Upcoming free events | June 9-15
Hooray for summer, the season of free fests and endless sunshine. Below, find some of our favorite gratis festivals (Blues Fest!) as well as plenty of other TOC-recommended events coming up this weekend, all of them free of charge.
Chicago Blues Festival
11am-9pm, Grant Park
Your yearly reminder that the blues has nothing to do with a box of neon-orange macaroni, the "Blues Capital of the World" celebrates with the world's largest free blues fest. Chicago native Mavis Staples headlines.
The Artist Screening
2pm, 7:30pm, Northbrook Public Library
Dir. Michel Hazanavicius. 2011. 100mins. In his fleet, entertaining homage, Hazanavicius fuses Singin’ in the Rain’s end-of-the-silents narrative to A Star Is Born’s declining-career melodrama, and doubles down on his ambition by shooting in a reasonable facsimile of a silent-film style. The film would go on to win Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Jean Dujardin, doing a mean Valentino).
Wayne Montana Concert
Mixing up a little modern day Bad Brains and an added world music sensibility, the Eternals are a refreshing reggae-fied change of pace from the in-yer-face indie scene. Band member and DJ, Wayne Montana, takes over this modern Asian-themed and always-packed-with-beautiful-people haunt on Milwaukee for early evening dubby jams to get your Saturday off on the right track.
Atmosphere Strut: Kid Color
10pm, The Whistler
Local disco don Kid Color adds his selections to the musical spectrum at the Whistler, spinning shimmery mirror ball selections perfect for cocktail sipping.
Printers Row Lit Fest
10am-6pm, Dearborn Street (between Congress and Polk)
Book it to the onetime bookmaking hub of Chicago where more than 200 booksellers hawk new and antique books. Seven stages with 100-plus free lit programs, book signings, poetry readings, author discussions and even a Lil' Lit Park for the kiddies highlight this wordy fest. After the fest-proper ends, Lit After Dark starts (Sat 6–10pm), a ticketed event featuring live music and poetry slams.
Chill & Grill Festival
12-5pm, Waveland Park
Better Homes and Gardens and Weber Grill host this grilling get-together. Local faves like GT Fish & Oyster, West Town Tavern and Black Dog Gelato offer tastings as chefs lead cooking demos and grilling contests. Tasting tickets can be purchased online for $12 or at the festival for $15. Weber Class tickets can be purchased online for $25 or at the festival for $30.
Ice Cream Social
2-4pm, Smart Museum of Art
The exhibition "Feast" closes with this homage to the traditional American ice-cream social, which features special ice-cream cakes designed by artist David Robbins.
Five By Five
All day, Terrain
Melissa Potter and Mat Rappaport's video installation incorporates contributions from Serbian artists and curators who reflect on the cultural climate in Belgrade, where Potter and Rappaport lived in 2003.
MFA Thesis Exhibition
10am-8pm, Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art
Robert Chase Heishman, Zach Meyer, Madsen Minax, Rachel Niffenegger and Megan Schvaneveldt share their final projects.
Melika Bass: Nocturama
7pm-6am, Comfort Station
Bass's site-specific video installation, meant to be viewed from outside the Comfort Station, creates the illusion that a spectral figure inhabits the building, engaging in discomfiting and playful activities.
A. Laurie Palmer: Still, yet, else, further, again.
Palmer, the chair of SAIC's sculpture department, presents two works shaped by her interest in how we use natural resources: the kinetic, immersive installation Hole and the video 794mph, which matches the speed of Earth's rotation.
1-5pm, Riverside Arts Center
Artists including Dana DeGiulio, Richard Hull, Eric Lebofsky and Kim Piotrowski explore the tension between abstraction and representation in painting. In the RAC's sculpture garden, Jefferson Godard and Claire Ashley present a collaborative installation.
John Gossage: The Complete Pond and a Little Romance
11am-5pm, Stephen Dalter Gallery
Gossage’s 48 black-and-white photographs of an unnamed pond serve as less idyllic foils to Walden. “The Pond,” which reflects our carelessness toward nature, is so overwhelming that the artist’s Venice-set series “The Romance Industry” feels superfluous. Through Jun 23.—LP
Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Tours
1pm-4pm, Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool (Fullerton and Cannon)
When you tire of the crowds gawking at the zoo's lion cage, go to this serene site. Every 30 minutes, tours walk through the Prairie-style garden and pond designed by Alfred Caldwell.