Your Chicago Curated Weekend: 7/7 and Beyond

Before we jump into things, it needs to be said: it’s been a difficult start to the month. The mass shooting in Highland Park can’t and shouldn’t be ignored. It’s still fresh in our minds and I truly hope that it pushes for change, but in a world where these sorts of incidents are constant, it’s hard not to feel defeated and scared. So while the Curated Weekend goes up and reminders of other issues in the world are mentioned, if you don’t feel like going out this weekend, it’s totally understandable.

Now, there are tons of really fun events for everyone to do this weekend. It’s feeling a little more normal to go out since Chicago dropped the masking and vaccination proof mandates on February 28 (for better or worse) and events are rolling in. While it may seem like we’re at the tail end of things, many venues still have their mask and vaccination requirements for the foreseeable future. So if you do plan to go out this weekend, make sure you check out the venue’s policies and take initiative. Wear a mask, social distance, and get your vaccination shots and your booster even if the venue/event doesn’t require it. And if you still feel that wearing a mask is a must (like many still do), then please wear one. Protect yourself and those around you. If you still don’t feel entirely safe to go out (and quite honestly, who can blame you?) you can always stay in and support these places from home.

Now, let’s get on with your Chicago Curated Weekend!

THURSDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 7th – 10th

Fan Expo Chicago 2022 @ Donald E. Stephens Convention Center,  5555 N River Rd, Rosemont, Friday 4:00pm – 9:00pm, Friday & Saturday 10:00am – 7:00pm, Sunday 10:00am-5:00pm , All Ages
WHAT: What was once Wizard World is now Fan Expo!
SO WHAT: Fan Expo has taken the reins and is celebrating 50 years of cons with their first in Chicago! It’s three days and one preview night of everything you ever wanted to know about nerd culture and geek stuff. There will be plenty of guests signing autographs, panels featuring interesting talks on the ins and outs of every creative process, and a constant parade of cosplayers walking the convention floor. Check out our full preview here!
NOW WHAT: Tickets start at $99 for all four days of the convention! Single day tickets are also available starting at $12 for ages 6-12, $10 for ages 13-17, and $27 for adults! You can also get tickets at the door.

FRIDAY & SATURDAY, JULY 8th & 9th

Rogers Park Music & Art Fest @ Sheridan Rd & Columbia, Friday 5:00pm – 12:00pm & Saturday Noon – 10:00pm, All ages
WHAT:
a fun fest in Rogers Park!
SO WHAT: Head over to the Rogers Park neighborhood and celebrate its ethnic diversity and bohemian art at the Rogers Park Music & Art Fest. This two-day festival will feature art and music from current and former Rogers Park creators!
NOW WHAT: You can donate to the fest here! 

Twilight Tunes @ Brookfield Zoo, 8400 W 31st St, 6:00pm – 9:30pm
WHAT: Music and animals
SO WHAT: Twilight Tunes, Brookfield Zoo’s summer concert series, will be taking over the ground on Fridays and Saturdays in July! Enjoy 10 nights of live music while having access to afterhours exhibits like the big cats, Pinniped Point and underwater viewing, Seven Seas’ dolphin underwater viewing, Ice Age Giants (East Trail), and Wild Encounters (no Aviary) until 8:30pm. Each night will end with a laser light show at 9:00pm! Check out the music lineup below and more info on each act over at the Brookfield Zoo website.

  • Friday, July 8 – ARRA
  • Saturday, July 9 – Boy Band Review
  • Friday, July 15 – Sixteen Candles
  • Saturday, July 16 – American English
  • Friday, July 22 – 7th Heaven
  • Saturday, July 23 – Hillbilly Rockstarz
  • Friday, July 29 – Southern Accents
  • Saturday, July 30 – House Party

NOW WHAT: Tickets are $15 adults and $13 children and seniors. Brookfield Zoo Member Tickets are $10 adults and $8 children and seniors

FRIDAY – SUNDAY, JULY 8th- 10th (& BEYOND)

Taste of Chicago 2022 @ Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, Jackson & Columbus, 11:00am – 9:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: The big, over-the-top mainstay food celebration of Chicago
SO WHAT: It may happen every year to mixed results, but you can still find some great things at the Taste of Chicago. There is a hefty list of 30+ food vendors participating in this year’s return to Grant Park.  Plus there are tons of musical acts playing for free including Girl K, Local H, Drive by Truckers, and Nelly! Take a look at their map for an idea of the scope of this annual food fest!
NOW WHAT: Make your way to Grant Park and have yourself a good time. Getting into the Taste of Chicago is free, but of course you’ll have to shell out for food and this year there will be no food tickets, so bring cash or card!

Square Roots Festival 2022 @ Lincoln Square, on Lincoln Avenue between Montrose and Wilson, Friday 5:00pm -10:00pm, Saturday Noon – 10:00pm, Sunday Noon – 9:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: Lincoln Square’s excellent summer party!
SO WHAT:  Join this bustling neighborhood for the Square Roots Festival featuring great food and regional craft beer, as well as unique and exciting market vendors. There will also be over 50 bands and artists from around the world entertaining the crowd on four stages throughout the fest! Artists include Bob Mould, Guided By Voices, DEHD Tabcoo City, BNNY, and more!
NOW WHAT: Square Roots’ suggested donation is $10 for adults, $5 seniors/kids, and $20 for families. Your donations support Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce and Old Town School of Folk Music!

ChiTown Movies @ Pilsen Neighborhood, 2343 S. Throop St, Various Times, All Ages
WHAT:
An old school experience for the modern age
SO WHAT: Take a trip back in time and head out to a drive-in movie with ChiTown Movies. Ever since the pandemic started and shut down traditional movie screening, a few pop up drive-ins have arrived and ChiTown Movies has persevered, offering up modern movies in this retro setting. Check out their lineup below for showings this weekend and in the future!

NOW WHAT: Tickets are $33 per car for these movies, so bring the family for a safe movie watching experience

The Neo-Futurists’ The Infinite Wrench @ The Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N Ashland, Friday and Saturday 10:30pm, Sunday 7:00pm, 16+
WHAT: Quick plays live and online!
SO WHAT: The Neo-Futurists are back! Their Infinite Wrench is an  ongoing, ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes for a live audience. Now it’s actually a live audience that will be enjoying the performance in person! With plenty of COVID precautions in place, you’ll be able to enjoy the funny, disgusting, profound, terrifying, irreverent, and downright entertaining show with friends! Plan ahead as vaccination cards will be checked and booster will be required to be fully vaccinated.
NOW WHAT: Join the Neo-Futurists this weekend for $10! Head over to their website to see all they have planned now that in-person audiences are a thing again! If you’re still a little anxious about going out, The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral will be continuing til February (and possibly beyond) over at their Patreon

SATURDAY, JULY 2nd

Summer Fireworks @ Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue, 10:00pm – 10:10pm
WHAT: Enjoy the spectacle of fireworks all summer long
SO WHAT: Take a trip to Navy Pier and check out their dazzling display of fireworks!. Each show features dramatic and popular music soundtracks with some special occasion soundtracks sprinkled throughout the season.
NOW WHAT: It’s free!  Just make your way to Navy Pier, find a spot, and enjoy the show !

SATURDAY & SUNDAY, JULY 2nd & 3rd (& BEYOND)

Barrio Arts Festival @ The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture, 3015 W Division St, Saturday 10:00am – 6:00pm, Sunday 11:00am – 5:00pm, All ages
WHAT:
Art, music, dancing, and more celebration of Puerto Rican culture
SO WHAT: Head over to the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture for a weekend full of amazing artists sharing their work. There will be plenty of food for you to enjoy as well as live performances and workshops for the whole family! Check out the lineup over at their event page!
NOW WHAT: It’s free to enter! Enjoy the awesome cultural celebration!

West Fest 2022 @ Chicago Ave. between Damen Avenue and Wood Street, Saturday & Sunday Noon – 10:00pm
WHAT: This wonderful fest is back after virtual year in 2020!
SO WHAT: Celebrate all of the best of West Town Chicago with a two-day fest filled with plenty of food, vendors, fest areas specifically for kids and pets, and some of the best local and world-renowned music. West Fest will feature a DJ stage and an Empty Bottle-curated stage. The lineup includes Mark Farina, Derrick Carter, DeerHoof, Lala Lala, Choir Boy, Ganser, Protomartyr, and so many more. Check out the full lineup on their website.
NOW WHAT:
A $10 optional donation gets you entry to this family and pet friendly fest! Proceeds benefit local non-profits and the West Town Chamber of Commerce

DZ Fest 2022: The 10th and Final DZ Fest @ DZ Records, 8548 S 85th Ct, Hickory Hills, Noon – 11:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: The 10th and final DZ Fest!
SO WHAT: DZ Fest is a gathering of 40 bands ripping into their instruments on two stages for two days of excellent music. The lineup is wonderfully insane as usual including the likes of Ok Cowgirl, Yadda Man, Holly, Lollygagger, Waltzer, and so many more! Check out their event page for the amazing full lineup! There will also be a merchandise tent with band merch, artists from all over selling their artwork, and food from Vogie Eats, Totally Bagels, Mario’s Taco Truck, and Strange Brew Cafe!
NOW WHAT: Admission is $20 per day at the door!

The Billboard by WBEZ’s Natalie Y. Moore @ Abbott Hall at Northwestern University, 710 N. Lake Shore Dr., June 23-July 17, 2022
WHAT: Reproductive justice on Chicago’s South Side.
SO WHAT: As we absorb the full meaning of SCOTUS overturning Roe, The Billboard presents an in-depth look at reproductive rights set at a fictional women’s clinic in the Englewood neighborhood, where politicians weaponize women’s bodily autonomy to forward their careers. The Vagina Monologues creator V (formerly Eve Ensler), said “The Billboard is a provocative and timely play ripe with the political complexities and nuances of our times.” #TrustBlackWomen
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $25 and available at 16thStreetTheater.org and 708-795-6704. Vaccination proof and masks are required for all live events. Copies of The Billboard are available from Haymarket Books.

THE WHOLE SELF-DISTANCING WEEKEND & BEYOND

Weekend Shows @ Lincoln Hall & Schubas, 2424 N Lincoln Ave & 3159 N Southport Ave, various times, 18+
WHAT: A full weekend of amazing shows at Schubas!
SO WHAT: Lincoln Hall and Schubas are some of our favorite venues in the city and they always have something great going on. Check out what’s going this weekend at these great venues!

NOW WHAT: Head out to Schubas & Lincoln Hall and enjoy this great lineup of shows! Please note: proof of vaccination is required for entry to all shows at Lincoln Hall and Schubas in Chicago. Click here for more information on this policy.

Back on the Big Screen and Virtual Cinema @ Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave and at your home, any time you want to watch a movie
WHAT:
A great way to support a great local theater
SO WHAT: The Music Box Theatre is really to fill that art house need in you with some excellent movies including with Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Apples (final day Thursday), Crimes of the Future (final day Thursday) Mad God, Hell’s Hinges Part of: Silent Cinema at the Music Box, midnight screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show and The Room, and more! But if you want to watch some first-run movies at home, you can still watch great movies and support them online! They are currently screening films via their The Music Box Direct series! There are also tons of select titles available on their new platform!
NOW WHAT: Digital tickets are $12, in person screenings vary, so sit back and enjoy!

New Talks and Video Archives @ Various Locations & Chicago Humanities Festival YouTube channel, your favorite browser or YouTube app, any time you want some inspiration, All Ages
WHAT: Interesting conversations with interesting people!
SO WHAT: Chicago Humanities Festival always brings some of the best ideas to the surface with entertaining programming that captures your imagination. Be on the lookout for updates to the upcoming season as their website is constantly updated with new talks. 
NOW WHAT: Head over to take a look at their past events here! You should also sign up for their email list to get updates on upcoming talks in 2022.

Masque of the Red Coronavirus! @ Black Button Eyes Productions, Any time on your computer or mobile device. For 18+.
WHAT: Written by Black Button Eyes Productions producing artistic director Ed Rutherford, this short satirical piece is available online free as a combined script-and-video experience.
SO WHAT: In addition to reading the play, you will see various Chicago artists act out portions of the script on video, recorded remotely. The event includes puppets, burlesque, original music, fire dancing and more in a brief, darkly comedic confection.
With the Red Coronavirus running rampant across the countryside and a vaccine still months away, what’s a Prince to do? Lock himself in a secure bunker in an undisclosed location along with a cohort of his top donors, of course. To prevent him and his rich supporters from becoming bored, the Prince has also brought a few artists into the bunker to entertain the crowd. But as the hour grows later and the night grows weirder, it’s clear that something else has also invaded the party.
NOW WHAT: Settle down for an evening of magical weirdness. Click here and begin reading and watching the videos.

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Julian Ramirez