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A scene from ‘Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster’
Photograph: Mo Willems

1 Live Kid Lit

The latest from puppet-theater-video hybridizers Manual Cinema is Leonardo! A Wonderful Show About a Terrible Monster, an adaptation for Chicago Children’s Theatre of the Mo Willems book about a monster who’s just no good at scaring people. Sept. 10–Oct. 16.

2 Art on Broadway

A four-block stretch of Broadway becomes an open-air art fair with the 17th annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts. Take in works by 125 juried artists, along with live music, a kids’ area, food and drink booths, and more. Sept. 10–11.

Actors from the musical ‘Girlfriend’
Photograph: Jay Españo

3 Gay ’90s

In the musical Girlfriend, songs from alt-rocker Matthew Sweet’s 1991 album of the same name become the soundtrack to a romance between two Nebraska boys around the same era. Check out PrideArts’ Chicago premiere while you wait for season 2 of Heartstopper to hit Netflix. Through Sept. 25.

4 Sci-Fi Password

The gathering dubbed Chicon 8 is actually the 80th iteration of the World Science Fiction Convention; 2022 happens to be Chicago’s eighth turn as host city. Highlights of the con, which is expected to draw more than 5,000 attendees, include the presentation of the prestigious Hugo Awards — and, of course, a costume contest. Sept. 1–5.

Parijat Desai
Photograph: Mansura Khanum

5 Circle Up

Parijat Desai’s Dance in the Round project invites observers to become participants in garba, a traditional form of circle dance that originated in Gujarat, India. Join the circle at one of three Chicago Park District presentations presented by Soham Dance Space and Night Out in the Parks. Sept. 10–18.

6 Gimme Five

The fifth edition of Destinos: Chicago International Latino Theater Festival features visiting companies from Puerto Rico and Mexico, as well as productions by Latino playwrights across the city and — for the first time — outside it, as Aurora’s Paramount Theatre brings the fest to the suburbs. Sept. 14–Oct. 16.

7 Reeling in the Years

Catch a diverse slate of independent documentaries, narrative features, and shorts as Reeling: The Chicago LGBTQ+ International Film Festival marks its 40th year of showcasing queer stories onscreen. Sept. 22–Oct. 2.

Arc Music Festival
Photograph: Kursza

8 House’s Home

Summer releases from Beyoncé and Drake heralded a resurgence of Chicago house music, but an earlier predictor was the well-received 2021 debut of the Arc Music Festival. The three-day, four-stage house and techno fest returns for a second outing at Union Park. Sept. 2–4.

9 Franklin Minted

Artist Krista Franklin works in forms including collage, sculpture, and poetry, sometimes juxtaposing existing works to create new contexts that center the experiences of Black women. The DePaul Art Museum’s exhibition Solo(s): Krista Franklin provides an overview of Franklin’s additive approach. Sept. 8–Feb. 19.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Photograph: Michelle Reid

10 Duncan’s Lines

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago opens its new season at the Harris Theater with Refraction, a program including pieces by Osnel Delgado and Darrell Grand Moultrie alongside an as-yet-untitled premiere by Chicago choreographer Randy Duncan. Sept. 29–Oct. 2.