Working day-to-day as a policy advocate for the past 14 years, my mind typically is focused on weighty issues – infrastructure investment, the foreclosure crisis, workforce development, climate change – you know, the catalog of daunting challenges and promising opportunities facing our region. My “social” calendar can too easily become filled with breakfasts, networking events, and cocktail hours featuring more serious topics than some people confront over their morning muffin. But this stuff makes me tick, which is why I’m eager to attend the Chicago Council on Global Affairs “Global Cities and the 2010 Index” event in a couple weeks. This year marks the first update of the Global Cities Index since it was first released in 2008, and Chicago ranks an impressive sixth. I’m interested to learn from and share with planners, economists, developers, and investors how we maintain our region’s ranking as we emerge from the global “financial tsunami.”
While such issues weigh on my mind, I try not to forget to enjoy this world-class city and region that we spend so much time working to improve. Thankfully, my kids keep me balanced. This past Saturday I took my daughter to a free class at the Art Institute called “Movers and Makers,” a combination of dance and art. As we explored the beautiful new Modern Wing overlooking Millennium Park and then choreographed our own dance with the help of Hubbard Street dance instructors, I couldn’t help but marvel at how lucky I am to live here. So here’s some encouragement to not be “too busy” to enjoy the wealth of culture this city and region have to offer.
Some of Chicago’s top critics will go head-to-head about this fall’s cinematic, musical and theater offerings at the Chicago Tribune’s Critic’s Eye panel discussion this Monday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m., at the new Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut St., in Chicago. Likewise, the Chicago International Film Festival, North America’s oldest competitive film festival, kicks off today and features award-winning movies from around the globe at AMC River East 21, 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago, throughout October. And all month long, Chicago Artists Month is featuring hundreds of Chicago visual artists at exhibitions, workshops, open studios, tours, neighborhood art walks, and more, in venues across the city. (One of our research assistants, Nick Bastis, is one of those artists!) And a favorite every fall is the low-cost Chicago Humanities Festival, featuring public conversations about topics ranging from food to politics.
As I dash from work to my kids’ soccer practices to dinner to homework to bedtime, I’m also going to reserve time for great spontaneous outings we’re lucky to have access to in metropolitan Chicago.