Don’t-miss picks for September 6 through September 12, 2017
1 Chris Rock
Comedy:When one of standup’s all-time greats comes to town, you clear your calendar. In addition to wielding comedy cred that speaks for itself, Rock has emceed every awards show under the sun—winning half of an EGOT along the way. Here, Rock embarks on the second leg of his Total Blackout! tour—his first of this scale in nine years—with new material probing the Trump era, Black Lives Matter, his divorce, and being newly single at 52.
9/7–10. $50–$125. Chicago Theatre. thechicagotheatre.com
2 The Rembrandt
Theater:Francis Guinan stars as a museum guard in Jessica Dickey’s dark comedy about a priceless masterwork and the artist who painted it. Homer and Rembrandt share space with modern-day artists in the grief-stricken affair, centered on a staff tasked with protecting centuries-old works of art.
9/7–11/5. $15–$104. Steppenwolf. steppenwolf.org
3 Stars of Lyric Opera at Millennium Park
Opera:Lyric puts on a one-night-only freebie that samples from almost all its 2017–18 main stage selections, performed by many of the company’s marquee names. Hitting the high notes and cranking up the drama will be such familiar faces as Eric Owens (Die Walküre this season), Matthew Polenzani (Rigoletto, The Pearl Fishers), Andriana Chuchman (Orphée et Eurydice), and others, under the baton of music director Sir Andrew Davis.
FREE 9/8 at 7:30 p.m. Jay Pritzker Pavilion. lyricopera.org
4 Fall Gallery Opening Weekend
Art:Consider this marathon weekend of gallery openings the dinner bell for the local art world, a time to take stock of the city’s thriving contemporary scene as each gallery trots out its finest artists for the first show of the season. On Friday, the cluster of galleries in River North—Catherine Edelman Gallery, Printworks Gallery, Jean Albano Gallery, and Schneider Gallery—is a good starting point to see works by established artists; on Saturday, prowl west down Chicago Avenue for art by up-and-comers at Western Exhibitions, Volume Gallery, Document Gallery, and Paris London Hong Kong.
FREE 9/8–9. Various venues.
5 Festival de la Villita
Festival:Mexican Independence Day falls on September 16, so our southern neighbors tend to fill the month with fiestas patrias (celebrations of country). One such local shindig is Festival de la Villita, which fills the streets of Little Village with Mexican food, music, and carnival rides. A Sunday parade anchors the fest; expect traditional dancers, colorful costumes, and more mariachis than you could shake a guitar at.
FREE 9/8–10. 26th and Kostner. chicagoevents.com/events/fiestaspatrias
6 Nathaniel Mary Quinn
Art:In Nothing’s Funny, the Chicago-born artist debuts nine new paintings inspired by his troubled childhood. See “Nathaniel Mary Quinn Transforms His Fractured Past into Arresting Art.”
FREE 9/8–10/14. Rhona Hoffman Gallery. rhoffmangallery.com
7 Stevie Nicks
Rock:If you missed Nicks’s arena tour last fall, consider this double bill—two of only eight shows she’ll play in the States this fall—a second chance. After more than 40 years in music, the singer is in retrospective mode, having released an album of reimagined demos (songs originally recorded between 1969 and 1987) back in 2014. But don’t fret: The requisite classics will be ever in tow.
9/9–10. Sold out; see resellers. Ravinia.
Theater:The mental health nonprofit Erasing the Distance, which uses theater to combat the stigmas of mental illness and addiction, presents its flagship festival, Sparkfest. Among this year’s exhibits and workshops are three new one-act plays: Stacy Stoltz’s Walk a Mile, about the power of family ties; Adam Poss and Mariana Green’s The Lies We Tell, about a high-functioning addict; and Millie Hurley and Maura Kidwell’s Breathe with Me, which delves into the pressures of caring for an aging relative.
9/7–24. $13–$20. Filament Theatre. erasingthedistance.org
9 Hebru Brantley
Art:Chicago’s famed hip-hop muralist—who counts among his fans Lebron James, George Lucas, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé—premieres new work in a show called Forced Field.
9/9–11/26. $8–$9. Elmhurst Art Museum. elmhurstartmuseum.org
10 Singing Stones
Art:A refurbished 1881 building on the campus of the DuSable Museum of African American History becomes an exhibition of French and Chicagoan art. Curated by the prestigious museum Palais de Tokyo and EXPO Chicago, Singing Stones features work by 11 artists. First up: Thomas Teurlai’s Score for bodies and machines, in which two humming photocopiers accompany a pair of live dancers (Tuesday, September 12 at 6:45 p.m. at the DuSable Museum Roadhouse, 740 E. 56th Place).
FREE 9/12–10/29. Roundhouse. expochicago.com