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.
A glass of cold sangria in one hand, a plate of food balanced in the other. The only reason to disrupt such a perfect combination might be to dance to the live band performing just a few feet away. That's the basic Midsommarfest formula, and every summer, nearly 50,000 people flock to Andersonville for this celebration of all things local. Going strong for the past half century, the fest takes over Clark Street from Foster to Catalpa with booths for food and crafts as well as five different stages. These showcase eclectic entertainments that truly reflect the neighborhood's charm: not just cover bands (though there are those, too), but a pet parade, Swedish music, dance troupes, and sets from blues, roots, and funk bands. All the fun also helps the neighborhood, and not just because stoplights are powered by laughter; proceeds go to benefit community causes.
Renovated in 2006, the nearly century-old Wilmette Theatre entertains theatergoers with a rotating slate of current and classic offerings, including Hollywood blockbusters and niche art films. Cylindrical light from a whirring projector flickers across two auditoriums, where movie-going duos can snack on buttery tubs of popcorn while sipping a soda and whispering spoilers into the facility’s pristine Soundfold curtain. The Wilmette underwent a key renovation in 2006, fortifying the century-old venue’s commitment to quality art with fresh coats of paint, an overhauled concessions center, and screenings of feature-length still lifes.
With sizzling pans of their finest dishes in tow, chefs and cooks from across town congregate at the annual Taste of Skokie Valley to dish out tastings and support their community. At the event, which benefits more than 30 local and international charities, they’ll pile plates high with samples of their plump burgers, international delicacies, and frosting-laden cupcakes. When they’re not grilling, stirring, or slicing, the chefs chatter amicably with guests, raising their voices ever so slightly to be heard over the soft hum of the crowd and lively music from Michael Lerich and his Orchestra.
The silent auction and raffle also keep things local, doling out prizes such as gift cards to local shopping malls or maps to locally buried pirate treasure.
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.
Billboard Latin Music Hall of Fame inductee Marco Antonio Solís brings years of ballad-crooning mastery to his live shows, tickling ears and riveting eyes with his magnetic stage presence. Buoyed by the effervescent, folksy tunes of his backup band, Solís's honeyed tenor soars to rarified heights while his trademark flowing mane hypnotizes audience members and fills wigs with impotent rage. Drawing on a catalog of chart-topping hits from his solo career, Solís fills ears with such familiar melodies as "Asi Como Te Conoci," "Tu Amor o Tu Desprecio," and "Ojalá." Solís will be joined by Mexican singer-songwriter and fellow hit-maker Ana Gabriel. Euphonic masterpieces will be crafted in the cavernous Allstate Arena, which boasts stadium seating and a protective roof that prevents dulcet tones from floating away and napping geese from entangling themselves in people’s hair.