First Fridays’ Summer Party Part Deux Brings Art, Music & Food to Downtown Aurora...

It’s another summer party at First Fridays on August 5. This one involves a pop up shop, food trucks, Pokemon Go, and a beer garden plus art, music, and more.   Food trucks including Gobble Doggs, Grumpy Gaucho, and Cheesies will add to the art-centric, monthly event. The trucks will be parked on Downer Place just west of Stolp Avenue from 6 to 10 p.m.   The Beer Garden on the lower level behind Ballydoyle Irish Pub makes its debut at First Fridays. The outdoor area will feature street festival food and a limited beer and wine menu. Soulful guitarist Joey J. Saye performs from 6 to 9 p.m. on the outdoor stage. 5 to 10 p.m.   Join the fire museum for a Pokémon Go evening. The Aurora Regional Fire Museum, 53 N. Broadway, will have lures to attract Pokémon — hopefully some fire and water ones will be around. Check out the museum and participate in a virtual and physical scavenger hunt for Pokémon, post your pictures using #ARFMPokemon and be entered to win prizes. You can also dress up as your favorite Pokémon and be entered into a drawing for an exclusive Pokémon prize. They will have Pokémon-related activities for the whole family to enjoy. 6 to 8 p.m.   If These Walls Could Talk, 32 S. Stolp Ave., open “Vintage,” a photography show featuring Laura Towle & Jean Hess. 7 to 11 p.m.   Country duo The Moonlight Pickers perform a free concert at 6 p.m. at Millennium Plaza on Stolp Avenue. Singer songwriter Jim Green performs at 8 p.m.   Art therapist Liz Gardner opens “What’s Love Got to Do with It” at The Light of the Heart, 52 W. Downer Pl. 6 to 8 p.m.   David L....

“Roots Aurora” Seeks Local Talent...

The Roots Aurora cultural festival is seeking participants in its fourth annual talent show to be held Friday, September 2. Aurora-area youth are encouraged to audition for this fun and vibrant festival celebrating the city’s diverse culture.  Talent includes dancing, singing, musical performances, spoken word, and more. To audition for the competition, individuals or groups should provide either a DVD or a YouTube link of a performance. DVDs should be mailed or delivered to Family Focus, 550 Second Avenue, Aurora, IL  60505  (Attn. “Roots”). YouTube links should be sent to aurora@familyfocus.org (include “Roots” in the subject line). All submissions should include addresses, phone numbers and emails for the use of the preview committee.  The deadline to apply has been extended to August 15. Participation is limited to Aurora-area youth.  A first prize of $100 will be awarded, along with trophies to runners-up. The talent show will be held from 5-6pm during the festival and will be judged by local educators and arts supporters. Designed to showcase Aurora’s cultural diversity, Roots Aurora presents music, dance, cuisine, and history at the festival which will be held this year on Water Street Mall in downtown Aurora from 5-9 p.m. on September 2.  Aurora’s First Fridays, the popular arts walkabout, will be held concurrently with the event. For more information, call 630-256-7012 or visit...

Pokémon Go in Downtown Aurora...

Do you play? Or have you noticed a lot more people hanging around in downtown Aurora lately? They might not see you because they are on the hunt for Pokémon. Pokémon Go is the latest app craze with a twist. It brings people outside. Similar to Ingress – it is an augmented reality game that requires its players to go outside and walk to try to find Poké Stops, Pokémon, Poké Balls, etc. There are even Poké Gyms. In downtown Aurora, the game is popular because of the high number of Google landmarks and museums. The sidewalks especially fill up after 7 p.m. with players collecting Poké Balls and catching Pokémon. Pokémon is short for “pocket monsters.” It’s a game that started with video games and collectible cards and never really went out of fashion since its debut in 1995. Some popular spots in downtown include the old Elks building on the northwest corner of Stolp and Downer and the nearby old library building and fountains just east of Stolp Avenue. There’s often a lure (a great place to catch Pokémon) around the fountain. To play the game, the Pokémon Go app is needed. Most smart phones can handle the app, which uses Google maps. It’s free to play and it’s a good excuse to get out and about. All a player needs to do is create it’s avatar and then go collect some Poké Balls to catch Pokémon. Poké Balls are available at Poké Stops – usually close to landmarks like Millennium Plaza or the G.A.R. Museum. Once a player reaches level five, they can start going to Poké Gyms where players can battle their Pokémon. There’s a gym at the Tivoli parking garage at River/Galena. Pokémon Go is also a great way to learn about some downtown history since it names each landmark and/or museum. Businesses are...

The Man with the Plastic Sandwich opens July 29...

  The Man With The Plastic Sandwich by Roger Karshner July 29 – September 3 Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm A Touching Comedy After 20 years, Walter Price is unemployed.  A bench in a park somewhere in Los Angeles has become Walter Price’s haven. For six months he has stopped here to have a sandwich and coffee after fruitless mornings of job hunting. He’s depressed and frustrated and at a loss what to do with his life. Three uniquely different characters invade Walter’s life at the park, and though he tries to push them away, he is unable to ignore their presence or the perspectives on life they bring with them. Directed by Shawn Dooley, “The Man with The Plastic Sandwich” features Patrick Deering (Batavia) as Walter, Jennifer Schreiner (Plainfield) as Ellie, Gary Riggle (Aurora) as Haley, and Briana Reidy (Aurora) as Lenore.  Vicki White is assistant to the director and Analissa Morris is stage manager. Tickets are $17 for adults and $15 for students & seniors. Reservations are encouraged and can be made online or by calling the box office at (630) 897-9496. Groups of 10 or more should call the Riverfront Playhouse directly to obtain a group rate. Additional information regarding the show or the Playhouse can be found...

Leland Legends Opens to Great Fanfare in Downtown Aurora...

Leland Legends is now open in downtown Aurora. On the first floor of the historic Leland Tower, the new blues-themed restaurant serves up a complete dinner menu in a comfortable atmosphere. Run by Karademas Hospitality, Leland Legends at 1 S. Stolp Ave. pays homage to the blues music that was recorded in the former Sky Club at the top of the 22-story skyscraper. Each table features rotating placemats that tell stories of the history. Burgers and fries are a specialty at Leland Legends. There are several burgers to choose from on the menu, but the Stolp Island Burger for $12.72 is a clever option. That’s what Joseph Stolp paid for the island in 1848. The blues decor brings smiles to local Aurorans. The multi-level restaurant allows patrons to sit back and relax while enjoying blues music on the speakers. A freshly remodeled bar brightens up the restaurant that had former lives as Midtown Pub, Dirty Duck, and Muddy Duck. A full bar including draft beers and a cocktail called the Aurora Borealis is available. The menu boasts fish and chips, nachos, fried pickles, and more. Leland Legends is open daily starting at 4 p.m. More info...