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63 Great Things to Do in Chicago in July

The best things to do in Chicago this month, selected by our critics

Taste of Chicago
Taste of Chicago Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune
Through July 28
Theater

At the Table

Wicker Park

The original cast of 2016’s Jeff-nominated hit remounts Michael Perlman’s drama, which follows a group of friends on a weekend getaway without technology. Sans digital buffers, emotions flare as the characters tackle matters of race, gender, and sex in the flesh.

Details:Broken Nose Theatre at Den Theatre. Pay what you can. brokennosetheatre.com

Through July 30
Art

Marcos Raya

Near West Side

See “Marcos Raya Transforms Ghastly into Gorgeous.”

Details:Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art. Free. uima-chicago.org

Through Aug. 19
Art

Chris Uphues

West Loop

This onetime Chicagoan made a name for himself by tagging the West Side with his trademark smiling hearts. Now, he returns for a solo show, Heavy Sunshine, featuring gorgeous floral canvases—still in his comic-art style, with some hearts thrown in for nostalgia’s sake.

Details:Linda Warren Projects. Free. lindawarrenprojects.com

Through Aug. 20
Theater

Hir

Lincoln Park

You’ve never seen an unhappy family quite like the one in this violent, macabre Taylor Mac drama. The title is the chosen pronoun of Max (formerly Maxine), whose nuclear family includes a shell-shocked brother just back from Afghanistan, a catatonic father, and a beyond-batty mother. Francis Guinan and Amy Morton star.

Details:Steppenwolf. $20–$89. steppenwolf.org

Through Sept. 6
Food

Urban Edible’s Garden Tour

Bucktown

On select weeknights throughout the summer, celebrity chef Rick Bayless opens the garden that supplies his Chicago restaurants to the public. Garden manager Bill Shores leads the tours. Upper-level tickets include wine and appetizers.

Details:Bayless Organic Garden. $25–$75. urbanedible.net

Through Sept. 13
Jazz

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

South Loop

During the summer, Wednesday evenings are the best time to visit the Shedd’s thousands of marine animals, accompanied by live jazz, cocktails, and a view of the sun setting behind the skyline.

Details:Shedd Aquarium. $18–$20. sheddaquarium.org

July 1
World

Lila Downs

Highland Park

This Mexican American songwriter sings in multiple indigenous languages, including Mayan and Zapotec. She’s released 11 albums since her emergence in the ’90s, including her latest, Balas y Chocolate (Bullets and Chocolate), a richly drawn tapestry of songs about strength and excess. Expect a dexterous, intellectual spread of Latin American styles at this Ravinia set.

Details:Ravinia. 7:30 p.m. $27–$65. ravinia.org

July 1
Recreation

Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta

Glen Ellyn

Why buy a boat when you can build one? Each year, Chicagoland’s DIY shipwrights construct cardboard watercraft—some simple, some sculpturesque—to race across Lake Ellyn. Since contest rules forbid any kind of sealant or waterproofing, the real challenge lies in staying afloat.

Details:Lake Ellyn Park. Noon. Free to attend. Entry fee $50 a boat. glenellyn4thofjuly.com

July 3
Rock

The Mountain Goats

Near West Side

The Mountain Goats began as a solo act: Singer-songwriter John Darnielle recorded a series of bookish folk tunes on his boom box under that name. These days, Darnielle takes advantage of a full band, but the lush, piano-driven arrangements still flaunt his trademark lyrical punch.

Details:Empty Bottle. 9 p.m. $31. ticketweb.com

July 4
Holiday

Fourth of July

Navy Pier

Sure, you could pop off some firecrackers in your street and call it a night—or you could take in Navy Pier’s lavish display from Oak Street Beach, the pier’s rooftop Freedom Fest ($39), or one of various booze cruises that will carry you out onto the water, directly beneath the action. For the more adventurous, several local companies will rent out kayaks for paddling out to the show.

Details:Navy Pier. Free. navypier.com

July 5
Pop

Alessia Cara and Eryn Allen Kane

Loop

From the start, Canadian singer Alessia Cara has been more than your average pop star. Take her debut single, “Here,” a pointed critique of her Generation Z peers. Like a poppier Fiona
Apple or a more adept Lorde, Cara has emerged as a bright young thing with something extra to say. Her debut album, Know-It-All, is an achievement in contemporary pop: vibrant, charismatic, and absent of cheap gimmicks and trend-chasing production. Rising local star Eryn Allen Kane opens this Taste of Chicago show.

Details:Petrillo Music Shell. 5:30 p.m. $19–$32. ticketweb.com

July 5–9
Festival

Taste of Chicago

Loop

Yes, Taste of Chicago can be messy: The crowds, the ticketing process, and the perpetual portable toilet shortage are enough to make a person want to stay home and heat up leftovers. But where else can turkey legs, gluten-free tamales, and gelato-brioche ice-cream sandwiches all live together in harmony? On the musical side of the equation, this year boasts sets by Ben Harper, Passion Pit, the O’Jays, and locals Twin Peaks and Eryn Allen Kane (see Alessia Cara).

Details:Grant Park. Free–$50. cityofchicago.org

July 7–9
Festival

West Fest

West Town

With a little booking help from the Empty Bottle, this street fest offers a robust lineup of well-respected acts, including soulful Chicago rapper Femdot, indie rockers Woods and Cymbals Eat Guitars, and Minneapolis genre bender Har Mar Superstar.

Details:Chicago between Damen and Wood. $5 donation. westfestchicago.com

July 7–Aug. 14
Art

Anne Wilson

West Loop

Chicago artist Anne Wilson is internationally known for elevating textile sculpture to high art. In A Hand Well Trained, she continues to wow viewers with new wall works that appear to be abstract drawings but are actually delicately sewn human hair and cloth. This is her fourth solo exhibit at the West Loop’s most prestigious contemporary gallery.

Details:Rhona Hoffman Gallery. Free. rhoffmangallery.com

July 8
Pop

Gorillaz

Northerly Island

Before the 2016 presidential election, Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn wrote an album about the improbability of a Donald Trump presidency. Now that his reverie is reality, the latest Gorillaz album, Humanz, possesses an even eerier dystopian quality. Dance tunes live among experimental collaborations with the likes of rapper Danny Brown, new wave pillar Grace Jones, and Chicago R&B singer Brandon Markell Holmes.

Details:Huntington Bank Pavilion. 7:30 p.m. $155–$665. livenation.com

July 8
Country

Maren Morris

Tinley Park

There’s a reason why this singer-songwriter has been able to cross over from the country-western world: her ability to capture the fears, anxiety, and sadness of young adulthood. Rather than lean in to the cookie-cutter song structures of most FM radio country, Morris has doubled down on narrative depth and classic western melodies.

Details:Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. 7 p.m. $42–$234. livenation.com

July 8
Rock

Rozwell Kid

Lake View

If you long for the pre-Y2K age of crunchy guitar licks, take note: Rozwell Kid makes power pop that’s comparable to the Clinton era’s finest. On their latest release (Precious Art, out this month), the West Virginians demonstrate respect for Weezer’s early oeuvre without getting mired in ’90s nostalgia.

Details:Beat Kitchen. 8 p.m. $12–$14. ticketfly.com

July 9–Aug. 20
Theater

Little Fish

Lake View

Catch Michael John LaChiusa’s rarely performed musical, a parable for life in post-9/11 New York loosely based on two Deborah Eisenberg stories, “Days” and “Flotsam.” The eclectic score, inspired by rock, jazz, and Latin music, colors the inner workings of a 30-something writer who replaces cigarette smoking with lap swimming.

Details:Kokandy Productions at Theater Wit. $25–$38. kokandyproductions.com

July 10
Rock

Natalie Prass

Loop

It was easy to fall in love with this Virginia singer’s 2015 self-titled debut, a collection of light chamber-pop tunes that flowed like the soundtrack to a twee but smart indie film. This Millennium Park freebie should be Prass’s last show in Chicago before she hunkers down to work on a new album. Die-hard fans best not miss out.

Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 6:30 p.m. Free. cityofchicago.org

July 10–12
Basketball

Tournament of Champions

South Loop

Girls’ hoops fans take heed: More than 10,000 high school players from 720 teams around the country and Canada face off in this annual tourney, attended by hundreds of college coaches and recruiters. New this year: The Nike-sponsored Elite Youth Basketball League will hold its star-studded 32-team championship event at the same time.

Details:McCormick Place. $20–$50. niketournamentofchampions.com

July 11
New Music

Hildegard Quartet

River North

The weekly Rush Hour series of short after-work concerts reintroduces Chicago to Gerard McBurney, the mind behind Beyond the Score, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s long-running multimedia performance series that ended in 2016. Spektral Quartet performs McBurney’s Hildegard Quartet, based on the music of medieval composer Hildegard of Bingen.

Details:St. James Cathedral. 5:45 p.m. Free. rushhour.org

Yuja Wang
Yuja Wang Photo: Lawrence K. Ho/Los Angeles Times
July 11
Classical

Yuja Wang

Highland Park

The 30-year-old couture-shock pianist Yuja Wang, who will probably wear something splashy on a sultry night at the park, finesses Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1 as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra takes up residence in its summer home at Ravinia. Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, in the familiar orchestration by Ravel, hangs a star on the CSO opener.

Details:Ravinia. 8 p.m. $10–$75. ravinia.org

July 11–23
Theater

Something Rotten

Loop

Welcome to the 1590s, where Nick and Nigel Bottom are trying to pen a hit while Will Shakespeare hogs the limelight. The Bottom brothers’ solution? Write the world’s first musical. Expect bad puns and double-entendres from a cast decked out in Elizabethan frippery.

Details:Broadway in Chicago at Oriental Theatre. $69–$180. broadwayinchicago.com

July 11–Aug. 5
Dance

Dance in the Parks

Various neighborhoods

Now in its ninth season, this traveling series mounts professional dance performances in public parks from Lawndale to West Ridge. Each show highlights youth partners from its respective neighborhood, and the roster of choreographers features the likes of Hanna Brictson, Erin Kilmurray, Michel Rodriguez, and Joshua Blake Carter.

Details:Various venues. Free. danceintheparks.org

July 12
Classical

Joshua Bell

Highland Park

The late-Romantic composer Max Bruch appears on programs mostly for his first violin concerto; his moor-hued Scottish Fantasy, played here by the scintillating Joshua Bell, requires the same violin-and-orchestra formula. The conductor Andrey Boreyko’s take on Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet joins the Bruch for this CSO residency concert.

Details:Ravinia. 8 p.m. $10–$100. ravinia.org

July 12–Aug. 20
Theater

As You Like It

Oak Brook

It’s into the woods for the denizens of Shakespeare’s rom-com about banished best friends who flee court for the forest. Mistaken identities, swooning lovers, and an exquisite summation of life (“All the world’s a stage …”) ensue.

Details:First Folio Theatre. $10–$39. firstfolio.org

July 13
R&B

Xenia Rubinos

Loop

Part of a new wave in contemporary R&B and a clear heir to Erykah Badu, this Brooklyn singer weaves punk and noise rock into her jagged vocal tunes, which cover everything from police brutality and wage disparity to unrequited love. Catch one of America’s most dynamic new voices on her way up; next year she’s likely to be playing one of Chicago’s bank-breaking music festivals.

Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 6:30 p.m. Free. cityofchicago.org

July 13 and 18
Classical

Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil

South Shore, Austin

The Grant Park Chorus travels from its usual loft in Millennium Park to the South and West Sides for twilight performances of Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil, one of the monuments in the repertoire of a cappella. Often referred to as “Vespers,” the piece ruminates on old Slavonic chants from Russian Orthodox vespers, matins, and first-hour services, twining long lines around held notes and summoning the quintessential Russian choral sound (extraordinarily bass-heavy).

Details:July 13: South Shore Cultural Center; July 18: Columbus Park Refectory. 7 p.m. Free. gpmf.com

July 13–23
Theater

Muse

West Town

Pegasus Theatre, a longtime champion of new works, unveils its annual smorgasbord of world premieres. This year, female writers are center stage in a program that varies nightly. Readings, talk-backs, and panels fill out the packed schedule.

Details:Pegasus Theatre at Chicago Dramatists. $10–$25. pegasustheatrechicago.org

July 13–Aug. 19
Theater

Lela & Co.

Edgewater Beach

Consider Cordelia Lynn’s drama an almost-monologue. As Lela tells the harrowing tale of escaping a war zone, she’s intermittently interrupted by the men in her life, who are hell-bent on commodifying her body. The result is a story that illuminates the peril of being a woman in war.

Details:Steep Theatre. $25–$35. steeptheatre.com

July 13–Aug. 20
Theater

Megastasis

Lake View

Playwright Kia Corthron’s world premiere tracks the devastation wrought by the war on drugs, spotlighting a town thrown into chaos when police find a single joint at a house party.

Details:Eclipse Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre. $20–$30. eclipsetheatre.com

July 13–Aug. 27
Theater

Madagascar

Navy Pier

Veteran performer Matt Raftery directs this 70-minute adaptation of the Disney movie in which a pack of intrepid zoo animals escape Central Park and wind up on the titular island. Can a hippo, a zebra, a lion, and a flock of sneaky penguins live peacefully in the same ecosystem? Count on a happy ending at this kid-friendly affair.

Details:Chicago Shakespeare Theater. $22–$34. chicagoshakes.com

July 13–Sept. 14
Dance

SummerDance in the Parks

Various neighborhoods

The popular downtown dance party expands to Chicago’s neighborhoods on Thursdays and Saturdays, offering free dance lessons and live music. Among the eight parks participating: Humboldt, Portage, Jackson, and Ping Tom Memorial.

Details:Various venues. Free. nightoutintheparks.com

'Re:collection'
Re:collection Photo: Clockwise from left: Guillaume Simoneau, Christian Patterson, Rachel Papo
July 13–Oct. 1
Art

Re:collection

Loop

With a vast archive of 11,000 images, the Museum of Contemporary Photography collects masterpieces alongside promising new work. This exhibit dives deep into the vault for some surprisingly conceptual selections, including a piece by Penelope Umbrico crowd-sourced from photo-sharing sites like Flickr.

Details:Museum of Contemporary Photography. Free. mocp.org

July 14–16
Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

West Loop

While other festivals scramble to stand out in a saturated market, tacking on extra days and stages to already overstuffed affairs, Pitchfork takes a subtler approach. Case in point: the new series of film screenings, dance parties, and pop-up sets scheduled throughout the city after festival hours, curated by headliner Solange Knowles. Also playing Pitchfork this year: LCD Soundsystem, A Tribe Called Quest, George Clinton, Thurston Moore, Mitski, Danny Brown, Vince Staples, and more.

Details:Union Park. $75–$365. ticketfly.com

July 14–16
Festival

Windy City Smokeout

River West

Chicago is home to a fair share of Southern expats, so it makes sense that barbecue gets its own festival. If you’re not a fan of pop-country from the likes of Jake Owen, Brandy Clark, and the Eli Young Band, steer clear. The food alone, however—crayfish, whole roasted hogs, and mountains of ’cue—may be worth the ticket price.

Details:560 W. Grand. $40–$110. windycitysmokeout.com

July 14–Aug. 26
Art

Gregory Jacobsen

River North

Painter Gregory Jacobsen creates some of the planet’s most grotesque scenes—say, 2010’s Steak and Iridescent Placenta with Four Turquoise Dildos—with excruciating detail and inappropriately jubilant color. Needless to say, he’s attracted a robust cult following. Here, he shows new paintings, sculptures, and videos.

Details:Zg Gallery. Free. zggallery.com

July 14–Aug. 26
Theater

Fight City

Rogers Park

Chicago playwright Scott Oken’s latest takes place in 2077, where crime is skyrocketing despite the near nonexistence of firearms. The violent tale follows a high-level cop on a quest to bring peace to a fraught new world.

Details:Factory Theater. $5–$25. thefactorytheater.com

July 14–Sept. 1
Art

Targeted

River North

Once kidnapped and tortured by militia in his home country of Syria, photographer Omar Imam now lives as a refugee in Amsterdam, where he documents his and others’ struggles. Edelman Gallery pairs his work with that of Garrett O. Hansen, a Kentucky-based photographer who adorns his photos with used targets from shooting ranges, and Colleen Plumb, who photographs animals trapped in zoos.

Details:Catherine Edelman Gallery. Free. edelmangallery.com

Thodos Dance Chicago
Thodos Dance Chicago Photo: Ben Licera
July 15–16
Dance

Thodos Dance Chicago

Lake View

The 17th iteration of New Dances will be the last for this contemporary company, which announced the end of its ensemble structure in February. Eight company members will present new work, with founder Melissa Thodos filling the spot typically reserved for a guest choreographer.

Details:Athenaeum Theatre. $14–$40. athenaeumtheatre.org

July 15–30
Theater

Sweet

Evanston

The Baker sisters are about to bury their mother at the beginning of this drama by playwright Harrison David Rivers, which follows the two African American siblings as they fight both each other and racism in 1968 Kansas. Enter boy-next-door George, and the story of Nina and Retha spins into a love triangle cut with ambition, loss, and sibling rivalry.

Details:Noyes Cultural Arts Center. $15. cityofevanston.org

July 16–Oct. 22
Art

Virtue of the Vicious

Hyde Park

Oscar Wilde famously called patriotism a “virtue of the vicious.” That sentiment takes on fresh meaning as the title of this exhibit, which responds to the rise of nationalism in modern America. The smartly curated group show balances socially conscious photography, painting, and video with pieces that take an optimistic look at the situation, like Michelle Hartney’s heart-shaped stickers that say “Make America Love Again.”

Details:Hyde Park Art Center. Free. hydeparkart.org

July 17
Classical

Angela Hewitt

Highland Park

There was a time when J.S. Bach’s most notorious pianistic interpreter was the eccentric Glenn Gould, who recorded the Goldberg Variations twice. Today, Angela Hewitt holds that office, having built her bona fides with a 15-CD set of Bach’s complete keyboard music. She now tours with Goldberg, which she recently recorded a second time.

Details:Ravinia. 7:30 p.m. $10–$60. ravinia.org

July 17–22
Dance

Chicago Human Rhythm Project

Loop

The 27th installment of this tap and percussive dance fest ends with JUBA!, a series that features tap stars Savion Glover and Maurice Hines alongside local favorites.

Details:Various venues. $10–$55. chicagotap.org

July 18–Dec. 31
Art

Amanda Williams

Gold Coast

Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. $7–$12. mcachicago.org

July 19
Classical

Grant Park Music Festival

Loop

This midsummer program features several of the festival’s pet themes: the contemporary overture, here Supermaximum, from favorite Kenji Bunch; the lyrical concerto with young soloist, in the form of Saint-Saëns’s Violin Concerto No. 3, played by 28-year-old Angelo Xiang Yu; and 20th-century tonal American music, represented by Aaron Copland’s film score for The Red Pony.

Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 6:30 p.m. Free. gpmf.com

July 20
Country

Drive-By Truckers

Loop

With the nation—and their fan base—divided firmly along partisan lines, Drive-By Truckers recorded one of the best protest albums in years. Nico Lang of Salon said 2016’s American Band is to our moment what Green Day’s American Idiot was to the Bush era: music that speaks truth to power, even at the risk of alienating its audience.

Details:Millennium Park. 6:30 p.m. Free. cityofchicago.org

July 20–21
Classical

Susanna Mälkki

Highland Park

A boldface name in the Finnish line of classical-music experts, Mälkki conducts the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in mirror-image programs on two successive nights. The first pairs Sibelius’s passionate violin concerto (with soloist Vadim Repin) and Beethoven’s era-advancing Symphony No. 3 (“Eroica”). The second puts a Beethoven concerto with a Sibelius symphony—the Piano Concerto No. 3 (with Kirill Gerstein) and Mälkki’s fellow Finn’s Symphony No. 2.

Details:Ravinia. 8 p.m. $10–$75. ravinia.org

July 21–30
Theater

A Mid-Summer Night’s Daydream

Evanston

Lookingglass cofounder David Catlin created a raucous adaptation of the classic Shakespeare tale using a blend of theater, music, and circus arts.

Details:Ethel N. Barber Theater at Northwestern University. $6–$25. northwestern.edu

July 21–Aug. 10
Art

Luis Sahagun

West Loop

Sculptor and painter Luis Sahagun ambitiously expands his work into sound art, performance, and even clairvoyance. During this exhibit’s opening reception, masked dancers will perform a ritual meant to contact the spirits of victims of gun violence and other social injustices, including the artist’s deceased friends and family members.

Details:Chicago Artists Coalition. Free. chicagoartistscoalition.org

Cirque du Soleil’s 'Luzia'
Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia Photo: Matt Beard
July 21–Sept. 3
Theater

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia

Near West Side

The latest from Cirque du Soleil is a Mexican-inspired affair that draws from wildlife, architecture, and Aztec history. Displays by elite contortionists and acrobats merge with music and over-the-top wardrobe in a show that goes for broke in the way of spectacle.

Details:United Center. $33–$265. cirquedusoleil.com/luzia

July 22
Rock

Blondie

Highland Park

After 40 years, Blondie still has it. As her ’70s peers call it quits one by one, lead singer Debbie Harry continues to release music with the same spirit that made her a superstar (see this year’s Pollinator). Expect a trip through Blondie’s old hits (“Heart of Glass,” “Atomic”) as well as new material (the infectious “Long Time” or the on-the-nose “Fun”).

Details:Ravinia. 6:30 p.m. $38–$90. ravinia.org

July 22–Sept. 3
Theater

Last Dancer Standing—More than Hip Hop

Ravenswood

Black Ensemble Theater continues its dance-centric season with playwright Rueben Echoles’s ode to hip-hop.

Details:Black Ensemble Theater. $45–$65. blackensembletheater.org

July 24
Classical

Emerson and Calidore String Quartets

Highland Park

Two prestigious foursomes, the mentor Emerson and the protégé Calidore, string together a concert of increasing ensemble size: four for Beethoven’s middle quartet No. 11 (“Serioso”), six for Richard Strauss’s lush sextet from the opera Capriccio, and eight for two octets by Shostakovich and Mendelssohn’s celebrated String Octet.

Details:Ravinia. 7:30 p.m. $10–$60. ravinia.org

July 24–25
Hip-Hop

J. Cole

Near West Side

Meet the rapper who went platinum with no featured artists on his album—an anomaly in hip-hop. So what exactly makes J. Cole so compelling? In a word, stories. Take the 2016 song “Neighbors,” which relates a SWAT raid on a house Cole was renting in North Carolina. His neighbors suspected he was selling drugs from the home; none were found.

Details:United Center. 8 p.m. $70–$325. ticketmaster.com

July 25–Aug. 13
Theater

An American in Paris

Loop

The lavish tour of the Broadway blockbuster features a compendium of Gershwin brothers hits (“I Got Rhythm,” “’S Wonderful”) and a feel-good romance between an ex-soldier and a French woman. The dancing is spectacular, the music glorious, and the story heartwarming. Who could ask for anything more?

Details:Broadway in Chicago at Oriental Theatre. $27–$160. broadwayinchicago.com

July 26
Disco

Chic and Earth, Wind & Fire

Near West Side

Chic’s bandleader, Nile Rodgers, was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—an accomplishment for any artist, let alone a black producer of disco, a genre that for years was reviled in rock circles. Today, Rodgers’s influence is palpable in the music of performers from Daft Punk to Pharrell Williams to Bruno Mars. This rare live show should traverse Chic’s long career, offering something for fanatics and casual listeners alike.

Details:United Center. 8 p.m. $70–$125. ticketmaster.com

July 26
Classical

Grant Park Music Festival

Loop

The Grant Park Orchestra opens this program with the globetrotting pianist Stephen Hough playing Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 1. The orchestra alone follows with 20th-century Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály’s Dances of Galánta and then marries themes from the first two pieces in three of Brahms’s Hungarian Dances.

Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 6:30 p.m. Free. gpmf.com

Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar Photo: Michael Owen Baker/Los Angeles Times
July 27
Hip-Hop

Kendrick Lamar

Near West Side

Without a doubt, 2017 is Kendrick Lamar’s year. The Compton rapper dropped his third major label album, Damn., in April, and the stunning collection of songs put him squarely back in the spotlight he occupied with 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly, his indictment of racism in America. On Damn., Lamar turns his gaze inward, to his family, his faith, and the anxieties that come with being a generation’s biggest rapper.

Details:United Center. 7:30 p.m. $120–$575. ticketmaster.com

July 28–Aug. 5
Dance

Chicago Dance Crash

Near North Side

Each summer, this company “crashes” hip-hop and contemporary dance together in an evening-length narrative. This year’s show, The Bricklayers of Oz, dreamed up by lyricist Al Tamper, choreographer Jessica Deahr, and producer Mark Hackman, is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz, about the laborers who laid the yellow brick road.

Details:Ruth Page Center for the Arts. $15–$25. chicagodancecrash.com

July 29
Classical

Lang Lang

Highland Park

The effusive pianist headlines Ravinia’s gala concert, returning to the stage that launched his career when he was tapped as a last-minute substitute on Tchaikovsky for the 1999 gala. Lang’s conductor that night, Christoph Eschenbach, also returns, leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in two works by Dvořák and then, with Lang, Rachmaninoff’s showy Piano Concerto No. 1.

Details:Ravinia. 7 p.m. $10–$150. ravinia.org

July 29
Art

Running Street Art Tour

Pilsen

Graffiti historian Miguel Aguilar leads a neighborhood tour of Pilsen’s murals, with a twist: It’s for runners and joggers. After the speed arting, hang around the museum for a block party (2 p.m.) hosted by the Chicago Poetry Foundation.

Details:National Museum of Mexican Art. Free. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org

July 29–30
Festival

Wicker Park Fest

Wicker Park

Chalk it up to the neighborhood’s identity as a cultural hub: Wicker Park Fest typically sports one of the more diverse, impressive lineups of Chicago’s street festivals. This year, that means a healthy blend of hip-hop (Doomtree) and indie rock (Guided by Voices, Jeff the Brotherhood) turning Damen Avenue into a beacon for music lovers of all stripes.

Details:North and Milwaukee. $10 donation. wickerparkbucktown.com

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