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The best things to do in Chicago this week

Find the very best things to do in Chicago this week including cultural events, concerts, festivals and more

Jazzin' at the Shedd
Photograph: Brenna Hernandez Jazzin' at the Shedd
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Summer in Chicago officially begins on Friday, which makes the whole week feel like a celebration of sunny days and outdoor fun. Explore the Shedd Aquarium and then take in a concert set against the skyline during Jazzin' at the Shedd, see a screening of Love, Simon beneath the stars in Millennium Park or run a race with pizza at the finish line during the Gino's East 5K. Once the weekend arrives, you'll have lots of Chicago festivals to choose from, including the Chicago Pride Fest in Boystown, a party featuring Chicago breweries at Ravenswood on Tap and the World's Largest Block Party (their claim, not ours). Plus, the Rolling Stones stop by Soldier Field, the Country LakeShake fest takes over Northerly Island and This American Life host Ira Glass visits the Auditorium Theatre. Find something amazing among the best things to do in Chicago this week.

Best things to do in Chicago this week

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rollingstonesunitedcenter23.jpg
Photograph: cousindaniel.com
Music, Rock and indie

The Rolling Stones

icon-location-pin Soldier Field | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus
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Just a few weeks after postponing its North American tour so that Mick Jagger could undergo heart surgery, the Rolling Stones have announced that it's back on again. Any other aging frontman might have taken a bit more time to recuperate, but Jagger is already posting Instagram videos of himself dancing and strutting like a regular "Jumpin' Jack Flash." The Stones will kick off their No Filter Tour with a pair of shows in Soldier Field, a venue that the band first played in 1978 on its Some Girls tour. The Chicago dates were originally slated to cap off the tour—now they'll serve as a taste of what the British quartet has in store for the rest of the country. As has been the case for the past decade, the Stones don't have any new music to promote (though the group recently released yet another greatest hits compilation), so you can expect a setlist that's heavy on the group's sizable trove of singles.

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Ira Glass
Photographer: Jesse Michener
Things to do, Talks and lectures

“Seven Things I've Learned”: An Evening with Ira Glass

icon-location-pin Auditorium Theatre, Loop
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The voice of WBEZ's This American Life public radio program and podcast takes the stage to share seven things he's learned during his career as an audio storyteller. The evening takes the form of a multimedia presentation, during which Glass will share stories told by Americans from all walks of life, mixing them onstage to give the audience a peek inside of his creative process.

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Chicago celebrates a month of gay pride with all its colors, June 21, 2015.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Pride Fest

icon-location-pin Halsted St, Boystown
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Prep for Chicago's annual Pride Parade with this massive block party, now a highly anticipated, two-day tradition of its own. Situated in the heart of Boystown, the event offers food and drinks from local vendors as well as musical entertainment with strong queer followings.

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Ron Funches
Comedy, Stand-up

Ron Funches

icon-location-pin Thalia Hall | Chicago, IL, Lower West Side
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Once a regular on shows like @midnight and Conan, giggling good-natured comedian Ron Funches is now better known for his podcast, Gettin’ Better. The Los Angeles comic comes to Chicago in his Merriment Marauder Tour, headlining an evening of positive, uplifting jokes and storytelling that should leave you feeling warm and fuzzy inside.

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Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival, June 20, 2015 at Northerly Island, Chicago.
Photographer: cousindaniel.com
Music, Folk, country and blues

Country LakeShake Festival

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
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Country music doesn't get a lot of love on major Chicago summer music festival lineups, but the annual Country LakeShake gives cowboy hat-wearing fans a place to see some of the favorite Nashville stars. Taking place at the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, this year's edition of the county fest features headlining sets from Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. Props to whoever programmed the event's Friday lineup, which is almost exclusively made up of female artists, including Maren Morris (who provided the vocals for Zedd's hit "The Middle") and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina.

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Sauced Night Market
Photograph: Nick Murway
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Sauced Spring Night Market

icon-location-pin House of Vans, West Loop
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House of Vans hosts the spring edition of the Sauced Night Market, gathering more than 30 local vendors (including XO Marshmallow, Plant Shop Chicago, Soothsayer Hot Sauce and Krispyfringe Vintage) for an evening of shopping, sweet tunes and delicious eats. In addition to beer and booze, guests will enjoy cheesey dishes from Mac Dynamite, Mexican grub from Three Legged Tacos and cocktail-inspired sweets courtesy of IntoxiCakes. Plus, Brian Killer and Lisa Gray will take part in a live painting demonstration while DJ Pulaski Squares provides the beats.

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Off-White for Nike, Virgil Abloh
Photograph: Courtesy MCA Chicago
Art, Design

Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”

icon-location-pin Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville
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A Rockford, Illinois-native and a graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology's architecture program, Virgil Abloh's decision to pursue a career in fashion recently landed him a job as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton. The MCA's latest exhibition explores Abloh's career, including his time as creative director of Kanye West, his popular streetwear company Off-White and the various high-profile collaborations he's had a hand in. Throughout the exhibit, you'll find examples of Abloh's work in fashion, music, design and architecture, offering an intimate look inside his creative process. Naturally, you'll also be able to cop some exclusive Abloh-designed threads when you exit through the gift shop. While access to the exhibit is included with your MCA admission, “Figures of Speech” uses a timed ticket system to allow entry to the exhibit. To reserve a specific time slot, you'll need to purchase you tickets in advance through the MCA's website.

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Veggie Bingo
Photograph: Courtesy Hideout
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Hideout Veggie Bingo

icon-location-pin Hideout, River West/West Town
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Each week during the summer, the Hideout's weekly Veggie Bingo game gives attendees a chance to win a jackpot of fresh produce. Local celebrities call the two-hour game every week, and all proceeds benefit one of the city's community gardens. Bingo cards are $4 each or three for $10, and guests are welcome to bring their own snacks. Players can sit at tables inside the Hideout or grab a drink and head outside to the picnic tables and listen as numbers are called over the venue's speaker system. Each week, the proceeds from the game benefit a different community garden overseen by local nonprofit NeighborSpace.

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Tammy and the T-Rex
Photograph: Courtesy Cinepocalypse
Movies, Horror

Cinepocalypse

icon-location-pin Music Box Theatre, Wrigleyville
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If you love genre horror flicks, sci-fi films and other “genre” movies, you'll flip for the lineup of provocative screenings at this year's edition of Cinepocalypse. Taking over the Music Box Theatre for eight days, this fest will screen Verotika, the directorial debut from Misfits founder Glenn Danzig; a special 70mm screening of Total Recall (with actor Michael Ironside in attendance); a newly-unearthed R-rated cut of the Denise Richards movie Tammy and the T-Rex; and a rare 70mm print of the Chicago-set Flatliners. Plus, Riot Fest regulars GWAR will be in attendance to show some of the band's short films and riff on a screening of the 1987 movie Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare

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Millennium Park
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Movies

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Pack your own popcorn, bring a blanket and enjoy another season of free outdoor movie screenings during the Millennium Park Summer Film Series. In honor of the Year of Chicago Theatre, this summer's lineup was curated by 13 local theater companies. Recent LGBTQ teen comedy Love, Simon is this week's movie, programmed in collaboration with About Face Theatre.

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Yo La Tengo
Photograph: Jacob Blickenstaff
Music, Rock and indie

Yo La Tengo + The Minus 5

icon-location-pin Temperance Beer Company, Evanston
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After more than three decades together, stalwart indie-rockers Yo La Tengo are still a band that is full of surprises. The group's latest album, There's a Riot Going On, features songs stitched together from old demos, rejected films scores and stream-of-conscious jams, resulting in one of the trio's most varied collection of songs to date, ranging from subdued folks ballads to droning instrumentals. By the same token, contemporary Yo La Tengo live sets are filled with unexpected moments—yes, they'll probably play "Autumn Sweater," but you might also hear a noisy Velvet Underground cover or a subdued acoustic rendition of a Painful track along the way. Pop rock outfit the Minus 5 (fronted by R.E.M. auxiliary member Scott McCaughey) open this Out of Space show at Temperance Beer Co.

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Photograph: Zach Long
Nightlife, Pop-ups and food events

Rated R

icon-location-pin Music Box Theatre, Wrigleyville
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After a long day (or night) of seeing gore-soaked horror movies and mind-bending sci-fi flicks at the Music Box Theatre's Cinepocalypse film festival, you could probably use a drink. You can find one in the Music Box's lounge, which has been transformed into Rated R, a pop-up speakeasy inspired by the upcoming reboot of Child's Play starring the murderous sentient doll Chucky. Produced by filmmaker Graham Skipper and Meyer2Meyer Entertainment, the pop-up transforms the theater's bar into a toy factory, where Chucky has escaped his box and started carving up some of his fellow playthings (including Barbie, a troll doll and Toy Story's Woody). Guests can order a speciality cocktail (such as a Bloody Martini or a Malört concotion called the Bitter End) and watch classic slasher flicks, listen to the bar's spooky John Carpenter-heavy playlist or strap on a headset and take part in the Child's Play VR experience. You don't have to be attending the Cinepocalypse fest to stop in for a drink, but the creepy decor might inspire you to stick around for a screening.

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Photograph: Ravenswood On Tap
Things to do, Festivals

Ravenswood On Tap: A Craft Beer Street Fest

icon-location-pin Ravenswood and Berteau Aves, Lake View
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The stretch of Ravenswood Avenue that's dubbed "Malt Row" hosts this annual festival, which features drinks provided by the neighborhood's diverse craft brewing scene. The two-day event spotlights beers from Half Acre, Band of Bohemia, Spiteful, Empirical, Begyle and more, plus cocktails from KOVAL Distillery, cider from the Northman and special guest breweries each day. Presale packages go for $35 and include five drink tickets, one axe-throwing pass and a commemorative steel tumbler (plus, you can skip the lines, which is well worth it, if you ask us). Proceeds from On Tap support the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, Ravenswood Community Council and other local nonprofit organizations.

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Photograph: Courtesy Gino's East
Sports and fitness, Running

Gino's East 5K

icon-location-pin Montrose Harbor, Uptown
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Love running AND pizza? The Gino's East 5K is combining your two passions during an afternoon of physical activity immediately followed by a slice of thin crust pizza when you cross the finish line. Participants in the race recieve a "Will Run For Pizza" T-shirt, a pizza-shaped medal and a beer token good for a free pint at any Gino's East location.

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Julien Baker
Photograph: Nolan Knight
Music, Rock and indie

Julien Baker + Wye Oak + Macseal

icon-location-pin House of Vans, West Loop
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Memphis singer-songwriter Julien Baker's lyrics are often so initmate that it's easy to feel like you're privy to her deepest, most personal thoughts. On her recent album, Turn Out the Lights, Baker confronts her fears (the fragility of sobriety, the pain of rejection, etc.) throughout a collection of folk songs overseen by her cresendoing guitar melodies and subtle string arrangements. Performing a free show at House of Vans, Baker curates the evening's opening acts, welcoming Baltimore indie-pop duo Wye Oak and Long Island emo outfit Macseal to the stage.

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Cirque du Soleil: Volta
Photograph: Matt Beard
Theater, Circuses & magic

Cirque du Soleil: Volta

icon-location-pin Soldier Field South Parking Lot, Near South Side
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In its newest show, the French Canadian megatroupe Cirque du Soleil once again delivers the spine-tingling spectacle that is its raison d’être. Strung together by a gossamer-thin plot, Volta incorporates street-style sports like BMX riding and double dutch jump rope alongside traditional circus arts; its themes include smartphone addiction, reality shows and the search for belonging. The action that unfolds in Cirque’s signature tent—currently parked next to Soldier Field—feels fresh and spontaneous, as though it were discovering itself anew at every performance.

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Jazzin' at the Shedd
Photograph: Brenna Hernandez
Music, Jazz

Jazzin’ at the Shedd

icon-location-pin Shedd Aquarium | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus
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The Shedd Aquarium's weekly summer concert series presents a rotating lineup of jazz bands on its scenic lakeside terrace, where attendees can dance, have a drink and get a great view of the Navy Pier fireworks. Guests also get access to the Shedd's exhibition, meaning that you can gaze at the creatures that inhabit the Carribbean Reef, snap a picture of a cute sea otter or touch a sea star.

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Édouard Manet. In the Conservatory, about 1877–79.
Courtesy Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie
Art, Painting

“Manet and Modern Beauty”

icon-location-pin Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park
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Unlike many of his contemporaries in the mid-1800s, French painter Édouard Manet prefered depicting contemporary subjects instead of historical figures and Biblical scenes. In “Manet and Modern Beauty,” the Art Institute collects his paintings of men and women decked out in fashionable attire, rendered with an eye for detail in his distinct impressionist style. The exhibition also includes some of Manet's personal letters, as well as paintings of flowers and fruits (which, aside from stylish women, were among his favorite subjects).

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Ruido Fest
Photograph: Maria Madrigal
Music, Latin and world

Ruido Fest

icon-location-pin Union Park, West Loop
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Moving to Union Park for the first time this summer, Rudio Fest fills a notable void in Chicago summer festival calendar by championing the diverse sounds of Latin American pop, electro and rock en español. Headlining acts on the 2019 lineup include Californian norteño (Mexican polka music) band Los Tigres del Norte and a collaboration between Argentinian pop-rock group Enanitos Verdes and Spanish boy band Hombres G. Other notable performers include Mexican psych-rockers El Tri and experimental pop artist Helado Negro.

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Cobra Starship at Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

World's Largest Block Party

icon-location-pin Old Saint Patrick's Church, West Loop
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While it may not set any world records with its attendance, this annual bash at Old St. Patrick's Church is a beast of a block party, benefiting the institution's social justice and outreach programs. World's Largest Block Party fills a parking lot near the church with food, beer, a bags tournament and music from local cover bands 16 Candles and 7th Heaven. Lock down your ticket before June 10 to score a free drink upon arrival or show up between 5 to 6pm on June 21 for free entry to the event.

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Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles
Photograph: Tarona Leonora
Music, Funk, soul and disco

Cory Henry and the Funk Apostles + Liniker e os Caramelows

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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A former member of jazz-pop collective Snarky Puppy, Cory Henry knows how to coax growling chords and shimmering solos out of a Hammond B-3 organ—a skill that landed him a gig on The Tonight Show after host Jimmy Fallon saw him perform. Accompanied by his backing band the Funk Apostles, Henry shows off his B-3 prowess and his swirling synthesizer chops throughout the R&B-, funk- and gospel-tinged tracks that populate the group's debut album, Art of Love. Expect to see folks dancing in the aisles and the lawn at this free Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert, which begins with a set from Brazilian soul band Liniker e os Caramelows.

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Dragon Boat Race for Literacy
Photograph courtesy of the Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce
Things to do, Festivals

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

icon-location-pin Ping Tom Memorial Park, Armour Square
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Each June, 32 dragon boat teams paddling to the beat of a drum face off against one another on the South Branch of the Chicago River, racing all afternoon to raise money for local schools and literacy organizations. Back on land, attendees can watch the races, visit vendor booths and take in live entertainment (including dancers and musicians) throughout the afternoon.

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Chi-Soul Fest
Photograph: Vocalo
Music, Funk, soul and disco

Chi-Soul Fest

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
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In celebration of Black Music Appreciation Month, Navy Pier hosts that annual Chi-Soul Fest, welcoming local soul music artists for two days of free concerts throughout the waterfront venue. On Friday, Marqueal Jordan hosts the Chi-Soul Sisters Concert on the Lake Stage, with performances from Terisa Griffin, Carol Riddick, Joyce Hurley, Mys Michelle and Simone Green. Saturday afternoon's slate of shows kicks off at 2pm and features a preview of the Silver Room Block Party in Polk Bros Park, local funk group Bumpus and a late-afternoon showcase curated by Chicago trumpeter Sam Trump.

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Photograph: Courtesy Cole's Bar
Comedy, Stand-up

10 Years of Cole's Comedy Open Mic

icon-location-pin Cole's, Logan Square
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It's been 10 years since Cameron Esposito and Adam Burke started the Cole's Comedy Open Mic, welcoming comedians from all over the city (and beyond) to try out their jokes in the small back room of the Logan Square bar. In celebration of a decade of Wednesday night laughs (and a few groans), Cole's is welcoming back some of the biggest stars who have graced the venue's stage throughout June. This week's lineup boasts a surprise special guest as well as sets from local comics Alex Kumin and Sarah Squirm.

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Wand
Photograph: Abby Banks
Music, Rock and indie

Wand + Dreamdecay + Wet Piss

icon-location-pin Sleeping Village, Avondale
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Leaving behind much of the heady prog-rock trappings of its previous records, SoCal outfit Wand's new album Laughing Matter establishes them as the heir apparent to forward-looking, perpetually shape-shifting acts like Wilco, Radiohead and Spoon. Touching on various strains of psychedelia, frontman Cory Hanson and his band transition from noisy guitar and synth freakouts to elegant, spacey ballads that are more grounded than past Wand compositions, but just as adventerous. Seattle punk act Dreamdecay and ‘80s-indebted synth-rock act Wet Piss open the show.

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Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room
Photograph: Courtesy wndr museum
Art, Installation

wndr museum

icon-location-pin 1130 W Monroe St, West Loop
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Step inside one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's famous Infinity Mirror Rooms at this pop-up exhibition, which features installations that blend art and science. The latest "chapter" of wndr museum features a lineup of new installations (giving previous visitors a reason to come back), focusing on works that utilize technology. Among the new experiences are a room lined with LED walls that guests can "draw" on with water, a series of abstract shapes that guests can project images onto and an interactive dance station that replicates and manipulates your moves on a screen. You'll also find a two-story rainbow slide and murals by local artists Mac Blackout and Lauren Asta. The latest iteration of wndr museum will stick around for "limited, yet undetermined amount of time," so squeeze in a visit while the current batch of installations is on display.

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Photograph: Michael Brosilow
Theater

Next to Normal

icon-location-pin Writers Theatre, Suburbs
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For all its soaring rock ballads, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey’s Next to Normal is a perfect fit for David Cromer’s intensely intimate style. The musical, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, plumbs the kinds of psychic and emotional depths that Cromer, a Chicago storefront native turned accomplished Broadway director, excels at bringing to light. In this production for Writers Theatre, Cromer and a top-notch cast deliver a searing and beautifully sung portrait of a family in collapse.

Time Out says
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Art on theMART
Photograph: Joshua Brott
Art, Film and video

Art on theMART

icon-location-pin Merchandise Mart,
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Every night, a 25-story-tall video installation takes over the side of the Merchandise Mart, filling the building's historic facade with vibrant colors and moving images. Harnessing 34 digital projectors, the show features work by a rotating lineup of artists and is best viewed from Wacker Drive or the Riverwalk, between Wells and Orleans Streets. Art on theMART lights up the night Monday through Sunday, with projections beginning approximately 15 minutes after sunset.

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Photograph: Courtesy Evan Jones
Restaurants, Hamburgers

PQM Burger Night

icon-location-pin Publican Quality Meats, West Loop
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On Tuesday nights during the summer, chefs from across the city (and beyond) gather at Publican Quality Meats for a weekly burger night. You'll find a different pair of cooks, restaurants, breweries or bars facing off each week, each presenting a unique patty creation for guests to purchase, accompanied by beer and bourbon specials. The team that sells the most burgers on a given night wins bragging rights and, perhaps, a heated rematch the following summer. Take a look at the complete lineup of PQM Burger Night participants below (and don't forget to bring a friend so that you can try both of the imaginative sandwiches). This week, All Together Now faces off against Ludlow Liquors.

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