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From big festivals to small club shows, summer is the time for music in Chicago. We preview 18 of these must-see events.
The fictional McKinley High School glee club may not have placed at nationals in New York City this year, but they got a pretty good summer gig: a multi-city tour. This brand extension of the hit TV show features live performances by favorite faux-teens Lea Michele (Rachel Berry), Cory Monteith (Finn Hudson), Amber Riley (Mercedes Jones) and more. With all the outrageous costuming (remember those Lady Gaga get-ups?), intense dancing and big voices of the TV show accented by thousands of screaming fans, this fills the void until new episodes resume in the fall. Tickets from $40.
Location: Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont
For more information: http://www.gleetour.com/
The indie/folk jam band shocked fans when it announced with much fanfare on Jan. 1 that it would be putting out a new album and touring again after breaking up in 2004. Although there had been a couple reunion gigs, none were as extensive as this 10-city tour featuring new material from their Dispatch EP released May 17. The band performed their first new single “Melon Bend” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last month. Although tickets to their June 8 show at Millennium Park are sold out, tickets are still available to their show at the UIC Pavilion June 7 for $50.
Location: UIC Pavilion, 525 South Racine Avenue, Chicago
For more information: http://www.dispatchmusic.com/
With the go-to country music show of every summer, this road warrior’s live chops aren’t just fan voted: He won the Billboard Touring Award for top package event for four consecutive years. This year’s Goin’ Coastal Tour will undoubtedly feature breezy favorites like “Beer in Mexico,” “When the Sun Goes Down” and “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem.” Chesney is also supporting his latest album Hemingway’s Whiskey, released in September — and if fans are lucky, maybe he’ll preview some new material from the yet-unnamed album he’s reportedly recording. If you think his tractor’s sexy, tickets are available from $46.
Location: Toyota Park, 7000 S. Harlem, Bridgeview
For more information: http://www.kennychesney.com/
Chicago Blues Fest
The largest free blues festival in the world is right in your backyard. Across three days and five stages, Chicagoans can see the best of the genre, including Eddie Cotton, Carl Weathersby, Billy Branch, Dave Specter Band and Shemekia Copeland (daughter of Grammy winner Johnny Copeland). The final show of the festival is a 40th anniversary tribute to Alligator Records, the Chicago label that produced such greats as Copeland and fellow Grammy winner Clifton Chenier. Admission is free.
Location: Multiple locations, Chicago
For more information: Explore Chicago
Her music has become decidedly more, erm, mature since her 2010 album Loud (though songs “What’s My Name” and the coyly titled “S&M” have achieved peak saturation on Top 40 radio) but her shows attract young and old alike to the mix of sing-along-worthy hits and highly choreographed dance numbers. B.o.B. and J.Cole open, making this the R&B tour of the summer. Tickets from $30.
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison Street, Chicago
For more information: http://rihannanow.com/
Florence + The Machine
British phenom Florence Welch and her band are taking the nation by storm after she performed at the Oscars, Grammys and MTV’s Video Music Awards. Music from her debut album Lungs has appeared on Grey’s Anatomy and Gossip Girl. Doors open at 7 p.m. for opener Hanni El Khatib. Tickets are $36.
Location: Aragon Ballroom, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago
For more information: http://florenceandthemachine.net/
You may not have heard of Beady Eye, but you’ve probably heard of Oasis. And that’s basically who this band is. Formed in 2009 when Noel Gallagher left Oasis, this group still has guitarist Andy Bell and “the voice,” Liam Gallagher. Their first album Different gear, still speeding came out this spring, produced by the iconic Steve Lillywhite, the man behind much of the Dave Matthews Band’s and Peter Gabriel’s work. An added bonus of seeing this band would be their haunting rendition of The Beatles’ “Across the Universe.” Tickets are sold out, but StubHub has them available for $65 and up.
Location: Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago
For more information: http://www.beadyeyemusic.com/
Matt & Kim
If you don’t think that a band can include just a drummer and a keyboardist, then you haven’t seen Matt & Kim. The Brooklyn duo produces music that is easy for dancing, driving, singing and just plain having a good time. They were at Lollapalooza last summer, but this visit to Chicago will provide a much more intimate setting at The Vic. They’ll likely play hits “Daylight” and “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” (both of which have appeared on several TV shows, including Entourage and Community) but they’re touring in support of their latest record Sidewalks. Instant classics “AM/FM Sound” and “Cameras” will have you bopping your head in no time. Although tickets are sold out to Saturday’s show, Sunday’s show has tickets available for $24.
Location: The Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago
For more information: http://mattandkimmusic.com/
Dave Matthews Band Caravan
This three-day festival is only hitting a handful of U.S. cities, and Chicago is one of the lucky few. The Top 40 jam band will headline each day with other headline-worthy artists including O.A.R., Ray LaMontagne, Kid Cudi, Ben Folds, The Flaming Lips and Chicago native Liz Phair. Tickets are $85 a day or $195 for all three days.
Location: Lakeside, 8555 S. Green Bay Ave., Chicago
For more information: http://www.dmbcaravan.com
Britney Spears with Nicki Minaj
Say what you will about the aging pop star and her train wreck turn detailed ad nauseum in the gossip mags, Ms. Spears can still put on a helluva show. Her 2009 Circus tour sold out, and new album Femme Fatale released in March spawned the Billboard chart-topping auto-tuned sensation “Hold It Against Me.” This tour will be a little a different, or at least the music will. As Spears told People, “We’ve remixed each number.” She also added a girl-power vibe by adding crazy-haired rapper Minaj. Tickets from $40.
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago
For more information: http://www.britneyspears.com/
Vans Warped Tour
Approaching its 20th year, the punk extravaganza features five dozen bands, including Unwritten Law, The Devil Wears Prada, Simple Plan, Relient K, August Burns Red and local alt-electronica rockers Madina Lake, performing on 10 stages. Tickets from $45.
Location: Tinley Park
For more information: http://vanswarpedtour.com/
If you’re one of the thousands who took advantage of the iTunes and Facebook free download of his song “Hidden Away” last fall, you probably couldn’t stop listening to the man who single-handedly made opera both trendy and sexy. Groban’s Straight to You Tour will play up his album Illuminations, released in November. He’s one of Oprah’s favorite things (he appeared at her farewell show), and if he’s also one of yours, you won’t want to miss this show. Tickets from $65.50.
Location: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago
For more information: http://www.joshgroban.com/
Pitchfork Music Festival
This Chicago summer classic returns for its sixth year with major acts like Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, The Dismemberment Plan and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Chicago is the only city to host these three days of up-and-coming and established alternative acts. Tickets are $45 per day. While three-day passes are sold out, StubHub has them starting at $140.
Location: Union Park ,1501 W. Randolph, Chicago
For more information: http://pitchforkmusicfestival.com/
American Idols Live!
Long before Glee thought to go live, there was American Idol Live! taking no-name kids with big voices and putting them in front of a ravenous reality TV-addicted audience to turn their newfound star power into profits. Season 10’s top 11 contestants will appear at this show, which usually sells out. Now that the votes are all in, this live event will let fans decide for themselves if winner Scotty McCreery and runner up Lauren Alaina are truly an item (maybe they’ll recreate that was it/wasn’t it kiss moment from the finale!), and if Pia Toscano really is the one who should have won it all. Also featured is hometown girl Haley Reinhart. Tickets from $57.
Location: Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont
For more information: American Idol Season 10 Tour
Billed as Lolla’s 20th anniversary (though it ceased to exist for about six years in there), Chicago becomes a tourism hot-spot for this three day festival packed with super-sized artists. Headliners include Eminem, Foo Fighters, Coldplay, Muse and My Morning Jacket. Other major names include Sleigh Bells and Flogging Molly. Swedish darling Lykke Li will also make a return to the city after her sold-out show at Metro in May. Three-day passes are $215.
Location: Grant Park, Chicago
For more information: http://www.lollapalooza.com/
Admit it: You can’t turn off this golden-locked angel of pop country when she comes on the radio again and again and again. The 21-year-old’s voice may sound like that of an underaged novice, but her original music (most of it is self-written) and her message of empowerment resonate with fans of all ages. The Speak Now World Tour, in support of the album of the same name, will stop in Chicago for two days. The tour is sold out, but tickets are available on StubHub starting at $50.
Location: Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont
For more information: http://www.taylorswift.com/
The Hold Steady
These indie rockers may be from New York, but they do have a Chicago connection: their song “Chicago Seemed Tired Last Night.” Although they’ve recently become a quartet after the exit of their keyboardist, their music hasn’t changed much. While they don’t have a large mainstream following, they have appeared on The Colbert Report. Doors open at 8 p.m. for opener The Donkeys. Tickets $25.
Location: Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., Chicago
For more information: http://theholdsteady.net/
Chicago Jazz Festival
For 33 years, this event has marked the end of summer festival season in Chicago, with four days of the nation’s best jazz artists at three different locations. This year’s weekend closing acts are singer-songwriter Cassandra Wilson on Saturday ,and Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove on Sunday. Also playing are sax players Ravi Coltrane (son of John Coltrane) and Joe Lovano. Admission is free.
Location: Multiple locations, Chicago
For more information: Chicago Jazz Festival on Explore Chicago
Cheese, beers, Brewers. A summertime classic. Miller Park has the feel of a traditional stadium while sporting a retractable dome, so even if the weather goes south, your 90-mile road trip won’t be wasted.
Unfortunately, the Cubs don’t travel to Milwaukee until after the All-Star Break (July 26-28), but the Brewers will host the Cardinals from June 10-12, and that match up is equally heated.
After the game, head downtown and try out the Lakefront Brewery, 1872 Commerce St.
St. Louis Cardinals:
There’s nothing Cubs fans like more than giving the Cards a good shellacking at Wrigley, so why not hit them at home? You’ll need a little more time, though, because Busch Stadium is roughly five hours away by car.
Just make it into a long weekend. The Cubs travel to St. Louis June 3-5.
Kansas City Royals:
If you’re not done after a weekend in St. Louis, head west. Four hours later, you’ll be in Kansas City and you can catch a Royals game.
And if you don’t really care about the Royals, head over to Wild Bill’s Legendary Steakhouse and Saloon. It’s an experience in itself.
The Field of Dreams:
Iowa doesn’t have Major League Baseball, but you can always visit the field where the Field of Dreams was filmed. The Field of Dreams is in Dyersville Iowa, and it’s open from April 1 through Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Keep an eye out for the ghost of Shoeless Joe.
Kane County Cougars:
If you don’t have time to get away for the whole weekend, or if you’re in a budget pinch, check out the Kane County Cougars. Just 35 miles away in West Chicago, Elfstrom Stadium is a great place to take the kids, and it’s affordable: Lawn seats are only $8.
Plus, you get to be right down in the action, and the players are always willing to sign autographs for the kids.
A fresh era of Chicago politics dawned this week with new city council members, new department heads and a new mayor.
But this is the City of Big Shoulders and bigger scandals. Changing careers or moving to Chicago from places afar doesn’t mean the past has passed. Just ask these five officials.
Click each photo to view YouTube interviews with the official. Click the red text to read related news articles.
Rahm Emanuel — Mayor
Chicago’s 55th mayor may have rock star celebrity and a winning mix of national credentials and local connections, but he also has his share of noteworthy scandals in the past.
Emanuel served from 2000-2001 on the board of Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage firm embroiled in the housing meltdown. The Securities and Exchange Commission later said the firm misreported profits during that period, according to ABC News. Emanuel was not named in the SEC investigation. Emanuel made more than $300,000 on the job, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Emanuel’s sometimes abrasive personality and his encyclopedic knowledge of four-letter words have not always earned him fans. After calling a group of liberal Democrats “retarded” (in conjunction with one of his signature f-bombs) in 2010, he later apologized to the head of the Special Olympics.
But perhaps it is what Emanuel won’t say that has driven the most speculation. His relationship with former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and the scandal to sell Obama’s senate seat remains unknown.
Garry McCarthy — Superintendent of Police
The former NYPD cop reportedly came highly recommended to Emanuel, although McCarthy’s troubles were no secret. In fact, some of them were laid out in reality TV docudrama Brick City, which aired on the Sundance Channel.
Recently it has been reported in the Chicago press that the Newark (N.J.) Police Department, where McCarthy was formerly director, is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Justice for civil rights violations that allegedly occurred over several years. According to the Chicago Tribune, most of the incidents predate McCarthy’s tenure, which began in 2006. The allegations, which include use of excessive force and unreasonable search and seizure, led the American Civil Liberties Union to file a complaint and request for federal oversight of the department.
This year the Newark Anti-Violence Coalition led dozens of civil disobedience protests to point out violence among minorities and to call for the firing of McCarthy. At the same time, Newark’s police union voted “no confidence” in McCarthy’s leadership over disagreements about officer layoffs and demotions. He did, however, retain the support of Newark Mayor Cory Booker, who said McCarthy had the “ability to excel and succeed in very difficult times.” Booker credited his former police director with “bringing down crime” in the city.
It was a rocky year for the veteran officer. In January 2010, McCarthy publicly admitted errors on the part of his department when the body of a bystander killed in a shooting was not discovered until a day into the investigation. McCarthy said policies were not followed and vowed to discipline those responsible.
Off the job, McCarthy hasn’t gone unnoticed. In 2005, he and his wife were arrested after a confrontation with officers issuing a parking ticket to his daughters at a New Jersey rest stop. He was charged with illegally obstructing traffic and fined. McCarthy maintained that the other officers involved lied.
Perhaps his biggest challenge is that McCarthy joins the Chicago Police Department as an outsider after several high-ranking officials had speculated that Emanuel would choose from within the force. The insider-outsider debate rankled officers during former Superintendent Jody Weis’ tenure. Weis took the job after leaving the FBI.
Jean-Claude Brizard — Incoming CEO of Chicago Public Schools
Although he hasn’t been sworn into office yet – that could come at the May 25 school board meeting – he’s already on the job and his infamy precedes him.
As superintendent of the Rochester, N.Y. schools, Brizard had a contentious relationship with those around him. The Rochester Teachers Association collected grievances based on increased staff layoffs, decreased student suspensions and Brizard’s push for a longer school year. Eventually the union voted “no confidence” in his leadership.
Parents joined teachers in their complaints that Brizard left them in the dark in deciding to close schools in the district. They also accused him of favoring privatization. Although he had no control over charter schools in his position, his wife was a charter school administrator.
Brizard was also involved in two federal lawsuits, one of them regarding the firing of an elderly teacher who claimed age discrimination and the other for questionable punitive tactics. That case regarded the use of “rubber rooms” (immortalized in a “Law & Order” episode) for staff facing disciplinary action. They were placed on paid administrative leave and reported to what were essentially off-campus study halls until their cases were heard. After multiple union grievances, the practice has subsided, a union rep told the Tribune.
Chicago teachers union members complained that Emanuel did not examine the lawsuits closely enough in considering Brizard for the CPS position.
In April, with rumors swirling he was leaving Rochester, Brizard was out of touch with his school board, according to Rochester’s Democrat & Chronicle, leaving some members to say they felt “betrayed” and accuse him of bailing. He left the Rochester schools nearly $80 million in debt and with half of the schools failing, the Tribune reported.
Matthew O’Shea — 19th Ward Alderman
Although a newcomer to City Council, O’Shea is no stranger to Chicago politics. Formerly a Democratic Ward Committeeman and administrator at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, O’Shea has seen the seamier side of the electoral process.
In 2010, the Tribune’s Clout Street blog pointed out O’Shea drew a $29,000 salary in the first half of 2009 from then Ald. Virginia Rugai for his role as committeeman, circumventing the city’s political hiring ban. Typically a committeeman who is not an elected official is an unpaid political advocate, although O’Shea listed his job title as aide to the alderman.
In adding to Chicago’s storied rough-and-tumble campaign history, O’Shea was accused of playing dirty politics for allegedly masterminding a mailer from the Democratic committee that accused a fellow Democratic candidate of not voting for Obama. The opponent said the mailing targeted black voters. O’Shea’s rep denied that in an interview with The SouthtownStar, but did not deny sending the item.
And in the kind of squabbles that embroil local candidates, O’Shea was targeted on election night for hosting a celebratory party outside city limits. His reps called the complaints “silly,” though they irked several other candidates.
Debra Silverstein — 50th Ward Alderman
The councilwoman is coming straight from the private sector, where she is an accountant, but she has the backing of a close political ally: her husband, state Sen. Ira Silverstein. According to WBEZ, that had some residents wondering: How much power is too much in one household?
Unseating long-time Ald. Bernie Stone was no easy feat, and the battle put Silverstein in the trenches. Silverstein accused Stone of running a shadow campaign committee (it’s against election rules to have more than one committee) to smear her and Stone countered that Silverstein was an ageist “housewife” whose campaign was masterminded by her husband.
After Jewish Chicago, a local publication, attacked the Silverstein family realty business and Silverstein’s appearance, the couple threatened legal action against the publisher for defamation, the Chicago News-Star reported.
Explore the political careers of Chicago’s longest-serving mayor, Richard M. Daley and newcomer Rahm Emanuel, who has stepped in to take over the Daley legacy. How did these two figures get their start in public service and what led them to Chicago’s most powerful political seat? Be sure to click on the dates in the timeline to read articles and watch videos about each historic event and appointment.
Daley elected to Illinois Constitutional Convention
According to the Cook County Clerk’s office website, this was the beginning of Daley’s run as a public servant. Learn more about the Illinois Constitutional Convention:
Daley serves in Illinois Senate for eight years
Date: 1972 to 1980
Daley elected to first term as State’s Attorney of Cook County
He was re-elected for this seat in 1984 and 1988.
Richard M. Daley elected for his first term as Chicago mayor
Apr 4, 1989
Daley’s first term was short, because he was elected to replace Harold Washington, who died while in office.
Check out the Chicago Tribune’s recent article on Daley’s legacy as mayor:
Chicago’s 45th Mayor is inaugurated: Richard M. Daley
Apr 24, 1989
Emanuel joins Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign
Date: Nov 1991
Daley re-elected for first full term
“Daley was re-elected mayor in 1991, 1995, 1999, and 2003, winning a greater percentage of votes at each election.” -FoxNews.com
Emanuel joins Clinton administration as key staffer
Emanuel’s last day of work with the Clinton administration
Date: October 19, 1998
The Washington Post reported Monday, Oct. 19, 1998 as Emanuel’s last day as a Clinton staffer.
While he retired from office, did he retire his dancing shoes? The Washington Post reported on Emanuel’s skill for ballet in addition to his accomplishments in the White House: “The tough-talking aide also takes time out each Saturday to don tights and practice ballet, which he began to study in high school.”
Emanuel elected to first Congressional term
In November 2002, Emanuel earned almost 70 percent of the votes in Illinois’ 5th Congressional district, taking the place of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who was removed from office in 2009 and still faces trial for corruption charges. Emanuel served two more consecutive terms in this seat.
Emanuel appointed as President Obama’s Chief of Staff
Date: November 2008
Daley’s plan to sell Chicago’s parking meters to private company is approved by City Council
An infamous move during the Daley Dynasty’s final term. Read a live blog of this historic City Council meeting by Chicago Tribune staffers:
President Obama announces Emanuel’s resignation as Chief of Staff
Date: Oct 2, 2010
The crowd laughed as Obama announced Emanuel’s resignation as Chief of Staff to “explore other opportunities.” Rumors of Emanuel’s run for mayor had already begun to circle the nation prior to this formal announcement, and the announcement was not a surprise.
Emanuel announces his “Tell It Like It Is Tour”
Date: Oct 3, 2010
“As I prepare to run for mayor, I’m going to spend the next few weeks visiting our neighborhoods, at grocery stores, ‘L’ stops, bowling allies and hot dog stands. I’m calling this the Tell It Like It Is Tour, because I want to hear from you, in blunt Chicago terms, what you think about our city.” -Rahm Emanuel
Daley announces he will not run for re-election
Sep 7, 2010
Watch Mayor Daley’s announcement about his decision to not seek a seventh term:
Daley is Chicago’s longest-serving mayor.
Rahm Emanuel elected as Chicago’s next mayor
Date: Feb. 22, 2011
Rahm Emanuel avoided a run-off by winning just more than 55 percent of the vote during Chicago’s Feb. 2011 municipal election.
Emanuel is sworn into office
Date: May 16, 2011
Watch him take his oath:
Also, check out the Chicago Tribune’s article below on the historic event:
Emanuel leads first City Council meeting just two days after inaugural ceremony
Date: May 18, 2011
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of Chicago government?
This week, Chicago Loopster collected 47 responses in this one-word association game about the system and figureheads that run the city. Among the array of answers stood a few common threads. Check out the collection of words Chicagoans spewed out about city government in the image below. (The prominence of the each word directly correlates to its frequency as a response).
To see some of the faces and hear voices of respondents view the presentation below, which also gives more context to the one-word responses.