Cities from LA to Memphis and Chicago and New York to Washington DC and Atlanta are celebrating MLK Day today, the third Monday of January. The day has been officially observed to honor the civil rights leader in all 50 states since 2000. It is an American federal holiday so schools, banks, post office and some business are closed.
Celebrations to honor Martin Luther King Jr range from service projects and parades to concerts and free museum visits.
If in DC go to the Marin Luther King Jr Memorial and watch the Peace Parade from 11 a.m to noon ET on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Milwaukee Place. The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade features musical performances, dancers, and members of civil rights organizations fighting for equal rights.
If in Chicago, you can spend quality time at one of the following events:
If riding a motorcycle consider being able to get a Dainese D-Air Racing Suit that will inflate its embedded airbags if a crash is imminent so that it protects you from injury. And how about being able to put on a Iridescence collar that reacts to the feelings and moods of people you encounter.
Those are just a few of the extraordinary items in MCI’s “Wired to Wear” exhibition up now through May 2020.
What you see are real items of clothing and accessories embedded with useful or fun technology that has been developed by companies and individuals in several countries. They don’t yet fill your favorite sports or clothing store but some items can be ordered and others will likely be available sooner than fashionistas expect and futurists predict.
“It’s coming. We have been monitoring t his for a few years. It’s gaining speed,” said MSI Director of Collections Kathleen McCarthy, the museum’s head curator.
McCarthy points out that some of the clothing designs might not be as far out as some people think. “We’ve seen some similar items on Project Runway,” she said. (For a look at some of the apparel that appeared on the Bravo, then Lifetime, back to Bravo series go to Project Runway.
Her presence to guide me around the exhibit actually was introduced by a barking sound.
“Some of the pieces that were developed have personal motivation,” she said walking over to a jacket. “The person who designed this was moving with her husband to London from rural South Africa. He was worried about crime so she made him this jacket that can approximate people’s nearness and barks.”
McCarthy then walked over to a Smart Tattoo exhibit. “Other items were developed for commercial purposes or creative experiences.
As she explained the two arm tattoos mounted on a wall, a couple of youngsters went over to them and touched different sections of the tattoos to produce different sounds and colors. Designed by Microsoft, tattoos are a conductive technology that can be worn on the arm. “They turn the body into an interface,” she said.
She believes that a robotic dress kit is on the horizon that can adapt what is worn to different social situations. “People will say, “Oh, I can just adapt my clothing.”
She explained. “You will be able to change the look of what you’re wearing by changing its shape. You can start out creative, then change it to practical for a work out, then later change to become playful.”
Wired clothing? “Its practical and playful,” said McCarthy. “It will become an active partner in life. There is a relationship between us and clothing.”
DETAILS: “Wired to Wear is at the Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, through May 2020. For tickets, hours and other information call (773) 684-1414 and visit MSI Chicago.
Say Memorial Day to some folks and the response is it’s the time to commemorate people who died while in military service. To others it signifies the beginning of summer vacation.
On some town’s websites are parades, ceremonies and even a history note explaining that Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day and started shortly after the Civil War.
On others, it begins the period from the end of May through Labor Day when beaches are open, lifeguards are on duty, several outdoor fests and tourist activities take place and bus routes are added.
Five suggested Memorial Day Weekend activities in the Chicago area range from fireworks and festivals to a parade and party plus there’s a bus route bonus.
The City of Chicago is holding a Wreath Laying ceremony in Daley Plaza at Dearborn and Washington Streets at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 27, 2017. It will be followed by a parade that starts at noon from nearby State and Lake Streets and travels south on State to Van Buren Street. The Grand Marshal is Marine Corps Commanding General Robert S. Walsh. The parade, among the country’s largest, includes veterans’ groups, marching bands and antique military vehicles. Visit Chicago for more info. The national Memorial Day remembrance is 3 p.m. Monday, May 29, 2017. For an excellent government-based web-site with history and other info visit Government.
Chicago House Party – DJs and performers take over Millennium Park,’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion and North Chase Promenade Tent May 27, 2017, from 2 to 9 p.m. Expect a variety of “house music” a style started in Chicago that is danced to throughout the country. The grassy areas are good for picnics or dancing. For performer schedules check City of Chicago. Millennium Park is at Randolph through Monroe Parkways along Michigan Avenue.
ROOF on theWit, a fun space with great cocktails and views of the city is starting its JETSET s series May 26-27, 2017. The party transports guests to Barcelona, Spain minus the airline hassle. ROOF on theWit is 27 stories above the Wit Hotel at 201 N. State St. at Lake Street, Chicago. For reservations visit Roof. JetSet weekends start at 2pm. For more information and reservations, visit Roof or call (312) 239-9502.
The Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest runs from noon to 10 p.m. May 27 and May 28, 2017. A street party that has been going on for more than 20 years, the fest attracts excellent bands, good food, beer and wine booths and also features arts and crafts. A $5 entry donation benefits the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. Entry is at 3200 N. Sheffield, Chicago. Vist Chicago Events for more information.
Celebrate “Mayfestiversary,” a block party at and around Dovetail Brewery, 1800 W. Belle Plaine Rd. Dovetail is celebrating its first anniversary with Begyle Brewing which is marking the second anniversary of its taproom. There will be food trucks, live music and games. B elle Plaine Avenue will be closed from Ravensood to the CTA line. Part of proceeds benefit Foundations of Music.The festival goes from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 27 and 28, 2017. For more information visit at Dovetail or call (773) 683-1414.
Navy Pier is always good for a holiday outing but the Chicago attraction restarts its summer fireworks display Saturday, May 27 at 10:15 p.m. Among the ways to celebrate the weekend is to cruise on the Spirit of Chicago or Odyssey or stop in at the Miller Lite Beer Garden to hear Hot Rocks do Rolling Stones tributes from 2 to 11:30 p.m. BTW the Rolling Stones Exhibitionism upstairs at Navy Pier is worth seeing. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave. , Chicago, IL 800 )595-PIER (7437) For more information visit Navy Pier or call (800) 595-PIER (7437).
The CTA’s No 10 Bus that goes to the Museum of Science and Industry starts again Memorial Day weekend. That means it will be easier to get there from downtown Chicago to see the terrific Robots exhibit.
The kids are saying yea, no school for a week. But what’s a parent to do when there is more to plan for than a weekend outing?
From a tomb and T Rex to penguins and planets, the Museum Campus has lots to keep families fascinated for an entire day.
Penguin antics also make visitors chuckle at Lincoln Park Zoo.
Lego is a hit at the Museum of Science and Industry and at the Legoland Discovery Center in west suburban Schaumburg.
The Centennial Wheel and musical play equipment are awesome at Navy Pier. Check them out and enjoy.
Explore Chicago’s Museum Campus
Youngsters don’t all like the same things but on Chicago’s Museum Campus at the south east end of the downtown, you can probably satisfy two different interests if you plan carefully.
Children fascinated by mummies, dinosaurs and native American tribal life will love the Field Museum while adults will likely want to detour over to its gem exhibit.
Anyone who likes penguins or pretty much anything live that moves through water will want to stop at the Shedd Aquarium across from The Field.
Budding astronomers and space explorer wannabes will want to go to the Adler Planetarium that’s further down the museum campus’ arm.
Families might be able to take in some of two places but really shouldn’t try to do all three museums on the same day.
Tip: While on the museum campus walk past the aquarium towards the planetarium .then turn around and look at the city. This is where journalists take photos of the skyline and TV broadcasters go for a super camera op of Chicago’s skyline. Your photo will look like you are out in a boat on Lake Michigan because you are on a peninsula.
Put on your minor’s hat or thinking cap at the Museum of Science and Industry
The Museum of Science and Industry south of downtown should satisfy all interests from its coal mine experience, Lego exhibit and futuristic thinking room to Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle, the Great Train Story’s model railroads and the Mirror Maze.
Tip: On April 8 and 9 and April 15, you can also see special Robotics week events.
You play at Navy Pier
Navy Pier, a 3,300 foot long entertainment pier jutting into Lake Michigan from Illinois Street east of the Mag Mile is home to the Chicago Children’s Museum, a Ferris-type ride called the Centennial Wheel that is almost 200 feet high and ethnic festivals in its Crystal Garden.
Tip: There is also an IMAX Theater so check out its film schedule. Plus do ‘Impulse: An Interactive Art Exhibit,’ in the Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier, now through May 21. It’s a light and sound experience where visitors can try out seesaws and other play equipment that produce different tones and colors when activated.
Watch animals play at the zoo
Stroll through Lincoln Park Zoo to see two new, polar opposite, animal habitats: South African penguins in their cozy cove (It’s not icy) and Arctic polar bears in a coldly comfortable place.
Tip: The zoo and its Lincoln Park environment are fun places to spend a day so plan on eating at Park Place Café which has Mexican, Italian dishes and burgers or if warm enough, the roof top Café at Wild Things above the Wild Things gift store. .
Discover what can be done with Legos
From things to ride, play with and see in 4D to Star Wars episodes to experience, there is an entire Lego world at the Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg, Entry and experiences are ticketed so plan ahead because tickets are timed to prevent overcrowding, particularly during winter and spring vacation breaks.
Tip: Online tickets save money so check it out at Tickets.
From top museums to university programs and volunteer projects there are lots of places to spend time off work or school on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Jan. 16, 2017.
MLK Day celebrates the birthday of the famed civil rights leader (Jan. 15, 1929-April 4, 1968) on the third Monday of January. It is a federal holiday so most schools and banks are closed and there won’t be any U. S. Postal deliveries.
However, Chicago’s museums are open and several are offering free general admission to Illinois residents. In addition, some of them have extended free general admission to other days the third week of January.
On the Museum Campus, that arm sticking out from Lake Shore Drive in Lake Michigan at 12th Street, look for the Adler Planetarium at the far eastern end at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr.
The Shedd Aquarium sits in the middle of the arm at 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive and The Field Museum is by the entrance to the campus at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive.
The Art Institute of Chicago has free programs in its Ryan Learning Center from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. They range from performances and stories to art projects. Check out the day’s schedule here. Visitors for these programs enter the Modern Wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe St. to go to the Learning Center. The museum is also free all day for Illinois Residents. Main entrance is at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Several suburbs have volunteer projects taking place on MLK Day. Check your suburb.
On the North Shore, Highland Park has invited Illinois Secretary of State Jess White who was a student of Dr. King, and the Jesse White Tumblers to appear. In addition, the town has several service projects. The Recreation Center of Highland Park is the headquarters for the events. They run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. See HP for details.
The Village of Deerfield is collecting supplies for the homeless and has organized service projects. The Deerfield Village Hall is headquarters for a Day of Service from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. For details click Deerfield.
The university has programs at its Evanston and Chicago Campuses
A play by Allie Woodson about what it means to be young, gifted and black is performed Jan. 13 at 7:30pm and Jan. 14 at 2and 7:30 p.m. at Shanley Pavilion, 2031 Sheridan Rd.
“Social Movements for Racial Justice: From the Chicago Freedom Movement to Black Lives Matter” is Jan. 21, 10 a.m. in Fisk Hall 217, 1845 Sheridan Rd. The program is an intergenerational presentation and discussion about racial justice movements in Chicago over the last 50 years. Authors of the book The Chicago Freedom Movement: Martin Luther King and Civil Rights Activism in the North will share personal experiences marching with Dr. King..
NASA astronaut Mae Jamison, a member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine, gives a keynote address Jan. 23, at 6 p.m.p.m. in the Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive.
NASA astronaut Mae Jamison will speak Jan. at noon at the Hughes Auditorium, 303 E. Superior St.
It’s nice to know what Chicago area events would appeal to different age youngsters. So here are four family events to put on the calendar.
Penguins and Fall Fests
Lincoln Park Zoo members get a peek of the new Penguin Cove the mornings of Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. The penguins are cute to watch but there will also be expert chats and children’s crafts. Hours are Friday 9 to 11 a.m. and Saturday 8 to 10 a.m. Penguin Cove opens to the public beginning daily on Oct. 6. For other information visit Penguins.
Every weekend from Sept. 30 through Oct. 30 is Fall Fest at the zoo. Think corn maze, crafts, games, pumpkin carving and music. Pumpkins can be bought from the Pumpkin Patch near the Wild things Gift Shop. The fest is free but some attractions require tickets. Zoo hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lincoln Park Zoo is at 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614. For other information visit fall fest.