In purchasing a Lauryn Hill ticket, fans run several risks. First, there’s the chance Hill won’t show up. Then, if she does, her spontaneous performance style could render her timeless hits nearly unrecognizable. But there’s also the chance that Hill, one of soul’s greatest living vocalists, brings her A-game for a transcendent two-hour jam.
Details:Ravinia. 7:30 p.m. $38–$95. ravinia.org
Movies in the Park
The Chicago Park District’s summer series of free movies ends with Some Like It Hot at the north end of Lake Shore Drive. Bring a blanket and snacks for a night of PG-rated fun.
Details:Osterman Beach. Free. chicagoparkdistrict.com
Taste of Polonia Festival
Chicago’s Polish influence is so ubiquitous that it’s easy to take for granted. This weekend fest celebrates the food, music, and art of Poland, with kielbasa galore and more Polish pop and polka than you can shake a sausage at.
Details:Copernicus Center. Free–$10. topchicago.org
Skillshot: The Collaborative Art of Pinball
Details:Glass Curtain Gallery at Columbia College Chicago. Free. colum.edu/deps
Former Chicagoan Andrew Bird’s newest album, Are You Serious, may be his most personal yet. Peppered with pensive lyrics and including a collaboration with ’90s song-writing heroine Fiona Apple, Bird’s latest adds yet another chapter to his quirky, imaginative body of chamber pop.
Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 7 p.m. $24–$59. jamusa.com
Chiara String Quartet
This Nebraska-based act tours Bartók’s gamut of six string quartets in two concerts. Bartók towers over the form, creating angular, seasick, and unhinged sounds magnified by Chiara’s tradition of playing without sheet music.
Details:Ravinia. $10. ravinia.org
Collaborative Works Festival
River North, Loop, Hyde Park
The collaboration suggested in the name of this pocket festival refers to that between a singer and a pianist, performing art songs in intimate settings. This year’s performers include the heart-melting soprano Ailyn Pérez in recital on September 8 with pianist Craig Terry, the architect of Lyric’s Beyond the Aria series. Arrive early to the free concert on September 7, which focuses on Debussy’s settings of Paul Verlaine poems.
Details:Various venues. Free–$35. caichicago.org
Adults Night Out
Visitors 18 and up enjoy a unique after-hours experience at the Lincoln Park Zoo with a cash bar, talks tailored for grownups, and live entertainment (such as Pavel, the zoo’s male tiger, wading in a pool with his favorite Boomer Ball).
Details:Lincoln Park Zoo. 6:30 p.m. $12–$15. lpzoo.org
This Las Vegas native refuses to be boxed in. The solo artist on 2014’s The Voyager has also played with a wide range of acts, including the now-defunct Rilo Kiley and the postpunk trio Nice as Fuck. This tour stop is one of a 10-date extension toasting the 10-year anniversary of Lewis’s solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, during which she’ll perform with former bandmates the Watson Twins.
Details:Chicago Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $28–$38. ticketmaster.com
Dawoud Bey: Harlem Redux
Renowned Chicago photographer Dawoud Bey returns to Harlem, where his parents lived, to document the cultural history of the gentrifying neighborhood in luscious large-format color photos.
Details:Stephen Daiter Gallery. Free. stephendaitergallery.com
In the Heights
Before that show about the guy on the $10 bill, Lin-Manuel Miranda penned a different Tony-winning musical, this one about a Washington Heights community in the grip of gentrification. The story follows a girl who makes it out and into college, only to find that surviving outside of the Heights is far tougher than life in the vibrant Manhattan neighborhood.
Details:Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773. $33–$51. porchlightmusictheatre.org
Near North Side
Just as he did in the mordantly amusing Stupid F*#king Bird, playwright Aaron Posner colors Chekhov with contemporary vernacular. This time around, he transforms Uncle Vanya, moving a flailing family of restless mopes from Russia to the United States.
Details:Lookingglass. $20–$75. lookingglasstheatre.org
For decades, Chicagoan Diane Simpson has been quietly crafting sculptures that blend fashion design and architecture. Now, in her 80s, she is finally getting the recognition she deserves with museum exhibits around the country. Here, she debuts new work based on the peplum, a feature of women’s clothing that has its roots in ancient Greece.
Details:Corbett vs. Dempsey. Free. corbettvsdempsey.com
Stars of Lyric Opera
The Lyric’s annual amuse-bouche to its fall season samples from the most familiar operas on tap for 2016–17 (Carmen and The Magic Flute), with singers including Eric Owens (recently Porgy) and Ana María Martínez (recently Rusalka).
Details:Jay Pritzker Pavilion. 7:30 p.m. Free. lyricopera.org
Blow Up: Inflatable Contemporary Art
Inflatables, the latest trend in sculpture, are more abstract than those in a Thanksgiving Day parade but often just as whimsical. This exhibit, which includes work by local artist Claire Ashley, is one of the first to organize art that’s enlivened by forced air.
Details:Elmhurst Art Museum. Free–$8. elmhurstartmuseum.org
Lakeview East Festival of the Arts
In addition to all the regular street-fest fare, this juried event boasts more than 100 creatives showcasing visual art, jewelry, sculpture, and more.
Details:Broadway at Belmont. $5 donation. lakevieweastfestivalofthearts.com
Parsons & Charlesworth: Spectacular Vernacular
The Chicago-based British couple Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth design quirky but poignant objects like survival kits and conceptual puzzles, and even make Campari jam, ultimately questioning why we desire certain items and what that says about our taste.
Details:Chicago Cultural Center. Free. chicagoculturalcenter.org
Once a year, the Chicago Yachting Association puts on a show worthy of the Bridge of Sighs as dozens of boats “dress up” in elaborate displays (think parade floats literally floating). Catch the carnivalesque procession from Navy Pier or on the water: Cruise operator Mystic Blue offers a dinner excursion complete with a dance floor and views of the postparade fireworks, starting at $110.
Details:Navy Pier. 7 p.m. Free. navypier.com
Director Mary Zimmerman helms Leonard Bernstein’s fable about two Ohio sisters who take on 1935 New York. The plot involves unruly sailors, a conga line, off-duty football lunks, a missing painting, lovable Irish cops, and a late-night jazz club—in other words, abundant opportunities for Zimmerman to create her signature spectacles.
Details:Goodman Theatre. goodmantheatre.org
If Pokémon Go has gotten you (or your kids) off the couch in recent months, this “urban adventure race” is sure to whet your wanderlust. Form a team and race through the city finding clues and checkpoints (disseminated through a mobile app), solving puzzles, and making new friends.
Details:Loop. Noon. $25–$55. eventbrite.com
Go wild at this annual 5K through the Brookfield Zoo’s grounds. Gallop past gazelles and giraffes in your moisture-wicking shirt and bib, with proceeds going to the Chicago Zoological Society’s Animal Care and Conservation Fund.
Details:Brookfield Zoo. 8:30 a.m. $35. czs.org
Ever heard of Thai funk? How about surf soul? If not, this Houston-based band is the perfect introduction. After discovering the ’60s and ’70s genres on Thai music blog Monrakplengthai, the group began crafting delicate and densely layered songs in their likeness.
Details:Schubas. 8 p.m. $13–$15. lh-st.com
Man in the Ring
Google the brutal welterweight showdown between Emile Griffith and Benny Paret at your own risk. After Paret reportedly lobbed homophobic slurs at his opponent leading up to the fight, the 1962 matchup turned deadly, with Griffith pummeling Paret into a coma (eventually fatal) on national television. Michael Cristofer’s world premiere digs into the battle. Whether or not fights are your thing, this drama has knockout potential.
Details:Court Theatre. $45. courttheatre.org
Tug of War: Civil Strife; Henry VI Parts 2 and 3, Richard III
Part 2 of Barbara Gaines’s mega-adaptation of multiple Shakespeare history plays runs an estimated six hours, charging through the kingship of Henry the Sixth and into the dastardly reign of Richard the Third. Henry is a minor king by any estimation, but Richard is a thoroughly fascinating beast, from that famous opening soliloquy (“Now is the winter of our discontent”) to his blood-soaked rise and fall.
Details:Chicago Shakespeare Theater. $100. chicagoshakes.com
It’s a family hour of sorts at Steppenwolf, where actor Michael Rabe stars in the world premiere of a play by his Tony-winning father, David Rabe, about a woman with cancer and her troubled relationship with her son. Factor in direction from Anna Shapiro and a knockout ensemble (K. Todd Freeman, Sally Murphy, Ian Barford), and you’ve got a premiere more than worth checking out.
Hand to God
Puppets are front and center in playwright Robert Askins’s irreverent screed about an evangelizing puppeteer and a Satanic hand puppet. Gary Griffin directs a story aptly billed as Sesame Street meets The Exorcist.
Details:Victory Gardens Theater. $20–$60. victorygardens.org
Twenty years after its members parted ways, the influential dream-pop band Belly announced a reunion tour in February. With the group’s new music and a collection of summer tour dates, old fans (and new ones acquired despite two decades of radio silence) ought to flock to the energy and charisma that first defined Belly in the ’90s.
Details:Vic Theatre. 8 p.m. $29. etix.com
City Made Fest
Local innovators, brewers, and performers turn out to support the Andersonville Sustainable Community Alliance. Everything you drink, eat, and buy at the event is made right here in the Windy City, with local acts providing the score.
Details:Clark between Argyle and Carmen. $5. andersonville.org
Elgin Symphony Orchestra
ESO conductor Andrew Grams leads a Shostakovich overture and Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances, then brings a fresh face to a familiar form: 19-year-old Simone Porter, sizzling on Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto.
Details:Hemmens Cultural Center. $30–$65. elginsymphony.org
Buto master Tadashi Endo opens the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago’s 43rd season with a one-night-only solo performance. Fukushima Mon Amour channels the Japanese experience in the wake of the 2011 tsunami and resulting Fukushima nuclear disaster—and the resilience that carried the country forward.
Details:The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. 7:30 p.m. $24–$30. colum.edu/dance-center
Franz Joseph Haydn, a composer well-known for his symphonies, also penned a skein of little-known operas. Haymarket Opera Company, Chicago’s bastion of the baroque, day-trips into the classical period and isolates L’Isola Disabitata, the story of two marooned sisters and their rescue by one’s husband, reaffirming that preposterous plot coincidences in Haydn’s day were a feature, not a bug.
Details:Haymarket Opera Company at Athenaeum Theatre. $15–$67. haymarketopera.org
Tseng Kwong Chi: Performing for the Camera
This relentlessly inquisitive photographer died young at 39, but left a body of over 100,000 images—mostly of New York’s hip downtown scene, including portraits of Warhol, Haring, and Basquiat in their studios. Not just a documentarian, the artist also showed his identity on film as a gay Asian immigrant adapting to the tumultuous 1980s.
Details:Block Museum of Art. Free. blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
Ensemble Dal Niente
By winning a competition on the YouTube channel Score Follower, the composer Julio Zúñiga received a commission from Ensemble Dal Niente, one of Chicago’s fiercest new art acts. The result, a quartet for soprano, viola, harp, and piano, premieres here at EDN’s season opener, alongside works by new composition faculty at Chicago universities.
Details:Constellation. 8:30 p.m. $10–$15. constellation-chicago.com
Four years after the documentary Searching for Sugar Man rehashed his life story, Detroit native Sixto Diaz Rodriguez is experiencing newfound popularity. Rodriguez’s eerie yet poignant blend of folk-rock resonated first with listeners in South Africa, where he is said to have been bigger than Elvis Presley, and a new generation of cult fans has rallied around him. Catch the once-unknown legend before he goes off the map again.
Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $46–$66. ticketweb.com
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The CSO and music director Riccardo Muti kick off the 2016–17 season in frightening fashion with Night on Bald Mountain, the Mussorgsky piece that spawned nightmares when you saw Fantasia as a kid. Richard Strauss’s tone poem Don Juan seduces you back to calmness. Bruckner’s leviathan Symphony No. 7 closes the opener.
Details:Symphony Center. $34–$220. cso.org
The popular jazz saxophonist (and son of John) returns to Chicago behind In Movement, his latest collaborative effort with Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison. Expect more of Coltrane’s signature postbop grooves in this weeklong residency that should please even the most discerning of jazz fans.
Details:Jazz Showcase. $25–$40. jazzshowcase.com
Want to visit the world’s best galleries? For four days, you can catch them all at Navy Pier. Chicago’s largest international contemporary art fair displays today’s trends and tomorrow’s potential masterpieces, attracting leading thinkers such as local artist Kerry James Marshall and Dominic Molon, curator of the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. See “Five Prime Spots to Discover Rising Local Artists” and “Tony Karman Shares His Favorite Things.”
Details:Navy Pier. $20. expochicago.com
Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival
The 34th season of this prestigious eight-day event will screen more than 75 independent films, many with characters and story lines that counteract stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community.
Details:Various venues. reelingfilmfestival.org
Bon Appétit hosts this toast to our city’s finest food in a majorly ritzed-up version of Taste of Chicago. The three-day event features talks from host Rick Bayless, numerous tastings, and a hamburger party on the roof of the Harris Theater.
Details:Millennium Park. $40–$205. chicagogourmet.org
Día de los Muertos: Journey of the Soul
Chicago’s National Museum of Mexican Art hosts the largest Day of the Dead exhibition in the United States, with ofrendas, or altars, by dozens of folk artists honoring their ancestors with paintings, masks, dolls, sugar sculptures, and cut-paper displays. This year’s celebration features an installation by Sandra Cisneros, the author of The House on Mango Street, in tribute to her mother.
Details:National Museum of Mexican Art. Free. nationalmuseumofmexicanart.org
Did you know that the East Garfield Park Grammy-winning hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco is also a painter? Unlike his raps, the wordsmith’s series of geometric abstract canvases are eerily calm, and replete with hidden skulls.
Details:Ed Paschke Art Center. 7 p.m. Free. edpaschkeartcenter.org
This Brooklyn-based group is a natural fit for Constellation’s rambunctious bill, which specializes in all things avant-garde. Secret Keeper (Stephan Crump and composer Mary Halvorson) crafts spatially dense tunes that emphasize the piercing energy of the guitar and bass.
Details:Constellation. 8:30 p.m. $10. ticketfly.com
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
The 10th annual fest boasts its best lineup yet, including performances by Miguel Zenón and Spektral Quartet, Matana Roberts, and Dee Alexander Quartet with Dwight Trible. Read more in our guide to the fest.
Details:Various venues. $5 donation, $125 for preferred seating pass. hydeparkjazzfestival.org
Historic Berwyn’s Bungalow Tour
Tour classic homes used for modern living and learn historical tidbits about this charming district in the southwest suburbs.
Details:Berwyn Historical Society. Noon. $20–$25. berwynbungalow.org
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about the Founding Father without a father is the theater event of the season. Tickets may cost an arm, leg, and kidney, but for hardcore Ham-heads, that’s a small price to see the groundbreaking musical in its first run outside of New York. That said, there’s no rush. The show will be in Chicago at least two years, and at some point, demand will wane. Maybe.
Details:Broadway in Chicago at the PrivateBank Theatre. $65–$500 at broadwayinchicago.com.
Angel Olsen is no longer a Chicagoan, but her haunting freak-folk made a lasting impression on the city, with a number of similarly smart, innovative songwriters coming out of the woodwork since her departure. Her latest album, My Woman, drops this month, and though much of it skews more accessible than her previous work, Olsen’s off-kilter rhythms are still front and center.
Details:Thalia Hall. 8:30 p.m. $20–$210. ticketweb.com
Hamlet: The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan
The Chinese theater company Shanghai Jingju reimagines Shakespeare’s Hamlet, moving the tale to the fictitious Red City and employing traditional Chinese dramatic aesthetics.
Details:Harris Theater. $18–$63. harristheaterchicago.org
In 2015, potty-mouthed comic Lewis Black took his career in an unexpected direction with a role in the Pixar hit Inside Out. But that doesn’t mean Black’s righteous wrath has dulled: This tour promises rants that will get down into the naked truth of our times.
Details:North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. 7:30 p.m. Sold out; see resellers. northshorecenter.org
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The soulful mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato is familiar to Lyric regulars, but she makes her CSO debut here, singing the lyrical Canzone dei Ricordi by late-19th-century composer Giuseppe Martucci. After a second Italian Romantic appetizer, Riccardo Muti leads Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, the one Wagner called “the apotheosis of the dance.”
Details:Symphony Center. $36–$259. cso.org
The Auditorium Theatre’s Made in Chicago dance series kicks off 2016 with Flamenco Passion. This program from Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater features founder and artistic director Dame Libby Komaiko’s signature Bolero beside the more modern Mil Clavos.
Details:Auditorium Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $29–$68. auditoriumtheatre.org
Four years after her memoir about hiking solo on the Pacific Crest Trail hit the New York Times bestseller list, Cheryl Strayed joins the Garden Talks lecture series at Chicago Botanic Gardens. Here, she’ll discuss the healing power of nature and her latest book, Brave Enough.
Details:Chicago Botanic Gardens. 7 p.m. $20–$25. chicagobotanic.org
Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip
Following its March premiere at the Harris Theater, Lucky Plush’s Tripping the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip gets a weekend reprise at a cozier venue. Dance theater is more than meets the eye in this smart and hilarious story of washed-up superheroes on a mission for self-actualization in the nonprofit world.
Details:Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. $24–$30. colum.edu/dance-center
A 16-ton 1957 Cadillac DeVille encased in concrete was an idiosyncratic, underknown local sculpture by the German artist Wolf Vostell until it fell into a state of disrepair. Freshly conserved, the car-in-concrete marks its return to Chicago with a procession of events as it travels from Humboldt Park to the MCA to the Arts Club and finally to the University of Chicago, anchoring lectures and events along the way.
Details:Various venues. Free. arts.uchicago.edu/concretehappenings
The 5 Browns
Who knows what crossroads these five siblings dragged their baby grands to, but all five Browns not only possess Juilliard-level piano talent but also look eternally 25 years old. At this tour appearance, they play in permutations from solo and duo up to all five at five pianos, hammering out specially arranged versions of The Rite of Spring and Rhapsody in Blue.
Details:Edman Chapel at Wheaton College. 7:30 p.m. $10–$45. wheaton.edu/artistseries
Le Vin Herbé
Chicago Opera Theater launches into the first piece of its longer 2016–17 season—the Tristan and Isolde story Le Vin Herbé, by the 20th-century Swiss composer Frank Martin. An eight-piece chamber orchestra backs a 12-singer chorus in the piece, a sort of operatic oratorio.
Details:Chicago Opera Theater at Music Box Theatre. $50–$75. chicagooperatheater.com
Shaw’s Oyster Fest
This beer-and-fish fest celebrates the humble half shell, with help from Grand Rapids brew crew Founders. Sip their All Day IPA while sampling six varieties of oyster to a soundtrack of funk and Mississippi blues. Shaw’s Crab House, which has hosted the fest for 28 years, will have nightly oyster slurp-offs in the week leading up to the main event.
Details:Hubbard and Rush. 3 p.m. $20–$50. oysterfestchicago.com
Two decades after Sigur Rós’s inception, the Icelandic band’s ethereal music feels more apt than ever. Their dense, lengthy songs permeate one’s consciousness, serving as the perfect medicine for a fast-paced day and age. It’s been three years since their last album, and with no announcement of a new record on the horizon, fans should expect an eclectic set spanning the band’s celebrated career.
Details:Chicago Theatre. 8:30 p.m. $70–$80. ticketmaster.com
Playwright Stephen Sachs draws the inspiration for his drama from the tale of Teri Horton, a retired trucker who spent $5 on a thrift shop painting that some assert is a Jackson Pollock worth $50 million. Sachs’s plot centers on a former bartender who, like Horton, buys a painting for next to nothing and learns it might be worth millions. A tale of class and cash ensues as a cadre of snooty art experts swan into the barkeep’s life and have at it over the work’s authenticity.
Details:TimeLine Theatre. $41–$54. timelinetheatre.com
Over the past two years, west suburban Naperville has been lauded by the media as the country’s single safest suburb and one of the best places to raise a family. But all is not so rosy in Mat Smart’s Caribou Coffee–set tale of struggling Napervillians. The show follows a mother and son coping with a medical crisis, while old high school crushes and new senior romances take flight amid a bevy of extra-foam lattes.
Details:Theater Wit. $12–$36. theaterwit.org