Facilitating the fan-delighting collision of comic-book universes and intergalactic heroes, Wizard World organizes Comic Cons and pop-culture conventions across the continent. At each event, stars from the silver screen set down roots in booths across the convention floor, wielding markers for autographs and their photo-op-ready smiles. Past guests have run the gamut from William Shatner, Patrick Stewart, and the cast of AMC?s The Walking Dead. Away from the crowds, stars also participate in talks and Q&A panels as part of the event?s programming. Along with beloved actors, Wizard World?s conventions grant guests a chance to interact with writers and artists as well as partake in activities such as gaming tournaments and costume contests.
Founded by Liberia-born business leader P. Saingbey K. Woodtor nearly a quarter-century ago, the African Festival of the Arts celebrates the arts and culture of African diaspora in Chicago. Past years have seen performances by such legendary acts as George Clinton, Erykah Badu, India.Arie, and James Brown, and every year features a world's worth of food. Nigerian egusi, Senegalese wolof rice, Caribbean jerk chicken, and even Cajun and soul food from the US all have their spots at the food pavilion.
But the real stars of the annual show are the fine arts and the artists who make them, be they painters, sculptors, jewelers, or wood carvers. In all these ways, the festival gives Chicagoans a glimpse of Africa without the need for plane tickets or risking the climb inside the time machine your cousin "invented."
Now in its fifth year, the Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival has become a celebration of art both homegrown and on loan from the rest of country. As you stroll around the fest, handcrafted items from more than 80 area artists vie for attention, with many up for accolades later in a juried art competition. The festivities run from noon to 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and each day the main stage features a diverse lineup of live music from Chicago and throughout the country. The schedule includes The Giving Tree, an Americana rock band that has opened for The Avett Brothers, and former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page.
Founded in 2011, the Chicago-based American Chamber Opera features an ensemble committed to singing full-length oratorios in English. Its productions resemble concerts more than traditional opera performances: the music takes center stage as the singers belt and emote in settings that evoke the world of the story with just a few well-placed details.
On May 20, 1891, an estimated 6,000 people attended the first-ever Opening Day at Hawthorne Race Course. The event featured the Chicago Derby—a quarter-mile race won by a horse named Brookwood. Since that day, the facility has thrilled Chicago-area racing fans season after season with live competition and full-card simulcasting. But it hasn't always been easy. In 1905, for instance, racing was banned in Chicago for more than 15 years after several of the facility's horses became mired in a political scandal. And Hawthorne Race Course itself has had to overcome its fair share of adversity, including two fires, the most recent of which destroyed the grandstand in 1978.
As the weather warms in Chicago, north-siders will scramble to seats inside historic Wrigley Field, with all the throwback charm of its 1914 construction. But those living south of the River do it a bit differently—they head to the sleek and modern U.S. Cellular Field, affectionately dubbed The Cell. Replacing the Sox’s old home at 35th and Shields, The Cell—formerly known as “the new” Comiskey Park—opened in 1991 to give fans more than 40,000 unobstructed views of the field, the players, and the huge exploding scoreboard. Day and night, colorful fireworks shoot from the centerfield board before every game and after every homerun and win. As no game would be complete without classic ballpark food, a variety of concessions sell such staples as hot dogs and pretzels, as well as more gourmet treats, including steak sandwiches and brownie sundaes. Before or during the game, young fans can head to the 15,000 square-foot Comcast Fundamentals area, where the White Sox Training Academy coaches teach kids the ins and outs of baseball on a youth-sized wiffle-ball diamond and inside batting and pitching cages.