Next Art Chicago may have been canceled, but this homegrown annual arts-and-beyond fest picks up the slack. For its eleventh year, Version sets up camp in Bridgeport for a month loaded with exhibits, performances, and local pop-up shops.
5/1–31 Bridgeport: Community of the Future. Billed as “a month-long urban experiment,” this event brings together Bridgeport locals and outsiders alike with the aim of remaking the hood into a vibrant cultural and economic destination. Take in exhibitions by artists such as Jason Lazarus (work pictured), plus nightly performances, parking-lot flea markets, roving eateries, and temporary shops. And keep your eyes peeled for spur-of-the-moment happenings—new events will be added throughout May. Schedule and locations: versionfest.org.
Photograph: Jason Lazarus
CRAFT BEER WEEK
This go-round, Chicago’s annual ode to small-batch brews goes hyper-local. The 11-day beer-tasting extravaganza homes in on nine neighborhoods and three suburban hubs in which organizers have pinpointed the best bars, pubs, and breweries. The perfect pairing? Our guide to the city’s best new restaurants.
Photograph: Anna Knott
The great lady of slow-burning, bluesy rock has always been a little bit country. Now she shows her reggae stripes with “Right Down the Line,” a down-tempo riff on the Gerry Rafferty hit. Hear it when Raitt plays songs from her first album in seven years at the Chicago Theatre.
5/19–20 At 7:30. $39.50–$75. 5/19: Sold out. Chicago Theatre, 175 N State. ticketmaster.com.
Starting this month, Brookfield Zoo gives itself over to a full-on insect infestation, featuring 22 monster-size animatronic butterflies, hornets, ants, and other colossal creepy-crawlies. Closer to the ground, catch cockroach races, edible-insect cooking demos, and a whole lot more: The zoo’s bugging out all summer long.
5/19–9/7 Open daily 10–5. Free (kids under 3) to $15. Parking $10. 8400 W 31st, Brookfield. czs.org.
Photograph: Jordan McCullough
JAZZ PIANO SHOWCASE
Symphony Center celebrates the infinitely versatile keyboard with this jazzy double bill, one of several concerts lined up for the genre-crossing three-week festival Keys to the City. Renee Rosnes and Bill Charlap, a husband-and-wife duo, duke it out in a double-Steinway performance, while Danilo Pérez (right), the celebrated composer, Berklee College of Music faculty member, and piano man for the sax legend Wayne Shorter, solos.
5/25 At 8. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. $28–$85. cso.org.
Photograph: Courtesy of TKA