RSSAdventures In Everyday Living
Adventures in Everyday Living
Shore's Associate Publisher and Editor Pat Colander brings you up-to-date on what's going on in the Shore universe-evenings, weekends and all times in between issues.
Singer, Dancer and Recording Artist Chester Gregory comes back home to reprise his role as Jackie Wilson in a new tribute production at West Side Theatre Guild and Bartlett’s starts Third Thursday with Johnny V music nights at the Beverly Shores roadhouse.
Chester Gregory Brings Back Jackie Wilson: Chester Gregory was probably still in high school the first time I saw him perform in “The Jackie Wilson Story,” a production of Black Ensemble Theater at the group’s home base on Beacon Street in Chicago, near the fringe of Uptown and Lakeview, long since gentrified. He was a knockout. I had missed the sensational premier of the show in 2000 held at The Regal ---- where Jackie Wilson had performed back in the day --- but Chester Gregory, a student at Emerson’s School of Visual and Performing Arts, was amazing in the role from the start. (He got a Jeff award for his performance and toured with the production after that.) Gregory went on to graduate from Columbia College in Chicago during that time. The Jackie Wilson Story had a New York run and though the reviews of the show were tepid, the star got raves. Roles in major Broadway musicals starting in 2005-6 followed Gregory’s New York debut. The first was “Tarzan,” which I saw in previews---the show had lots of acrobats but not much of a story---and then the mega-hits: “Hairspray,” “Shrek,” “Dreamgirls” and most recently “Sister Act.” Since then Gregory has been in New York or on the road for most of the last decade. Though he comes home to visit his family every few months, he has not performed here in quite a while.
But he will be Friday night at the West Side Theatre Guild when he stars in “The Eve of Jackie,” a show he created, wrote and produced about the day before Jackie Wilson collapsed on stage in 1975 during a concert. Gregory calls in a “tribute.” (Wilson fell into a coma which lasted nine years before he died January 21, 1984.) Chester Gregory is also a recording star, as Eloise Valadez wrote in a profile for our Times’ GO! section this week. You can check that out here. But if you have the chance to see Chester Gregory perform live, I strongly urge you to do it. He is a natural, Gary native superstar, much like his idol Michael Jackson.
Bistro 157 will close soon, Blue Chip Brewfest marks year 4 in Michigan City and Harbor Shores Grille and Golf starts the 2014 season.
Legendary Bistro 157 Will Close: An expiring lease prompted a sad note from Chef Nicole Bissonette, the powerhouse cook behind the fabulous French restaurant in downtown Valpo:
"....Unable to come to an agreement, I will unfortunately be leaving by the end of the month. I see this as an opportunity to explore other locations and projects and to find the perfect location for a new restaurant. Our last day of biz at 157 Lincolnway will be on April 26th.
The Round Barn in Baroda is one of 50 “Michigan Companies to Watch,” Michigan City's SSAA throws a banquet tomorrow and enthusiastic tree planters, with work gloves and spade shovels, are needed at Meadowlark in Valpo next weekend for a “reforestation.”
The Moerschs Rejoice in Baroda: The Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery has been recognized as one of the 2014 “Michigan 50 Companies to Watch,” an awards program by Michigan Celebrates Small Business. (The ceremony is set for the organization’s event May 6th in East Lansing.) The center of the winery and distillery---and Round Barn was one of the first in the state to add hand-crafted spirits ---is a turn-of-the-century Amish round barn originally built in 1881. The white stone edifice now contains a microbrewery in addition to the winery and distillery. The Round Barn Winery is part of the Lake Michigan Shore AVA (American Viticultural Area) where the lake effect climate parallels the same micro-climate as the Alsace and Burgundy regions of France. Christian Moersch, Brew Master, describes his micro-brews as “session style and easy to drink” with 20 varieties available including Indecision Ale, Oronoko Cocoa Stout, and Kölsch Style. The Round Barn also produces bourbon, rum and vodka under the DiVine Spirits label.
Get Dirty for Arbor Day Planting With Free Lunch: In Honor of Arbor Day later this month, the Shirley Heinze Land Trust will host a volunteer tree-planting next Saturday April 12, from 10am to 3pm at Meadowbrook Conservation Center and Nature Preserve in Valparaiso. This 74-acre preserve has had a diverse land use history. For the first half of the 20th Century, the site was a farm called Triple Creek. In the early 1960s the property was sold to the Drifting Dunes Girl Scout Council and remained a scout camp until 2011. Portions of the site were planted with trees by the girl scouts and some areas have naturally reforested but there are old agricultural fields still in need of reforestation. Staff and volunteers will be planting a wide variety of tree species and installing protective tubes so participants are asked to bring work gloves and spade shovels if possible. Lunch will be provided. Volunteers are requested to RSVP and note any dietary restrictions. To RSVP, or for questions you can email email@example.com or call the office at (219) 242-8558.
Congratulations to director Glenn Hering and lead actors Ric Heath, Matt McCann and Kevin Doler, also Caroline Rau Geldernick and numerous others in the cast and orchestra in 4th St. Theater's production of Sweeney Todd:The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.
Stephen Sondheim’s musical Sweeney Todd is not very accessible live. The cast is relatively large, the music is difficult and the subject matter is sort of off-beat and depressing to put it mildly. You won’t find high schools clamoring for the rights on one hand, on the other hand, it’s not likely to be revived on Broadway anytime soon, particularly since most of the prospective audience members would have seen the Johnny Depp movie anyway.
Buying tickets for musicals and events have become extremely efficient in the Chicago area and therefore not prohibitively expensive. I saw Les Miserables at Christmastime in 2012 and got very good main floor seats for about $135. (A hot new show in New York you can pay double or triple that for lousy seats.) Still, that’s a lot of money to take a chance on a play, especially a musical, you might not like at all. But in the last ten years or so as professional shows have become more costly, community theater productions have gotten to be very good. The standards at a theater such as 4th Street in Chesterton, the Towle in Hammond, and others I don’t know about are now set pretty high.
PNC hosts a couple of adventurous musical events this weekend with performances by International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) musical group, the first ever Box Factory Follies in St. Joe and edgy art and birding at Fernwood Gardens in Buchanan.
PNC Hosts Two Musical Events this Weekend: The Purdue University North Central Odyssey Arts and Cultural Events Series and the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra will host performances by the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) at two venues this weekend. Tonight Artificial Life by Chicago composer George Lewis will be performed at 5pm on PNC campus at LSF144. Admission is free and you can get reservations at recital@PNC.edu or 219.785.5719. Doors open at 4:30 pm and there is ample parking.
On Sunday, March 23, at 3 p.m., at Elston Performing Arts Center in Michigan City, La Porte County Symphony Orchestra, Philip J. Bauman, music director, will perform the IU Health LaPorte Hospital Classic Concert: Amadeus Mozart Un-Caged. Winner of 8 Academy Awards, the movie Amadeus highlights the triumphs and tragedies of a great musical genius. Chart topping soundtracks from the composer’s epic output will be featured along with 21st century icon John Cage, known as an “Inventor of Genius.” Geniuses collide as the precise and delightful melodies of Mozart’s Sinfonia Concertante, performed by ICE are juxtaposed with Atlas Eclipticalis, a work of “chance.” Other surprises will be “un-Caged” in an afternoon of adventurous musical exploration. Concert admission is $20 for adults; $18 for senior citizens and students with a valid I.D. are admitted free
Everyone on earth will hit the street this weekend and there are a handful of off-cycle events scheduled in the next seven days that deserve attention including glass artistry in Chicago and Benton Harbor, along with the dazzling annual Chicago Flower and Garden Show.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Not the Only Big Deal Next Week: A one-day event called Day of Glass hosted each year by the Glass Art Society is part of the group’s 43rd annual conference. You have probably never heard of it because this conclave of glass lovers has never been to Chicago before. One of the participants is Larry Zgoda, who you may have heard of, whose work will be part of the first Chicago Stained Glass Invitational Exhibition on Wednesday, March 19, at Solstice Stained Glass, 2010 W. Fulton, in Chicago, from noon to 7pm. The art showcase will include stained glass developed through a roster of skills including painting, restoration, lampmaking, and stenciling, unique to the art form. Guests are invited to bring images and questions about their stained glass, which may be answered by Zgoda’s team of hands-on scholars. To learn more about the Chicago Stained Glass Invitational Exhibition please call 773-698-3813.
And the Same Day Fernwood Visits Chicago Flower and Garden Show: The day trip begins at 8:30 in Buchanan, Michigan and returns by 6 pm and in between you spend the day in the gigantic greenhouse that is this dazzling annual show at Navy Pier. You can eat and visit the gardens on your own and leave the driving to Fernwood. The trip, including transportation and admission is $75 and $65 for non-members.
Dramatic developments in the wake of the Oscars in Miller Beach on Saturday; First Friday fest in Michigan City bounces to life and at the Box Factory, St. Patty’s Day arrives early.
On Saturday, Gary Shakespeare Company---the same folks who brought you a stunning rendition of King Lear at IUN’s temporary theater on Grant Street last summer---are holding auditions from 1 pm-5:30 pm at 500 S. Lake Street in Gary. If you would like to try out sign up at firstname.lastname@example.org. In a not-unrelated development acting classes are beginning at the same location on Lake St. Corya Channing, acting and theater teacher at Purdue Calumet for 13 years and her artistic partner John Lisbon Wood, an actor and playwright who has amassed an array and long list of credits---just Google---along with Vincent Banks, a talented recent grad of Wirt Emerson, are offering acting classes working with theatre games, improve, monologues and audition preparation. To learn more about acting classes send email to email@example.com.
Later on at 7 pm Saturday an Ella Fitzgerald documentary, will be shown at the Marshall J. Gardner Arts Center, across the street from Gary Shakespeare with an expert commentary by Larry Lapidus for the benefit of the Miller Beach Arts Association. Admission is $12.
Three special art exhibits this weekend plus a buy-one-get-one-free offer at the Towle Theater in downtown Hammond, plus fast forward to a dueling pianos concert coming up at Bethel.
Towle Theater Event Starts at 7 on Friday: Artistic Director Jeff Casey is hosting a special “Come for the Art (exhibit) stay for the Art (performance)” with an exhibition of the illustrative art of Ariana Koultourides paired with a matinee performance of Adrift In Macao, a parody of 1950s film noir, set in post-war China. And a limited number of invited guests will get a 2-for-1 package ticket. Both of the shows are bound to be great: Koultourides work is excellent and the Towle is well-known for producing amazing mid-20th century period pieces. This may be the time to contemplate acquiring friends.
South Shore Arts Sunday Exhibit Receptions: The work of prominent folk artist William Dawson (1901-1990) will be exhibited at the Center for Visual & Performing Arts in Munster through April 20th. The show William Dawson was organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama and features carved wood totems, sculptures and works on paper. Charles Dawson began creating art in his 60s and achieved national prominence when he was included in an exhibition Black Folk Art in America 1930-1980 held at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. At the same time Fenders and Figures: Works by Sandi Kozlowski will be on display in the Atrium Gallery and the reception for both openings starts at 1 pm.
The weekend meltdown gets underway tonight with NWI Dancing with the Stars competition in Merrillville and a shout-out to size zeroes to grab those stilettos and head to Indian Summer in Chesterton on Saturday.
Matt Sharp Has Been Taking Dancing Lessons for Weeks: Dancing with the Northwest Indiana Stars is tonight at the Radisson in Merrillville. Four couples will compete including Shore’s own Matt Sharp, starting at 7 pm (CT). Proceeds from the $20 ticket go to the United Way.
A Model Call on Saturday: The first model call for the 3rd Annual Fashion on the Shore event is Saturday at Indian Summer 131 S. Calumet Road in Chesterton, Indiana starting at 10:30 am (CT). We need 30 runway models for our top emerging designers this year so beautiful people it is time to get out your high heels and join us at the boutique.
This is a mixed-up weekend full of pent-up energy for love and romance, re-scheduled events during the first meltdown, pre-Mardi Gras, pre-Oscar pre-planning and a special Presidents Day shopping sales.
Annual Big Love Fest at LaPorte County Historical Museum: One of my favorite small museums has always been all about Valentine’s Day with a collection of antique cards that takes center stage during February. This year creative Curator Susie Richter and staff are having a program at 1 pm on Saturday called are trying something new called “Great Loves of La Porte County.” They have asked fans and friends to submit stories over the past several weeks, and volunteers will read them at the party. The stories will then be put into the Historical Society’s archives. Some stories are current and some are historical. Forms are still available at the museum for anyone wishing to add another story to the collection. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and include the story. Party refreshments will be served and enjoyed by all visitors. The program and party are free; however, regular museum admission will apply.
A Couple of Art Shows Worth Traveling to See: ARS faculty exhibit at the Anna Russo-Sieber Gallery in Benton Harbor opens this weekend and Water Street Gallery in Douglas---a marvelous spot---at 98 Center St., is hosting Little Boxes, a show composed of artists’ creation of small objects. The works that emerge are quirky and definitely unique. For more information, please contact Water Street Gallery at 269-857-8485. Visit the website at www.waterstreetgallery.com