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Three to See: Kristin's Picks

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Each week, a rotating cast of Chicago Public Radio staff offers up a preview of three upcoming cultural events. This week, Eight Forty-Eight’s Kristin Moo celebrates the outdoors, while she still has the time.

I’ve been feeling winter coming this week, but I think I could make it through if only I could know that I’ve tucked away some seeds of spring to greet me after the thaw.

It’s with visions of daffodils dancing in my head that I swing by the Chicago Botanic Garden, where Plant Sale Manager Jennifer Whitaker is putting the finishing touches on this weekend’s 9th annual Bulb Bazaar. She stands among the rows of tables covered in baskets full of onion-y looking balls just bursting with floral potential and points out that even a city girl like me can find a place to plant a bulb.

WHITAKER: You can do rooftop gardens, you can do indoor gardens, any small space you can find, bulbs can accommodate that space, I guarantee.

And it turns out October is just the time to get that started. Plus, garden staff, horticulturalists, and volunteers will be on hand with personalized gardening advice. For a start, one of the organizers leaves me with a tip for those winter blahs. Alice Goltra says amaryllis is a great indoor bulb.

GOLTRA: And learning how long it takes for an amaryllis to come into flower is one of the great pleasures, so that you can have it blooming exactly when your in-laws come for Christmas dinner.

The Chicago Botanic Garden’s Bulb Bazaar takes place Saturday and Sunday from 10 to 4 in Glencoe.

Number two in this Three to See is a garden of sorts inside the Fine Arts Building in downtown Chicago.

KEEBLER: It’s of another era, and nothing, probably, that is in existence today in Chicago.

Artist Catherine Keebler‘s installation “My Grandpa’s Garden” invites viewers into Keebler’s memory of childhood days spent playing in her grandfather’s garden in the 1920’s and 30’s. As you enter, you see the words to the nursery rhyme “Sing a Song of Sixpence,” which Grandpa would sing while gardening. There’s a white picket fence entwined with silk hollyhocks. And Keebler’s recreated the façade of the corrugated cardboard playhouse from which she’d peer out into the yard of her grandparents’ south side bungalow.

Grandpa’s there, too—in a large photo print, standing tall with a pipe in his mouth and a garden hoe in hand. And a hazy pastel also titled “My Grandpa’s Garden” evokes the warmth of that faraway time and place. Keebler says just walking into the space makes her smile, and she hopes visitors have a similar reaction.

KEEBLER: My grandfather was always a cheerful person, and I never heard him complain, he was singing his songs, so it brings back a lot of very good times.

That’s Catherine Keebler’s installation “My Grandpa’s Garden,” all this month in the tiny Finestra Art Space on the fifth floor of the Fine Arts Building in Chicago. The gallery is only open on Friday and Saturday afternoons, but you can get a good look through the floor-to-ceiling windows any other time.

My last stop in this “Three to See” requires a last-minute road trip and a little leap of faith—I haven’t been there, but I sure do have a good feeling about Fennville, Michigan. It’s a small town just southeast of Saugatuck where the locavore harvest festival Porkapalooza will offer, well, lots and lots of pork tomorrow for a full 12 hours. Chef Matthew Millar of Fennville restaurants Journeyman and Rye headlines the event featuring hogs straight from Western Michigan farms.

MILLAR: We’ve made some spicy Italian sausages, and bratwurst, that we’ll be serving, and we’ll be serving pulled pork sandwiches all day as well.

Then, throughout the day, Millar will prepare three pork “features,” using different traditional methods of cooking a whole pig, including luau style:

MILLAR: Where a whole pig is lowered into the ground and cooked over hot coals and then buried.

And just in case you need help convincing a soy-oriented significant other:

MILLAR: My sous-chef Joel is going to be preparing his world-famous barbequed tofu, which is, I mean a carnivore would go for it just as easily as a vegetarian.

Plus, the New Holland Brewing Company is providing beer and wines travel only a short distance from the FennValley Vineyards.

And what’s a good old-fashioned pig out without some raucous tunes? The list of performers includes Kalamazoo bluegrass band Who Hit John?, heard here with their original, “The Long Walk Home.”

Maybe more of a long drive home for Chicagoans, but with a belly full of pork, who can resist? That’s Porkapalooza, at the Red Horse Ranch in Fennvile, Michigan tomorrow from noon to midnight.You can find links—and I don’t mean sausage—and more information on our website, Chicago Public Radio dot org.

For Three to See, I’m Kristin Moo, Chicago Public Radio.

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