Category Archives: Entertainment

Chicago’s Holiday Events and Attractions

All across Chicago, venues are offering live performances for the Holiday season. From fine dining to theater performances, nighttime adventures to family-friendly frolicking, having an audience is the most precious gift of all to these businesses. Consider any of these local events for your holiday fun.

Theater Wit is hosting Chicago’s premiere of “Who’s Holiday!” through Dec. 26. Another Chicago debut is happening at the Apollo Theater, where Love Actually? “The Unauthorized Musical Parody is on through Jan. 2, 2022.

Chicago Philharmonic is celebrating a return to in-person performances with a “Holiday Brunch Concert” on December 12, hosted by City Winery Chicago – West Loop. Chicago’s children can enjoy some holiday fun at the Chicago Children’s Theatre where they can attend The Beatrix Potter Holiday Tea Party. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is live (and free) at the Strawdog Theatre Company.

Purple Hotel to Get New Life as Business and Residential Hub

A famous Chicago hotel is slated to become a new residential and commercial complex. The Purple Hotel, where Barry Manilow and Roberta Flack once took the stage, will become 300 apartments and a few stores, including an Amazon Fresh.

After nearly 15 years of deliberation, court hearings, and tenders, Chicago construction company Tucker Development has secured credit for the $155 million development in Lincolnwood. The project is also known as District 1860 in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s presidential election that year; project completion is set for 2023.

Leases have already been signed for nearly 15,000 square feet of the commercial properties, including a Fatpour Tap Works and a Fat Rosie’s.

Chicago Sites for Pumpkin Composting

Illinois is offering residents an earth-friendly alternative for jack-o-lantern disposal, saving thousands of gourds from landfills and reducing methane emissions. Scarce, a local organization, has set up 49 different sites across the state where people can bring their pumpkins.

University of Illinois Extension educators continue to raise awareness, partially in an effort to combat bad advice being disseminated on social media, including recommendations to leave pumpkins in fields, abandoning them in natural areas for animals, or feeding them to household pets. These are all not advisable because of the legal prohibition of dumping anything on private property or in a nature preserve. Most animals don’t eat pumpkin naturally, so consuming the vegetable is likely to do more harm than good.

The first pumpkin drive was held in 2014 when close to 10 tons of pumpkins were composted. Last year, collections skyrocketed to 159 tons, as more people learned of the initiative.  

2021 Sites in Chicago include:

Plant Chicago, 4459 S. Marshfield Ave.

Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, 3857 W. 111th St.

Edgewater Environmental Coalition and Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, 6040 N. Clark St.

Candy Business Hack Spooks Halloween

Halloween candy
Gummy worms, candy corn, and other Halloween treats were available in stores despite the October hack of Ferrara Candy.

Ferrara Candy, the Chicago-based candy manufacturer, faced a devastating ransomware hack in October.

The attack on October 9, 2021, just weeks before Halloween, did curtail candy production but did not impact the supply of holiday favorites like candy corn, Nerds, gummy worms, and other sweets.

Ferrara, which makes 85% of the candy corn in the United States, has been making candy for more than 110 years. Founded by Italian immigrant Salvatore Ferrara, the company is the leading non-chocolate provider of seasonal treats.  

Overall, the 2021 Halloween season candy sales, following the pandemic slump, increased by nearly 48%, with sales topping $324 million. Unfortunately, the pandemic also yielded a 300% spike in cyber crimes. Industry experts are urging corporations, businesses, and the general public to take extra precautions to protect their online and real-life operations.

ransomware hacker
Cyber crimes have increased since the onset of the pandemic.

Marathon Weekend Hastens Business Recovery

The Bank of America Chicago Marathon, held this year on the weekend of October 8-10, gave Chicago’s hotels and restaurants a critical boost in business. After 18 challenging months of coronavirus-related restrictions, the city’s dining and hospitality businesses are finally seeing some relief as they served the nearly 26,000 marathon participants.

The run was the first of the American Abbott World Marathon Majors to officially return to in-person racing. Race organizers worked with the Chicago municipal officials, including the Chicago Department of Public Health, to ensure the safest possible experience for runners, spectators, and the Chicago community.

Chicago is Reopening

Chicago is open for business! After 18 months of Covid-19 concerns, Chicago’s museums, restaurants, and attractions are back.

Businesses across Chicago are reopening.

For many of the diners and eateries in the Loop, the reopening has been a nuanced blessing. Their primary customer base- employees and visitors of local companies- have not yet fully returned to the office. They need a steady stream of customers to supplement the delivery and take-out business that has kept them going thus far. And those professionals who are beginning to head back to the office favor these establishments for a quick coffee break,  lunchtime, or post-work meal.

Eateries and attractions in and out of the Loop are eager to welcome customers.

With many new restaurants to check out across Chicago, there are countless options for a long-overdue meet-up with friends, a business lunch with colleagues, or a romantic date night.

Christmas Time in Chicago!

Forget about the fact that Chicago is home to many Christmas movies (just think Christmas with the Kranks, the classic Home Alone, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to name but a few), it just seems like Chicago was made for Christmas!  So how can we – in corona pandemic times – still enjoy the magic of a Chicagoan Christmas, support local businesses and stay safe?  We take a little look in this article.

On Christmas Eve from 4-8pm and Christmas Day from 4-9pm, Jack’s Winter Walk and Christmas Tree Farm Pop-Up  is offering its guests 2+ acres of land around Goose Island.  Bring the family to choose your perfect Christmas Tree, do a selfie with the trees, bring headphones and dance around the fresh air with the smell of Christmas and run along Chicago’s one and only evergreen Christmas Tree Trail.  Of course, all in accordance with Coronavirus Health and Safety standards.

If you’re getting a bit hungry, what better way to support locals than DonerMen’s Christmas Market Pop Up?  Get a taste of Germany but do the work yourself.  Offering some great German classics such as the Dmen Mulled Wine Kit, the Christkindle Gluhwien Kit (including a liter of German mulled wine and 2 mugs) and the Ein Prosit! Holiday Beer Kits, this pop up has got your alcohol Christmas inventory covered.

It may not be the same this year but that should not prevent anyone from having a very merry Christmas while supporting local businesses.

Summertime in Chicago

Well, back in the day George Gershwin did sing ‘Summertime and the livin’ is easy.’  We have come a long way since then and COVID-19 seems to have destroyed any chance of that, but thankfully some local businesses are trying to bring some joy to summer this year I spite of the chaos.

Local H came to Gibson’s Harvest Moon Drive-In Theater and performed for two days at the weekend.  This marked the first large musical event of its kind since the coronavirus pandemic began and the entertainment industry was all but shuttered back in March.

While drive-ins have become way less common over the last few decades, the pandemic has pushed people to think outside the box.  As such, events such as these are not only popular but a wonderful nostalgic memory for middle-aged folk as well as new and exciting for 20+ year olds.

In addition, yesterday there was a wonderful  bike camping adventure put on by The Out Our Front Door Organization that started in downtown Chicago at Ping Tom Park and ends today in Shabbona Woods.

Giving Thanks

The U.S. Navy’s top aerobatics team were in the sky flying over certain parts of the nation last Tuesday.  Chicagoans were able to see the six F/A-18 Hornets at 11.45pm for 15 minutes.  Thanks for the Blue Angels this was a wonderful way of saying thank you to healthcare workers in the region.

As well, Michelle Obama gave a message of thanks to local frontline workers. The transcript of her words was shared by the University of Chicago’s Medical Center and read:

“Hi, everybody. It’s Michelle Obama, and I just want to take a few minutes to let you all know how profoundly grateful Barack and I are for the heroic work that all of you are doing right now in Chicago. We know that you all are facing overwhelming challenges; you’re working around the clock, spending long hours away from your families, and making impossible decisions day after day. You’re soothing terrified patients, consoling heartbroken loved ones, summoning every ounce of the compassion and strength that you’ve got.”

Christmas Shopping!

Christmas shopping

Even if you still haven’t gotten all your Christmas gifts, there are some great last minute opportunities for Chicago Christmas shopping.  Thankfully, someone else has done the work for us on Urban Matter’s webpage, which has the ultimate guide for last minute Christmas shoppers.

Struggling to think of the perfect gift for the one who has it all?  Look no further (but book quickly!) than booking a Scenic ride in Chicago’s Santa’s “Sleigh.” The Chicago Helicopter Experience this year is offering “a one-of-a-kind opportunity to take flight over the city on a panoramic  Holiday Lights Tour exploring Chicago’s best destinations from thousands of feet above.”

For those whose budget doesn’t quite extend that far, here is a list of 16 awesome holiday gifts you can purchase locally that won’t see you taking more than $100 out of your pocket:

Christmas might be a good time to find out where you really came from; so look into 23 & Me’s $79 ancestry kit as a gift option too.