Hyde Park sculptor Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford and South Shore multimedia artist Faheem Majeed launch their gallery on a barge, which stops in four locations along the Chicago River and Lake Michigan with the goal of carrying art and culture across neighborhood lines. See “Floating Museum Carries Arts and Culture Across Neighborhood Boundaries.”
Details:Various venues. Free. thefloatingmuseum.com
This Haitian Canadian producer had a breakout year in 2016: His debut album, 99.9%, was a competent, one-of-a-kind release chock-full of smart house and hip-hop beats, with guest stars including Little Dragon, BadBadNotGood, and Chicago-bred Vic Mensa. Only 24, Kaytranada has already carved out an inimitable sound by way of high-profile collaborations. Catch him flying solo at this clubby Lolla after-show.
Details:Concord Music Hall. 8 p.m. $27. ticketfly.com
Windy City Rubber Duck Derby
Each year, a flock of more than 60,000 rubber waterfowl makes its way down the Chicago River—and this year, the lucky duck that’s first across the finish line nets its owner a shiny new Chevy Equinox. The race raises funds for Special Olympics Illinois; “adopt” a single duck for five bucks or two dozen for $100. Gawking, of course, is free.
Details:Columbus Bridge. 10 a.m. duckrace.com
It looks like there’s no turning back: After adding a fourth day in 2015 in celebration of its 25th anniversary, Lollapalooza seems primed to run that length for the foreseeable future—or, at least, until organizers figure out how to make it five. This year’s lineup sports a bevy of crowd-pleasing headliners, including Chance the Rapper, Run the Jewels, the Killers, Muse, Lorde, and Blink-182.
Details:Grant Park. Sold out; see resellers.
This Old Dog, the third album by indie rock’s most lovable slacker, is his most groove oriented yet. A close listen reveals an album indebted to the likes of Steely Dan and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Case in point: “One More Love Song,” a slinky standout that’s the perfect track for peak summer.
Details:Concord Music Hall. 10 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.
On a pair of what might be swimming-in-humidity August evenings, the Grant Park Orchestra plumbs Debussy’s La Mer (The Sea) and Mendelssohn’s Calm Sea and Prosperous Voyage. The orchestra also welcomes François Leleux, one of the world’s outstanding oboists, for Richard Strauss’s oboe concerto in D Major.
Details:Harris Theater. Free. gpmf.org
Baudelaire in a Box
It’s taken nearly eight years for Theater Oobleck to complete this 13-part song cycle, which incorporates theatrical representations of poet Charles Baudelaire’s 1857 volume Les Fleurs du Mal. The August 5 performance takes over Links Hall in a 15-hour marathon, with refreshments. Dabblers and dilettantes can attend excerpts on Friday and Sunday.
Details:Links Hall. $20–$50. theateroobleck.com
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Pulse Theatre takes on Edward Albee’s eviscerating classic, breaking with decades of tradition by casting the starring couple as African Americans. Over the course of a long, boozy night, George and Martha strike fear in the hearts of their young guests with a scorched-earth agenda of mind games that nobody can hope to win.
Details:Pulse Theatre Company at City Lit Theater. $20. pulsetheatrechicago.com
Evanston + Vicinity Biennial
It may call Evanston home, but this biannual affair is among the best showcases of emerging Chicago artists. A highlight this year: portraitist Riva Lehrer’s full-body rendering of disability activist and kink enthusiast Carrie Sandahl.
Details:Evanston Art Center. Free. evanstonartcenter.org
Slow & Low: Community Lowrider Festival
If you haven’t seen a lowrider car bounce to life in person, this annual Pilsen gathering is your chance. Now in its sixth year, the daylong show brings together hundreds of the highly customized hydraulic autos, which at their most active evoke animated sculptures.
Details:Loomis and Cermak. 11 a.m. $5. chicagolowriderfestival.com
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
James Levine may have retired from the Boston Symphony and the Met, but he’s keeping busy, teaming up with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra three times in 13 months. Here he leads the CSO, the Symphony Chorus, and a head-turning group of soloists—the charming bass John Relyea, North Shore native son Matthew Polenzani, and soprano-to-watch Nadine Sierra—in Haydn’s oratorio Creation.
Details:Ravinia. 8 p.m. $10–$90. ravinia.org
The Pearl Fishers
Near North Side
For the after-work series Rush Hour, Lyric Opera’s training center lets loose its new recruits to preview one of next season’s main-stage operas, Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers. Because even a shortish opera needs a lot more shortening to squeeze into 30 minutes, the singers perform only highlights.
Details:St. James Cathedral. 5:45 p.m. Free. rushhour.org
Macbeth meets high school in Jiehae Park’s play, which focuses on a pair of twins vying for spots in the Ivy League. Killer academics are just the beginning for two sisters who will stop at nothing to achieve their ambitions.
Details:First Floor Theater at Berger Park Coach House. $10. firstfloortheater.com
The world premiere of Dan Collins and Julianne Wick Davis’s new production—a musical take on the Oscar-winning movie of the same name—follows a 13-year-old boy coming out in 1981. Director Marc Bruni (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical) helms a production with Broadway aspirations.
Details:Writers Theatre. $35–$80. writerstheatre.org
The ebullient pianist takes on Rachmaninoff’s dizzyingly difficult Piano Concerto No. 3, the piece that catalyzes the protagonist’s breakdown in the movie Shine. He reiterates the Russian theme with Shostakovich’s anguished Symphony No. 10, a portrait of the Stalin years in the Soviet Union.
Details:Ravinia. 8 p.m. $10–$75. ravinia.org
The Fly Honey Show
Now in its eighth year, Erin Kilmurray’s bawdy, sex-positive variety show has grown into a 300-person affair featuring dance, comedy, drag, music, and poetry. Read more in “The Fly Honey Show Turns Up the Heat.”
Details:Den Theatre. $20–$80. theflyhoneyshow.com
Once a staple of the late-night standup circuit (he still pops up on Conan and @Midnight from time to time), Funches, with his expert timing and trademark delivery, has earned a variety of voice-acting gigs, including stints on cult favorite shows BoJack Horseman and Adventure Time. Here, the native Chicagoan brings his freaky-calm demeanor back to the stage.
Details:Thalia Hall. 7:30 p.m. $26. thaliahallchicago.com
The Piano Man’s summer engagements at Wrigley Field have become the stuff of legend. For three years straight, Joel has rolled through the Friendly Confines with hours-long, hit-filled supersets, occasionally bringing along surprise guests (see Amy Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence dancing onstage to “Uptown Girl” in 2015). Take part in what’s fast becoming a Chicago tradition.
Details:Wrigley Field. 8 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.
Grant Park Music Festival
This summer-long soiree has a reputation for championing world premieres. Here, a horn concerto by the decorated Aaron Jay Kernis (winner of Rome, Grawemeyer, and Pulitzer honors) sounds its call, played by the in-demand Jonathan Boen.
Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. $25–$75. gpmf.org
The Fest for Beatles Fans
With Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reaching its 50th anniversary this year, Beatles buffs have a lot to celebrate. This traveling fan fest provides the perfect opportunity, with three days of panels, a massive collectibles market, and performances by some of the world’s top Fab Four tribute acts, capped with a live performance of Sgt. Pepper’s by the convention’s staff band.
Details:Hyatt Regency O’Hare. $23–$175. thefest.com
Ginza Holiday Festival
Near North Side
Every year, Nipponophiles and newcomers alike flood the Midwest Buddhist Temple grounds for a celebration of Japanese cuisine and culture. Snack on traditional favorites, like chicken teriyaki skewers, while perusing artisanal Japanese crafts by the Waza, a federation of Japanese artisans.
Details:Midwest Buddhist Temple. $5. ginzaholiday.com
It’s been 16 years since this macabre musical, about disobedient children who meet gruesome ends, first ran here. Now it’s back, again starring the Tiger Lillies—the cult British trio who performed in the 2001 version. As in the original, circus stunts and puppeteers take the stage for a tale that’s akin to an R-rated Lemony Snicket tome.
Details:Black Button Eyes Productions at Athenaeum Theatre. $17–$32. blackbuttoneyes.com
Sophie Treadwell’s drama, penned in 1928, takes its inspiration from the life of Ruth Snyder, the first American woman to be sentenced to death by electrocution. The show opens with the antiheroine, Helen, trapped in a dead-end job and a loveless marriage—until she breaks free in an explosive act of violence that both liberates and dooms her.
Details:Greenhouse Theater Center. $20–$35. greenhousetheater.org
The first independent video game to come out of Cuba is as much an interactive artwork as it is a playable experience. As the gothic world unfolds, the very game itself begins to fail and disintegrate—a commentary on the political circumstances of the game’s creation. Josuhe Pagliery and Johann Armenteros are responsible for the abstract dream world, visitable at Chicago’s first permanent gallery dedicated to the art of video games.
Details:VGA Gallery. Free. videogameartgallery.com
Placemaking and Landmarks: The Creation of Mexican Spaces in Chicago
The Polish face of Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood changed in the early 20th century as it received an influx of Mexican immigrants. This group show presents the work of artists who documented the changed community in printmaking and photography, focusing on people and spaces that welcomed the newcomers (spiritual and sports centers, schools, shops). The enclave’s present-day gentrification also shares the stage.
Details:National Museum of Mexican Art. Free. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org
Arlington International Racing Festival
Dust off your derby pastels: This year marks the 35th running of the Arlington Million, the first stateside horserace to offer a $1 million purse to the winner. While the race is as pulse-pounding as ever, the fest has evolved into an all-day affair with live music before and after the main event.
Details:Arlington Park. 12:15 p.m. $30. arlingtonpark.com
His Majesty’s Men
The countertenor Richard Childress rechristens His Majestie’s Clerkes as His Majesty’s Men, a supergroup of six male singers, bass to countertenor, drawn from Britain and the United States. Here they sing Renaissance and contemporary works, including John Tavener’s Village Wedding.
Details:St. John Cantius Church. 7:30 p.m. $15–$25. facebook.com/hismajestysmen
Thirsty Ears Street Festival
Even the most enthusiastic street revelers tire of the same few bands working the street-fest circuit all summer, so Access Contemporary Music invites classical ensembles to perform in front of one of its music schools. The festival, expanded to two days this year, teems with chamber groups that you would pay much more to hear in venues where you can’t also down beer and grub.
Details:Wilson between Hermitage and Racine. $5 suggested donation. acmusic.org
Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill
Jazz vocalist Mardra Thomas stars in Lanie Robertson’s musical bio of Billie Holiday. The score, which includes “Strange Fruit,” “God Bless the Child,” and “When a Man Loves a Woman,” is a sublime backdrop for a bittersweet life story.
Details:Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre at Noyes Cultural Arts Center. $15–$20. fjtheatre.com
Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert
Musical theater geeks, rejoice. Janet Davies hosts a sampler of show tunes performed by the cast members of Broadway in Chicago’s season, including Aladdin, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Motown: The Musical, Les Misérables, Wicked, School of Rock, Love Never Dies, and Escape to Margaritaville.
Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 6:15 p.m. Free. broadwayinchicago.com
The thorough and thoughtful pianist continues his three-season grand tour of Beethoven’s piano sonatas at Ravinia. He’ll knock out 10 and leap around the chronology, visiting the composer’s early, middle, and late periods in each concert. Those hoping to truly binge-listen to the set have to wait until 2020, when Biss plans to issue his ninth of nine recordings.
Details:Ravinia. $10. ravinia.org
Belle and Sebastian with Julien Baker
In increasingly tumultuous times, this Scottish band’s winsome, heartfelt tunes ring truer than ever. They have no new music to tour behind, but you can revel in the septet’s best songs from their long and impressive discography. Arrive early for opener Julien Baker, the Memphis folksinger whose haunting music punches square in the gut.
Details:Chicago Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $38–$48. ticketmaster.com
Near West Side
One of his generation’s most charismatic performers, this golden-voiced pop star has made a career applying his glistening tenor to a variety of genres. Having dabbled in doo-wop and soul, Mars immersed himself in funk on 24K Magic, his third studio album and first since releasing the global earworm “Uptown Funk.” Expect an explosive full-band performance and Mars’s signature, tightly choreographed dance moves.
Details:United Center. Sold out; see resellers.
The hip Brooklyn-based chamber orchestra breaks with chronological programming convention, shuffling works by the contemporary composer John Adams with Henry Purcell’s Fantasia Upon One Note and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40. Star mezzo-soprano Susan Graham also sings a few tunes with them.
Details:Ravinia. 7:30 p.m. $10–$60. ravinia.org
This Conor McPherson drama is part ghost story, part love story, and part historical thriller. Set in 1822, the show follows a rural Irishwoman who marries an English lord to save her family’s declining fortunes. Factor in a case of ESP, and you’ve got an arranged marriage fated for supernatural trouble.
Details:Idle Muse Theatre Company at Edge Theater. $10–$20. idlemuse.org
Beethoven Symphony No. 9
The Grant Park Music Festival goes big with a summer finale that marshals the festival’s orchestra and chorus for Beethoven’s magisterial Ninth, also known as the “Choral” Symphony. Both the chorus and the audience sit listening to some of the world’s great orchestral writing over the first three movements and much of the fourth before the über-famous hymn to universal brotherhood, “Ode to Joy,” brings them all together.
Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. $25–$95. gpmf.org
The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Kristoffer Diaz’s Pulitzer finalist is a pummeling satire of professional wrestling and the culture that helps it thrive. In the ring, the characters are pure stereotype: a swarthy villain, a hapless sap, and an all-American hero fighting for truth and justice. Together, they tell the story of an alternate world where the fights are fixed—and the audience wouldn’t have it any other way.
Details:Red Theater Company at 1802 W. Berenice. Free. redtheater.org
Dance for Life
Jessica Miller Tomlinson remounts her 2011 piece In Tongues at this annual benefit performance, alongside the usual suspects Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Visceral Dance Chicago, and others. Launched at the height of the AIDS crisis here 26 years ago, Dance for Life continues to raise money for those living with HIV/AIDS, both inside and outside the dance community.
Details:Harris Theater. 5:30 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. performance. $25–$600. chicagodancersunited.org
Chicago Air and Water Show
This annual affair may turn Lake Shore Drive into a parking lot, but it’s undeniably awe-inspiring to see a stunt pilot take off into the wild blue yonder. Those who prefer a primo spot know to camp out early on the beaches at Oak Street and North Avenue.
Details:North Avenue Beach. Free. chicagoairandwatershow.us
Mary Robin Roth stars as the indomitable Rose in this tale of strippers, stage moms, and the death of vaudeville. Jule Styne’s score (“Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Rose’s Turn”) is a perfect pedestal for Roth’s clarion belt. If you’re into showstopping leads, consider Gypsy a must-see.
Details:Music Theater Works at Cahn Auditorium. $34–$96. musictheaterworks.com
We Are Here
Near North Side
The MCA’s ambitious collecting program defies tradition. The museum owns, for example, Kiss, Tino Sehgal’s 2007 piece in which two dancers make out the entire time the museum is open. Here, Kiss will be reprised as a group show celebrating the museum’s 50th birthday, joining works by Marisol, Nan Goldin, and others.
Details:Museum of Contemporary Art. $15 suggested admission. mcachicago.org
Near West Side
The Compton rapper returns for a second show this summer, touring behind his third major-label album, Damn., which dropped in April. While 2015’s smash To Pimp a Butterfly was an indictment of racism in America, on Damn., Lamar turns his focus inward, to his family, his faith, and the anxieties that come with fame.
Details:United Center. 7:30 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.
You’ve never heard electronic music quite like the type Camae Ayewa spins. The Philadelphia DJ, who goes by the stage name Moor Mother, crafts fiercely political songs that move between experimental electronica, soundscapes, and noise rock, drawing inspiration from movements as disparate as riot grrl punk and the blues. Her debut album, Fetish Bones, is a jarring, powerful trip through time, and the accompanying live show is every bit as transportive.
Details:Hideout. 9 p.m. $10. ticketfly.com
Honeymoon in Vegas
Director Gary Griffin returns to the same goofy musical he helmed on Broadway, complete with showgirls, gangsters, flashy casinos, and an overbearing ghost determined to keep her son from marrying the girl of his dreams. It’s the theatrical equivalent of a beach read: escapist fluff, ideal for the dog days of summer.
Details:Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. $50–$60. marriotttheatre.com
Given his recent surge in popularity, it may seem like this rapper emerged fully formed from suburban Maryland. But 27-year-old Sir Robert Bryson Hall II has been steadily releasing music for a decade. His latest album, the 70-minute Everybody, presents 13 tracks of socially conscious rap for the next generation (take the single “1-800-273-8255,” whose title is the national suicide prevention lifeline). Catch him here with Joey Badass, another rising wunderkind.
Details:Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. 7:30 p.m. $49. ticketmaster.com
With the intention of blurring the line between studio and stage, a smattering of artists join dancer Jessica Marasa to perform pieces culled from five open studio sessions. Among the talent: choreographer J’Sun Howard, hip-hop artists Daniel “Bravemonk” Haywood and Kelsa “K-Soul” Robinson, and performance artist Lindsey Barlag Thornton.
Details:Links Hall. $12. linkshall.org
Wizard World Chicago
Nerds of all stripes unite for this annual cosplay (a portmanteau of “costume play”) convention. This year’s autograph booth sports a particularly impressive roster, including Dr. Who’s David Tennant, John Cusack, Lou Ferrigno, and cast members from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Avengers, Lord of the Rings, and Psych. Gene Simmons also makes an appearance, performing with his post-Kiss solo band.
Details:Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. $40–$105. wizardworld.com
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City
Can a profane, struggling comic and a buttoned-up millionaire find common ground across a hospital partition? That’s the question for a pair of protagonists visiting their cancer-stricken mothers in Halley Feiffer’s dark comedy.
Details:Route 66 Theatre at Den Theatre. $20–$35. route66theatre.org
If you liked Netflix’s The Crown, you won’t want to miss this show, which imagines Queen Elizabeth II meeting with each of the dozen prime ministers she’s reigned over since her coronation more than 60 years ago. Janet Ulrich Brooks rules the stage as the queen.
Details:Timeline Theatre. $38–$51. timelinetheatre.com
Few superstars can make a comeback after a commercial dud—but few superstars are Lady Gaga. Despite meager sales of her 2016 album, Joanne, the pop star won back hearts and minds in February with a glitzy Super Bowl halftime show, which spiked next-day sales of her records by more than a thousand percent. If that performance is any indication, expect athletic dance, acrobatic suspension, and plenty of glitter at this Wrigley Field gig.
Details:Wrigley Field. 7 p.m. Sold out; see resellers.
Lincoln Park Zoo Challenge
This after-hours, adults-only scavenger hunt invites teams of two to five amateur zoologists to solve a zoo-wide puzzle. Animal costumes are highly encouraged.
Details:Lincoln Park Zoo. 6:30 p.m. $25. eventbrite.com
Sample the works of 20 breweries while examining the Brookfield Zoo’s world-class menagerie (more than 500 species in all).
Details:Brookfield Zoo. $35–$85. czs.org
Fans of the city’s popular summer series, which highlights a wide range of dance styles, can boogie all day at this extended iteration of the event, which includes lessons and dance parties backed by live music.
Details:Millennium Park. Noon. Free. millenniumpark.org
Collaboraction kicks off its 22nd season with a multidisciplinary marathon: 24 new pieces on the theme of peace, by playwrights, poets, spoken word artists, puppeteers, and dancers. After the August 26 opening at the Goodman, Peacebook moves into the neighborhoods, with four performances scheduled in Englewood, Belmont Gardens, and North Austin.
Details:arious venues. Free. collaboraction.org
Transamerica Chicago Triathlon
Not for the faint of heart, this race, among the largest in the nation, routinely draws nearly 10,000 participants. If you’d like to be one of them, it’s not too late to sign up—registration continues until the day before the race. If watching is more your thing, a trolley service will truck spectators between the various transition points and to the after-party.
Details:Monroe Harbor. 6 a.m. Free. chicagotriathlon.com
Fifth Star Honors
Now in its fourth year, this awards show and free concert honors four Chicagoans making a cultural impact on the city. This year’s honorees: rapper Common, painter Kerry James Marshall, architect Jeanne Gang, and the Steppenwolf Theatre Company.
Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Free. millenniumpark.org
The Chicago Onscreen Local Film Showcase
Nine area parks will screen projects by local filmmakers, each centered on the themes of assumption and perception.
Details:Various venues. Free. chicagoparkdistrict.com
Chicago Fringe Festival
This annual celebration of all things freaky jams 50 “weird and untried” troupes from across the country into one neighborhood (Jefferson Park). Theater, dance, stage magic, comedy, spoken word—if you can perform it, it’s probably on the roster.
Details:Various venues. $5–$175. chicagofringe.org
Rodrigo de la Sierra
For his first show in Chicago, Timoteo and His World, Mexico City sculptor de la Sierra casts Timoteo as his childlike alter ego. Bald, with two dots for eyes, a pronounced nose, and no mouth, the bronze figurine is on a mission to save the world from pride, greed, and loneliness, without losing his sense of fun.
Details:Zhou B Art Center. Free. zhoubartcenter.com
A Sag, Harbored
Painting takes a tip from fashion in this group show dedicated to artworks made with sagging and draped fabrics. The curatorial conceit features artists, including locals Michelle Grabner and Rachel Niffenegger, who elevate pattern, decoration, and moody shrouds to high art.
Details:Western Exhibitions. Free. westernexhibitions.com
Barely Seen: Selections from the Vault
Near North Side
Among the treasures pulled from Carl Hammer’s gallery vault for this group exhibit is a painting by Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, the 1950s folk surrealist who gave his work to friends and neighbors more often than he sold it. It wasn’t until a posthumous retrospective in Milwaukee that the art world opened its eyes to Von Bruenchenhein, who painted hallucinatory landscapes with ravishing color.
Details:Carl Hammer Gallery. Free. carlhammergallery.com
Tuesdays on the Terrace
Near North Side
Take advantage of this year’s four remaining evening freebies at the MCA, featuring gorgeous views of the sculpture garden, live jazz, and a buffet of locally grown produce from the museum’s market. Performing this month: the Fred Anderson Legacy Project (September 5) and Ari Brown (September 12), bassist Tatsu Aoki (September 19), and multiinstrumentalist Mikel Patrick Avery (September 26).
Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Free ($30 for buffet). mcachicago.org
Near North Side
The Chicago-based photographer’s 2013 trip to France’s Loire Valley resulted in an extended meditation on Joan (Jehanne) of Arc’s birthplace and home. In Searching for Jehanne: The Joan of Arc Project, Aurinko creates a faux-photographic record of Joan’s life and times, including where she prayed and fought, superimposed with ghostly portraits of a young woman who looks as saintly as Joan.
Details:Loyola University Museum of Art. Free. luc.edu/luma
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