If you know where to look, April reigns in Chicago

From the Saturday, April 11, editions of The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Ill.) and The Times (Ottawa, Ill.) …

baconfest2013poetThe WISCH LIST

By Dave Wischnowsky

There are some places you probably don’t want to find yourself stuck at in Chicago this month.

Chuy Garcia’s dinner table, for one. Heck, maybe Rahm Emanuel’s dinner table, for another. The bathroom lines at Wrigley Field, for certain.

However, as Chicago begins to make its long-anticipated turn toward spring, there are plenty of desirables spots to end up at during the month of April. And depending on you preferences, here are a few such options.

Neil Diamond
April 14

My wife loves the guy. And in spite of Neil Diamond’s often-excessive schmaltz (which tends to be a bit much for me), so do many others. If you count yourself among that sizable group, you’re in sweet (Caroline) luck as the 74-year-old crooner is scheduled to be in Chicago for one night only, performing at 8 p.m. on Tuesday at the United Center.

According to Timeout Chicago, Diamond has stripped down much of the kitsch for his latest album, Melody Road, to fine musical effect. And while this current tour is in support of that album, Timeout predicts that the singer will favor a more hits-based act for his Chicago show.

Tickets are still available through, although I’d suggest first visiting to check its available discounted seats.

April 16-19

Now in its seventh year, the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival – CIMMFest, for short – and its mixture of film screenings, director Q&A’s and band performances only continues to grow in stature.

Perhaps most notably during this year’s festival will be the appearance of Spike Lee at City Winery (1200 W. Randolph St.) on April 18. This week, news broke that the Oscar-nominated director is planning to film his next movie in Chicago. Entitled “Chiraq” – the controversial moniker that compares Chicago’s gun violence and dangers to that of an Iraqi war zone – the project reportedly may star Samuel L. Jackson, along with Chicago-area natives Jeremy Piven, Common and Kanye West.

If nothing else, Lee’s local appearance surely spark discussion.

For CIMMFest’s full lineup and tickets, visit

Bacon Fest
April 17-18

Over the past several years, it’s become so beloved that you might think bacon is now its own food group. It isn’t.

But it does have its own festival.

Held at the UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt Road) with sessions scheduled for April 17-18 – and perhaps a third on April 19, depending on demand – the tasty event will feature more than 170 chefs, including 45 new ones, all showing off their best bacon-inspired foods, drinks and drafts. You can almost smell the aroma already.

For full details and tickets, visit

Chicago Improv Festival
April 20-26

Home to The Second City, Chicago is practically the birthplace of modern improvisational theater. At the very least, it’s the nexus of it this month as the 18th annual Chicago Improv Festival – billed as the world’s longest running festival of improv – takes spontaneous flight across multiple venues around town from April 20-26.

Performances during the fest will include music, song, comedy, storytelling, puppetry and, surely, plenty of laughs.

For more information, visit

Nature On Tap
April 28

Considered the first museum in the “West,” the Chicago Academy of Sciences was founded in 1857 as a place for nature aficionados and amateur scientists could study and share their collected specimens.

Today, the Lincoln Park oasis is called the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon Drive), and from 6 to 9:30 p.m. on April 28, its “Nature on Tap” event features adults-only access. Highlights include a nature trivia game with the winning team earning the “coveted” Golden Cockroach trophy.

For more information, visit