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Five Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Operetta in Exile, Pitchfork Music Festival, Stihl Timbersports Series U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Emmylou Harris

LUMBERING LADS Stihl Timbersports Series U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships   Photo: Courtesy of Stihl Timbersports

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, July 13 through July 19, 2016

1 Operetta in Exile

Opera:A chamber orchestra and six singers pay tribute to the European operetta composers pushed into exile by the Third Reich. This multimedia exploration by Chicago Folks Operetta highlights works by Jewish composers and librettists whose creativity triumphed over one of history’s most inhumane eras.
7/13–14. $30. Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont. chicagofolksoperetta.org

2 Pitchfork Music Festival

Festival:Queue up for your annual buzz-band booster shot. This year’s headliners include Brian Wilson, Miguel, Sufjan Stevens, and FKA Twigs, with local support from rockers Twin Peaks, emcee Mick Jenkins, alt-country act Whitney, and R&B staples BJ the Chicago Kid and Jeremih. Or check out the many pre- and after-parties around town with festival-level talent.
7/15–17. $65–$165. Union Park. pitchforkmusicfestival.com

3 Stihl Timbersports Series U.S. Pro and Collegiate Championships

Recreation:Stihl’s annual lumberjack competition pits men from around the country against each other in a battle unlike any other. The winners in the hot saw, single buck, springboard chop, standing block chop, stock saw, and underhand chop contests advance to the finals.
7/15–16. Free. Tinley Park Convention Center, 18451 Convention Center, Tinley Park. stihlusa.com

4 Thodos Dance Chicago

Dance:Each year, dancers from this contemporary company take the director’s chair for its New Dances series, and the most promising new dance is adopted into the Thodos repertory. Guest choreographer Shannon Alvis joins company members Jessica Miller Tomlinson, John Cartwright, and others.
7/16–17. $14–$40. Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N Southport. athenaeumtheatre.org

5 Emmylou Harris

Country:It’s been more than five years since Harris’s last release. Her brand of folk, country, and rock might sound de rigueur in 2016, but that’s no fluke. Harris’s rich output (26 studio albums) serves as a by-the-book resource for future generations to dive into, a relic of country rock’s golden age. Lyle Lovett also performs.
7/18 at 7. $38–$115. Ravinia, 2000 Ravinia Park, Highland Park. ravinia.org

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Cadien Lake James
Cadien Lake James (right) and Twin Peaks Photo: Daniel Topete

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Cadien Lake James, guitarist and singer in the band Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks plays the Red Stage at Pitchfork Music Festival at 5:30 on Friday, July 15.

“I’ll be spending pretty much my whole weekend at the Fest, and this year, for me, is all about the Chicago acts. I’m really hoping to be able to catch Whitney at the Blue Stage at 4:15. They’re really cool guys and talented artists—and I know they’ve got some special plans for their set. I might have to leave a little early to set up for our set, which starts at 5:30 on the Red Stage. On the other hand, Will Miller, who plays horns for Whitney, is going to join Twin Peaks for a few songs, and if he can make it happen, I think I can too. I’m also definitely going to catch Car Seat Headrest at the Red Stage at 3:30—they’ve been on tour with us and NE-HI, and I’m excited to see them play again. To cap the day off, I’m going to see Broken Social Scene 7:20 at the Red Stage. I’ve never really listened to them, but our tour manager is a big fan and told us not to miss them. Later in the night, I’ll probably go out to Whitney’s second show of the day, at the Empty Bottle at 10:00. It’s going to be mostly Chicago music family hanging out there—should be a lot of fun.

“Saturday will be much more relaxed. I’m going to hang at the CHIRP Record Fair and do some crate digging—they usually have some cool finds there. Also, Twin Peaks has its own beer now, thanks to the guys at Goose Island. It’s called Natural Villain, and I’ll be pouring it throughout the fest as a guest bartender at the main beer tent. I’ve never bartended before, though, so keep your fingers crossed for me—I don’t want to screw up anybody’s drink. In the evening, I’m going to get a primo spot for Brian Wilson. For me, he’s the biggest draw of whole festival. Pet Sounds is one of my favorite records of all time. I’m really interested in the band that gets to play that album with him, too—I’m sure, whoever they are, they’re going to slay it.

“Sunday, I want to see Homme—a very impressive local band—at the Blue Stage at 2:50. I haven’t been able to catch them live yet, but I’ve watched a lot of their live videos online and it seems like a great collaboration between two incredible musicians. Other than that, I’ll just be hanging out backstage and drinking some free beer. I’m sure I’ll be pretty cashed by Sunday, so I might check out a little early and go tool around Humboldt Park, or chill on Kedzie Boulevard in Logan Square. Parson’s Chicken and Fish is right by my house, and while it’s pretty easy to end up hanging there all night, I think on Sunday I’ll just get some chicken and take it easy.” —As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week

Birding with the Field

Nature:You’ll have to rise early for this one, but for birders, staring down a great horned owl at dawn is worth it. New and experienced bird watchers alike are invited to join migration expert David Willard on this avian adventure, part of a months-long, countywide competition.
7/10 at 7 a.m. Free. Skokie Lagoons. fieldmuseum.org

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