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The Five Best Things to Do in Chicago This Week

Frans Lanting’s Life: A Journey Through Time, Hemingway Alive in Oak Park, Wicker Park Fest, Drake, and Andrew Yang

MOUNTAIN MEN Mountain Goats performs this Saturday at Wicker Park Fest.   Photo: Lissa Gotwals

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, July 20 through July 26, 2016

1 Frans Lanting’s Life: A Journey Through Time

Classical: Photographer Frans Lanting, fascinated by the likes of fiddlehead ferns and horseshoe crabs, spent seven years on seven continents cultivating images of weird and wondrous life forms. Minimalist composer Philip Glass worked with conductor Marin Alsop to create a score to accompany the projected images. For those who hear Glass and want to scream, having beautiful photos to look at might smooth things out.
7/20 at 6:30 p.m. Free. Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park. grantparkmusicfestival.com

2 Hemingway Alive in Oak Park

Gala:This fundraiser in Ernest Hemingway’s hometown celebrates the local roots of one of America’s most beloved writers. The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park unveils plans for a new writing center alongside rum cocktails, a photo booth, a short-story contest, and access to the Hemingway archives, in an event which they aim to resurrect annually.
7/23 at 7 p.m. $85–$125. Oak Park Library, 834 Lake, Oak Park. ehfop.org

3 Wicker Park Fest

Festival:Typically an all-out rager, this year the midsummer party bills the bookish Mountain Goats as a headliner. But fear not: Co-headliners Rocket from the Crypt are sure to bring the noise. Also catch Antibalas, Alvvays, and Pup.
7/23–24. $10 donation. Milwaukee between North and Paulina. wickerparkbucktown.com

4 Drake

Hip-Hop:After three years and numerous false alarms, Drake finally dropped his fourth album, Views, this spring. While its mix of hip-hop and R&B may not be as innovative as in 2011, the album was still catchy enough to break multiple Billboard records.
7/26–27. $50–$180. United Center, 1901 W. Madison. ticketmaster.com

5 Andrew Yang

Art:To create a model of the Milky Way, the Chicago artist and biologist poured seven tons of sand in an MCA gallery. Each grain represents a star, approximating astronomer Carl Sagan’s claim that “the total number of stars in the universe is larger than all the grains of sand on all the beaches of planet Earth.” Displayed among artifacts of our solar system, Yang’s installation asks viewers to consider themselves as galactic material, hurtling through space.
7/26–12/31. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Andrew Yang
Andrew Yang Photo: Nathan Keay

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Andrew Yang, the artist opening his first solo museum exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Tuesday, July 26.

“I’m going to be working on my installation for the rest of the week: We’ve just poured about seven tons of sand on the floor of the MCA, and between now and Tuesday we’ll be sculpting it into a scale replica of the Milky Way, with one grain of sand equaling one star. I feel like, since we can’t see many stars in Chicago, it can be easy to forget that we’re a part of this huge, connected universe. My show also includes some personal connections: There’s an interview with my mother about breastfeeding. The word “galaxy” actually shares a root with “lactose,” so I’m exploring, in several ways, our human connection to our place in the universe.

“Thursday night, I’m going to take a break from the installation and go to a show opening at the Museum of Contemporary Photography. It’s called Petcoke: Tracing Dirty Energy, and it addresses resource use and dirty energy. On September 16, there will be a symposium on deindustrialization and human impact on the planet that will be a little more Chicago-centric, so I’m going to try and go back for that too.

“I have the weekend off, so on Saturday I’m going with my family to Foster Beach. It’s supposed to be pretty hot this weekend, and it’s a good opportunity to get up close and personal with my artistic materials. When we go the beach, we often swing by the Magic Hedge—the abandoned naval area on Montrose Point—to do a little insect hunting. Most people go the Hedge for birding, but in late July and August it’s also a great place to spot praying mantises and monarch butterflies. We’ll probably follow up our beach day with lunch in Argyle. Two of my favorite restaurants are around there: Tank Noodle and Ba Le. I also love Thai food—namely Sticky Rice on Western—but my daughter has a peanut allergy, so that’s more of a date night place.

“On Sunday, we like to go down to museum campus—usually either the Adler Planetarium or the Field Museum. I’m a Research Associate at the Field, and I always love to check out the dioramas—plus, my daughter loves the dinosaurs. If it’s not too hot, we might go walk around Chinatown after that. There’s a night market on Saturday, but there’s always something to see there regardless.

“Finally, since it’s been so hot this month, I’m sure I’ll be making several stops at Coffee Studio on Clark in Andersonville. They make the best iced coffee, and this is the time of year to drink as much of it as possible.” —As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week

Shakespeare in the Park

Choral:The Grant Park Chorus leaves its eponymous park and summer festival with a program of a cappella choral music setting texts by Shakespeare, as part of the 400th anniversary of the Bard’s shuffling off this mortal coil.
7/24 at 3 p.m. at the Columbus Park Refectory, 7/26 at 7 p.m. at the South Shore Cultural Center. grantparkmusicfestival.com

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