Don’t-miss picks for June 28 through July 4, 2018
1 Kathy Griffin: Laugh Your Head Off
Comedy:This Oak Park–born comedian has always courted controversy—perhaps never so much as when she posed with a blood-smeared rubber replica of Donald Trump’s severed head. The stunt cost Griffin some fans and her New Year’s Eve hosting gig on CNN and even, she claimed, landed her on the no-fly list. But if the head-turning title of this tour is any indicator, Griffin is taking her scandal in stride: Expect her at her irreverent, acerbic best.
6/28. $45–$55. Chicago Theatre. ticketmaster.com
Dance:The city’s largest outdoor social dance series returns for its 22nd year. Thursday through Sundays in the enchanting Spirit of Music Garden, you can get a free lesson with professional instructors and test your skills with live music and dancing under the stars.
FREE 6/28–8/25. Grant Park. chicagosummerdance.org
3 A Johnson Publishing Story
Art:For this exhibit, the Rebuild Foundation showcases objects and ephemera from Johnson Publishing Company’s heyday, including photography, furnishings, and a library that will be repurposed into a reading room and lounge. Read more here.
FREE 6/28-9/30. Rebuild Foundation. rebuild-foundation.org
4 Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow
Art:Intuit is a gallery dedicated to self-taught artists who reject academic art schools and traditional avenues of creativity. This survey of Chicago’s robust “outsider” art scene, with masters like Henry Darger, Pauline Simon, and Wesley Willis, demonstrates that the city is fertile ground for creative people who have found their own way.
6/29–1/9. $5. Intuit. art.org
5 Lake Ellyn Cardboard Regatta
Recreation:Would-be boatswains can test their miniature creations at this annual one-of-a-kind regatta. All boats must be made completely out of cardboard, and while most of these DIY watercraft end up at the bottom of Lake Ellyn, the few that stay afloat are in for a tight (if slapstick) race.
FREE 6/30. Lake Ellyn Park. glenellyn4thofjuly.com
6 Prime Time: F00tw3rk
Electronic:The Museum of Contemporary Art’s recurring Prime Time series showcases its latest exhibits and a handful of Chicago musicians. This month, in conjunction with the recent opening of I Was Raised on the Internet, the MCA puts on a celebration of the quintessential local musical form known as footwork. The event features footwork legends such as DJ Spinn, RP Boo, and Jana Rush. (You must be 21 or older to attend.)
6/30. $15–$25. Museum of Contemporary Art. mcachicago.org
7 Heartbreak Hotel
Theater:Before he showed up for 1956’s “Million Dollar Quartet,” Elvis Presley was a rising young star just beginning to make his mark. This musical tracks 18 months in his early career, punctuating the story with hits from the King’s hip-swiveling catalog.
6/30–9/9. $32–$96. Broadway in Chicago at the Broadway Playhouse. broadwayinchicago.com
Electronic:There’s no other musician quite like Josiah Wise, a.k.a. Serpentwithfeet, who combines haunting, soulful vocals of gospel with the spindly synths of minimalist, atmospheric electronic music.
7/1. $14. Empty Bottle. eventbrite.com
9 John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age
Art:At the turn of the 20th century, John Singer Sargent was one of the most visible artists in Chicago, featured in more than 20 exhibits between 1888 and 1925, including at the world’s fair. Although Sargent never lived here, he left a mark on the city’s culture, painting durable portraits of socialite women in their finest dresses. Not merely trophies for the rich, the paintings are masterworks of color, light, and personality, made possible by the newly emergent class of patrons encouraged by the industrial prosperity of Chicago’s Gilded Age.
7/1–9/30. $10–$25. Art Institute of Chicago. artic.edu
10 Fourth of July
Holiday:Every year countless arguments are made about the wastefulness of fireworks displays, and every year said arguments fail to overcome the simple pleasure of watching colorful explosions fill the sky over Lake Michigan. Arrive early—the lakefront becomes a gridlocked village of tents, picnic blankets, and barbecues well before the sun sets.
FREE 7/4. Navy Pier. navypier.org