The Mix: Dance for Life and more cool things to do in Chicago Aug. 6-12

There’s a whole lot of local entertainment options to enjoy online and in person in the week ahead.

SHARE The Mix: Dance for Life and more cool things to do in Chicago Aug. 6-12

Giordano Dance Chicago performs “Tossed Around.”

Gorman Cook

Dance for all

Chicago Dancers United presents its annual event, this year titled, “Dance for Life 2020: United as One.” Over six days beginning Aug. 10, a dozen companies — including Giordano Dance Chicago, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Chicago Dance Crash and Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater — are featured via free video streaming in performances from past years. The celebration concludes Aug. 15 with a virtual event featuring a world premiere choreographed by Hanna Brictson in response to the pandemic, and performed by dancers from Chicago companies. Tickets for the Aug. 15 stream require a minimum donation of $20. Visit


Animated renderings of Dave Alvin and Lou Whitney in “The Center of Nowhere.”

Shaping a sound

The documentary “The Center of Nowhere (The Spirit and Sounds of Springfield, Missouri),” the brainchild of former Sun-Times writer Dave Hoekstra, was released digitally this week on Amazon, Vimeo and cable on-demand networks. The film examines what Hoekstra calls “America’s most overlooked music scene” via an exploration of how the city’s culture and community created a fiercely independent sound that influenced artists around the country. Included are interviews with Brenda Lee, Merle Haggard, Dan Penn, Dave Alvin, Robbie Fulks, Jonathan Richman and Springfield’s own Lou Whitney, a beloved musician, producer and frontman for The Skeletons. For more information, visit


Blue Lou Marini


Blues Brothers fun

The Chicago Jazz Orchestra is putting the band back together with a 40th anniversary tribute to the film “The Blues Brothers” at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at Navy Pier, Grand and Lake Michigan. The free concert features the orchestra plus saxophonist Blue Lou Marini from the original Blues Brothers Band and Chicago singer Opal Staples, who performs Aretha Franklin’s signature songs including “Think” and “Respect.” For more information, visit


Lawrence Brownlee

Lyric Opera of Chicago

Operatic voices

The Lyric Opera’s Ryan Opera Center presents “Lawrence Brownlee and Friends: The Next Chapter,” a free virtual concert celebrating Black artists performing their favorite repertoire including arias and spirituals. In addition to host Brownlee, the performers are soprano Whitney Morrison, mezzo-soprano J’Nai Bridges, baritone Will Liverman and three current Ryan ensemble members: tenors Martin Luther Clark and Lunga Eric Hallam and baritone Leroy Davis. The 90-minute stream is available through Aug. 26 at


David Cale

Sun-Times file

Home as inspiration

Vermont’s Weston Playhouse, a member of the National New Plays Network, has asked 14 playwrights, many familiar to Chicago theatergoers, to pen short plays for “One Room,” a virtual presentation that explores the events of this year by looking at how home is a space of possibility and creativity. The playwrights are David Cale, Andy Bragen, Torrey Townsend, Vichet Chum, Will Eno, Melissa Li, Dael Orlandersmith, Jen Silverman, Charly Evon Simpson, Alena Smith, Noelle Vinas, Else Went, Josh Wilder and Kit Yan. Among the actors performing in the recorded, one-person plays are Marin Ireland, Josh Hamilton, Alfre Woodard and Dana Delany. The free stream begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 7 with a live pre-show discussion with Weston artistic director Susanna Gellert followed by the performances. For more information, visit


The U-505 Submarine exhibit.

Museum of Science and Industry

Science and more

The Museum of Science and Industry has reopened with new attractions including “Superpower Dogs,” a film narrated by Chris Evans about dogs that fight crime and save lives. And while there is always a lot to see at MSI, tours of the Coal Mine and the U-505 Submarine are suspended (the U-505 exhibit remains open), and the Idea Factory and Future Energy Chicago exhibits are closed. Avengers fans will have to wait a bit longer for the highly anticipated exhibit “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes,” which has been postponed to March 4, 2021. MSI’s iconic north doors will be open for entry for the first time in 15 years and there will be food and drink available on the front lawn, where people can picnic. The museum is open 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; admission is free through Aug. 14 with admission after that date $12.95 (ages 3-11) and $21.95. Tickets must be reserved in advance and face masks are required. Visit


Local H

Julia Simone Paul

Drive-in music

The ongoing concert series Live from the Lot turns the live concert experience into a drive-in concert experience this weekend at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, 1999 Springinsguth, Schaumburg. Kicking it off is the tribute band Smells Like Nirvana (7:30 p.m. Aug. 6) followed by glam-metal cover band Hairbanger’s Ball (7:30 p.m. Aug. 7) and alt-rock duo Local H (5 and 8:30 p.m. Aug. 8). Tickets are $50-$90 a car (limit 6 people per car) and must be purchased in advance. Visit

The Latest
The Hornets’ self-restraint paid off as they beat the Vikings 42-29 in the sectional final.
Nikola Vucevic led the Bulls with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Coby White finished with 20 points, and DeMar DeRozan added 19.
The monthly average temperature is predicted to be 39.2 degrees, barely above the record 39-degree average set in February 1882.
WGN metereologist Tom Skilling, namesake of ‘Skilling It,’ was on hand for the unveiling of six newly named snow plows at the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s salt dome. One will be deployed in each of the department’s districts.