A rare moment of solitude in the park. Credit: Aveedibya Dey/Unsplash

Here’s some events and activities to close out the month of June and start the summer right.

FRI 6/24

Today the Chicago Park District cut the ribbon and officially opened the newly renovated Margaret Hie Ding Lin Park (1735 S. State). When the remodel was announced last fall, the Park District promised to resurface the main basketball court as well as install new bleachers facing the main court, a new half-court practice facility, benches throughout the park, and a new water fountain. They’ve also updated the lighting and landscaping and made ADA accessibility improvements. Put this on your list of places to play ball this summer! (MC)

Pravda Records, Chicago’s longest-running independent rock label, celebrates 38 years of bringing the music to the people with this weekend’s Pravdafest, a two-night stint of performances by Pravda-related artists hosted at Sketchbook Brewing Company (4901 Main in Skokie). Tonight’s lineup includes Josh Caterer, Steve Dawson, Hushdrops, and Boom Hank. Tomorrow night you can catch the Slugs, the Service, the Diplomats of Solid Sound, and the Handcuffs. Both nights are open to those 21+ and start at 7 PM, and advance tickets are available. Check out contributor Mark Guarino’s article for more information. (SCJ)

Future Perfect—A Modern Tale of Curiosity, a musical play that grew out of five years of workshops with 1,300 Chicago and Oak Park youngsters, will have its premiere performances this weekend at the recently renovated Kehrein Center for the Arts in the Austin neighborhood. Composed by David Shenton with a libretto by Christine Steyer (whose Zoom opera On Call: COVID-19, about medics around the world dealing with the pandemic, won last year’s National Opera Association Production Award), and based on text and drawings by the kids, it follows the adventures of Miranette, a young girl “entwined in a web of quantum entanglement—a state of interconnectedness where anything is possible.” Nick Sandys directs a cast of 31 performers, ranging in age from 4 to 79 years in a story described as The Magic Flute meets The Wizard of Oz. Run time is 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission and the production is recommended for ages five and up. It’s a project of Bellissima Opera/Working in Concert. Show times are tonight at 7:30 PM, Sat 6/25 at 7 PM, and Sun 6/26 at 4 PM. Kehrein Center for the Arts is at 5628 W. Washington. Tickets are $35 (VIP $50; seniors $25; students $10). Masks required. More information is available at workinginconcert.org/future perfect. (KR)

Tonight at 8 PM is the opening for Where We Belong at the Goodman’s Owen Theatre (170 N. Dearborn), a solo piece written and performed by Indigenous artist Madeline Sayet under the direction of Mei Ann Teo. Originally produced at Washington, D.C.’s Woolly Mammoth Theatre in association with the Folger Shakespeare Library, Sayet’s story traces her journey in 2015 to England to  pursue a PhD in Shakespeare—where she encounters both widespread refusal to engage with the lingering tragic results of British colonialism and a nation bent on self-isolating via Brexit. Sayet, a Mohegan theater maker, also serves as an assistant professor at Arizona State University with the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS), and is the executive director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program (YIPAP). Through 7/24; tickets are $15-$45 (subject to change) at 312-443-3800 or goodmantheatre.org. (KR)

Two more concerts of note tonight—Gossip Wolf told us earlier this month about their excitement over jazz guitarist Dave Miller’s latest work, and this evening Miller celebrates the release of his latest album Daughter of Experience with a show at Constellation (3111 N. Western). Matt Ulery and Kaia Quartet open, and the 18+ show starts at 8:30 PM. And music editor Philip Montoro spoke to the west side rapper and activist Samantha Jordan (aka FURY) earlier this month, who also celebrates a new release (FURY REVOLUTION, her new EP) tonight as she performs at Subterranean (2011 W. North). Violet Crime, Da$htone, and Barry & the Fountains are also on the bill. That concert starts at 8 PM, and is open to those 17+. (SCJ)

SAT 6/25

Kimball Arts Center (1757 N. Kimball) is hosting its Midsummer Block Party from noon-7 PM. This makerspace—conveniently located just off the Bloomingdale trail—is opening its doors for visitors to witness its vibrant and diverse artists’ community. The brewery and bar Ørkenoy will be serving summertime cocktails and beer alongside po’boys and crawfish while DJ Bajomar spins records in the parking lot. Participants include FeelTrip Records, Wild Prairie Vinyl & Vintage, Humboldt House, and more. While this event is free and open to all ages (pets are welcome, too!), guests are encouraged to schedule their visit in advance to keep things COVID-safe. Otherwise, people will be accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis. (MC)

Victory Gardens Theater, in partnership with the Black Women’s Expo and Black Owned Chicago, presents Black Beauty Festival: A Legacy of Pride today and tomorrow from noon-6 PM. The company’s home at the Biograph Theater (2433 N. Lincoln) will host a market and fashion display with wares from local vendors. There will also be a free performance today at 1 PM in the upstairs Richard Christiansen Theater of The Black Monologues, created and produced by Tanikia “Nikki” Carpenter, directed by Deanna Reed-Foster, and featuring a lineup of five pieces written and performed by Black artists. On Sunday 1-2 PM, the main lobby hosts “Music & Mimosas,” with complimentary mimosas and performances from local musicians. From 2-2:45 PM Sunday, there will be an Arts & Healing Yoga Workshop in the Christiansen for all skill levels; bring a yoga mat, towels, and water (registration suggested here). At 3 PM both days, you can see Victory Gardens’s current mainstage production of Erika Dickerson-Despenza’s cullud wattah, her brilliant examination of one family of Black women in Flint, Michigan, trying to survive the environmental racism of that city’s ongoing water crisis, as well as other oppressions. Tickets for cullud wattah are $29-$62 at victorygardens.org; all other events in the festival are free. A list of vendors and other information is here. (KR)

Synapse Arts kicks off their touring project Mural Dances today at 1 PM at La Villita Park (2800 S. Sacramento). Local dancers and musicians gather to create performances inspired by the public murals in the neighborhoods. “All ages, identities, bodies, and minds welcome,” the runtime is approximately two hours, and it’s free. The next performances (also at 1 PM) will be on Sat 7/23 at Park #567 on the 606 in Bucktown, and Sat 8/27 at Jessie “Ma” Houston Park in Kenwood/Bronzeville (5001 S. Cottage Grove). For more information, visit synapsearts.com. (KR)

Edgewater art space 6018North hosts Water Music on the Beach today, and Gossip Wolf has the details. The program starts at 3 PM with an exhibition of performer portraits (at 6018 N. Kenmore) and continues on the lake shore with outdoor music played on a stage created for the occasion. It’s free to attend and open to all. (SCJ)

Contributor Catalina Maria Johnson recommends tonight’s concert featuring Chilean singer-songwriter Pascuala Ilabaca; check out Johnson’s preview for more information. The show starts at 9:30 PM at Martyrs’ (3855 N. Lincoln) and is open to those 21+. (SCJ) 

SUN 6/26

From 2-10 PM, DJs Niiiiggggaaaaa and Miss Twink USA of the Black techno collective Legion of Doom will being joining DJs Sold and Follidh to tear it up at Hairpin Arts Center (2810 N. Milwaukee). Expect food, libations, and local vendors, as well as live visuals by Moondmon–for a fun and flirty afternoon that’s sure to inspire some popping and locking. It’s just $15 to join the fun. (MC)

The Chicago Metal Fair visits Reggies (2105 S. State) this afternoon with vendors including heavy metal and loud music-informed record labels, bands, distributors, artists, collectors, and more. DJ Carrie Monster will spin favorites along with the fair’s host Rodney, and libations will be available, as well as chances to win concert tickets provided by CMF. The fair happens from 3-7 PM and is open to those 21+. (SCJ)

While there’s no shortage of loud-and-proud events this weekend, you won’t want to miss TRQPITECHA’s (free!) Queer Pride 2022 dance party at Ping Tom Memorial Park (event will take place near 300 W. 19th, by the pagoda and playground). People still talk about the performer who arrived by water taxi to the collective’s 2019 show, so one can only imagine what they’re planning this year. From 3-10 PM, DJs Cqqchifruit and La Spacer have curated two stages of queer musicians, dancers, DJs, and other performers to go hard while basking in Chicago’s queer dance and techno history. (MC)

YouTube video
TRQPiTECA’s 2019 festival at Ping Tom featured a performer who arrived via water taxi.

MON 6/27

Pitmaster Charles Wong joins the ranks of Monday Night Foodball chefs tonight, as his Umamicue pop-up visits the Kedzie Inn (4100 N. Kedzie). Senior writer Mike Sula tells us all about the “sweet narcotic haze” of smoked meat smells that often emanate from Wong’s mobile road pit (which Wong has named Odesza), and while the siren 22-foot Texas smoker may or may not make an appearance tonight on the street, Wong promises a menu including brisket egg rolls and smoked crab rangoon. Pre-orders are possible, and limited walk-ins might be available, starting at 5:30 PM. (SCJ)

At 7 PM, artist Cameron Mankin will be hosting a virtual discussion through Spudnik Press about a recent series of copper etchings he created at Spudnik’s facility called Regarding Ukraine. This will be part research presentation and part artist talk as Cameron introduces audiences to the work of printmaker Jacques Callot, who made 18 etchings documenting the invasion of his homeland in 1633 called Miseries of War. Using the same etching system pioneered by Callot, Mankin etched news photographs covering the war in Ukraine to, as Spudnik’s website explains, explore “the way images shape our perception of the public sphere and current events, and the often overlooked systems of design that are employed to do so.” (MC)

TUE 6/28

Looking to make new friends as the summer starts? Whether your intention is a new buddy to explore street fairs with, or something a little bit more romantic, Hot Potato Hearts offers a casual yet intentional spin on speed dating. Think low pressure (every participant will have the chance to talk to each other, whether or not their orientations match) but inclusive. It’s $8 to sign up, and the bar will be open for those who desire some beverages to help guide the conversation. Doors and sign-up starts at 6 PM, and the friend-matching starts at 6:30 PM. The evening is hosted at the Hideout (1354 W. Wabansia), which is open to those 21+ and requires proof of vaccination for entry. (SCJ)

WED 6/29

UPDATE as of 6:30 PM on Fri 6/24: unfortunately the organizers have postponed this event until September 2022 “due to the high price of gas.” Updates will be available on their website.
A lot of people on the internet seem to be discovering the magic that is house music lately and while Reader readers are well-informed about Chicago’s place in the genre’s storied history, it’s always good to get out and move your body to the actual jams. Tonight’s House Club Tour provides interested revelers with an opportunity to visit seven venues throughout the city that host house music events. Organizers will rotate 20 busses around to each venue (The Bar Ten Doors, Epiphany Center for the Arts, Bassline, Row 24, Truth, the Lodge, and the Promontory), and you can start your evening at any of the night spots. Purchase a ticket in advance here, dance and drink for as long as you like at each venue and then jump on a bus to go to the next one (busses rotate every 20 minutes from 6 PM-midnight). Participating DJs include Julius the Mad Thinker (at Promontory), Mark Fuller (at Epiphany), First Lady (at Bar Ten Doors), and Ron Carroll (at the Lodge); see the ticketing website for more. (SCJ)

OUTspoken LGBTQ+ Storytelling and Story Jam team up tonight to present an evening of personal stories (with original songs written for each story) as Story Jam and OUTspoken Celebrate Pride. It’s an evening of true stories for adults, with storytellers including Barb Sessler, host Archy Jamjun, and Roderick Hawkins, accompanied by local singer-songwriters (including Xoe Wise and Olivia Flanigan) who will interpret the stories musically. The evening is geared for those 18+ and starts at 7:30 PM at Artifact Events (4325 N. Ravenswood). Tickets are $18 and available in advance. (SCJ) 

Tonight the goths and punks unite at Berlin (954 W. Belmont) for an evening called Studs and Spikes. Hardcore act Acid Mikvah joins egg punks Eggnort and screamers Abject Horror for a night of leather, spikes, and loud music. After the mosh pit clears, DJ Scary Lady Sarah will get the dance floor going. The music starts at 10 PM, and this party is open to those 21+. Proof of vaccination is required for entry. (MC)

THU 6/30

Tonight, Berwyn’s 16th Street Theater comes to the city to open the world premiere of Natalie Y. Moore’s The Billboard, under the direction of Congo Square ensemble member TaRon Patton. Set at a fictional women’s clinic in Englewood, the play’s title comes from competing messages about abortion plastered on signs in the neighborhood: an anti-choice message from a City Council candidate specifically targeting Black women, and a response from the clinic reading “Black women have the right to make decisions for their families and their bodies. Abortion is self-care. #TrustBlackWomen.” Moore, the longtime south-side reporter for WBEZ (her book The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation won the 2016 Chicago Review of Books nonfiction award) said at a launch for the publication of her play in March that she was inspired both by a controversial billboard in Dallas and her experiences covering the Obama re-election campaign in 2011, when the then-president’s picture was featured in anti-choice billboards on the south side reading “Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted.” Given this week’s SCOTUS repeal of Roe v. Wade, it’s hard to imagine a timelier piece. 16th Street also has a slate of postshow discussions planned. Performances run through 7/17 at Northwestern University’s Abbott Hall, 710 N. Jean Baptiste Point du Sable Lake Shore Drive, Thu-Fri 8 PM (no show Thu 7/7), Sat 4 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM. Tickets are $25 ($18 for Berwyn residents) at 708-795-6704 or 16th street theater.org. (KR)

Reader contributor Monica Kendrick recommends tonight’s rare solo performance from Wovenhand founder David Eugene Edwards, who she says is always a “charismatic force” in his rootsy rock concerts. Local favorite Bruce Lamont opens, and the evening starts at 8 PM at Beat Kitchen (2100 W. Belmont). It’s open to those 17+. (SCJ)

Tonight is the 10th anniversary for the Chicago Film Archives Media Mixer, an annual event where the organization opens its vaults to pairs of visual and audio artists. This year, three collaborative pairs will debut videos created using footage from CFA’s collection: Kishino Takagishi and Daniel Knox; Tempestt Hazel and Azita Youssefi; and Janelle Dowell and Sen Morimoto. Morimoto will also perform live, and the artists (excluding Knox, who’s living in Portugal at the moment) will be on hand for a Q&A. Join the conversation at 8:30 PM at Constellation (3111 N. Western). Tickets are $20 ($15 in advance) and available to those 18+. Proof of vaccination is required for entry. (MC)