CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS: Bucktown and Wicker Park, Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Gold Coast, Edgewater, Oak Park

Bucktown and Wicker Park: Craft hand-lettered valentines for your loved ones this Valentine’s season! Hand-lettering guru Cristina Vanko presents a workshop as par of 826CHI’s Fresh Ink Community Series! Held on Saturday February 2 from 2-3:30 pm, this workshop for adults and teens of all experience levels will explore different hand lettering techniques. Step-by-step, you’ll hand-letter Valentine’s Day-themed phrases. You’ll leave with some great tips, tricks, and a few Valentine’s Day cards of your own! Reserve your tickets ASAP. Tickets are free for Chicago students and a $10 suggested donation for adults. The ticket cost covers all materials and all proceeds benefit 826CHI’S free writing program, which serves Chicago students. Purchase your tickets here.

Lakeview: Want to show off your skills? Or maybe just check out some awesome, local artists? Then this Open Mic Night is for you! Sponsored by Shure and Greenstar Brewing, this event is 100% free! Open Mic Nights are held every Monday at Uncommon Ground Lakeview, beginning at 7 pm. This is Chicago’s longest running open-mic competition and all artists are welcome! Sign-up begins promptly at 7 pm; please arrive on time to secure your spot. For more information, check out their event page.

Lincoln Park: Get ready for Authors on the Lake, sponsored by Theatre on the Lake. Enjoy an evening of conversation and drinks on Wednesday, January 16 from 7-9:30 pm. Chef Paul Kahan, author of Cheers to the Publican, will chat with The Lakefront Restaurant’s Executive Chef Cleetus Friedman as they each share stories, take questions, and chat about the book. Tickets are $30 in advance, $40 at the door. The ticket price includes admission, a welcome drink, a featured bite and beverage pairing, and a meet and greet with the featured chef. Find more information and purchase your tickets here.

Gold Coast: Registration is now open for the Polar Plunge! The Chicago Polar Bear Club hosts the Plunge on Saturday January 26 at 12 pm! Not only do you get to plunge into the freezing cold waters of Lake Michigan, but your registration fee directly supports local Midwestern families in need of support. You can read about this year’s families here. Registration for the Plunge is $30, the after-party is $35. Or you can purchase the Polar Plunge Bundle for $60. The 2019 After Party Admission includes an all-you-can-drink special and appetizers. For more information, visit the website.

Edgewater: Mark your calendars for Saturday, January 26! The Lakeside Pride Chamber Ensembles present an afternoon of music in honor of Marsha P. “Pay It No Mind” Johnson. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots; Marsha was the trans woman who threw the first brick at the riots in 1969. The concert is in her honor and celebrates her contributions to the community. Lakeside Pride will also be joined by ResonaTe, Chicago’s transgender choir. The performance will feature music written or arranged by people of color, transgender, and genderqueer individuals. The concert begins at 3 pm and tickets are $10. They can be purchased here.

Oak Park: Come enjoy a unique storytelling experience on Sunday, January 20 at Hamburger Mary’s Show Lounge! The Back Room is a gathering place for storytelling, showcasing stories from the hearts and minds of five unique storytellers. Held on the 3rd Sunday of every month, this event is from 7:30-9 pm. Come early and indulge in dinner and drinks before the show! The show is hosted by Margaret Burk and Peter LeGrand. Tickets are $10 at the door. For more information, visit Hamburger Mary’s website.