Your Chicago Curated Weekend: 8/4 – 8/7

I think I'm sick. I have a little cough, my joints hurt, and my stomach is a little uneasy. I have post-Lollapalooza exhaustion. The yearly festival of excess and drunken bros dancing to music that bleeds from stage to stage expanded its reach from the typical three days to an absurd four days.It made sense when the announcement came out, it's the festival's 25th anniversary. They wanted to do it right, make the big even bigger and spread the joy over more days with an even greater chance of being rained out. Luckily it didn't rain like last year and four days for a special anniversary seemed ok. Or so I thought until I saw their usual "thanks for coming"  announcement that slid in the fact that next year's Lollapalooza will also be a staggering four days. I'm all for the smaller crowds  at the water bottle fill up station, but not if it means having to trudge through four days of way too young people doing way too many stimulants for four days. Thankfully, I won't have to worry about it until next year. I'll let it fade away as I focus on all the amazing things I can do this weekend. So no more whining about change and just ok lineups at overgrown festivals, let's get to your curated weekend. THURSDAY, AUGUST 4th Annual AWJ Membership Picnic @ Mars Gallery, 139 W Fulton Market, 6:30PM - 9:00pm
WHAT: The Association for Women Journalists hosts its annual membership picnic SO WHAT: The Association for Women Journalists brings together journalists and aspiring writers from all over Chicago to learn from and catch up with this major market’s biggest media outlets and their editors. Non-members are also welcome to network, sip, and view beautiful art with fellow Chicago journalists. NOW WHAT: Tickets for non-members are $20, or $10 for members, after a membership registration fee of $50 at the Association for Women Journalists website! Ben Tanzer and special guests @ The Book Cellar, 4736 N Lincoln Ave., 7:00PM
WHAT: A book reading featuring a great list of authors SO WHAT: Ben Tanzer returns to The Book Cellar to launch his new collection of essays Be Cool. He will be joined by three fellow writers who will be reading from their works at this unmissable event. Executive Writer at Men’s Health Magazine Eric Spitznagel,  co-director of the Voices of the Middle West literary festival Robert James Russell; and author of Currency and memoir The Telling, Zoe Zolbrod.  You can check out Emma Terhaar’s review of Zoe Zolbrod’s The Telling book here. NOW WHAT: This is a wonderful lineup of Midwestern writers and the event is free, so there is no reason not to. FRIDAY - SUNDAY, AUGUST 5th-7th Chicago Hot Dog Fest @ Chicago History Museum,1701 N Stockton Dr., 11:00AM-9:00PM
WHAT: Hot dog festival for the food lover in you SO WHAT: The Chicago Hot Dog Fest celebrates all the possibilities that a hot dog can experience. Chicago’s great hot dog vendors will offer both traditional and new takes on the standard encased meat. You can enjoy some cold beverages to wash down all the amazing hotdog-themed food while listening to speakers at the event. There will also be plenty of games and a stage to hear great music including American English on Friday, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound on Saturday, and Catfight on Sunday. NOW WHAT: Admission to the festival is free! Food and drink are available for purchase using Hot Dog Dollars, which you can purchase in advance and save up to 20%! FRIDAY, AUGUST 5th ACTIVATE SEE @ Couch Place Alley, 170 N State St., 5:00PM-10:00PM
WHAT: Chicago Loop Alliance’s fourth ACTIVATE event of the year
SO WHAT: This year’s ACTIVATE series explores the five senses—touch, hear, smell, see and taste—through the scope of dynamic art, music and lights. Taking place at Couch Place Alley, between E Lake Street and W Randolph Street, this edition of ACTIVATE will have attendees rethink how they see the world around them as the ordinary spaces that fill the Loop are transformed into extraordinary works of art. Local artists will manipulate the alleyway walls, turning them into canvases for light, color and shadow. Highlights from the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Black Harvest Film Festival will also be projected down the entire alley, creating a more immersive and intriguing experience. NOW WHAT: Check out the event’s suggested attire to take part in the art. The event is free and attendees who RSVP in advance  will receive a complimentary drink ticket for beer or wine. Street Views Opening @ Galerie F, 2381 N Milwaukee Ave., 6:00PM - 10:00PM
WHAT: A Chicago photography exhibit
SO WHAT: Galerie F’s Street Views focusing on some of our great city’s most notable photographers. The exhibit exposes the streets of Chicago through the unique outlook of these creators’ eyes. The show features work by Alex Sheyn, Brian Willette, Pete Waddy, Scott Kaplan, Sean Hopkins, Sonja Weissm, Vince DeSantiago, and Zach Lipson. NOW WHAT: It’s a free event, so get there and explore the gallery’s offerings. Plus there will be beer from Half Acre Brewery and sparkling water from Perrier.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 6th Street Pub Chicago @ Logan Square, 2607 N Milwaukee Ave., 2:00PM - 10:00PM WHAT: Deschutes Brewery bringing their pub to the streets of Chicago
NOW WHAT: Street Pub is a family-friendly event that features a chance to try Deschutes’ line of beers as they will have over 50 taps available.  Selections will vary from the dark imperial stout The Abyss all the way to year-round favorites like Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Fresh Squeezed IPA. Executive Chef Jeff Usinowicz and local chef Charlie Eure of Revolution Brewing (and one more local chef to be announced) will be pairing the beers up with culinary creations. There will also be live local music from Chicago Afrobeat Project, Swift Technique, Bailiff, and Railway Gamblers. 100% of the beer proceeds from this event will benefit the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Logan Square Preservation. NOW WHAT:  Entry is FREE and there are VIP passes available that include Street Pub swag and access to the VIP Lounge where there will be special beer tastings led by one of Deschutes’ brewers. You can purchase your VIP passes here. DRAW! DRAW! DRAW! @ Galerie F, 2381 N Milwaukee Ave., 6:00PM - 10:00PM
WHAT: A live art event in Logan Square SO WHAT: Galerie F, your place for posters, prints and street art in Chicago, will be hosting a panel of artists who will be creating works in the gallery that you can take home with you. It’s set to be a great night of live art creation where you can socialize with like-minded art enthusiasts. NOW WHAT: The event is free, open to the public, and BYOB. So get yourself some art and party with the funnest art gallery in Chicago! SUNDAY AUGUST 7 International Clown Week @ Woodlawn Cemetary, 7750 W Cermak Rd., Forest Park, 1pm-3pm WHAT: The final day of International Clown Week SO WHAT: It's International Clown week y'all. Its a lot like Shark Week, except you go out in real time and appreciate clowns. If you are in Chicago, you can appreciate clowns (alive and not) at a cemetery with lots of pomp and circumstance (to recognize the Hammond circus train wreck of 1918) and free hot dogs and a show. It's fascinating, a little surreal and surprisingly fun. The Steam Punk clowns always show up in their time machine and observe too. NOW WHAT: Meet some clowns and have a ball at this perfectly weird and family friendly event.
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Julian Ramirez