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Chicago Calendar

Chicago Event Calendar

The Featured Five

The Chicago Botanic Garden: For a nice leisurely drive and then a walk through beautiful gardens, head north and then east to the Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe. Admission is free. No pets allowed, except for service animals. Parking fees vary. Check the website. Bring your camera. Picnic area. Outdoor cafe, dependent on weather. 847-835-5440 or www.chicagobotanic.org.

2nd Fridays: 2nd Fridays in the Chicago Arts District, 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 10. Join the 30 creative spaces in the Chicago Arts District at South Halsted and 18th Streets, as they showcase an exciting display of art and artists from Chicago and beyond. This unique art community opens its doors, free of charge, and lets you get up close and personal with the art and artists. Pick up a map at the information center at 1821 S. Halsted and explore the city’s most vibrant art community. www.chicagoartsdistrict.org.

American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian, presents the musical contributions of U.S. Latinos from the 1940s to the present, exploring the social history and individual creativity that produced stars like Tito Puente, Ritchie Valens, Celia Cruz, Carlos Santana and Selena. Aug. 4 through Oct. 7 at the new PRAA /U.S. Bank Exhibit Hall, 2958 N. Milwaukee Ave. Admission is free and free parking is available at U.S. Bank. For group and school tours, 773-342-8865. www.praachicago.org.

Kevin Nealon at Laugh Factory: You know him from SNL, Weeds and movies and more. His second Showtime special “Whelmed…But Not Overly” premiers Aug. 4. Nealon performs at 8 and 10 p.m. Aug. 10 and 11 at the Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway. Link to buy tix: http://bit.ly/A5R0sI. Purchase tix at 773-327-3175.

Life in Space?: School starts in a few weeks. Check out this exhibit now at the Museum of Science and Industry. It’s included in general admission. Did Mars ever harbor life? What would it take for humans to live on the Moon? Could space colonization soon become a reality? Visit this new exhibit and draw your own conclusions. In the Museum’s Lower Court gallery spaces, one gallery will feature one of the only full-scale models of the Curiosity space rover developed by NASA to explore Mars--and scheduled to land on the Red Planet Aug. 5. In the other gallery see the structure full of plant life grown using hydroponics (in nutrient-rich water without soil). Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street and Lakeshore Drive. 773-684-1414 or www.msichicago.org.

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Quick Notes

Crowns: Goodman Theatre adds eight performances of Regina Taylor’s hit musical Crowns in a one-week extension through Aug. 12. Tickets for the additional performances, $29 to $88, are now on sale and can be purchased at www.GoodmanTheatre.org/Crowns, at 312-443-3800 or at the box office, 170 N. Dearborn.

Sounds of Summer: Merit School of Music hosts its first-ever Musical Block Party between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Aug. 4. Merit will close down Peoria St. between Madison and Monroe streets in the West Loop and open its doors to welcome music lovers of all ages. Musical genres range from classical to jazz to bluegrass. Merit’s Associate Board, a group of young Chicago-area professionals committed to supporting the school through awareness and fundraising, is hosting the free event, and University of Illinois Hospital and Health Science Systems is a sponsor. All ages are invited. Learn more about the school at www.meritmusic.org.

Circus Zirkus—Where You’re the Star of the Show: The exhibit at the Chicago Children’s Museum allows children to shine through performances, back stage preparation and behind-the-scenes action. Kids can practice circus skills, dress up in costumes, create posters and prepare to perform. In the performance area, visitors can sell tickets, perform in the center ring, buy or sell “concessions,” and watch others clown around. Circus Zirkus is free with the purchase of admission to Chicago Children’s Museum. Ends Aug. 12. At Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand Ave., www.ChicagoChildrensMuseum.org for more info about the museum.

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Metra’s $7 Weekend Pass: Weekend passes are good for unlimited rides on both Saturday and Sunday for all stations. Weekend parking is available at all stations. Note: Boat taxis are available from Union Station to Navy Pier and/or the museum campus, Chinatown and other points along the river or lakefront. Reasonable pricing and fun.

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