Weddings are one of the best kinds of celebrations (and often as is the case, reunions). I was honored to take part in the ceremony as pianist and soloist, even in spite of the searing July heat. Among the “I do’s”, exchanged rings, speeches and toasts of champagne; the passing of the breadbasket, salad, entrée & cake; and of course a few turns on the dance floor, it’s awesome to witness the love of two friends who commit to spending their lives together. Congrats, Megan & Todd! If matches were bowling games, I’d say you’ve scored a perfect 300!
The common denominator activity after the wedding rehearsal with my bowling friends? Surprisingly, not bowling. We had two foursomes for 18-hole mini golf in Aurora, Ill., go kart racing (I swear I got the reject, slow horse.) and a night topped off with a trip to the Tap House Grill in Plainfield. 37 beers on tap and the best hoagie I’ve ever had: Sprecher Root Beer braised beef topped with tomato & gouda in a hoagie torpedo roll, with a side of tater tots.
The Bahá’í House of Worship in Wilmette, Ill. is one of only seven Baha’i temples in the world. Its quiet serenity reflects the spiritual truths of 5 million people who practice the Baha’i Faith: the oneness of God, the oneness of humanity and the oneness of religion. Founded in Persia (now Iran), Bahá’ís believe that throughout history God has revealed Himself and His teaching to humanity through a series of divine messengers including: Abraham, Moses, Krishna, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.
Today, there are more than 155,00 Bahá’ís in the U.S., with the largest populations in California, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina and Texas. The temple in Wilmette is circular in shape, has nine sides and is encircled by gardens and fountains. The single dome symbolizes the unity of all people and religions under God.
Whatever your religious beliefs, this temple’s intricate architecture is, quite simply, stunning. If your travels take you to Chicago, I highly encourage you to visit the Baha’i House of Worship. It’s a worthy retreat, and its beauty will assuredly take your breath away.
“The towers are intertwined with all the religious symbols of the past, demonstrating to each beholder of any religion: welcome to this Temple exemplifying universal brotherhood.” – Louis Bourgeois, architect of the temple.
A busy “life after 5” today. First on the agenda was a brown bag apple pie and a Green Line pale ale at P.J. Clarke’s with a social media benchmarking friend. Simply delicious on both counts. Then, I had a cajun dinner at Heaven on Seven with two fellow McDonald’s alumni. Lastly, as I was hunting for my daily photo on Michigan Avenue at 9pm, I literally ran into some connections in front of the Wrigley building and they were headed to a blues show. Hard to believe, but I’d never seen a blues show in Chicago! We ended up at cozy club, Blue Chicago, and there was a lively crowd of mixed ages to cheer on Shirley Johnson. Surprisingly I even knew several songs. We stayed until 12:30am and then decided to order Rosati’s pizza at a late-night spot one block away. Full night, for certain.
O Chicago, I’ve missed you (your good traits, anyway). It’s fun that I can navigate Chicago like a local, but on this third trip back, it still feels odd to be a visitor in a metro I once called home. In the summer of 2006, I lived across from the Chicago Theatre and would see the marquee’s neon lights dance off my window to announce the latest show. Today was a reunion of social media peers and friends, and we went whole hog for a dinner feast of roast beast at Frontier in West Town.
I love magic, and I love the arts. So, it’s probably no surprise that I love the magic of the theater. Hennepin Theatre Trust, which manages the Orpheum, Pantages, State and New Century Theatres, offers tours on the 2nd Saturday and last Monday of the month. You’ll be able to see whatever theaters aren’t currently featuring a production. Summers have a slower schedule, so I was excited to see the big three on Hennepin Ave.
The Pantages–which now seats 1,014–opened in 1916 as a vaudeville house and part of Greek immigrant Alexander Pantages’ renowned consortia of theatres. The Pantages’ first show was a vaudeville lineup that included singers, comedians and a banjo player.
The State Theatre–which seats 2,181–opened in 1921 and was then considered the most technologically advanced and elaborate U.S. theater. The opening night program included a silent film, newsreel and travelogue.
The Orpheum Theatre, originally known as the Hennepin, opened in 1921 and seats 2,579. Its first performers included the Marx Brothers with more than 70,000 guests attending the opening week run. The largest vaudeville house in the country when opened, the Orpheum was major outlet for entertainers like Jack Benny, George Burns and Fanny Brice and big bands including Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Count Basie.
It was Food Truck Friday with coworkers, and we dashed out early to beat the noon rush at Smack Shack. Last year, Bon Appetit named it one of the 6 best lobster rolls in the U.S. The split butter toasted bread bookends a generous serving of tender lobster mixed with a crunchy cucumber and lemon sauce. You can usually find the food truck on Marquette Avenue in Minneapolis on Wednesdays-Fridays or the full menu at 1029 Bar. Smack Shack also plans to open its own restaurant in the North Loop soon.