The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago June 30-July 6

The annual Independence Day Salute, FitzGerald’s American Music Festival, and the Chosen Few Picnic and Festival are among the entertainment highlights in the week ahead in Chicago.

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The Grant Park Orchestra’s annual Independence Day Salute takes place on July 2.

The Grant Park Orchestra’s annual Independence Day Salute takes place on July 2.

Norman Timonera

Festivals/Family Fun

Navy Pier July 4 fireworks.

Navy Pier July 4 fireworks.

Navy Pier/Gregory Keith Porter

  • Independence Day weekend kicks off with the dazzling Navy Pier Fireworks display beginning at 9:30 p.m. July 2. Arrive early to find a great viewing spot along the pier (or along the lakefront). The fireworks are accompanied by holiday-themed music. (There will be no fireworks there on July 4). Visit
  • After two years of abbreviated events, Chicago SummerDance returns in full force with its eclectic lineup of dance styles from salsa to polka to line dancing and more. Lessons by professional instructors are followed by music and dancing. Through Sept. 17 in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park as well as in many city parks. For a complete schedule, visit
Fest-goers enjoy the International Festival of Life.

Fest-goers enjoy the International Festival of Life.

John E. Bridges Jr.

  • The 29th African/Caribbean International Festival of Life returns with its wide array of reggae and world music, Afro-Caribbean food, games, crafts and vendors. Performers include Shatta Wale, I-Octane, Mr. Killa, Al Hudson & One Way, Roody Roodboy, Stone Love, Tony Wilson and many more. From 2-10 p.m. July 2-4 in Washington Park, 55th and Cottage Grove. Tickets: $20-$60 in advance; $25-$120 at door; children 12 and under free. Visit 
  • Chosen Few Picnic & Festival, a summer event that began as a gathering of friends, is now a long-running salute to house music. Music is provided by the Chosen Few DJs including Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hattchet, Alan King, Andre Hatchell, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn, plus guests. From 8 a.m.-10 p.m. July 2 at Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island. Tickets: $60-$160. Visit
  • There’s an afternoon of family fun at Hyde Park’s annual Fourth on 53rd Parade and Picnic. The parade begins at 11 a.m. July 4 at 54th and Lake Park and wends its way to Nichols Park (1355 E. 53rd) where the festival takes place from noon-3 p.m. with pony rides, magician The Great Boodini, face painting, games and music. Admission is free. Visit


North Mississippi Allstars 

North Mississippi Allstars.

Jason Thrasher Photo

  • FitzGerald’s American Music Festival returns after a two-year pandemic delay. Among the many performers are Son Volt, Rebirth Brass Band, Alejandro Escovedo, North Mississippi Allstars, Marcia Ball, Ike Reilly Assassination, C.J. Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band, Terrance Simien, Aaron Lee Tasjan, Marshall Crenshaw, Robbie Fulks, Joe Pug and many more. From July 1-4 at FitzGerald’s, 6615 W. Roosevelt. Tickets: $50, festival pass $175. Visit
  • Christopher Bell conducts the Grant Park Orchestra in its annual Independence Day Salute at 7:30 p.m. July 2. One of the Grant Park Music Festival’s most popular concerts, it features rousing marches and patriotic anthems including John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever” and the “Armed Forces Salute.” Also, this year, the Grant Park Chorus performs a George Gershwin medley plus “When the Saints Go Marching In,” “America the Beautiful” and more. At Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan and Randolph. Admission is free. Visit
Dwight Yoakam headlines Ravinia on July 2. 

Dwight Yoakam headlines Ravinia on July 2.


  • With his twangy vocals and innovative and exciting song style, Dwight Yoakam made the Bakersfield and California country-rock sound his own. He put his mark on original songs such as “Guitars, Cadillacs,” “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” and “Ain’t That Lonely Yet” as well as covers of Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister.” The rowdy string band sound of Old Crow Medicine Show opens the show at 7 p.m. July 2 at Ravinia, 200 Ravinia Park Rd, Highland Park. Tickets: $49-$115. Visit


Sly Stone performs at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, featured in the documentary “Summer of Soul.” | Searchlight Pictures

Sly Stone performs at the Harlem Cultural Festival in 1969, featured in the documentary “Summer of Soul.”

Searchlight Pictures

  • “In Concert” is a series of 11 films featuring performances that have shaped generations and defined genres including three films by D.A. Pennebaker — the chronicle of Bob Dylan’s 1965 UK tour “Don’t Look Back,” the 1969 documentary “Monterey Pop” and “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” which documents David Bowie’s final performance as Ziggy. Also screening are “Summer of Soul,” Wattstax,” “Woodstock: The Director’s Cut,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Neil Young: Heart of Gold” and more. From July 1-31 at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. Tickets: $12. Visit
  • The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams’ legendary score at screenings of “Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi,” the entry in the “Star Wars” saga in which Darth Vader prepares to unleash the final blow to the Rebel Alliance. At 7:30 p.m. June 30-July 2 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. Tickets: $74+. Visit


  • August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “Fences” is the story of a former star of the Negro Baseball League, who now works as a garbage man in 1957 Pittsburgh, and whose bitterness takes its toll on his relationship with his family. Directed by Monty Cole. From July 1-Aug. 6 at American Blues Theater at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $25-$45. Visit
  • What happens when charming Christy Mahon waltzes into Flaherty’s tavern on the west coast of Ireland and claims to have killed his father with a shovel? Find out at City Lit Theater’s staging of J.M. Synge’s classic Irish comedy “The Playboy of the Western World.” Brian Pastor directs. From July 1-Aug. 14 at Edgewater Presbyterian Church, 1020 W. Bryn Mawr. Tickets: $34. Visit
“Marie Antoinette and the Magical Negroes.” 

“Marie Antoinette and the Magical Negroes.”

David Hagen

  • The Story Theatre presents Terry Guest’s “Marie Antoinette and the Magical Negroes,” a play which explores rebellion and Black liberation through the lens of the French Revolution and reimagines the myth of the lost monarchy and puts it into the hands and mouths of Black people. Directed by Guest. From June 30-July 17 at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark. Tickets: $20. Visit
  • Steep Theatre presents the U.S. premiere of British playwright Simon Stephens’ “Light Falls,” directed by Robin Witt. The drama follows a woman as she sees the lives of her family, her town, her world stretched before her and beyond her. Stephens, an Olivier and Tony Award winner, is an associate playwright at Steep. From July 2-Aug. 14 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont. Tickets: $10-$30. Visit
  • “Homecoming” is a new work by Albany Park Theater Project, the company that devises new plays with its youth ensemble. Now to celebrate its 25th anniversary, ABTP presents a program of beloved creations from years of honoring the immigrant community’s real-life stories. From July 6-23 at Laura Wiley Theater, 5100 N. Ridgeway. Tickets: $15, $35. Visit
Playwirght Vicki Quade (left) and actress Rose Guccione in “Are You Smarter Than Your 8th Grade Nun?”

Playwirght Vicki Quade (left) and actress Rose Guccione in “Are You Smarter Than Your 8th Grade Nun?”

Kat Phillips

  • Vicki Quade’s newest comedy, “Are You Smarter Than Your 8th Grade Nun?,” is an interactive game show where you can prove you were paying attention in school or spent your time daydreaming. Audience members can take part or simply sit back and enjoy the hilarity. From July 1-Aug. 7 at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln. Tickets: $25. Visit


Momenta Dance Company

Momenta Dance Company

Joe Kreml

Momenta Dance Company presents “The Compassion of Wind, Water and Wood,” choreographed by Sandra Kaufmann with live accompaniment by guitarist Mark Anderson. Kaufmann considers the title elements in a healing dance set against the backdrop of the Unity Temple. At 7:30 p.m. June 30 on the terrace of Unity Temple, 875 Lake, Oak Park. Tickets: $25. Visit


Video still from “She Mad”

Video still from “She Mad.”

Martine Syms

  • “Martine Syms: ‘She Mad’ Season One” features Syms’ five-part video series “She Mad” (2015-2021) and marks the U.S. premiere of “The Non-Hero,” the most recent episode in the series. “She Mad” is a semi-autobiographical sitcom about a young Black woman trying to make it as an artist in Los Angeles. Drawing from early cinema, television shows, advertisements, and internet memes, Syms explores the ways Black experiences are constructed on television, in film and online. From July 2-Feb. 12 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. Admission: $15. Visit

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