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The Top Five Things to Do This Week in Chicago

The best events in theater, opera, music, and more.

STRING THEORY Violinist Regina Carter performs at the Hyde Park Jazz Festival this weekend.   Photo: Armando L. Sanchez

The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, September 23 through September 29, 2015

1 Chicago magazine Culture Festival

Festivals: Yes, we’re tooting our own horn. But Chicago magazine’s first-ever arts fest has a great set of panelists—Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn, comedians Kyle Kinane, Pete Holmes, and Liza Treyger, incoming Steppenwolf Theatre artistic director Anna Shapiro, and more.
9/26 at 11. $30–$60. Venue SIX10, 610 S. Michigan. chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/Promotion/2015-Culture-Festival

2 Scream, Queen, Scream!

Theater: Classic horror films and late-night TV shows (think Creepshow and The Twilight Zone) inspire campy theater company Hell in a Handbag Productions’ latest play, headed by beloved drag performer David Cerda.
9/24–10/31. $6–$40. Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark. handbagproductions.org

3 The Marriage of Figaro

Opera: Lyric revisits the formula of last year’s successful opener, Don Giovanni, by tapping a local director known best for theater to lead Mozart, here enlisting the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Barbara Gaines. The cast includes the powerful Luca Pisaroni as the Count and the sterling Amanda Majeski as the Countess.
9/26–10/24. $17–$329. Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker. lyricopera.org

4 Hyde Park Jazz Festival

Jazz: Dynamic duos distinguish this South Side staple, including MacArthur “genius” grant winner and violinist Regina Carter with pianist Xavier Davis, and multi-instrumentalist and the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians alum Henry Threadgill with Cuban pianist David Virelles. Cellist Tomeka Reid and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire also perform world premieres.
9/26–9/27. Suggested $5 donation. Various locations. hydeparkjazzfestival.org

5 Sila: The Breath of the World

Classical: To celebrate its new Music and Communication Building, Northwestern will exit it, coalescing 80 musicians on the lawn south of the structure to play John Luther Adams’s Sila: The Breath of the World, which premiered in 2014, the year that Adams won a Pulitzer Prize. The piece uses the rhythms of the musicians’ own inhalations and exhalations to create a sense of a massive, breathing harmonious planet.
9/25–9/26. Free. Northwestern University, 70 Arts Circle. pickstaiger.org/content/sila-breath-world

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Olivia Junell
Olivia Junell Photo: Courtesy of Olivia Junell

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Olivia Junell of Experimental Sound Studio and communications manager for Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

“On Friday, I’ll be coming up to Edgewater’s Experimental Sound Studio, a non-profit that does a ton of performances throughout the city, to see Fonema Consort. They’re one of my favorite new music ensembles, and they’re performing a twilight concert in the backyard. Later I’ll be popping over to Underground Wonder Bar, where DJs Rae Chardonnay and Sean Alvarez are going to be doing an AfroFuturistic dance party.

“Saturday and Sunday will be Hyde Park Jazz Festival all day, each day. I’ll probably stop by Z&H MarketCafe on 57th before I head over to the festival—I love all of their breakfast sandwiches and I kind of just cycle between them.

“I’m going to make a point to go to Ambrose Akinmusire, who’s performing a new piece called Banyan. His work in general is just crazy good, really cutting-edge jazz, and for this he interviewed a whole bunch of jazz greats to put together this multimedia composition and video piece.

“A couple other people I’m really excited about: Mary Stallings is this amazing vocalist, and my favorite jazz musician, Regina Carter.” —As told to Hannah Nyhart

Freebie of the Week


Grand Art & Design Festival

Festivals: Formerly known as Design Harvest, this furniture-focused West Town extravaganza expands to include crafts, jewelry, food, and a cocktail bar.
9/26–9/27. Suggested $5 donation. Grand between Western and Wood. grandartdesign.com

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