Credit: Sarah Ji

Rey Andujar, author and performer in Teatro Vista/Collaboraction’s Yo Solo Festival is nourishing his soul at:

Calles y Sueños Calles y Sueños has become the place I go to get comfort food for my art soul. The project is headed by Pilsen cultural activist and advocate Christina Obregon, who works to provide an alternative space for local and international artists. What interests me the most about this cultural house is its constant motion. There is always something going on at Calles y Sueños: art shows, theater and music events, and film and cultural workshops. The organizers of these events seem to understand that where there is a need there lies an opportunity for those passionate about change.

Before making Chicago my home I was part of the art scene in Puerto Rico, which is very political due to the status of the island as a commonwealth and its complicated relationship with the United States. Coming here and finding art with a purpose was therefore very important to me, and it seems very important to Christina too. Calles y Sueños houses an intercultural and internationalist arts community that is inextricably connected to its history of cultural/political liberation. It is comforting to be surrounded by positive individuals who have a passion for progressive cultural change and self-determination.

“Moo.”

Kim Barker, author and former Chicago Tribune reporter is enjoying the old-school charms of:

The Illinois State Fair The Illinois State Fair is not hip, not modern. (There is a livestock category for “lady driver,” of all things.) But the fair, now in its 160th year, is one of my favorite places to go. There is a fair perfume: onion blossoms and hot dogs with hints of cow manure and hay. Here, you can cheer as a kid (human) leads a kid (goat) in a quest for a blue ribbon. Milk a cow or watch as a sculptor molds 500 pounds of unsalted butter into a cow. Ride the Mega Drop, watch the high-dive show, and see the results of the gingerbread house and junior meat goat contests.

There are break-dancers, a ventriloquist, the Steve Miller Band, and chain saw artists. The state fair is a mashup of a bunch of things that don’t belong together and could rarely exist outside the confines of a state fair. Sometimes, I think I could live here.

Credit: Kriss Abigail

Kriss Abigail, Vaudezilla photographer is lighting up the night at:

Full Moon Jam When the full moon rises over Lake Michigan, one unassuming Chicago beachfront lights up with celebration. The crowd gathers as the moon bathes the grassy field with its glow and the drums start beating as the first fire bender enters the circle. The dancers twist and dance with the flame, transforming themselves into dragons, performing feats of daring that leave the audience breathless.

Full Moon Jam gives Chicagoans the opportunity to experience the artistry of local performers and witness what truly makes this city worth exploring. These celebrations follow the Burning Man ethos; they are free of charge and actively encourage self-expression. Aside from fire performers, you will find hula hoop artists with LED hoops, percussionists creating music together for the first time, and even photographers trying to capture the passion of the night. Come see your city in a brand-new light.