Don’t-miss picks for July 18 through July 24, 2019
1 PAWS Chicago Beach Party
Charity:Every year, the animal shelter PAWS invites Chicagoans and their pets to North Avenue Beach for a fundraiser. The money rolls in, thanks to auctions, raffles, and the price of admission, which includes cocktails, dinner, and music on the shores of Lake Michigan.
7/18 at 6 p.m. $225. Castaways. pawschicago.org
Theater:Haven Theatre stages the local premiere of this piece by Chilean experimentalist Guillermo Calderón. Reviews of productions elsewhere have honored the playwright’s request to avoid spoilers, but know that the plot involves soap operas and the Syrian civil war. Those circumspect reviews, however, have been raves, and with the resourceful Monty Cole attached to direct and perform, the show should be on your shortlist.
Through 8/11. $35. Den Theatre. haventheatrechicago.com
Theater:In 2015, Steep Theatre gave young British playwright Alistair McDowall his American debut with Brilliant Adventures, a play that put an unexpected twist on the dingy public housing drama — a staple of contemporary U.K. theater — by adding a fully operational time machine. McDowall’s follow-up, Pomona, goes nonlinear in a different way: In this Manchester-set tale of lost girls and dark urban underworlds, the scenes play out of order to keep you guessing as to what’s real.
Through 8/11. $27–$38. Steep Theatre. steeptheatre.com
4 Go Down Moses
Art:Critic and photographer Teju Cole scoured the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s archives to piece together a visual poem of present-day America, told through more than 150 images. His monumental interweaving of the past and present is expressed through the perspectives of artists like Dawoud Bey, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Gordon Parks.
FREE Through 9/29. Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College Chicago. mocp.org
5 Pitchfork Music Festival
Festival:Fresh off its first winter fest, Pitchfork goes back to what it does best: Bringing people to Union Park to drink beer all weekend while listening to an eclectic mix of live music. This year’s headliners are the all-sister rock band Haim, R&B icons the Isley Brothers, and Swedish pop star Robyn.
7/19–21. $85–$390. Union Park. pitchforkmusicfestival.com
6 Erin Hayden: Song and Story
Art:Known for her dyed fabric works that merge pop culture imagery with paint, this local artist’s latest show highlights work created through nondigital methods, such as recent writings, performance, and drawings that combine ink-blotted stamps with poems written on a typewriter.
FREE 7/19–8/29. Chicago Artists Coalition. chicagoartistscoalition.org
Classical:Ravinia has extended its magnification of the composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein beyond his centenary in 2018 to this summer’s festival, cleverly branding a multiconcert tour of his career as “Leonard Bernstein 101.” Last year, Ravinia brought together an orchestra, choir, children’s choir, vocal soloists, and theatrical staff to put on a fully staged version of Bernstein’s woolly updating of the Catholic Mass. Because it was too easy to do it just once, they are doing it again this year.
7/20 at 8 p.m. $15–$90. Ravinia. ravinia.org
8 Water Lantern Festival
Festival:In a Venn diagram of “children who watch Disney’s Tangled on repeat” and “adults who want to live in an indie movie,” this new-to-Chicago festival is where those two groups intersect. Come to Humboldt Park and launch personalized lanterns into the lagoon in this dazzling light display.
7/20 at 5:30 p.m. $25–$40. Humboldt Park. waterlanternfestival.com
Festival:It’s a streetwear convention! No, it’s streetwise TED talks! No, it’s an influencer gathering! Well, it’s hard to pin down exactly what ComplexCon is, but rest assured that you’ll want to be at this enormous gathering of “creatives,” hip-hop heads, sneaker obsessives, and T-shirt aficionados. The performers alone are worth the price of admission, including Rick Ross, Ella Mai, and Schoolboy Q, plus speaking gigs from such notable figures as Questlove, activist DeRay Mckesson, and T.I.
7/20–21. $80–$300. McCormick Place. complexcon.com
10 Rhythm World
Dance:The oldest American tap festival brings in hoofers from all over the world, but this event is also a chance to see the next generation of local tap dancers. Look out for shows put on by recent Chicago Dancemakers Forum lab artists Nico Rubio and Bril Barrett.
7/22–28. $15–$75. Dance Center, Columbia College Chicago. chicagotap.org
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