On the cover: photo illustration by Dylan Bragassa. For more of Bragassa’s work, go here.

This is the first time we’ve done a summer theater and arts issue, and judging by the full-to-bursting content, that’s surprising—especially given how much Chicagoans love getting outdoors in the summer. You can read about some theater and dance programs that specialize in bringing performances to public parks, or, if you prefer indoor immersive experiences, there’s always Prince. (May there always be Prince!) Our cover story by Micco Caporale on Irregular Girl highlights this trans artist and activist’s ongoing role as “the ​​Live Laugh Latina of clubland,” while rising Chicago playwright Terry Guest questions history through a Black queer perspective in Story Theatre’s Marie Antoinette and the Magical Negroes. A new screening series, “Black Actors in Foreign Cinema,” also asks us to look at history through a lens not as warped by whiteness.

If real drama weren’t enough, there’s always the theater of local politics, and we have a ton of Q & As and features in this issue on what’s going on ahead of the June 28 primary. (If you can predict what’s going to happen in the wild race for Bobby Rush’s congressional seat, you might have a future in futurism.) Outdoor music festivals should be a good way to kick back, but as Kira Leadholm’s music feature on concert safety and security demonstrates, even those are rife with shady dealings.

But that’s always the challenge of living in this complicated place: balancing the joy and beauty with the dirty underpinnings. Get out and vote—then get out and enjoy yourselves!

Summer Theater & Arts Preview