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Top Five Art and Design Doings This Summer

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Live to Tape (May 18-24): Links Hall (3111 North Western) hosts a festival that curates the best of television-related video and performance work made over the past four decades. A week-long series of screenings that begin each evening at 7pm. livetotapefestival.tumblr.com

Frances Stark: Intimism (May 21-August 30): One of the most prescient contemporary art practices to account for how one’s personal experiences are being shifted by Internet memes, Instagram and camera phones, the Art Institute of Chicago has organized Stark’s first comprehensive museum survey. artic.edu/exhibition/frances-stark-intimism

ACTIVATE (May 15-October 16): Alleyways throughout the Loop are activated as sites for multi-arts events throughout the summer. Monthly events, from 5pm-10pm at a variety of locations. loopchicago.com/activate Read the rest of this entry »

Top Five Festivals For Music in the Open Air This Summer

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In summer, music in Chicago means one thing: festivals. It’s almost as though, after a typical brutal winter, we collectively can’t bear the idea of hearing one more note played in a crowded nightclub, dimly lit concert hall, or claustrophobic tavern. We want our music under the bright, blue sky and in the open air, with all the randomness, confusion, sense of community and acoustic challenges that represents. And boy howdy, do we ever get it.

Chicago Blues Festival
June 12-14, Grant Park
Still the largest free blues festival in the world, and one of the cultural events most associated with the city by out-of-towners. This year’s fest—the thirty-second—features local legend Buddy Guy as the headliner, and celebrates the centennials of both Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon. Other acts include Billy Branch, Toronzo Cannon, Clarence Carter, Eddy Clearwater, Syl Johnson, Zora Young, Taj Mahal Trio, Eddie Shaw & The Wolfgang, Charlie Love and Chick Rogers, among many others. Over half a million people are expected to pour into Grant Park for the chance to bliss out to every kind of blues imaginable, including acid, electric, Delta, New Orleans, Kansas City, West Coast, St. Louis and (of course) Chicago. Free.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 17-19, Union Park
After ten years, this laid-back, all-ages fest can probably be called a Chicago institution. This summer, hometown favorites Wilco, Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa welcome rock royalty Sleater-Kinney and The New Pornographers. Also appearing: Future Islands, Sophie, Ought, Churches, Run the Jewels, Iceage, A$AP Ferg, Panda Bear, Caribou, A.G. Cook, Jamie XX, Mac DeMarco, Todd Terje & The Olsens, Ex Hex, Tobias Jesso Jr., Jimmy Whispers, Bully, Ariel Pink, Bitchin Bajas, How to Dress Well, Mourn, Protomartyr, Single Mothers, Natalie Prass, Parquet Courts, Ryley Walker, Future Brown, Mr Twin Sister, The Julie Ruin, Waxahatchee and more. There’s also a wide range of local vendors, and a popular record fair run by CHIRP Radio. $65-$180. Read the rest of this entry »

Top Five Gatherings of Writers, Publishers and Story Tellers This Summer

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CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo) (June 6-7): At the Center on Halsted (3656 North Halsted), a weekend-long celebration event, featuring comics, workshops, panel discussions, and over 180 exhibitors from around the country. cakechicago.com

Printers Row Lit Fest (June 6-7): Takes place in the historic Printers Row neighborhood, on and around Dearborn Street, from Congress to Polk.The Midwest’s largest outdoor literary festival and book fair. printersrowlitfest.org

Chicago Women’s Funny Festival (June 18-21): At Stage 773 (1225 West Belmont). A celebration of funny women that includes anything from stand-up, storytelling, improv, burlesque, etc.  chicagowomensfunnyfestival.com Read the rest of this entry »

Top Five Dance, Theater and Performance Diversions This Summer

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Summer Dance (June 26-September 13): The best spectacle of the summer takes place every Friday through Sunday in Grant Park when thousands of Chicagoans learn the basics of everything from steppin’ to polka and try their moves to a live band, all for free.  cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_summerdance.html

Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks (July 19-August 16). Chicago Shakespeare Theater has created an original Shakespeare/pop music mash-up for this annual Chicago favorite, which will be performed for free in seventeen parks across Chicago. chicagoshakes.com/plays_and_events/parks2015

Carnaval 2015 (July 23-25). Latina/o Theatre Commons presents a new festival at The Theatre School at DePaul University featuring twelve new works by Latina/o playwrights from across the U.S. Free and open to the public. LatinaoTheatreCommons.com Read the rest of this entry »