Don’t-miss picks for May 17 through May 23, 2018
1 Beer Under Glass
Food:With a new brewery opening every week nationwide, it makes sense that Chicago Craft Beer Week expands its boundaries to include the whole Land of Lincoln and beyond. This kickoff event, which features more than 100 breweries from Illinois and the rest of the country, is a perfect opportunity to get a preview of the week ahead.
5/18 at 6 p.m.; 5 p.m. for VIP ticket holders. $60; $80 for VIP tickets. Garfield Park Conservatory. garfieldconservatory.org
2 Chicago Zine Fest
Festival:This annual convention celebrates independent writers, illustrators, printers, and publishers of zines—books of comics, criticism, and poetry. For those itching to try their hand at zine craft, panels and readings will provide ample guidance and inspiration.
FREE 5/18 at 6:30 p.m. Institute of Cultural Affairs. 5/19 at 11 a.m. Plumbers Union Hall. chicagozinefest.org
3 Ballet Nacional de Cuba
Dance:Cuba’s national ballet company returns after a 15-year absence with director Alicia Alonso’s passionate version of Don Quixote. Alonso brings new life to a timeworn work by better developing the love story between Don and Dulcinea, largely ignored in other versions of the ballet.
5/18–20. $41–$135. Auditorium Theatre. auditoriumtheatre.org
4 Spektral Quartet
New Music:Chicago’s most fun string quartet plays a program in the presence of art, once at a museum and once when audience members can paint during the performance. The group will run through excerpted portions of godfather of atonality Arnold Schoenberg’s String Quartet No. 4, 20th-century-and-then-some composer Elliott Carter’s two Fragments, and a new commission by David Fulmer (though different passages will be included each night).
5/18 at 7 p.m.: $50. Hairpin Arts Center. 5/20 at 2 p.m.: $5–$15. Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago. spektralquartet.com
5 Food Truck Social
Food:Rarely can one find Chicago’s finest food trucks all in one place, but this evening event allows attendees the chance to sample many vehicle-made dishes in one sitting. Guests can also visit the Lincoln Park Zoo after hours.
5/19 at 6:30 p.m. $10; $8 for members. Lincoln Park Zoo. lpzoo.org
6 Elliott Hundley
Art:What appear to be enormous and intricate paintings are actually hundreds of cut-and-collaged images taken from magazines and pinned onto giant canvases. Hundley incorporates small objects like gold leaf and butterfly wings that often reference his Southern heritage. One can get lost in these details for hours.
FREE 5/19–30. Shane Campbell Gallery. shanecampbellgallery.com
7 Elmhurst Museum Day
Museums:The western suburb boasts an always-surprising art museum—partially housed in a building designed by Mies van der Rohe—a charming historical society, and the beautiful, bizarre gem and crystal collection at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art. All of these places, plus the historic Wilder Park Conservatory, open their doors for free on this annual occasion.
FREE 5/20 at 1 p.m. Various venues. elmhurstartmuseum.org
8 Cheap Thrills
Festival:For the 13th edition of this bountiful event, spacious arcade bar Emporium hosts a lineup of local shops offering their wares at deep discounts. Vendors include Penelope’s, Eskell, Kokorokoko, Cities in Dust Jewelry, and many others offering visitors a chance to look for deals while holding a brew. Space Oddities will provide Tarot Card readings.
FREE 5/20 at 11 a.m. Emporium Logan Square. emporiumchicago.com/event/cheap-thrills-4
9 Dirty Projectors
Rock:Dave Longstreth, the auteurist frontman of this long-running Brooklyn band, has always embraced contradiction. The Dirty Projectors’ 2007 LP, Rise Above, for example, reimagined a punk opus (Black Flag’s Damaged) as a series of baroque folk tunes. Last year’s self-titled album doubles down on Longstreth’s double-edged tendencies, with some of the group’s most pop-leaning songs to date (one track, “Cool Your Heart,” was cowritten by Solange) buried under a sea of glitches and distortions.
5/22 at 8:30 p.m. $20. Thalia Hall. eventbrite.com
10 Waiting for Godot
Theater:It’s the end of the world as we know it in Samuel Beckett’s apocalyptic rumination on existence and humanity. The plot? Nothing happens, twice, as Vivian Mercier famously wrote in 1956. The dialogue is profound, funny, and apt to leave you pondering the meaning of life.
5/23–6/3. $68–$78. Druid Theatre at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. chicagoshakes.com