Five Things to Do in Chicago This September

Expo Chicago, the Beethoven Festival, and more art and music from the culture calendar this month.

A photo from ‘Julie Blackmon: Homegrown’

Photo: Courtesy of City of Chicago

CATHERINE EDELMAN GALLERY

In her stunning new photographic series, Homegrown, the Missouri artist Julie Blackmon snaps quiet, surreal portraits of family and domestic life.

DETAILS:

9/6–11/2 Julie Blackmon: Homegrown. The photographer turns her camera on her family (she is one of nine children and a mother of three) to create elegantly composed domestic scenes, formally staged like early-modern Dutch paintings. 300 W Superior. edelmangallery.com.

 

  NEXT: EXPO CHICAGO »
 
Visitors viewing art

Photo: Peter Honnemann

EXPO CHICAGO

More art! The funky-glasses crowd will converge on Navy Pier for Chicago’s premier art fair, back for year two with 120 galleries and stimulating daily lectures.

DETAILS:

9/19–22 Returning for its second year to Navy Pier, the Jeanne Gang–designed art fair showcases 120 international contemporary and modern galleries. Navy Pier, 600 E Grand. expochicago.com.

 

  NEXT: BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL »
 
Glenn Kotche

Photo: Michele Almeida

BEETHOVEN FESTIVAL

When the Wilco percussionist Glenn Kotche headlines a weeklong fest honoring Beethoven, you know the 18th-century romantic composer is in vogue again.

DETAILS:

9/7–15 More sprawling, more dense, and kitchen sinkier than ever, Chicago’s own European village festival in the big city returns for a third year. Organizers promise more than 100 events over the nine-day love-themed affair, including an opening concert in which Matthias Pintscher leads J. S. Bach’s St. John Passion, followed by a masquerade party riffing on Dante.
9/9–10 The pianist Christopher O’Riley and the cellist Matt Haimovitz bring cool-kid energy to performances.
9/12, 14 The Wilco drummer and new-music dabbler Glenn Kotche performs and presents new commissions.
9/14–15 Pintscher leads the festival orchestra in two concerts bejeweled with Beethoven symphonies (Nos. 5 and 6). Other musicians involved: Derek Bermel, JACK Quartet, Rachel Kolly d’Alba, Spektral Quartet, Dal Niente, ICE, and too many others to list here. Side dishes include visual art, literature, fashion, panels, master classes, and cryptozoological taxidermy. (Just kidding about the taxidermy. Maybe next year).
Most performances at Merit School of Music, 38 S Peoria. Details, prices: internationalbeethovenproject.com.

 

  NEXT: PULLMAN PORTER BLUES »
 
Chuck Smith

Photo: Zoe McKenzie Photography

PULLMAN PORTER BLUES

Chicago theatre stalwart Chuck Smith stages the story of the rollicking, riotous 1937 train between Chicago and New Orleans at the Goodman Theatre.

DETAILS:

9/14–10/20 The heroic history of Pullman porters—the African American men who loaded baggage, took tickets, and otherwise served the passengers on the titular train line—takes center stage in Cheryl West’s multigenerational journey from Chicago to New Orleans. $24–$81. Goodman Theatre, 170 N Dearborn. goodmantheatre.org.

 

  NEXT: HIDEOUT BLOCK PARTY & A.V. FEST »
 
Neko Case

Photo: Dave Martin/AP

HIDEOUT BLOCK PARTY & A.V. FEST

Sing summer’s swan song to the tunes of country-rocker Neko Case, who headlines the first festival of the fall.

DETAILS:

9/6 at 4:30, 9/7 at 12:30 The acts this year might get a little unpredictable. College-rock headliners Young the Giant might don fur coats for a cover of R. Kelly’s “Ignition”; wild horse singer-songwriter Neko Case is likely to give stage time to her backup singer, the local siren Kelly Hogan; and might Hideout Block Party mayor Jeff Tweedy appear in his collaborator Mavis Staples’s set? The one sure bet: Retro cover band Girl Group Chicago will blow everyone away. $60. Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia. hideoutchicago.com.
 

For more things to do in Chicago this month, see our C Notes blog.
 

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