The Five

Don’t-miss picks for Wednesday, September 21 through September 27, 2016

1 Chicago Gourmet

Festival:Bon Appétit hosts this toast to our city’s finest food in a majorly ritzed-up version of Taste of Chicago. The three-day event features talks from host Rick Bayless, numerous tastings, and a hamburger party on the roof of the Harris Theater.
9/23–25. $40–$205. Millennium Park.

2 Expo Chicago

Art:Want to visit the world’s best galleries? For four days, you can catch them all at Navy Pier. Chicago’s largest international contemporary art fair displays today’s trends and tomorrow’s potential masterpieces, attracting leading thinkers such as local artist Kerry James Marshall and Dominic Molon, a curator at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. See “Five Prime Spots to Discover Rising Local Artists” and “Tony Karman Shares His Favorite Things.”
9/22–25. $20. Navy Pier.

3 Hamilton

Theater:Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about the Founding Father without a father is the theater event of the season. Resale tickets may cost an arm, leg, and kidney, but for hardcore Ham-heads, that’s a small price to see the groundbreaking musical in its first run outside of New York. That said, there’s no rush. The show will likely be in Chicago at least two years, and at some point, demand will wane. Maybe.
9/27. $65–$500. Broadway in Chicago at the PrivateBank Theatre.

4 Lupe Fiasco’s Beta

Art:Did you know that the East Garfield Park Grammy-winning hip-hop star Lupe Fiasco is also a painter? Unlike his raps, the wordsmith’s series of geometric abstract canvases are eerily calm, and replete with hidden skulls.
9/23–11/30. Free. Ed Paschke Art Center, 5415 W. Higgins.

5 Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival

Film:The 34th season of this prestigious eight-day event will screen 46 independent films, many with characters and story lines that counteract stereotypes about the LGBTQ+ community.
9/22–29. $10–$150. Various venues.

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Ben Melsky
Kimberly Senior Photo: Courtesy of Goodman Theatre

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals: Kimberly Senior, director of Support Group for Men, which appears at the Goodman’s New Stages Festival starting Friday, September 23.

“Thursday is going to be a big, long day in the theater, but we have a nice break in the middle of it. I’m hoping to hop on the train and sneak up to the Hideout to see Devil in a Woodpile—the Hideout is a total Chicago treasure. It never ceases to amaze me that for $5 and the price of a beer, you can be totally transported by some amazing live music.

“Friday is our first performance of Support Group for Men, and I’m really excited to share the play with the city. It’s a love letter to Chicago, written by my good friend Ellen Fairey. In keeping with the DIY nature of New Stages, we’re still rearranging and reworking the play, but basically it’s the story of these four Chicago guys in their 40s, feeling isolated and confused by a world that’s changing in ways they don’t understand. It’s a comedy, but I think it’ll reach people on a deeper level too. It really just has to premiere here in Chicago, because there are so many geographic and cultural references. We have to go back and update our Cubs references every week.

“After the show, Ellen and I will probably go celebrate at the Annex at Greenriver on Erie. Chicago is a real frontrunner in the craft of food and drink these days, and this is a place—I’ve heard—that’s doing some really progressive stuff with their cocktails.

“Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be spending some time in the city. I like to go to yoga every day I can at Core Power, so I’ll try to make time for that. I also want to check out the outdoor Juan Muñoz exhibition at the Art Institute—it’s all about the spectator-performer relationship, so as a theater person, it’s right up my alley. While I’m downtown, I’m hoping to hit up the Cherry Circle Room at the Chicago Athletic Hotel. I’m always amazed by what a beautiful job they’ve done with that building. Saturday night, I’m going to the Midnight Circus at Oriole Park. I’ve known the family that puts it on for about 10 years, and their performances are incredible. Seeing outside-the-box theater like that always pushes me to think about my own art.

“I’ll probably round out my Sunday with a burger at Longman & Eagle. It’s the only food I get powerful physical cravings for, and I can only hold out for so long.”—As told to John Hardberger

Freebie of the Week

New Stages Festival

Theater:For the past 12 years, the Goodman Theatre’s New Stages program has buoyed local, independent playwrights with funding, practice spaces, and personnel. The culmination of the process: a two-and-a-half-week festival of free public performances, where fans with a taste of hot-off-the-griddle theater can witness the plays in progress.
9/21–10/9. Free. The Goodman.