Stories by Meredith Francis

Weekend Events: Celebrate Pride, Father's Day and Jane Lynch

Plenty of dad-friendly events are on tap this weekend – including a finger-licking barbecue fest in Portage Park – and in the heart of Boystown, Pride Month festivities are under way.

Rare Video Shows First Televised Presidential Debate

If you’ve forgotten what presidential debates look and sound like without all of the accoutrements of our modern age – such as yelling, interruption and name-calling – you’d fare well by looking back a few years.

New Visitor’s Guide Highlights Chicago’s LGBT Community

(Dhilung Kirat / Flickr)

A new tourism guide from the Windy City Times showcases Chicago as an LGBTQ-friendly destination. But Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor of the newspaper, says these travel tips are not just for tourists.

Weekend Events: Spring Awakening, Chicago Blues Festival, Ribfest

(Courtesy of Spring Awakening Music Festival)

On tap this weekend: music, food and arts festivals, plus a chance to watch "Blazing Saddles" with Mel Brooks and rub elbows with Marcia Clark and Ethan Hawke.

CPS Students Asked to Take Pledge for Peace as Summer Break Nears

Amid concerns that the summer months will see an escalation of violence in the city, some students at Chicago Public Schools will take a pledge on Thursday to promote peace during the summer break.

Sharing Economy Plunges into Chicago Waterways

(Courtesy of GetMyBoat)

The sharing economy is surfacing on Chicago’s lakes and rivers as boat rental app GetMyBoat joins the likes of Uber, Lyft and Airbnb.

Weekend Events: Festival Season in Full Swing

(Courtesy of Do Division Street Fest / Facebook)

There’s a festival for just about everybody this weekend, from Maifest in Lincoln Square to the Gospel Music Festival in Millennium Park and the 57th Street Art Fair in Hyde Park, plus scores more.

Weekend Events: Memorial Day Edition

(Rendering courtesy of Navy Pier, Inc.)

Enjoy the long weekend with a long list of things to do around town, including a performance by the Chicago Children’s Choir, the opening of the new Ferris wheel at Navy Pier and the annual Bike the Drive event.

Weekend Events: Mayfest, Wine Fest Usher in Festival Season

Celebrate the start of festival season with outdoor events in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Skokie, Edgebrook, Oak Park and beyond.

Rush Hour March Along the 606 to Protest Gentrification

(John Zacherle / Flickr)

Walkers, runners and cyclists may see a foot-traffic jam along the popular 606 trail during Tuesday evening rush hour. A group plans to march along the trail in protest of gentrification, saying it “destroys communities.”

Art to ‘Activate’ Chicago’s Urban Alleys

(Courtesy Jennifer Catherine Photography)

A celebration designed to transform Loop alleyways into creative urban spaces is back for a third year. Learn about Chicago Loop Alliance's monthly Activate event.

Weekend Events: Chicago Science Festival, BookCon, Wine Walk

Embrace your inner geek at the Chicago Science Festival, meet your favorite authors at BookCon and stroll through Andersonville for the annual Wine Walk.

Unexpected Champions: New Photo Exhibit Explores 1896 Olympic Revival

(Courtesy of The Benaki Museum)

At the first modern Olympic Games, a group of Americans' unexpected victory is part of the reason why we still celebrate the games today. A new photography exhibit traces the history of the games and explores its 1896 revival. 

Weekend Events: Chicago Improv Festival, Beer Classic, Mother's Day

Horatio Sanz & The All-Stars of Comedy at the 2014 Chicago Improv Festival (John Abbot)

Get a laugh or two from one of the dozens of groups performing at the Chicago Improv Festival, have a pint at the Chicago Beer Classic and celebrate mom on Mother's Day.

Chicago Celebrates Legacy of Playwright, Activist Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry (Courtesy of The Goodman Theatre)

The award-winning playwright behind "A Raisin in the Sun" packed an impressive career into a short life. Now, a local theater wants to celebrate the South Side native’s work that extends beyond the stage.

Weekend Events: NFL Draft Town, Rum Festival, Cinco de Mayo Parade

(Crystin Immel)

Raise a glass to the NFL draft, bacon-infused dishes, rum cocktails and the Cinco de Mayo Parade in Little Village. 

The ‘Burning Man of Bacon’ Returns to Chicago

Pig out at this weekend’s Baconfest Chicago

(Anne Petersen / Flickr)

Baconfest Chicago is back for its eighth year with plenty of bacon-inspired dishes, and it’s grown into a large event with a charitable twist since its quirky beginnings.

Summit to Honor ‘People’s Mayor’ Harold Washington

Nearly 30 years after his death, the “People’s Mayor” Harold Washington is being honored with a daylong summit, and registration is filling up fast. Paula Thornton Greear with the Chicago Urban League says remembering Washington’s legacy is essential, especially given today’s political climate. 

Weekend Events: Feminist Film Festival, Earth Day, Music Under Glass

Celebrate spring weather and the planet with a bounty of events, from feminist films to fireworks and a culinary smackdown to classical music.

Weekend Events: CIMMfest, ‘Peace Officer,’ Greektown Parade

Gingger Shankar (Courtesy of CIMM Fest)

See films and music acts from around the globe at CIMMfest, check out a free screening of the documentary "Peace Officer" and stop by the Greek Independence Day Parade in Greektown. 

Weekend Events: White Sox Home Opener, CHIRP Record Fair, Shakespeare

(Geoff Livingston / Flickr)

Celebrate the season at the White Sox home opener, or freshen up your collection of vinyl, take in a few Latino films, get inspired by Shakespeare and rub elbows with robots. 

City Begins Repaving Streets Early After Fewer Potholes Reported

Thanks to fewer potholes this year, the city is already beginning to resurface 55 miles of roads. See a map of the roads that will be resurfaced.

Weekend Events: Chicago Tap Theatre, Donut Fest, Pizza Summit

Get your feet tapping this weekend for Chicago Tap Theatre’s latest show, grab a donut from donut fest or get your fill of deep dish at the Chicago Pizza Summit. 

Weekend Events: March Madness, Chicago Beer Festival, Easter Brunch

Hunt for Easter Eggs, get your fill of March Madness, see stand-up from Trevor Noah and more this Easter weekend in and around Chicago.

Chicago Steps Up Security in Wake of Brussels Attacks

Chicago authorities are increasing security at key locations in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Brussels. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said there are “no known threats” to Chicago at this time.