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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Performance Fri Oct 03 2014

Redmoon Creates Fiery Spectacle

Redmoon's Fire Festival Houses on the move; photo by Evan Barr
Redmoon's Fire Festival houses on the move; photo by Evan Barr.

Redmoon, Chicago's oldest spectacle performance company, in partnership with the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Park District presents The Great Chicago Fire Festival on Saturday, October 4. Meant to be a celebration of the city's renewal following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and to showcase the diversity of the neighborhoods that have flourished since, the free festival will feature a River Bazaar, performances by local performers and a grand finale with a fiery spectacle that only Redmoon could create.

The festival begins at 3pm with a River Bazaar between State Street and Michigan Avenue along the city's new river walk, with designated areas representing each of the official Fire Neighborhoods (Albany Park, Austin, Avondale, Bronzeville, Englewood, Humboldt Park, Little Village, North Lawndale, Old Town, Pilsen, Roseland, South Chicago, South Shore, Uptown and Woodlawn). In each area, foods, crafts and other goods representing the neighborhoods will be for sale. From 5:30 to 8pm two stages (at 435 N. Michigan and 330 N. Wabash) will feature local poets, spoken word artists, hip hop performers and an urban dance battle.

The main event will begin at 8pm when Jesse Spencer and Taylor Kinney (from the television show Chicago Fire) light a cauldron and lower it from the Michigan Avenue bridge to a watercraft on the river below. This will be mirrored on the Columbus, Wabash and State Street bridges. Fifteen cauldrons in all will be lowered to ignite the spectacle, which consists of three houses designed to look like houses in Chicago circa 1871. The Chicago Children's Choir will perform as the houses burn away to reveal a symbolic core.

The finale will be a stunning fireworks display set to music created by Pryotechnico, a company from Las Vegas, followed by projection screens picturing community residents, to celebrate the richness of Chicago's neighborhoods. The final element is 75 kayaks pulling buoys of native prairie grasses to represent the pre-industrial beginnings of Chicago.

"Together with the city of Chicago, we hope to create a unique event for Chicagoans that captures the world's imagination," said Jim Lasko, Redmoon's executive artistic director.

The best location to watch the spectacle will be in spectator stands set up by the company at Upper Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. You can also try to find a place on the sidewalks on the bridges themselves. Another spot is between State Street and Columbus Drives and on Upper Wacker between Stetson and Michigan, where the city will close the westbound lanes.

The Great Chicago Fire Festival is tomorrow from 3:30pm to 9:15pm with the main spectacle starting at 8pm. Admission is free, but be forewarned that approximately 20,000 people are expected. Arrive early to find the best spot to watch. For more information, including maps of the event and schedules of performers, visit

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Paul Felix Schott / October 4, 2014 2:13 PM

The Solar Wind of the SUN may have a effect not expected on Comet. As (Paul Oswald Ahnert) pointed out the Solar Wind has a effect on Comet Tail Direction. Mars two moons PHOBOS ( Panic / Fear ) and DEIMOS ( Terror / Dread ). The tail of this Comet (C/2013 A1) could have more then a little effect on then, Oct 19, 2014.

Open your Bible and seek the LORD your GOD.

The Lord's Little Helper
Paul Felix Schott

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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