The Heavy, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound w/Ralph "Soul" Jackson
Noon Saturday at Taste of Chicago; free
The best show at this year's Taste may be at the weirdest time slot. Yes, we know it's early on a Saturday. And yes, we know it's the tourist trap otherwise known as Taste. But you won't be disappointed with these acts. UK ex-pats The Heavy blend a little bit of everything to a boisterous show, and JC Brooks and the boys bring some soul to your Saturday. Renaldo Domino, East of Edens Soul Express DJs, Mr. Greenweedz also add to the funky mix.
National 40-Ounce Week/Heckler Party
10 p.m. Friday at The Fifty/50; $9.99
Celebrate the end of National 40-Ounce Week at this Wicker Park bar by drinking $5 Mickey's 40s. If that's not enough, you can win some great Cubs swag and party with satirical sports publication The Heckler. Buy tickets early and you get a Heckler fan pass, a free 40, a shot of tequila and entry in the Wrigley rooftop raffle.
Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival
Wednesday-Sunday at Community Park in Lisle; $5
With the city canceling its big fireworks display this year, why not head out to Lisle for some good ol' country fun. In addition to fireworks shows all weekend, check out the adjacent free carnival. And the star attraction -- hot-air balloon launches -- are just a buck a ride all weekend.
Through Saturday at Stage Left Theatre; $12-$25
It's your last chance to take the leap with this festival of five politically aware new plays. The scripts, which will be presented as workshop productions, cover everything from beauty compliance (Mia McCullough's "The Face of a Ruined Woman" to truckers' unions (Jayme McGhan's "Mother Bear"). It's the perfect way to make your summer theater experience a little less fluffy and a little more fiery.
Porn on the 4th of July
10 p.m. Saturday at Vision Nightclub; $10-$15; get tickets here
The 11th annual event is sure to start some fireworks for your holiday weekend. Porn star (and current "Entourage" babe) Sasha Grey makes an appearance, and DJ Johnny Chaos will handle the music. There will also be "entertainers" from Pink Monkey and products available from Lover's Playground.
If you're looking for a little more G-rated fireworks show, check out our handy guide to July 4 shows.