If rooftops, rosé and boozy popsicles don't get you excited for summer, we don't know what will. And if those words are raising your heart rate as we speak, Cindy's rooftop at the Chicago Athletic Association might be your new favorite summer hangout. The 13th-floor oasis is sporting a few upgrades, just in time for summer. Debuting mid-May, guests can cozy up at the new outdoor terrace bar, which is outfitted with a curated wine list, large-format cocktails and spiked popsicles. Did we mention rosé? There will be four rotating pink drink options at the outdoor bar. The large-format cocktails from spirit guide Nandini Khaund fluctuate based on "the weather, the ingredients and whim," which sounds down-right magical. The space, which overlooks Millennium Park, is a popular destination all year round, but we imagine the new summer-ready bar won't make the line to get in any shorter. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
Learn from the best and brightest Chicago Humanities Festival’s spring programming kicks off this weekend, bringing speakers and writers from all walks of life to the Loop for a weekend of compelling talks. (Various venues in the Loop, Fri–Sun, see site for full lineup. $10–44) Bach, Bach, Bach it up Today marks the beginning of Bach Week, the annual seven-day tribute to the Baroque composer. See a candlelight performance by the Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra (a local orchestra supergroup), complete with champagne and chocolates for concert-goers. (Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave in Evanston, Fri 7:30pm. $10–80) Party it up at a punk show If Bach’s not your thing, try the complete opposite with hardcore punks Pissed Jeans. They’re the exact band your mother forbid you from listening to in middle school: noisy, rowdy and fun as hell. (Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave, Fri 9pm. $10) See a legendary, cranky comic The crotchety, political, too-accurate stand-up Lewis Black brings his Rant, White and Blue Tour to the Chicago Theatre tonight. Tickets are still available, so grab ‘em while you can. (Chicago Theatre, 175 N State St, Fri 8pm. $39–75) See Chicago all stripped down NYC cabaret group the Skivvies returns to Uptown Underground this weekend, performing mostly-nude choreography to pop tunes. They’ll be joined by several Hamilton Chicago cast members—your Hamilton fanfic is about to come to life. (Uptown Underground, 4704 N Broadwa
Chicago is a frozen tundra for nearly half the year, so it's only natural that we crave a little taste of Hawaii in the form of poke. Thankfully, Chicago chefs and restauranteurs have kept the fishy trend alive and well with creative takes on the classic dish. Here are a few of our favorite poke bowls in the city. Firefin Poké Shop: This growing fast-casual chain was one of the first on the poke scene in Chicago. Try the Tree Fish, a blend of ahi, albacore and salmon with a spicy honey mayo sauce. The shop’s menu stretches the definition of poke, which simply means “chopped,” to include dishes centered around chicken, marinated tofu and snow crab. Mahalo: Stop by Wicker Park’s modern Hawaiian kitchen for Poke Tuesdays, when all poke dishes are half off. Check out the salmon poke bowl, which is topped with assorted vegetables, sesame-yuzu crunch and citrus-wasabi aioli. Joy District: This multilevel River North bar is known for its creative fusion cuisine, like Spanish octopus tacos and phyllo-wrapped tiger shrimp. But you must try executive chef Matt Wilde’s unique take on poke—raw fish stuffed inside tiny ice cream cones. Yard House: Poke might be the last thing you’d expect to see at this beer-centric sports bar. Chef Carlito Jocson’s poke nachos are a true collision of cultures with marinated ahi tuna topped with avocado, cilantro, serrano peppers, sesame seeds, nori and green onions. The dish, which sits on a bed of crispy wonton chips, is finished off with a drizz
The Chicago Latino Film Festival continues through Thursday, May 4. My best bets for the second week are Fernando Lavanderos’ Lost North and Juan Sebastian Mesa’s The Nobodies. The Nobodies is the reason why film festivals exist. Shot digitally in lo-fi black-and-white in one week on a budget of just $2000, this engrossing Colombian drama went on to win the top prize at last year’s Venice Film Festival Critics’ Week, thus ensuring healthy and deserved international distribution. The plotless film follows the lives of five aimless teenage punks in the city of Medellin, where they juggle in the streets for money in order to fuel a non-conformist lifestyle revolving around weed, live music, tattoos and graffiti. Writer and director Juan Sebastian Mesa’s first feature may be modest in scope and lacking broader social context but it’s also entirely successful as deft urban portraiture—the naturalistic dialogue and performances (by actors playing loosely fictionalized versions of themselves) is electrifying. My favorite film at this year’s CLFF is the Chilean road movie Lost North, Fernando Lavanderos’ follow-up to his excellent 2012 feature Things the Way They Are. The plot concerns a young woman named Isabel (Geraldine Neary) abruptly leaving her boyfriend Esteban (Koke Santa Ana), a Santiago-based businessman, and embarking on a spontaneous journey north towards the Chilean-Bolivian border. Isabel sends Esteban short, enigmatic videos from her travels, which impel him to try a
Remember that time Taco Bell unveiled its Cantina concept in Wicker Park and proved that boozy Mountain Dew slushies paired perfectly with Crunchwrap Supremes? Well, it's about to happen again—this time at 407 S Dearborn Street, where, according to city records and Eater, Taco Bell Cantina has applied for a liquor license. Cue mass hysteria. The opening will mark Taco Bell's sixth city location, which includes two downtown locations at 500 W Madison Ave and 100 W Randolph St. Chicago's only other booze-friendly location of the taco chain is located in Wicker Park, where drink options include beer, wine and spiked slushies. The new location would be housed inside the Old Colony Building, offering a new late-night option for Loop residents and those leaving Brando's Speakeasy after a Taylor Swift karaoke session. There's no word yet on when the fast food favorite will open. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
Time to start practicing your moves. The 2017 Chicago SummerDance lineup is here, and it's packed with opportunities to learn about different types of dancing while enjoying live music. As usual, the bulk of SummerDance will take place at the festival's home in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, but this year guests will also be able to enjoy dancing events at eight neighborhood parks throughout Chicago, including Garfield Park, Ping Tom Memorial Park and Humboldt Park. New to this year's festivities is the SummerDance-Off, which will search for the city's best amateur footwork and steppin’ dancers through a series of competitions taking place in various Chicago parks on July 8, 15, 22 and 29. The winners of each competition will compete onstage at the new SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park, a day-long festival on August 26 that will include performances from professional dancers, a dance party at Cloud Gate and circle dance lessons on the Great Lawn. If you're new to SummerDance, here's how it works: the first hour of each event is typically a dance lesson led by an instructor, allowing you to learn some steps with other beginners. After the dance lesson, the live music begins and you can show off your best moves (or simply sit back and watch other dancers). Genres represented on this year's lineup include swing, Motown, cumbia, salsa, ballroom dancing, tango and even marching band music (led by local marching act Mucca Pazza). Take a look at the complete
Chicago-based Olive Films has earned a reputation as the “Criterion of the Midwest,” bringing superb-quality transfers of classic films to DVD and Blu-ray, many of which may be light on special features but compensate by being reasonably priced. Ophelia (1963) and The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers (1964) are two welcome new additions to the Olive catalogue, especially for movie lovers interested in the landmark movement known as the French New Wave. Both films have never before been released on any digital format until now. The World’s Most Beautiful Swindlers is an omnibus film comprised of four shorts revolving around con artists plying their trade in major cities around the world: Tokyo, Paris, Naples and Marrakesh (a fifth segment set in Amsterdam, Roman Polanski’s River of Diamonds, has regrettably been omitted from this release at the request of the director). The highlight is Jean-Luc Godard’s Marrakesh-set Le Grand Escroc, which revives the character of Patricia from Breathless (again embodied by the great Jean Seberg), now a successful television reporter on assignment in Morocco. Patricia investigates the story of a man who prints counterfeit money only to give it away to the homeless but Godard’s real interest appears to be the intersection of documentary and fiction, which he regards with characteristic playful inquisitiveness. Le Grand Escroc also marks the beginning of the director’s fascination with the Arab world, a subject he would return to in Ici et Ail
With the long-awaited third season of Twin Peaks premiering on Showtime on May 21, the work of director and screenwriter David Lynch has taken on renewed relevance as viewers prepare to decipher his latest work. Theaters across the country are screening Lynch's 1992 prequel to the series, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, but one Chicago movie house is presenting a far more comprehensive survey of Lynch's output. The Music Box Theatre will help ease audiences back into Lynch's surreal world with its upcoming screening series, David Lynch: A Complete Retrospective. Running from April 27 to May 4, the series includes the entirety of Lynch's feature film catalog, from his 1977 debut Eraserhead to his most recent 2006 release Inland Empire—all (with the exception of his 1984 sci-fi epic Dune) presented on 35mm film. In addition to Lynch's films, the retrospective includes the recent documentary David Lynch: The Art Life, Lynch's own Trancendental Meditation documentary Meditation, Creativity, Peace and the debut of behind-the-scenes footage filmed throughout the production of Blue Velvet called Blue Velvet Revisited. Viewers can take an even deeper dive into Lynch's work with a screening of his short films and a program that includes footage of his avant-garde play Industrial Symphony No. 1 and a collection of all of the music videos and advertisements he's directed. The retrospective is curated by lifelong Lynch fan (and Music Box Theatre projectionist) Daniel Knox, a local musi
In 2013, Riot Fest displayed a sculpture of actor John Stamos made of butter. This year, the punk and alt-rock music festival will celebrate its love of the former Full House star with an art show. Have Mercy: The John Stamos Art Show will be held July 14–16 at Cobra Lounge, and organizers are promising the "greatest art event ever in the history of the world!" "We are putting a call out to the Riot Fest community to tap into the inspiration that Mr. Stamos has shared with all of us, and to channel it onto the canvas," the festival said on its website. "The result of which will be, by all accounts, the largest collection of John Stamos-inspired artwork under one roof." If, like the beautiful minds behind the Riot Fest Twitter account, you too have frequent thoughts about Uncle Jesse, it's your lucky day. Riot Fest is looking for artists (that term is being used loosely), aspiring artists or pretty much anyone with a few tubes of acrylic paint to submit their Stamos-themed creations for a chance to win VIP passes and general admission tickets to the annual music festival, taking place from September 15–17 in Douglas Park. A panel of celebrity judges, including folks from the Nihilist Arby’s Twitter account, Riot Fest and the A.V. Club, will evaluate the submissions during an opening night gala on July 14. It's said that a very special surprise guest will also help judge the pieces (please let it be Stamos himself!). The Best in Show winner will receive the grand prize—two
In just a few weeks, the Museum of Contemporary Art will celebrate its 50th anniversary with the opening of its summer exhibition, "The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg"—a collection of paintings and sculptures by acclaimed Japanese artist Takashi Murakami. To celebrate the arrival of the exhibit and mark the opening of its newly-renovated facilities, the MCA is throwing an exclusive gala that will include a preview of its Murakami display and a special musical guest. The ArtEdge: 50 gala will take place on June 3, beginning with a cocktail reception in the MCA's lobby, where guests will be invited to take a peek at Murakami's work. After a multi-course dinner (including Murakami-inspired hors d'oeuvres) served in a tent in the museum's courtyard, the evening will culminate in a concert curated by Pharrell Williams (a Murakami collaborator), who has tapped R&B singer-songwriter and actress Janelle Monáe as the headlining act. Before you get too excited, you should know that tickets to the gala aren't cheap: Admission for a single guest is $2,500 and tables for ten range from $50,000 to $100,000. However, the MCA is offering a limited number of concert-only tickets for $250, which include a preview of the Murakami exhibit as well as dessert and admission to Janelle Monáe's performance. It's still not exactly affordable, but it's the most inexpensive way to attend the most exciting portions of the event. Tickets can be purchased by calling the MCA at 312-397-4017. Even if you can't