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Chicago museums: Get cultured on a budget

Jul 15, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: free summer

No money? No problem.  Check out our map of Chicago-area museums that offer free admission during “discount days” throughout the summer and fall.  Art museums are marked in pink, history in yellow and the rest in blue.

 

The soundtrack to a free summer

Jul 15, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: free summer

There’s never a tuneless day in Chicago.

And there are plenty of alternatives to pocket-emptying festivals like Lollapalooza.

Whether you’re looking for indie rock, metal or Mozart, you can find exactly what you’re looking for – and it won’t even cost you a dime.

Full List:

Friday, July 15
White Mystery, Mickey, People’s Temple
Cobra Lounge
10 p.m.

Saturday, July 16
Mannequin Men, Hollows, E+
Cobra Lounge
10 p.m.

Penderecki Conducts Penderecki
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 17
Theophilius London, Kenna, Blah Blah Blah
Double Door
8:30 p.m.

Knock Down String Band, DJ Lawrence Peters
The Whistler
9:00 p.m.

Monday, July 18
Blonde Redhead + My Gold Mask
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Dan Smith & Brian Labycz
Myopic Books
7:30 p.m.

Fuck Knights, Creepy Band, Dumpster Babies
Empty Bottle
9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 19
Mwata Bowden
Museum of Contemporary Art
5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 20
Kwame Ryan
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Jeff Craven, John Simmons, Reese Urban, Czboogie
Smart Bar
10:00 p.m.

Village, Campfires
The Whistler
10:00 p.m.

Thursday, July 21
Yemen Blues + Etran Finatawa
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Jeekos, Rick Carrico, Anti AKA Black Lion, Geecee
Smart Bar
10:00 p.m.

Friday, July 22
Choral Masterpieces: Bernstein and Faure
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 – 8:00pm

Saturday, July 23
Choral Masterpieces: Bernstein and Faure
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 24
Thee Oh Sees, Football
Illinois Centennial Monument
4:00 p.m.

No BS! Brass, Big Light, Cealed Kasket
Double Door
9:00 p.m.

Monday, July 25
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Unicycle Loves You, La Scala, Elephant Gun
Empty Bottle
9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 27
Prokofiev Symphony No. 7
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Iz & Diz, Tyrel Williams, Stephen P, Blue J, Julian Pena
Smart Bar
10 p.m.

Friday, July 29
Sibelius Epic Finland
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 30
Sibelius Epic Finland
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Walter Meego, Moneypenny, Craig Williams
Double Door
9:00 p.m.

Tuesday, August 2
Disembodiment, Odonrot
Double Door
9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, August 3
Jennifer Koh Returns
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Friday, August 5
Ryan Opera Center
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 6
Ryan Opera Center
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
7:30 p.m.

Monday, August 8
My Brightest Diamond
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 10
Mozart and Strauss
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Friday, August 12
The Book with Seven Seals
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 13
The Book with Seven Seals
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
7:30 p.m.

Monday, August 15
Rasputina
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 17
Shostakovich Symphony No. 10
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Friday, August 19
Closing Night Verdi Requiem
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
6:30 p.m.

Saturday, August 20
Closing Night Verdi Requiem
The Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park
7:30 p.m.

Sunday, August 21
High Places
Illinois Centennial Monument
4:00 p.m.

 

Make this summer great by giving back: Volunteering in Chicago

Jul 15, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: free summer

Do you have some time to kill and a desire to do something good for your community? There are plenty of organizations around the city looking for volunteers with a variety of talents, from reading to acting to cooking. Check out some of the ways you can give back below. Switch the slideshow to full screen to view all of the details. For a full list of opportunities, visit  www.chicagocares.org.

A week of free summer cinema

Jul 15, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: free summer

WHEN AND WHERE?

Friday, July 15, 2011

  • Abbott 49 E. 95th St. 312.747.6001 The Wiz G
  • Green Briar 2650 W. Peterson Ave. 773.761.0582 Despicable Me PG

Saturday, July 16, 2011

  • DuSable (Museum of African American History) 740 E. 56th Pl. 773.947.0600 Let’s Do It Again PG
  • Gwendolyn Brooks 4542 S. Greenwood Ave. 312.747.7138 The Karate Kid PG

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

  • Wilson Playground 1122 W. 34th Pl. 312.747.7002 Despicable Me PG

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

  • 63rd St. Beach 6300 S. Lake Shore Drive 312.742.5369 Barbershop PG-13
  • Montgomery Ward 630 N. Kingsbury St. 312.742.7895 Salt PG-13

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

  • Tuley 501 E. 90th Pl. 312.747.6763 War Dance PG-13

Thursday, July 21, 2011

  • Rainey 4350 W. 79th St. 773.284.0696 Rocky PG

Friday, July 22, 2011

  • Kosciuszko 2732 N. Avers Ave. 312.742.7546 Yogi Bear PG

Chicago Bird-Watching Won’t Cost You a Thing

Jul 15, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: free summer

The Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and National Geographic Channel will all cost you some money if you want watch exotic animals on your TV. Luckily, Chicagoans have a wide range of fauna running and flying around outdoors waiting to be watched. And best of all, bird-watching requires nothing more than a pair of eyes, your ears and a little knowledge. We at Chicago Loopster may not be experts on bird-watching in the Windy City, but we can definitely point you in the right direction to get your bird-watching quest off to a good start.

First off, you might trying reading through this handy City of Chicago brochure, which offers a road map for finding more than 300 bird species in the area. Here are five examples of birds the city identifies as native to the area, either year round or just during the summer.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

1. American Goldfinch

Sunflowers attract these pointy-beaked beauties, and so does prairie grass. They nest in July and have a distinctive pulsating call that you should easily be able to recognize.

Meadows and residential areas are popular hangouts for the birds, so keep an eye out the next time you’re getting your picnic on.

They stand out against the trees, too, thanks to their bright yellow feathers. They look sort of like baby chickens that stuck their foreheads into some soot.

(Hear an American Goldfinch call at eNature.com.)

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

2. Northern Flicker

These little guys can be found all over the place. Just look for holes in trees, and you’re bound to find one making its next.

Listen for a bird that sounds like a monkey. Their howls have a giddy quality to them, like a tree full of chimpanzees all trying to get one another’s attention at the same time.

And even if you don’t hear them singing, you are bound to hear them pecking away into a nearby tree trunk.

(Hear a Northern Flicker call at eNature.com.)

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

3. Black-Capped Chickadee

These black-and-white-headed birds live in the Chicago area the whole year round. You may be more likely to spot them in the suburbs, though.

Just listen for a high-pitched noise that sounds like the battery in your household smoke detector is on the fritz.

If you’ve got a feeder with some birdseed in it, one of them very well may pay you a visit in search of a snack.

(Hear a Black-Capped Chickadee call at eNature.com.)

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

4. Downy Woodpecker

The Downy Woodpecker may not have nearly as obnoxious a call as the Northern Flicker, but if there’s a suitable tree for nesting to be found, you can bet that one of them will be there sticking their beak into it.

The males have a small patch of red on their heads, while the females stick to a simple black and white color scheme.

They love parks and gardens and will make their homes in about any type of Chicago neighborhood.

(Hear a Downy Woodpecker call at eNature.com.)

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

5. Eastern Kingbird

Like the Black-Capped Chickadee, the Eastern Kingbird also has a call that resembles an electronic device in need of new batteries. They sound less shrill, though, and can easily distinguish themselves.

They nest in evergreen trees and can be seen throughout the summer months. They like wild habitats, but they have also adapted to city life, so don’t be surprised if you see one hopping around by the side of the road or looking up at you on a park bench.

(Hear an Eastern Kingbird call at eNature.com.)

Free date day in Chicago

Jul 15, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: free summer

Dates can wear a hole in your pocket. One economist estimates that the average date costs $250 — a significant chunk of cash. But is true love free?

In Chicago, the answer is yes. The Chicago Loopster scoured the city for the best romantic date ideas and found several great options.

So read on lovers and ask out that special someone — it won’t cost you a dime.

Stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo

Start of your date with a stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo, open from morning till early evening. You can chat about your favorite animals and take pictures near canoodling chimpanzees. Photo by dotpolka.

You save $28.

Sketch a drawing at Lurie Garden

Take your sketchpad and pencils to Laurie Garden in Millennium Park. You can find a bench and draw seasonal flowers in bloom or maybe sketch the interesting people who walk by. Photo by Senor Codo.

You save $10.

Learn a new dance together

The city hosts free dance lessons in the summer every Thursday through Saturday from 6 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 4 to 7 p.m. Swing, waltz, salsa and cha-cha will get your heart pumping, so glide across Grant Park’s open-air dance floor with your sweetie. Photo by Ben Ostrowsky.

You save $30.

Watch the light show at the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park

After dancing, cool down at the Buckingham Fountain, just a little south of the dance floor. After dusk the Fountain puts on a water show and lights display with accompanying music every hour on the hour for 20 minutes.  The Fountain was designed after the Latona Basin in Versailles, France. The French, of course, know what’s up with love. Photo by Pink Aura.

Wishes cost a few pennies, but fountains are always free.

Fireworks show at Navy Pier

End the night with the Navy Pier fireworks display, which is held every Saturday at 10:15 p.m. and Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Color, lights and music will make for an explosive end to an inexpensive date.  Photo by mrhayata.

Fireworks are always free (unless you buy your own).

Mark your calendars: Unique Chicago food events to liven up your summer

Jul 8, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Summer dining

Chicago has risen to become a haven for foodies from all over the world. Food festivals, unique dining events and restaurant specials are offered throughout the year and this summer is no exception. Scroll through this interactive slideshow to get a glimpse of just some of the city’s upcoming food events.

For more events, check out this article by Stephanie Lu Jokich for CBS Chicago and this detailed list by Metromix Chicago. You can also submit new food events to Chicago Reader’s event calendar.

Five new Chicago summer beers and where to find them

Jul 8, 2011 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Summer dining

A glass of 5 Rabbit poured at Hopleaf in Andersonville/PHOTO CREDIT: Brian Warmoth

Chicago changes with the seasons, and so do the beers served up by its local brewers. The Windy City boasts an abundance of brewing operations and many of them have new batches of beverages that have recently been made available or will be showing up soon at your neighborhood pub or liquor store. Here are five notable summer releases and a handy map to show you where they can be found.

1. Dripping Saison, Half Acre Beer Company

http://www.halfacrebeer.com/

Half Acre added a little sweetness to this new yellow batch that came out at the end of June. If you like your beer a little fruity, look for it on tap wherever they keep Half Acre on hand. If you live near the corner of North Rockwell Avenue and West Iowa Street, you should be able to snag some at Archie’s.

2. Bourbon Barrel Aged General Molasses Porter, Revolution Brewing

http://revbrew.com/

On the darker side of new Chicago beers, Revolution Brewing just broke out their Bourbon Barrel Aged General, a molasses porter, earlier this month, and they’re pouring pints at their brew pub in Logan Square.

3. Fear! El Chupacabra, Vienna Lager, Rock Bottom Brewery

http://www.rockbottom.com/chicago

July 15 marks the return of this dark Vienna Lager to the tap at Chicago’s Rock Bottom Brewery. If you like your beer light and toasty, but not too strong, cruise on by their West Grand Avenue location and grab a glass while this batch lasts.

4. 5 Rabbit, 5 Rabbit Cerveceria

http://5rabbitbrewery.com/

The newly established brewers at 5 Rabbit in Chicago want to bring a taste of Latino heritage to their work. Their namesake beer will shower your summer with just enough body and some refreshing citrusy goodness. This is a beer to get you through any heat waves that the season can throw at you.

5. Cut Throat Pale Ale, Finch’s Beer Company

http://www.finchbeer.com/

Chicago newcomer Finch’s Beer Company entered the brew game with a pale ale that also uses a little citrus with its hops. You’ll find it at taps across the city, including Beckett’s Public House at the busy intersection of Ashland Avenue and Lincoln Avenue.

Need directions to track one of these beers down? Check out the addresses in the map above, or visit the brewers’ websites to find more options.