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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.

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.

The end of the summer season pushes many locals to grab every last drop of outdoor fun and on Labor Day weekend, that means soaking up sublime rhythms at the Chicago Jazz Festival. This free event will fill the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park with an impressive line-up of international, national and local artists from a broad spectrum of jazz categories. Consider these Jazz Fest highlights during the last days of summer.

Famed French artist Paul Gauguin is best noted for his brilliant use of color on canvas, but the Art Institute of Chicago's fascinating exhibit, "Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist", uncovers his radical experiments in wood-carving, ceramics and other applied arts that are more typically associated with artisans and craft makers. Through rarely seen pieces including furniture, stoneware and fans, visitors will discover Gauguin's talents beyond his iconic paintings.

Less than three weeks are left to see this exhibition, plan your visit today!

Once the summer sun arrives in Chicago, every restaurant, eatery and bar in the city pulls out the sidewalk dining paraphernalia. You can barely walk down the street, there are so many summer cafés filled with excited diners lining the streets. Yes, alfresco dining is popular in Chi-town, but don't be fooled into thinking that all the outdoor offerings are easy to spot. Some are hidden by cul-de-sacs, side streets and bike paths.

Soak in the last weeks of the season as you check out these three slightly hidden locations for excellent al fresco dining.

One of Chicago's most anticipated summer movie events is the annual Black Harvest Film Festival at the Gene Siskel Film Center. Celebrating the diverse stories and histories of the black experience, the 23rd annual fest offers an assortment of shorts, documentaries, dramas, comedies, romances, thrillers and workshops throughout the month of August. This year's event also features the Black Harvest Marketplace, an array of black businesses offering one-of-a-kind products on Saturday, August 19 from 1-5pm.

Consider these movie highlights for end of summer fun.

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