- Thinkstock photos
Most excellent greetings to you, young traveler. Your choice of reading is wise in anticipation of this highest of holidays: April 20, aka 4/20, aka National Weed Day. I see your eyes glinting with the light of a million Christmases at the promise of a spliff-scented wake-'n-bake-'n-eggs morning.
- Jiayue Yu
- Chad the Bird
But before the celebration can begin, we must go back, back to the beginning, to when it all began: 1971. People were revolutionizing everything that year: sex, movies, rock 'n' roll . . . the TI-30 scientific calculator (without which we would never have known the pleasures of the TI-85, which was all the rage in the 90s 'cuz it looked sexy and you could play Snake on it). But perhaps the most revolutionary revolution of the era was set in motion when, as the legend goes, a group of California chiba-nauts attending San Rafael High School known as the Waldos (as their usual meet-up spot was near a wall outside the school) set about on a Goonies-style treasure hunt to find a fabled abandoned cannabis crop. They embarked on this quest by gathering by the Louis Pasteur statue on school grounds at 4:20 PM, and spoke of the mission in whispers as "420 Louis." Though the Waldos never found that field of dreams, the term "420" eventually circulated into the culture's bloodstream like so much THC.
And now, on this 420, like the Waldos before you, you will set out to become legendary only to realize that the secret stash was with you all along—the real treasure is adventure. Remember, we're all just taco take-out bags on the wind, man. So let this week lift you up, up, and away on a cloud of Schnazzleberry, with events that are as pleasing to the stoned as they are to the sober. NOTE: These events aren't officially connected to 420, National Weed Day, or, like, anything weed related, and these businesses and institutions don't explicitly condone drug use 'cuz they're profesh. This is just a list of activities that may be more fun to do if you happened to be stoned already, OK? So please don't show up expecting to, like, rip hitters in the Museum of Science and Industry, OK? You get me?! Yeah, you get me.
Yoga: Lunchtime As you enter the week of 4/20, you must strengthen your spirit, as it will consume many tacos. Don't worry about being too baked to fully grasp what a sun salutation is, just show up for some relaxing lunchtime yoga and enjoy! Before you leave the homestead, hit some Cabbage Patch from the ol' toke stone and get ready to stretch your mind, body, and soul into new and bewildering shapes. Plus this class takes place at the Old Town School of Folk Music, so you KNOW someone's practicing a djembe or something nearby, so, like, everyone's cool. Thu 4/20, noon, Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln, 773-728-6000, oldtownschool.org, $20.
Closest tacos: Taco in a Bag, 4603 N. Lincoln
Chicago Theatre Marquee Tour A mere 15 bucks gets you access to the vast State Street stage once graced by entertainers Willie Nelson, Cheech & Chong, and other 420 heroes—all of whom have left their Johnny Hancocks on the walls backstage. The train into the Loop has a way of really harshing one's mellow, you know what I'm saying? Maybe it's just those K-9 agents with the sullen-looking German shepherds in muzzles. So if you're prone to freak-a-noia, fire off some chill hits from your Sneak-A-Toke for defense on your way out the house. Daily, noon, Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, 312-462-6300, $15.
Closest tacos: Taco Fresco, Millennium Station, 151 N. Michigan
"Brick by Brick" The Museum of Science and Industry is mounting this exhibit of famous buildings made entirely out of Legos, which is supertrippy cuz, like, how great are Legos, man? Look at sweet re-creations of superfamous buildings and landmarks—like the Roman Coliseum and the Golden Gate Bridge—and rejoice because you already know these buildings and don't even have to build them yourself. Just take a big ol' bong rip of nostalgia as you recall your pajama-clad childhood self, hard at work in your bedroom, assembling various Lego brick sets and then Frankensteining them together into mad automotive inventions that would terrify engineering majors. Only you knew how they worked and how, if people would just take a minute to understand all of their intricate mechanics, they could revolutionize travel—because who wouldn't wanna ride a dinosaur helicopter with gun legs and 12 tires in case of emergency off-roading? Through September 4, 9:30 AM–4 PM, Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore, 773-684-1414, msichicago.org, $12 plus general admission.
Closest tacos: Maravillas Restaurant, 5506 S. Lake Park
Slo 'Mo The city is a steamy, neon-lit jungle, and you're a hard-boiled detective with an iron heart who's trying to solve a homicide. Was it your ex-wife or the drink that finally turned you cold? Only the hand-rolled stick of chocolope hanging from your lips knows for sure. You pass club after club, grinding along crowded sidewalks, but the only thing you want to grind is a crunchy nug into a kief salad so you can get a little more distance from this godforsaken world. Still, you'd welcome a soft touch like you'd welcome a Gatorade in the desert. Find action but no danger at this slow-jamming "party for lovers" founded in 2012 to "cultivate joy on the dance floor." The righteous sax solo of "Careless Whisper" rings out into the sweaty streets. You'll find that killer tomorrow. Thu 4/20, 9 PM-3 AM, the Whistler, 2421 N. Milwaukee, 773-227-3530, whistlerchicago.com, free.
Closest tacos: 2 Amigos, 2320 N. Milwaukee
Lake FX CreativeCon The sun bursts through your curtains and is all "Get up, punk! Do you wanna live forever?!" It's rude but right. You stumble over a collage of brown take-out bags and tin foil, reminders of a taco orgy so intense it could be its own Adult Swim cartoon. But there's no time for regret. Take a business-friendly microdose of Strawberry Diesel and head out to get a little hit of inspiration from the midwest region's largest free conference that convenes emerging artists and creative entrepreneurs in the music, theater, dance, and art and design industries. It might just push you over the cliff into the success ravine. Fri 4/21-Sat 4/22, 10 AM-8 PM, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630, cityofchicago.org, free.
Closest tacos: Broken English Taco Pub, 75 E. Lake
Audio Expo North America Sure, you could keep your stay-at-home clothes on and continue the message-board thread debating whether the vinyl mastering on the 180-gram German reissue of the Kyuss masterpiece Welcome to Sky Valley is in fact "that dope." Or you could get fresh ammo for the dispute at this audiophile's paradise, peppered with 140 listening rooms where you can kick back and sample the industry's latest tech. The interactive exhibit "High-Resolution Audio Perception" purports to answer such profound, life-affirming questions as "How does high-res audio help your entertainment experiences feel so real?" Fri 4/21-Sun 4/23, 10 AM-6 PM, Westin O'Hare Rosemont, 6100 N. River Rd., Rosemont, 847-698-6000, axpona.com, one-day pass $25
Closest tacos: Cilantro Taco Grill, 9509 W. Higgins Rd., Rosemont
Interstella 5555 You know damn well that The Last Starfighter was the spark that started the 80s space-escape craze that peaked with Flight of the Navigator, but your bud's all "Krull!" and you're like, "I thought I knew you!," and he's all "Why are you yelling?!," and you're like "I'm trying to help you!" Do YOU know a better way for the two of you to bury the hatchet than getting kushed and venturing out to the 88-year-old Music Box Theatre for some Japanese-French sci-fi animation that also happens to be the filmic realization of Daft Punk's Discovery? No, you don't. Fri 4/21-Sat 4/22, 11:59 PM, Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, 773-871-6604, musicboxtheatre.com, $9.
Closest tacos: Taco Burrito House, 3038 N. Broadway
Chicago Donut Fest 'Nuff said. Sat 4/22, noon–4 PM, Old Crow Smokehouse River North, 149 W. Kinzie, 773-348-8899, chicagodonutfest.com, $50.
Closest tacos: Mercadito Chicago, 108 W. Kinzie
Champion of the Trees 10K Run You wanted indica but you accidentally bought sativa and now you're up and paranoid—it's time to Jedi the shit out of this morning. Did Luke stop running even though Dagobah was replete with whippy vines and sharp-ass trees? NO! The Force is strong with you, plus you've been living on tacos, so your cholesterol is in the red. No amount of chill is gonna fix that, but this environmentally friendly 10K just might. And after the finish line, you'll get some free recovery food, a complimentary beer, photo booth access, and live music all out in the woods. It's basically Bonnaroo with a shorter train ride home, people. Sun 4/23, 8 AM, Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Rte. 53, Lisle, 630-968-0074, mortonarb.org, $50, $45 Morton Arboretum members.
Closest tacos: Taco Diner, 1036 Maple Ave., Lisle
Vintage Garage season opener Yeah, antique festivals look cool, but have you ever smelled one? They smell like a wizard's house. Take a moment and sniff some righteous oak cabinets, some snappy vinyl chairs, and some rich blankets. And you just know you're gonna find a neon sign that you could watch for hours, so submerse thyself into the rich, tasty antiquities from more than 100 vendors at this north-side staple. Take time for you, yo. It's your time, your adventure. Sun 4/23, 10 AM-5 PM, 5051 N. Broadway, 312-505-6373, vintagegaragechicago.com, $5.
Closest tacos: Carmela's Taqueria, 1206 W. Lawrence v
Chad the Bird is the creation of Josh Zagoren, who can be heard on Chad the Podcast (available on iTunes) and seen every week in the Paper Machete, the live magazine performed Saturdays at 3 PM at the Green Mill.