Best Things to Do in October in Chicago

POCKET GUIDE: A cultural shortlist for October, in order of buzz

Bassist Esperanza Spalding

ESPERANZA SPALDING, AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE

Who’s the next Esperanza Spalding (pictured)? Ambrose Akinmusire. Hear the future of jazz when both play Chicago gigs within days of each other: Akinmusire at the College of DuPage and Spalding at Symphony Center.

DETAILS:

10/2 Fall’s booking coup belongs to the College of DuPage for snagging the Chicago debut of the meteoric trumpeter Akinmusire, the Jazz Journalists Association and DownBeat critics’ pick for rising star jazz artist and a year-end best-of-list shoo-in for 2011’s When the Heart Emerges Glistening. Here Akinmusire and Co put their stamp on a familiar period of the Miles canon. Simply a must-hear. At 7. $28–$38. McAninch Arts Center, 425 Fawell, Glen Ellyn. atthemac.org.

10/7 Rarely has so much positive ink been spilled on the future of jazz than when Spalding, the dynamic bassist and singer, nabbed the trophy for best new artist at last year’s Grammys. So far, her body of work justifies the hype. At 8. $20–$70. 220 S Michigan. cso.org.

 

  NEXT: OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO, CHICAGO IDEAS WEEK »

 

Photograph: Sandrine Lee

 

Emil Bach House

OPEN HOUSE CHICAGO, CHICAGO IDEAS WEEK

Boardrooms, basements, brains: Peer inside all kinds of rarely seen spaces, thanks to Open House Chicago, a weekend of free behind-the-scenes tours (the Monadnock, FLW’s Emil Bach House), and Chicago Ideas Week, an inaugural convention of big thinkers (Jeanne Gang, Sanjay Gupta).

DETAILS:

10/10–16 This inaugural roundup of more than 100 speakers aims to spark light bulbs across Chicago. Highlights include lectures by Mayor Emanuel, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, the chefs Paul Kahan and Homaro Cantu, and Major League Baseball’s official historian, John Thorn. Details: chicagoideas.com.

10/15–16 Remember Great Chicago Places and Spaces? This weekend of behind-the-scenes access to iconic locales, organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, is a lot like that—maybe even better. Just some of the free VIP-for-all peeks scheduled: inside the Crown Fountain, the Chicago Temple’s Sky Chapel, the original Marshall Field’s boardroom, the Monadnock’s penthouse carpentry shop, Lake Point Tower’s rooftop garden, backstage at the Pritzker Pavilion, a taping of Jesse Jackson’s broadcast at Operation Rainbow PUSH, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s usually closed-to-the-public Emil Bach House. Sat–Sun 9–5. Advance registration recommended. Details: caf.architecture.org.

 

  NEXT: MANSUETO LIBRARY TOUR »

 

Photograph: Caroline Stevens

 

Mansueto Library

MANSUETO LIBRARY TOUR

One more all-access must-see? The University of Chicago’s new Helmut Jahn–designed Mansueto Library, home to the world’s first fully subterranean automated book-retrieval system, located 50 feet underground (insert your own joke about U. of C. students and bat caves here). The descent comes as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Hyde Park Day, and tickets are limited—as in call now.

DETAILS:

10/16, 23 Consider it a soft reboot before CHF really gets humming in November: Two days of technology-themed programs bookend the city at Chicago’s premier research institutions. On 10/16, Northwestern hosts chats with the likes of William Gibson, coiner of the term “cyberspace” ($10), while one week later in Hyde Park, visitors can tour the U of C’s new Helmut Jahn–designed Mansueto Library, home to the world’s first automated book-retrieval system located wholly underground ($15). Details: chicagohumanities.org.

 

  NEXT: BLAQUE LYTE AT HYDE PARK ART CENTER »

 

Photograph: John Pitcher/University of Chicago Library

 

'Giant Mother' by Lilli Carré

BLAQUE LYTE

Break out your brightest whites—heck, grab the bleach if you need to. You’ll want to dress for the occasion when Hyde Park Art Center hosts this glow-in-the-dark exhibit under the infrareds.

DETAILS:

10/2–1/9 More than just a frat party staple, black lights have been used for X-rays, forensic investigations, and now to illuminate the glow-in-the-dark work of some 30 artists. Wear white and be part of the show, too. Also on view: Son of Blaque Lyte, a retrospective of Keith Herzik’s boundary-pushing screen prints. 5020 S Cornell. hydeparkart.org.

 

Photograph: Lilli Carré, Giant Mother, 2008

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