Top things to do in Chicago week of Sept. 13 – 10 Things To Do News

on Sep13

13 September 2017 | 1:30 pm

Expo Chicago, returns for its sixth year, or, if you consider it the reincarnation of the bygone Art Chicago, its 38th. The enormous art fair centers on 135 galleries’ exhibits on Navy Pier, with a Crayola 64-pack of offshoots all around town, including public art in the fair’s In/Situ program, billboards that have already started showing contemporary art and the mysterious oddball headlines on the billboard near the old post office at the end of the Eisenhower. Expo also entails video and sound projects, panels and a night-before Vernissage party (admission $100-$5,000, partially a charitable donation), thrown by the Museum of Contemporary Art. A highlight will be a performance series by Nick Cave, designed by architect Jeanne Gang. Sep. 13-17. $15-$20 per day, $40 four-day pass. Festival Hall, Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.

If Expo Chicago is Thing to Do #1, the Chicago Architecture Biennial is Thing to Do #A. Another massive arts happening that sprawls all over the city (and as far out of it as the Farnsworth House in Plano), the biennial comprises free exhibits and programs at dozens of venues, centering on the Chicago Cultural Center, which houses dozens of displays on its own. Unlike Expo Chicago, however, the biennial also sprawls chronologically, spreading its art and architecture over almost four months. Sep. 16-Jan. 7, 2018. Free. Various locations.

Museums and galleries have coordinated openings to coincide with Expo Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Biennial and all of their arty colleagues to produce an everywhere-blossoming of art. A major exhibition that outlasts even the long-running biennial, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West” marks the first U.S. survey for the Chicago-based, Iraqi-American artist. Museumgoers enter the exhibit through “May the Arrogant Not Prevail,” a re-creation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s Ishtar Gate made of Arabic food packaging. Other works in the exhibit reconstruct looted or destroyed archaeological artifacts. And his food truck Enemy Kitchen, where Iraq War vets serve Iraqi food, parks nearby several times during the run to serve museum visitors. Sep. 16-March 4, 2018. Free-$15. Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave.

Music of the Baroque may stretch the definition of the “baroque” in its name past the breaking point, but for Mendelssohn’s Romantic-era oratorio “Elijah,” the group has arranged for some very fine music by any categorization in its season opener. The uncommon quartet of soloists—soprano Susanna Phillips, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong, tenor William Burden and bass Eric Owens—all perform starring roles in the world’s top opera houses, and would each merit mentioning individually. The soloists’ quartet “Cast Thy Burden Upon the Lord” should unburden even the heaviest-laden listener. Sep. 16-17. 7:30 p.m. $25-$78. Sep. 16: Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Drive. Sep. 17: North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie.

To start its first year at its new permanent home, Chicago Children’s Theatre schedules “A Year with Frog and Toad,” a charming musical following the amphibian characters from Arnold Lobel’s early readers from hibernation to hibernation. A three-category Tony Awards nominee in its 2003 Broadway incarnation, the show also inaugurated the Chicago Children’s Theatre as a company in 2006. This new 2017 production, at the converted West Loop police station logically called The Station, will feature actor-musicians who play instruments onstage. Sep. 19-Oct. 29. $33. Chicago Children’s Theatre at the Station, 100 S. Racine Ave.

The gender dynamics in Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew” have not aged well, even though the insult in its title has happily grown more obscure. The Chicago Shakespeare Theater grapples with the problematic central premise, that feisty women must be made compliant to become marriageable, by altering the play’s frame story, so that the play-within-a-play is mounted by an all-female group of suffragettes in 1919 Chicago. New dialogue for the suffragettes supplements Shakespeare’s, allowing for some distance from the sexist attitudes. Note to theater directors: Another solution might be to make the play literally, zoologically about shrews. Sep. 16-Nov. 12. $20-$88. Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 800 E. Grand Ave.

The dystopia spelunkers who propelled George Orwell’s “1984” onto bestseller lists this year can now also watch Big Brother watching Winston Smith and his Oceanic ilk in a theatrical adaptation of the retro-future vision of quashing dissent against a totalitarian state. Although it doesn’t shy away from violence, this production is not the torture-porn version running on Broadway that has reportedly led to audiences fainting or vomiting. This version aims to provoke rather than sicken, or to borrow from a famous reaction to another cautionary novel, to hit the audience in the heart rather than the stomach. Sep. 14-Oct. 8. $15-$20. AstonRep Theatre Company at the Raven Theater, 6157 N. Clark St.

Demonstrating the superhuman scale of airports and providing a yardstick to estimate how far planes travel during the interminable taxiing to the gate, the Midway Fly Away 5K allows runners to race on the airfield of Midway Airport and adjoining Central Avenue, the western boundary of the airport grounds, near jets taking off and landing. A Special Olympics Chicago fundraiser, the race offers cash prizes to the top three male and female finishers and Southwest Airlines tickets to the “Midway runner,” who crosses the finish line exactly in the middle of the race. Sep. 17. 9 a.m. $50. Southwest Airlines Hangar, 5035 W. 55th St.

At our house, Tuesday night dinner plans usually oscillate between the poles of leftovers and Taco Tuesday, occasionally landing at a restaurant. Rarely do we consider going to ten restaurants, as participants in the Wicker Park Bucktown Dinner Crawl can, sampling small-portion foods along multi-restaurant routes Tickets cost $30 until Sep. 17, then jump to $45. Sep. 26. 6-9 p.m. $30-$55. Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenues and Division Street.

The Chicago Humanities Festival’s big fall happening, themed “Belief” this year, announced its schedule this past week, with plenty of advance time to whet appetites before tickets go on sale, on Sep. 19 for members and Sep. 26 for nonmembers. Tickets https://tickets.chicagohumanities.org/ will go fast to programs with Al Gore, Alan Alda, Reza Aslan, Tony Kushner and Jill Soloway; hit those at 10 a.m. on the 19th. You may be able to wait a few more minutes to book Marilynne Robinson, Garry Wills, Matt Taibbi, Christine Goerke, David Lang, Ron Chernow, Bernard-Henri Levy, Joe Swanberg and Father Pfleger. Oct. 18-Nov. 12. $5-$60. Various locations.

Event schedules and availability change; phone ahead. Send your weekend tips in an email (without attachments) with the date in the subject line to 10things@chicagobusiness.com. We’re sorry, but the volume of submissions makes it impossible for us to respond individually to emails.Would you like to be notified via email of our weekly “10 Things to Do” column? Click here to sign up.



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