Sunday, December 28, 2014

The Best of 2014: Great Miscellaneous Live Entertainment and Some Sporting Events That Stood Out

Over the last few days, I've posted my Best of 2014 lists covering Rock Concerts (including Blues), Musicals and Plays.

I also offered up posts expounding on my favorite Albums and Songs, as well as a savory recollection of some Memorable Meals.

Coming up I'll share my picks for Best Movies and highlight some museum visits, and possibly cover things like Television and Books as best I can.

But within the realm of live entertainment, I saw enough great shows that don't fall into the categories cited at top that I wanted to highlight them in something of a potpourri post.

Some of the performances I saw were professional in every sense, including price, but several others were free shows I saw at libraries, colleges, park districts and other more pedestrian venues.

I will rank the Top 10 based on some mixture of artistic merit and personal enjoyment, but because of the personal and/or grass roots nature of many of these, even those given Honorable Mention stand as some of the favorite shows I saw all year.

As I also went to some exciting sporting events, I'll cite some memorable ones below as well.

My Favorite Live Performances not previously covered
(All in the Chicago area, unless noted otherwise)

1. Savion Glover's STepZ - Harris Theater - January 24 (my review)

2. Living the History: 125 Years of the Auditorium - Auditorium Theater - December 9 (my review)

3. Blue Man Group - Briar Street Theater - May 30 (my review)

4. Madama Butterfly - Lyric Opera - January 14 (my review)

5. El Viejo Almacen Tango Show - Buenos Aires - April 3

6. Opera in Focus Puppet Opera - Rolling Meadows Park District Theatre - July 26 (learn more in this 2013 piece I wrote)

7. Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra - Pick-Staiger Hall - March 8 (mentioned in this piece)

8. Lookingglass Alice - Lookingglass Theatre - December 4 (my review)

9. My Fair Audrey - by Hilary Ann Feldman - Glenview Public Library - February 16 (covered here) and The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Julie - by Laura Freedman - Glenview Public Library - August 12

10. As Time Goes By - Senior Variety Show - Park Ridge Park District Senior Center -  
September 27

Honorable Mention (in random order; not ranked)

Heartbeat of Home - Oriental Theater - March 4 (my review)

Northwestern University Jazz Orchestra - The Music of Charles Mingus - Pick-Staiger Hall - February 12 (my review)

The Beatles LOVE - Cirque du Soleil - The Mirage, Las Vegas - January 18

Plataforma Samba & Folklore Show - Rio de Janeiro - March 29

Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert Concert - Millennium Park - August 18 (recap & photo gallery)

Ben Morrison and additional comedians - LA Comedy Club, Bally's Las Vegas - January 17

Scribble Bibble: Are You Afraid of the Snark - Stage 773 - October 30

Patricia Barber Quartet (jazz pianist/vocalist) - Green Mill - February 3 (my review)
Northeastern Illinois University Jazz Combos - NEIU - March 6 (mentioned in this piece)

Chicago Symphony Orchestra: Ravel and Stravinsky - Orchestra Hall - February 27 (covered here)

Tuesday Night Jazz Session - Multi Kulti Community Center - April 8 (covered here)

Six Piano Ensemble - Oakton Community College - April 26

Patton Oswalt - Young Adult Q&A - Ebertfest, Champaign, IL - April 24

Noteworthy Sporting Events I Attended (not in ranked order)

Blackhawks vs. Penquins at Soldier Field - March 1 (photo gallery)

Fluminense vs. Vasco de Gama soccer match - Maracana, Rio de Janeiro - March 30

Bulls vs. Pacers - United Center - March 26 (photo gallery)

9 White Sox Games including 2 Walk-Off Wins; most notably on September 8 vs. A's (my salute to Paul Konerko) 

5 Cubs Games including vs. Yankees on May 20

Cubs vs. Padres and White Sox vs. Royals on the same day - July 23
Blackhawks vs. Flames - United Center - December 14 (photo gallery)

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