All-you-can-eat bacon creations from more than 150 chefs and artistic odes to Chicago’s favorite pork products anchor the second day of this annual weekend fest, which donates a portion of proceeds to area organizations fighting hunger. Mmm … bacon.
Details:UIC Forum. $60–$200. baconfestchicago.com
Chicago Human Rhythm Project
The Stomping Grounds festival returns with free percussive dance by Ensemble Español, Trinity Irish Dancers, Muntu Dance Theatre, Chicago Human Rhythm Project, and Mexican Folkloric Dance all over the city. New this year: Shanghai’s GuGu Drum Group.
Details:Various venues. Free. chicagotap.org
Jorge Federico Osorio
The North Shore resident assembles a recital of piano essentials. Beethoven’s “Moonlight” Sonata, with its mournful opening movement familiar to piano students, turns the lights on. Debussy’s second book of Préludes, an impressionist touchstone, forms the second chapter. Schubert’s late piano sonata, D. 959, caps the concert.
Details:Galvin Recital Hall at Northwestern University. 7:30 p.m. $10–$30. events.music.northwestern.edu
Uncle Tupelo split up in 1994 when the alt-country band’s core creative duo came to a fork in the road. Jeff Tweedy went on to form the indie-rock pillar Wilco; Jay Farrar steeped himself fully in country rock in a new band, Son Volt. Here, Farrar and company hit the road behind Notes of Blue, a rootsy album in line with the territory Farrar has spent his career perfecting.
Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $25–$37. thaliahallchicago.com
The iconic funnyman swings through Chicago for two nights of standup comedy. It’s been a minute since Crystal’s mug has graced the big screen (his last major role was a reprisal of Mike Wazowski in Pixar’s 2013 Monsters, Inc. prequel), but his comedic instinct and wit haven’t faded, as evidenced by a litany of recent scene-stealing cameos.
Details:Chicago Theatre. $40–$150. ticketmaster.com
Near South Side
More than five dozen horses join 48 humans in an equine extravaganza showcasing four- and two-legged talent. Aerialists and acrobats appear alongside riders and video projections for a show that promises to “celebrate the bond” between horses and humans.
Details:Soldier Field South Lot. $20–$270. cavalia.com
Blek le Rat
Before Banksy, there was Blek le Rat. Now in his 60s, the French street artist has been called the father of stenciling for the images of Russian soldiers he sprayed around Paris before the Berlin Wall fell. Outside of this gallery show, keep an eye out for le Rat to bomb some West Town walls with his signature snark.
Details:Vertical Gallery. Free. verticalgallery.com
Chicago Dance Month
The dance promotion organization Audience Architects presents this fifth annual month of freebies, open rehearsals, and panel discussions across the city. Some highlights: complimentary classes with Natya Dance and Perceptual Motion, in-studio sneak peeks with Cerqua Rivera and Ballet Chicago, and an artistic development workshop with DanceWorks Chicago.
Details:Various venues. Free. seechicagodance.com
Roomful of Teeth
This vocal octet, which crooned to stardom when one of its members, Caroline Shaw, won a Pulitzer Prize for a composition, has helped pioneer the use of advanced techniques in choral music. For singers, this means yodeling, belting, throat singing, and other laryngeal calisthenics, but Roomful of Teeth’s repertoire choices always keep one vocal cord on beauty. Here, the group gives the Midwest premiere of Ted Hearne’s Coloring Book, which reflects on the black experience.
Details:Logan Center at University of Chicago. 3 p.m. $5–$35. chicagopresents.uchicago.edu
On its second album, Wild World, this British quartet moves past its signature brand of synth pop and begins blending genres. Case in point: the riff-steeped guitar-rock single “Good Grief.”
Details:Aragon Ballroom. 7:30 p.m. $40. ticketmaster.com
Sohn, a.k.a. English singer Christopher Taylor, blends soulful R&B with crisp electronic production on his latest album, Rennen, released in January. The atmospheric rhythms set the singer apart from the increasingly saturated alt-R&B pack. Expect Sohn’s monstrous live sound to shake your bones at this show in regal Thalia Hall.
Details:Thalia Hall. 8:30 p.m. $17–$22. ticketweb.com
Visual Vanguard: Bisi Silva
What does contemporary art in Nigeria look like? The artistic director of the Centre for Contemporary Art in Lagos gives a presentation on global and local trends in the country.
Details:Block Museum of Art at Northwestern University. 6 p.m. Free. blockmuseum.northwestern.edu
The Mystery of Love and Sex
Two couples of two generations and one catastrophic dinner party anchor Bathsheba Doran’s exploration of the titular mysteries. Marti Lyons directs a piece where the clues to life’s biggest conundrums play out in sex, secrets, and acerbic comedy.
Details:Writers Theatre. $35–$80. writerstheatre.org
2017 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four
Near West Side
Watch Denver, Notre Dame, Harvard, and Minnesota-Duluth battle it out for the Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Championship at the United Center. In Thursday's semifinals, No. 1 seeds Minnesota-Duluth and Harvard face off at 5 p.m., with the underdog Fighting Irish trying to fend off No. 1 Denver at 8:30. The winners advance to Saturday's 7 p.m. championship.
Details:United Center. $175. unitedcenter.com
Liz Gerring Dance Company
NYC staple Liz Gerring makes her Chicago debut with Horizon. The work explores the physical properties of density, with seven dancers attempting to fill the stage like molecules in a beaker by layering movements together.
Details:Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. $30. colum.edu/dance-center
The? Unicorn? Hour?
Leah Urzendowski and Anthony Courser’s new work spins the story of a magical creature who can heal the sick, vanquish monsters, and bring joy to the despairing. The show is aimed squarely at anyone who ever wanted a pet unicorn as a kid.
Details:Neo-futurists at the Neo-Futurarium. $10–$25. neofuturists.org
For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday
In North Shore native Sarah Ruhl’s comedy, five siblings cope with their father’s death first by recalling the precise moment they began feeling like adults, then by slipping into the realm of make-believe to explore aging and mortality.
Details:Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit. $20–$35. sgtheatre.org
At 20, this country singer dropped out of Northern Illinois University and squared her hometown of Aledo, Illinois (population 3,640), in the rearview mirror. She landed in Nashville, where she’s been a fixture on the local scene ever since.
Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $20–$35. thaliahallchicago.com
Holi: The Festival of Colors
There are plenty of ways to celebrate the Hindu festival of life and love, but the Vedic Cultural Society’s bash draws a crowd of celebrants to Naperville to run and dance through clouds of colorful powder. Expect to go home looking like a Jackson Pollock painting.
Details:Naperville Riverwalk Grand Pavilion. 11 a.m. $2 donation. thefestivalofcolors.org
Near North Side
Choreographer Lin Shook premieres three pieces of intergenerational dance, highlighting performers between the ages of 23 and 83. A fourth premiere by guest artist Harvard Vallance rounds out the program.
Details:Ruth Page Center for the Arts. 7:30 p.m. $20–$25. seechicagodance.com
Visceral Dance Chicago
Now in its fourth season, this robust contemporary company’s spring series includes the return of Monica Cervantes’s Changes and a world premiere choreographed by artistic director Nick Pupillo.
Details:Harris Theater. 7:30 p.m. $20–$70. harristheaterchicago.org
Before Netflix’s 2016 special Ali Wong: Baby Cobra, no female comic had recorded a live special while visibly pregnant. (The kicker: It dropped on Mother’s Day weekend.) This tour is the West Coast comic’s first since the birth of her daughter, but fans can expect the same brutal honesty and raunchy rants that made Baby Cobra such a hit.
Details:Chicago Theatre. 7 and 10 p.m. $40–$65. ticketmaster.com
Lawrence Brownlee and Eric Owens
Lyric has brought the curtain down on the grand-opera part of its season, but two singers have lingered, so they might as well put on a show. Clarion tenor Brownlee just wrapped Charlie Parker’s Yardbird. Broad-voiced bass-baritone Owens, who was and is Wotan in Lyric’s ongoing Ring cycle, lives here. They coheadline a recital of operatic joviality.
Details:Civic Opera House. 3 p.m. $35–$125. lyricopera.org
The Humanities in Spaaaace!
The DePaul Humanities Center celebrates April’s full moon with Georges Méliès’s 1902 film A Trip to the Moon—restored and hand-colored. Stick around after the show for live music, storytelling, and moon gazing.
Details:DePaul Student Center. 6:15 p.m. Free. bbensemble.org
Near West Side
Don’t roll your eyes at this occasionally saccharine songwriter just yet. Since the release of his debut album more than 15 years ago, he has ditched the cloying elements of his early acoustic work and moved on to a heavily blues-based sound. On this tour, Mayer will perform three sets: one with his full band, one with the John Mayer Trio, and a solo acoustic one.
Details:United Center. 7:30 p.m. $46–$115. ticketmaster.com
As the Malian group Tinariwen’s global popularity grows, so too does its pool of collaborators. On the band’s latest album, Elwan, released in February, the group worked with indie-rock luminaries including Kurt Vile, Mark Lanegan, and Matt Sweeney.
Details:Old Town School of Folk Music. 7 and 10 p.m. $36–$38. oldtownschool.org
After directing Something Rotten! and choreographing The Book of Mormon, Casey Nicholaw turns to more family-friendly fare with Disney’s version of an ancient Middle Eastern folktale. You know the drill: Expect to see a gregarious genie, a magic carpet, a nefarious Vizier of Agrabah, and the power of one young man’s wish.
Details:Broadway in Chicago at Cadillac Palace Theatre. $49–$140. broadwayinchicago.com
This English rock group may have formed in 1961, but its sound remains influential to newer generations of artists. Now original members Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent embark on one final tour, celebrating the 50th anniversary of their magnum opus, Odessey and Oracle.
Details:Thalia Hall. $42–$155. ticketweb.com
French composer Gabriel Fauré wrote this gorgeous requiem for choir, soprano and baritone solos, and orchestra. Although a choral staple, it’s seldom performed by forces as strong as the Chicago Symphony Chorus, soprano Chen Reiss, baritone Matthias Goerne, and the conductor Charles Dutoit, well-versed in French music.
Details:Symphony Center. $34–$220. cso.org
“Am I black, or am I a cop?” asks one of the troubled officers in Kia Corthron’s drama about police brutality in minority neighborhoods. Given the recent DOJ report citing excessive use of force in the Chicago Police Department, Corthron’s play couldn’t be more timely.
Details:Eclipse Theatre at Athenaeum Theatre. $10–$30. athenaeumtheatre.org
Details:Museum of Contemporary Photography. Free. mocp.org
Madhuri Shekar’s look at the secret lives of bees was a hit at Victory Gardens’ 2015 Ignition Festival of New Plays. Now it’s back for a full production directed by Joanie Schultz. The plot follows a pair of doctoral students who, on the verge of a breakthrough in bee science, find themselves stung by a moral dilemma that could end their careers—and friendship.
Details:Victory Gardens Theater. $15–$60. victorygardens.org
La Havana Madrid
Details:Teatro Vista at Steppenwolf. $15–$45. teatrovista.org
Marry Me a Little
Theater geeks, rejoice. This rarely produced musical is composed of lost Stephen Sondheim songs, B-sides to the scores of Follies, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and A Little Night Music. The long-buried gems are repurposed in the story of a romance between apartment dwellers.
Details:Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773. $38–$51. porchlightmusictheatre.org
Chicago playwright Douglas Post sets his drama in a Lake Shore Drive high-rise where tenants’ underwear goes missing, residents are perennially up in arms, and the building manager is finding that life in the complex is inching toward chaos.
Details:City Lit Theater. $12–$32. citylit.org
Never the Milk and Honey
Playwright Shepsu Aakhu’s new work explores the sacred agreements that people make—men and women, pastors and churchgoers, individuals and their gods—and what happens when they are broken.
Details:MPAACT at Greenhouse Theater Center. $21–$32. mpaact.org
Shakespeare in Love
Director Rachel Rockwell takes on the stage version of Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman’s Oscar-winning Elizabethan dramedy, in which young Will struggles with writer’s block while an aspiring actress finds a way around England’s laws banning women onstage.
Details:Chicago Shakespeare Theater. $20–$88. chicagoshakes.com
Tania Pérez Córdova
The Ascendant Artist series at the MCA recognizes rising international art stars. Here, Córdova, from Mexico City, embeds borrowed objects—like an active credit card or a SIM card from a stranger’s cell phone—into wet porcelain, a commentary on life in the digital age.
Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. $7–$12. mcachicago.org
Easter Egg Brunch at the Chicago Botanic Garden
Help yourself to a variety of brunch fixings before turning the kids loose in the picturesque Krasberg Rose Garden to hunt for eggs. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, book a family photo session in the English Walled Garden or Semitropical Greenhouse for an extra $100. Parking is included in the ticket price; booze, while available, is not.
Details:Chicago Botanic Garden. 9 a.m. $25–$40. chicagobotanic.org
The Magnetic Fields
On 50 Song Memoir, songwriter Stephin Merritt chronicles the first 50 years of his life. The musician reportedly began recording the album on his 50th birthday, and he plays 100 instruments on it. Fans interested in seeing the entire album performed live ought to purchase tickets for both nights: The band will play 25 songs each evening to fit the whole record in.
Details:Thalia Hall. $35–$40. ticketweb.com
Though she embraced a more mainstream sound on her third album, Ivy Tripp, the music of indie whiz Katie Crutchfield (a.k.a. Waxahatchee) still skews devastating. Her live shows are something special: moody, contemplative, and colored by yearning and intensity.
Details:Metro. $37. etix.com
Jesus Christ Superstar
An all–African American cast performs Andrew Lloyd Webber’s biblical rock ’n’ roll bio about the guy from Galilee. Whatever you think about Jesus, there’s no denying the killer score. For powerhouse, eleventh-hour showstoppers, it’s tough to beat the glory of “Gethsemane.”
Details:Paramount Theatre. $44–$59. paramountaurora.com
Eiko & Koma
The Art Institute’s massive Griffin Court becomes the stage for a free-with-admission performance by the artist duo of Eiko & Koma, who put a modern twist on Japanese dance. For instance, Eiko has given 12-hour performances, and Koma has been known to dance with paintings.
Details:Art Institute of Chicago. 6 p.m. $14–$25. artic.edu
“Chicago International Movies and Music Festival” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but the event has brought some excellent genre-bending art to Chicago over its nine-year run. Part film festival and part concert series, it presents features and documentaries along with live acts. There’s also a grab bag of obscure musical happenings, including interactive musical video games.
Details:Various venues. $79–$149. cimmfest.org
The Earth Will Not Abide
In recent years, artists have taken on a leadership role in environmental activism. This ecologically focused group exhibition, featuring Claire Pentecost and Ryan Griffis, examines what happens when farming is reduced to a capitalistic commodity.
Details:Gallery 400. Free. gallery400.uic.edu
The rare solo artist with a distinct understanding of her music and its appeal to fans, Green slings earworm choruses and sweet, simple lyrics. Her raucous live performances should please even the most finicky indie-rock devotees.
Details:Lincoln Hall. 9 p.m. $20. lh-st.com
The alt-rock legend hits Chicago yet again, this time behind 2016’s Patch the Sky. The album is the final release in a trilogy which began with 2012’s Silver Age and continued with 2014’s Beauty & Ruin. Yet another reason to go: The dark record, written after the death of Mould’s mother, was recorded in Chicago.
Details:Thalia Hall. 8 p.m. $36. ticketweb.com
ChiTeen Lit Fest
This is no mere get-together for young-adult fiction fans. It’s a weekend of workshops and talks, led by the likes of Nate Marshall, Kush Thompson, and Megan Stielstra, aimed at teen writers of everything from graphic novels to comedy routines.
Details:Various venues. Free. chiteenlitfest.org
Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo
Chicago’s grandest congregation of nerdery boasts a particularly star-studded lineup this year: Newbies like Luke Cage’s Mike Colter and Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown share the autograph tent with living legends like Stan Lee, the mind behind the bulk of Marvel’s blockbuster catalog.
Details:McCormick Place. $30–$70. c2e2.com
Batik Textiles of Java
The Art Institute owns an impressive collection of batik, cloth transformed with exquisite designs through an indigo-dyeing process. The Indonesian island of Java has been a leader of batik craft for centuries; this exhibit focuses on some of the finest examples.
Details:Art Institute of Chicago. $14–$25. artic.edu
Near North Side
Catch a free performance by the duo Boomerang on the MCA’s plaza. Dancers Matty Davis and Will Arbery move with equal parts machismo and tenderness, and their nontraditional choreography has included smashing metal nails and dragging each other around.
Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Noon. Free. mcachicago.org
Sound of Silent Film
Now in its 12th year, this annual program features eight silent films accompanied by live scores, composed just for the occasion. A few may even make use of the Music Box’s legendary organ, a rare holdover from cinema’s presound days.
Details:Music Box Theatre. 7:30 p.m. $8–$20. acmusic.org
The Perfect American
This Philip Glass opera, produced by Chicago Opera Theater, paints a chronology-jumping portrait of Walt Disney in the last three months of his life, adapting a fictional account told from the point of view of a fired cartoonist.
Details:Harris Theater. $39–$125. chicagooperatheater.org
Near North Side
Percussionist Matthew Duvall, best known locally from the sextet Eighth Blackbird, curates an all-percussion concert featuring pieces by Morton Feldman, John Luther Adams, and John Cage. The pièce de résistance is Chicago composer Marta Ptaszynska’s Voice of the Winds, a work that will take the audience out of the theater and into the museum to mingle with 100 percussionists creating a quiet soundscape.
Details:Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. 3 p.m. $5–$12. mcachicago.org
Yo-Yo Ma, Chris Thile, and Edgar Meyer
A trio constituting three-quarters of the ensemble that recorded the beloved classical-bluegrass crossover The Goat Rodeo Sessions goes full classical in an all-Bach soiree. Ma, a cellist and an enthusiastic collaborator, buttonholes Thile, a mandolinist and the host of A Prairie Home Companion, and double bassist Meyer to pluck and bow arrangements from The Well-Tempered Clavier and The Art of Fugue.
Details:Symphony Center. 8 p.m. $60–$210. cso.org
Welcome to Night Vale
For five years, Welcome to Night Vale has delighted and disturbed listeners with bimonthly broadcasts from the titular bizarro town. Equal parts Twilight Zone and A Prairie Home Companion, Night Vale is chock-full of UFOs and hooded cultists brought to life by radio magic. Live shows like this one bring fans in on the joke, giving them a glimpse at the men and women working behind the scenes.
Details:Thalia Hall. 6:30 p.m. $30. ticketweb.com
The Joffrey’s last major engagement for the season is a collection of international heavyweights called Global Visionaries. The program touts a world premiere by Sweden’s Alexander Ekman, plus the Chicago premiere of Yuri Possokhov’s The Miraculous Mandarin and last season’s stunning Mammatus by Colombian-Belgian star Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.
Details:Auditorium Theatre at Roosevelt University. $34–$159. joffrey.org
Chicago Cocktail Social
The fourth installment of this annual gathering features Chicago’s most prominent bartenders and mixologists crafting custom cocktails, plus live music and good eats.
Details:Galleria Marchetti. 6:30 p.m. $45–$65. greencurtainevents.com
Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto
Partly because of his unorthodoxy and partly because he refuses to record anymore, Radu Lupu draws breathless devotees to his performances. Here, he plays Beethoven’s “Emperor” Concerto, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Details:Symphony Center. $36–$157. cso.org
Diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder more than a decade ago, artist Matt Bodett calls the illness his “greatest education.” His paintings reflect his distorted emotional and mental states, part of a group exhibit about how artists give voice to an illness that often evades understanding.
Details:Evanston Art Center. Free. evanstonartcenter.org
Beneath the hypercolorful, swirling patterns of Firelei Báez’s paintings are stories of Caribbean culture. For her first solo show in Chicago, the Dominican artist celebrates the gorgeous fashion, tattoos, and hairstyles that define contemporary Afro-Latina femininity.
Details:DePaul Art Museum. Free. museums.depaul.edu
New Tradition Chorus
Take a step back in time with more than 100 men singing a cappella harmonies in the barbershop style. In this program, the internationally recognized New Tradition Chorus teams with the Purdue Varsity Glee Club as part of the university’s series presenting a concert at the alma mater of each senior Boilermaker in the club.
Details:St. Viator High School. 7 p.m. $15. newtradition.org
There’s a reason Tycho (a.k.a. Scott Hansen) maintains a devoted global fan base. The musician accomplishes the rare feat of infusing minimalist ambient electronic music with rich human emotion. On Epoch, his latest album, he incorporates postrock elements, proving he’s capable of more than just layering synthesizers.
Details:Riviera Theatre. 8 p.m. $35. ticketfly.com
My Fair Lady
Will the rain in Spain stay mainly on the plain? Will Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle finally get to dance all night? Will linguistics tyrant Henry Higgins change his mind about the perils of a woman in his life? And most important, will the delightfully boozy Alfred Doolittle make it to the church on time? Robert Carsen directs Lyric’s opulently produced revival of Lerner and Loewe’s musical.
Details:Civic Opera House. $22–$199. lyricopera.org
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
Details:Governors State University. 8 p.m. $28–$38. csjazzfestival.org
Augusta Read Thomas
The indefatigable composer churns out another world premiere: Chi, a string piece for Spektral Quartet, named for the animating life force in Eastern philosophy. The program also includes her recent Resounding Earth, for Third Coast Percussion, and Selene, for the two ensembles together, a piece they played at 2016’s Ear Taxi Festival, which Thomas coorganized.
Details:Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. 7:30 p.m. Free–$35. rockefeller.uchicago.edu
Leif Ove Andsnes and Marc-André Hamelin
Two pianists present a recital of some of the giants of the repertoire, including Mozart, Debussy, and Stravinsky.
Details:Symphony Center. 3 p.m. $32–$100. cso.org