samedi 15 février 2014

The Rich Variety Of Chicago Culture

By Jerri Perry

Since the Windy City's earliest days, people from all over the world came to settle here. They brought with them the traditions of their home countries or of towns in other parts of the USA. These all influenced one another over time to create a unique, richly varied Chicago culture, which in turn has influenced the cultural landscape of America.

Few cities have colored the American musical landscape quite the way that the Windy City has. It has been a leader in almost every genre of music, whether it's soul, jazz, indie rock, hip hop or house. Its particular style of blues has influenced artists like Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. Even the city's symphony orchestra rates among one of the world's most renowned.

The blues was a major theme of one of the most popular movies set in the Windy City, 'The Blues Brothers'. This film classic is just one of the many that show off Chicagoan life and architecture. The city has also been the setting for many a hit television show and it was here that Oprah Winfrey filmed the talk show that made her a household name around the world.

The more traditional theatrical pursuits are also thriving in the largest city in Illinois. There are renowned opera, ballet and theater companies that are based here. Slam poetry may have originated in the Uptown neighborhood and the local university was the birthplace of improvisational comedy through the Compass Players, whose past members include stars like Mike Nichols, Alan Alda and Jerry Stiller.

Museum lovers will have so many to choose from that they won't know where to start. There are art, history and science museums as well as museums dedicated to things as diverse as money and surgery. The different ethnic communities that have contributed to the unique Chicagoan character have museums about their heritage too. Individuals who have lived here sometimes also have museums about their lives, such as the studio and home of Frank Lloyd Wright, the legendary architect.

The visual arts have always found a welcoming home in the city too. For galleries showing contemporary art, head to the neighborhood known as River North. However, you don't need to visit a gallery or museum to see excellent works of art. Public art in Chicago include works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro, Marc Chagall, Claes Oldenburg and Anish Kapoor.

Chicagoan cuisine is legendary. This was after all the city that gave the world the deep-dish pizza. You haven't had a hot dog until you've had it the way it's served here and everything from cheeseburgers to tamales have a unique Chicagoan flavor. The different ethnic neighborhoods offer a variety of eateries and you'll also find plenty of gourmet restaurants.

When you visit the Windy City, a cultural tour is a good way to find out more about life here. If you can visit during a festival, you'll also get a good idea of what the city is all about. However, the best way to experience Chicago culture is to walk around, visit the clubs and museums and other cultural institutions and let yourself be enchanted.

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