Bethany Thomas, Nik Kmiecik, Lorenzo Rush Jr., and Michelle Lauto at a 2021 Broadway in Your Backyard performance. Credit: Justin Kocher

Join local musicians Makaya McCraven and Sons of Kemet for an outdoor show to celebrate the inaugural evening of the Salt Shed (1357 N. Elston), Chicago’s newest independent music venue, which occupies the site of the former Morton Salt complex. They’ll be joined on the lineup by British jazz musician Nubya Garcia. Tickets are $30, and a dollar from every sale goes toward the Chicago Independent Venue League. This all-ages show starts at 6 PM, with gates opening at 5 PM; you can find more information about the Salt Shed here and purchase advance tickets here. (MC)

Porchlight Music Theatre’s touring free outdoor Broadway in Your Backyard series lands tonight at Portage Park (4100 N. Long) at 6 PM. Featuring six Porchlight stalwarts (Lydia Burke, Caitlin Dobbins, Jennifer Ledesma, Brandon Pisano, Lorenzo Rush Jr., and Nik Kmiecik) under the direction of Frankie Leo Bennett (musical direction by Justin Akira Kono), the family-friendly showcase highlights numbers ranging from the golden age of musicals (“Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man, “Somewhere” from West Side Story) to popular Disney tunes (“Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid and—appropriately enough—“In Summer” from Frozen). No reservations required, but you can find information and a schedule of more upcoming performances at (KR)

In partnership with the UCLA Film & Television Archive, tonight the Gene Siskel Film Center (164 N. State) kicks off a month of extremely gay programming called Pioneers of Queer Cinema. While the series boasts renowned classics such as The Living End, The Watermelon Woman, and Paris is Burning presented in luscious color on the big screen, what really makes this schedule special are the short films being shown before each movie. All 10 features open with two lesser-known shorts chosen for themes that complement or contrast the feature. Tickets for each showing are $12. Tonight’s 7 PM screening of Cheryl Dunye’s 1996 feature The Watermelon Woman is preceded by director Jan Oxenberg’s 1975 short A Comedy In Six Unnatural Acts. For a complete list of programming and schedules, check out Gene Siskel’s website. The series continues through September 4. (MC)

Release the bats! Bats are a common part of the ecosystem of many big cities, and while a surprise sighting of one at night might startle you, they are incredibly helpful to us in keeping the pest insect population down. Lincoln Park Zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute conducts regular research to monitor the bat population in our area. And citizens concerned with the natural world in their backyards can get in the action as well. Tonight’s Bat Tracking Walk in Columbus Park (500 S. Central) is organized by a group of neighbors interested in the wide array of nature and animals found in the large Austin neighborhood go-to green space. The group will meet at 8 PM tonight near the south end of the park lagoon, and begin a walk around the golf course, using an ultrasonic monitoring device to help identify the different bat species that are using park areas. It’s free to join in, and parking is available near the Columbus Park field house. Check out the Facebook event for more information. (SCJ)