Greta Bell, Glass Blowing, & Book Collage at November’s First Fridays...

Greta Bell is the cover artist for this season’s Paramount Theatre brochures, and she will be at First Fridays in Downtown Aurora on November 6.   Bell, of Batavia, frequently paints iconic Aurora imagery; her colorful and askew paintings of the Paramount, SciTech, and Aurora Regional Fire Museum are easily recognizable as Bell’s signature style.   For her first solo show at the Paramount opening at November’s First Fridays, Bell is reaching beyond her local milieu. In “Explorations,” Bell debuts large landscapes which have never been publicly displayed, explorations in dry point, depictions of common everyday objects, and more.   First Fridays, a night of art, music, and culture in downtown Aurora, also welcomes Mausoleum Gallery to the Nov. 6 lineup. The gallery at 213 S. River St. will have live glass blowing and glass art on display.   If patrons want to get hands on at First Fridays, Culture Stock is hosting a book-wrecking collage workshop from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Patrons can also post selfies on Instagram with the hashtags “selfie” and “firstfridaysdta” for a chance to win a gift card from YM Boutique or a t-shirt from the Yetee.    Pick up a free First Fridays passport at any venue for a full map of participating venues. Return the punched passport at the last venue visited for a chance to win a First Fridays goody bag.   In November, the following venues are open for First Fridays.   Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway, opens “Teamwork Brotherhood” on the second floor. The show highlights nearly two dozen retired Aurora firefighters. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.   Gillerson’s Grubbery, 33 W. New York St., is celebrating their official grand opening. Ribbon cutting is at 5:30 p.m.   Yetee Gallery, 110 Cross...

Day of the Dead Returns to Downtown Aurora...

There will be dancing in the street on Sunday, November 1. There will also be sugar skulls, marigolds, and overflowing altars in downtown Aurora as part of a Day of the Dead celebration that starts on Benton Street and then travels to the new library.   It’s all the vision of local photographer Jose Torres, who has planned Aurora’s Day of the Dead festivities for the last few years with the backing of Alderman Juany Garza and many sponsors.   This year, Torres is bringing the Mexican holiday back to downtown Aurora after a couple of years at various Aurora locations, including Jefferson Middle School. Torres worked with both SciTech Hands On Museum and Santori Public Library to offer a day of activities for the community to enjoy.   The celebration starts along Benton Street between Stolp Avenue and River Street with Aztec dancers, food vendors, and traditional Day of the Dead activities from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. SciTech is open with indoor activities from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.   Traditional ofrendas, or offerings, placed on altars will be on display at the library from 1 to 5 p.m. Ofendas, favorite items such as candy, baked goods, fruit, and photos, are placed on makeshift altars to honor the deceased. The library will host the ofrenda display from Nov. 1 until Nov. 7.   Since Day of the Dead, or “Dia de los Muertos” in Spanish, is really about celebrating and honoring the dead, it’s fitting that the festivities will bring the community together for a lively, colorful holiday.   To help children get ready for Day of the Dead, Downtown Auroran Magazine is hosting a free paper mask workshop at Culture Stock bookstore, 43 E. Galena Blvd., from 6 to 7 p.m....

Gillerson’s Grubbery is Open, Brings Culinary Twist to Burgers and More...

Matt Gillie and Dan Emerson are still high on life right now. It’s only been a week since they opened Gillerson’s Grubbery in downtown Aurora. The new restaurant is a first for Gillie and Emerson, who met about seven years ago while working in the restaurant business. Gillie most recently worked as a sous chef at Chef Amaury at 33 West. When proprietor Amaury Rosado announced that he was shuttering the restaurant, Gillie talked to Emerson and seized the opportunity. Gillerson’s Grubbery opened to the public in early October. They’ll open for lunch on October 20. The restaurant offers a full bar and full menu with gourmet burgers (both meat and black bean patties), pasta, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. Since being open, Emerson said that the appetizers are popular with diners. They’re also getting good feedback on the burgers. Gillie said they are using local sources for much of the menu. They also have local beer on tap, and they are working with a local coffee roaster. They plan to open soon for Sunday brunch, and they’re excited to incorporate fun ideas like showing old cartoons and offering an omelette bar. Join them on First Fridays on November 6 for a ribbon cutting at 5:30 p.m. Gillerson’s Grubbery is open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m Tuesday through Thursday, and 4 p.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday. Visit Gillerson’s Grubbery on Facebook, or on their website....

October 15 STEM Café in Downtown Aurora to bring science perspective to ‘Game of Thrones’...

If you love “Game of Thrones“ – either the hit HBO show or the bestselling novels – you might think the story is pure escapism: a fantasy romp set in a faraway world of magic and dragons. In fact, its creators get a surprising amount right about the fundamental laws of science and physics. At the next STEM Café, Rebecca Thompson of the American Physical Society (APS) will train a physicist’s eye on the “Game of Thrones“ universe, exploring how dragon fire matures, how ice walls keep out white walkers and how a summer could last for 10 years. The free talk and discussion will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at the Two Brothers Roundhouse, 205 N. Broadway in Aurora. “I want people to see JUST how much science went into creating this fiction,” Thompson says. “They’ll walk away having learned some exciting physics, but also looking at their favorite shows and books in a new way.” Thompson knows her physics. She earned her doctorate in the field studying, among other things, a process called microflowering, in which silicon wire blossoms into highly complex designs. But she is equally passionate about science outreach. As head of outreach for the APS, she writes comic books and creates presentations designed to bring physics to the widest audience possible. “I love combining storytelling, science and pop culture,” she says. “When a fantasy world feels complete and easy to fall into, like in ‘Game of Thrones,’ it’s often because someone really thought through the science behind it. So when you’re reading or watching, you might be picking up some solid physics without even realizing it.” “This should be a truly fun night, especially for ‘Game of Thrones’ fans,” says NIU STEM Outreach associate Judith Dymond....

Paramount Theatre in Downtown Aurora Clinches Best Musical, 5 Jeff Awards for Chicago Theater...

Paramount Theatre, in its first year of eligibility, scored five large tier Equity awards at the gala 47th Annual Jeff Awards held at Drury Lane Oakbrook on Monday, October 5, including the statue for Production-Musical for Les Misérables. The Paramount also took home awards for Best Director, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design, and Best Projections/Video Design. Congratulations to the Paramount for their incredible accomplishments. Tickets are currently on sale for the current 2015/2016 Broadway Series. Call the Box Office at (630) 896-6666.   See all the winners here. Visit the Paramount website...