Upcoming Downtown Events

Friends of the Chicago River’s Summer Speaker Series on the Riverwalk continues with Dr. Phil Willink of Shedd Aquarium, speaking on invasive species in the Chicago River. 12:15 to 12:45 p.m. on the plaza at McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum. Map. More info.
Today – Performance
Millennium Park Summer Music Series presents Amadou & Mariam (Afro Pop) and Frank Waln (Sicangu Lakota Hip-Hop). 6:30 p.m., Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Cost: Free. Map. More info.
Tuesday – Performance
Music and poetry at St. James Cathedral in downtown Chicago. Poet Richie Hofmann, recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and the AWP Intro Journal Award for Poetry, joins Chicago-based contemporary music collective Ensemble Dal Niente for an evening of performing new works. 5:45 p.m., St James Cathedral, 65 East Huron Street. Free and open to the public on a first come, first served basis. Map. More info.
Tuesday – Outdoor/Rooftop Movie
Millennium Park Summer Film Series continues with Network . In this lauded satire on the news media, veteran news anchorman Howard Beale’s angry televised rant turn into a huge ratings boost for the UBS network, but at what cost? 121 minutes, rated R. Presented on a state-of-the-art 40-foot LED screen. Take a seat at Jay Pritzker Pavilion or lounge on the Great Lawn. 6:30 p.m. Admission: Free. Map. More info.
City Club of Chicago presents John Flavin, Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which drives the creation of new businesses at the University of Chicago and on Chicago’s South Side. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
River North Business Association’s Business After Hours. Here’s your chance to network and at the same time enjoy items from the lunch menu of Ruth’s Chris Steak House. It’s a great way to preview your next business luncheon at at a very reasonable cost. Ruth’s Chris will present a special RNBA Lunch Buffet so you can try everything that you would find on their summer lunch menu, all the while networking with fellow River North business people. 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Ruth’s Chris Steak House, 431 North Dearborn Street. Cost: $25 for non-members. Map. More info.
Chicago Loop Alliance launches its second ACTIVATE event of the year with Wasteland: Dispose and Discover. The 2017 ACTIVATE series invites the public to explore the pulse of daily life that the alley embodies. Art and programming will focus on a different aspect of alley life for each event. Wasteland explores the alley as the space where we dispose of unwanted stuff – and discover discarded objects that continue to hold value. Through a series of interactive art installations using discarded objects and trash receptacles as the primary materials, the event highlights the story of our trash and the alley’s role as garbage hotspot. 5-10 p.m., Chicago Theatre alley. Enter on Benton Place at State Street. Guests who RSVP in advance will receive a complimentary drink ticket for beer, wine, or cocktail at the event. Map. More info.
First Northern Credit Union Presents: Take the Wheel! Get the Best Car Deal! Buying a car is sometimes a difficult and frustrating process, so let First Northern help. In this seminar, you will learn how to negotiate with dealers for the best price, decipher the financing and warranty options, and determine how much car you can afford and need. 5-6:30 p.m., 541 North Fairbanks Court, Lower Level, Suite 120. Map. More info.
Thursday – Performance
Rolling Stones Tribute Hot Rocks performs at NEWCITY. Bring blankets, chairs, coolers, family and friends to this free outdoor concert. 7-9 p.m., 1457 North Halsted Street. Map. More info.
Wednesday-Friday – Performance
Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks tour of Romeo and Juliet kicks off as one of the inaugural events of the new performance lawns at Polk Bros Park on Navy Pier. 75-minute abridged production of the timeless classic brings the most tragic, beautiful love story in Shakespeare’s canon to life. Three performances: Wednesday July 26, Thursday July 27, and Friday July 28. 7 p.m., Polk Bros Park, Navy Pier. Map. More info.
July 31 – Outdoor/Rooftop Movie
theWit’s Movie Monday series continues with The Lego Batman Movie. Presented beginning at dusk at ROOF on theWit hotel, 201 North State Street. Open to the public. Free popcorn. Map. More info.
August 3 – Performance
There are few celebrations in Chicago larger than the yearly Lollapalooza musical festival held in Grant Park, and ROOF on theWit understands that the party does not stop after the last acts perform. The emerging electronic DJ trio, Cheat Codes, who recently collaborated and performed with mega-star Demi Lovato on No Promises, will perform at ROOF on theWit’s over-the-top Official Lollapalooza After Party. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., ROOF on theWit, 201 North State Street. Tickets and table packages range from $50 to $2,000. Map. More info.
August 4
Shoreline Sightseeing and Illinois Office of Tourism present a first-of-its-kind Illinois-Made Cruise featuring food and beverages made in Illinois.

Blaum Bros. Distilling of Galena will sample an assortment of fine whiskeys and vodkas. Whiskey Acres Distilling of DeKalb will bring a variety of farm-to-distillery beverages. St. Nicholas Brewing of Du Quoin will sample favorite summer brews from its line-up of craft beers. Tangled Roots of Ottawa will sample its craft beers featuring locally grown and sourced ingredients.

The evening will include a 90-minute Shoreline cruise on the Chicago River. Chicago musician Owen Stevenson will entertain. Depart Shoreline’s dock at Polk Bros Park at the southwest corner of Navy Pier at 8:00 p.m., returning at 9:30 p.m. Boarding will begin 15 minutes prior to departure. Tickets: $49 per person. Must be 21. Cash bar available. Map. More info.
August 4 – Performance
The post-Lollapalooza party continues with performances from the innovative EDM duo Tritonal. They broke onto the scene with their debut artist album in 2011 and have since collaborated with major acts such as The Chainsmokers and Cash Cash. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., ROOF on theWit, 201 North State Street. Tickets and table packages range from $50 to $2,000. Map. More info.
August 6
Special spy luncheon presentation featuring Francis Gary Powers Jr., the son of the famous CIA U-2 pilot shot down and captured by the Soviets on May 1, 1960. Powers will use his father’s prison letters and journal to provide a first-hand account of life as a high-profile prisoner in Soviet prisons. Event will also include a presentation by Werner Juretzko, a former G-2 Intelligence Service Operative for the U.S. Army who was arrested in action in 1955 by the KGB and STASI during an authorized military espionage mission in East Germany. Juretzko endured five months of brutal interrogations in the secret underground KGB interrogation prison of Berlin-Hohenschönhausen. 11:00 a.m., SafeHouse Chicago, 60 East Ontario Street. Buffet lunch, followed by the presentations. Cost: $25 per person plus tax and service charge. Map. More info.
August 8 – Outdoor/Rooftop Movie
Grab a blanket and join River North Residents Association in A. Montgomery Ward Park for a movie under the stars – Sully. Rated PG-13. All films begin at dusk, weather permitting. To confirm weather-related cancellations, call the Movies in the Parks Hotline at 312-742-1134, go to the MyChiParks mobile app, or find RNRA on Facebook or Twitter. Fresh, hot popcorn is FREE for the first 150-200 people. Chicago Park District prohibits dogs in the south section of Ward Park. Map. More info.
August 15
River North Business Association Welcome Breakfast. A great way to hear all about the benefits of being a member of RNBA. You will hear about the mission of the organization, committee opportunities, and also have a chance to network with other members with your two-minute “elevator speech.” A breakfast buffet is included at this free event. Please register and bring plenty of business cards. 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Weber Grill, 539 North State Street. Map. More info.
August 17 – Panel Discussion
City Club of Chicago presents Passing the Torch: Next-Gen Chicago Innovators. Moderated by Howard Tullman, CEO of 1871 in Chicago. Featuring Sean Chou, CEO and Co-founder of Catalytic, Eileen Murphy, founding English Department Chair at Walter Payton College Prep, and Rishi Shah, CEO and Founder of Outcome Health. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
August 19-20
59th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach serving as show center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Strong in tradition and one of the largest free admission events of its kind, the show headliners include the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. More info.
Through August 20
Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Smoke, nearby, the first U.S. solo exhibition of Mexico City-based artist Tania Pérez Córdova. Exploring the idea of forms becoming memories, objects growing into experiences, and sculptures turning into events, Córdova’s work confronts audiences with partial narratives – what the artist has chosen to show within the formal frame of her work is intended to make you think of what is outside of it.

By embedding a stranger’s SIM card in a porcelain block or an active debit card in a wood-fired clay platter, Córdova’s sculptures contain traces that connect them to an active life elsewhere. As the exhibition title suggests, if there is smoke nearby, then something is burning – even if you cannot see the fire.

Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Map. More info.
Through August 25
Matter in the Margins: Gwendolyn Brooks at 100. This exhibition showcases highlights from the literary archives of Gwendolyn E. Brooks (1917–2000), Illinois Poet Laureate and the first black winner of the Pulitzer Prize. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and selected Saturdays, Poetry Foundation, 61 West Superior Street. Map. More info.
August 26
Dancers of all levels are invited to flock to Millennium Park for the SummerDance Celebration. The festival will feature a full day of dance competitions, social dancing, lessons, and performances by local dance companies throughout the park. Noon to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free. Map. More info.
August 28 – Performance
Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events will honor four Chicago artists and institutions for their contributions to the city’s cultural landscape at the 4th annual Fifth Star Honors. 2017 honorees are hip hop artist and actor Common, celebrated architect Jeanne Gang, artist Kerry James Marshall, and legendary Steppenwolf Theatre Company. A free-admission show and concert will be at 7 p.m. at Millennium Park’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Map. More info.
August 29
Special Olympics: 50 Years Later. Presentation by Justice Anne Burke of the Illinois Supreme Court’s First Judicial District. Prior to her judicial career, Justice Burke was a physical education teacher with Chicago Park District where she worked with children with disabilities. Out of that experience, she went on to co-found the Chicago Special Olympics in 1968. She later served as a director of that organization as it grew to become the International Special Olympics represented in more than 170 countries. 7:30 a.m. reception, 8:00 a.m. breakfast. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
August 30
City Club of Chicago presents Alternative Futures: What will shape Chicagoland’s quality of life and economic prosperity? Joseph Szabo, executive director of Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning. CMAP and its partners are developing ON TO 2050, a new comprehensive regional plan to help northeastern Illinois to implement strategies that address transportation, housing, economic development, open space, the environment, and other quality-of-life issues. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
August 31 – September 3 – Performance
39th Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, a favorite Labor Day weekend tradition in Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street. The festival showcases four stages of free live performances by Chicago’s vast jazz talent alongside the greatest jazz artists from around the world. The lineup of local and national artists includes centennial tributes to Dizzy Gillespie led by Jon Faddis and Ella Fitzgerald, Donny McCaslin Group, George Freeman’s 90th Birthday Celebration, Matt Wilson’s Honey and Salt, Rebirth Brass Band, Willie Pickens, Celebration of Southport Records, Chicago Jazz Composers Collective, Young Chicago Authors, Thaddeus Tukes Quintet, and NextGenJazz Rooftop Stage. More info.
September 6
City Club of Chicago presents Suzet McKinney, CEO/Executive Director of Illinois Medical District. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
September 11
City Club of Chicago presents 2nd Ward Alderman Brian Hopkins. Hopkins was previously Chief of Staff to the Finance Committee Chairman at the Cook County Commissioner’s office. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
September 12
City Club of Chicago presents Richard Monocchio, Executive Director, Housing Authority of Cook County. The agency is credited for transforming its portfolio with multi-million dollar improvements and renovations of 24 housing developments located in suburban communities throughout Cook County. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
September 13 & 16 – Performance
Navy Pier has commissioned world-renowned contemporary artist Nick Cave and international architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang for Here Hear Chicago, a new project that incorporates art, design, and performance. Cave and Gang will present a series of live productions in which Cave’s performers will intersect and respond to a field of dynamic, custom-fabricated objects designed by Gang and her practice, Studio Gang. September 13 – 8 p.m., Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom. September 16 – 5 p.m., Polk Bros Performance Lawn and South Dock. All performances are free and open to the public, with limited, first-come-first-served seating available in the Aon Grand Ballroom. Map. More info.
September 16
Backstroke of the West, the first-ever survey of the work of Chicago-based Iraqi-American Michael Rakowitz. His work explores recent contested social, political, and cultural histories. Drawing on personal experiences and research on these subjects, as well as history and popular culture, Rakowitz creates illustrated objects, installations, and performances that invite viewers to contemplate their complicit relationship to the political world around them, recognizing that hospitality and hostility are interlinked. September 16, 2017 through March 4, 2018. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Map. More info.
September 16
Museum of Broadcast Communications 35th Anniversary gala. Black tie, all-star. Map. More info.
September 18
City Club of Chicago presents Cheri Bustos, United States Representative, State of Illinois, 17th District. Now in her third term, Bustos has focused on job creation, strengthening our economy, and building a stronger middle class. She has been a relentless advocate for veterans and for working women and families, and she has worked with Democrats and Republicans on common-sense solutions to cut government waste, fraud, and abuse so we can strengthen Medicare and expand Social Security. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
Through September 24
The summer blockbuster exhibition Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg at Museum of Contemporary Art. Known for his collaborations with pop icon Kanye West and fashion house Louis Vuitton, and for vibrant anime-inspired characters, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami has blurred the boundaries throughout his career between high and low culture, ancient and modern, East and West. The MCA presents a major retrospective of his paintings, featuring 50 works that span three decades of his career, from the artist’s earliest mature works, many of which are being shown in North America for the first time, to his recent, monumentally scaled paintings. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 East Chicago Avenue. Map. More info.
September 25
City Club of Chicago presents John Yonan, Superintendent, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways. Yonan is responsible for all of CCDOTH professional engineering functions, including the programming, design, construction, and maintenance of the county’s infrastructure assets which includes over 130 bridge structures, over 570 miles of roads, 350 traffic signals, and four Maintenance Districts. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
Through September 30
From the Corners of My Mind, a series of paintings by Montreal artist L’OR, includes urban scenes in Loop and along Chicago River. On display at 3rd Coast Café, 1260 North Dearborn Street. Map. More info.
October 5
City Club of Chicago presents Marilynn Gardner, President and CEO of Navy Pier, one of Chicago’s most visible nonprofits and the Midwest’s leading leisure destination. Since being appointed in 2011, Gardner has been the driving force behind the Navy Pier redevelopment project, a nearly $300 million multi-year effort to update and transform 50 acres of Chicago’s premier urban waterfront space into a spectacular destination. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
October 10
Industry 4.0: Is Your Workforce Ready? Presentation by Jay Timmons, President and CEO of National Association of Manufacturers, the largest manufacturing association in the United States, and Gregory Baise, President and CEO of Illinois Manufacturers Association, a statewide advocacy organization representing more than 4,000 manufacturing companies. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
October 18
City Club of Chicago presents City Clerk Anna Valencia. Valencia oversees one of the largest offices in the city, serving 1.2 million Chicagoans and generating more than $130 million annually. 11:30 a.m. reception, 12:00 p.m. luncheon. Maggiano’s Banquets, 111 West Grand Avenue. Cost: $50. Map. More info.
Got an event coming up in downtown Chicago? We want to hear about it. Send information to news@loopnorth.com. Please include date, time, location, cost, and a URL for more info.

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