Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, June 22 through June 28, 2016
1 20th Annual Chicago SummerDance
DancE: This perennial 11-week series invites Chicagoans of all walks to put on their dancing shoes. Free lessons turn into dance parties over the course of an afternoon, with live music to boot. The fun starts Friday with swing dancing at the aptly named Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park. On Saturday: Salsa.
6/24–9/11. Free. 601 S. Michigan. cityofchicago.org
2 As Our Story Opens…
Art:Judith Brotman stitched a drawing on every single page of Homer’s ancient epic poem The Odyssey, her threads pulling out monsters and morphological abstractions from the text. Here, the evocative tale of love and war is populated with Brotman’s characters and narrative shapes.
6/23–7/23. Free. A+D Gallery, 619 S. Wabash. colum.edu/adgallery
3 Between Riverside and Crazy
Theater:Stephen Adly Guirgis won the Pulitzer for penning this collision of the sacred and the profane (see the scene about sex involving Communion wafers). In the drama’s Chicago debut, Eamonn Walker plays an ex-cop trying to hold on to one of Manhattan’s last rent-controlled apartments.
6/23–8/21. $44–$86. Steppenwolf, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolf.org
4 Mathew Tembo and the Afro Routes
World Music:Though Tembo began as a reggae singer, he soon transitioned to Afro-pop, effectively finding his niche. Incorporating instruments such as the kalimba and the kalumbu, Tembo’s lovely compositions act like a soothing balm for listeners across the globe.
6/24 at 8:30. $12. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4545 N. Lincoln. oldtownschool.org
5 War Paint
Theater:In one of the most anticipated shows of the season, Tony winners Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole star as cosmetics titans Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden. The show itself is equally impressive, with music and lyrics by Scott Frankel and Michael Korie (Grey Gardens) respectively, a book by Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife), and direction by Michael Greif (Rent, Next to Normal, Grey Gardens).
6/28–8/14. $48–$175. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org
What I’m Doing This Weekend
Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Carlos Tortolero, program coordinator for the Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, which presents the 20th Annual Chicago SummerDance beginning Friday, June 24.
“Tonight’s [Wednesday] a busy night for me: I’m going to the Copa America Semifinals today, Chile and Colombia at Soldier Field. I’m rooting for Chile even though they killed El Tri—the Mexican national team—7–0 on Saturday, because one of their best players, Alexis Sanchez, plays for Arsenal, my favorite English club. Between the Copa and the Euro 2016 Championship going on in France, I’m in soccer heaven right now. Later on, I’m going to the Metro to see Balkan Beat Box. They’re a hard act to describe, but their music very unique—a combination of dub, hip-hop, and Eastern European brass.
“On Friday, I’ll be at the opening Chicago SummerDance event at 6:00. Chicago SummerDance takes place in parks and venues all around the city, but all of our first-weekend programs are at the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park. It’s a space that was actually designed with our program in mind—for the first few years of Chicago SummerDance, we had a sort of carny-fair setup in what is now Millennium Park—with a dance floor made of recycled materials. I’m a pretty average dancer, so I probably won’t be out on the floor too much. Plus, as I like to say, Chicago SummerDance for me is like a party at my parents’ house: I’m always worried something is going to break, so I’ll be pacing around keeping an eye on that. I do enjoy the musical aspect of it though.
“On Saturday, I usually go to Zen Yoga Garage in Bucktown. They do a lot of weekend workshops, and I go there whenever I can—a great place with great people. I’ll be back in Grant Park for more dancing in the evening. While I’m downtown, I might stop into one of my go-to spots there for something to eat. I love Goddess and the Baker, and, of course, Intelligentsia Coffee—I pretty much live there during the week.
“On Sunday, I’ll be hanging out in my neighborhood, Logan Square. I’ve lived there for about 10 years now, and while it’s changed a lot in that time, it hasn’t lost its interesting nature. This Sunday is a great day to be there, because we’ve got the Logan Square Farmers Market in the morning and the Logan Square Arts Festival in the afternoon. It’s a great street festival, with a lot of Logan’s best restaurants and businesses—everything from Parson’s Chicken and Fish to Revolution Brewing to the Logan Theater—and music under the monument. If you’re into improvisational jazz at all, I highly recommend Keefe Jackson, who’s playing at 4:45.” —As told to John Hardberger
Freebie of the Week
Chicago Pride Parade
Parades:This annual North Side affair celebrates the area’s vibrant LGBT history, with Chicago Fire star Monica Raymund taking up the baton of grand marshal.
6/26. Free. Broadway and Montrose. chicagopride.com