Exploring Chicago Neighborhoods,  museums,  music,  random adventures

amplified: Chicago blues at CHM & Mavis Staples at ‘OUT OF SPACE’

Last summer, in late July, my sister & I went to see Mavis Staples in concert. She played the Canal Shores Golf Course in celebration of SPACE’s Tenth Anniversary (OUT OF SPACE) in Evanston.

If you haven’t seen a show at SPACE yet, I highly recommend it. It’s an intimate venue in Evanston that showcases really great musical talent. Make it an evening by grabbing some dinner & drinks before the show at Union Pizzeria.

To get us in the mood, we first went to check out the exhibit Amplified: Chicago Blues at the Chicago History Museum (CHM) in Old Town. We took the cta brown line to Sedgwick stop & walked east a few blocks. If you are a first-time visitor to Chicago and are interested in Chicago history, you should book my Near Northside walking tour, where we end up in Old Town right by this museum. It is an amazing museum that is all about Chicago’s history.

It’s a really cool exhibit with a variety of interactive components. You can sit in an actual recording studio and get a lesson on how to play a classic 12-bar blues riff on mounted electric guitars. Create your blues name and design the cover of your next chart-topping album, or get up on stage & belt out your version of “Sweet Home Chicago” just like you are at the Checkerboard Lounge.

A highlight of the exhibition is the collection of blues photography by Raeburn “Ray” Flerlage. You’ll see amazing photos of local blues legends Muddy Waters (aka McKinley Morganfield), Magic Sam, Howlin’ Wolf, Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon, Little Walter, and Buddy Guy.

Did you know the blues came here by Southern African-Americans coming to Chicago during the Great Migration? You’ll also discover how Chicago blues is different from any other ‘blues’. This exhibit runs through August 10, 2019. Don’t miss it!

Update: Although the exhibit has since closed, you can still check it out on the CHM website here.

A beautiful day turned into a beautiful evening. We took the Metra UPN line to Evanston Davis St stop, then hopped on the CTA purple line (at the Davis St station) to Central St, which dropped us off right there at the golf course.

There was a pretty long line to get in (security & checking for alcohol since no outside alcohol is allowed), but once inside, there was plenty of room. While they sold drinks & food, we were able to bring our own food along with chairs & blankets. We were meeting a few other friends who got there earlier to save a spot.

We tried some tasty cocktails and shared a couple of bottles of wine while enjoying some delicious food. There is nothing like hanging out with good people and listening to great music outside on a beautiful summer night. Above all, the opening band Marc Broussard was great, but the 79-year-old Grammy-award-winning singer and Chicago civil rights icon rocked it!

We took the cta purple line back to Main St and caught the Metra back home. What an amazing adventure! I highly recommend checking out Amplified: Chicago Blues at CHM and going to see Mavis in concert. Check the Blues Fest schedule, she was there last year so hopefully, she will be there again this year. Check out the SPACE website to see the lineup of OUT OF SPACE this year.

This post is in honor of my Dad, who loved the blues. I have many fond memories of going to Bluesfest with him. The one that stands out the most is when we were celebrating our sister’s law school graduation and continued the party by heading across the street to Grant Park for Bluesfest. Sweet Home Chicago.

Thanks to my sister for the photographs and for coming along on this adventure. Where will our next adventure take us, sister?

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