Feb 27 Encores! Diamond Jubilee—A Celebration of 60 Years of Theatre, Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, 1709 Chapel Dr, Valparaiso. 219.464.1636. chicagostreet.org. Chicago Street Theatre celebrates 60 years of performing the arts with an evening of music, a little drama as past performers reprise their roles, martinis, a silent auction, food and a cash bar.
Feb 28 Hair of the Dog, 5-10pm, Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza, 800 E 81st Ave, Merrillville. 219.513.8911. hscalumet.org. Style and animals collide at this annual fundraiser for Humane Society Calumet Area. The evening includes an animal-themed hair and style show, a silent auction, wine and beer tasting, a buffet dinner and a cash bar.
Mar 14-15, 21-22 Maple Syrup Time Weekend, 10am-4pm, Deep River County Park, 9410 Old Lincoln Highway, Hobart. 219.769.1215. lakecountyparks.com. Visitors can learn the sticky business of producing syrup from tree sap, plus see how corn is stone ground into cornmeal and more, at this yearly event.
March 17 Crown Point St. Patrick's Day Celebration, parade at dusk, City of Crown Point, Main Street. 219.662.3290. Join in the fun as the annual St. Patrick's Day nighttime parade heads down Main Street in Crown Point, beginning at dusk. All of the parade entries are illuminated. You can also enjoy an Irish dinner at the Crown Point Fire House from 3pm to 6pm or grab a bite at one of the many downtown restaurants. After the parade celebrate with a drink at a place like Crown Brewing.
April 11 Blue Chip Brewfest, Blue Chip Casino, 777 Blue Chip Drive, Michigan City. The Stardust Event Center at Blue Chip Casino plays host to the 5th Annual Blue Chip Brewfest. Top microbreweries from around the nation will gather to showcase the unique flavors of their different brews.
Through Apr 25 Indoor Farm and Artisans Market, 10am-1pm Sat, Warren Center, 540 Williams St, South Haven. 269.214.6974. southhaven.org. Local farmers and crafts people offer in-season produce and locally made goodies. Wares include fresh and preserved fruits and veggies, eggs, chicken, baked goods, honey, syrup, coffee and more, plus a variety of local artists sell their creations.
Mar 13-15 Diva Days, St. Joseph. stjoetoday.com. Ladies are invited to an entire weekend of pampering, indulging, shopping, laughing, wine and beer sampling and more.
Mar 14 St. Patrick's Day Pet Parade, 1:30 p.m. line-up; 2 p.m. parade, Culver St Parking Lot near Saugatuck Center for the Arts, Saugatuck. 269.857.1701. saugatuck.com. For the 13th year in a row, people and their pets are invited to participate in this festive parade with prizes for the best dressed pets.
Mar 21 The Art of Beer Festival, 5-9 p.m., Lake Michigan College Mendel Center, 2755 E Napier Ave, Benton Harbor. 269.927.8604. artofbeerfest.com. Craft brewers from across Michigan will offer a wide range of their latest unique beers of all colors and styles for attendees to enjoy.
Apr 11 Studio Dance Theatre presents Cinderella. 3pm and 7pm, Mendel Center Main Stage. 269.429.5711. The classic fairy tale ballet will be on stage to delight audiences with an enchanting journey. Proceeds from the event will benefit Lory's Place of St. Joseph.
Through Feb 22 Chicago Auto Show, McCormick Place, 2301 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. chicagoautoshow.com. Auto enthusiasts trek to this annual convention—celebrating its 107th anniversary this year—of more than 1,000 of the newest cars, trucks, SUVs and concept cars, all displayed within the colossal confines of McCormick Place.
Feb 22 Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade, 1pm, Wentworth Ave & Cermak Rd, Chicago. chicagochinatown.org. Chinatown kicks off the Year of the Sheep with an annual parade featuring a marching band, a traditional dragon, lion dances and decorative floats.
Mar 1 Chicago Polar Plunge, 10am-2pm, North Ave Beach, 1603 N Lakeshore Dr, Chicago. chicagosochicago.org. Last year more than 3,000 people—including Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Jimmy Fallon—jumped in the lake for Special Olympics Chicago. All participants are required to raise a minimum of $175 in donations and participants can go knee high, waist high or take the full plunge.
Mar 14 Chicago’s 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade, noon, Columbus Dr between E Balbo Dr & E Monroe Dr, Chicago. chicagostpatsparade.com. Chicago’s annual holiday parade is fun for all ages. The parade’s viewing stand will be located in front of Buckingham Fountain. The parade also can be viewed on WLS/ABC 7.
Mar 14-22 Chicago Flower & Garden Show, 10am-6pm Sun-Wed, 10am-8pm Thu-Sat, Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago. chicagoflower.com. In line with this year’s theme “Do Green. Do Good.”, this year's show spotlights cutting-edge garden designs, products, practices and techniques. More than two-dozen fragrant, eye-candy garden displays serve as inspiration for gardeners. Activities include educational workshops, cooking demos, kids' activities and more.
Through March 19 Indigenous Landscapes: Imprints of the South Shore 8am-5pm, Indiana Welcome Center, 7770 Corinne Drive, Hammond. White Ripple Gallery & Co. is partnering with the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority and The University of Notre Dame to celebrate the natural settings (landscapes) near and along the shores of Lake Michigan native to the states of Illinois, Indiana and Michigan that remain undisturbed since the times of the indigenous people of the area. The exhibition, a White Ripple Gallery exhibit and an official exhibit for the University of Notre Dame's Indigenous World program.
Through Mar 29 Herself—The Female in Image and Form, Southern Shore Art Association, 724 Franklin St, Michigan City. 219.369.9028. southernshoreartassociation.com. For the third year in a row, this annual exhibit celebrates the female—face, form and femininity in its infinite variety—literally, abstractly, whimsically, playfully, exotically and erotically.
Through Apr 5 Inner Visions—Sacred Plants, Art, and Spirituality, Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, 1709 Chapel Dr, Valparaiso. 219.464.5365. valpo.edu/artmuseum. This exhibit is curated by Luis Eduardo Luna.
Through Apr 14 Farms, Factories, Tourism and Culture—Works by Indiana Artisans, South Shore Arts Crown Point Branch, 123 N Main St, Crown Point. 219.836.1839. southshoreartsonline.org. Artists of Indiana Artisan created more 30 paintings and drawings for this exhibit, which explores the diverse economies of Indiana—from traditional sectors of agriculture and industry, to tourism and creative entrepreneurial businesses.
Through Apr 18 Steamroller Printmaking Project, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W 2nd St, Michigan City. 219.874.4900. lubeznikcenter.org. Created from three-by-seven-foot carved wooden plates and an industrial steamroller, the enormous relief prints on muslin on display at this exhibit were produced by Walnut Ink Projects with a team of printmakers and local artists in downtown Michigan City.
Through Apr 26 Dream to Dream—The Art of John Bankston, Krasl Art Center, 707 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph. 269.983.0271. krasl.org. Born in Benton Harbor, Mich., John Bankston uses fantasy as an active way to re-imagine the world, to step outside one’s known territory and break boundaries. His brightly colored artworks are filled with figures in fictional lands and his narratives address transformation and identity.
Through Apr 26 Redefining the Multiple, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S Park St, Kalamazoo. 269.349.7775. kiarts.org. This exhibition features the work of Japanese artists with foundations and formal training in printmaking and includes three-dimensional objects and installations, paintings created using printmaking tools and techniques, digital photography and works created using traditional and recognizable printmaking techniques. Also, through Mar 8: How to Return? Contemporary Chinese Photography; through Mar 15: Wired and Wrapped—The Sculpture of Seungmo Park; through May 10: Second Sight/Insight II.
Through Aug 16 Splendors of Shiga—Treasures from Japan, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E Beltline Ave, NE, Grand Rapids. 888.957.1580. meijergardens.org. More than 60 Japanese works of art from the 8th century to the present day will be on display and four seasons will be represented in this exhibition.
Mar 6-Apr 19 Basilius Besler's Hortus Eystettensis, 1600—The Oldest Botanicals, Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve, 13988 Range Line Rd, Niles. 269.695.6491. fernwoodbotanical.org. The earliest documentation of a specific garden and the oldest botanical, Hortus Eystettensis was produced by Basilius Besler in the early 1600s of a vast garden of the Prince Bishop of Eichstätt, Germany.
Through Apr 26 Vodou—Sacred Powers of Haiti, The Field Museum, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago. 312.922.9410. fieldmuseum.org. Visitors to this special exhibit can take a look beyond stereotypes and manufactured Hollywood images to discover why Vodou remains a force today in the contemporary world. Visitors will experience the sights and sounds of a ritual possession ceremony and the exhibit offers a rare look into the workroom of a Vodou secret society, among other experiences. Also, through Apr 2: Before the Dinosaurs—Tracking the Reptiles of Pangaea; through Jun 14: Bunky Echo-Hawk—Modern Warrior; through Oct 1: Extinct Madagascar—Picturing the Island's Past; through Oct 31: Lichens—The Coolest Things You've Never Heard Of; through Dec 31: Into the Bat Caves of Kenya.
Through Apr 27 A Voyage to South America—Andean Art in the Spanish Empire, The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago. 312.629.6635. artic.edu/aic. This long-term installation offers the museum’s first presentation of work from the viceregal period. Fourteen paintings and related works on paper—including pieces never before displayed in a museum—introduce visitors to explorers, artists and patrons who lived in the Spanish-governed Andes during the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. Also, through Feb 22: Thomas Schütte—Bronze Woman No. 17; through Mar 1: Figures of Chinese Imagination; through Mar 15: Bridget Riley and Jesús Rafael Soto—Pénétrable de Chicago; through Mar 23: Decidedly Surreal—The Bindings of Mary Louise Reynolds; through Mar 29: Masterworks of Japanese Prints—Toshusai Sharaku; through Apr 5: Anri Sala—Mixed Behavior; through Apr 12: James Welling—Diary of Elizabeth and James Dixon, 1840–41/Connecticut Landscapes, 1977–86; through May 3: Bridget Riley, John Gossage—Three Routines and Shatter Rupture Break; through Jun 6: Puppets! Feb 21-May 31: Burnishing the Night—Baroque to Contemporary Mezzotints from the Collection; Feb 21-May 31: Eldzier Cortor Coming Home—Recent Gifts to the Art Institute; Mar 17-Jun 7: Ireland—Crossroads of Art and Design, 1690–1840; Apr 4-Jul 21: Spreading Devotion—Japanese and European Religious Prints; Apr 11-Jul 12: Chatter—Architecture Talks Back.
Mar 10-Aug 16 Faheem Majeed, Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago Ave, Chicago. 312.280.2660. mcachicago.org. A builder—literally and metaphorically, South Shore resident Faheem Majeed presents sculptural works and installations in his first solo museum exhibition. With contributions added throughout the show, this exhibit presents a plurality of voices, cultural perspectives and art-making strategies that develop and expand organically, accumulating and metabolizing different materials and visitors’ experiences. Also, through Feb 24: Sarah and Joseph Belknap; through Mar 8: Anne Collier; through Apr 19: Body Doubles; through May 10: Alexander Calder; through May 17: Richard Hunt; through May 24: Doris Salcedo; through Jul 26: Clemens von Wedemeyer; Mar 28-Oct 4: Keren Cytter.
Through March 8 "Les Miserables" Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Memorial Opera House, 104 Indiana St, Valparaiso. 219.548.9137. Set in early 19th-century France, "Les Miserables" is the story of Jean Valjean, a French peasant, and his quest for redemption after serving 19 years in jail for having stolen a loaf of bread for his starving sister's child. Valjean decides to break his parole and start his life anew after a kindly bishop inspires him by a tremendous act of mercy, but a police inspector named Javert relentlessly tracks him down. Along the way, Valjean and a slew of characters are swept into a revolutionary period in France, where a group of young idealists make their last stand at a street barricade.
Feb 27-March 29 "On Golden Pond" Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Rd, Munster. 219.836.3255. The beloved comic play opens the 2015 season. An elderly couple enjoys their latest summer in a cottage on a Maine lake as they come to terms with the husband's advancing age and his estrangement from his newly engaged daughter. The play was a huge Broadway hit that became a classic film starring Katherine Hepburn, Henry Fonda and Jane Fonda.
Feb 27-March 15 "Shirley Valentine" Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Towle Community Theater, 5205 Hohman Ave, Hammond. 219.937.8780. "Shirley Valentine" is a one-character play taking the form of a monologue by a middle-aged, working class Liverpool housewife and focusing on her life before and after a transforming holiday abroad. Wondering what has happened to herself-now feeling stagnant and in a rut-Shirley Valentine finds herself regularly talking to the wall while preparing her husband's chips and egg. When her best friend wins a trip for two to Greece, she packs her bags, leaves a note on the cupboard door in the kitchen, and heads for a fortnight of rest and relaxation. What she finds is romance and a new awareness of who she is and what her existence can be with just a little effort on her part.
Feb 27-March 15 Waiting for Godot Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 4th Street Theatre, 125 N Fourth Street, Chesterton. 219.926.7875. Waiting for Godot is an absurdist play also described as a tragicomedy in two acts. Over the decades there have been many, many theories of interpretations of the play and its characters. The author has repudiated all theories of a symbolic nature. The play tells of two men patiently waiting for M. Godot. They pass the time idly in simple pursuits, such as removing a boot and fixing a hat, and conversation. They are interrupted by the passing of a master and his slave. Eventually a young lad appears and tells them Godot will not be coming today, but tomorrow. Night falls and they resolve to meet at the same spot the next day. Act II repeats the action of Act I only the master is now blind and the slave mute.
March 7-14 Henry and Ramona Every Saturday and Sunday, Chicago Street Theatre, 154 W Chicago Street, Valparaiso. 219.464.1636. Welcome to Klickitat Street, home of Henry Higgins, his faithful dog Ribsy, Ramona the Pest and her long-suffering sister, Beezus. Newbery Award-winning author Beverly Cleary's irrepressible hero saves the day in this adaptation of one of the best-loved children's book series of all time. "Henry and Ramona" captures the everyday trials and triumphs of being a kid.
March 13-29 Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka Fridays and Saturdays 8pm, Sundays 3pm, Crown Point Community Theatre, 1125 Merrillville Road, Crown Point. 219.805.4255. "The Candyman Can" in the story we all know and love: Charlie Bucket and the other Golden Ticket winners go on a tour of Willy Wonka's mysterious chocolate factory, where mishaps and pure imagination await! Based on the book by Roald Dahl and the movie adaptation starring Gene Wilder.
March 18 Craig Ferguson 7:30pm, Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrillville. 800.745.3000. Craig Ferguson entered the world of late night comedy following a diverse and eclectic career that encompasses film, television and the stage. See his Hot and Grumpy tour live in Merrillville.
March 22 Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus Illumination 3pm, Elston Performing Arts Center, 317 Detroit Street, Michigan City. 219.362.9020. The Performing Arts Center in Michigan City is the perfect backdrop for this afternoon matinee, where patrons will enjoy a classical concert with a healthy dose of caring about the community with the help of our hospital sponsors. This season, the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus, directed by world renowned conductor Nancy Menk along with four soloists, will be the featured guests at this program.
April 9 The Moody Blues 7:30pm, Star Plaza Theatre, 8001 Delaware Place, Merrillville. 800.745.3000. The Moody Blues have been at the forefront of the UK's classic rock music scene for over forty years and have continued to be a mainstay of concert stages, recording studios and the airwaves to the present day. During their immensely successful career, they have sold, according to the band's files, in excess of 70 million albums worldwide and have been the recipients of numerous prestigious awards.
April 10 Joel McHale 8pm, Horseshoe Casino Hammond, 777 Casino Center Drive, Hammond. 866-711-SHOE. Don't miss the current star of the hit comedy series "Community" and host of E!'s "The Soup" - Joel McHale at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino.
April 10-12 Peter Pan and the Pirates Friday 7pm, Saturday 11am and 1pm and Sunday 1pm, Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster. 219.836.3255. A modernized musical adaptation of the classic fairy tale of the boy who doesn't want to grow up. The show follows the basic story line, featuring everyone's favorite characters, including fairies, swashbuckling pirates and a tick-tocking crocodile. An entertainment experience for the entire family to enjoy!