Don’t-miss picks for May 31 through June 6, 2018
1 Marvin Tate and Avery R. Young
Performance:Two notable spoken-word poets and vocalists perform live at the Art Institute in response to the museum’s photography exhibit Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago, 1950–1980, a bittersweet love letter to Chicago featuring vintage prints that address the city’s unique culture as well as its lamentable history of segregation. Expect soulful and heady poems that reawaken the feeling of the recent past.
5/31 at 6 p.m. Free with admission. Art Institute of Chicago. artic.edu
2 Co-Missions Festival
Dance:If you missed any of Links Hall’s resident artists, here’s a chance to catch up with them all, in a festival highlighting J’Sun Howard, Ayako Kato, AJ McClenon, Courtney Mackedanz, Nora Sharp, and Sojourner Zenobia. This is an ideal way to see raw, unpolished work from key members of the local dance and performance community.
5/31–6/3. $10–$15. Links Hall. linkshall.org
3 Charli XCX
Pop:When will Charli XCX get the respect she deserves? This British pop phenom is a deft songwriter with a keen ear for melody and an experimental bent that’s more common among up-and-coming rappers. She should be the biggest pop star in the world. On her latest mixtape, 2017’s Pop 2, the musician proves her skills are more than just a fluke with a collection of songs (featuring collaborations with fellow underrated pop stars Carly Rae Jepsen, Caroline Polachek, and Dorian Electra) equal parts weird and beautiful.
6/1 at 7 p.m. $120–$465. Soldier Field. ticketmaster.com
4 Chicago Ale Fest
Festival:Sample from 200 craft beers, including casked brews and other rarities. The main draw might be the “Impossible to Get” beer tent, featuring celebrated breweries whose products aren’t available in Chicago.
6/1–2. $20–$99. Grant Park. chicagoalefest.com
5 Do Division Street Fest
Festival:In most corners of the world, five bucks doesn’t go as far as it used to—but no one seems to have told the organizers of one of the city’s best street fests. The requested donation is an all-access pass to a bill that straddles the rock spectrum: Expect surf sounds (La Luz), punkish indie (Ted Leo and the Pharmacists), noise pop (Deerhoof), and funky Afrobeat (Antibalas), with a pinch of rock shredding (Bear vs. Shark, Wooden Shjips) thrown in for good measure.
6/1–3. $10 donation. Division from Damen to Leavitt. do-divisionstreetfest.com
Theater:There’s plenty of Shakespeare out there this summer, but none that’s as in-your-face intimate as Gift’s Hamlet. Nobody in the audience will be more than 10 feet from the action, which is some of Shakespeare’s best. Rising director Monty Cole oversees the carnage and the profundity.
6/1–7/29. $25–$55. Gift Theatre. thegifttheatre.org
New Music:Ensemble Dal Niente’s periodically produced showcase presents a new staging of Arnold Schoenberg’s groundbreaking Pierrot Lunaire, an atonal chamber music masterpiece in which a soprano partly speaks and partly sings through the in-between technique called sprechstimme. Other musical parts range from newish to as new as you can get, in the case of a world premiere by composer Sky Macklay.
6/2 at 6 p.m. $20–$65. Constellation. dalniente.com
Opera:The baroque opera enthusiasts of Haymarket Opera Company produce the only staged opera of the summer, one of the 17th century’s blockbusters. It tells the story of the Egyptian queen Orontea, who, heedless of operatic logic, guarantees that she will fall in love by declaring herself impervious to it. The cast for the large-scale, three-hour piece includes several of Haymarket’s mainstays and also Emily Fons, a cusp-of-stardom mezzo-soprano, as Orontea.
6/2–5. $30–$85. Studebaker Theater. haymarketopera.org
9 Collin van der Sluijs
Art:Back in 2016 this Dutch artist wowed audiences with his debut Chicago solo exhibit, selling out his gallery show. Van der Sluijs returns with new paintings of birds, bunnies, and faces made with a street-art edge.
FREE 6/2–23. Vertical Gallery. verticalgallery.com
10 Paul Simon
Folk:Citing the death of his longtime guitarist, Vincent Nguini, as well as time away from family, legendary singer-songwriter Simon will leave the performance life, but not before completing a farewell career-spanning tour, which will thankfully touch ground in Chicago.
6/6 at 8 p.m. $50–$175. United Center. ticketmaster.com