When it's Christmas here in Illinois, some time spent in the Chicago Loop is an absolute must. I've written in the past about our family tradition of visiting Santa at Macy's on State Street (in fact, this year's visit is tomorrow), and then there's the always-festive Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza, which we've already visited once this season. No matter what you're into, there's something for the whole family, and the Chicago Loop Alliance has put together a definitive guide to all the Holiday Deals & Events this season. Better yet, they've even curated some daily itineraries of events, along with the full rundown on all that's family-friendly, and in some cases - free.
Living in Chicago's northern suburbs, Ravinia is a favorite concert venue for our family - a short drive from Rock Father HQ. Next summer, there's a special event taking place as TONY BENNETT returns to Ravinia for his 28th season, while LADY GAGA makes her Ravinia debut as the duo perform songs from their recently-released album, CHEEK TO CHEEK on June 26 & 27, 2015. Early details just hit my inbox a few moments ago, revealing that the pair will be accompanied by a full orchestra, along with each artist's jazz ensembles.
This weekend, the Chicago Toy & Game Group brought the 12th Annual Chicago Toy & Game Fair to Navy Pier, and for the third year in a row, THE ROCK FATHER was there to cover it. The only show of it's kind that's open to the public in addition to members of the toy and game trade, #ChiTAGFair or simply #ChiTAG serves as an unofficial kick-off to the Holiday season here in Chicago - a tradition that offers families a first-hand chance to check out a wide array of new offerings hands-on, from some of the season's hottest toys, to some of the newest and most "out there" games. While my first two experiences at ChiTAG had been good, and the show had impressed, I left last year thinking that the show was skewing too "game" for my liking, ignoring that "toy" is the first part of it's name. Knowing that many of the organizers have deep roots in the gaming community, that wasn't really a surprise, but for my own interests (big on toys, light on games) I was hoping to see a little more balance this year... and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair crew did a fantastic job in bringing together some old friends and new favorites to delight families for two days of pre-Holiday fun. Check out my picks for this year's #ChiTAGFair all-stars below!
For the past 12 years, the Chicago Toy & Game Fair has been presenting families with the largest event of it's kind in the U.S. that's actually open to the public - a chance to test out and buy some of this year's hottest toys and games to kick-off the holiday season, all while meeting and mingling with the folks that actually create and make the things we play with. This will be my third year covering ChiTAG on THE ROCK FATHER (Read: 2013, 2012), and with the show taking place at the end of next week, the excitement is building. While Optimus Prime is known for telling the Autobots to "Roll Out!," Hasbro is rolling into ChiTAG with one of the stars of this summer's TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION - the bright yellow Chevrolet Camaro known to kids and grownups alike as BUMBLEBEE. But that's just one of the many cool goings-on set to take place at Navy Pier, and I've got the run-down for you below, along with discount coupons and a chance to WIN TICKETS to the show!
I've been meaning to post about Chicago's THE MAGNIFIERS for quite awhile. You see, these kids (ages 8-15) first hit my radar back in May after attending the same AQUABATS concert that I took Addie to for her first big rock show - the same one she ended up on stage to help close out. THE MAGNIFIERS' cover of "Fashion Zombies" was enough to hook me, but their five-song EP was even more impressive (and available on Bandcamp). While my annual 31 Days of Halloween ended at midnight last night, some zombies managed to shamble into the party a day late, and here comes THE MAGNIFIERS' first official music video, "Zombie Raid on the USA." Check it out below...
FOO FIGHTERS have been all about Chicago lately, rocking The Cubby Bear this past Friday to celebrate the debut of their HBO mini-series, SONIC HIGHWAYS - a series rooted in Chicago, with Dave Grohl's first concert having taken place at The Cubby Bear (it was NAKED RAYGUN). Now, ahead of the November release of their new album (pre-order on Amazon or iTunes), the official video for "Something From Nothing" has arrived - combining traditional music video performance with the typography seen in so many lyric videos of late. See it below...
Funny enough, I've been doing my annual 31 Days of Halloween here on THE ROCK FATHER for eighteen days now, and today of all days, I didn't have an entry scheduled. While I may have goofed, the internet Gods shined upon me this evening with an out-of-the-darkness email from a rep for Chicago band, COMMON SHINER, pointing me in the direction of their new music video, "Social Mediasochist." Imagine for a moment that the John Hughes-inspired world of NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE was placed in a blender with every slasher film from about 1980 'til now. See what the students of Wes Craven's Slasher High School are up to in the new video, directed by Zoran Gvojic of Lowcarbcomedy...
Next month, THE GRINCH is coming to Chicago, as Madison Square Garden Entertainment presents their new production of DR. SEUSS' HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL at The Chicago Theatre for just 17 performances - Thursday, November 20 through Saturday, November 29. Actually, The Grinch has already been here - stopping into town this morning to unveil The Chicago Theatre marquee, just before scurrying back up to his mountain home above Who-ville.
WWE Superstars and Divas will be wearing co-branded Susan G. Komen and WWE apparel as all WWE platforms go pink for the "Courage Conquer Cure" campaign, which will continue through National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October.