The Top Five Picks for Culture in Chicago This Month

The five musts from our May culture calendar include Theaster Gates, Yo-Yo Ma, Paramore and more.

May events

Photography: (Tarim) Courtesy of the City of Chicago; (Perry) Courtesy of Goodman Theatre; (13th Ballad) Kavi Gupta; (Paramore) Pamela Littky; (Ma) José M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune; Illustrations: Serge Bloch
 

1. BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK

The actress Tamberla Perry channels a willful 1930s African American vaudeville performer at the Goodman Theatre.

DETAILS:

4/27–6/2 Tamberla Perry stars in the story of an African American actress who breaks into film in 1930s Hollywood. Chuck Smith directs an epic journey of the screen queen. $21–$81. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org.

 

2. PARAMORE

The pop-punk trio—best known from the Twilight soundtrack—lays down some fresh tracks at the Chicago Theatre.

DETAILS:

5/9 Often compared to No Doubt, the young-gun pop-punk trio have one of their best singles to date (“Now”) and their first North American tour in three years. At 8. $38.50–$49.50. Chicago Theatre, 175 N State. ticketmaster.com.

 

3. TARIM UYGUR SONG AND DANCE

Stroll down the Silk Road as 19 musicians and dancers revive ancient works from a people of Western China at the Chicago Cultural Center.

DETAILS:

5/14 It’s a rare opportunity to experience Uygur music and dance; indeed, this is the troupe’s first tour through the Midwest, reviving the ancient and traditional works of Kazak, Kirkiz, Hui, Uzbek, and Tatar origin. Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. cityofchicago.org.

 

4. YO-YO MA

Backed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the multifaceted musician Yo-Yo Ma plays Beethoven, Dvořák, and Bach for a melodic night worthy of the price of admission (from $77).

DETAILS:

5/15 With a bill of Beethoven, Dvořák, and chamberized Bach Two-Part Inventions (originally for piano), Yo-Yo Ma is heading up a small band of CSOers in what promises to be one of the top chamber music events of the season. At 8. $75–$194. Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org.

 

5. 13TH BALLAD

The Chicago performance artist, sculptor, and activist Theaster Gates mounts his biggest installation yet at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

DETAILS:

5/18–10/6 The museum’s massive atrium will hold remnants from Gates’s recent urban revitalization projects, including objects imported from Germany’s Huguenot House and church pews from the South Side. Open Tue 10–8, Wed–Sun 10–5. Free (kids under 13) to $12; free Tue for Ill residents. 220 E Chicago. mcachicago.org.

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