The sweet Airstream trailer Emily Pilloton will be pulling into her alma mater this month.

Ranked from highest profile to biggest surprise

HEPHAESTUS 4/7-5/23 Flying Wallendas have died staging the feat in the past; don’t miss the family’s next attempt at a seven-person high-wire pyramid, part of Lookingglass’s latest spectacle.

GOGOL BORDELLO 4/23 Just try to stand still when this raucous gypsy-punk band brings its infamous live show to town. We dare you.

AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE 4/14-18 The company that launched a million wannabes returns with the pinnacle of prima fantasies, Swan Lake. Parents, put your local dance studio on speed dial.

C2E2 4/16-18 Trade shows may be dropping like flies, but we did snag the brand-new Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, devoted to all things geek chic (and featuring the hometown hero Chris Ware). Nerds, consider yourselves revenged.

MASON BATES 4/15-17, 20 Hey, CSO, way to get hip: The orch’s newest composer-in-residence—who moonlights as DJ Masonic—doesn’t officially sign on until fall, but you can preview his electroacoustic style this month.

WELCOME TO ARROYO’S 4/15–5/16 Even as The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, last fall’s surprise slam, opens off Broadway, the playwright Kristoffer Diaz debuts his next act at American Theater Company. Be there.

THE FARNSWORTH INVENTION 4/14-6/13 Last year’s other Off-Loop hit? The History Boys, which ran for nearly half of 2009 on Timeline’s tiny stage. Now the Boys director is back with a drama by Mr. West Wing, Aaron Sorkin. Lightning, prepare to strike twice.

MADELEINE PEYROUX 4/10 The closest thing to Billie Holiday this side of a mint LP. Close your eyes and marvel when she stops at the Old Town School.

EMILY PILLOTON 4/5-7 The New York Times named her one of the nation’s top 50 emerging talents. That’s nice, but we’re even more excited about the SAIC grad’s gallery on wheels, a sweet Airstream trailer pulling into her alma mater this month.

SOUTH SIDE COMMUNITY ART CENTER 4/2–5/2 The country’s only remaining WPA art institution hosts a survey of works tackling the current economy. Instead of bemoaning the bittersweet irony, get off the couch and support this show.


Photograph: Courtesy of Project H Design