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Science-meets-symphony in ‘Northern Lights’

Summer in Chicago is an odd time to see the northern lights. We’re thousands of miles from the frigid northern lands where those dazzling, color-filled displays, also known as the aurora borealis, periodically light up the skies. This weekend the Grant Park Music Festival brings …



I have never done this before. If fact, I have been very careful not to, but this time, I just couldn’t resist. A third-grade teacher introduced me to one of the funniest read-a-louds for that age group many years ago. Bill Brittain’s “All The Money …

Hand: These books present the facts of life


Let’s face it: For us old-timers, sex education was often a difficult subject to discuss with our kids.

Books help. I gave my son a book after our “talk” and he took it to school. It came back wrapped in plain brown paper with a …

Hand: Open up these clothes books


How did pink become the color associated with girls, and blue the color associated with boys?

I remember before a baby’s gender was known before birth that we had to be so neutral in buying for baby showers, but I have no idea where these …

All you need is love of the Beatles


It started out small, but an annual salute to the Beatles in downtown Hammond has bounced to lofty heights with its British beat. Now in its ninth year, Beatles Fest draws large crowds after being born as a quaint indoor gathering in Northwest Indiana that …

Summer symphony tunes swing from

light classical to cinematic melodies


Variety is the spice of life. It also is what drives the musical menu that will be served up by the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra at the South Shore Summer Music Festival. “My philosophy has been do what people have loved in the past and …


I acknowledge that I tend to favor fiction, as I love a good story. But we need nonfiction to tell us about the wonderful world we live in.

I have never been much for bugs and other crawly things but …

Interesting books for kids


Let’s look at some machines that we either use or depend on every day to move us and our stuff from place to place. Think about what it would be like to have to go back to humans and horses to travel.

Mike Lemanski brings …

Hand: Have to hand it to the Hueys


I have fallen in love with the Hueys.

What can I say? These funny little egg-shaped creatures tell great tales.

In “It Wasn’t Me,” by Oliver Jeffers, we learn that the Hueys usually get along. At least most of the time.

Just like other groups, …

A ‘Midsummer’ treat from Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks


Chicago Shakespeare Theatre created Shakespeare in the Park to bring admission-free, family-friendly productions of the Bard’s plays to parks throughout the city.

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Dan + Shay riding a tidal wave of success, but staying true to their music

Dan Smyers of Dan + Shay is a real smart guy. A boy from Pennsylvania that was always good at math, Smyers attended Carnegie Mellon University as a finance major. He worked hard to graduate in three years so he could get back to his …

‘Rock the House’ fundraiser for Valpo Memorial Opera House set for July 13


“The challenges of running a 120-year-old building are many, both fiscally and creatively,” said Scot PJ MacDonald, artistic director for Valparaiso’s historical Memorial Opera House. Built by the Grand Army of the Republic in 1893 as a commemoration to Civil War veterans, the Opera House …

Neverly Brothers to perform at Taltree on Friday


NORTHWEST INDIANA Nature Benefit Concerts: The summer concert series to benefit Taltree Arboretum & Gardens continues Friday when the Neverly Brothers play the greatest hits from the 1950s, American rockabilly, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm-and-blues pioneers up through the 1964 British Invasion. All concerts start …

Kicking it up a notch


Dubbed the Comedy Exposition of 2014, Katie McVay’s brainchild takes place July 11 through 13 in several venues and neighborhoods on the city’s North Side.


Whitney Stewart brings us a fresh new look at the old fairy tale about the farmer’s wife in “A Catfish Tale.”

We join Jack and his …

Naperville’s Ribfest and Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies offer fun for the whole family


Naperville Ribfest returns next week with bands, beer, rides and of course, the ribs.

And if you’ve got an iPhone, getting around Ribfest just got a whole lot easierthanks for a newly created Ribfest app. In addition to a map of the Ribfest grounds, the …