All in Festivals

Butterfield Blues Reunion

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Mark Naftalin, who added high octane playing to one of the original incarnations of the Butterfield Blues Band, offered a dazzling two-hour solo piano recital.  Why this guy has not issued albums of his great blues piano playing is totally beyond me, particularly because runs an independent record label.  

Bughouse Square Debates

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It is probably no longer politically correct to refer to an institution for people with mental health issues as a bughouse, but the "Bughouse Square" nickname for Washington Square Park was an attempt to capture some of the craziness that came with the eccentrics and expressive orators who took park in debates and other public forums the park during the early decades of the last century.  Bughouse was then the slang for what would later generations would refer to as the looney bin or Cuckoo's Nest.

Newberry Book Fair

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The Newberry Library is holding its annual book fair this weekend.  There are somewhere around 130,000 books, records, and related items for sale.  I have to say, book fairs are not my thing, maybe because we already have too many books and records in our house.  Despite my reservations, the fair is a big deal.  I arrived shortly after the 10AM opening.  The first floor was already packed, with people looking for bargains and gems.

Lions Convention

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Just about every event passes through the Trump filter in this day and age.  Today, the Lions Clubs International held a parade on Chicago's State Street to commemorate the Chicago-based organization's 100th anniversary.  One parade participant proudly told me that the Lions Club is the largest service organization in the world, with 1,400,000 members in somewhere around 200 countries.  The organization focuses its efforts on visual impairment, hearing loss, disaster relief, diabetes awareness, and other good causes.

Gay Pride Parade

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Everyone knows what happens in Chicago on the last Sunday in June: The Gay Pride parade.  Having lived on the periphery of Boystown for over two decades, I've been to my share of Gay Pride parades.  Each year the parade is a little more corporate and a little less outrageous, reflecting the mainstream acceptance of gay people.


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The 11th Annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival is just three months away, which is why the annual benefit gathering was held tonight.  About 175 people showed up at the Promontory Restaurant, Bar, and Performance Space to celebrate what has become one of the top jazz festivals in the country and certainly the top one in Chicago.

The Tale Dragger

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Whatever.  Today, with towel in hand, Tail Dragger gave a mesmerizing performance.  On the surface, it was rooted deep in Chicago blues traditions that many others have sucessfully mined over the years.  Yet, Tail Dragger is the real deal.  There are not too many veterans like him around any more.  I am glad I dragged myself out of bed into the heat.