Don’t-miss picks for August 30 through September 5, 2018
1 Chicago Fringe Festival
Festival:Chicago, one might argue, is a vast, year-long fringe festival. That said, this official version will bring dozens of theater companies from throughout the country (and Canada!) straight to the heart of off-Loop. Puppets, spoken word, comic sketches, improv — the cross-pollination of genres has something for everyone.
8/30–9/1. $10. Various locations. chicagofringe.org
2 Chicago Jazz Festival
Jazz:This annual festival celebrates its 40th anniversary by hosting some heavy hitters. On Thursday, flutist Nicole Mitchell and her Black Earth Ensemble will play their 2017 album Mandorla Awakening II (see “From Busking in the Loop to World-Renowned Jazz Flutist”); two days later, legendary pianist Ramsey Lewis performs a headlining gig; and the next day, trumpeter Jaimie Branch appears with her Fly or Die outfit, and P-Funk saxophonist Maceo Parker pops in to close out the fest.
FREE 8/30–9/2. Grant Park. chicagojazzfestival.us
3 A Shayna Maidel
Theater:In Barbara Lebow’s drama, a Polish Jewish Holocaust survivor reunites with a sister who escaped before World War II began. Lebow’s exploration of families torn apart by persecution should be required viewing for anyone interested in the state of immigration today.
8/30–11/4. $25–$54. TimeLine Theatre at the Wellington Avenue Church. timelinetheatre.com
4 On Anxiety
Art:On the College of DuPage campus, you’ll find one of the best suburban museums. This summer it premieres an exhibit proposing that anxiety — “that low-grade, ever present anxiety, the kind that you wake up with and have learned to ignore,” curator Gwendolyn Zabicki writes — can generate greater insight into the creative process. The large group show includes paintings by Celeste Rapone and Alex Bradley Cohen.
FREE 8/31–10/13. Cleve Carney Art Gallery. clevecarneygallery.org
5 Marlene Skog & Dancers
Dance:Skog’s contemporary ballet Consider It Not So Deeply evaluates the psyches of Shakespeare’s female characters using a mix of dance and spoken word, with original music by Matan Rubinstein and Chicagoland native Timothy Russell interspersed with Vivaldi.
8/31–9/1. $10–$15. Ruth Page Center for the Arts. marleneskog.com
6 Conference of the Birds
Dance:Having traversed 20 cities around the globe, choreographer Nejla Yatkin brings her Dancing Around the World series home to Chicago with a site-specific interactive performance on the lakefront. Audience members participate in guided movement inspired by flocking birds; the procession will become part of a short documentary by filmmaker Enki Andrews.
FREE 9/1–16. Caracol Gathering Space at Burnham Wildlife Corridor. ny2dance.com
7 North Coast Music Festival
Festival:Head to Union Park this weekend, where EDM yet again dominates the lineup but local favorites like rapper Ric Wilson also shine. Headlining acts include funky Vulfpeck, French DJ Snack, and sultry R&B singer Miguel. Whether rain or shine, expect to find a lot of club-ready kids ready to dance — and a whole bunch of glitter.
8/31–9/2. $90–$155. Union Park. northcoastfestival.com
8 Slow&Low: Chicago Lowrider Festival
Festival:Not to be confused with an auto show, this festival brings together a curated lineup of local talent: mariachis, fabulous cars, and a very special awards ceremony honoring lowrider family. In its eighth year, visitors will find some of the most innovative and talented mechanics and car craftsmen in the city showing off their skills and latest toys.
FREE 9/2 at 11 a.m. Loomis and Cermak. chicagolowriderfestival.com
9 Collaborative Works Festival
Classical:The vocal music organization Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago spices up its annual celebration with the Midwest Premiere of a song cycle by New York–based Missy Mazzoli, just named the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s next composer in residence. The work in question is Songs from the Operas, a sort of greatest hits from her operas Breaking the Waves and Proving Up. As for the usual maestros on offer, they include Mahler, Brahms, Schoenberg, Leos Janacek, and Vaughan Williams.
9/5–8. Free–$35. Various neighborhoods and venues. caichicago.org
10 Sweet Charity
Theater:Bob Fosse famously choreographed this 1966 musical and subsequent film about a “taxi dancer” looking for love in all the wrong places. Cy Coleman (music), Dorothy Fields (lyrics), and Neil Simon (book) combined forces for the show’s memorable highlights: the dead-eyed come-ons of “Big Spender,” the isolated undulations of “Rich Man’s Frug,” and the psychedelic grooves of “The Rhythm of Life.”
9/5–10/28. $50–$60. Marriott Theatre. marriotttheatre.com