Fun at the zoo
It’s time to reconnect with the animals. The Brookfield Zoo is now open to members and, beginning July 8, the general public. In addition to seeing lions, bears and giraffes, visitors can enjoy the exhibit “Dinos Everywhere!,” featuring more than 40 animatronic creatures from a prehistoric time. Reservations are required; times are available in 20-minute increments from 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Face masks are mandatory and indoor spaces are closed. Admission: $17.95, $24.95; parking $15. Visit czs.org.
• The Lincoln Park Zoo has reopened to the general public. Reservations are required and available every hour from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with a suggested two-hour limit per visit. Face masks are required and social distancing measures are encouraged. All indoor habitats are closed. Admission is free. Visit lpzoo.org.
For the 4th
While there will be no fireworks display at Navy Pier this year, there is plenty of free virtual fun streaming on the July 4 holiday:
• “You can’t stop the house.” That’s the slogan for the Chosen Few Virtual Festival (noon-9 p.m.; chosenfewdjs.com), this summer’s edition of the Chosen Few DJs Music Fest & Picnic. Spinning music are DJs Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn. Special guests include comedian, actor and DJ Deon Cole; Byron Stingily, lead vocalist of the seminal house group Ten City, and singer-songwriter Carla Prather, of Poi Dog Pondering and Mr. A.L.I. Streams from noon-9 p.m. July 4.
• Also there’s a special edition of SummerDance (6:30 p.m.; summerdance.org) with a salsa dance lesson and music by Afinca’o.
• The Grant Park Orchestra (6:30 p.m.; gpmf.org) performs the 1812 Overture, “Stars and Stripes Forever” and more in a recording from 2019.
The Pilsen Community Market, Chicago’s largest Latino marketplace, takes place from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sundays at Plaza Tenochtitlan, 1821 S. Blue Island. While adhering to social distancing guidelines, the market features local fresh food vendors, artisans and food trucks. There’s no live music this year but DJ Diablo will help set the mood. Visit pilsencommunitymarket.weebly.com.
Food fest reboot
The annual Taste of Chicago has morphed into Taste of Chicago To-Go (July 8-12), which follows the tradition of showcasing the diversity of Chicago’s dining scene. An expanded Community Eats program supports more than two dozen neighborhood restaurants and food trucks while also providing free meals to nonprofit organizations serving healthcare and other frontline workers. There are also are online cooking demonstrations with local chefs and a food truck procession (July 8) from downtown to various neighborhood locations. For more information, go to tasteofchicago.us.
Welles and Wells
A Red Orchid Theatre and Porchlight Music Theatre team up for “War of the Well(e)s,” an audio adaptation of a stage play written by Porchlight artistic director Michael Weber and directed by Red Orchid ensemble member Lawrence Grimm. The play tells the behind-the-scenes story of Orson Welles’ 1938 recording of the H.G. Wells novel “The War of the Worlds,” which resulted in a now infamous evening of panic and mass hysteria as listeners thought what they were hearing was a true news report. The cast features 25 actors from around the country. Streams through July 31; tickets are pay-what-you-can. Visit aredorchidtheatre.org/war-of-the-welles/.
FitzGerald’s presents two of its favorite Texas songwriters — James McMurtry and Jon Dee Graham — in “Song for Song,” streaming live at 8 p.m. July 8. For years in a pre-COVID time, the two friends have shared a popular Wednesday night gig at Austin’s Continental Club. Now they bring their Wednesday night music to this FitzGerald’s stream where, on a split screen, the two longtime friends will trade songs and stories. Free, tips appreciated. Visit fitzgeraldsnightclub.com.
Because of the financial and logistical challenges of reopening, most music venues remain closed. But one, The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, is attempting a restart. The legendary jazz club is open from 3-11 p.m. daily with two sets of live music in the evening. But in order to stop the spread of the virus, even the music will have restrictions: no vocal performances or wind instruments; stringed instruments and keyboards only. Plus the house will be cleared between sets as the city has limited patrons to two-hour stays. The Green Mill, 4802 N. Broadway. Admission, $10, $15. Visit greenmilljazz.com.
For the past few months, third-generation magician Dennis Watkins, known for his sellout shows at the Palmer House, has been busy adapting his craft for a virtual audience. His reimagined show, “The Magic Parlour at Home,” promises to dazzle audiences with new and interactive magic and mindreading. And don’t we all need a bit of magic right now? Recommended for adult audiences. At 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in July (additional 9:30 p.m. shows July 3, 10). Tickets: $75. Visit themagicparlourchicago.com.