The Wizard World Big Apple Comic Con “Spring Edition” herds international artists, writers, and celebrities together into one superpowered carnival atmosphere. Attendees can wander the pavilion's floor and meet their film and comic-book idols face-to-face, asking penetrating questions about their artistic processes, favorite projects, and availability to join a vigilante crackdown on line-cutters. The day’s program features events and guests, including a Q&A with Chandler Riggs of The Walking Dead renown, appearances by Harry Potter’s Tom Felton and Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark artist Greg Horn, and a writing panel featuring Eisner Award–nominee Matt Kindt.
The North Coast Music Festival is a three-day hat doff to the waning days of summer. Send off halcyon hours in style and gird your gooseflesh for the inevitable onslaught of winter with a lineup that includes electronic, hip-hop, jam-band, and indie-rock artists both famous and obscure. On Friday, the electronic poppiness of The Chemical Brothers will waft from the stage until it enters the noses and eventually implants itself in the brains of concertgoers. Saturday's lineup features the progressive improvisation of Umphrey's McGee and a DJ set by Moby, or Richard Melville Hall on his birth certificate, who has provided hot, ambient beats to films such as Any Given Sunday, The Beach, and Citizen Kane. The festival's final day presents Chicago product Lupe Fiasco and crowd-moving collaborators Nasty Nas and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley.
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.
Under the Streetlamp pries open America's songbook of radio hits, belting out timeless sing-alongs. After fueling the Chicago run of the Tony Award–winning musical Jersey Boys, the old-school quartet has reconvened on stage, determined to resurrect the sounds of the ‘60s and twirl listeners back to an era of peace, love, and vinyl housepets. Unabashed head-bobbing sweeps through East Leyden High School's auditorium as rock 'n’ roll anthems, doo-wop jingles, and golden oldies soar from the band's vault, courtesy of legendary hitmakers such as The Beatles and The Beach Boys. A seven-piece ensemble backs the harmonized vocals with rollicking piano, crystalline guitar, and horns that burst forth with bombast during the rockers and slow to a dreamy sway for the ballads. The vocalists also regale audiences with whimsical choreography and amusing story banter between the songs. Adding to the evening's feel-good vibes, the River Grove School Education Foundation presents the performance as part of its continuing mission to generate funds for local educational programs.
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.
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.