Don’t-miss picks for October 25 through October 31, 2018
1 Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns
Seasonal:As the name would indicate, there are, in fact, more than 1,000 pumpkins on display at this family-friendly Halloween standby, each one a carefully carved work of art. In the jack-o’-lanterns’ spectral glow, the gardens take on a spooky and autumnal atmosphere best enjoyed with a hot cup of cocoa or cider (spiked, if you’re a grownup) in hand.
Through 10/28. $13–$18. Chicago Botanic Garden. chicagobotanic.org
2 Elton John
Rock:In January, John told Anderson Cooper he would be retiring from touring, stating, “My priorities are now my children and my husband and my family.” It’s a blow to longtime fans, but John won’t make his final exit until he completes a three-year international tour.
10/26–27. $181–$1,392. United Center. ticketmaster.com
3 Jessica Sladek
Art:In this emerging photographer’s Wait-A-While series, a tradition of bucolic landscape imagery (think Ansel Adams) is turned on its head — or rather, its roots. Focusing tightly on dirt, holes, and generally what’s beneath the feet, Sladek has an eye for finding the overlooked beauty of everyday nature.
FREE 10/26–12/29. Schneider Gallery. schneidergallerychicago.com
4 Chicago Home Movie Day
Film:Each year, locals dust off and trot out their best (i.e., most pedestrian and mildly amusing) works of amateur film — specifically, those that are actually on film, in a format like 16 mm, 8 mm, or Super 8. Watching someone else’s home movies might sound about as much fun as, well, watching someone else’s home movies, but don’t be surprised if you leave the auditorium misty-eyed: There’s something undeniably powerful about seeing people and places frozen in time.
FREE 10/27 at 11 a.m. Chicago History Museum. chicagofilmarchives.org
5 Nine Inch Nails
Rock:Back with its ninth studio album, Bad Witch, after four years away, Trent Reznor’s morbid industrial-rock outfit hasn’t lost any of its creepy power. Gen-X goths and younger fans who’ve flocked to NIN’s music won’t want to miss this rare tour.
10/25–27. $101–$143. Aragon Ballroom. ticketmaster.com
6 Jonathan Richman
Rock:The Modern Lovers produced just one album before dissolving in 1974, and that self-titled work is considered by some critics to be the germ of punk rock. Richman, the band’s idiosyncratic frontman, has developed something of a cult following ever since, even as he turns his back on the aesthetic trappings of punk. Though Richman now favors an acoustic guitar and a tempo more suited to easy listening than a mosh pit, his songwriting remains as strangely compelling as ever.
10/27 at 9 p.m. $18–$28. Thalia Hall. eventbrite.com
7 Keep Moving: Designing Chicago’s Bicycle Culture
Design:The bicycle is a symbol of personal freedom: the open road, the fresh air, the solitary sense of movement and power. This exhibit celebrates design innovations of the humble bike, including ephemera from Chicago’s top manufacturers then and now, like Schwinn, founded here in 1895, as well as reflections on why the local cycling community is so alluring.
FREE 10/27–3/3. Design Museum of Chicago. designchicago.org
8 Jeff Arcuri
Comedy:Earlier this year, the standup made his Late Show with Stephen Colbert debut, and now he’s returning to the city where he got his start. Before he headed to New York, the earnest, upbeat comic hosted and produced the Chicago-based showcase This Week’s Show and regularly appeared at Laugh Factory, Comedy Bar, and Zanies, where he’ll be headlining.
10/29–31. $25. Zanies. chicago.zanies.com
9 Ina Garten: The Barefoot Contessa
Food/Lecture:On this tour, the beloved and inescapable restaurateur, cookbook author, and television personality shares stories and recipes from throughout her gastronomic journey and gives a sneak peek at her new book, Cooking Like a Pro — autographed copies of which will be available at the theater.
10/30 at 7:30 p.m. $53–$73. Chicago Theatre. ticketmaster.com
10 Kreutzer Connection
Classical:The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center builds a program around Beethoven’s “Kreutzer,” a violin sonata, and Leoš Janáček’s “Kreutzer Sonata” for string quartet, then interposes a work by the actual Kreutzer, a famous violinist who never actually played the Beethoven piece dedicated to him.
10/30 at 7:30 p.m. $30–$70. Harris Theater. harristheaterchicago.org