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The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This Week

See Beyoncé and Jay-Z, Jack White, and a whole lot more music at Wicker Park Fest.

DYNAMIC DUO Catch Beyoncé and Jay Z at Soldier Field on Thursday.   Photo: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, July 23 through Tuesday, July 29

1 Beyoncé and Jay Z

Music: Jay and Bey have combined mogul forces for one of the most anticipated North American tours of the last decade. Cute babies. Infectious bangers. World domination. There’s really nothing these two can’t do.
7/24 at 8. $55–$195. Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus. ticketmaster.com

2 Word Weekend

Readings: The Museum of Contemporary Art hosts this weekend-long celebration of writers, poets, rappers, and other assorted individuals who work with text. Highlights include live performances from rapper Psalm One, a zine-making class, a comedy show, readings from a variety of local authors, and a small publishers book fair.
7/26–27. Free with museum admission ($12). Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

3 Valpuri Kylmänen and Ari Pelkonen: Helsingistä

Art: The two printmakers are highly regarded in Finland for their edgy, experimental approaches to lithography. Never before seen in Chicago (and very rarely in the United States), these prints will open your eyes and mind to artistic innovations happening across the pond.
7/26–8/30. Free. Western Exhibitions, 845 W. Washington. westernexhibitions.com

4 Jack White

Music: The former White Stripes rocker still knows how to thrill in a live setting, even if his sophomore album, Lazaretto, got mixed reviews. Up-and-coming blues rocker Benjamin Booker opens.
7/23–24. $49.50–$75. Chicago Theatre and Auditorium Theatre. ticketmaster.com

5 Wicker Park Fest

Festivals: The festival season continues with this West Side shebang featuring the usual fun stuff: live music, food vendors, and kids’ activities. Here are three bands you should definitely see.
7/26–27. Noon–10. $5 donation. Milwaukee between North and Paulina. wickerparkbucktown.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Michelle Miller Burns
Michelle Miller Burns Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Miller Burns

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Michelle Miller Burns, vice president of development at the Newberry Library. The Newberry Book Fair runs from Thursday, July 24 through Sunday, July 27.

“Friday, I’ll be at the book fair all day. It’s open from noon until 8 p.m. We have 120,000 used books in 70 different categories. Admission is free and most books are priced at just two dollars.

“Saturday morning, I’ll probably go to the Division Street Farmers Market. There’s this tiny French bakery that makes these lovely raspberry croissants. I also plan to attend the Bughouse Square Debates in Washington Square Park across from the Newberry Library. There will be food trucks and performances by the Shakespeare Project of Chicago and the Environmental Encroachment Marching Band starting at noon. The debates—a wonderful demonstration that free speech is alive and well in Chicago —are emceed by Rick Kogan and run from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

“And then I’ll be at book fair until it closes. Afterwards, I might go to out at dinner at Mario’s Table. It’s a wonderful neighborhood Italian restaurant; Mario is often there greeting guests. I always get their margherita pizza and four cheese lasagna with meat sauce.

“Sunday, I might go for a walk with my husband to the Original Pancake House. I love the Swedish pancakes with ligonberries and they have the best coffee with real whipping cream. Then I’ll be at the book fair from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Afterwards, we’ll celebrate its end with our 250 volunteers.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week


Grant Park Music Park Festival

Classical: On a program of rarities where the best-known work is probably Borodin’s Polovstian Dances from Prince Igor, Shostakovich’s orchestra-chorus tone poem The Execution of Stepan Razin stand out. Leonard Slatkin, another old flame returning to the GPMF, conducts.
7/25–26. Free. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Washington. grantparkmusicfestival.com

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