This weekend marks the 13th iteration of Version, an annual showcase in Bridgeport for people and organizations that work, in the words of organizer—also publisher, editor, gallerist, barkeep, and neighborhood booster—Ed Marszewski, "to make living in Chicago awesome."
Though this year's Version is only eight days long (last year's lasted a month, after which, says Marszewski, "we all wanted to kill ourselves"), there's something happening every day, most of it free. The lone exception is the Mash-Tun Festival, a celebration of craft beer that includes samples of 60 different ales—including some from Marszewski's forthcoming Marz Community Brewery (Sat 6/22, 2-6 PM, Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th, mashtunfest.org, $45).
If you can make it to only one event, Marszewski recommends the opening exhibition (Fri 6/14, 6-11 PM, Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3219 S. Morgan), which introduces the theme of this year's festival: the Urban Operating System—an informal network, based around the use of public space, of people and organizations working for the common good. One hopes it's more stable than Windows. Some of these organizations are volunteer, some are entrepreneurial, and a lot seem to involve bicycling or gardening. Thirty-two of them will be on hand to give brief spiels about their work and to hand out postcards to potential volunteers and donors. At 8 PM, the historical-reenactment outfit A Pocket Guide to Hell will put on an old-time medicine show, complete with free samples of snake oil.
Marszewski also recommends the Spontaneous Intervention tour (Wed 6/19, 2-4 PM, spontaneousinterventions.org), which begins at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 W. Washington) before migrating to a pop-up pavilion in Millennium Park. "It's about how architects and designers are intervening in the city," he explains.
At each version of Version, Marszewski tries to introduce one new permanent addition to the city's cultural landscape. In past years, these have been magazines, including last year's beer journal Mash-Tun, but this year it's going to be a street fair called Above the Pavement (Sat 6/15, 1-7 PM, Maria's and Pleasant House Bakery, 960 W. 31st). Until now, he says, Bridgeport hasn't had any street fairs or flea markets or any other forum for local businesses and restaurants to show off their stuff—and no, the White Sox don't count.
"People should find out what's rad," he says. "Shit's happening in the city. Make shit happen."