Ovo Credit: Ed Schipul

Daniel Duffy, editor and publisher of the Handshake Magazine, watched:

“The Gift” (Episode 2) from Jazz: A Film by Ken Burns

Jack Kerouac turned me on to Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk back when I was a teenager, and I have fond memories of listening to Miles Davis while smoking weed in a dorm room in Saint Louis. So I’m rather embarrassed that I didn’t watch Ken Burns’s Jazz until now. Chicago plays a big part in episode two of the series: we follow a 21-year-old Louis Armstrong as he leaves New Orleans on a train and comes here to play in King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band. There are amazing shots of the Illinois Central rolling into the city, and of the 12th Street Station, the Magnificent Mile, and people drinking and dancing in the Lincoln Gardens, a venue at 31st and Cottage Grove.

Dubhe Carreño, director of Dubhe Carreño Gallery, saw:

Claro y Obscuro” by artist Elsa Muñoz at the National Museum of Mexican Art

So many people living north of the Loop don’t realize how close Pilsen is to downtown Chicago. Nor are they familiar with its charm and rich culture. One of its greatest assets is the National Museum of Mexican Art.

My last visit to the museum was to see a solo exhibition of oil paintings by Chicago-based artist Elsa Muñoz. The gorgeous show celebrates the presence of light and shadow, capturing an atmospheric tone that invites the viewer to enter a carefully staged scenario of calm space full of subtleties and beauty. The show will be up until November 27, 2011.

Dr. Corrie Moreau, assistant curator at the Field Museum, saw:

Cirque du Soleil’s Ovo

As a curator of insects/entomology at the Field Museum, I very much looked forward to seeing the all-insect-themed Cirque du Soleil show Ovo at the United Center. Not only did the show have all the acrobatics you would expect of Cirque du Soleil, but the insect costumes and characters were outstanding. Where else could you see contortionist spiders dance in unison, ants juggling fruits with their feet, a group of beetles performing trapeze, a spider riding a unicycle on the slack wire, and grasshoppers leaping through the air all under the big top? Who knows, maybe by the end of Ovo you may have a new appreciation for the marvelous and beautiful bugs under your feet.

J.C. Gabel, editor and publisher of Stop Smiling, has been reading:

Love Goes to Buildings on Fire: Music Made New in New York City in the ’70s by Will Hermes and Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past by Simon Reynolds

Two forthcoming books have sucked me in like a Behind the Music marathon on VH1. Simon Reynolds raises some poignant questions about our retro-minded culture; namely, are we heading toward a cultural-ecological catastrophe where the archival stream of pop history has been exhausted? Will Hermes’s book recounts the author’s salad-day exploits as a teenager running around New York City. Of late, I’ve found myself listening to records I haven’t put on in years, and sheepishly immersing myself in mandatory daily YouTube viewings of live musical performances of yesteryear.

Jessica Linker, owner of Pitch Perfect PR, went to:

Manchester United vs. Chicago Fire at Soldier Field

We seemed to be sharing our excitement with every soccer-minded (or not) person in the Chicagoland area. The Fire didn’t seem daunted by Man U or by the fact that it was 100 degrees outside, ending the first half ahead at 1-0. This prompted Man U to field some of their better players and they finished, predictably victorious, three goals to one. Before this weekend, I had never been to Soldier Field or to an MLS soccer match. Spending an afternoon covered in sweat and BBQ sauce makes for good times all around!

—Compiled by Kevin Warwick