The 25 Best Things to Do in Chicago This Month

From Bach to Angel Olsen to Aziz Ansari, with a little M. Butterfly and Baryshnikov mixed in.

Photos: (Graham Foundation) Courtesy of Cosanti Foundation/Photo by Joshua White; (Modern Vintage) Courtesy of Vendor; (Jackson) Courtesy of Artist; (Gray Smith) Courtesy of Artist; (M. Butterfly) Joe Mazza; (Owens) Dario Acosta; (Ansari) AP; (Do Division) istockphoto
Design

Graham Foundation

5/1 to 7/26
“Tip the world over and everything loose will land in Los Angeles,” architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said. Inspired by these words, curators at the Graham Foundation are mounting this L.A.–themed exhibition that focuses on the city’s architecture boom in the 1970s.
Free. 4 W. Burton. grahamfoundation.org

Fashion

SAIC Fashion 2014

5/2 at 5:30 p.m.
Check out the trends of 2030 at the School of the Art Institute’s annual spring fashion event. (For only $40, you can attend the dress rehearsal at 9 a.m. or the day shows at noon and 3 p.m.)
$500. Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph. saicfashion.org

Classical

Bach Week

5/2 to 5/4
For 39 years, baroque-music aficionados have celebrated the life of Johann Sebastian Bach with this weekend-long bash. Among the highlights this year is a collaboration between the CSO’s principal trumpet, Christopher Martin, and his wife, the organist Margaret Martin.
$10 to $30 per concert, $20 to $80 fest pass. Anderson Chapel, North Park U, 5149 N. Spaulding. bachweek.org

Dance

Snow White

5/2 to 5/4
Partial nudity, acrobatics, and costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier: French choreographer Angelin Preljocaj spares no dramatic effect in his Snow White, which features a challenging pas de deux between a prince and the protagonist Snow. For the prim, there’s a no-nudity Sunday matinee.
$40 to $95. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph. harristheaterchicago.org

Expo

Modern Vintage Chicago Spring Expo & Sale

5/2 to 5/4
Celebrate the seventh season of Mad Men with a trip to this clothing-and-jewelry-heavy bazaar.
$10 to $30. Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington. randolphstreetmarket.com/modernvintagechicago

Art

Zack Wirsum

5/2 to 6/21
Too much is never enough in the canvases of this emerging local painter who leaves no corner untouched and no color unused in his immersive, highly detailed artworks.
Free. Jean Albano Gallery, 215 W. Superior. jeanalbanogallery.com

Rock

Wanda Jackson

5/3 at 8 p.m.
It doesn’t get much better than a good old-fashioned jamboree with the 76-year-old Queen of Rockabilly.
$17 to $35. SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. evanstonspace.com

Theatre

The White Snake

5/3 to 6/8
Tony-winning director Mary Zimmerman brings fantastic visuals and ingenious puppetry to an ancient Chinese fable about a serpent who transforms into a beautiful woman.
$25 to $86. Goodman Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org

Art

Rebecca Gray Smith

5/3 to 6/21
It took this veteran Chicago artist 25 years to complete a suite of etchings in response to the AIDS crisis. They are, as expected, dense with mourning and melancholic imagery.
Free. Bert Green Fine Art, 8 S. Michigan. bgfa.us

Art

After Frida Kahlo

5/3 to 10/5
The MCA gave Mexico’s most famous artist her first U.S. solo exhibition in 1978. Now it pays homage to the surrealist painter with this group exhibition, showing her creativity and progressiveness through the lens of other artists.
$12. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

Folk

Angel Olsen

5/4 at 8 p.m.
The former Bonnie “Prince” Billy backup singer raises her profile from quirky neo-folk songbird to certified indie-rock star with her new record, Burn Your Fire for No Witness. See what all the fuss is about.
$14. Lincoln Hall, 2424 N. Lincoln. lincolnhallchicago.com

Jazz

Cassandra Wilson

5/4 at 6 and 8:30 p.m.
She caused a sensation with her 1994 debut, Blue Light ’til Dawn, an unclassifiable mix of blues, jazz, and R&B sung in her signature alto. Wilson performs songs from the album here.
$30 to $65. SPACE, 1245 Chicago, Evanston. evanstonspace.com

Jazz

Israeli Jazz and World Music Festival

5/6 to 5/17
Celebrate the contributions of such jazz stalwarts as clarinetist Anat Cohen and her brother, trumpeter Avishai Cohen at this fest.
Free to $68. Various locations. embassies.gov.il/chicago/CulturalNews/Jazz/Pages/Israeli Jazz and World Music Festival 2014.aspx

Rock

Television

5/8 at 8:30 p.m.
One of the best acts to emerge from the late-’70s experimental-punk scene in NYC, Television reunites for an infrequent tour.
$25. Metro, 3730 N. Clark. metrochicago.com

Theatre

M. Butterfly

5/8 to 6/8
Court Theatre mounts playwright David Henry Hwang’s fascinating, Tony-winning reenvisioning of Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. With Charles Newell directing, you know it’s got to be good.
$35 to $65. Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis. courttheatre.org

Classical

Eric Owens

5/11 at 3 p.m.
Get used to seeing this baritone around town. Here to sing Schubert lieder with the sensitive soprano Susanna Phillips, he’ll also play Porgy for Lyric this fall, make two CSO appearances next season, and take part in Lyric’s ongoing Ring saga.
$55 to $99. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. cso.org

Art

Lifeloggers

5/11 to 8/17
Thirteen local contemporary artists track their daily routines using maps, diagrams, and image collections in this exhibit examining why Amercian culture tends to be so self-obsessed.
Elmhurst Art Museum, 150 Cottage Hill. elmhurstartmuseum.org

Rock

WYE Oak

5/13 at 9 p.m.
The beloved Baltimore duo inverts band duties on this tour. Frontwoman Jenn Wasner ditches her electric guitar to play bass, and band mate Andy Stack trades in his drums for higher register duties behind keyboards.
$20. Metro, 3730 N. Clark. metrochicago.com

Dance

Mikhail Baryshnikov

5/15 to 5/18
The most popular dancer in the world may have retired from the ballet, but he hasn’t left the spotlight. He joins the husband-and-wife directorial team Paul Lazar and Annie-B Parson to revive two Chekhov love stories in a theatrical production that melds acting, movement, and video.
$40 to $50. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago. mcachicago.org

Festival

Manifest

5/16 at 12 p.m.
In a stroke of serendipity, Chance the Rapper played a free show at Manifest last year just as he was becoming the rapper of the moment. So who knows which act might break out at this year’s Columbia College shindig.
Free. Columbia College, 600 S. Michigan. colum.edu/manifest

Comedy

Aziz Ansari

5/21 to 5/22
In his Modern Romance tour, the Parks and Recreation star jokes about the quandaries of dating in the technologically ridden 21st century.
$35 to $45. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. thechicagotheatre.com

Classical

Jaap Van Zweden

5/22 to 5/24
The star conductor and wunderkind violinist guest-directs four CSO programs, including Britten’s Four Sea Interludes and Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony.
$32 to $217.Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan. cso.org

Theatre

Carrie

5/29 to 7/12
Go for ingénue Callie Johnson, a Jeff Award winner. In this musical adaptation of Stephen King’s notorious novel, the actress plays the misunderstood telekenetic teenager at the center of the frightening coming-of-age classic.
$15 to $40. Bailiwick Chicago at the Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln. bailiwickchicago.com

Festival

Do Division

5/30 to 6/1
One of the first street festivals of the season, this weekend bash boasts a sidewalk art sale, local eats, live music acts, and a fashion show.
$5. Division and Hoyne. do-divisionstreetfest.com

Theatre

Juno

Through 7/27
Trust the Lake View theatre TimeLine to find the pathos in this tragicomic musical about an impoverished Irish family living in a gritty Dublin tenement.
$22 to $48. TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington. timelinetheatre.com

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