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The Top Five Things to Do in Chicago This Week

West Fest, the Comedy Exposition, the Tour de Fat, and the weekend plans of one of the guys in charge of the Square Roots fest.

DELICIOUS DEPRAVITY Catch Liza Treyger at Comedy Exposition this weekend.   Photo: Victoria Will

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, July 9 through Tuesday, July 15

1 Taste of Chicago

Music: Don’t go to the Taste for the overpriced and undercooked food. Go for the music acts, which are stellar this year and feature pint-sized R&B firecracker Janelle Monáe, blues rocker Gary Clark Jr., Jeff Tweedy, and country legend Emmylou Harris among others.
7/9–7/13. Free–$25. Petrillo Music Shell, 235 S Columbus Dr. cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/taste_of_chicago2.html

2 Comedy Exposition

Comedy: This new Kickstarter-sponsored comedy festival fills the Just for Laughs hole with a solid roster of established and up-and-coming comedians including Liza Treyger and Aparna Nancherla.
7/11–13. $25–$60. Various times and venues. comedyexposition.com

3 A Small Fire

Theatre: Fresh from directing Venus in Fur at Goodman Theatre, Joanie Schultz returns to her storefront home base with the Midwest premiere of a play by Canadian dramatist Adam Bock. The plot concerns a woman who loses, one by one, her senses of smell, taste, sight, and hearing—but the play is less about her strange debility than how it affects her complicated yet enduring marriage.
7/10–8/16. $22. Steep Theatre Company, 1115 W. Berwyn. steeptheatre.com

4 West Fest

Festivals: West Town’s summer bash includes performances from house pioneer Derrick Carter and Lee Fields and the Expressions. 
7/12–13. $5 donation. Chicago between Damen and Wood. westfestchicago.com

5 Luftwerk: Into and Out of

Art: The Chicago artist duo who call themselves Luftwerk (German for “air projects”) create spatial paintings using colored light. If James Turrell decorated a rave, it might come out something like Luftwerk’s experiential artworks. This show takes place at a Garfield Park home.
7/15–26. Free. 3522 W. Franklin. thefranklinoutdoor.tumblr.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Rudy Flores
Rudy Flores Photo: Courtesy of Rudy Flores

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Rudy Flores, executive director of Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. Square Roots runs from Friday, July 11 to Sunday, July 13.

“On Thursday, Lincoln Square has a farmer’s market that runs in conjunction with a free summer concert series. Grab some Canadian bacon from C&D Family farms or if you’re vegetarian, some mushroom burgers from River Valley Ranch, then head down to see Cary Kanno and the Giants; they’re a funk-rock band.

Square Roots starts on Friday and we have nearly 40 different craft beers from around the Midwest. Two beers I’d recommend are Outlaw IPA from Two Brothers, full of citrus and pine hop, and then Red Rye Ale from Founders, a very popular beer company from Michigan; it’s extremely hoppy and bitter, but has a grapefruit taste to it. Then I’d recommend going down to the Global Dance Party at Old Town School of Folk Music. Steve Riley & The Mamou Playboys, basically a traditional Cajun two step and waltz band with a 21st century twist, will be playing.

“We’ll also be working with local restaurants to create a sampling menu for the fest. Lincoln Square Lanes, a bowling alley with really great food, will be offering fried octopus tacos. I’ve never had them.

“On Sunday, if I wasn’t at Square Roots, I’d go to this really cool Rogers Park theatre called The New 400. It’s fun for a date night or to go with your friends because they have a bar and it’s locally run.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week


New Belgium Tour de Fat

Festivals: A bicycle parade through the streets of Logan Square kicks off this colorful festival, which celebrates the world’s most popular velocipede and showcases New Belgium beers.
GO 7/12 at 10. Free. Kedzie and Palmer. newbelgium.com

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