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Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

Author: Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

A born and raised Windy City girl, Rosalind Cummings-Yeates loves to show visitors and locals the multi-dimensional appeal of her town. She's a writer who specializes in travel and arts topics for local and international media. Her book, Exploring Chicago Blues (History Press) is a guide to the Chicago blues scene as well as its history. Follow her adventures on her blog Farsighted Fly Girl and on Twitter and Instagram.

Joffrey Ballet sweeps into its new season with the legendary Romantic ballet, GiselleEquipped with a gorgeous backdrop and elegant staging by Lola de Avila, this tragic lovers tale is a must see. Giselle runs through October 29 at the Auditorium Theatre and features a rare display of soft, simplistic movements by a company noted for contemporary style.

Chicago is the fabled city of big shoulders, big buildings and with a renowned foodie scene, big appetites. But at its core, this is really a city of neighborhoods and diverse ethnic communities. You can travel through dozens of countries and cultures of the world just by exploring Chicago neighborhoods and cultural institutions. The Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA) serves as connector to 35 museums and cultural organizations representing 24 different neighborhoods and 28 different ethnic communities. Forget about airfare, you can discover China, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Ukraine all in a few days in Chicago.

The American media image of Indian American culture focuses on curries, yoga gurus and Bollywood dancers, but there are many more aspects to discover. The Field Museum presents a fascinating glimpse with its exhibit, "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation". Tracing the paths that many Indian immigrants took to the U.S., the exhibition displays the daily lives, achievements and varied cultural contributions of Indian Americans.

Chi-town may be the world capital for deep dish pizza but dumplings from around the world might just be our next culinary trademark. Chicago supplies a mind-blowing selection of  dumpling versions and variations, including beet-juice infused varenyky from the Ukraine and whitefish stuffed gyoza from Japan. Inherit Chicago's World Dumpling Fest (coming up October 7) offers up a stellar line up of choices but for foodies who prefer to do their tastings on their own, check out these dumplings and restaurants.

Chicago boasts a long history of supplying a vivid backdrop for movies. In classics such as The Blues BrothersFerris Bueller's Day Off and High Fidelity, Chi-town earns starring roles. Films that showcase the North Side and outlying suburbs are regularly cited, but many film lovers don't realize that the South Side has a remarkable film history as well.

From the early 20th century films of Oscar Micheaux, to the array of films shot on the South Side featured in the Black Harvest Film Festival, this area's movie history showcases a rich, if often overlooked, history. The first annual South Side Film Festival remedies that situation with a line-up of South Side film classics.

Squeeze the last bit of summer fun and sample al fresco eats with jerk dishes, seafood, vegan specialties and global music at the first annual Caribbean Jerk, Seafood & Vegan Fest. Scheduled for September 30 through October 1 on the near South Side, the event combines specialty cuisine with a diverse line-up of live music. The weekend will also feature art & craft vendors, dancing and bites for every appetite.

The largest architecture and design exhibition in North America returns to Chicago on September 16, with the second edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Over 141 designers and architects representing 20 countries will address the theme "Make New History," by presenting drawings, installations, events and "immersive environments" at the Chicago Cultural Center and six off-site community locations. The main biennial at the Cultural Center is FREE and open to the public through January 7, 2018.

Check out a few of the highlights of this dazzling showcase of new perspectives, images, buildings and plans.

The biggest international art event of the fall season kicks off with the sixth annual Expo Chicago, the international exposition of contemporary and modern art at Navy Pier, on September 14–17. An array of 135 galleries that hail from 58 cities and 25 countries will transform the Navy Pier festival hall into a colorful, global showcase. Art lovers can browse an exciting display of contemporary art works as well as attend panel discussions, view curated film and video and participate in special daily events.

As the U.S. moves dangerously close to repeating the xenophobia of the past, Alphawood Gallery in Lincoln Park exposes the details of a period in American history that is too often overlooked. "Then They Came For Me: The Incarceration of Japanese Americans During WWII and the Demise of Civil Liberties," reveals the voices and experiences of Japanese Americans who were forced to relinquish their civil liberties.

The sounds, flavors and fashions of the African diaspora will transform Washington Park into a lively African village during the 28th annual African Festival of the Arts.  The fest offers visitors the chance to travel through African culture with art, film, food, fashion and music that represents a diversity of traditions and history. Divided into pavilions and villages including Nubia for fine art, Timbuktu for fashion and Bank of the Nile for the food court, the African Festival of the Arts is an explosion of sensory experiences.

Arrive early to grab a spot near the Dee Parmer Woodtor main stage and check out these dynamic acts at the 2017 African Festival of the Arts.

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