How to re-create your favorite suburban summer experiences at home
Summer previews are normally filled with tidbits about festivals, outdoor concerts and the like.
Not this year.
Reopening guidelines unveiled earlier this month by Gov. J.B. Pritzker made one thing perfectly clear: Summer 2020 won't look anything like the ones we've enjoyed in the past.
Still, while it may be awhile before we hit up a festival or catch a game at a ballpark, we can do our best to re-create some of our favorite summer experiences in the months ahead. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Create your own taste of the town
Who needs to fight the crowds at Taste of Chicago when you can sample great food -- and support local businesses -- at home.
Here's how: Survey your family members on their favorite food festival eats. You can boil up some corn at home and then order a selection of appetizers and dishes to share from suburban restaurants. With some lucky timing, you can pick up a half dozen egg rolls, a pizza, a selection of tacos, some locally brewed beer and -- presto! -- you can enjoy a taste of your own town in your backyard or kitchen.
Funnel cake is optional.
A shortened "Playing Shakespeare" version of "Macbeth" is available to stream on the YouTube channel of Shakespeare's Globe in London.
- Courtesy of YouTube/Shakespeare's Globe
Experience Shakespeare under the stars
Seeing a Shakespeare play outdoors with picnic basket in tow isn't on the bill this summer. So turn instead to the plethora of online Shakespeare available to stream for free or a fee.
Many of England's biggest theaters are posting past productions as pay-what-you-want fundraisers on their YouTube channels (often for a limited time). You can go for architectural authenticity at Shakespeare's Globe, which has productions of "The Winter's Tale" (available until May 31) or a "Macbeth" adapted for schools.
Or you can opt for star power. National Theatre Live at Home has "Thor" star Tom Hiddleston in an intimate (and bloody) production of "Coriolanus" for a week starting Thursday, June 4. Or you can pay to see "Doctor Who" star David Tennant in either "Richard II" from the Royal Shakespeare Company on marquee.tv or "Much Ado About Nothing" from the West End on digitaltheatre.com.
If you really want the feeling of watching outdoors, take your laptop or iPad outside to watch it on your lawn, deck or patio. Whatever shakes your fancy.
Take in an outdoor concert
Need a break from the small screen? In addition to regular livestream performances, FitzGerald's Nightclub's weekly Stay-At-Home Concert Series puts performers in a truck and lets them do their thing on the road. And with an online location request form, the concert might even come to your block so you can enjoy it from your front porch.
The performances, from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturdays, are also streamed live so fans can watch the show from their own homes, too.
Shows scheduled for the next three weeks include:
• Toronzo Cannon on Saturday, May 23
• Ryan Joseph Anderson on Saturday, May 30
• Paul Cebar on Saturday, June 6
Bring the ballpark to you
While the details of what the Major League Baseball season might look like, if it returns at all, remain up in the air, it seems fairly likely that fans will be barred from Guaranteed Rate and Wrigley fields.
Luckily Hollywood has churned out dozens of baseball films over the years that are available to stream or rent digitally. Chances are whatever baseball movie that came into your head just now would be worth watching, but our recommendation is the 1992 Penny Marshall classic "A League of Their Own." The film follows the first season of a professional all-woman baseball team during World War II and features not only great performances from Geena Davis and Tom Hanks, but also scene after scene of high-energy baseball action. And one of those montages is set at a pre-renovation Wrigley Field, an extra treat for Chicago-area viewers.
And for those craving live baseball action who don't mind waking up very early or going to bed very late, ESPN is broadcasting six games per week from the Korean Baseball League in English airing primarily on ESPN2 at 4:30 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 3 a.m. Saturdays and 12:01 a.m. Sundays.
Take a thrill ride
Virtual theme park rides are no match for the real thing. But on a positive note, they are a lot easier on the stomach. And you won't have to wait in a long line. Or pay entrance fees.
Our scientific survey of the best -- we Googled it -- didn't exactly come up with definitive answers. However, if you click over to YouTube, you can search for these three and a number of others:
• Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Universal Orlando