About the Town in June


IMG_4884  By Philip Vidal

The new tri-level rooftop bar at the new LondonHouse Chicago Hotel, the former London Guarantee & Accident Building, at the southwest corner of Michigan and Wacker, will open in June. There is an ongoing debate whether it is urban myth, local legend or fact that one summer evening, eons ago, the wives of members of the now-closed Tavern Club, on top of 333 N. Michigan, donned diaphanous Grecian-style gowns and performed a dance, to the delight of their husbands, in the classic temple-like belvedere that is a centerpiece of the new LondonHouse bar. That structure is now an “exclusive private cupola,” so there is a chance that someone will recreate that special evening from long ago.

Some things will wind down in June — the Chicago Symphony will take a hiatus, and several private clubs will close for one or two months — while other things heat up. The first art fair of the season is the granddaddy of them all, Chicago’s 69th annual 57th Street Art Fair, June 4–5. The following weekend is the 67th Old Town Art Fair, the 51st annual Midsommarfest in Andersonville, the Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park, Ribfest Chicago at Lincoln, Irving and Damen, and the Chicago Lit Fest in Printers Row. Wow!

And, if you are still looking for something to do the weekend of June 10–12, the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series qualifying event will take place on Lake Michigan. It is the first time America’s Cup has had an event on freshwater in 165 years (lvacws-chicago.americascup.com). Concurrent with the America’s Cup event will be a Boater’s Bash in Monroe Harbor, which is described as Lake Michigan’s largest floating party.

Speaking of games and races, I noticed an ad for Light Opera Works’ production of My Fair Lady, June 4–12 at the Cahn Auditorium in Evanston, showing Eliza Doolittle in the dress she wears to attend the races at Royal Ascot. The dress reminds me that Chicago’s English-Speaking Union hosts its annual Ascot Ball on June 11. The ESU’s Chicago chapter will celebrate its 95th anniversary (esuus.org/chicago). My editor, Judy Bross, is the honorary chair.

June 11 is a popular night for benefit galas. In addition to the ESU’s Ascot Ball, the following events are planned: The Gene Siskel Film Center of the SAIC will honor actress Scarlett Johansson at the Ritz-Carlton (siskelfilmcenter.org/gala2016); DIFFA Chicago will host their Illumination Gala at the Chicago Marriott Downtown (diffachicago.org); and the Shedd Aquarium’s Board of Trustees “Dark Waters” gala will take place at the aquarium (sheddaquarium.org/gala).

Ravinia’s season begins June 2. Barenaked Ladies, OMD (Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark — a blast from my past), Howard Jones, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Patti LaBelle, and Chicago’s own Ramsey Lewis perform at Ravinia in June (ravinia.org). The Grant Park Music Festival begins June 15 and runs through August 20 (gpmf.org).

The Arts Circle Celebration on June 4 is a free event on the Arts Green at Northwestern University in Evanston. Highlights include the Actors Gymnasium and the Trisha Brown Dance Company (artscircle.northwestern.edu). Friends Ljuba and Vida Bjelopetrovich have told me that I must go to Evanston to see the new Mary B. Galvin Recital Hall at Northwestern University. The acoustics are apparently amazing. The back wall of the stage is glass and frames a spectacular view of Chicago’s skyline (events.music.northwestern.edu).

Although it is inside, the 17th season of the Rush Hour Concerts at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. James on Wabash at Huron begins on June 7 and continues through August 30. These free chamber music concerts are Tuesday evenings. Doors open at 5 p.m., pre-concert conversation occurs at 5:15 p.m. and is followed by a 30-minute concert. Just a few of the terrific groups to perform are the Avalon String Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Civitas Ensemble and the Spektral Quartet, (rushhour.org).

The sixth annual Make Music Chicago is June 21 and is a one-day, citywide music festival marking the summer solstice. Highlights include Kevin James’ Guerrilla Fanfare, for brass and percussion, and “Sousapalooza” play-along for band instruments (makemusicchicago.com).

In May, I was fortunate to hear Barbara Levy Kipper give an overview of her collection at the annual meeting of the Asian Art Council. A portion of Ms. Kipper’s collection will be shown at the Art Institute of Chicago between June 19 and August 21. Vanishing Beauty: Asian Jewelry and Ritual Objects from the Barbara and David Kipper Collection is an exhibition of exquisitely crafted objects from some of the most remote areas of the world. Indeed, the original title for the exhibition was Journeys from Xanadu: Jewelry and Ritual Objects from the Barbara and David Kipper Collection (artic.edu).

I am intrigued by BOLT Resident artist Suzette Bross’s new show, For the Glass, which runs through June 16 at the Chicago Artists Coalition, 217 N. Carpenter. She makes portraits using a scanner instead of a camera. There will be a special opening reception at the CAC on June 3 between 6–9 p.m. (chicagoartistscoalition.org).

When I saw the title of the Art Institute’s upcoming show, America after the Fall, I thought it might have something to do with life after the fall elections, but it is actually about painting in the 1930s. It will run from June 5 to September 18 (artic.edu).

Curators Jessica Moss, John Corbett and Jim Dempsey lead a closing week tour of the Monster Roster exhibit at the Smart Museum of Art on June 5 at 9 p.m. The Monster Roster was a group of Chicago artists after WWII whose work was mainly figurative and very dark, and conceived in reaction to the abstract art prevalent at the time. One of the artists in the Monster Roster was Chicago artist June Leaf. The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York is currently showing an exhibition of her work, June Leaf: Thought Is Infinite, through June 17.

June 11 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of a classic movie filmed in Chicago and its suburbs, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ferris Fest was May 20–22, but the festivities continue. The Millennium Park Summer Film Series, June 21 to August 30, kicks off with a screening of the film at 6:30 p.m. The Willis Tower, the Palmer House Hilton, Hotel Lincoln and the Virgin Hotels Chicago are all commemorating the film this summer (ferrisfest.com).

Chicago continues to be a beta site for Broadway. The world premiere of The SpongeBob Musical will be at the Oriental Theatre from June 7 to July 10 (broadwayinchicago.com). Another pre-Broadway premiere, War Paint, will be at the Goodman Theatre from June 28 through August 14. Winnetka native Christine Ebersole and Patti LuPone will portray beauty industry pioneers Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, respectively (goodmantheatre.org).

I recently say the movie Old-Fashioned: The Story of the Wisconsin Supper Club. The true Wisconsin Old-Fashioned or Manhattan is made with brandy, not rye or bourbon. Fortunately, one need only travel to 2438 N. Lincoln to have the Wisconsin version of these classic drinks at Millie’s Supper Club.

Whet your appetite for the Taste of Chicago by attending the 20th annual Taste of Randolph Street, June 17–19 (tasterandolph.com).

Congratulations to Gene & Georgetti restaurant, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. I was sorry to hear The Berghoff, the 118-year-old German restaurant downtown, was sold, but glad to hear that it will remain open and will stay in the family.

Sample beer from over 100 American craft breweries at Chicago Ale Fest at Buckingham Fountain, June 17–18 (chicagoalefest.com/summer).

And what would summer in Chicago be without block parties? The Old St. Patrick’s World’s Largest Block Party is June 25 at the UIC Festival Lot (worldslargestblockparty.com).