Chicago Weekend Events: Soul Train, Street Fests, Air Guitar & More (7/22-7/24)

07/22/2011 01:09 pm ET | Updated Sep 20, 2011

The weather has not been kind to Chicago, or the rest of the country, this past week. As heat indexes climbed into triple digits, sitting inside air conditioned buildings seems to be the only thing one can do. Seriously, though, be careful, take care of each other and click here if you need help locating a cooling center or want to learn more tips for keeping your core temperature down.

If you're planning on braving the still-high, though slightly lower, temperatures this weekend, there are plenty of outdoor street festivals and other events coming up. If you're on the lookout for something cooler to do, there's plenty of that as well.


Wicker Park Fest
In case you aren't quite fested out this summer, Wicker Park Fest will offer a stellar lineup of local and national musical acts at pretty much the best price in town. Among the headliners of this year's festival are WILD FLAG (which includes Sleater-Kinney alum and Portlandia star Carrie Brownstein), Wavves, Blitzen Trapper, Murder By Death and Flosstradamus. Music aside, there will be a whole bunch of food and retail vendors, as is usually the case with such events. If you want to catch WILD FLAG, the band is also playing a sold-out show at Subterranean Friday evening with notable local glam-punk opener Mickey.
Where: Milwaukee Ave. between North and Wood; 773-384-2672
When: noon - 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Price: $5 donation

Open Books Sidewalk Sale
Non-profit bookstore Open Books will host its first ever sidewalk sale, offering thousands of books priced between $1-$3, refreshments, raffle items (from Threadless and other retailers) and, most entertaining, dramatic readings from Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends. Proceeds help benefit the venture's community programs and literacy campaigns.
Where: Open Books, 213 W. Institute; 312-475-1355
When: noon - 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Price: FREE

Sheffield Garden Walk
The forty-third annual Sheffield Garden Walk and Festival, sponsored by the Sheffield Neighborhood Association, features self-guided tours of more than 100 gardens, guided architectural tours of the neighborhood, live entertainment for kids and adults alike (including Soul Asylum and Canasta) and a whole bunch of food and beverage options. This is a festival that has been around for some time and doesn't kid around with its summer fun.
Where: Webster (1000 W.) and Sheffield (2200 N.); 773-929-9255
When: noon - 5:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday
Price: $7 donation, $10 after 3 p.m.


Soul Train Grooves
For a certain generation, the memories of watching Soul Train, the longest-running nationally-syndicated program, on Saturday morning are vivid. Those memories will be further emboldened in a new photo exhibit that will be unveiled Friday night at the Expo 72 gallery space as part of the program's 40th anniversary. The exhibit will be accompanied by weekly happy hour dance parties thrown by a revolving cast of guest DJs through its Sept. 2 closing. Chicago's own Steve “Silk” Hurley will kick off the parties in tonight's offering.
Where: Expo 72 Gallery, 72 E. Randolph; 312-744-6630
When: 5 - 7 p.m.
Price: FREE

Sia, Oh Land, Ximena: A Triple Threat
It's hard to imagine many more talented triple bills of female musicians currently active on the scene. In addition to the Aussie soul-bearing songstress Sia (whose "Breathe Me" ballad will never be forgotten by any Six Feet Under fans out there), this United Nations sort of bill, set to take to the Metro stage, also features Danish singer-songwriter and producer Nanna Øland Fabricius (a.k.a. Oh Land) and Grammy-nominated Mexican singer-songwriter Ximena Sariñana, who will be back in town two weeks later to play Lollapalooza as well.
Where: Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140
When: 8 p.m.
Price: $24


U.S. Air Guitar Championships: National Finals
In what is being billed as "Chicago's premier summer event," the Metro will play host to the national finals of this year's U.S. Air Guitar Championships. Nearly two dozen winners from 18 cities throughout the country will be represented, the winner of whom will advance to the world meet in Oulu, Finland, later this year. Seriously. Want to get a preview of the action? Scroll down to get a flavor of what you can expect from part of last year's national champion, Milwaukee native Romeo Dance Cheetah's winning performance in New York City.
Where: Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-4140
When: 8 p.m.
Price: $20


NEDTalks: Spreading Worthless Ideas
Co-hosted by up-and-coming Chicago comedians Kellen Alexander and Seth Dodson, NEDtalks is a spoof on the similarly titled annual Silicon Valley conference, reportedly proving that "there’s nothing Silicon Valley can do that Chicago can’t do in a lazier and less impressive way." This is the second go-around for this mini-conference, which will offer visual aid-intensive presentations on topics such as "Why it's Better to be Beautiful." These ideas, however "worthless," should go great with this bar's award-winning cocktail concoctions.
Where: The Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee; 773-227-3530
When: 9 p.m.
Price: FREE

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