Don’t-miss picks for September 12 through September 18, 2019
1 King Hedley II
Theater:Court Theatre and director Ron OJ Parson continue their commitment to staging August Wilson’s full 10-play cycle about black life in the 20th century with this 1980s-set entry. Revisiting some characters from Wilson’s earlier Seven Guitars, King Hedley II takes a dim view of how the Reagan era’s economic policies trickled down into historically impoverished neighborhoods like Pittsburgh’s Hill District.
9/12–10/13. $20–$50. Court Theatre. courttheatre.org
2 Hot Chip
Pop:This British synth-pop band helped make disco cool again in the early 2000s. Nearly two decades later, Hot Chip is still kicking out tender dance-floor anthems that plug straight into your serotonin receptors. The group’s latest, the warm and sublime A Bath Full of Ecstasy, was coproduced by the late, great Philippe Zdar, the Dionysian studio wizard who helped pioneer French house.
9/13 at 7:30 p.m. $35. Riviera Theatre. ticketfly.com
3 Riot Fest
Festival:Break out your chain wallets and your scuffed pair of Vans for this annual showcase of music you’d hear at the mall during the ’90s and 2000s. (There are some exceptions, especially on Sunday, when both Patti Smith and the Village People drop by.) Highlights include riot-grrrl pioneers Bikini Kill, the last local show for thrash-metal heroes Slayer, and multiple acts performing their albums in full, such as snotty pop-punkers Blink-182 running through its commercial breakthrough Enema of the State.
9/13–15. $50–$1,500. Douglas Park. riotfest.org
4 World Music Festival Chicago
Festival:This citywide showcase of international sounds presents some of the coolest and, surprisingly, most approachable concerts of the year. The opening-day show is an opportunity to pull an all-nighter at the Cultural Center, with a 14-hour set of Hindustani and Carnatic music (classical music from northern and southern India, respectively). And on the last day, WMFC meets up with the World Dumpling Fest at Navy Pier for stuffed-dough treats and tunes courtesy of Fidel Nadal of Argentina, the Sudanese American group Alsarah & the Nubatones, and Chicago’s own LowDown Brass Band.
FREE 9/13–29. Various locations. worldmusicfestivalchicago.com
5 Orkideh Torabi
Art:Inspired by Persian miniatures, this Iranian painter creates dyed-cotton portraits of men. But her dudes are comical caricatures, pink-faced oafs possessing little self-regard. It’s a vibrant critique of patriarchy in which there are no heroes, only clowns.
FREE 9/13–11/2. Western Exhibitions. westernexhibitions.com
6 Mass in B Minor
Classical:Anyone who says all baroque music sounds the same should hear Music of the Baroque, which goes big for its season opener: J.S. Bach’s mountainous take on the Mass text, composed for chorus, vocal soloists, and orchestra, spreading across two hours of music led by the group’s vital music director, Jane Glover.
9/14–15. $10–$85. Harris Theater; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts. baroque.org
7 LaToya Ruby Frazier: The Last Cruze
Art:In March, General Motors shut down its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, plunging thousands of workers and their families into economic crisis. Frazier, a Chicago-based photographer who captures the realities of the working class with an artist’s eye and a journalist’s tenacity, spent months speaking with those affected. This solo show features her black-and-white photographs, accompanied by interviews with her subjects.
FREE 9/14–12/1. Renaissance Society. renaissancesociety.org
8 Jordan Martins: Plant Strategies
Art:This local artist rarely sticks to one medium: He makes collages out of his own photography and painting and from other found artworks, then scans and manipulates them to produce dizzying patterns. From this tangle of digital and analog processes emerge canvas works that dance — their surfaces teem with color, strange textures, and labyrinthine lines.
FREE 9/15–10/26. Goldfinch. goldfinchgallery.org
Experimental Music:Ah, the tail end of summer — time to get in a few last patio beers, schedule a final beach hang, and, of course, pulverize your eardrums with experimental Japanese doom metal. This trio had planned on retiring in 2017 but returned with a new full-length, Love & Evol, in August — as good a reason as any to get lost in their heavy-as-hell (but still achingly gorgeous) wall of noise.
9/17 at 8 p.m. $20. Lincoln Hall. lh-st.com
10 Samson Young: Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy of Me?
Art:For this Hong Kong artist, who works in sound and performance art, progress doesn’t necessarily equate with evolution. In his first solo exhibition in the United States, Young presents a trilogy of videos that contemplate the consequences of idealist thinking, from the vestiges of the 1933–34 world’s fair to the failures of utopian Chinese thought within a 1980s-era shopping mall.
FREE 9/18–12/29. Smart Museum of Art. smartmuseum.uchicago.edu
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