Salsa in the Park – Chicago Summers

UPTOWN — Uptown Saturday Nights will celebrate the 21st anniversary of Chicago Summerdance with Salsa lessons and live Latin music.

Chicago Summerdance is a summertime celebration that transforms parks across the city into dance space, according to the City of Chicago website.

The monthly event hosted by Uptown United will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at Buttercup Park, 4901 N. Sheridan Road.

R.I.P. Lonnie Brooks

Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr., December 18, 1933 – April 1, 2017) was an American blues singer and guitarist.

The musicologist Robert Palmer, writing in Rolling Stone, stated, “His music is witty, soulful and ferociously energetic, brimming with novel harmonic turnarounds, committed vocals and simply astonishing guitar work.”

I had the pleasure of seeing Lonnie Brooks play live several times.  He always put on a great show.  Here’s one of my photos from a 90’s show at Grant Park.

Millennium Park Music Video

I recently received a call from a Brazilian songwriter about a new song he just wrote.  It seems he was inspired by his visit to Chicago last year.  He hired me to shoot some shots of Cloud Gate, commonly known as “The Bean” for a music video he’s working on. He also needed some shots of the totem pole in front of the Field Museum.
Can’t wait to see the video.  It’s titled “Cloud Gate Dream”.  Meanwhile, here are some of the photos I sent him.

Cloud Gate, Millenium Park, Chicago

Art Institute Night Heist

I had the pleasure of photographing the Art Institute of Chicago’s Evening Associates Night Heist on June 19th.  Many photos were used in several publications including The Sun Times.  Here’s what they said;

The scene: It was black, white and silver all over for the Evening Associates’ annual Night Heist June 19. From the VIP reception at the Terzo Piano and Bluhm Terrace to the main gathering on Griffin Court, this monochromatic bash sprawled across the campus in a silvery blanket of young professional Art Institute members.

The invite list: The soirée, hosted by Autumn Fincher, Catherine Napier and Brandon Clark, kicked off with a VIP reception featuring cocktails by Adam Seger and music by DJ Ryan Paradise. Over 1,100 guests attended the main event in the Modern Wing, and enjoyed artful cocktails and food in colors that complimented the color palette — think blackened lamb meatballs and chocolate and marshmallow s’mores bao. Attendees also enjoyed docent-led tours of the Charles Ray exhibition, live body painters, DJ sets by Matt Roan and specialty cocktails by Freddie Sarkis in the museum’s Pritzker Garden.

The bottom line: The sold-out event raised $90,000 to benefit the museum’s Evening Associates, which will use the money to increase young Chicagoans’ awareness of the Art Institute of Chicago through audience development programing. — Samantha Gross

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Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater & Center

Thursday night I photographed the dress rehearsal for Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater’s show for this weekend. As usual, they were fantastic.
If you don’t have plans yet for this weekend, I recommend seeing the show. Tickets are available at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (in Skokie).

Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater & Center
In Residence of NorthEastern Illinois University, Chicago

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A celebration of Bill Withers

Had a great time in downtown Chicago’s City Winery watching the band Slab Fork play Bill Withers’ musical hits. The band is named after Withers’ hometown Slab Fork,West Virginia.  I especially enjoyed their versions of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Lean on Me”.

Slab Fork consists of Bill Brickey, Alton Smith, Steve Dawson, John Mead, John Abbey, Gerald Dowd, Wally Rozak, Mani Bances and Mike Mann.

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Mike and Karyn’s Wedding

Mike and Karyn decided to combine two big celebrations together.  Their wedding and New Year’s Eve.

It may have been cold and snowing outside, but it was warm and cozy in The Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago.  The ceremony and reception were both held at The Blackstone so the guests stayed dry.  It was a beautiful wedding and a really fun reception that went well past the midnight’s New Year’s Eve celebration.

Congratulations, Mike and Karyn!

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Jason Bugg at Kingston Mines

Jason Bugg performed a short but really nice set this afternoon at Kingston Mines in Chicago. My friend Lin just turned me on to him because we’re both Bob Dylan fans and there’s certainly a hint of Dylan in the way he writes and sings.

Jason just released his second album and proves that not all nineteen year old artists are trying to sound like Justin Bieber.

Thanks to WXRT for hosting another small and private show for some lucky listeners.

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The Purple Hotel

Unfortunately, attempts to save this historic Chicago landmark are over as The Purple Hotel meets the wrecking ball.  Built in 1960, the hotel was Hyatt’s first Midwest hotel.

The hotel served as Hyatt’s flagship Chicago area hotel until the 1970s and featured two restaurants and live music from popular acts. In 1983,Teamsters lawyer and alleged mobster Allen Dorfman was killed in the hotel’s parking lot. After a series of ownership changes, the hotel closed in 2007.

I’m sorry that the plans to restore the hotel fell apart.  My wife and I stopped in to look at the bar before it closed.  It was in bad shape but if they had fixed it up it would have been a very cool retro place to visit.

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