Things To Do & See For History Buffs, Art Lovers and Friends Of 'Friends'

Auditorium Theatre Chicago

Whether Chicagoans wish to escape or embrace the current climate, they can do so by traveling back to 1889 and the 1920s, visiting the retro set of “Friends” or viewing today’s public art via indoor, outdoor and virtual exhibitions and events.

Could that be any more fun? Only if TV fans ask each other, “How you doin’” as they check out “The Friends Experience” created by Superfly X, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Television Group.

Located at The Shops at North Bridge on the Magnificent Mile from now until January 2021, the interactive exhibition features re-creations of 12 rooms made famous on the NBC sitcom “Friends” from 1994 to 2004. The sites include the Central Perk sitting area, Monica and Rachel’s kitchen and balcony, Joey and Chandler’s living room, the stairwell where Ross must “pivot” his couch, and the fountain seen during the show’s opening credits.

“The Friends Experience” takes approximately 30-45 minutes from start to finish. Visitors must abide by CDC guidelines in order to keep the rooms germ-free and “Monica Clean!”

Tickets ($35+) are available at FriendsTheExperience.com.  A portion of the proceeds goes to My Block, My Hood, My City, a nonprofit organization that benefits underprivileged youth in Chicago.

Everything old is new again in the free exhibition “Decision 1920: A Return to Normalcy,” which is on view through November 25. Like today, voters in 1920 were faced with racial discord, inequality for women and minorities, immigration issues, economic challenges, and regrouping after a global pandemic. That’s why Chicago’s Newberry Library is displaying artifacts from the 1920 election, including a Cook County ballot box, archival news clippings, campaign sheet music, and political cartoons. For details, visit Newberry.org.

Built in 1889 and designed by famed architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre is a National Historic Landmark. Starting on October 15, tours will show patrons the 24-karat gold-leafed ceiling arches, the stained glass muses, and the murals by Charles Holloway and Albert Fleury. Tickets for hour-long, in-person tours ($15) can be reserved at AuditoriumTheatre.org. A free 20-minute Virtual Tour hosted by CEO Rich Regan is also offered.

The University of Chicago commissioned alumna Jenny Holzer’s text-based art exhibition “You Be My Ally” on a web-based augmented reality app as well as on the university’s campus through November 22. To access the app, visit JennyHolzer.uchicago.edu.

The Chalk Howard Street Festival (now, the Virtual Chalk Howard Street Festival) features live events and the work of 3D chalk artist Nate Baranowski. Presented by Howard Street Special Service Area #19 and Rogers Park Business Alliance, the event runs through October 23. To learn more, visit HowardStreetChicago.com.

A new mural entitled “Color Through Chaos” by Chicago artists CJ Williams and Kristianna Jacques can be seen at Clark Street and Greenleaf Avenue thanks to beautification efforts generated by the nonprofit Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA).

“Clark Street is a critical artery running through the center of our community, home to many entrepreneurs and small businesses who bring energy and talent to Rogers Park,” says RPBA Executive Director Sandi Price.

According to the artists, “The mural speaks to the current state we are living in, in regard to racial injustice and the world’s uncertainty around COVID-19. We wanted to do a piece that portrayed working together through this difficult time to create something beautiful and upliftiing. We wanted to give the people of Rogers Park and Chicago something to gaze upon in hopes of bringing more peace, positivity and inspiration. [The mural] serves as a reminder to not give up hope, and that there is an amazing amount of resiliency within community.”

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Photo: Chicago’s Historic Auditorium Theatre by Lucio Vergara.

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Ms. Arvia is a freelance writer, former filmmaker, artist and Janet-of-all-trades who is pleased to serve as Arts & Culture Editor on our magazine since she’s always been Rebellious.