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The best things to do in Chicago this month,
selected by our culture criticsMay 2016

Best of the Rest

The Cinco de Mayo Parade
The Cinco de Mayo Parade Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune

COMEDY

CAROL BURNETT

5/17, 19, 20 at 8 In her six decades of onscreen shenanigans, Burnett has earned just about every accolade an actor, writer, and comedian can. Here, she’ll answer questions from the audience in the style of her late eponymous variety show. $34–$196. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. ticketmaster.com

FESTIVALS AND PARADES

BOOKCON

5/14 at 10 This good old-fashioned book fair features booksellers, speakers, and storytellers, including YA luminaries Cassandra Clare and Meg Cabot, comedian Tig Notaro, Daily Show alum Samantha Bee, and Northwestern grad Veronica Roth (Divergent). $5–$40. McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore. thebookcon.com

 

THE CHICAGO CRITICS FILM FESTIVAL

5/20–26 The Music Box hosts this annual celebration of critical favorites that have yet to see wide release. Highlights include Chad Hartigan’s Morris from America and the fraternity drama Goat, starring Nick Jonas in an unexpected breakthrough. $12–$150. Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport. chicagocriticsfilmfestival.com

MAYFEST

5/20–22 Lake View kicks off Chicago’s summer street-fest season with booze, cuisine, and a healthy dose of cover bands. $10. 3100 N. Ashland. starevents.com

GARDENS, PARKS, ZOOS

GARFIELD PARK CONSERVATORY

5/19 at 6:30 The conservatory teams up with the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild to present Beer Under Glass: Enjoy local brews while wandering through the gardens and greenhouses. $60–$115. 300 N. Central Park. garfieldconservatory.org

LINCOLN PARK ZOO

5/6 at 6 Zoo Challenge. This after-hours, grownups-only scavenger hunt promises more than $2,000 in prizes and a free beer at the finish line. $20–$25.
5/21 at 6:30 Food Truck Social. Chicago’s best mobile kitchens queue up on the mall for an evening of food and fun. At last: You can order from Beavers Coffee and Donuts while watching actual beavers. $5–$10.
2001 N. Clark. lpzoo.org

INTERVIEWS, LECTURES, READINGS

POETRY FOUNDATION

 

5/11 at noon Pop-Up Poetry. Though best known for his short fiction, Stuart Dybek is also a celebrated poet. His reading marks the reopening of the Art Institute’s contemporary collection. Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan.

5/12 at 7 Harriet Reading Series. Jericho Brown continues this series of readings selected from the Poetry Foundation’s blog, Harriet. He will read from his books Please and The New Testament. Free. Poetry Foundation, 61 W. Superior.
poetryfoundation.org

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON

5/10 at 7:30 Don’t let his increasing pop-cultural clout fool you: This formidable astrophysicist always puts science first. $60–$150. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State. ticketmaster.com

SEASONAL

BIKE THE DRIVE

5/29 This annual event gives cyclists the right-of-way to raise money for transportation initiatives in Chicago by closing the length of Lake Shore Drive to four-wheeled vehicles from 5:30 to 11 a.m. $17–$53. Lake Shore Drive. bikethedrive.org

CINCO DE MAYO

5/1 at noon In 1892, the outnumbered Mexican army repelled invading French forces at the Battle of Puebla. Chicago celebrates with a parade and street fair in the Little Village neighborhood. Free. 1800 W. Cermak. cityofchicago.org

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