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Entertainment abounds in Chicago

Sarah Vabulas | Monday, April 5, 2004

With Irish football home games at a close for the season, you might just be wondering what there is to do on the weekends besides sitting around your dorm room and complaining that there is nothing to do. Well, hit the road! There is an abundance of activities to the west of Notre Dame on 1-90.Downtown Chicago has many things to offer besides fine-dining and world-renowned shopping. Seeing as though South Bend does not draw many popular bands, Chicago is the best place to go to see that desired concert. From now until Christmas break, if you can break away from those books, many popular bands will be appearing across the city.The House of Blues in Chicago, found near Navy Pier at 329 N. Dearborn, features several concerts and is a great venue for concertgoers and musicians alike. HOB, unless otherwise noted, is an 18 and over venue with general admission and standing room only. Valid identification is required for entry. All tickets can be purchased from Ticketmaster at ticketmaster.com or by phone at 312-559-1212. The phone number is 312-923-2000.Better Than Ezra, who played at The Show in Aug. 2002, is just one of many popular bands who is scheduled to play at the HOB in upcoming weeks. Tickets for the Nov. 28 9 p.m. show are available for $22.50. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.Umphrey’s McGee, a band who has quite a future for them, will play at HOB on Nov. 29 at 9 p.m. Umphrey’s played Legends a couple weeks ago and packed the house. They are definitely worth checking into again. Tickets are $20 and doors open at 7:30 p.m.After two killer concerts on Friday and Saturday night, HOB closes the weekend with Something Corporate, a band who is gathering quite the following for themselves. Rx Bandits, Days Away and May will also be performing. This is an all ages show. Tickets are $16. The show begin at 6:30 p.m. and the doors open a 6 p.m. Default, a hot band wowing audiences across the country, plays on Dec. 1 at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $15. This is an all ages show.For those of you who still enjoy the high energy, swing-dancing music, Brian Setzer Orchestra will play HOB on Dec. 6 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $45. This is a 21 and over show, presented by VH1. The doors open at 7:30 p.m.Rounding off the good shows at HOB for the next couple weeks is the hot hard rock band Chevelle. The all ages show is Dec. 17 at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $19.50. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.There are many other concerts around Chicago besides those taking place at The House of Blues. Some of the larger scale shows are at bigger venues to accommodate the desire for tickets.John Mayer, a favorite to so many for his melodic sounds, plays on Nov. 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill. Tickets are still available and are $35.50. Tickets include a 50-cent donation to charity. Opening for Mayer are The Thorns, a special guest appearance on the tour. Visit johnmayer.com for further information about his tour.The Deftones play the Aragon Ballroom on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. Tickets for this show are $24.50 for general admission. Thursday and Thrice are special guests at the concert. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.Popular Radio Station Q101 presents the Twisted 10 show on Dec. 6, featuring Korn, Jane’s Addiction, 311, Dashboard Confessional and AFI at the Allstate Arena. The show begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are 34.50 and for the assigned seating show.Also on Dec. 6, for those who may not run with the Twisted 10 show, Lynyrd Skynyrd will play the Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville, Ind. The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $33 to $43.For a change of venue, among other things, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is currently in Chicago performing at the United Center until Nov. 30. Tickets can be bought at ticketmaster.com and range in price.While concerts and the circus are always an incredible experience, they are not usually made for dressing up and going out on the town. If that is something you are interested in, Chicago is offering a variety of amazing Broadway Musicals.”The Producers – the new Mel Brooks Musical” has been sweeping the country with its amazing performances. The musical marvel that started in Chicago makes its triumphant return to the Windy City. Written by Mel Brooks and directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, this irreverent musical comedy is the biggest Tony Award winner in Broadway history. It will not be in Chicago much longer, so check it out while you can. It leaves following the closing performance on Nov. 30. Tickets are tough to come by, and can be hefty in price. They range from $40 to $80. Another musical marvel that is sure to please is “The Lion King” performing at the Cadillac Palace. The reviews rant and rave of the entertainment quality of the musical. These tickets, too, are difficult to obtain and can place a burden on your wallet. They range from $28 to $125. Although $125 sounds like a lot of money for a musical, sitting so close to the stage enhances the performance. But the show is very audience friendly, with many appearances by cast members in the aisles. It is a beautiful event and not to be missed. Beware; this magical musical leaves Chicago after Jan. 18, so go while you can.With Christmas rapidly approaching, there are many traditional events to choose from. One of those is the “Nutcracker” performed by the Joffrey Ballet Company of Chicago. This rendition of the classic is at the Auditorium Theatre and runs from Dec. 5 until Dec. 28. Tickets range from $13 to $63. So take a friend or that special someone and get in the Christmas spirit with this classic ballet.Coming on Dec. 16 is the highly acclaimed “Hairspray” musical. It will be in Chicago until Feb. 15. Tickets are moving quickly and range from $40 to $80. “Hairspray” will be at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts. It is sure to entertain and make you laugh.While this is simply a brief overview of special events in Chicago in the coming months, it can hardly explain the overwhelming amount of things to do on a daily basis. Blue Man Group performs nightly at the Briar Street Theatre. Visit www.blueman.com for further information about the group.After all the fun and you feel like enjoying an educational, but entertaining experience, visit one of the many Chicago museums and revisit the days of elementary school, going on field trips and goofing around the museums. There’s the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. All the museums are within an hour and a half driving distance from South Bend.The Museum of Science and Industry, located on Lakeshore Drive is a museum that encases a full size submarine to a fully intact jet. The museum also has the luxury of an IMAX theater as well. The hours of the Museum of Science and Industry are 9:30 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. everyday except for Christmas Day. The admission charge for the museum itself is $5.50 for children, $9 for adults and $7.50 seniors. For admission with a ticket to see the IMAX movie the charges are $10.00 for children, $15.00 for adults and $12.50 for seniors. The Field Museum, slightly smaller than the Museum of Science and Industry, showcases a lot of specified items. It is located north of Solder Field on Lakeshore Drive. The museum is currently featuring a special about the history of flight. A permanent Egyptian exhibit is encased within a pyramid inside the museum. This museum also includes a full size skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The hours for the Field Museum are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The admissions charges for the Field Museum are $5 for children, $10 for adults, and $7.00 for seniors.The John Shedd Aquarium, which is also located on Lakeshore Drive, is north of Soldier Field and on the east side of the Field Museum. It is one the most renowned aquariums and is divided into the different waters of the world. The sections include a coral reef, the Pacific Northwest and the Amazon, and each features fish that are indigenous to the specific area. The aquarium also showcases dolphins, beluga or white whales, seals, otters and numerous salt water and freshwater fish. It also has a center tank that houses a sea turtle and shark. The aquarium’s winter hours, Labor Day to Memorial Day, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends. Hours during summer months, Memorial Day to Labor Day, are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. both weekdays and weekends. Admission charges are $21 for adults and $15 for children.The Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, located in the same vicinity as the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium, is the first planetarium built in the Western Hemisphere. It’s also the only planetarium in the world to feature two full-sized planetarium theaters. This includes the famous Zeiss Planetarium Projector that is capable of reproducing every aspect of the night sky. The planetarium currently features an exhibit about Ancient Polynesian navigators and the art of steering by the stars to the history of astronomy and the thousand years of discovery. The hours of operation for the Adler Planetarium are 9:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. weekdays and 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekends. The admission charges are $11 for children, $13.00 for adults and $12.00 for seniors. Each admission includes a planetarium show. The Art Institute of Chicago, located on Michigan Ave, is home to a variety of art from different cultures and includes 300,000 works of art from ten different curatorial departments. It even houses 33 paintings by Claude Monet. Two exhibits that are currently featured at the Art Institute are Manet and the Sea and Aerospace design: The Art of Engineering from NASA’s Aeronautical research. The hours for the Art Institute of Chicago are Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Tuesday 10:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. The cost of admission is $10 for adults, $6.00 for children and seniors and free for children under age 5. Every Tuesday is free due.So while football is over, there is still much to do – all that is required is a short drive or a ride on the South Shore Railroad. If none of this suits you, there is always the amazing cuisine found all over Chicago, or a short trip along Michigan Avenue can please even the toughest critic. So when all else fails, go to Chicago.

Contact Sarah Vabulas at vabu4547@saintmarys.edu andScott Fonferko at sfonferko@hcc-nd.edu