Don’t-miss picks for October 11 through October 17, 2017
1 Pinball Expo
Gaming:Calling all pinball wizards: This local fest offers a chance not only to play on dozens of rare machines but also to chat up some of America’s most dedicated collectors. You can even leave with a new addition to your game room.
10/11–15. $30–$240. Westin Chicago North Shore. pinballexpo.net
2 Les Misérables
Theater:It’s back to the barricades as Inspector Javert tries to bring down Everyman Jean Valjean in the enduring 1980 musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s classic. New on this go-round? A set inspired by the paintings of Hugo himself.
10/11–29. $25–$307. Broadway in Chicago at Cadillac Palace. broadwayinchicago.org
3 Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group
Dance:The Dance Center favorites return for Citizen, Wilson’s 2016 production combining blues and folk music to embody the history of the African diaspora and its impact on African Americans’ identities.
10/12–14. $24–$30. Dance Center of Columbia College. colum.edu/dance-center
4 Monteverdi 450
Opera:To celebrate the 450th anniversary of the birth of Claudio Monteverdi, the father of opera, the baroque baron Sir John Eliot Gardiner presents all three of Monteverdi’s operas—L’Orfeo, Il Ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria, and L’incoronazione di Poppea—in three days. His ensemble? The period-instrument orchestra English Baroque Soloists and the born-for-this Monteverdi Choir.
10/12–15. $35–$145. Harris Theater. harristheaterchicago.org
5 Chicago International Film Festival
Film:Every fall, this fest offers a peek at the coming year’s Oscar contenders and arthouse Cinderellas. For proof, look no further than last year’s lineup, which featured advance screenings of La La Land and Moonlight before either saw wide release (and sparked the Oscar bumble of the century).
10/12–26. $8–$260. AMC River East 21. chicagofilmfestival.com
6 A Swell in the Ground
Theater:The title of this world premiere by Janine Nabers is lifted from Emily Dickinson’s widely known probe of mortality, poem 497 (“Because I could not stop for Death”). The time-tripping play follows four college friends over the course of 17 years, and the nonlinear structure leaves the audience piecing together the group’s troubled history. Without spoiling the ending, the “swell” turns out to be a grave.
10/13–12/10. $30–$40. Gift Theatre. thegifttheatre.org
7 Disruptive Perspectives
Art:Best known as producers of Jill Soloway’s Transparent, Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst are also famous visual artists, whose intimate self-portraits document their onetime relationship as a transgender man and woman. Their striking images are a part of this group show dedicated to artists who use photography to disrupt the status quo in visual personal identity.
FREE 10/12–12/22. Museum of Contemporary Photography. mocp.org
8 The Scorpion’s Sting
Opera:Opera, a genre short on happy endings, tends not to cater to the kiddie crowd. With this one-act production in English, Lyric Unlimited, an initiative of the Lyric Opera, aims to change that. The story of archaeology students who must decipher hieroglyphics to save their professor is geared toward audience members as young as 7.
10/14–15. $10–$20. Studebaker Theater. lyricopera.org
Art:Sue, the Field Museum’s famous T. rex, is just a few feet taller than the MCA’s Felix, a 26-foot skeletal sculpture of a house cat poised to pounce at the museum’s entrance. The piece is the brainchild of Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan, and it’s having its first moments in the sun since 2006—part of the MCA’s 50th anniversary exhibition.
10/14–4/8. $8–$15 suggested admission. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. mcachicago.org
10 Doug Fogelson
Art:Anthropologists use a new geological term, the Anthropocene, to designate the current age, in which humans have altered every corner of Earth’s landscape. Artist Doug Fogelson examines these alterations in O.L.A.F.T., in collaboration with the Open Land Art & Fact Team, a research practice through which he collects both natural and human-made artifacts that threaten Illinois’s flora and fauna.
FREE 10/15–12/10. Hyde Park Art Center. hydeparkart.org