Don’t-miss picks for September 13 through September 19, 2017
1 Elgin Fringe Festival
Festival:More than 100 performances take over Elgin’s downtown district for a fest that offers something for everybody. Theater, dance, music, visual arts, and more are all bookended by an opening blimp raising (the fest’s version of a flag raising) and a closing-night bash at the Martini Room.
9/13–17. $3–$65. Various venues. elginfringefestival.com
2 Expo Chicago
Art:More than the see-and-be-seen art party of the year, Expo is where collectors stake out their next serious purchase. If you don’t have the bills to burn, simply window-shop at more than 100 international galleries (or take your pick of countless panel discussions). First up: a collaboration between artist Nick Cave and starchitect Jeanne Gang on September 13. See “What Happens When Two Geniuses Collide? We Asked Jeanne Gang and Nick Cave.”
9/13–17. $15–$40. Festival Hall. expochicago.com
3 Laboratory Dancers
Dance:Three interconnected pieces explore the politics of being a woman in Ladies First, a multidisciplinary show by the eight-year-old group Laboratory Dancers, born out of Columbia College.
9/15–17. $15–$20. Athenaeum Theatre. athenaeumtheatre.org
4 David Hartt
Art:Installation artist Hartt makes the Graham Foundation headquarters, a 1901 Gold Coast mansion, into his gallery for a new film about Habitat Puerto Rico, Moshe Safdie’s famous unfinished housing project. To tell the story, Hartt peppers the gallery with ceramic sculptures, photographs, and tropical plants.
FREE 9/14–1/6. Graham Foundation. grahamfoundation.org
5 Canadian Brass
Classical:The sneaker-wearing, snicker-inducing brass quintet, who make the medium unstuffy without sacrificing a whit of musicianship, tour a grab bag program that keys into Dixieland, jazz, and ballet as well as classics by Schumann and Brahms. A brass arrangement of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor looms over the concert.
9/15 at 7:30 p.m. $10–$45. Edman Chapel at Wheaton College. wheaton.edu/artistseries
Rock:Their friendship with Taylor Swift and myriad celebrity endorsements aside, the three sisters of Haim are making simple, stripped-down garage rock. On their sophomore album, Something to Tell You, the trio doubles down on a not-so-secret love for ’70s rock, with especially clear nods to Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks. Live shows up the charm even further, with synchronized guitar swaying and plentiful three-part harmony.
9/15 at 8 p.m. Sold out; see resellers. Riviera Theatre.
7 The Toad Knew
Theater:Chicago Shakes opens the Yard—a new multimillion-dollar theater on Navy Pier—with a description-defying show from Compagnie du Hanneton. Written and directed by Charlie Chaplin’s grandson James Thierrée (who also stars), the piece casts surreal circus arts over a fever-dream set built from oversize mechanical creatures—all experienced by the titular toad.
9/19–23. $48–$88. Chicago Shakespeare Theater. chicagoshakes.com
8 The Taming of the Shrew
Theater:Director Barbara Gaines casts exclusively women in Shakespeare’s tale of a forced marriage that leads to starvation, beatings, and some creative verbal abuse. Gaines sets the protagonists dead center in the fight for women’s voting rights, which makes for a radically alternate reading of the famously problematic comedy.
9/16–11/12. From $48. Chicago Shakespeare Theater. chicagoshakes.com
9 Chicago Architecture Biennial
Art:No mere home-improvement fair, this fete is the largest of its kind in North America. For its second iteration, curated by Los Angelenos Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, prototypes from European, Asian, and local architecture firms will fill the Chicago Cultural Center.
FREE 9/16–1/7. Various venues. chicagoarchitecturebiennial.org
10 Michael Rakowitz
Art:The Northwestern professor Michael Rakowitz has risen to global prominence for Enemy Kitchen, a food truck that serves Iraqi Jewish dishes made from his own family recipes. His first major museum show includes looted Mesopotamian artifacts meticulously refurbished using common materials, like food packaging, from the Middle East.
9/16–3/4. $15. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. mcachicago.org