The Mix: Cool things to do in Chicago July 21-27

The Pocket Jazz Festival, Cat Video Fest, Wicker Park Fest and the Bantu Festival are among the highlights in the week ahead.

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Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum — actor Michael C. Hall, Peter Yanowitz (of the Wall Flowers) and Matt Katz-Bohen (of Blondie) — headline Metro on July 24.

Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum — actor Michael C. Hall, Peter Yanowitz (of the Wallflowers) and Matt Katz-Bohen (of Blondie) — headlines Metro on July 24.

Shervin Lainez


  • Open Space Arts stages the world premiere of “The Kramer Project,” directed and adapted by David Zak from Larry Kramer’s speech “The Tragedy of Today’s Gays.” In 2004 demoralized by the election of George W. Bush and his moral values campaign, playwright and gay rights activist Kramer gave what he called “the most difficult speech I ever had to give.” In the wake of Donald Trump’s presidency, Zak revisited the speech and “found it still vibrant and stirring.” From July 22-31 at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. Tickets: $10-$30. Visit
Debbie Baños in “American Side Efectos.”

Debbie Baños in “American Side Efectos.”

Shannon Leigh Webber Photo

  • The New Coordinates return to live performances with a workshop production of Debbie Baños’ bittersweet memoir “American Side Efectos,” a raucous and ruthless dive into the American Dream. After performing the show solo in 2021, Banos is now expanding and deepening the storytelling to include an ensemble of actors. Directed by Esteban Arevalo Ibanez. From July 22-31 at The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee. Tickets: pay-what-you-can. Visit
  • Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre presents Lisa B. Thompson’s satirical comedy “The Mamalogues,” an evening of monologues about the agonies and joys of parenting while Black, unmarried and middle-class. Directed by Tim Rhoze. From July 23-Aug. 7 at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes, Evanston. Tickets: $30. Visit
“A Mild Goose Chase.” 

“A Mild Goose Chase.”

Nina D’Angier Photo

  • Free Street Theater in partnership with The Chi Clowns presents “A Mild Goose Chase,” a family-friendly show about memory, grief and loss as a young girl faces challenges and obstacles as she searches for the friend she lost in a storm. Free performances are July 26-29 in city parks. For a complete list, visit
  • Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow is an international troupe of sideshow freaks and circus performers featuring acrobats, sword swallowing, fire breathing, juggling, magic and illusions all set to rock music. At 8 p.m. July 27 at Arcada Theatre, 105 E. Main, St. Charles; 8 p.m. July 28 at Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner, Des Plaines. Tickets: $29. Visit and


Burnt Sugar. photo by Sarah M. Golonka

Burnt Sugar.

Sarah M. Golonka Photo

  • Hothouse celebrates its 35th anniversary with the Pocket Jazz Festival, an all-ages event featuring performances by Trio W.A.Z. with Ronnie Malley; the Fred Jackson Quintet, and Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber, the New York-based ensemble that freely juggles an experimental mix of soul-jazz-hip hop. Plus, make wearable art jewelry with artist Mikael DiFiore. Poet Tate Betts emcees. From 3-7 p.m. in the yard adjacent to 3953 S. Michigan. Admission is free. Visit
  • Actor Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Peter Yanowitz (of the Wallflowers) and Matt Katz-Bohen (of Blondie) are Princess Goes to the Butterfly Museum. The New York City-based trio met while performing together on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” They’ve used their love of rock and electronic music to find their own creative mix — a swirl of glam, experimental and ambient sounds. At 8 p.m. July 24 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark. Tickets: $25, $30. Visit
Taylor Bennett. photo by Brooklyn Wheeler

Taylor Bennett

Brooklyn Wheeler Photo

  • Taylor Bennett, the 26-year-old younger brother of Chance the Rapper, celebrates his recently released album, “Coming of Age.” The new songs showcase his unlimited range blending alternative, rock, hip-hop and R&B. At 7:30 p.m. July 22 at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. Admission is free. Visit


  • “Tom Sachs Furniture” is an exhibition of objects and furnishings by the sculptor and visual artist. The handmade furniture shows evidence of each piece’s construction thus telling the story of its making. Sachs allows the viewer to reflect on the objects we buy and have and reminds us everything is art. Through Sept. 4 at Stony Island Arts Bank, 6760 S. Stony Island. Admission is free. Visit
Chris Pappan (KanzaOsage, Lakota), ‘“...Of White Bread and Miracles (Ghost Dance),” 2022.

Chris Pappan (KanzaOsage, Lakota), ‘“...Of White Bread and Miracles (Ghost Dance),” 2022

Courtesy Hyde Park Art Center

  • In the exhibit “Language Between Two Worlds,” artists Nyame Brown, Bethany Collins, Nicole Marroquin, Chris Pappan and Jessica Vaughn devise their own language of symbols, visual cues and narrative structures that expose and subvert the racial inequality woven into American society. Whether fact or folktale, the stories they choose to tell are revived through a modernist or conceptual approach and directly connect the past to the future. To Oct. 29 at Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 S. Cornell. Admission is free. Visit



Courtesy of the Fest

  • Cat Video Fest is the annual compilation of unique feline footage culled from hours of submissions and sourced animation, music videos and classic internet kitties. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Red Door Animal Shelter. Kittens will be onsite and ready for adoption at the July 26 screening. At 1:30 p.m. July 23-24, 7:15 p.m. July 26 at Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. Tickets: $11. Visit

Festival Fun

Wicker Park Fest.

Wicker Park Fest.

Courtesy of Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce

  • The lineup for Wicker Park Fest features performances by Local H, NNAMDI, Cherry Glazerr, Caroline Rose, The Happy Fits, Michelle, Y La Bamba, The Spits, Armand Hammer, Tom the Mail Man and much more. Plus, food from area restaurants, arts and crafts and retail vendors. From 5-10 p.m. July 22, noon-10 p.m. July 23-24 on Milwaukee from North to Paulina. Suggested donation: $10. Visit
  • It’s all about pies, the pizza kind, when Steve Dolinsky, aka The Food Guy on WMAQ-Channel 5 and an expert on Chicago pizza, brings together 39 of the area’s best pizza makers for the Chicago Pizza Festival. Chefs will use 10 massive ovens to bake their pies, ranging from Chicago tavern-style squares to Detroit-style slices. There’s also pizza-themed art and seminars with chefs and experts from across the country. From noon-9 p.m. July 23-24 at Plumber’s Union Hall, 1395 W. Randolph. Admission, $59, $89 festival pass. Visit
  • Taste of Lincoln Avenue returns with live music, arts and crafts vendors and food. Plus, Whiskies on Lincoln offers a sampling session at Delilah’s Bar ($25). From 3-10 p.m. July 22 and noon-10 p.m. July 23-24 on Lincoln between Fullerton and Wrightwood. Admission: $10. Visit
Sundays on State. Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance

Sundays on State.

Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance

  • State Street closes to car traffic for Sundays on State, which features live music, dance performances, art, shopping and more. Among the many performers on July 24 are Cash Box Kings, Real Pretenders, Trinity Irish Dancers, Ayodele Drum and Dance, Ballet Folklorico Xochitl. From 11 a.m.-6 p.m. July 24, Aug. 7 and 21 and Sept. 4 on State between Monroe and Lake. Admission is free. Visit
  • Open Books Block Party, presented by the literacy organization of the title, features free refreshments and children’s books, arts and crafts, music, bike raffles, giveaways and more. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. July 23 at Open Books Pilsen, 905 W. 19th. Admission is free. Visit
  • Bantu Festival is a family-friendly, multi-cultural event that features food from more than 30 countries, music, drum and dance, children’s activities, arts and crafts and more. From 10 a.m.-10 p.m. July 23-24 at Midway Plaisance, 60th and Ellis. Tickets: $5-$80. Visit
  • Highwood Days Taco Fest features a carnival with rides and games, live music, a fun run and, of course, tasty tacos. From 5-11 p.m. July 21-22, noon-11 p.m. July 23 and 1-9 p.m. July 24 at Everts Park, 111 North. Visit
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