Festival fatigue is like a seasonal allergy in this city.
Back in 2010, I examined the Chicago phenomenon of neighborhood street fest déjà vu—"why every weekend, all summer long, you end up eating the same vendor food, drinking the same overpriced beer, watching the same old ’80s cover bands and rubbing shoulders with the same 'Whoo!'-ing bros." This year, without really trying, you could wander into several sets by Sixteen Candles and Wedding Banned. (I dig "Livin' on a Prayer" as much as the next red-blooded American with his six-string in hock, but once annually live is my limit.)
The quickest cure for the creeping familiarity? Staying informed. Check out Time Out's comprehensive 2013 Chicago summer festival guide. In addition to a monthly fest calendar, you'll find Lollapalooza recommendations, a Pride month (yes, month!) companion, tips on surviving the Taste of Chicago and a rundown of which Just for Laughs events deserve your funny money. A little fest planning goes a long way toward keeping your summer from turning into a really sweaty Groundhog Day.
RECOMMENDED: Chicago events calendar of things to do in 2013.
There always have been diamonds in the fluorescent rough that is the French Market (like this pastrami, for one), but with the opening of a location of Stephanie Izard's Little Goat Bread this Friday, the indoor food marketplace seems to finally be achieving its potential. The French Market location, sandwiched between Eat Out Award–winning Wisma and Fumare Meats, will serve a selection of the same breads, soups and sandwiches available at the West Loop flagship, along with Stumptown coffee and the line of sauces and rubs dubbed The Flavor, by Stephanie Izard.
Little Goat Bread (French Market, 131 N Clinton St, 312-207-2346, frenchmarketchicago.com) will be open Mon–Fri 7am–7:30pm and Sat 8:30am–5:30pm (closed Sun).
It's been a wonderful summer for dance music. Daft Punk and "Get Lucky" are atop the charts. Pharrell is proving his enduring powers with Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines." Electric Daisy Carnival came to Chicago. Now the house gods have delivered Disclosure's Settle. The album of the week soars on the back of a few perfect club cuts. If you haven't heard "White Lies" or "You & Me," well, you're likely to, either as part of Pride Month or on the radio if there's any justice left in music.
Today Lollapalooza announced its list of official Lollapalooza Aftershows. No major headliners are playing club concerts, but as always there are big names in relatively cozy venues:
Lana Del Rey visits House of Blues on Thursday, August 1.
The Lumineers bring their pop-folk hits to Vic Theatre on Friday, August 2.
Kendrick Lamar hits Aragon with Baauer (of "Harlem Shake" one-hit-wonderdom) and BJ the Chicago Kid on Saturday, August 3.
Alt-J plays Lincoln Hall on Sunday, August 4.
Lincoln Hall will also play host to the Smith Westerns, Father John Misty, Jessie Ware and Haim.
Schubas, Empty Bottle, Metro, the Mid, Subterranean, Reggie's, City Winery, Bottom Lounge, Double Door and Park West house after-parties with names like Wavves, Matt & Kim, Two Door Cinema Club and Flux Pavilion. It's a magnanimous gesture toward local venues and bookers for Lollapalooza producer C3 Presents.
See the complete list of events here. Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10am. I don't need to remind you that they go very fast.
The 40th annual Joseph Jefferson Awards for non-Equity theater were presented tonight at Park West. Though the Den Theatre's City of Dreadful Night and Circle Theatre's Reefer Madness led the nominations with seven each, it's Circle's When the Rain Stops Falling that tied Dreadful Night for the most wins, with three. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre's production of the Leiber & Stoller revue Smokey Joe's Café also earned three wins.
The atmosphere was as celebratory and egalitarian as ever, with many recipients paying verbal tribute to the sense of community and supportiveness in the city's non-Equity scene. In consideration of the big round number in front of this year's ceremony, much attention was paid to remembering the rich history of Chicago's non-Equity companies.
“Jellies” Are you ready for these jellies? Inside brightly colored, bulbous display cases, groups of jellies bewitch with pulsating rhythms and odd assortments of appendages. Learn about the truly strange creatures and why recent spells of overpopulation, stemming from climate change, are harming the oceans. The popular show was recently extended through 2013. Shedd Aquarium. 9am–5pm.
ART & DESIGN
"Gertrude Abercrombie/Julia Thecla" Corbett vs. Dempsey showcases two masters of Midwestern surrealism: Abercrombie, who churned out small paintings—barren landscapes, self-portraits—from her home studio in Hyde Park (until her death in 1977), and Thecla (1896–1973), whose captivating magical realist paintings incorporate fairytale-like creatures and heavenly bodies. Corbett vs. Dempsey. 10am–5pm.
Five years ago the Lifetime network passed on a pilot based on the British show Mistresses, but rather than take that as a warning sign, ABC decided they'd give it a go by airing their version as a summer soap. But this mopey melodrama about four women wrestling with infidelities in their relationships should have stayed on the shelf.
Last September when I interviewed Don Share about the legacy of Poetry, then celebrating 100 years in print, the magazine's senior editor acknowledged its big-deal history: publishing T.S. Eliot's groundbreaking "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," being the oldest monthly devoted to poetry in the English-speaking world—that kinda thing.
"We’re aware of [the history] because we have to live up to it," he said, showing me framed poet portraits adorning the walls of his office and around the Poetry Foundation building. "That’s why I have Ezra Pound staring at me, giving me a funny look.”
The ghost of Pound will continue scrutinizing Share, as will readers and writers around the globe, as the 56-year-old steps into the role of Poetry's new editor, effective July 1. He's only the 12th person to helm the mag in 101 years and replaces outgoing editor Christian Wiman, who's leaving to join the faculty of the Yale Institute of Sacred Music and the Yale Divinity School.
As I learned last fall, besides being a prolific tweeter, Share is a thoughtful, approachable guy with a goal of making Poetry more approachable. Winds of change are already sweeping through the Foundation: On July 8, Robert Polito replaces John Barr as president. It remains to be seen whether such changes will ruffle only pages, or readers too. (Sometimes readers of 101-year-old mags aren't the most adaptable.) I was encouraged by what Share told me last week about his plans going forward. Hint: "forward" is key to his vision.
Bellwether This city can't get enough shopping-and-food-and-booze bashes, and the newest of the bunch seems poised to be a big hit. Produced by the same folks who put on Vintage Bazaar and Renegade Craft Fair, Bellwether promises furniture, home goods, artwork, vintage finds and records, along with beer from Revolution Brewing, wine from Oliver Winery, cocktails from Death's Door, and fare from food trucks and artisanal producers. Learn how to make a terrarium with Logan Square flower shop Fleur, and catch live performances from Tortoise’s Jeff Parker, the Paulina Hollers, Abraham Levitan, Ami Saraiya and the Outcome, Black Bear Combo and the Low Down Brass Band, plus DJ sets by Damon Locks, Tony Sarabia, Peter Margasak, Reckless Records and more. On Saturday, stick around for the after-hours party from 8–10pm featuring sketch-comedy show NED Talks. On Sunday, there's Adventure Sandwich for the kids and a "drunken spelling bee" for the adults. Tickets go on sale May 21 for Sunday's $50 Bellwether-hosted beer brunch at Ada St, with Revolution beer pairings. Hideout. Jun 8, noon–10pm; Jun 9, noon–8pm. Suggested donation $10, kids under 12 free; after-hours party $10.
Chicago Blues Festival 2013 Shemekia Copeland kicks off the 30th iteration of Blues Fest, expanded back to four days with a theme, "Rollin' Up the River." The body of water, of course, is the Mississippi, and the lineup traces the music migration from the delta to Chicago. Which is a roundabout way of saying "the blues." After Copeland's Thursday evening set in Millennium Park, the groove moves to its regular "joint," Grant Park. Scene regulars Bobby Rush (Friday); Otis Clay and the Bar-Kays (Saturday); and James Cotton (Sunday) headline in the Music Shell. Other locals like Big Time Sarah, Linsey Alexander, Eddie Shaw and John Primer fill up four other stages. Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion: Jun 6, 6:30pm; Grant Park: Jun 7–9, 11am–9:30pm.
!!! + Sinkane We know the complaint: Nobody dances at indie gigs. Warp Records' quirky funk band !!! gets bodies moving with syncopated cuts from its sweaty latest, Thr!!!er. Sinkane, the solo endeavor of Yeasayer multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallab, supports behind strong 2012 LP Mars, which melds his Sudanese heritage with funky grooves, soulful flourishes and vocals that range from minimal to Auto-Tuned robot. Bottom Lounge. Jun 8 at 7pm. $18.