Archive for  May 2010

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Audrey taking a fun and safe road trip!

Summer is finally here! And just because you’re eager to get out, enjoy the weather and have some fun, doesn’t mean you need to leave your dog behind. Whether you’re a long time resident or planning on visiting Illinois this summer, there’s no reason why your dog needs to miss out on all the warm-weather excitement!

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Burden Falls

I stand upon an outcrop of natural occurring rock, gazing at the different shades of green that unfold in the distance.  A hawk flies below my vantage point giving its unearthly screech and brings a smile to my face.  I am standing in the Shawnee Hills of Southern Illinois.

It is here that the glaciated prairie land of the north meets the rolling hills of the south.  This arbitrary line begins just below Route 13 and  stretches from the Mississippi River east of Carbondale to the Ohio River west of Harrisburg.

Nestled below this line lies a forested canopy filled with a few of the natural treasures of Illinois. Here is where our only national forest, the Shawnee, rests.  Here resides bizarre rock formations, such as Anvil Rock, Camel Rock, and Noah’s Ark at the aptly name Garden of the Gods.  Here amongst the flourishing trees and sweet smelling wildflowers is a “city street” made entirely of sandstone bluffs at Giant City State Park.  Here is where  one can look upwards with awe at a bridge not made by the hands of man, but created with the patient force of water and time at Pomona Natural Bridge. Here is the greatest concentration of intermittent waterfalls, with  names such as Burden, Jackson, Bork’s, Rock Bluff and Ferne Clyffe, with many others with no name waiting to be explored.  Here is the only road closed for snake migration twice a year at La-Rue Pine Hills.

It is our Shawnee Hills that can slow down time if you let it.  If you bring your sense of exploring and discovery to this area you will be able to find that inner child who longs to connect with its natural side.  You may come to love these Shawnee Hills in Southern Illinois as much as I do and when you do, you too can call these Shawnee Hills your home away from home.

– Gary Marks

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Chicago will play host to one of the most powerful, riveting and socially relevant film festivals in the world beginning June 3.

The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival will present 12 distinguished fiction, documentary and animated films and videos from around the world that showcase the heroic stories of activists and survivors who have faced real threats to their freedom, their dignity and to their own lives.

Seven films will be seen in Illinois for the very first time.

The festival kicks off with a benefit screening of The Oath on June 3 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Oath, which recently drew praises from The New York Times and The New Yorker, tells the story of Abu Jandal, Osama bin Laden’s former bodyguard, and Salim Hamdan, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay Prison and the first man to face the controversial military tribunals. Filmed in Yemen and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, The Oath is a family drama about two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a journey that would lead to Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo Bay Prison, and the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Oath’s director, Laura Poitras, will be at the event that night to speak with the audience after the film, alongside Human Rights Watch’s Terrorism and Counterterrorism director. Ticket information is available here.

The festival continues through June 10 at Facets Cinematheque (1517 W. Fullerton). Facets will be showing 11 amazing films– from Afghan Star, which follows the first season of the Afghan version of American Idol, to My Neighbor, My Killer, which documents the reconciliation process between Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda, to Youth Producing Change, which blends clips from winners of Human Rights Watch’s inspiring annual youth film contest.

The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival has something for everyone.

Cathy Stein is a volunteer for Human Rights Watch and co-chairs the June 3 benefit screening

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Chicago's Southport Neighborhood by John Noltner

On assignment, Chicago-based Midwest Living contributing writer Elaine Glusac explores the Mag Mile plus a crop of up-and-coming neighborhoods that ooze personality and style, along with retail energy. For more Illinois getaways, check out the special section, Drive, Eat, Shop in Midwest Living’s May/June 2010 issue.

The shopping scene doesn’t get any better than in Chicago, especially when I explore beyond the Mag Mile. Here’s my take on the Mile and current short list of districts worthy of a trip (Better yet, trips).
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Musiem of Contemporary Art

Chicago is full of art; everywhere you look the city is bursting with creativity. From the Art Institute of Chicago to the great architecture of the city, it is hard to walk down the street without taking notice. I can remember being a young girl coming in from the suburbs and being amazed by the art all around the city. And that amazement never fades away, after living in the city for about two years now I still walk outside and the beauty of the city takes my breath away.

For those wanting to see more Chicago art but stuck on a budget, check out the Museum of Contemporary Art. This museum is free on Tuesdays but $12 dollars every other day. Currently, the museum is featuring a ‘rewind’ of modern art, displaying pieces that have been on display in the past yet again. A collaboration of art both old and new is certainly something to see.

Also, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, located on Columbia College’s campus, is free to the public. For those like me interested in photography, it’s a great place to check out some interesting work from all over. Current exhibitions include Sarah Pickering’s Incident Control and Beate Geissler/Oliver Sann’s Real Estate. What I love most about this museum is that the original and thought provoking photography.

Keep an eye out as you walk around, this city is rich in art and culture, and something new can be found around every corner.

– Jaclyn Howard

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