and accountability systems. The 164-page report was the culmination of a 13-month long investigation into the department, following the 2015 release of dashboard camera video that showed CPD officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing black teenager Laquan McDonald. During a Friday morning press conference, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said that incident, as well as other recent instances of deadly use of force against African Americans, underscore the “painful divisions between police officers and citizens” in cities such as Chicago. “During the course of our investigation, the department heard from countless officers who themselves were disillusioned and discouraged by strained trust, by inadequate training, poor oversight, and inattention to officer wellness and safety,” Lynch said. “And, they understand that repairing trust with the communities they serve will require difficult and meaningful reforms.” Included in the report is an indictment of CPD policies and procedures, as well as a number of recommendations and reforms needed within the Chicago Police Department. We'
Adam Jacobs, who originated the title role in the Disney Theatricals stage adaptation of Aladdin, will take the show on the road when the first national touring company begins performances in Chicago this spring. Jacobs, who has been associated with Aladdin since the show began workshops in 2010 and through out-of-town tryouts in Seattle and Toronto, has led the Broadway cast since the show’s opening in February 2014, and earned a Drama Desk Award nomination for the role. He previously appeared on Broadway in another Disney musical, as a replacement Simba in The Lion King; he also played Marius in the 2006 revival of Les Misérables. Jacobs’s last performance in the Broadway cast is expected to be February 12. On Wednesday, Playbill.com reported that Telly Leung would step into the title role on Broadway at an unspecified date. Additional casting for the touring company remains to be announced. Like Jacobs, his fellow Broadway principals Jonathan Freeman (Jafar), Courtney Reed (Jasmine) and James Monroe Iglehart (who won a Tony Award as the Genie) are still with the show nearly three years in. Aladdin begins performances April 11 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. The touring company is expected to play up to 26 weeks in Chicago before moving on to additional cities. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
1. Hit up Tomorrow Never Knows shows The annual comedy and music festival is already in full swing, with the bulk of its shows happening this weekend. Catch local musical favorites like Into It. Over It. and Open Mike Eagle, and excellent stand-up comics like Beth Stelling and 2 Dope Queens’s Phoebe Robinson. Laughing and dancing in the same weekend? Is that even legal? (Hideout, Schubas and Lincoln Hall, Fri–Sun. Check full lineup for details) 2. Go in for round 2 of SketchFest It’s weekend 2 of the Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival—are you ready? This weekend’s lineup focuses more heavily on local acts, so get out and see your friends, co-workers and crushes perform sketch comedy. (Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave, shows every hour, Fri, Sat 7pm–12am, Sun 1–7pm. $15 per show) 3. Chow down on all of the grilled cheese Do you have taste buds? Great, you’ll love our Grilled Cheese Meltdown, where nine of the tastiest sandwiches in Chicago battle for the title of grilled cheese champ. A few tickets are still available, so jump on this! (Thalia Hall, 1807 S Allport St, Sun 11:30am, 2pm, 4:30pm sessions. $30) 4. Catch great local storytellers at their finest The quarterly live-lit show You’re Being Ridiculous is taking over Steppenwolf for its winter show this weekend. Yeah, Steppenwolf—so you know it’s good, and also fancy. (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N Halsted St, Sat at 8pm. $20) 5. Warm up with a big, sweaty dance party Big Chicks—daytime alias Tweet—hosts its month
Raise your glasses, Cubs fans; spirits maker Beam Suntory is joining the team and bringing its signature bourbon with it to Wrigley Field. The Chicago Cubs organization announced on Thursday that it has named the Chicago-based manufacturer of Jim Beam as the team’s official spirits partner. The partnership adds to an ever-growing list of changes taking place at the Friendly Confines, which is currently in the middle of an extensive, $750 million renovation. As the official spirits partner of the Cubs and Wrigley Field, Beam Suntory will make popular brands such as Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark bourbon, Effen Vodka and Hornitos tequila available to purchase at the ballpark. Additionally, Jim Beam will have long-term naming rights to Wrigley Field’s new first base club—one of four new ticketed premier clubs planned for the park. The clubs are scheduled to open by the start of the 2020 season, but the bourbon maker won’t miss out on having its own signature space between now and then. For two seasons leading up to the completion of the new club areas, the upper deck patio will be decked out in Jim Beam decor, before it too is converted to an upper level club. The partnership also includes in-game signage on the Wrigley Field video board and behind home plate, as well as fixed signage along the third base wall. Maker’s Mark will also begin offering a limited edition, Cubs-themed bottle in stores throughout the Chicago area. Recently, Beam Suntory relocated its global headquarters fr
Safer swimming is what Chicagoans can expect this summer after the Chicago Park District approved a new plan to test water quality at city beaches much faster than it had previously. On Wednesday, the Park District board approved a contract with the University of Illinois at Chicago for water sample testing services at as many as 20 city beaches per day. Researchers at the UIC School of Public Health will perform DNA-based tests for enterococci—a group of bacteria that can indicate whether waters contain other disease-causing microbes that are more difficult to detect. The new test, which was already being conducted at nine city beaches, yields results in 3-4 hours, according to UIC. This quicker method will significantly improve the park district’s efforts to warn beachgoers of any potential hazards, considering that water conditions can change notably from day to day. "The old method was just as accurate in terms of results. But by the time you get the results, the conditions would change,” Cathy Breitenbach, director of cultural and natural resources at the Park District, told the Chicago Tribune. “They didn't reflect the current conditions of the beach." Currently, the test used by the park district to monitor E. coli levels at most of the city’s 31 public beaches takes 24 to 48 hours to complete. That means beachgoers could have access to water with elevated levels of the harmful bacteria before the district is made aware. Furthermore, water quality at the time the sa