Summer reading on the beach. Photo: rawpixel on Unsplash

What 'Chicago Tonight' Is Reading This Summer

Need some new book recommendations for the summer? Discover some of the books the Chicago Tonight​ is reading right now, from a sweeping family saga to a clear-eyed memoir of race to a book of chatty but opinionated essays by a Chicagoan.
Fourth of July fireworks in Washington, D.C. Photo: Capital Concerts

Can You Guess the Names of Fireworks?

Did you even know they had names? Before you go out and celebrate the Fourth of July, see how well you can identify different types of fireworks in this quiz, and then you can impress your friends and family with your new pyrotechnic knowledge.
Fireworks over the US Capitol on the Fourth of July. Photo: Capital Concerts/Keith Lamond via Shutterstock

The Performers of the 2018 Capitol Fourth Celebration

The Beach Boys, Renée Fleming, Pentatonix, The Temptations: they're all performing during A Capitol Fourth, which is hosted by John Stamos and also include a fireworks show above the skyline of Washington D.C. Meet the performers here.
Geoffrey Baer in 10 That Changed America; Rowan Atkinson as Maigret; Marcus Samuelsson in No Passport Required; Ted Williams on the Red Sox. Photos: Christine Carreira; Getty Images.

What to Watch in July

Geoffrey Baer introduces you to thirty more locations that changed America and how we traverse it and remember our past; Marcus Samuelsson explores the cuisine of immigrant communities; a surprising actor takes on the role of a classic French detective; and a baseball legend is profiled.
Classic literary characters

What Classic Novel Character Are You?

Are you adventurous like Tom Sawyer? Fierce like Jo March? Just like Atticus Finch? Indomitable like Celie? Find out which classic literary character you are and get a reading list for your personality from The Great American Read's list of America's best-loved novels.
Trevor Noah, Host of “The Daily Show” on Comedy Central. Photo: OZY Media

From Apartheid Johannesbug to the Most Coveted Job in American TV Comedy

The new series Breaking Big attempts to discover how people like Trevor Noah, who was born poor and mixed-race during apartheid in South Africa and is now the host of The Daily Show, achieve their success. Watch it here, and see the other high achievers who are profiled.
The film poster for Grease, with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta

From the Archive: 'Grease' Becomes a Movie

The smash-hit film version of Grease premiered 40 years ago on June 16, but it was already a huge success on Broadway, and had originated as a small play in Chicago. One of its co-writers discusses its popularizing transformations into something different from the original.
Hermione Granger and the Quarter Life Crisis

How a Harry Potter Fan Reimagined the Characters As She Saw Them

Chicago native Eliyannah Amirah Yisrael is an ardent Harry Potter fan who wanted to extend her time with the characters she loved, so she made a web series about a 25-year-old Hermione, using her love of reading and power of empathy to reimagine Hermione in her image.
Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in Vicious

What to Stream This Month

We have four shows with plenty of episodes to stream this month: something for dads on Father's Day, an uproarious sitcom for LGBTQ Pride Month, and extra seasons of beloved British favorites that return with new episodes at the end of the month. 
The Staple Singers

"Respect Yourself": The Power of The Staple Singers

The Staple Singers combined the Delta blues of Pops Staples' birthplace with the gospel of his adopted home in Chicago to become international stars and civil rights activists. Hear Bob Dylan and Harry Belafonte reminisice on the Staples and learn their history before Mavis headlines the Chicago Blues Fest.
Dune by Frank Herbert

From the Archive: 'Dune' Author Frank Herbert

The author of the world's best-selling science fiction novel discusses the broad base of knowledge he draws on in imagining other worlds, as well as his environmentalism. "I refuse to be put in the position of having to tell my grandchildren, 'I'm sorry, there's no more world for you, we used it all up.' " 
The Chicago Gospel Music Festival. Photo: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events

Chicago, The 'Vatican and Mecca' of Gospel Music

Gospel music's "Father," and "Mother," "Queen" and "King," all made their career or were born in Chicago, where the soul-stirring music was first developed and popularized. Discover the development of gospel and its main players in Chicago on the weekend of the city's Gospel Music Festival
Endeavour; The Great British Baking Show. Photos: Jonathan Ford/Mammoth Screen for ITV and MASTERPIECE; Love Productions

What to Watch in June

This month, two British favorites return for new seasons – the final season for one – the life and work of a trailblazing black Chicagoan is celebrated, 50 years of LGBTQ history is explored, and a legendary star is saluted by fellow musicians.
The National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. Photo: Capital Concerts

The Performers of the 2018 National Memorial Day Concert

Every year American troops are honored with a National Memorial Day Concert on the lawn of the Capitol, broadcast live by PBS the day before Memorial Day. Meet the performers, including some famous Chicago natives, in this patriotic special here.
Book covers. Photo: Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Can You Guess the Book by Its Cover?

We're always being told not to judge a book by its cover, but in this case you should: can you identify 20 books from The Great American Read's list of America's 100 favorite novels by just their covers? Test your knowledge here, and get reading!
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