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Five Things You Should Do in Chicago This Week

The Book of Mormon, Cody Blackbird, Self Portraits, International Festival of Life, Chicago Music Awards, and Guns N’ Roses

Slash, Axl Rose, and Duff McKagan play Soldier Field this weekend on their first run of Guns N’ Roses shows since 1993.   Photo: Brian van der Brug

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, June 29 through July 5, 2016

1 The Book of Mormon

Theater:Back in town for the third time in four years, the South Park creators’ tale of Mormon missionaries is funny as ever. Even if you don’t believe Jesus wants you to own a planet someday, you’ll bust a gut as Elder Price and his ridiculously clean-cut friends try to save Uganda.
6/29–8/14. $42–$169. Broadway in Chicago at the PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. broadwayinchicago.com

2 Cody Blackbird

Folk:One of the most successful Native American musicians on the scene, Blackbird utilizes the native flute in his unique brand of blues-rock.
6/29 at 8:30. Free. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. oldtownschool.org

3 Self Portraits

Art:Fans of Cindy Sherman, take note: July 5 is your last chance to take in the works of Lee Godie, who, like Sherman, played with the notion of identity. The local outsider artist used bus terminal photo booths as her studio. Homeless and having no formal art education, Godie made poignant self-portraits, often costuming herself as royalty or drawing makeup on the black-and-white prints by hand.
Through 7/5. $5 donation. Intuit, 756 N. Milwaukee. art.org

4 International Festival of Life, Chicago Music Awards

World Music:The self-proclaimed carnival of nations features food, art, music, and dance highlighting the myriad cuisines and cultures of Africa and the Caribbean. This year’s festival is combined with the Chicago Music Awards on July 1, when the city will toast its best reggae, pop, blues, rock, and roots musicians.
7/1–4. $15–$190. Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph. internationalfestivaloflife.com, cityofchicago.org

5 Guns N’ Roses

Rock:Against all odds, GNR’s volatile core trio—Axl Rose, Slash, and Duff McKagan—reunite for their first tour together since 1993. This marathon arena set is a must-see, if only for fear the band could split up again before the tour ends.
7/1 and 7/3 at 8. $45–$250. Soldier Field, 1401 S. Museum Campus. ticketmaster.com

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Melissa Smith
Melissa Smith Photo: Two Birds Photography

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Melissa Smith, Operations Manager and Teaching Artist at Intuit: the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. The photography retrospective Lee Godie: Self-Portraits is on display at Intuit through Tuesday, July 5.

“On Thursdays, I tend to go the Silver Palm, which is right next door to Intuit, for a gin gimlet after work. They have one of the best gimlets in the city, and it’s become a bit of a Thursday tradition. After that, I’m going to Comfort Station in Logan Square for the last day of the Vernacular Photo Festival. Vernacular photography is work by amateur or unknown artists, so this show has a lot in common with our Lee Godie show. I’ll probably go out for dinner in Logan Square after that—my husband works in the restaurant industry, so we do that a lot. Our go-to place is Wyler Road, which is tucked away on Belden just off of Central Park Avenue. They have fantastic cold and hot sandwiches, and great cocktails too.

“Friday, we’re going to see the Hoyle Brothers play at the Empty Bottle. Every Friday at 5:30, they turn the whole place into a legit honky tonk. The vibes are always good there. They play old country music and everyone’s dancing—it’s very jovial. For dinner, I think we’ll go to one of our favorites, like Lula Cafe or Handlebar.

“We live near Bucktown, and Saturday mornings often include a walk to Ipsento Coffee on Western—it’s a great local coffee shop. In the afternoon, I’m finally going to see the Barbara Rossi and Tony Fitzpatrick shows at the DePaul Art Museum. I think not everyone realizes this, but they actually have two Barbara Rossi exhibitions at the moment: one of her paintings, and one of her street photography, with some of the images corresponding between shows. I’ve also been trying to get back to the Roger Brown Study Collection, a house-turned museum located on Halsted. Roger Brown was an artist and collector with a truly amazing assortment of local and outside art. After he passed, the School at the Art Institute took over his old house and converted it into a museum. You can only access it by appointment, but it’s totally worth it—there’s something for everyone in there, from a huge Henry Darger scroll to some truly odd antiques.

“Sunday we’re brunching at the Publican. They have a drink at the moment that I’m dying to try: frosé—that’s frozen rosé, in Slushie form. The rest of the day will be a little more chill. We like to walk our dog on the 606, so hopefully this perfect weather will hold out. I also need to do some serious gift shopping this weekend, so I’ll probably head down to RR#1 on Ashland in Ukrainian Village. They’ve got awesome greeting cards and gifts for all ages.

“Intuit will be open Monday for the 4th and, since it’s the second-to-last day of the Lee Godie show, I’ll be around during the day. Hopefully I’ll get out in time to get a good spot for the fireworks.” —As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week

Fourth of July Fireworks

Outdoors:We’ve compiled a comprehensive list of primo viewing spots for this summer spectacle, but here’s the short version: Stake out a spot at one of the city’s many beaches and lakefront parks. If you want to upgrade your experience, Shoreline Sightseeing, Odyssey Chicago, and Mystic Blue offer cruises on Lake Michigan for the show. Haven’t got your sea legs but still want to get up close and personal? The third annual Freedom Fest offers a barbecue, bar, DJ, and dance floor atop Navy Pier’s roof.
7/2–4. Free–$135. Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand. navypier.com

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