Don’t-miss picks for August 16 through August 22, 2017
1 Best of Chicago
Party:Raise a glass to our Best of Chicago winners with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres by some of our favorite spots in the city. Plus: Live music by Italian mambo quintet La Tosca.
8/16 at 6 p.m. $75. Artifact Events. chicagomag.com/boc
2 Belle and Sebastian with Julien Baker
Folk:In increasingly tumultuous times, this Scottish band’s winsome, heartfelt tunes ring truer than ever. They have no new music to tour behind, but you can revel in the septet’s best songs from their long and impressive discography. Arrive early for opener Julien Baker, the Memphis folksinger whose haunting music punches square in the gut.
8/16 at 7:30 p.m. $38–$60. Chicago Theatre. ticketmaster.com
3 Bruno Mars
Pop:One of his generation’s most charismatic performers, this golden-voiced pop star has made a career applying his glistening tenor to a variety of genres. Having dabbled in doo-wop and soul, Mars immersed himself in funk on 24K Magic, his third studio album and first since releasing the global earworm “Uptown Funk.” Expect an explosive full-band performance and Mars’s signature, tightly choreographed dance moves.
8/16, 18–19. Sold out; see resellers. United Center.
4 Beethoven Symphony No. 9
Classical:The Grant Park Music Festival goes big with a summer finale that marshals the festival’s orchestra and chorus for Beethoven’s magisterial Ninth, also known as the “Choral” Symphony. Both the chorus and the audience sit listening to some of the world’s great orchestral writing over the first three movements and much of the fourth before the über-famous hymn to universal brotherhood, “Ode to Joy,” brings them all together.
8/18–19. $25–$95. Jay Pritzker Pavilion. gpmf.org
5 Pilsen Fest
Festival:The annual festival returns to Pilsen with a blend of live music, food, art, and handcrafted goods—all aimed at highlighting the neighborhood’s Latino heritage and promoting cultural literacy. For instance, the kickoff party at the National Museum of Mexican Art will examine the historic ties between Czech and Mexican communities via an exhibition of family photographs.
8/18–20. $5 suggested donation. 18th and Blue Island. pilsenfestchicago.com
6 The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
Theater:Kristoffer Diaz’s Pulitzer finalist is a pummeling satire of professional wrestling and the culture that helps it thrive. In the ring, the characters are pure stereotype: a swarthy villain, a hapless sap, and an all-American hero fighting for truth and justice. Together, they tell the story of an alternate world where the fights are fixed—and the audience wouldn’t have it any other way.
8/19–9/16. Up to $40 suggested donation. Red Theater Company, 1802 W. Berenice. redtheater.org
7 Dance for Life
Dance:Jessica Miller Tomlinson remounts her 2011 piece In Tongues at this annual benefit performance, alongside the usual suspects Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, Visceral Dance Chicago, and others. Launched at the height of the AIDS crisis here 26 years ago, Dance for Life continues to raise money for those living with HIV/AIDS, both inside and outside the dance community.
8/19, 5 p.m. dinner, 7:30 p.m. performance. $15–$600. Harris Theater. chicagodancersunited.org
8 Chicago Air and Water Show
Recreation:This annual affair may turn Lake Shore Drive into a parking lot, but it’s undeniably awe-inspiring to see a stunt pilot take off into the wild blue yonder. Those who prefer a primo spot know to camp out early on the beaches at Oak Street and North Avenue.
FREE 8/19–20. North Avenue Beach. chicagoairandwatershow.us
Theater:Mary Robin Roth stars as the indomitable Rose in this tale of strippers, stage moms, and the death of vaudeville. Jule Styne’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics (“Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” “Rose’s Turn”) are a perfect pedestal for Roth’s clarion belt. If you’re into showstopping leads, consider Gypsy a must-see.
8/19–27. $34–$96. Music Theater Works at Cahn Auditorium. musictheaterworks.com
10 We Are Here
Art:The MCA’s ambitious collecting program defies tradition. The museum owns, for example, Kiss, Tino Sehgal’s 2002 piece in which two dancers make out the entire time the museum is open (to be reprised in this exhibit's third phase starting October 20). To open We Are Here, the museum's 50th anniversary show, it mounts works from its vast collection on the second floor, including those by Francis Bacon, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Marisol, Shirin Neshat, and more.
8/19–4/1. $8–15 suggested admission. Museum of Contemporary Art. mcachicago.org