Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA stuns with mesmerizing circus acts

Cirque Du Soleil’s LUZIA is a dazzling display of theatrics, stage design, artistic expression and most importantly, circus acts. It is a back-to-roots approach showcasing classic circus performances reimagined in the fantastical way we’ve come to expect from a Cirque du Soleil show.

Packed with mind-bending acts that will even surprise avid Cirque fans, LUZIA hits all the right notes, transporting the audience back to a joyful dreamlike place in Mexico. Performers dressed as butterflies and birds fill the stage, performing on a giant treadmill. Girls twirling in hoops, soccer balls, and beach scenes give the show a sense of nostalgia while keeping the audience at the edge of their seats.

It seemed that there were more thunderous cheers and breathless gasps than usual with a hefty dose of humor throughout. The main character, played by Eric Fool Koller of the Netherlands, elicited fits of laughter without the need for the traditional clown outfit and props.

Impressive use of water displays, a first ever for their Big Top shows, created surreal backdrops that added to the impact of performances, and Russian contortionist, Aleksei Globorodko, who moved around the stage with the flexibility of a sock puppet, shocked and mesmerized viewers.

Lakeview resident, Lauren Lawrence, noted that the show provided the “same level of amazement for adults as it did for kids.”

LUZIA’s thrilling acrobatics strikes wonder into minds and memories of the audience like only a Cirque du Soleil show can.

LUZIA runs through September 3, under the newly redesigned white-and-gold Big Top at the United Center parking lot K. Ticket prices start at $35 with a range of options for groups, family packs and VIP packages. Tickets for all Chicago performances of LUZIA through September 3, 2017 are available online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.

 

 

Cirque du Soleil

LUZIA – A Waking Dream of Mexico

United Center Parking Lot K

July 21 – September 3

Tickets at www.cirquedusoleil.com

 

 

 

– Ben Cirrus and Elaine Hyde

 

 

 

 

 

Lakeshore East Coffee takes over former RōM space

If Nick Papageorgiou has his way, New Eastsiders won’t ever have to climb their way to a cup of good coffee again.

“Based on the time I’ve spent on this side of the park, I’m confident [this will work],” says Papageorgiou, about Lakeshore East Coffee, which took over Caffè RōM’s old space at 400 E. South Water St. on June 27. While its red backsplashes, white countertops and caffeinated drinks will look familiar to customers, Papageorgiou says the similarities stop there.

“We want to interact with the com- munity,” says Papageorgiou, who also owns Eggy’s Diner. “RōM didn’t want to adapt its model to the community.”

Along with Dark Matter coffee, iced teas, lattes and espressos, Lakeshore East Coffee will serve a selection of gelatos and pastries. For now, Lake- shore East Coffee will function as a community coffee bar, but Papageorgiou envisions filling a bigger gap in New Eastside. He says that when the cafe receives its liquor license later this summer, it will transform itself into “The Drunken Bean” wine bar—a destination for New Eastside nightlife.

“It’s gonna be a cool place,” says Pa- pageorgiou. “The brand will be a lot different.” He describes a cafe open until 11 p.m., live music and community open mics set against a backdrop of exposed brick, community tables and “warm” colors.

For Tides resident Melanie Belloch, who moved to New Eastside the day RōM pulled up roots, the news couldn’t be more exciting. “I can’t wait,” she says. “I love live music so that’s perfect. It’s even better that it’s close.”

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

3rd Coast Cycles opens on Lakefront Trail

With his black T-shirt, backwards cap and duct-taped screwdriver, Marc Tay- lor doesn’t look like the type to turn to Pinterest for inspiration.

But that’s exactly where he discovered that joining together two shipping con- tainers could be a perfect way to build a bike shop.

“Shipping containers are hot on Pin- terest right now,” laughs Taylor, as he sits in front of his new shop, 3rd Coast Cycles, at 152 N. Lake Shore Drive. A retired high school teacher, Taylor says he saw an opportunity to help an un- derserved community in New Eastside.

Marc Taylor, owner of 3rd Coast Cycles, shows off a road bike available for rent at his store at the Lakefront Trail in New Eastside. Photo: Tricia Parker

“There was no real local bike shop,” says Taylor, adding that the Park District recommended the location, at the bend of the lakefront path between DuSable and Monroe harbors. Taylor

says the first week or two after open- ing on May 28 was “super slow,” then business picked up. “All of a sudden, it’s been crazy,” he says.

3rd Coast offers on-the-spot repairs and full-service tune-ups, as well as rentals, city bike tours and bike sales. Along with a great view and quality service, the shop gives customers the chance to socialize under the shade of a nearby maple tree.

“You meet a lot of people here. That’s what’s fun,” said Craig Sielaff, who swung by with his 14-year-old daugh- ter, Hope, on a recent Friday afternoon.

“[The shop] is very convenient and has great service,” said Hope, as she played with the shop’s mascot, a rust-colored vizsla breed dog named Ronald.

Taylor says many customers come from New Eastside, mostly for annual tune-ups. While most shops offer a 30- day warranty on tune-ups, Taylor says he’ll service any problems that occur throughout the season, which ends in November. 3rd Coast also rents out a fleet of bikes, which could be a boon for locals and tourists burned out on Divvys.

“Divvys go at a snail’s pace,” scoffs Si- elaff. Taylor adds that Divvy’s half-hour check-in policy is an annoyance for renters, even though Divvy’s $10-per- day cost is far below 3rd Coast’s $30– $40 daily rate. Divvy offers one type

of three-speed bike, while 3rd Coast renters can choose from lightweight cruisers, road bikes and eye-catching “fatty” bikes with extra-large wheels.

The bike shop is still under construction as Taylor puts on the finishing touches, but he hopes to have everything in place by the end of the summer, with a plan to stay at least five years.

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

Alderman announces new high-rise developments in Lakeshore East

Lakeshore East is growing up, and growing up fast. Just as the first few floors take shape of what will be Chicago’s third-tallest tower, the Wanda Vista, plans for more Lakeshore East high-rises are ready to be unveiled.

Proposed plans will be revealed at a public presentation hosted by Alderman Brendan Reilly and the New Eastside Association of Residents. Chicago-based Magellan Development Group, in association with Australian company Lendlease Development Inc., will present building renderings and proposals at the community meeting, which will take place July 10 at 6 p.m., at the Hyatt Regency Hotel (151 E. Upper Wacker Dr.).

The proposed developments are located at “Site O” (195 N. Columbus Dr.) and four sites near Lake Shore Drive that will add over 2,000 residential units and 900 hotel rooms to New Eastside.

Magellan Development, the developer of Lakeshore East since 2001, has completed nine buildings in the New Eastside neighborhood. If the proposed plans become a reality, Magellan Development will be responsible for a total of 14 towers in New Eastside.

Community Presentation for Proposed Developments in Lakeshore East Monday, July 10, 6- 8 p.m. Hyatt Regency Hotel, Regency Ballroom, West Tower A 151 E. Upper Wacker Dr.

Elaine Hyde, Editor

Food trucks of New Eastside

Residents of New Eastside have a lot of choices when it comes to food. There are plenty of restaurants and markets, but there is also an underrated op- tion—food trucks. Here we profile two of our favorites that can be found on weekdays in New Eastside.

La Cocinita

A truck serving Venezuelan cuisine and famous for its arepas parks on Upper Columbus Dr. across the street from the Park Millennium (222 N.Co- lumbus Dr.). “We are the only food truck in the city that serves arepas,” says La Cocinita Food Truck Manager, Victor Reyna. La Cocinita’s delicious arepas consist of cornmeal patties

that have meat inside, along with pico de gallo and cheese. They also have vegetarian and vegan arepa options, along with plenty of other Venezuelan delights. La Cocinita’s food truck visits New Eastside twice a week—either Monday or Tuesday and Wednesday or Thursday. They also have a brick- and-mortar location in Evanston, two blocks away from Northwestern’s cam- pus and will be serving arepas at this year’s Taste of Chicago. To learn more about La Cocinita, visit their website, www.LaCocinitaRestaurant.com, or visit their Twitter or Facebook pages.

DönerMen

One of the founders, Shawn Podgurski, describes their cuisine as “German street food, inspired by Turkish immi- grants and British soldiers post-World

War II.” Podgurski and some of his fellow founders were in a rock band and often traveled around Europe and saw how popular döner kebabs were, so they decided to start a food truck that sold them with other culinary options, such as currywurst. In fact, they recently added a poutine to their menu; their version includes cheddar curds and chicken gravy. There is also a brand-new brick-and-mortar location at California and Belmont, called DMen Tap. To learn more about DönerMen, visit their website at www. donermen.com, or visit their Twitter or Facebook pages to check the truck’s serving locations.

If you’re in the mood for a different cuisine, be on the lookout for The Ca- jun Connoisseur, which serves classic Cajun dishes like jambalaya and po boys. There is also 5411 Empanadas, which serves empanadas with modern twists—including one with Nutella. Bop Bar is also a great choice for Ko- rean cuisine, including kimchi dump- lings. And last but not least, try The Fat Shallot for gourmet sandwiches, like the truffle BLT.

The Cajun Connoisseur: www.thecajunconnoisseur.com

5411 Empanadas: www.5411empanadas.com

Bop Bar: www.facebook.com/BopBarTruck

The Fat Shallot: www.thefatshallot.com

— Stephanie Racine, Community Contributor

New Eastside business tops best places to work

Crain’s Chicago Business released the results of its annual Best Places to Work report for 2017. This year Microsoft, with Midwest district offices based out of New Eastside at 200 E. Randolph, landed the top spot on the list. Microsoft was also No.1 on Crain’s inaugural list of Chicago’s Best Places to Work for Minorities.

Location is a critical part of being a great place to work, says Midwest Operations and Community Manager, Mary Monroy-Spampinato, who has been at the company for 16 years. She adds New Eastside offers “many restaurants, shopping options” and “beautiful views and easy access to parks for walks or concerts.”

Businesses in Cook County and six surrounding counties with “more than 50 full-time employees” were eligible to apply, Crain’s reported. The publication ranked the participating companies using answers to two surveys: a quan- titative employer survey to measure corporate policies and benefits, and a qualitative survey to assess employee experience.

There were 195 applicants and respons- es from more than 14,900 area employ- ees, and what sets Microsoft apart is the opportunity to work with “incred- ibly smart and compassionate” peers “who love their communities as much as they love technology,” says Adam

Hecktman, director of technology & civic innovation for Chicago, a 25-year veteran at the company.

— Ben Cirrus, Community Contributor

DuSable’s A-H Docks – the hottest address in Chicago

Sitting on DuSable’s slip C-58, sisters Kathleen Greenberg and Anne Condon enjoy observing the passersby directly across from them on the lakefront promenade.

“We love this spot because we people-watch,” says Greenberg, whose father-in-law, Jerry, owns 38-foot Mirando J. On summer weekends Greenberg, Condon and their extended family, including dog Tito, are a familiar sight at DuSable, waving to people and floating on their eight-person party raft.

Ever since DuSable opened in 2000, replacing a city barge basin, demand for its 420 slips has far outstripped supply. More than 200 boaters, many of whom have already waited more than a decade, are still biding their time on two Park District waiting lists—one for intra-harbor “transfers” and one for new boaters. The Park District gives intra-harbor transfers first priority.

Waiting lists can be as long as ten years for a slip at the exclusive DuSable Harbor. Boaters relax by their boat moored in DuSable Harbor C Dock. Photo: Alan Epstein

“First and only choice is a slip in DuSable Harbor,” wrote one boater, on the new boater list since 2016. “Would like to accept any slip in DuSable,” wrote another, who lists DuSable as his first choice among five harbors. According to the lists, dozens of boaters have been rejected, including the owner of power- boat Persistence, who has been denied a slip at DuSable seven times.

This exclusivity means DuSable boat- ers, since the beginning, have opted to “squat” in their slips—with or without a boat.

“We have people who pay for a space who never come in,” says Sean Connol- ly, DuSable harbor master, referring to DuSable slip holders who own boats, but don’t bother to bring them in. “They don’t want to lose their space . . . DuSable is a very sought-after place to be.” The Park District declined to comment on whether it receives any com- plaints about this practice. According to the Park District’s website, costs for the season, from May to late October, range from $3,931 for a 30-foot stall to $8,929 for a 60-foot stall.

If getting into DuSable is difficult, then navigating its social waters can be equal- ly tricky. “A” Dock, set apart on DuSable’s northern side, holds the biggest boats, including larger yachts. Though Connolly hesitates to generalize, he says A-Dockers “aren’t out as much; they’re on the wealthier side.” B through H Docks host progressively smaller crafts, and feature more slips. H Dock, in the shadow of the Columbia Yacht Club’s MV Abegweit, has a reputation for being friendly and approachable.

“It’s more alive than the other [docks],” says Mauro Gavilanes, co-owner of 28- foot Sea Ray Ramiro’s, recognizable by its palm trees and collection of potted petunias, lilies and sweet potato vines. Six years after getting into DuSable in 2007, Gavilanes and co-owner Ramiro Jimenez got fed up staring at a seawall. “For us, the metal was so ugly,” says Gavilanes. “We had to do something.”

Now a harbinger of summer in the New Eastside, Gavilanes’ floating garden not only attracts birds, but friends and neighbors too. “We know every single one of our neighbors,” says Gavilanes. “If we see there’s a wedding happening at the Columbia Yacht Club, sometimes we bring the party down here for a barbecue.”

Ramiro Jimenez (second from right), co-owner of a 28-foot Sea Ray powerboat, is pictured with friends on his boat. Jimenez spent three years on the waiting list before he was able to transfer his boat from Monroe to DuSable Harbor. Photo: Dan Patton

“On the smaller docks, there’s a great sense of community,” says Connolly. “People look out for each other.” Many boaters come from New Eastside, and several opt to make their boat a “second home.”

Though idyllic, life in Chicago’s most coveted harbor isn’t without challenges: Food delivery can be a hassle, and mail only comes to the harbor store once a week. Waste must either be driven to a dump area, or handled by a pump-out service called Honey Jug, one of many businesses servicing boaters. Entering and exiting the docks requires punch- ing in a three-number code, different for each dock, on seven-foot-high steel security gates.

While the community codes could be compromised, Connolly says security on the docks is “excellent.” The Chicago Police report zero crimes at DuSable for the last available reporting period, from March until May.

Even though the docks are a close-knit community, landlubbing New Eastsiders can still test their sea legs at DuSable Harbor. Columbia Yacht Club’s Wednesday night “Beer Can Races” are open to “outside” volunteers, who serve as wind readers, spotters, sig- nalers and more. If all else fails, those familiar with the docks say a six-pack, a smile and a wave can work wonders in warming up boaters’ hearts.

“We’re friendly,” says Greenberg. “We talk to neighbors when they’re out.”

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

Long lines at Nutella Cafe frustrate customers

After opening to much fanfare on May 31, the first Nutella Cafe in the United States, located at 189 N. Michigan, delighted customers with sweet treats and an inspired interior, but long lines and kinks in service have frustrated diners.

“The operations could have run more smoothly…maybe they could have two cash registers open,” said Carly Tobin, a North Sider who visited the cafe with her mom, Claudia. “I feel there’s a better way they can get orders.”

Carly Tobin (left) with her mother Claudia To- bin outside the Nutella Cafe in New Eastside. Photo: Tricia Parker

The split-level cafe is the first restau- rant owned and operated by Ferrero, makers of the popular Italian hazelnut spread, which hit U.S. markets in 1983. Its cheery red-and-white interior, with its rippled brown ceiling, light fixtures shaped like hazelnuts and other playful touches, make customers feel like they are in a life-sized Nutella jar.

But customers are less than thrilled with erratic opening hours and the restaurant’s policy of letting in groups every 10–15 minutes, leaving a long line of people sweltering in the sun while in view of empty tables. Ac- cording to Nutella’s official phone line, average wait times are between one and one-and-a-half hours. “The tables are empty all the time,” said a security guard at the Nutella Cafe who declined to give his name.

The restaurant also lacks a formal website, instead using a Facebook page. “We know that Nutella is a popular brand, but the response to our Nutella Cafe has far exceeded our expectations. We acknowledge this has resulted in lines to enter the Cafe and longer wait times; however, with each day we have seen improvements,” a representative from Ferrero USA, the makers of Nutella, said in an emailed statement.

Guadeloupe Nunez, a customer who works around the corner from the cafe, said she heard about the hype on social media and was curious to check it out for herself. “I would come again, but I wouldn’t wait in line again,” she said. “For the experience, it was nice. It was nice to go to the actual source.”

The menu offers sweet and savory options, including traditional Nutella pairings like crepes, croissants and baguettes. “The food was warm and fresh,” said Nunez.

Tobins also gave the food two thumbs-up. “I liked how they cut a hole in the middle of the croissant and injected Nutella,” said Carly Tobin, holding up her chocolate croissant. She glanced back at the cafe. “They’ll eventually get the hang of it.”

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

Family Theme Nights up fun factor at Maggie Daley

For four special nights in July and August, the Skate Ribbon will be transformed into a family wonderland, offering children the chance to experi- ence the Ribbon like never before.

According to Bob Good, manager of the Maggie Daley climbing wall, fami- lies can choose from five activity areas on the Ribbon, including spaces for relay races, speed races and an obstacle course. Lower-key activities include face painting, chalk drawing and yo- yo classes. Though the event is free, scooter rentals cost $8 and Rollerblade rentals cost $12. Family Theme Nights will take place July 13 and 27, and Au- gust 10 and 24.

City Mini Golf course at Maggie Daley Park. Photo courtesy of City Mini Golf

If mini golf is more your family’s style, City Mini Golf is kicking off “Rock ’n’ Roll” nights Monday through Wednes- day nights in July, in honor of the Roll- ing Stones’ exhibition on Navy Pier. Kids—and adults—can pair the perfect putt with favorites from the Stones, Aerosmith, Def Leppard and more.

“There’s something special about rock ’n’ roll music that brings people out of their shells and can make enjoyable activities even more memorable,” says Rob Long, co-owner of City Mini Golf.

Long says those arriving with either a Stones ticket stub or a Stones T-shirt get $2 off the $11 admission. Ticket stub holders also get a free Rolling Stones golf ball.

Both Bob Good of Maggie Daley Park and Rob Long say more family-friendly programs are in the works.

Skate Ribbon Family Nights: Free (scooters and Rollerblades for rent). 4:30-6:30 p.m., July 13th, 27th and Aug. 10th, 24th

City Mini Golf Rock ’n’ Roll Nights: $11, 6-9 p.m. (last golfers taken at 8:45 p.m.), Monday through Wednesdays in July

— Tricia Parker, Staff Writer

Calvin Booker — The Heritage at Millennium Park

One of Calvin Booker’s most unfor- gettable tasks in the property services industry was to greet the first person who ever moved into The Heritage at Millennium Park (130 N. Garland Ct.) back on December 17, 2004. The building was still under construction and the finishing touches were just being installed. “We didn’t even have a desk or anything,” he remembers. “The floor wasn’t put in.”

To compensate for the unfinished ambience, he and the staff arranged several chairs behind a makeshift desk that the construction crew had manu- factured out of pasteboard specifically for the occasion. With a few additional touches, they transformed the area into a proper setting for a celebration.

Calvin Booker (photo: Daniel Patton)

“We had a welcome sign, and the property manager—who was Dan Harvey back then—had a brunch type of thing laid out,” he continues.

According to Booker, the occasion was a sign of good things to come.

“The building filled up the very first year,” he says. “The Heritage is unbelievable, and the amenities are top of the line, too. We’ve continuously had a full building, 356 units, since that day.”

Booker is the son of an entrepreneur father and a homemaker mother who grew up “right off the lake” with 14 brothers and sisters in Bronzeville.

He was new to the industry when he first took the job. “Before this, I was managing retail stores, like Osco,” he explains. “I’ve always been in retail, you know, customer service. This is basically the same thing, dealing with residents and things like that, but a little more hands-on.”

He heard of the doorperson position through “a real, real close friend” from the Apostolic Church of God at 63rd and Dorchester, one of the places where he likes to “spend a lot of time.”

Since 1932, the church has grown from a small group of believers into a com- munity of 20,000 members. The con- gregation worships in two breathtaking sanctuaries and, under the guidance of the late Bishop Arthur Brazier, recently built a gymnasium for the youth.

The only things that inspire him as much as church activities are family activities, which keep him busy enough to qualify as a second career. But he’s more than happy to pursue it.

“God blessed me with five wonderful children and nine grandchildren,” he says. “My oldest granddaughter, she just graduated Saturday last week, and one of my grandsons, he graduated from grade school last Thursday. There’s nothing like family.”

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