Embrace the art of the letterpress with the Windy City’s love letter to print culture.
Where: Hubbard Street Lofts
Tip: In the event of sudden writerly inspiration, pop over to the Aberdeen Tap and scribble out your latest character breakthrough over a pint from its generous beer list.
Rumors of print’s demise have been greatly exaggerated, and the bookmakers, artists, and publishers behind the annual Printers Ball are here to prove it. This year’s theme is Trip & Return, a movement-oriented prompt that examines print’s role in everything from traditional books to the worlds of culinary, musical, and visual arts. Learn the ins and outs of bookbinding with an interactive workshop, explore the evolution of the bookmobile with Read/Write Library’s BiblioTreka Mobile Library, or watch artists from the Spudnik Press Cooperative screenprint your commemorative tote bags while you wait. If all that book love becomes too much to handle, grab restorative snacks from Ice-Cubed ice cream and 5411 Empanadas, or simply cool out and listen to free jazz performances curated by Elastic Arts Foundation.
Fiesta del Sol
The Pilsen street fair celebrates its 41st anniversary as the largest Latino cultural celebration in the Midwest.
Where: 1400 W. Cermak Rd.
Tip: For those who can’t resist a ride or seven on the Tilt-A-Whirl, Fiesta del Sol offers a mega pass ($60) good for unlimited carnival rides.
Founded in 1972 as a simple block party in celebration of the Benito Juarez Leadership Academy, Fiesta del Sol has grown into a nationally renowned festival known for its dedication to social and cultural progress. Billed as the largest Latino festival in the Midwest, the four-day celebration highlights the unique intersections of Pilsen’s melting pot with installations such as a neighborhood art pavilion, live music and DJ sets, and food vendors grilling up everything from gorditas to plantains.
Amid all the fun, the festival never strays far from its advocacy roots. When they’re not busy visiting the carnival or chatting with Señorita Fiesta del Sol, festivals-goers can take advantage of civic-minded services ranging from a college fair to booths dedicated to housing resources and immigrant rights.
When you give a street artist a stencil, he’s going to make a work of art. Probably with spray paint.
When: Through Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Vertical Gallery
Tip: Act fast—ˈsten(t)-səl closes its three-week run this Saturday.
Setting up shop in Ukranian Village just this year, Vertical Gallery has already landed one of the summer’s must-see group shows. As its handily phonetic name might suggest, ˈsten(t)-səl shines a light on stencils, bringing the street-art staple into a gallery setting for a show that blurs the already-out-of-focus line separating graffiti from fine-art painting. In addition to bringing in heavy hitters from across the United States (New York’s legendary John Fekner) and Europe (Germany’s massively popular XOOOOX), the show also recognizes Chicago’s contributions to the international scene. Visitors can scope out the latest work by locals including Epyon5 and Left Handed Wave, whose ubiquitous bananamen helped earn him the Best Street Artist nod in the Chicago Reader’s 2013 Best of Chicago reader’s poll.
The Wright 3 Mystery Tour
Unlock Frank Lloyd Wright’s deepest secrets during an investigative trip to Hyde Park’s Robie House.
When: Saturdays, 1:30 p.m.
Where: The Robie House
Cost: $12 for kids; $15 for adults
Tip: After getting to the bottom of the Robie House’s secrets, head around the corner to Powell’s Books to pick up another armload of page-turners.
You’re never too young to start sleuthing. That’s the message of The Wright 3 Mystery Tour, which invites kids and adults alike to explore the hidden world of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House. Upon arriving at the prairie-style masterpiece on the campus of the University of Chicago, groups join up with a grizzled junior interpreter (actually one of the house’s specially trained fifth to tenth graders) for an afternoon of architectural detective work inspired by Blue Balliett’s novel The Wright 3. Along the way, participants catch up-close glimpses of the home’s most iconic features, from its low horizontal lines to its breathtaking panes of art glass.
Studio Ghibli Returns
From a mammoth cat bus to an environmentalist princess, meet the characters of Hayao Miyazaki’s early masterpieces.
When: Friday and Sunday
Where: Gene Siskel Film Center
Cost: $4–$11; consult the theater’s pricing information
Tip: This weekend’s showings feature the latest English dubs of each movie; catch them in their original Japanese (with subtitles) during the festival’s final showings next week.
As the head of Studio Ghibli and one of Japan’s foremost animators, Hayao Miyazaki helped put Japanese animation on the international and critical map with classic films including Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away. This weekend, the Gene Siskel Film Center finishes up Studio Ghibli Returns—its month-long celebration of Miyazaki’s modern-day fables—with two of his most iconic early works.
My Neighbor Totoro (Friday at 6:15 p.m.; Sunday at 3 p.m.) tells the story of Mei and Satsuki, two young sisters whose unlikely friendship with a set of grinning, cuddly forest spirits helps them navigate the uncertainties of their mother’s strange illness. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (Sunday at 4:45 p.m.) trades in Totoro’s pastoral magical realism for full-blown fantasy adventure. In a world ravaged by toxic war, only Nausicaä, princess of the tiny Valley of the Wind, has the will to overcome mankind’s machinations and nature’s deformed terrors to restore balance to a planet in need.