THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO

Enter Here To Find Things To Do In Chicago

Chicago, The Windy City, is filled with incredible and exciting things to.  There are fun things to do with kids this weekend and always concerts in Chicago tonight.  Whatever it is you might be seeking at any point in time, there is a very good chance it is happening somewhere in Chicago. 

Our very helpful Chicago Travel Guide can be of assistance as you determine what you want to do and perhaps hotels near me in Chicago and the best restaurants.  It’s always best to check out any great city with a travel guide and a game plan for your action!

Chicago has tons of attractions.  Some of those include Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Millennium Park.  There is also Grant Park and the Museum of Science and Industry.  Don’t forget Shedd Aquarium and the immensely incredible views from 360Chicago. 

What are some top attractions in Chicago?

Chicago has tons of attractions.  Some of those include Navy Pier, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Millennium Park.  There is also Grant Park and the Museum of Science and Industry.  Don’t forget Shedd Aquarium and the immensely incredible views from 360Chicago. 

Chicago is simply overflowing with arts and culture.  Take your kids to the Chicago Children’s Museum or the Chicago History Museum.  You can also check out the Art Institute Of Chicago and the Chicago Cultural Center. 

If you are seeking performing arts then Chicago is the place for you.  Chicago is home the Hamilton Chicago and of course the Joffrey Ballet.  There is also the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Opera. 

The city is also a huge sports town.  You can always find the upcoming events and schedules at ThingsToDoInChicago.co.  We have the Bears Schedule, Northwestern Football Schedule, and of course all the hockey action with the Blackhawks and Chicago Wolves

Check out some live action of a recent concert in Chicago:

Getting To Chicago

Chicago is a favorite tourist destination. It is one of the best cities in the US with world-class museums and restaurants and it is home to Jazz and comedy. It is known as the Windy City. Of course, getting there first is most important, so it is helpful to know a few things about the airports.

Midway can handle all of the major airlines and is one great option for flying to Chicago. If you charter your bus beforehand can save valuable time and produce your journey a lot more pleasant. The rental car buses depart with just a few folks. When travelling in a bigger group, the typical taxi or limo services are not able to cater for such parties within a car.

The airport provides a number of shops to pass the moment. Smaller airports are not going to provide that sort of exposure. O’Hare International Airport provides an assortment of choices for vehicle rentals. Midway International Airport is in the middle of a large dining overhaul. If you’re planning to fly into Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW), you’ve got ten car rental companies to pick from.

Based on the pick up location and destination of your journey, an alternate taxicab service may be the best option for you. Chicago Destinations While traveling to Chicago learns more about the region and the places you may visit when you remain in the region. Chicago Destinations Your visit to the Windy City is certain to be fun and full of excitement.

Chicago Growth And Development – Entertainment and Living Options

To stay on top of all the best things to do in Chicago or any city, you must be aware of all the new development and amazing places being constructed to lure in residents and give people a nice quality of life. There is a mammoth new development in Chicago called The 78. It’s a $7 Billion plus mega-project that will include entertainment options and venues. In fact, the entire city is under an immense new construction boom. It truly is remarkable how much new development is going on for a major, established city. Just check out the new digs around the Northwestern campus as well. Incredible.

Chicago 2020 Broadway Season Is Something Special

Broadway In Chicago really did it big time in 2020. Some true smash hits from Broadway are coming to town. Dear Evan Hansen is returning to the Windy City after a super successful run in 2019. Sensational musicals Mean Girls, Frozen, and Come From Away will also be in Chicago this coming season. It’s a power packed year for theatre lovers in Chicagoland.

Shedd Aquarium

The aquarium is always a big hit and an excellent place to take the kids. Also a perfect trip for a school field trip. Shedd in Chicago is no different. Shedd said please don’t hesitate to nurse anywhere you’re comfortable. Shedd has a rather prosperous penguin breeding program. Shedd is a well-known place and can readily get crowded during summer, weekends or holidays. Shedd also receives a huge part of its power consumption from solar power, and it’s always increasing. In reality, Shedd has also made tremendous progress in the field of waste management.

Shedd Aquarium is located at 1200 South Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, zip code 60605.

It is possible to re-enter the Aquarium if you maintain your ticket. You only have to go to Shedd Aquarium! In general, Shedd Aquarium is a good location for families to devote an enjoyable weekend at. If you prefer to be part of the Shedd Aquarium’s workforce, you can volunteer for sure positions. Shedd Aquarium is among the world’s biggest indoor aquariums, housing around 32,000 creatures. Shedd Aquarium is among the most fascinating areas to visit when in the Chicago region. You can’t tour the complete Shedd Aquarium in simply a day so instead join their membership to visit it frequently. Perhaps check out the Shedd Aquarium for catching a concert at the Aragon Ballroom.

You can leave and return inside if you maintain your ticket. When you purchase your tickets, make certain that you reserve your time for any shows you would love to see as you will require a ticket to enter. Buying tickets early is almost always a fantastic idea. They can be purchased exclusively at the front gate of Dollywood and cannot be pre-purchased. If you wish to find discounted tickets, take a look at the discount section above.

Hotels In Chicago


When visiting Chicago of course it is imperative to check out all the hotels in Chicago so you can make the best choice for what you want. There are hundreds and hundreds of great hotels to choose from. The Centrally Situated Palmer House Hotel – The Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel Has Been a great stay for our family . This Hilton hotel is centrally situated and just two blocks from the Art Institute and Millennium Park. We walked to almost anything we did. We got tired, Lyft and Uber automobile services delivered us as taking public transportation, about the same cost. Named after its proprietor his hotel burned from the Great Chicago Fire

Today, the hotel is a popular place to go for social gatherings in its spectacular lobby. This could be a great option for after a Thalia Hall Concert or after a long drive back from a Notre Dame Football game. This hotel takes you back with ceilings offering guests of business conferences and weddings both hospitality and old world charm. Our loved using the Executive Floor Lounge. For everyone remaining floors, the lounge provides evening hor doeuvres and breakfast. The lounge is an upgrade in the fun element and a family. To give you a notion of how Hilton Palmer Parker House is at Chicago, here’s the distance from the hotel and a list of Chicago restaurants and nearby attractions. We walked to all except the Museum of Industry and Science. 

Chicago Attractions – The Art Institute along with Millennium Park – Willis Tower – Field Museum of Natural History – John Hancock – Water Tower Place – John G Shedd Aquarium – Adler Planetarium – Lincoln Park Zoo – Museum of Science and Industry – Chicago restaurants – Als Beef – Giordanos – Lou Malnatis – Xoco – The Purple Pig – Portillos – Self Guided Walking Chicago Food Tour – I Really like to sample food in Various cities, but there’s never Appear to be sufficient meals. Thats where food tours come in. Rather than joining one, we created our very own Chicago food tour with the aid of knowledgeable friends. 

Who says you need to eat a whole meal at one restaurant? These innovative meals work when there are plenty of great restaurants within walking distance. Map them out on Google Maps along with make your very own Chicago food tour. Appetizer: Charcuterie in The Purple Pig – First Course: hotdogs At Portillos – Second Course: An Italian sandwich in Als Steak – Dessert: Churros with chocolate in Xoco – Chicago Deep Dish Pizza – Im not going to get into that the Chicago Deep Dish pizza wars. They’re all Chicago classics in their very own right.

‘George & Tammy’ review: Michael Shannon, Jessica Chastain act with all the intensity of the spitfires they’re portraying

If you added up all the scandals, fights, affairs, betrayals, legal troubles, bouts with addiction, backstage dramatics and onstage antics depicted in “Ray,” “Walk the Line,” “Respect,” “Elvis,” “Fosse/Verdon” and let’s throw in the fictional “A Star Is Born” as well to make it a fair fight, “George and Tammy” might have the lot of ’em beat, put together.

Over the course of this Showtime six-part limited series, we’re equal parts entertained and exhausted by the trials and tribulations of country music legends George Jones (Michael Shannon) and Tammy Wynette (Jessica Chastain), and we’re not sure which is more impressive: that George and Tammy were responsible for so much enduring music, or they were able to even stand up and perform on a semi-regular basis.

George Jones was one of the biggest names in country music in the mid-20th century and had more than 150 charted singles in his career, but he was also a self-destructive, sometimes violent alcoholic and drug addict with a long history of missing shows and squandering his fortune before staging yet another comeback.

‘George & Tammy’

Tammy Wynette was an enormously popular country music icon with the signature song “Stand By Your Man” and dozens of other hits, but she was plagued by health issues, became addicted to painkillers, endured dozens of operations, was involved in a number of tumultuous marriages and famously claimed to have been kidnapped, among other controversial incidents.

Separately, they were train wrecks; together, they were the Titanic meets the iceberg, yet through all the madness, they managed to make some beautiful music together

“George & Tammy” is at times overwrought, and the dialogue occasionally veers into soap opera territory, but thanks in large part to Shannon and Chastain delivering powerful, fiery, larger-than-life performances suitable for the characters they’re portraying, it’s a compelling period-piece melodrama, filled with impressive musical performances.

Created by Abe Sylvia (who wrote “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” for which Chastain won an Oscar), with all six episodes helmed by longtime music video director John Hillcoat (his extensive credits go all the way back to co-directing Elvis Costello’s “Veronica” in 1989), “George & Tammy” isn’t subtle about piling on with the wigs and costumes and cars and interior designs of the 1960s and 1970s.

The series kicks off with a graphic telling us, “In the late 60s, George Jones was the undisputed king of country music … but he was slipping. Then he met a former hairdresser just starting to climb the charts. Her name was Virginia Pugh … better known as Tammy Wynette.”

Cut to a drunken George stumbling onto the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in 1968 and singing with Roy Acuff (the great Tim Blake Nelson in a quick cameo) as the promising young star Tammy Wynette races to the auditorium just in time to catch George performing “White Lightning.” Tammy’s a goner. George is everything. And once George meets Tammy, he’s a goner, too.

Before you can sing a chorus of Wynette’s “D-I-V-O-R-C-E,” Tammy is leaving her volatile husband and songwriting partner Don Chapel (Pat Healy), collecting her kids and running off with George, and off we go on a Greatest Hits medley chronicling their tumultuous love affair and the recording and performing of such No. 1 classics as “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Two Story House,” the latter of which was recorded long after the pair had split. (As Tammy puts it, “Why should we let divorce ruin a perfectly good partnership?”)

While George often crawls inside of a bottle and Tammy’s dependence on painkillers (both pills and injections) turns into a crippling addiction, songwriter George “Rich” Richey (Steve Zahn) insinuates himself into Tammy’s life, first as her colleague, friend and self-appointed protector, eventually as her husband. (Whereas George and Tammy come across as deeply flawed and often hurtful people who also were capable of love and compassion, Richey is portrayed as an absolute garbage human being whose manipulation and abuse of Tammy is horrific and downright criminal. The likable Zahn, who is most closely associated with playing affable goofs, gives a chillingly effective performance here.)

The songs are often employed as literal commentaries on what’s happening in the personal lives of George and Tammy, e.g., when George is a no-show for their heavily hyped Vegas debut, Tammy wades into the crowd and sings “Stand By Your Man,” winning the audience over one member at a time.

Shannon and Chastain do their own vocals, recorded live, and while no one would expect either one of them to match the majestic talents of the stars they’re portraying, they acquit themselves well. And though we find ourselves wondering time and again why these two didn’t quit one another much sooner than they did, we understand the power of the bond between them. George & Tammy made some memorable music when they were happy, and even more memorable music when they were miserable. Their entire union feels like one gigantic country song.

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High school basketball: Evan Jackson’s emerging three-point shot helps De La Salle take down Fenwick

Being 6-7 and athletic isn’t enough for college coaches anymore. The first question will always be the same: Can he shoot?

De La Salle senior Evan Jackson was a force in the post last season, but he knows that isn’t what colleges want to see.

“I worked on my shot the whole offseason,” Jackson said. “I have to shoot the three because I’m not big enough to just be in the paint. But I’m still going to continue to rebound and do what I did last year.”

The work has paid off. Jackson gets the three-point shot off quickly and accurately. He was 4-for-6 from three-point range in the Meteors’ 56-49 win against visiting Fenwick on Thursday.

Jackson made three free throws to tie the game at 48 with 1:46 to play and then drained a three with 56 seconds left to give De La Salle the lead for good. He finished with 20 points and six rebounds.

“I don’t know why he isn’t considered one of the top players in the state,” Meteors coach Gary DeCesare said. “I don’t understand it. He’s 6-7, can handle the ball and shoot the three. He’s long and dangly and he gets his hand on a lot of plays. He’s got a great motor.”

Jackson has been an impact player for the past two seasons and the unsigned senior appears poised for a breakout season.

“Evan is a hard worker,” De La Salle senior Anthony Davis said. “We go back to fifth grade. Seeing him grow and grow has been great.”

Davis, a four-year varsity guard, stepped up and stabilized things late for the Meteors (5-1). He made 5 of 6 free throws in the final 28 seconds to help seal the win.

“That was the time to step up and lead the way,” Davis said. “Our team is young. We have a lot of freshmen, juniors and sophomores.”

Davis scored 10 points and 6-4 junior Richard Lindsey, a Simeon transfer, added 12 points and seven rebounds. Two freshmen, Charles Barnes and Remi Edwards, played significant minutes for De La Salle.

“We have a good mix,” DeCesare said. “[Edwards] is a monster on the boards and I love Charles Bonds.”

De La Salle’s Richard Lindsey (21) reacts as he defends against Fenwick’s JT Pettigrew (11).

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

Fenwick doesn’t have a mix. The Friars (3-3) are just super young. They played eight sophomores and a junior.

The inexperience led to 26 turnovers, but Fenwick fought through them and built a four-point lead early in the fourth quarter on back-to-back three-pointers by sophomores JT Pettigrew and Dominick Ducree.

“We have to learn that when you get the lead with a couple minutes to go there is a lot of little stuff you need to do,” Friars coach Tony Young said. “They are growing. You can’t really be mad at them after these losses because they are learning.”

Ducree finished with 13 points and sophomore Damon Porter Jr. added 11 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Connor Fitzgerald scored nine points off the bench.

“This is the Chicago Catholic League,” Young said. “It’s tough, it’s gritty and you have to fight. You have to dive on the floor and make shots and take real charges and play real defense. If you don’t you are going to get exposed.”

Fenwick faces crosstown rival Oak Park in the Chicago Elite Classic on Friday at UIC.

Watch the final minute of Fenwick at De La Salle:

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Chicago Bears QB Justin Fields roasts Uber Eats on TwitterRyan Heckmanon December 2, 2022 at 2:57 am

All week long, the majority of Chicago Bears chatter on social media has been regarding the state of starting quarterback Justin Fields.

After missing last week due to a separated shoulder, the thought was that Fields very well could miss this coming week’s game as well — and it’s Green Bay Packers week.

There is no bigger game in the regular season than Packers week — a week that comes twice a year. Already, the Packers have beaten the Bears once this season. In a season that looks lost in terms of wins and losses, the Bears are simply hungry for a victory over their division rival.

Thursday night, though, Fields was hungry — really hungry. Why?

The man placed an order for Uber Eats and, apparently, they’re the ones who dropped the ball.

Justin Fields roasted Uber Eats on Twitter and got Chicago Bears nation all riled up.

. @UberEats I usually don’t tweet much, but the fact that I ordered $90 worth of food & don’t get it dropped off to the right place and cant get any credit is WILD. Smh y’all gotta do better. Lol I was hungry & ready to go crazy on that food now I’m just gone starve ??

— Justin Fields (@justnfields) December 2, 2022

The quarterback placed an order for food — nearly $100 worth — and somehow, along the way, the food was misdirected and dropped off at the wrong location.

From Fields’ tweet, we learned that not only did the food get dropped off at the wrong place, Uber Eats refused to give the man any credit for their mistake!

Imagine that — you’re in charge of delivering food to maybe the current most popular figure in the city of Chicago and you completely blow it. Not only that, but after making a mistake, you fail to make up for that mistake.

Fields jokingly tweeted he might starve, but I assume he found a backup plan.

Uber Eats, however, needs to have a backup plan for that driver who made the mistake of dropping his food off at the wrong location, as well as for the support representative(s) that failed to give Fields any semblance of an apology.

For now, let’s just hope that QB1 doesn’t go to bed hungry, rests up and indeed takes the field Sunday against that bitter rival, Green Bay.

And, let’s hope he comes hungry for some cheese Sunday afternoon (That was too easy, too cheesy, and totally necessary).

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Bears notes: Is Alex Leatherwood closer to playing?

Offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood, the 2021 first-round pick whom the Bears claimed at the start of the season, has yet to play a snap with the team.

That could change soon. But Thursday, offensive line coach Chris Morgan gave little indication that a starting assignment was around the corner.

Morgan said the Bears were happy with Leatherwood in practice, though, and that he was put at a disadvantage when he went to the Non-Football Injury list with mononucleosis two weeks after he was claimed.

“Whenever you get traded, you get cut, whatever that is, you kinda need a complete reset sometimes,” Morgan said. “His situation, he didn’t have a lot of time, because it’s during the season. And then, you know, he was ill a little bit. So it was kinda unique. He’s done a good job learning our vocabulary, our plays, techniques. Learning the guys next to him he’s working with.”

Earlier in the week, it seemed like Leatherwood — who has worked at both guard and tackle — had a chance to start Sunday against the Packers. Starting right tackle Riley Reiff left the Jets game with a back problem, and his backup Larry Borom followed suit with knee and ankle injuries. Neither practiced Wednesday.

Reiff, though, returned on a limited basis Thursday. Leatherwood could be on the game-day roster, though, if Borom is ruled out Friday.

Ebner passed

Darrynton Evans had played only two snaps on offense all season until Sunday, when he supplanted rookie Trestan Ebner as the Bears’ No. 2 running back.

“He took advantage of his opportunities,” running backs coach David Walker said. “He gave our team a spark.”

Evans ran nine times for 35 yards and caught a 33-yard pass against the Jets. He figures to get another chance Sunday.

“He’s an explosive athlete,” head coach Matt Eberflus said. “You saw him make that one catch. He did a real nice job of making that safety miss and taking it down there. We always tell them to do a good job of falling forward. He did a nice job with that. He did a nice job in protection as well. He knew his assignment. He played fast.”

Two weeks ago against the Falcons, Ebner had one run in which he “hesitated way too much,” Walker said. Because Evans had gained on Evans in practice, too, the Bears decided it was time for a change.

“We don’t really need to … force [Ebner] into a situation where might be slightly not ready,” Walker said.

This and that

o Rookies Kyler Gordon and Jaquan Brisker– the cornerback and safety who were the Bears’ top two picks this season — remain in concussion protocol. Both were hurt Nov. 20 against the Falcons and haven’t participated in team activities since.

oChase Claypool practiced in full after being limited with a knee injury Wednesday. Fellow receiver Dante Pettis sat out with an illness.

o Packers offensive linemen David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins, who have knee injuries, were both limited after being forced to miss Wednesday’s practice.

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‘Bears suck’: Justin Jones still feeling burn after loss to Pack

When he signed with the Bears in free agency in March, defensive tackle Justin Jones didn’t get what the Bears-Packers rivalry was all about

He does now.

“I feel like we owe them something,” Jones said, “because when we played them in Week 2, we left the field and [Packers fans] are saying, ‘Bears suck.’ I never really understood the rivalry until then. When I left Lambeau Field that second week, I’ve been waiting for this game.”

Some players, especially newcomers, almost feel obligated to placate fans with vitriol towards the Packers. But you could feel the anger in Jones’ voice. He means it. It took him one game — a 27-10 loss on Sept. 18 at Lambeau Field — to hate Packers fans.

“You can’t play this game against Green Bay and not have that type of anger for them,” Jones said. “I really didn’t get it Week 2, but after that game I feel it now.”

While Bears fans surely appreciate Jones’ sentiment, two factors stand in the way. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers practiced Thursday on a limited basis and is expected to start despite thumb and rib injuries. And the Bears’ defense has been wilting during a five-game losing streak.

In that stretch in fact, the Bears defense is allowing 29.0 points per game (tied for last in the NFL) and 378.0 yards per game (28th). Opposing quarterbacks have a 123.7 rating against the Bears in that span (last in the NFL). And the Bears have just one interception (31st).

And they’re short-handed. Defensive end Robert Quinn was traded in Week 8. Linebacker Roquan Smith was traded in Week 9. Safety. Eddie Jackson is on injured reserve and out for the season after injuring his foot last week against the Jets. And rookie cornerback Kyler Gordon and rookie safety Jaquan Brisker still are in concussion protocol after missing the Jets game.

Even with them, Rodgers was typically efficient in Week 2 — completing 19-of-25 passes for 234 yards two touchdowns and no interceptions for a 131.1 passer rating.

Without them, even a banged-up Rodgers has to be looking forward to this game, the way the Bears’ defense has been playing.

“I understand that,” Jones said. “We’ve addressed the issues that we’ve had. We’ve got a bunch of young guys. They’re preparing, ready to play 60 snaps. Ready to play hard and fast. [And] they’re not what they used to be either.”

That’s a fair point. The Packers are 4-8, with seven losses in their last eight games. Rodgers has battled through the thumb injury but not up to his normal standards — his 92.9 passer rating is well below the 111.9 and 121.5 ratings of 2021 and 2020. His nine interceptions in 12 games already are the most he’s thrown in a season since 2010.

The Bears also are juiced to be facing him.

“He’s a [bleep]-talker,” cornerback Jaylon Johnson said. “Like he said the last time he came here he was saying he owned us and talking to the fans a certain way. He’s a really fierce competitor. We’ve got to find a way to get that taste out of our mouth. You gotta put in action to be able to stop a talker like that. He’s one of the best in the league at talking and backing it up.”

Jones, of course, also wants Rodgers to play.

“For sure,” he said. “I want him to be out here to experience it.”

That sounds good now, but making it happen is a completely different thing. Jones needs his emotion about this game to be contagious.

“You just gotta remember what it was like, taking the ‘L’ back in Lambeau Field,” Jones said. “You gotta remember what that feeling was when we were walking off the field and what the fans were saying and chanting and laughing at us. You have to remember that. I don’t forget it.”

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High school basketball: AP Illinois rankings

Here are the boys prep basketball polls with rank, team, first-place votes, record and total points.

Class 4ASchool W-L Pts

1. Joliet West (1) 2-1 37

2. Moline (3) 1-1 36

3. Kenwood 2-0 31

(tie) St. Rita 2-2 31

5. Young 2-1 24

6. Rolling Meadows 5-1 18

7. Brother Rice 5-0 15

8. Quincy 3-0 8

9. Evanston 4-0 7

10. Curie 4-1 3

(tie) Benet 2-0 3

Others receiving votes: Glenbrook South 2. Belleville East 2. Oswego East 1. Bloom 1. Rockford Auburn 1.

Class 3ASchool W-L Pts

1. Sacred Heart-Griffin (3) 1-0 38

2. Simeon (1) 1-0 37

3. East St. Louis 4-0 30

4. Metamora 1-1 28

5. Hillcrest 4-0 25

6. St. Ignatius 4-0 21

7. Decatur MacArthur 4-0 14

8. Rock Island 4-0 10

9. Marian Catholic 4-1 6

10. Centralia 3-0 4

Others receiving votes: Hyde Park 2. Lemont 2. Mount Carmel 2. Richwoods 1.

Class 2ASchool W-L Pts

1. DePaul Prep (4) 4-0 40

2. Fairbury Prairie Central 5-0 31

3. Princeton 5-0 30

4. St. Joseph-Ogden 2-0 29

5. Columbia 4-1 26

6. Perspectives-Leadership 4-1 24

7. Rockridge 3-1 13

8. Pinckneyville 1-0 9

9. Breese Central 4-0 5

10. Rockford Lutheran 3-2 4

(tie) Breese Mater Dei 1-0 4

Others receiving votes: Quincy Notre Dame 3. Bloomington Central Catholic 2.

Class 1ASchool W-L Pts

1. Augusta Southeastern (4) 2-0 40

2. Jacksonville Routt 3-0 33

3. Casey-Westfield 3-0 30

4. New Berlin 2-1 26

5. Winchester-West Central 0-0 18

6. North Clay 3-1 13

7. Fulton 3-2 11

8. South Beloit 4-1 10

9. Yorkville Christian 1-4 8

10. Scales Mound 5-0 7

Others receiving votes: Effingham St. Anthony 5. Steeleville 4. Tuscola 4. Decatur Lutheran (LSA) 3. East Dubuque 3. Madison 2. Altamont 2. Brown County 1.

Girls Basketball

Class 4ASchool W-L Pts

1. Benet (4) 5-1 40

2. Hersey 6-1 32

3. Loyola 4-1 31

4. Fremd 6-0 30

5. Stevenson 4-1 20

6. O’Fallon 4-1 16

(tie) Bolingbrook 6-0 16

8. Kenwood 6-0 12

9. Geneva 3-1 8

10. Lyons 5-1 7

Others receiving votes: Barrington 4. Normal 2. Hononegah 1. Young 1.

Class 3ASchool W-L Pts

1. Nazareth (4) 5-0 40

2. Carmel 5-1 36

3. Peoria Central 6-0 31

4. Montini 5-1 29

5. Washington 5-0 21

6. Geneseo 5-0 19

7. Deerfield 6-0 18

8. Lincoln 6-0 10

9. Peoria Notre Dame 7-0 9

10. Oak Forest 3-2 2

(tie) Marian Catholic 5-0 2

(tie) Rockford Boylan 4-1 2

Others receiving votes: Rochester 1.

Class 2ASchool W-L Pts

1. Quincy Notre Dame (4) 5-0 40

2. Fieldcrest 7-0 35

3. Butler 0-2 33

4. Stillman Valley 7-0 26

5. Teutopolis 3-1 21

6. Princeton 5-0 15

(tie) Byron 5-0 15

8. Paris 5-0 10

9. Pana 7-1 8

10. Canton 6-3 5

Others receiving votes: Winnebago 4. Althoff Catholic 3. Peotone 2. Knoxville 1. Sherrard 1. Eureka 1.

Class 1ASchool W-L Pts

1. Galena (3) 5-0 39

2. Okawville (1) 5-0 37

3. Mendon Unity 7-0 29

4. Neoga 5-0 27

4. Havana 6-0 27

6. Tuscola 8-0 17

7. Effingham St. Anthony 7-0 12

8. Orangeville 5-1 9

9. Brimfield 6-2 7

(tie) Christopher 5-0 7

Others receiving votes: Waterloo Gibault 5. Altamont 2. Carrollton 1. Tri-County 1.

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High school basketball: AP Illinois rankings

Here are the boys prep basketball polls with rank, team, first-place votes, record and total points.

Class 4ASchool W-L Pts

1. Joliet West (1) 2-1 37

2. Moline (3) 1-1 36

3. Kenwood 2-0 31

(tie) St. Rita 2-2 31

5. Young 2-1 24

6. Rolling Meadows 5-1 18

7. Brother Rice 5-0 15

8. Quincy 3-0 8

9. Evanston 4-0 7

10. Curie 4-1 3

(tie) Benet 2-0 3

Others receiving votes: Glenbrook South 2. Belleville East 2. Oswego East 1. Bloom 1. Rockford Auburn 1.

Class 3ASchool W-L Pts

1. Sacred Heart-Griffin (3) 1-0 38

2. Simeon (1) 1-0 37

3. East St. Louis 4-0 30

4. Metamora 1-1 28

5. Hillcrest 4-0 25

6. St. Ignatius 4-0 21

7. Decatur MacArthur 4-0 14

8. Rock Island 4-0 10

9. Marian Catholic 4-1 6

10. Centralia 3-0 4

Others receiving votes: Hyde Park 2. Lemont 2. Mount Carmel 2. Richwoods 1.

Class 2ASchool W-L Pts

1. DePaul Prep (4) 4-0 40

2. Fairbury Prairie Central 5-0 31

3. Princeton 5-0 30

4. St. Joseph-Ogden 2-0 29

5. Columbia 4-1 26

6. Perspectives-Leadership 4-1 24

7. Rockridge 3-1 13

8. Pinckneyville 1-0 9

9. Breese Central 4-0 5

10. Rockford Lutheran 3-2 4

(tie) Breese Mater Dei 1-0 4

Others receiving votes: Quincy Notre Dame 3. Bloomington Central Catholic 2.

Class 1ASchool W-L Pts

1. Augusta Southeastern (4) 2-0 40

2. Jacksonville Routt 3-0 33

3. Casey-Westfield 3-0 30

4. New Berlin 2-1 26

5. Winchester-West Central 0-0 18

6. North Clay 3-1 13

7. Fulton 3-2 11

8. South Beloit 4-1 10

9. Yorkville Christian 1-4 8

10. Scales Mound 5-0 7

Others receiving votes: Effingham St. Anthony 5. Steeleville 4. Tuscola 4. Decatur Lutheran (LSA) 3. East Dubuque 3. Madison 2. Altamont 2. Brown County 1.

Girls Basketball

Class 4ASchool W-L Pts

1. Benet (4) 5-1 40

2. Hersey 6-1 32

3. Loyola 4-1 31

4. Fremd 6-0 30

5. Stevenson 4-1 20

6. O’Fallon 4-1 16

(tie) Bolingbrook 6-0 16

8. Kenwood 6-0 12

9. Geneva 3-1 8

10. Lyons 5-1 7

Others receiving votes: Barrington 4. Normal 2. Hononegah 1. Young 1.

Class 3ASchool W-L Pts

1. Nazareth (4) 5-0 40

2. Carmel 5-1 36

3. Peoria Central 6-0 31

4. Montini 5-1 29

5. Washington 5-0 21

6. Geneseo 5-0 19

7. Deerfield 6-0 18

8. Lincoln 6-0 10

9. Peoria Notre Dame 7-0 9

10. Oak Forest 3-2 2

(tie) Marian Catholic 5-0 2

(tie) Rockford Boylan 4-1 2

Others receiving votes: Rochester 1.

Class 2ASchool W-L Pts

1. Quincy Notre Dame (4) 5-0 40

2. Fieldcrest 7-0 35

3. Butler 0-2 33

4. Stillman Valley 7-0 26

5. Teutopolis 3-1 21

6. Princeton 5-0 15

(tie) Byron 5-0 15

8. Paris 5-0 10

9. Pana 7-1 8

10. Canton 6-3 5

Others receiving votes: Winnebago 4. Althoff Catholic 3. Peotone 2. Knoxville 1. Sherrard 1. Eureka 1.

Class 1ASchool W-L Pts

1. Galena (3) 5-0 39

2. Okawville (1) 5-0 37

3. Mendon Unity 7-0 29

4. Neoga 5-0 27

4. Havana 6-0 27

6. Tuscola 8-0 17

7. Effingham St. Anthony 7-0 12

8. Orangeville 5-1 9

9. Brimfield 6-2 7

(tie) Christopher 5-0 7

Others receiving votes: Waterloo Gibault 5. Altamont 2. Carrollton 1. Tri-County 1.

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Buttcracker burlesque cracks traditional ballet wide open

Jaq Seifert admits that the title of the holiday show they created, The Buttcracker, came to them while sitting around a campfire in 2015. 

“I was hanging out with some burlesque dancers,” they recall. “I had been working at a burlesque theater for a little bit as a sort of company manager. We were just riffing on some funny names for shows, and I just started talking about The Buttcracker and how funny that would be. We all laughed about it, but I kind of thought, ‘Actually, that could be super fun.’”

The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker BurlesqueThrough 12/31: Thu-Sat 8 PM, Sun 3 PM; also Sat 12/31 9 PM, no performances Sat-Sun 12/24-12/25; Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, 773-404-7336, thebuttcrackerburlesque.com or greenhousetheater.org, $30-$50 general admission (industry and SRO $20, VIP $75-$100, which includes stageside table, private VIP bar, meet and greet with artists, and show merchandise); NYE $60-$100 general admission, $150-$200 VIP. 18+ (21+ to drink)

This year The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque makes its fourth run. Its performances were well-received in years past, but Seifert promises a larger-scale production in 2022—one that even more provocatively ties in the classic holiday story with classic burlesque performance traditions.

A new spin

Seifert says that Tchaikovsky’s original ballet, based on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s 1816 short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” lent itself to numerous reinterpretations, and adds, “I was thinking about how it could be more for adults, with Clara not being a child anymore. But in terms of how we tell this story, I still wanted it to have a [significant] meaning to it.”

In this version, Clara—markedly comfortable in her body and with her sexuality, Seifert notes—is charged with providing the entertainment at her office Christmas party. 

They add, “Because she’s comfortable with her body and sexuality, she hires Drosselmeyer (Clare Francescon) to come and perform for her coworkers. Her boss gets completely offended—he’s very conservative and very shocked—so he fires Clara. Drosselmeyer feels bad for her. A magic act happens and produces a little nutcracker for her. Inside the nutcracker’s mouth is a drug that eventually takes Clara to the Land of the Sweets.”

The Buttcracker features a wealth of soloists, usually changing with each performance, alongside the regular ensemble. 

“It’s very similar to the regular Nutcracker,” Seifert says. “We have Drosselmeyer being a magician. We have a ‘tragedy’ that happens to Clara . . . Then when she gets to the Land of the Sweets, she gets presented with these gifts of performance, variety, circus, and of course burlesque. At the end, she learns that her penchant for comfort with her body and sexuality are not to be shamed.” 

They promise that the featured soloists are “some of the best in Chicago, in the variety scene. We have fire performers. Some who sit on and walk on glass. Someone this year is coming in to do a bed of nails act. Of course, we have classic burlesque. We have fan dances and regular dance numbers.”

‘Mom and Pop’ no longer

In 2016, when the show debuted and was, in Seifert’s words, a more “DIY”’ production, there was only one performance, simply because they didn’t know how many people were going to show up. 

“I didn’t know if it was going to be popular or not, and it was,” Seifert recalls. “We came back in 2017, with four performances. They sold out again. In 2018, we had five performances. We sold out the majority. [The year] 2019 was our really big year. We moved to the Den—down to four performances, but we had a really big space. We had almost 1,000 people come and see the show in 2019.

“And then, of course, the pandemic happened and, you know, nothing existed for two years.”

Seifert says the production “pulled out all the stops”’ for the show’s 2022 return and that they will no longer be undertaking so many responsibilities. In previous years, they say, “It was a ‘mom and pop’ show, and I played both Mom and Pop.”

The show now features a much more extensive production team: “We’ve hired a scenic designer, lighting designer, costume designer, and a sound designer,” Seifert explains. “We’re at a theater space where we’re in it for a full month, whereas before we were sharing it. . . . This year, I just kind of sat down and said ‘You know, this year, let’s make it, and let’s make it as good as we can.”

Finding newness

This year director Miguel Long, who played Drosselmeyer in 2019, will bring “his own spin” to the show, Seifert says. (Dylan Kerr is the choreographer this year.)

“He has a very intimate knowledge of the show, the process, and the characters,” they say. “That’s one of the great things about this show—it’s written and it’s copyrighted. But because I’m the author and I’m still involved, every year people who come to the show—the designers, the performers—bring their own ideas to the table. Each year is something a little different.”

This year, for example, the Land of the Sweets is a nightclub called The Naughty List, featuring The Buttcrackerʼs various featured performers.

“That was Miguel’s idea,” Seifert explains, noting that Long asked, “‘How do we elevate, and how do we make something different each year to give that newness so it’s not just The Buttcracker each year?’ You can see it in 2019 and see it again in 2022, and it’s almost a completely different show. [But] you’ll still recognize it, of course.”

The racially themed aspects of the original Nutcrackerwere removed; dances instead are focused on gifts given and received throughout the show. 

“Each week you can see different featured soloists perform, and we were able to get a couple different performers who are really big in the burlesque world,” Seifert says. “Audience members could literally come each week and see a different show each time.”

Highlighting the best of Chicago’s burlesque community is indeed of paramount importance for Seifert: “It is such a huge part of this city that people don’t know about, and they don’t know about the history of burlesque in Chicago. I think it’s having a bit of a revolution. The more I can support other artists is really a boon to what I’m trying to do.”

A big break after a long break

Performer Francescon won the role of Drosselmeyer after more than two years of professional inactivity thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I graduated from school and immediately moved up to Chicago, super excited to dance, then the world shut down,” Francescon recalls. “I thought that this would be a good time for a break, and work on myself and work on my mental health. Two and a half years go by, and my roommate comes home and says, ‘Hey, I’m going to this audition. It’s going to be super chill. Next [thing] I know, I’m in the audition and having such a fun time, remembering why I got a dance degree.”

She credits that roommate—who fortunately also was cast in The Buttcracker—with the opportunity to play Drosselmeyer. 

“I get to take this character, who I grew up seeing as an often crotchety old man, and make it whatever gender I want to, express it however I want to, and make it more approachable, to make it a silly, less scary character.”

She loves the opportunity to “mix it up and let a serious ballet be silly.” Her background is in modern dance—“I’m used to rolling around on the stage being seminude,” she says—but presenting sexuality on stage, she admits, is something that took some getting used to. 

“I grew up admiring Twyla Tharp, Alvin Ailey, and Paul Taylor,” she says. “They do have some sexiness to their work, but it’s not the same level of sexiness as a burlesque show. So that’s a challenge—being as sexy as possible while also being silly and entertaining.”

Francescon loves dancing in The Buttcracker since the primary goal is “bringing joy to people. I don’t feel the pressure for people to understand the emotions I’m trying to get across. The only emotion I want people to feel is excitement. . . . As we’ve danced every day for each other [in rehearsals], we’ve been able to add something new or switch something up, making us laugh together. That lets me know that when we get on stage [in performances] everyone is going to love this—it’s hilarious.” 

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Bears QB Justin Fields practices in full

Bears quarterback Justin Fields practiced in full Thursday, a sign that he’s trending toward starting Sunday against the Packers.

Fields separated his left shoulder 11 days ago in a loss to the Falcons. Thursday marked the first time since the injury that he’d been considered anything but limited in practice. It’s the first promising development in his recovery from the injury.

Trevor Siemian, who started in Fields’ place Sunday against the Jets, missed his second-straight practice with an oblique injury suffered during warmups before the game. Nathan Peterman would be the Bears’ next-in-line, though the team signed veteran Tim Boyle on Wednesday.

Fields’ full participation was a surprise given that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy said earlier in the day that he expected him to be a limited participant.

The Bears practiced without five players: right tackle Larry Borom (ankle/knee), safety Jaquan Brisker (concussion), cornerback Kyler Gordon (concussion), receiver Dante Pettis (illness) and Siemian.

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Bears podcast: Is Packers QB Aaron Rodgers the GOAT?

As we count down to the Bears-Packers game, Patrick Finley asks Mark Potash if Aaron Rodgers is the greatest QB ever. They then try to parse the latest Justin Fields news.

New episodes of “Halas Intrigue” will be published regularly with accompanying stories collected on the podcast’s hub page. You can also listen to “Halas Intrigue” wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Luminary, Spotify and Stitcher.

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