The Five

Don't-miss picks for Wednesday, October 23, through Tuesday, October 29

1 The Normal Heart

Theatre: Hot-shot director David Cromer tries acting for a change of pace, tackling the lead role in Larry Kramer’s seminal drama about AIDS in the early 1980s.
10/26–12/22. $24–$50. Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont.

2 Story/Time

Dance: Legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones narrates one-minute tales about life, race, family, and art while onstage performers augment his stories with dance.
10/24–25 at 8; 10/26 at 3 and 8. $26–$30. The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago, 1306 S Michigan.

3 Beth Stelling

Comedy: The LA transplant with a distinctive, drawling delivery returns to Chicago for five (!) headlining nights at Zanies. Along with Drew Michael.
10/23–10/27. $25, plus 2 item minimum. Zanies, 1548 N Wells.

4 The Bad Plus

Jazz: This power piano trio is anything but bad. They take on Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring.
10/25 at 7:30. $5–$35. Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E 60th.

5 Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

Film: The movies screening at this fest—more than 250 films from more than 40 countries—are interesting enough to hold the attention of both parents and kids. And the ticket price makes it a bargain.
10/25–11/3. $6–$9. Times and locations:

What I’m Doing This Weekend

Charlie Coffeen
Matthew Hoffman Photo: Courtesy of Matthew Hoffman

Up next in our series of weekend plans from notable, in-the-know locals—a.k.a. people we like: Matthew Hoffman, an artist and designer and the man behind the “You are Beautiful” campaign. The opening reception for his Galerie F show, “You are Beautiful: The Next Chapter” is on Friday, October 25 from 6–10 p.m.

“Before the show, I’ll probably stop by Gaslight Coffee Roasters. Depending on how I’m feeling, I’ll get a redeye or a green tea.

“For the show Friday night, I’ve made ten hand-cut wood pieces. Each [piece] is a chapter title from my book about the last ten years of the ‘You are Beautiful’ campaign. There will also be 30 artists who have created 12 x 12 inch ‘you are beautiful’ paintings designed in different ways.

“Saturday, I’ll take my friend from Ireland around the sites downtown. There’s a really cool show at the Chicago Cultural Center called Paint Paste Sticker. It’s a big street art exhibit that I contributed to. We’ll probably check that out. Then we’ll grab coffee at Bow Truss. It’s got great ambience and they recently got some really great artisanal donuts.

“Sunday, if it’s not too cold, we’re going to go and take a bike ride to the Chicago Botanic Garden on the North Branch Bike Trail. Then, if they are still open, we might go to the Bunny Hutch, an old friendly place that has a batting cage and arcade.” —As told to Tomi Obaro

Freebie of the Week

Tuesdays Evenings at the MCA: Floating Oceans

Museums: Animator and musician Alexis Gideon performs his multimedia opera project based on the works of Irish physicist John William Dunne. Weird, loopy, and free.
10/29 at 6. Free. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E Chicago.