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The 25 Absolute Best Things to Do in Chicago Right Now

December’s Chicago Guide has the music, art, film, theatre, and holiday happenings to send 2013 out with a bang.

Photography: (Chanticleer) Lisa Kohler; (One of a Kind) Justin Rothshank Ceramics; (The Little Prince) Sean Williams; (Charles Bradley) Paul McGeiver; (Disappears) Zoran Orlic; (Dana Hall) Courtesy of Blue Note Records; (Hubbard Street Dance) Todd Rosenberg; (Beyoncé) Robin Harper/Invision for Parkwood Entertainment/AP; (Taiko Legacy) Ken Carl; (Music Box) Photofest; (Hornschemeier) Charlie Deets


12/4 to 12/5 at 7:30 p.m.
This all-male choir wows audiences with the breadth of its repertoire and the clarity of its countertenors.
$39 to $56. Fourth Presbyterian Church, 126 E. Chestnut. cso.org


One of a Kind Show

12/5 to 12/8
Conquer your holiday shopping list at this craft market on steroids. More than 600 artists ply their wares and give free workshops.
$12 to $30. Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart. Hours: oneofakindshowchicago.com



12/5 to 2/9
In this Chicago premiere, a deaf man brings his girlfriend (played by the fiery Steppenwolf ensemble member Alana Arenas) home to meet his hearing parents. Familial dysfunction ensues.
$20 to $82. Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted. steppenwolftheatre.com


The Little Prince

12/5 to 2/2
The classic French novella gets revamped with lots of gravity-defying acrobatics in this David Catlin–helmed adaptation.
$40 to $75. Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan. lookingglasstheatre.org


Foreign Bodies: The Films of Claire Denis

Through 12/5
The Gene Siskel Film Center devotes four weeks to the works of this underrated French director. Start with her latest, Bastards (2013), her first noir thriller.
$13. Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State. siskelfilmcenter.org


Charles Bradley

12/6 at 9 p.m.
Supported by a supercharged horn section, the former James Brown impersonator is a hip-swiveling must-see.
$20. Metro, 3730 N. Clark. etix.com


Inside the Outside

12/6 to 2/16
Fishing lures, a pine tree air freshener, logs made of zinc—six artists reflect on our culture’s strange relationship with nature.
Alderman Exhibitions, 1138 W. Randolph. aldermanexhibitions.com


Candlelight House Walk

12/8 at 4 p.m.
Ever wondered what the insides of the historic Pullman houses look like? Here’s your opportunity.
$35 to $40. Historic Pullman Foundation, 11141 S. Cottage Grove. pullmanil.org


Steep Canyon Rangers

12/8 at 7 p.m.
The bluegrass quintet performs songs from its latest Grammy-winning album, Nobody Knows You.
$25. Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln. oldtownschool.org


Root Down: Stories of Kith and Kin

12/8 to 12/9 at 7 p.m.
What are the holidays without some tales? 2nd Story hosts this wine-fueled evening featuring three local authors.
$20. Webster’s Wine Bar, 1480 W. Webster. 2ndstory.com


Dana Hall

12/10 at 9 and 10:30 p.m. and midnight
The acclaimed local percussionist performs selections from free jazz pianist and composer Andrew Hill’s 1964 record Black Fire.
$10. Andy’s Jazz Club, 11 E. Hubbard. andysjazzclub.com


Die Fledermaus

12/10 to 1/18
Don’t miss hunky baritone Bo Skovhus as Gabriel von Eisenstein, the wealthy Casanova in this famous operetta about a practical joke gone wrong.
$34 to $264. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. lyricopera.org


Kranky 20th Anniversary Show

12/12 at 9 p.m.
The local punk label Kranky Records ushers in its 20th year with three earsplitting bands: Disappears, Implodes, and Lichens.
$12. Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. ticketweb.com


Fred Hersch Trio

12/12 to 12/15 at 8 and 10 p.m.
Since his recovery from an AIDS-related coma in 2008, the New York pianist has not let up. His playing—original takes on standards and new, vibrant works—is still among the most gorgeous around.
$25 to $45. Jazz Showcase, 806 S. Plymouth. jazzshowcase.com


Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

12/12 to 12/15
Back by popular demand: the beautiful yet abstract One Thousand Pieces by rising-star choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo.
$25 to $99. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. hubbardstreetdance.com



12/13 at 8 p.m.
In case you missed her triumphant July performance (or you’re just super-obsessed), Bey returns to show us why she’s not giving up her pop diva crown anytime soon.
$45 to $250. United Center, 1901 W. Madison. ticketmaster.com


Jerry Seinfeld

12/13 at 7, 12/14 at 7 and 9:30 p.m.
Despite all the money Seinfeld has made in syndication, the comedian continues to rant humorously about the minor inconveniences of modern life—proof he does it because he loves it.
$49 to $83. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. thechicagotheatre.com


Annual Music Box Christmas Show

12/13 to 12/24
Join a carol sing-a-long and then watch White Christmas or It’s a Wonderful Life (or both!) on the big screen.
$10 to $17. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. musicboxtheatre.com


Welcome Yule!

12/14 to 12/23
The CSO hooks the kids with this family-friendly concert featuring sing-along Christmas carols and an obligatory visit from Kris Kringle himself.
$35 to $125. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. cso.org


Taiko Legacy

12/21 to 12/22
Consider this a drum circle for the ages: three generations of Taiko (Japanese percussion) performers, plus butoh master Judy Kajiwara.
$10 to $18. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org


The Normal Heart

Through 12/22
Hotshot director David Cromer tackles the lead role in Larry Kramer’s seminal drama about AIDS in the early 1980s.
$37 to $50. Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont. timelinetheatre.com


Curtis Mann

Through 1/2
Innovative doesn’t even begin to describe this photographer, who cuts crescent shapes into his prints to create a dizzying effect.
Kavi Gupta Gallery, 845 W. Washington. kavigupta.com


Ebony G. Patterson

Through 1/4
Read about this trending Jamaican artist here.
Monique Meloche Gallery, 2154 W. Division. moniquemeloche.com


Holiday Fantasea

Through 12/28
Santa visits the seals and other aquatic animals in this revamping of the Shedd Aquarium’s popular live show.
General admission plus $6 to $8. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore. sheddaquarium.org


Siam: The Queen and the White City

Through 3/2
The Siamese queen dazzled at the 1893 World’s Fair; now the Chicago History Museum pays homage to her with photographs, costumes, and other artifacts drawn from her formidable collection.
$12 to $14. Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark. chicagohs.org


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