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John Cain

John Cain

Valparaiso University hosts its 2019 Jazz Fest, April 1–5 with an array of exciting performances by talented artists. Featured events for the week include outstanding high school jazz bands from our area on Monday and Tuesday; the Jazz Festival Big Band Bash on Wednesday; the Chicago Jazz Showcase with VU Jazz Ensemble on Thursday; and the grand finale show with Stefon Harris and Blackout, opening with the Marco Villarreal Quartet, on Friday. For tickets call 219-464-5007 or www.valpo.edu/union/programs/jazz-fest/

Whiskey Brothers: Traditional Irish Music & Song

Just in case you haven’t celebrated St. Paddy’s Day enough, there’s still time to get your Irish on when the Portage Music Concert Series brings the Whiskey Brothers to Portage High School on March 21. Whiskey Brothers is one of Chicagoland’s premier Irish bands, playing traditional jigs and reels, fun sing-along songs, beautiful Irish ballads and American music with an Irish flair! 219-762-5025 or www.portagemusic.com

One Helluva Ride

This is the true life story of Bessie Stringfield, a rebellious young black woman, who traveled the country on her Harley in the 1930s and '40s. At age 16, Bessie was given a motorcycle, and three years later, she embarked on the first of eight cross-country trips with stops at carnivals and stunt shows. Making a name for herself as a black female motorcyclist, Bessie followed her dreams and her wanderlust, riding the circle of death with traveling circuses across the country. At Beatniks on Conkey, March 23 and 24. 219-852-0848 or www.beatniksonconkey.com

Your Alien

One day, you’ll be looking out your window when something wonderful comes your way. Arts Power National Touring Co.’s newest musical touches down with a stranded alien who strikes up a fabulous friendship with the boy who finds him. They have loads of fun, but when the alien grows homesick, will the boy be able to figure out how to help his new friend? “Your Alien” is presented by the Freedom Hall Nathan Manilow Theatre, an intimate concert venue in Park Forest, Illinois, at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on March 22. 708-747.0580 orwww.freedomhall.org

Polaroids by Julie Schwarz

While Polaroid cameras and film are famous for getting “instant” results, Julie Schwarz’s manipulated photos are anything but. Schwarz takes multiple pictures of an object, usually with B&W film, then trims off the borders and puzzles them back together to create a collage. She manipulates them by hand, “smushing,” as she says, the emulsion by hand with a variety of tools, never digitally. Viewers can get an instant appreciation of Schwarz’s more than 50 original pieces at the Miller Beach Arts & Creative District’s Gardner Center for the Arts,now through April 7. 219-938-6278 or www.millerbeacharts.org

Visit the South Shore Arts Regional Calendar for more information on current exhibits, concerts, plays, and other arts events, www.southshoreartsonline.org

John Cain is executive director of South Shore Arts and the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra. He can be reached at 219-836-1839, ext. 102. The opinions are the writer’s.

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